Sunday, December 9, 2007

The General Formula for Informed Guesses

As I'm graduating from university pretty soon. It is necessary that I pass the knowledge I gained to the new generation. Don't think I'll give some study tips or anything like that. Instead I'll be focusing on the situation where you have to guess MCQs (happens all the time for me).

Lots of students go about guessing in different ways. The obvious way is to guess the same letter for all the questions that you don't know i.e all A's or B's etc. However this technique doesn't work when the number of questions you have to guess is small and non continuous.

Informed Guess Explanation:

After long discussions with fellow Informed Guess (IG) users (a.k.a my roomate), we have finally came to the General Formula for Informed Guesses. The formula goes this way:

1. Choose some kind of lyrics or childish song you used to like when you were a child. It has to be short so you don't waste much time. Examples) 7agrah Bagrah, Einy Meny etc..

2. Compute the starting choice by this equation
S = (Q mod N)+1 where
S is the starting choice number
Q is the question number
N is the number of choices (after elimination if you happen to know anything about the question)
mod is the remainder operation 1 mod 5 is 1 and 7 mod 5 is 2.

3. Apply the lyrics to the choices using 1 word for each choice starting from the choice number you got from step 2.

4. Circle the choice where the rhythm ends.


Q8. Do you think this article is useful?
A. Yes B. No C. Can't decide. D. I haven't read it.
E. choice D doesn't make sense since you are reading this.

To answer the question above (if you don't know the answer of course) let's follow the steps:
1. I choose a 4 word lyrics (undisclosed for security reasons).
2. S = (8 mod 5)+1 => S = 4.
3. I start from choice D going 4 steps since the lyrics is 4 words.
4. I circle choice C.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Firefox 3 major features: Preview

As Firefox 3 just started its beta phase, many of us (fanboys) want to know what to expect from this new version. I found this great post which explains the top five new features in FF3. Note that these are based on feature mockups (not final UI) they will probably get more polish before release.

Blogged with Flock

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Help End Poverty by Enhancing your English

OK let's take a break from IT and new programs and think about other people for a change. is a website for charity it has a very interesting English Vocabulary game which you can play. Here is how to play:
  • Click on the answer that best defines the word.
  • If you get it right, you get a harder word. If wrong, you get an easier word.
  • For each word you get right, we donate 10 grains of rice to the United Nations World Food Program.
So, go now and see how good you are at English and help the world end poverty along the way.

Blogged with Flock

Friday, November 16, 2007

Once Again: Windows Live Products Standalone Installers

For some unknown reason the files have been deleted. A new solution has been found on this post

Windows Live Sign-In Assistant 4.200.520.1

Windows Live Messenger 8.5.1302.1018

Windows Live Writer 12.0.1366.1026

Windows Live Mail 12.0.1606

Windows Live Photo Gallery 12.0.1308.1023

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Windows Live Suite: Out of Beta

All of Windows Live applications (Messenger, Writer, Gallery, Mail) are now out of beta. To download the final releases get the Windows Live installer. For standalone installers I'm still looking for them so check back soon :p

Blogged with Flock

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Flock - The Social Web Browser

With the ever increasing popularity of Web 2.0 based websites e.g. Flickr, Photobucket, YouTube, MySpace etc.. The demand for browser extensions for these services has been booming. No need to search for extensions no more: Meet Flock a new web browser based on Firefox code which integrates the most desired Web 2.0 features. On top of a very wonderful UI you get all those unique features:

1. Advanced RSS feed reader.
2. Friend list from YouTube, MySpace, Facebook all in one tab with update notice.
3. Drag and Drop photos to sharing websites.
4. Blog Editor which supports most major Blogging sites.

What I liked in the little time I had trying this browser is the MyWorld tab which includes everything a person usually do when going online each day. A real start page (GoodBye google as my homepage).

The browser is now version 1.0 beta so a lot of improvement are coming in the way. Try it out and post your impressions

Flock - The Social Web Browser

Sunday, October 21, 2007

KFUPM ITC: The turtle and hare

Back to blogging after a short break for holiday. As soon as I came back to my university (KFUPM) I found out that the Internet connection has gotten really really slow. Some people may say "You should be thankful, universities have the fastest connections!!". Well take a look at this and judge for yourselves!!! This is from

9 kbps!!!! I think dial up would look very shiny now.

P.S I did the test at 7:30 a.m. (we ra2sny ya gada3)

Friday, September 21, 2007

Paint.NET: Free Photoshop?

I stumbled upon this great image processing/drawing app. It has many features of the leading drawing applications but with one difference; It is totally FREE. Great tool for people who want good image processing options but on a tight budget. All it requires is .Net Framework 2.0 or higher.


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Windows Live Suite: New Releases and New Pains

Microsoft has recently released new versions of the new Live Suite which includes:
Windows Live Writer
Windows Live Messenger
Windows Live Sign-In Assistant
Windows Live Mail
Windows Live Toolbar
Windows Live Photo Gallery

They decided to go with a single installer for the whole package which (in my experience) the most awkward installer ever. Not only that it takes ages to run but also it fails to download the installers (might be a proxy problem on my setup). I searched the web over and over to find the standalone installers but to no use until today.

New Features:

I only use Live Writer and Messenger so I don't know about the others. For Live Writer, it now supports uploading images to blogger based blogs and there is a new option to insert videos in the blogs supporting youTube, MSN soapBox and others.
For Messenger however, I didn't find any new features or options just a minor facelift.

How to avoid the awkward installer and use the standalone ones:

1. Go to

2. Download the msi you require for each product depending on the following:

Windows Live Writer

Windows Live Messenger

Windows Live Sign-In Assistant

Windows Live Mail

Windows Live Toolbar

Windows Live Photo Gallery

P.S. For Microsoft: You were doing a great job with the Live Products don't screw them up with awkward installations.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Summer Camp: WPF + VS2008 beta (Part 0)

As I am done with my summer training work and quite bored with World of Warcraft at the moment. I started reading a nice book "Windows Presentation Foundation: Unleashed". I also downloaded Visual C# Express 2008 beta. My aim is to get a command of the new WPF approach to developing .NET applications. I will be making a series of tutorials here so stay tuned.. :D

WPF is the new user interface development model used in .NET 3.0 and beyond. It is based on XAML (pronounced Zamil) which is an XML based language for defining the various aspects of the user interface declaratively.

The great thing about WPF applications is that you can port them straight forward to be run within a web browser. The user has to have .NET Framework 3.0 installed.

to be continued....

Sunday, August 26, 2007

File Sharing in Windows Vista

I have been having a problem with sharing files from Windows Vista. The problem occurs when I try to access the shared folder form other PCs running earlier versions of Windows with the default Guest account. After searching around I found out that Guest accounts in Windows Vista are denied by default from accessing Network shares. There are two ways to fix this thing:
  • Don't use the Guest account for sharing. Make another user account with no password and use that for public file sharing. More secure but you'll need to distribute the new username.
  • Change the Local Security Policy settings to enable Guest to access network shares as follows:
    1. Go to Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Local Security Policy.
    2. Expand Local Policies > User Rights Assignments.
    3. Double click on Deny access to this computer from the network.
    4. Select Guest and click Remove. (See pictures below)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Microsoft SharedView Beta

Ever was explaining something technical to someone on the phone? Don't you just hate when that family member asks: and where is the OK button?

Feel free now with this new tool you can share your desktop view and just point him/her to the hidden OK button. This application is (obviously) integrated with MSN passport and MSN Messenger (though it can function without Messenger). You can even specify handouts that attendees can download (So they don't ask you the same question again :D). 

The down side of this is that it is still in beta and it doesn't support chat (voice or text) with the attendees yet.  

Microsoft SharedView Beta

Windows Live SkyDrive: Free 1GB file storage

Just stumbled on this new Beta service from Microsoft. It is basically a free 500MB of file storage. You have 3 zones to add files to:
1. Private for files that are only for you.
2. Friends for files that you want just your friends (MSN Messenger Contacts). The awesome thing about this feature is that you set special permissions to each folder (which friends gets to see, change, delete stuff in it). Great for team work projects :D
3. Public for anyone on the Internet. Sign up is easy and straight forward as well as uploading files. After you upload a file you get a link to distribute.

Pretty nice and fast service as far as I see it now. Better than sending myself e-mails with attachments to keep them online.

Update: The storage size have been upgraded to 1GB.

Windows Live SkyDrive Beta

Sunday, August 12, 2007

ReSharper : Programming made easy

 This tool is absolutely brilliant, true IDE AI. You can kiss Code Completion good bye. ReSharper goes the extra miles that the built-in code re-factoring and intelligence tools in Visual Studio doesn't. Code optimization, Code completion, Code Formatting, Coding standards etc.. whatever you can think of is there.

From my personal experience using this tool: Go Get this now! Programming will have a different taste. It is like having some expert look at your code while you are coding and giving you advice about it.

ReSharper :: Download

Friday, August 10, 2007

Windows Vista Performance and Reliability Packs

Microsoft has just released some update Packs for Windows Vista. These packs fix some very important issues in Windows Vista namely:

3D graphics performance for some games.
File and Folder Copy for large sizes.
Issues when saving AVI files.

These packs are highly recommended for everyone using the the new OS.

Download Links:
pack1 (2.1MB)
pack2 (9.4MB)

Update: After installing the packs and testing some of the claimed fixes I think it is all good however the 3D performance issues are not totally fixed. Mainly my World of Warcraft problems are not fixed :(

Monday, July 30, 2007

Arabic or Not?

Recently I am having a desire to start blogging in arabic for several reasons:
1. I should help (if I can) to enrich the arabic presence in WWW.
2. I need to work on my arabic writing skills.
On the other hand, there are reasons that make me not want to do it:
1. I can barely put some stuff here to keep it updated. How about two blogs?
2. I may get into trouble blogging in arabic since I'll talk about politics if I ever made an Arabic blog.
I added a poll to this blog. Awaiting your responses......

Saturday, July 28, 2007

We are Melting Here!!!

Here is the temperature now I'm not exaggerating this is from I don't know how we withstand this. We should all star in super hero comics "immune to fire damage" :0

Microsoft Office Outlook Connector (Update)

Another great add-in for Outlook which let's you access your Hotmail e-mail from within Microsoft Outlook 2007 or 2003. I tried it myself and it is a bit buggy since it is in beta. The problems I encountered maybe due to the "wonderful" Internet connection we are having these days in KFUPM (thanks to ITC).

Update: It is now out of beta.


Friday, July 27, 2007

Save Microsoft Office 2007 documents to PDF with ease

I found this great add-in from Microsoft's web site to enable saving to PDF directly from any Microsoft Office 2007 product. Great for publishing documents online.


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Satisfying People

A nice article about how it is impossible to make all people happy about you and your behavior.  I say and I quote here from Red Forman (from that's 70's show) "When I die I hope I'll be buried face down so that all my critics can kiss my ...". Just kidding :) 

رضاء الناس

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Blog This Extension for Firefox

A new extension made by.. Guess who? open source? wrong guess... Microsoft!!!! It is a great extension to help blogging about a certain site. I am now using it to make this post. Basically it just fires Windows Live Writer and adds a link to the page you were viewing when you clicked on the extension. Very helpful when blogging about a new favorite site. Check the link below to download it.


Windows Live Writer

This is my first post using Windows Live Writer Beta2. I have to say am really impressed with the quality of this product and specifically the support for various blogging sites (so un-Microsoftly :). I like this new trend at Microsoft of acknowledging that other companies do exist. About the program it is really helpfull when blogging you don't have to go the blogg, enter your credentials and then post. You just configure the settings once. For more info go to

First Post

Hello and welcome to my blog I intend to make an IT oriented blog with focus on Software Development. Hope you all enjoy it.