Sunday, March 25, 2007

Most expensive ITEM on Amazon

Mohamad a friend of mine sent me a link to Amazon, could anybody find an item more expensive than this item

Palindrome !!!?

Palindrome is an English word. I am NOT resourceful when it come to English vocabulary. I thought this word is worth talking about.

I am an IT guy and most of my knowledge , including written and spoken languages, is tightly coupled to the IT domain (Tightly coupled is one example, where people talk about Tightly Coupled Multi-processor system).

Naturally, then, Palindrome, must have something to do with IT.

I was looking for a way to speed up retrieval of names from an Oracle database system based on some knowledge about the suffix of the name (letters at the end of the word). Normal indexing wont work since indexing is based on the prefix of the name (Like when you look up the phone no of a person using a phone book, you search by the leading part of the name and not the trailing part).

I wanted to try an old SYNTAX that i still remeber which is the Reverse Key index , in which, index entries are indexed by the trailing part. While this approach is not intended for my purpose and has its own usage, but to properly use such indexing method, I also need to reverse my search variable, for example

the original query is


it should become


To make is easier for the programmers, i thought that it would be good to introduce a REVRSE function so the the second query would look like


The REVERSE function takes care of resequencing the name.

So what does Palindrome have to do with this?

IF REVERSE (X) = X then X is a Palindrome

IF X reads the same backward or Forward then it satisfies the meaning of Palindrome
Actually, it does have to be a word , it also can be a whole sentence (Read the following sentecne backward "A man, a plan, a canal, Panama")

"Side note: the word has another medical meaning
A segment of double-stranded DNA in which the nucleotide sequence of one strand reads in reverse order to that of the complementary strand."
The longest Palindrome is believed to be tattarrattat , then detartrated

Some examples from the web


[phrases and sentences]
Do geese see God?
Was it Eliot's toilet I saw?
Murder for a jar of red rum.
Some men interpret nine memos.
Never odd or even.

can you verify that the following is Palindromic
Anyone with more words that satisfy the Palindrome criteria?


Friday, March 23, 2007

Most Expensive Capital in the Arab World

According to the Economist, it is Amman.

the EIU Worldwide Cost of Living Survey revealed that Amman is the most expesive city in the Arab World. The list goes as follows: (it seems that the survey did not actually cover all Arab Contries, as i cannot see Beirut in the list)

This year rank (last year rank) city

72 (70) Amman Jordan
79 (80) Casablanca Morocco
79 (71) Dubai UAE
85 (82) Abu Dhabi UAE
88 (87) Doha Qatar
98 (87) Riyadh Saudi Arabia
103 (95) Kuwait City Kuwait
103 (93) Muscat Oman
109 (100) Jeddah Saudi Arabia
111 (104) Al Khobar Saudi Arabia
116 (113) Cairo Egypt
118 (115) Damascus Syria
123 (115) Algiers Algeria
126 (122) Tripoli Libya

as the ranking shows, Amman stands at position no 70,
Intresting, no American city is among the top 25 most expensive city

1 (1) Oslo Norway
2 (4) Paris France
3 (6) Copenhagen Denmark
4 (7) London UK
5 (2) Tokyo Japan
6 (4) Osaka Kobe Japan
6 (3) Reykjavik Iceland
6 (8) Zurich Switzerland
9 (12) Frankfurt Germany
9 (10) Helsinki Finland
11 (13) Seoul South Korea
12 (9) Geneva Switzerland
12 (11) Vienna Austria
14 (16) Milan Italy
14 (24) Singapore Singapore
16 (14) Hong Kong Hong Kong
16 (14) Munich Germany
18 (19) Berlin Germany
18 (16) Sydney Australia
20 (21) Brussels Belgium
20 (16) Dublin Ireland
20 (n/a) Nouméa New Caledonia
20 (21) Stockholm Sweden
24 (19) Melbourne Australia
25 (24) Lyon France

New York comes @28 just after Moscow.
Rome @31, Chicago and Montreal tie @36, San Francisco @41 , Toronto @43, Instanbul @53, Athens and Miami tie @55, Boston @63 (little hard to believe) ,Rio de Janeiro @79, Atlanta @84.

At the end of the list
123 (115) Algiers Algeria
124 (124) Asuncion Paraguay
125 (121) Dhaka Bangladesh
126 (n/a) Kathmandu Nepal
126 (122) New Delhi India
126 (122) Tripoli Libya
129 (126) Karachi Pakistan
129 (124) Mumbai India
131 (127) Manila Philippines
132 (128) Tehran Iran

From a world wide perspective we are almost in the middle.

Ammar Sajdi

6 degrees of seperation - what a small world

The 6 degrees of seperation is theory stating that any one on earth can reach another person on earth through a chain of acquintances that has no more than 5 poeple in between.
For example, if you want to send a gift to Madona, call somebody you think he/she knows madona! chances are she/he does not know her personally, but then again, that person shall try to contact another person. If the chain continues, the gift is bound to reach Madona after 5 links (contacts). Maybe one can try this through the Linked-In network as well.

The theory was first proposed in 1929 by the Hungarian writer Frigyes Karinthy in a short story called "Chains."

" In 1967, American sociologist Stanley Milgram devised a new way to test the theory, which he called "the small-world problem." He randomly selected people in the mid-West to send packages to a stranger located in Massachusetts. The senders knew the recipient's name, occupation, and general location. They were instructed to send the package to a person they knew on a first-name basis who they thought was most likely, out of all their friends, to know the target personally. That person would do the same, and so on, until the package was personally delivered to its target recipient.

Although the participants expected the chain to include at least a hundred intermediaries, it only took (on average) between five and seven intermediaries to get each package delivered. Milgram's findings were published in Psychology Today and inspired the phrase "six degrees of separation."

Read the original article,,sid9_gci932596,00.html

ammar sajdi

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Presenting PowerPoint to business executives , The 10/20/30 Rule and the Meniere's Disease

Guy Kawasaki wrote an article how to write a practical presentation for the business community. The guy (whose name is Guy) is a ventrure capitalist who listened to hundreds of presentations for people trying to sell their companies. Here is what Guy said in his 10/20/30 Rule

a PowerPoint presentation
should have ten slides,
last no more than twenty minutes,
and contain no font smaller than thirty points

Ten is the optimal number of slides in a PowerPoint presentation because a normal human being cannot comprehend more than ten concepts in a meeting—and venture capitalists are very normal. (The only difference between you and venture capitalist is that he is getting paid to gamble with someone else’s money). If you must use more than ten slides to explain your business, you probably don’t have a business. The ten topics that a venture capitalist cares about are:

  • Problem
  • Your solution
  • Business model
  • Underlying magic/technology
  • Marketing and sales
  • Competition
  • Team
  • Projections and milestones
  • Status and timeline
  • Summary and call to action

You should give your ten slides in twenty minutes. Sure, you have an hour time slot, but you’re using a Windows laptop, so it will take forty minutes to make it work with the projector. Even if setup goes perfectly, people will arrive late and have to leave early. In a perfect world, you give your pitch in twenty minutes, and you have forty minutes left for discussion.

The reason people use a small font is twofold: first, that they don’t know their material well enough; second, they think that more text is more convincing. Total bozosity. Force yourself to use no font smaller than thirty points. I guarantee it will make your presentations better because it requires you to find the most salient points and to know how to explain them well. If “thirty points,” is too dogmatic, the I offer you an algorithm: find out the age of the oldest person in your audience and divide it by two. That’s your optimal font size.

Then Guy adds a comment

"So please observe the 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint. If nothing else, the next time someone in your audience complains of hearing loss, ringing, or vertigo, you’ll know what caused the problem"

Guy actually starts his blog by saying that he suffers from something called Ménière’s disease,

The symptoms of Ménière’s include hearing loss, tinnitus (a constant ringing sound), and vertigo. Guy claims that there are many medical reason that cause Ménière (too much salt, caffeine, or alcohol in one’s diet, too much stress, and allergies)

Guy then says that he is not subjected to any of the above causes, but he still gets Ménière’s disease. I Guess Guy was trying point out to the medical community that the audiance on NON 10/20/30 Presentation are prone to develop the Ménière’s disease as well.

Ammar Sajdi

Oracle consultant

Amman - jordan

Best Business books of 2006 (Business Week)

Business week compiled this list
1. Winning: The Answers: Confronting 74 of the Toughest Questions in Business TodayBy Jack and Suzy Welch
2. Success Built to Last: Creating a Life That MattersBy Jerry Porras, Stewart Emery, and Mark Thompson
3. The Number: A Completely Different Way to Think About the Rest of Your LifeBy Lee Eisenberg
4. The Speed of Trust: The One Thing That Changes EverythingBy Stephen Covey
5. The Difference Maker: Making Your Attitude Your Greatest AssetBy John Maxwell
6. You’re In Charge — Now What? The 8 Point PlanBy Thomas Neff and James Citrin
7. What Color is Your Parachute? 2007By Richard Nelson Bolles
8. What Should I Do With My Life?By Po Bronson
9. Now, Discover Your StrengthsBy Marcus Buckingham and Donald Clifton
10.Dilbert and the Way of the WeaselBy Scott Adams

Ammar Sajdi

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Chargers Chargers everywhere, but not ..

I was trying to mimic "water, water everywhere but not a drop to drink". Obviously, i am not as good as Samuel Taylor Coleridge when he composed Rime of the Ancient Mariner. I remembered this poem that was part of our O level syllabus (Way back then) when I was looking for my digital camera charger at home. Literally, there are more than 10 charges at home, but these chargers are never interoperable. One charger for my SONY laptop, another for my wives DELL laptop, one for my E71 Nokia, which does not work for her Nokia, a couple of old mobile chargers, one for the electrical shaver, one for the miniature hover and many more.
What wrong with electrical appliances manufacturer! They do not get it, Cannot we just make 2 or 3 standard models that all manufacturers can use. The idea is not far fetched! In fact, it is already implemented by battery operated devices. Why can i use the same battery set for all the different Remote Controls (for example). There are a few standard sizes and then you do not have to get the battery from the same manufacturer, nor do you have to have dozen of different batteries that cannot be used when you need them! In management, everybody is talking about standard operating procedure and all kinds of standard, ISO, IEC, EN, DN, and ANSI covering many different industries. Does it require a UN resolution to enforce standard chargers!

Ammar Sajdi

Friday, March 16, 2007


"You are God in a physical body.
You are Spirit in the flesh.
You are Eternal Life expressing itself as You.
You are a cosmic being.
You are all power.
You are all wisdom.
You are all intelligence.
You are perfection.
You are magnificence.
You are the creator,
and you are creating the creation of You on this planet" (p. 164).

A best selling book (DVD) The Secret, by Rhonda Byrne and is spreading like crazy in the USA, especially after making it to the Oprah Winfrey Show. More than 16 million copies sold (BTW, any book selling more than 4000 Copies in the Arab World, makes it to the best selling list among arabic publication- sadly)
I did not read the book; i read reviews about it and would like to share this review with you

"The essence of The Secret is "the law of attraction." According to Byrne and the twenty-nine co-contributors whom she quotes extensively, everything in the Universe (which is always capitalized and usually synonymous for "God") vibrates on a particular frequency. When you think in harmony with the frequency of something, you attract it to you. If you think about wealth, you will receive wealth. If you think instead about your debt, you will receive more debt. You attract what you think about; your thoughts determine your destiny. Byrne restates the law of attraction in various ways: "Nothing [good or bad] can come into your experience unless you summon it through persistent thoughts" (p. 28). "Your thoughts are the primary cause of everything" (p. 33). "Your current reality or your current life is a result of the thoughts you have been thinking" (p. 71). According to the product description on the DVD, "This is The Secret to everything—the secret to unlimited joy, health, money, relationships, love, youth: everything you have ever wanted."

from my background in physics , we learned that when things vibrate in harmonious frequencies , they resonate but not Attract. Therefore, i am not sure that the essence of this book has any scientific support. Additionally, the Likes repel and do not attract. If i want to say that if i think about wealth a generate Positive charges and that wealth itself is positively charged, then no attraction should take place (With the exception of semiconductors, where positive charges can flow against the flow of positive charge - or the electrical field- due to changes in energy level and minority carriers having enough energy to cross the energy field barrier. A theory in solid state physics that made diodes and transistors become realities)

It is a controversial book, not only scientifically, but also religiously ..Not only is this evident from the starting paragraph of this post, but also in the following

The earth turns on its orbit for You.
The oceans ebb and flow for You.
The birds sing for You.
The sun rises and it sets for You.
The stars come out for You.
Every beautiful thing you see,
every wondrous thing you experience,
is all there for You.
Take a look around.
None of it can exist, without You.
No matter who you thought you were, now you know the Truth of Who You Really Are.
You are the master of the Universe.
You are the heir to the kingdom.
You are the perfection of Life.
And now you know The Secret (p. 183).

ammar sajdi

Nine more rainy days

It was an interesting day yesterday (weather wise). it snowed off and on during the day, and the last wave of snow was at about 8:30 in the evening, i was real heavy, i must add. While at home, you know if snow is accumulating or not, by the fact the satellite channels. Of course, when the dish is covered by snow, the reception ceases. At this point, even one lives without TV or one has to get on his/her feet and shuffle the snow off.

This morning, it is cold and the skies are overcast. No precipitation of any form. The snow has almost completely melted. This is just normal considering the fact that the current temperature is 6 degrees.
As you can see on the weather map on the left, the low pressure system has moved to the north east as shown by the arrow. I expect this as the "Kiss Good bye" weather system as we are moving towards Spring. This does not mean, no more rain, but nothing like what we witnessed in the past 48 Hours.
The total precipitation during the storm is around 50 mm and the total rain fall this season, so far, is about 85% of total seasonal rain. However, the so far amount is, in line with the average for this time of the year. The no of rainy days so far is 53 days, and total rainy days per season is 62, so one would expect 9 more rainy days

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Snow or no Snow, and this is the answer

Location: My office Abu Elhajj comercial complex office 805 room 201
Time : 8 AM
Outside Temperature : 1 (One) degree above freezing
Precipitation form : Snow
current condition : Snowing

It is actually snowing, but the accumulation on the ground is little, maybe not cold enough or because it was raining all night. There is a white cover of not more than 2 cm.

Ammar Sajdi

Snow or no Snow, this is the question

This is my first weather-centric post!!I was looking at weather forecasting maps, and i think it
there is a weathe system that is worth talking about. By the way, weatherwise, last month was a quiet month. The rain fall was below seasonal averate; wet weather is really welcomed at this point.
To follow why, first look at the image on the left; if you can NOT geographically recognize the boundaries of the eastern med, then, now is the best time to quit reading, otherwise keep going

There are semi circular line (Light green, green, reddish etc).. These are call isobars. These circles connect points where atmospheric pressure values are equal.

Can you spot Cyprus?, it is surrounded by light blue circle! This is the center of a Low Pressure System that is affecting the Easter Med. You can also read the pressure value on the map. the center of the system is at 1006 millibar This is not directly shown on the map, but the outer circle reads (08) which is an abbreviation for 1008.. The normal atmospheric pressure is around 1022 mb. Low pressure system cause instability and therefore, active weather conditions (wind, rain etc..).
The button line is, there is a fairly deep low pressure system centered around Cyprus that is likely to affect the area for the coming 24-48 hours.

Snow or no Snow?
The low pressure system causes the wind system to revlove around its center in an anti-clockwise manner (in the northern hemisphere). If you can track the where the wind is coming from , you can find out if it is going to be cold or not.. As this is not to teach you how to read weather maps, there is an indicator on the map that can give you a hint about how cold the winds are. Look at the black line with 540 reading. We call this the snow line, because this line indicates zones where temperature approaching zero may occur. Look back to the map, and you will see that the bounders of this line cross the eastern med and Jordan. So yes, there is a chance of snow at higher elevation in Jordan

Lets wait and see,, this is all predictive modeling after all

Monday, March 12, 2007

better to know 'cpio' before getting down to the serious business

A Real Techy post, OR should I say a real Techie post
Both work well, Techie is a term, derivative of the word technology. This post is really on the Tech side, Techy a variant of tetchy (easily irritated or annoyed)

This post is a bit of both,
but you will see in the end of the post , the findings are not really techy

I am spent the entire morning upgrading our Oracle portal platform to version 10.1.4
I just downloaded the binaries from Oracle Site
One file was downloaded (as_linux_x86_portal_1014.cpio)
The installation manual assumes that you have the CD media
The installation command is really straight forward

$ -oracle_home /home/oracle/infra -oid_host -oid_ssl_port636

Thinking i am thee linux cpio expert (which i only use while installing oracle products by the way), i thought i can remember the command of my head, fa i wrote

cpio -icvf (smaller than sign) as_linux_x86_portal_1014.cpio

when command finished running and i ran the command as instructed

immediately i ended up with

could not find
COULD not find java 2 Runtime Environment

how can this be the case, when all other applications use the JRE

This where i spend most try all possible techniques to make sure JRE is really exposed.
After thorough investigation, i found out the mrua scripts uses the JRE that is contained within the portal upgrade binaries. I looked into the JRE subdirectories in the main directory under which the portal upgrade binaries were loaded, but i found no libraries.

Well, all of that happened because i thought that checking the cpio command is a waste of time. The contrary proved to be quite true is this case

The correct command is

cpio -idmv (smaller than sign) as_linux_x86_portal_1014.cpio

it is the d in the idmv

The Lesion Learned
i you believe you know your stuff very well to become a monster, your monstrous behaviour does not guarantee you an effective resolution of yr problems

if you try to save time by cutting corners, you may end up wasting a lot of time, check the documents first

ammar Sajdi
Amman jordan
oracle consultant

Sunday, March 11, 2007


To add to my TV view pleasure, i wanted to buy a new Flat TV. (do not laugh, but i spend most of my time on TV while asleep)

As normal, i do not embark on engaging in new project without enough thought.
I wanted to buy flat TV. Naturally, i was confronted with many issues that i needed to resovle before buying one

1- How many inches
2- LCD or Plasma
3-most importantly ,, the Brand

After some research i found the following

1) for the size, you might be confined with the size of the room. One has to keep a distance between the seat and the TV. For the best viewing pleasure the following are guidelines

For 32 Inch TV 2.4 meters
For 37 Inch TV 2.7 meters
For 40 Inch TV 3,0 meters
For 42 Inch TV 3.2 meters
For 46 Inch TV 3.5 meters

Because i m not planning to buy a new house just for the TV, i figured it would be wise to choose a set that suits the current dimension of the existing sitting root. It best scenario (w/o changing decoration and with all wires hidden) was 37 Inch

2)LCD or Plasma

There are two compelling advantages with an LCD TV. The first is that they can be much easier to watch than a cathode ray tube (CRT) model. This is because screen displays are significantly brighter with a high contrast and the flicker free picture. LCD TVs will work effectively in almost any kind of room lighting from bright to ambient. Secondly, LCDs have a higher native resolution than plasma TVs of the same size making them ideal for high-definition output. While plasma TVs are currently better at the moment for sheer screen size, as more and more television output becomes high-definition TV (HDTV), LCD technology will come to the fore.

3) Brand

S O N Y came as my initial bet, unfortunately, the Sony dealer has limited range and when compared with the market prices of SONY LCD across the world, the Sony dealer here in Jordan is not doing a good job. There is no 37" in Amman, and the 40" sells for 2600 JD.
My research has shown that Samsung is well ranked worldwide, but again, the dealer in Amman carries the 32" and the 46" only and (for some reason) even the next shipment will not have 37" , 40" range (i think Samsung competitors cannot get any luckier than this, what an ideal competitor; Samsung must be thinking of a marketing plan that really beats me).
When i was looking for the top selling LCD TV, SONY and Samsung were ranked among the best, but, i could not get what i wanted in Amman. SHARP came to my rescue, i bought a 37 Inch SHARP at a price tag of 1600 JD, the 42" model is selling for 1900.

It is a nice TV with good crisp picture. These TV can give excellent picture if you feed High Definition (HD), signal. However, it is seldom the case that we get HD signal in the current set of Satellite Channel. I thought the MBC have the best signal so far.

But this is not where the excitement is!!!
I found out that it has a Computer input, meaning that you can connect your laptop and here you go, a 37" Computer Screen. For obvious reasons, my wife was not particularly happy about this discovery. For my, it was really a thrill, with a wireless keyboard, wireless mouse, high power laptop and a large flat panel LCD display, the sitting room has been transformed "be anywhere" always wired, digital sitting room.

i will take a picture of my new LCD and show it to you soon


Thursday, March 08, 2007

Hindsight is 20/20 What about my Name Ammar

I lived 4 years in the USA back in the 80s,
i thought that it should be easy for Americans to pronounce my name correctly (Ammar). I was easy on the fact that the fist letter of my name cannot be pronounced by native English speakers, but thought that the rest should be OK. I thought that the Double-M is enough to for the American to understand that there is an Arabic "Shadda" over the Letter M.
However, i think they should be excused when you consider the following:

The only English word that gets as close to my name (Ammar) as possible is (GrAmmar)
But how do we Arabic Native speakers pronounce the English Grammar, now remove the first two letter and there you go, you have just mis-pronounced me name. Only now i have come to realize that native English speakers ought to be excused, it looks too obvious now, but as the saying goes Hindsight is 20/20 .
Sorry, i misjudged things for just too long!!!! and the time has come for me to realize my mistake... By the same token, i am afraid there are so many things (situations, people) that i misjudged.

Conclusion: The way i write my name in English (Ammar) is wrong!!! How then should i write my name???

By the way, i learned the word Grammar during my early years in school. Quite honestly, the resemblance to my name did not come at that stage, but much later. This is only to illustrate, how much of seemingly obvious things we human (or i should talk about myself). God knows how many of these seemingly obvious things that i still miss.
As one of them said : Among all the things i miss, i miss my mind most

Ammar Sajdi
Oracle consultant

PS: I should probably guess how French would pronounce my name

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

The software that drives NASA Space Shuttle

If you read my previous blog, i have extracted a few paragraph from an article that appeared at called The right stuff kicks in at T-minus 31 seconds.

I have repeated the opening section of that article because i thought it is really interesting

The right stuff kicks in at T-minus 31 seconds.
As the 120-ton space shuttle sits surrounded by almost 4 million pounds of rocket fuel, exhaling noxious fumes, visibly impatient to defy gravity, its on-board computers take command. Four identical machines, running identical software, pull information from thousands of sensors, make hundreds of milli-second decisions, vote on every decision, check with each other 250 times a second. A fifth computer, with different software, stands by to take control should the other four malfunction.
At T-minus 6.6 seconds, if the pressures, pumps, and temperatures are nominal, the computers give the order to light the shuttle main engines -- each of the three engines firing off precisely 160 milliseconds apart, tons of super-cooled liquid fuel pouring into combustion chambers, the ship rocking on its launch pad, held to the ground only by bolts. As the main engines come to one million pounds of thrust, their exhausts tighten into blue diamonds of flame.
Then and only then at T-minus zero seconds, if the computers are satisfied that the engines are running true, they give the order to light the solid rocket boosters. In less than one second, they achieve 6.6 million pounds of thrust. And at that exact same moment, the computers give the order for the explosive bolts to blow, and 4.5 million pounds of spacecraft lifts majestically off its launch pad.
It's an awesome display of hardware prowess. But no human pushes a button to make it happen, no astronaut jockeys a joy stick to settle the shuttle into orbit.
The right stuff is the software. The software gives the orders to gimbal the main engines, executing the dramatic belly roll the shuttle does soon after it clears the tower. The software throttles the engines to make sure the craft doesn't accelerate too fast. It keeps track of where the shuttle is, orders the solid rocket boosters to fall away, makes minor course corrections, and after about 10 minutes, directs the shuttle into orbit more than 100 miles up. When the software is satisfied with the shuttle's position in space, it orders the main engines to shut down -- weightlessness begins and everything starts to float.
But how much work the software does is not what makes it remarkable. What makes it remarkable is how well the software works. This software never crashes. It never needs to be re-booted. This software is bug-free. It is perfect, as perfect as human beings have achieved. Consider these stats : the last three versions of the program -- each 420,000 lines long-had just one error each. The last 11 versions of this software had a total of 17 errors. Commercial programs of equivalent complexity would have 5,000 errors.
This software is the work of 260 women and men based in an anonymous office building across the street from the Johnson Space Center in Clear Lake, Texas, southeast of Houston. They work for the "on-board shuttle group," a branch of Lockheed Martin Corps space mission systems division, and their prowess is world renowned: the shuttle software group is one of just four outfits in the world to win the coveted Level 5 ranking of the federal governments Software Engineering Institute (SEI) a measure of the sophistication and reliability of the way they do their work. In fact, the SEI based it standards in part from watching the on-board shuttle group do its work.
The group writes software this good because that's how good it has to be. Every time it fires up the shuttle, their software is controlling a $4 billion piece of equipment, the lives of a half-dozen astronauts, and the dreams of the nation. Even the smallest error in space can have enormous consequences: the orbiting space shuttle travels at 17,500 miles per hour; a bug that causes a timing problem of just two-thirds of a second puts the space shuttle three miles off course.
NASA knows how good the software has to be. Before every flight, Ted Keller, the senior technical manager of the on-board shuttle group, flies to Florida where he signs a document certifying that the software will not endanger the shuttle. If Keller can't go, a formal line of succession dictates who can sign in his place.
Bill Pate, who's worked on the space flight software over the last 22 years, says the group understands the stakes: "If the software isn't perfect, some of the people we go to meetings with might die.

For the entire article please refer to the link above

Ammar Sajdi
Amman Jordan
Oracle consultant

Software Craftsmanship (I)

I have spent most of my spare time last week to read an interesting book called SOFTWARE CRAFTSMANSHIP. The book basically evaluates the suitability of Software Engineering approach to Software Development; and compares and contrast its effectiveness in developing successful application. The book tries to emphasis the effectiveness of skilled Software developers (craftsmen). In essence, the author (Pete McBreen) is inclined towards stressing the role of craftsmanship as major factor in making software development successful, while advocating the Software Engineering should be left to huge projects.

I tend to agree with the author and i will attempt to touch upon some of the ideas that the book surfaces in this regard

In the beginning, let me articulate how IEEE defined software Engineering (1)

Software engineering is the application of a systematic, disciplined, quantifiable approach to development, operation, and maintenance of software, that is, the application of engineering to software

(1) IEEE standard computer Dictionary, Software Craftsmanship ISBN 0-201-73386-2 page 7

the software that runs NASA space shuttle was developed using Software Engineering approach (2)

What makes it remarkable is how well the software works. This software never crashes. It never needs to be re-booted. This software is bug-free. It is perfect, as perfect as human beings have achieved. Consider these stats: the last three versions of the program -- each 420,000 lines long-had just one error each. The last 11 versions of this software had a total of 17 errors. Commercial programs of equivalent complexity would have 5,000 errors.

But this amazing work comes with a price tag

"Most people choose to spend their money at the wrong end of the process," says Munson. "In the modern software environment, 80% of the cost of the software is spent after the software is written the first time -- they don't get it right the first time, so they spend time flogging it. In shuttle, they do it right the first time. And they don't change the software without changing the blueprint. That's why their software is so perfect."

"As the rest of the world struggles with the basics, the on-board shuttle group edges ever closer to perfect software. Admittedly they have a lot of advantages over the rest of the software world. They have a single product: one program that flies one spaceship. They understand their software intimately, and they get more familiar with it all the time. The group has one customer, a smart one. And money is not the critical constraint: the groups $35 million per year budget is a trivial slice of the NASA pie, but on a dollars-per-line basis, it makes the group among the nation's most expensive software organizations"


But if we do not have the leisure to spend $35 Million per year, may be software engineering is not for us!

The book then raises an interesting point based on the team that created SCRUM software development approach

"If a process can be fully defined, with all things known about it so that it can be designed and run repeatable with predictable results, it is known as a defined process. and it can be subjected to automataion. If all things about a process aren't fully known -- only what generally happens when you mix these inputs and what to measure and control to get the desired output -- these are called empirical processes"

If you think about software projects that you were involved in, who close did you ever get to the defintion given above.

With this introduction to the subject, you have probably gotton a feel about what the book is about. I will try, in later blogs, to shed more light about other ideas the the book presents

Ammar Sajdi

Monday, March 05, 2007

Smooth Sophisticate

The car that drives itself has arrived

I am facinated, not about cars themselves, rather about the technology being used in the realm of cars.
Do not get the impression that i am a car freak,,, but when you read on , you will appreicate the reason for this writing

The new Mercedes-Benz 2007 S Class is equipped with an adaptive cruise control system that comes with a short-range radar, yes a RADAR, mind you this is not an aircraft, it is a car.
This means that if you're stopped at a traffic light, and a car is in front of you, all you have to do is sit and watch. The S-Class will hold down the brakes for you, then accelerate when the lead car starts moving. Then it will brake when necessary. You could drive the length of Gardens Street with your feet on the dashboard; ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS STEER.

Ammar Sajdi
oracle consultant

Saturday, March 03, 2007

CARdiac Confusion

I keep thinking of changing my 2003 BMW 525i car that i really like. There is a large assortment of modern cars with hefty price tags that induce CAR cardiac problems.

Yes price tags of >70000 USD are becoming easy on the ear for an entry 5 Serier BMW or 200 Mercedes.

anyway, let me not get into the discussion of whether one conscious should let go and accept driving such cars while the world is full of atrosities; carnage in Iraq and Palestine, Poverty in the third world contries, hunger is Africa etc.

the following is a list of cars that i potential could own soon .. help me choosing

Mercedes 350 SL

BMW 530i
Audi A5 -- Will be revealed this week
The All-mighty Cadillac

Friday, March 02, 2007

in the Pursue of Zen

According to wikipedia

"Zen is a school of Mahayana Buddhism that places great importance on moment-by-moment awareness and 'seeing deeply into the nature of things' by direct experience"

Say what??

Moment-by-moment Awareness ... It is a moving statement,,, i must be missing something,, Can each of us ask the question, do we have moment-by-moment awareness, and what is that supposed to mean??

Let us move on.. Seeing deeply into the nature of things .. this is even more intereting!! it makes me feel joy when profound meaning are revealed after pausing at things and think about them rather than let them just fly by.

What is also more importnat is that Zen has been around for so long, but it went by me un-noticed for so long as well,,

The two lines of defitions mentioned above really cought my attention and are pushing me to further explore Zen in a practical way; maybe it sheds light onto shinny things that my mind just fails to see and enlighten me to see beyond what my direct senses can comprehend. If i can explore such things, it will make me more excited about life as i am just bored of the Normal issue that my 5 senses can reveal.

Here are some extracts from articles i read on the internet

"Zen trains the practitioner simply to observe plainly, quietly, and non-judgmentally the thoughts and feelings passing through the mind, instead of being pulled along reflexively by them.
With consistent practice paying bare, unembellished attention to the moment-by-moment flow, the practitioner begins to awaken from the cloud of aboutness and self-referential thinking that has built up through lifelong habit.

How can Zen be learned as part of a contemporary lifestyle?
In a sense, the practice of Zen is simply to stop thinking, by quietly relinquishing the inner mental dialogue within which we habitually wrap our experience.

Why do we seem to be trapped inside our own experience?
We can all say that "no matter where I go, there I am." At first that seems too obvious for comment, but on second thought why should our mental floor plan be set up this way?

What is the tiny observer that we call our "self", that peers out onto the world and into ourselves, and that reacts to what it sees? Is that observer who we are?

When a train of thought or a feeling passes through our mind, we can observe it within ourselves, but when we observe the observer within ourselves, then who or what is doing the observation?

Because our own experience is all we really know, we take ourselves so seriously that we seem almost to forget that an entire world exists outside ourselves. "

I feel happy because somehow i had these ideas in my mind, but somebody was able to organize the thoughts and have them written for me. I always believed that one should alway have enough tolerance to accept what his mind and senses fail to realize, as during my life i was stunned about things that i could not have believed if i had not experienced
(like gravity). The question is how many of these things really exist, but we, mankind, resist to believe just because our senses fail to directly realize (or because they have not been scientifically proven ........................wait ..YET ??) Religions clearly go under such category

Ammar Sajdi
Amman jordan

Say Hi to Julia

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