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Dec 31, 2010

X marks the spot ...

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Practicing with black and white filters.
Found this at back of a parked car collecting dust.
I don't know the make or model of the car. If you do know, let us know.

Malé, Maldives.

Kids on the beach ...

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Was a cloudy and a windy day, but at the end the day gave us a very colorful sunset.
Kids playing on the beach while parents enjoy the colors of the sunset and cool sea breeze.

Villingili, Maldives.

Dec 29, 2010

Oxidated Outdoor Light ???

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An outdoor light succumbs to extended exposure to saltwater spray.
Found this light installed on the fascia of the roof overlooking the sea at Lily's Coffee Shop.
Surprisingly, it still works just fine.

Malé, Maldives.

Everyone seems to want Jelly ...

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A store called Jelly selling candies and special kid friendly drinks.
This place is popular spot for kids and families on weekend, especially in the evening around dusk.

Malé, Maldives.

Dec 25, 2010

Hot Sauce ... by Coca-Cola !!!

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Must be a brand new product by Coca-Cola company.
Or someone at the table must have been bored out of his/her mind.
Must have been the slow service or something.

Malé, Maldives.

Dec 24, 2010

The speakers story ... what is good ???

3 comments

Hello.

I have had this Yamaha TSS-10 5.1 Home Theater System for a few years now. It is a good system and I have enjoyed many movies and songs on it.

Here are the main features:
• Decoding of Dolby Digital, DTS and Dolby Pro Logic II (Movie/Music) for stereo sources to 5.1-channel sound
• 32-bit, high precision, high sound quality DSP LSI (YSS-938 Yamaha original LSI)
• SILENT CINEMA for headphone surround sound enjoyment
• Remote control unit
• High sound quality spruce cone driver for 5 satellite speakers
• Yamaha’s unique YST for powerful bass response (subwoofer)
• Angle adjustable satellite speakers for optimum positioning
• Two optical digital input and 2-channel analog terminals
• Magnetic shielding allows placement near a TV (all speakers)
• Slim, vertical standing amplifier.

You can find more information here and here.

It is not top of the line, but good for a living room or a bedroom.

However, I've had it with 5.1 systems and wires running across and all over the room. I am now thinking of getting myself a good 2.1 system. Hence I have listed my Yamaha TSS-10 5.1 Home Theater System for sale in iBay.

Give me a call if you are interested in buying it.

Since, I am "downgrading" myself to a 2.1 system, I went to Bose show room at Reefside to have a look an available option. I was surprised (and a bit annoyed) that almost all sub-7,000 Rufiyaa Bose system suck really bad. I mean seriously, I am no sound engineer, but my years old Yamaha sounds pretty good compared to Bose systems in the range. I am not saying this just because I am selling my Yamaha, I just was bit let down by Bose. Maybe I was expectation for Bose was a bit high when I walked in to that shop.

I am going to go to Island Music and check out the JBL systems there. I am sure they will sound better than Bose. They have to.

If you have any suggestions or recommendation for a good 2.1 speaker system,  please let me know. Thank you.

Laterx.

Edit :: 27/12/2010 11:54
Yamaha TSS-10 5.1 Home Theater System has been sold out and marked same on iBay.com. Thank you.

Dec 20, 2010

Please don't burst with stuff ... :P

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Double burst!
Bursting with flavor, bursting with health.
Who wants to burst with flavor? Who wants to burst with health?
Not me. I don't think its a good ad. My personal opinion.

Malé, Maldives.

Dec 18, 2010

Blogger: Turning on Mobile Templates …

5 comments
Hello.

Today, I logged on to Blogger to see a pop-up asking me to turn on mobile templates. I did not know what it was exactly, at the time, and I was in a hurry to get something done. I clicked cancel, and moved on.

Later, when I thought about it, turning on mobile templates sounded like a pretty good idea. Especially since I get occasional visits on my blog from mobile devices like iPhones.

So what does mobile templates do? Well, not much. It simply optimizes the blog to display it better on mobile devices with smaller screens. Apparently, when using mobile templates, pages will load faster because of minimalistic design with less graphics, and use less data, a good thing when surfing the web on an a cellular connection.

When I came back to Blogger to turn mobile templates on, I had to drill down a bit in settings to find the option. To save some of you a few minutes, here is how to do it.

From Blogger Dashboard, go to 'Settings' tab and find 'Email & mobile' menu. Under the 'Mobile Template' part, click 'Yes. On mobile devices, show the mobile version of my template.'. Scroll down and click 'Save settings'. If you want to have quick look at how your blog would look like in mobile view, you can preview it before saving the settings.

Hope this helps someone out there who uses Blogger/Blogspot.

Laterx.

Dec 16, 2010

Big One: Dexter season 5 finale ...

2 comments
Hello.

It seems like only a few days ago that I wrote here, all excited, about Dexter season 5 was about to begin. Last night I watched the "Big One" season finale. It was a amazing and gripping season. Season 5 was great, I really liked it.

Dexter was great, juggling the role of single parent and knife-wielding vigilante serial killer. The way he protected a victimized girl, the way he opened up for her, spilling all his secrets, and later taught her the secrets of the trade and teamed up with her was great. I liked them as team. Too bad that did not last. Guess this vigilante is not getting a sidekick, and is destined to roam the world alone. I did not like Dexter evolving, starting to show normal human emotions. He is supposed to psychopath, disconnected from all human emotions. That is what rationalize his "activities". It will be hard to root for a normal human serial killer, no matter who he kills.

I admit I was not fan of Julia stiles, but that may be changing. She was spectacular playing the the victimized girl, Lumen. I am guessing this is her frost TV role, I may be wrong. I liked how Lumen starts broken bad, but manages to pick herself up, learned the ropes fast, to take revenge on people who hurt her. Something like a modern day avenging angel. Her relationship with Dexter was like healing process for his wife'e brutal murder. And I think it worked out great, too bad Lumen had to leave. I think she deserves her Golden Globe Award nomination for this.

Johnny Lee Miller was creepy as hell as Jordan Chase. It was a good performance. I have not seen Johnny Lee Miller since Aeon Flux and he always reminds me of the movie Hackers. Though the tick-tock thing went a bit far, I liked him giving all those life lessons even at the last moment. He is no Trinity killer, not by a long shot, but he was OK.

So does Deb know about Dexter and what he does? What was she saying to Dexter when she said "all is over for you"? I personally do not think she knows what Dexter is up to, thought in the novels she knows very early on.

This was good season of Dexter. It was shot, but a good ride. Cant wait for season 6.

Laterx.

Managed to bust my bike silencer ... again !!!

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My Honda Wave 125S.
I don't know why, but I somehow manage to bust the exhaust pipe or the silencer/muffler of my bike several times each year.
And every time I go to garage to repair it, they tell me that the I have change whole exhaust system next time.
I have repaired the exhaust system several times after that. I did it a few weeks ago too.

Malé, Maldives.

Dec 12, 2010

Silhouetted Minaret ...

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A silhouette of a mosque minaret taken around dusk.
You can see the low dome and the crescent atop the minaret of Masjid Al-Noor Mosque.

Malé, Maldives.

MNBC1 Antenna ...

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The moon rising behind the main antenna of Maldives National Broadcasting Corporation (MNBC1), formerly known as Television Maldives (TVM).
This was a gift from a people of Japan to the people of Maldives. Its a few decades old.

Malé, Maldives.

Dec 11, 2010

Keerithi Rasoolaage Siyarath ...

14 comments
Hello.

Here, I present the recitation of written work "Keerithi Rasoolaage Siyarath" for download in mp3 format. The 29 audio tracks represent the complete work, read by Late Mr. Mohamed Thaufeeg of H. Haajaraage.

You can download the 29 tracks separately on MediaFire for free, it does not require an account.  I have also made it available on HotFile  (Zip file, 895MB) for easy download.

The source files I got were 1.65GB and in 128kbps mp3 format. I re-encoded the files to 64kbps mp3s using iTunes. In my opinion 64kbps is decent enough for spoken-words and I managed to bring down the filesize to almost half. Few suggested that I use a more efficient codec for spoken words, like AAC, but I finally decided to use mp3, for it is the most ubiquitous audio format around. I did not want to letdown those with finicky portable players.

This is by no means a clean or professional recording. There are some hisses and blips interspersed among the tracks. Passable for works decades old.

I grew up listening to this every year in the month of Ramadan. I remember when we were young, neighborhood kids would meet up after noon prayer, decide on who's place to go to listen to Siyarath. We would fight for the best seats in the living room and few would end up on the linoleum floor near the TV rack. The huge Hi-Fi system (with too many lights, switches and knobs) would be available to us for the hour. I still remember the peeling "PMPO 4500" sticker on those huge double-deck cassette players. Fond memories they are.

Have a good listen. May be you can bookmark this page for Ramadan next year.

Laterx.

Update: 14/09/2011
I have also made the Zip File available on Minus for people who may like to download the Zipped Archive, but don't have a HotFile account. Hope this will make it easier for you. Enjoy!

Dec 6, 2010

Good Companion: Name very much failed!

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A cigarette butt thrown on to the sidewalk.
Good Companion is a cheap brand of cigarette trying to gain ground on the more popular Marlboro and Camel brands.
Good Companion cigarettes are produced in Hong Kong (China) & USA.

Villingili, Maldives.

Nov 30, 2010

Forget poking in Facebook ... this is better :)

4 comments

A small girl closely admiring the artwork on the wall.
This artwork was probably done as part of decoration for a young boy's circumcision ceremony.
Circumcision ceremonies in Maldives are 3-7 days, houses are heavily decorated using mostly Christmas decorations.
People play music, games and sports and enjoy themselves all day all night long.
Its more of a traditional celebration that a religious ceremony.

Villingili, Maldives.




The gathering ...

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A group of fully-clad-in-black women gather at the beach for some time out. I wonder why they wear black in this heat.
Anyways, it nice the see the "faithful" taking some time off and enjoying themselves.
I respect them fully, but I do wonder, why is that some don't shake hands with guys while wearing their gloves? They don't even want to talk to most guys? I have been told that they believe that their voices also need to be protected or something, and they speak only out of necessity to communicate. I don't understand this at all.

Hulhumalé, Maldives.

They say Destruction is a form of Creation ...

1 comments

A man working to break a slab of reinforced concrete with a sledge hammer.
When broken in to smaller peaces, it is easier and cheaper to load the rubble and haul it off to the yard.
Jack hammer, anyone?

Malé, Maldives.

Nov 29, 2010

Who is Anthony Zimmer ???

8 comments
Hello.

Several weeks back, I watched a movie called Anthony Zimmer. It is a French thriller starring Yvan Attal and the beautiful Sophie Marceau.

Let me tell you a little bit about the movie. Anthony Zimmer is a french money launderer and career criminal. He is being hunted by police as well as the Russian mafia, but after plastic surgery, no one can recognize him, making him impossible to find. The only valid connection anybody has to Anthony Zimmer is his ex-mistress Chiara.

Chiara is persuaded to help in on the hunt, but no one is ever sure which side she is on and when she would switch sides.

On the way to Cannes by train, Chiara picks up Francois, a nerdy and recently divorced man, to mislead the people following her. She seduces Francois and invites him to drop his boring and uneventful life to join her. Now the police and the people following Chiara believes they have found the man they were looking for. Francois desperately tried to evade the people trying to kill him while trying to get know Chiara better, who never seems to tell the truth.

It was a brilliant movie, highly enjoyable with commendable performances and realistic action scenes.

But you may wonder why I am talking about a French movie I watched several weeks back. Well, it seems Hollywood is doing what it does best again. They are making their own version. The Tourist.

The Tourist stars Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie and if reports are true, it is an exact copy of Anthony Zimmer. I say if the Tourist is anything like Anthony Zimmer, it will be a worthwhile watch, but I am skeptical. Hollywood has a bad track record of messing up good movies and books.

Anyways, I hope it will be a good movie. Johnny Depp has been an international favorite for years, and looks quite the part. Angelina Jolie has not done a good movie in years. I think it is time Angelina Jolie starts to take roles that she can deliver with confidence, and quit believing she can still fight off a half the city police force and a whole SWAT team with make-shift weapons. (Remember Salt?)

You can watch the trailer for French movie Anthony Zimmer here and watch the first trailer for The Tourist here.

Laterx.

Good catch !!!

1 comments

Fisherman unloading their catch.
These fish are carried across the road to the fisherman's market, where they will be placed on display in groups of same size fish to be sold.
If you want, you can choose to gut, scale, clean and fillet the fish before you take it home.

Malé, Maldives.

Nov 28, 2010

Birds overhead ...

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A view inland from entrance to the Malé.
Behind the trees you can see the dome and minaret of Islamic Center with some birds flying overhead.

Malé, Maldives.

Nov 26, 2010

The new MNDF Air Wing ...

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Maldives National Defense Force introduces MNDF Air wing. Mostly for search and rescue purposes.
The Indian Army has been helping MNDF train the pilots. Its looking good.

Malé International Airport
Hulhulé Island, Maldives.

Nov 25, 2010

Hanging gradens of Babylon ??? :)

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A nice rooftop garden flows down the balconies.
We live in a what they call the perfect example of a concrete jungle. When there no gardening space on the ground, people take their garden to rooftops and balconies. Got to admire the these people who spend a lot of money to have a small garden.

Malé, Maldives.


Godaddy offers domain names for USD1 !!!

7 comments
Hello.

Just wanted to give you guys a heads-up.

GoDaddy, apparently, is the world's largest domain registrar, and it seems they have been around for a decade now. To celebrate their 10year anniversary they are giving a huge discount on domain name purchases.

GoDaddy says on their website:

SPECIAL OFFER! $1.00* DOMAIN NAME!
Register or transfer any available .COM, .US, .MOBI, .BIZ, .NET, .ORG, .CA, .CO.UK and .IN domain for just $1.00!*
Applies to the first year only of new or transfer registrations. This offer may not be used for renewals, bulk registrations, premium domains or Sunrise/Landrush domain registrations. Limited to one order per customer, expiring after 10,000 redemptions or on December 15, 2010 (whichever comes first). Discount will be reflected in your shopping cart; cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer or promotion. Customers may not use gift cards, PayPal® or AliPay to redeem this offer.
*Plus ICANN fee of 18 cents per domain year when applicable.
Your discount will be applied in your shopping cart.
I do not like buying stuff on GoDaddy. Their website is annoyingly busy, very slow and make sure they offer you as much as they can as often as they can before you can actually reach the shopping cart and checkout. However, over the years, I have been buying all my domain names on GoDaddy, because, and only because, they are cheap and reliable as a domain registrar. Their hosting, email, and all other additional services pretty much suck.

So if you have been thinking about buying a domain name, this might be an opportune time to check out GoDaddy. Do it now before the offer expires.

Laterx.

Nov 24, 2010

They are watching us !!!

2 comments

Cameras around town watching our every move.
The police have been installing these cameras at busy junctions and popular public areas.
Hope they serve us some good.

Malé, Maldives.

Nov 23, 2010

Dangerous liaisons ...

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Have these people never heard of safety gear when working so high off the ground, or are their employers not the least bit worried about an accident or mishap? At least wear some protective gear!

Malé, Maldives.

She looks tough enough ...

5 comments

Equal rights ...
A girl marching abreast the boys at a street parade.
Our National Defense Force is a male dominated, but it is nice to see that girls are doing just fine along side the boys. Girls with guns!

Malé, Maldives.

Nov 22, 2010

It does't grow on trees ...

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Red ribbons of some kind thrown on to a tree ... probably as part of a theme in celebrating colorful event.

Malé, Maldives.

Nov 21, 2010

Woopra: Realtime visitor/traffic information …

3 comments
Hello.

Anyone who owns a blog or a website will want to know more about heir readers. Nothing personal, just enough information about the readers to help make the blog more appealing and useful to the readers.

As with most online services, there are several choices. There is a dizzying array of web analytics tools available, with Google Analytics being one of the well known. I have been using Google Analytics for years now. Google Analytics is an enterprise level tool, very powerful, and provides a wealth of information about the visitors to a website. The information is presented in an easy to read format, and one can drill down quite far to find the required information. Its a good service and its completely free to use.

Let me introduce one more. Woopra.

Woopra is a fairly new entrant to the market. Woopra is loaded with features; features not found in most analytic tools. Unlike other analytic tools, Woopra can give you analytic information from a standalone Java program on your system (same information can also be accessed online if you want, but the interface is a bit different). The standalone program maybe the first among the traffic analytic tools and the user interface is really very nice and extremely quick.

One of the most appreciated feature of Woopra is its live tracking. Woopra can give you real time tracking information, telling you what is happening on your website as it happens. Most online analytic tools including Google Analytics need time to process the data, delaying the information by almost 24hours at times.

Woopra also has a chat feature that can be used to chat with visitors to a website. I do not know how useful this can be to a blogger or website owner. Its a little bit on the creepy side. As for me, I do not want to interact with my readers while they are on my blog reading my article. If readers wants to say something, they are more than welcome to leave a comment. I also do not want a blogger trying chat me up while I am on their blog.

I signed up for Woopra when the service was invite only back in 2008. But I have to admit I did not find it all that appealing back then, and I almost forgot about it until a few weeks back, until a friend re-introduced me to the service. Woopra has come a long way, and I now use the service regularly to track visitor to my webistes and blogs.

If you have not tried Woopra yet, it is totally worth checking out. The basic account is free.

Laterx.

Coil of ropes ...

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A coil of nylon rope.
I just thought it makes a good subject to practice composing a picture.
Thilafushi, Maldives.

Flats Area 2 ...

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The first of many flats built under Sinamalé housing scheme which were available for rent-to-buy.

The Sinamalé housing complex, was intended to be affordable to low‐income residents. However, this has not supplied a significant injection of affordable housing in the market. Additionally, the practice of residents who obtain these flats at low rates from the government subsequently subleasing them at exceptionally higher rates, has resulted in the prices of the rental market further increasing. Many believe that the current problems exist mainly because of the lack of an established mechanism that would monitor the situation. 
- An excerpt from Rapid Assessment of the Housing Situation in the Maldives, produced by the Human rights Commission of the Maldives in consultation with Displacement Solutions.

Malé, Maldives.

Nov 20, 2010

Flats Area ...

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The first of many flats built under Sinamalé housing scheme which were available for rent-to-buy.

The Sinamalé housing complex, was intended to be affordable to low‐income residents. However, this has not supplied a significant injection of affordable housing in the market. Additionally, the practice of residents who obtain these flats at low rates from the government subsequently subleasing them at exceptionally higher rates, has resulted in the prices of the rental market further increasing. Many believe that the current problems exist mainly because of the lack of an established mechanism that would monitor the situation. 
- An excerpt from Rapid Assessment of the Housing Situation in the Maldives, produced by the Human rights Commission of the Maldives in consultation with Displacement Solutions.

Malé, Maldives.

Cars on a Boat ...

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A load of old cars and engines from capital city, Malé, being transported to the scrap metal yard at Thilafushi Island.
Thilafushi, Maldives.

Nov 18, 2010

Old Gas Light ...

1 comments

A modernized version of an old gas light I found aboard an old ship.
I think the curator of our local museum might be interested in the stuff I found on that boat.
Thilafushi, Maldives.

Nov 17, 2010

Bam !!!

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A boat, riddled with bullet holes is blown up and sunk.
This was at a show by Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF) to commemorate 100+ years of service.
I can tell you there were a lot of people gathered at the waterfront to watch this show.
There were a lot of cameras with huge zoom lenses too.

With the separation of police as a civil body, the mission and duties of the NSS had to be revised. This revision envisaged a totally different turn for the organization. Hence, to carryout the newly derived mission and tasks, the core of its structure had to be modified and redesigned. All these new implementations created more of an infantry organization and was renamed the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF), on its 114th anniversary, on 21 April 2006.

Malé, Maldives.

Nov 16, 2010

One black, one white ...

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A farmer from Thilafushi Island takes two goats. He is probably on the way to the capital city, Malé.
Thilafushi Island, Maldives.

Chains, lots of chains ...

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A heavy coil of of iron chains rusting aboard a boat.
Thilafushi, Maldives.

Nov 14, 2010

Bashi, a Maldivian sport for women ...

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‎"Bashi" is one of the most popular sports played by women in Maldives. It was traditionally played with a ball made of woven coconut leaves. The game is played between teams with a player from one team hitting the ball across the net with her bat while the fielders from the other team try to catch the ball.

During the time of the country's first President, Mohamed Amin Didi, he introduced a modernised version of the sport by using a tennis ball
instead of the woven ball. Later the wooden bat was replaced with a tennis racket and now the sport has become so popular in the islands that Bashi teams regularly travel within and outside the atolls to play competitive games.

Nov 13, 2010

Kids on roofs ...

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The city has gotten so congested that the kids have to take their play time up on the roof.
This doesn't look very safe. Hope they are being supervised.
Malé, Maldives.

Nov 12, 2010

Rays of the sun ...

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My view.
Looking at the south western side of the capital city from my 6th floor window.
Malé, Maldives.

Nov 11, 2010

Shooting hoops ...

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Primary school kids enjoying an afternoon game of basketball at new stadium area.
Malé, Maldives.

Best seats in town ...

4 comments

People gather at the waterfront to watch the weapons show hosted by Maldives National Defense Force.
I can tell you there were a lot of people gathered at the waterfront to watch this show.
There were a lot of cameras with huge zoom lenses too.

With the separation of police as a civil body, the mission and duties of the NSS had to be revised. This revision envisaged a totally different turn for the organization. Hence, to carryout the newly derived mission and tasks, the core of its structure had to be modified and redesigned. All these new implementations created more of an infantry organization and was renamed the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF), on its 114th anniversary, on 21 April 2006.

Malé, Maldives.

Nov 10, 2010

Cricket: and he is out !!!

0 comments

Expatriates from neighboring countries enjoying a friendly cricket match.
Wickets down, seems he is out!
Malé, Maldives.

Nov 9, 2010

Behind Dharubaaruge ...

0 comments

The park area behind Dharubaaruge.
This area was designated for a city hotel to be built by Shangri-La group.
Things did not go according to plan and the project has been scraped.
Malé, Maldives.