There WAS a Jordanian 80s pop band called “Hot Ice” and It’s as Awesome As You Think.

HAHA! Just discovered an 80s Jordanian pop band that sings in English and is called Hot Ice. Hani Jordan, one of the best youtube old video archivists brings us this gem from the 80s, taken from a French TV show, of a music clip for one of the band’s songs called you’ll never guess what, “Never After”! Even the video is shot in pretty old vintage Amman. AND IT ALL SOUNDS EXACTLY AS AWESOME AS YOU THINK! I WILL CHERISH THIS INTERNET GIFT FOREVER.

Know more about this band? Comment below!

Libroswap at Startup Amman 2012 – Book Swapping as a Solution

I’m working right now on a startup project called Libroswap. The purpose of this project to facilitate the swapping of books between university and school students. Despite the many advances in technology these days, books remain an important source of knowledge. We simply cannot risk keeping this knowledge hidden in our closets and storage rooms while many need this knowledge to be freed.

Not to mention the fact that making more books requires trees, an ever more scarce commodity these days. We’re hoping that Libroswap can also have an ecological impact, as well as an economical impact in these times of economic struggle. Please help support our project at our FB page.

Three Tips to Micromanage Facebook Permissions

There’s a point in every web application user’s life cycle where he has to make the jump from being an average user to an advanced user, which means having to micro-manage the site’s basic and advanced features so that they give you more than what you’d normally expect. I’ve only recently began doing that with Facebook, and I regret not doing it sooner, considering how important Facebook has become to my career.

My Facebook circle of ‘friends’ has went beyond my circle to friends, and extended to many communities I’m active in. Even though that doesn’t bother me much, I still think highly of most of these people, but there is a line that sometimes becomes blurred between what I want to share with them, and what I want to share with my closer friends, which lead me to overhaul, and micro-manage the privacy settings on my Facebook profile. Here are a few tips that I picked up on the way.

1. Lists, lists, lists.

Lists are the a great tool to categorize your Facebook friendships. You can customize the privacy on each status to reach the audience you want, customize your privacy settings to block certain lists from certain permissions, and they’re a pain to micromanage, but the benefits outweigh that by far.

2. Set Suitable Defaults

Setting the right defaults for your content can do wonders, minimize any mistakes you make, and save lots of time. For example, I set my default for statuses to everybody, and my default for images to be just my close friends. For the way I use Facebook, this makes perfect sense. I can upgrade the privacy of a status as much as needed, and decide which pictures I want more people to see.

3. Test your Settings with the Profile Preview

The profile preview feature by Facebook is an vital tool that to help you monitor your settings. I don’t know why it doesn’t support lists, but you can select a friend from a certain list to preview how they view your profile and your content. It’s found in the customize privacy settings page near the top right of the screen.

One more thing I want to add, the misconception that privacy on the internet is dead should die already. Most of what I learned about “monitoring your personal brand” came from watching how my female friends manage their Facebook profiles, and they manage to keep their privacy all while “branding themselves”. As far as I’m concerned, they’re the best social media experts. =P

Do we finally “get” social media in Jordan? Case Study: Bath Bayakha

I seriously think we’re starting to reach a stage in Jordan where social media has become an integral part of the way we live. I won’t bore you with all the boring statistics on internet penetration in the region, and how 40% of new-born babies are on Facebook, I’ll just share how the videos from Bath Bayakha, a new Jordanian on-line comedy show went viral in less than a week. They are trending now, at the time of writing this article, as the 17th most subscribed to comedy show on Youtube.

I attribute this to two things. First of, the content. The videos are very well done, and they’re funny in a typically Jordanian sense of humour! I don’t know the guys who did this, and whether or not they claim to be “social media experts” or what not, but they gained their on-line fame using social media simply because they created content that people liked and wanted to share, and they did that without a Facebook page or a twitter account, (in case they do have ones, I still don’t know about them, so it’s irrelevant.) Content is king, irrelevant of whatever social media strategy you might have.

The second thing is not something they did at all, but I think we as an on-line community are becoming much better with on-line media. We’re sharing things like never before, and that’s why I’ve seen Bath Bayakha spread through many different social circles that I know, independently. I’m glad to see how connected we have become as a community, this wasn’t the case a year ago, when we were as on-line as we are now, but we were so disconnected from each other. Now we’re more connected, and more online than ever, and we’re using the on-line tools as we’re supposed to. I can give many examples to that, the Amman Page on Facebook as a shining one. Pat yourself on the back, Jordan.  =D

Jordanian Women in IT – Part 1

Ever since I attended Tech Jordan’s first ICT Voice meeting, an old interest of mine was rekindled. They spoke about Women in the IT world, and since I’m interested in Women empowerment in general, I decided to start researching the state of Jordanian Women in the IT world, and I stumbled across a couple of things I wanted to share.

At Linuxfest last Saturday, Noha Salem of Google told us all about the Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship. Anita Borg is a technology rebel that had the vision to found the Anita Borg Foundation for Women and Technology, and she is probably one of the most influential empowerer of women in the IT world. She worked hard to break the barriers for women entering the technology world, and this scholarship is in her spirit, and it aims to help women become more active and become role models. If you know someone who qualifies to the scholarship, please spread the word.

I also spoke to Batoul Ajlouni, VP for Business Development at Integrated Technology Group. ITG is one of the oldest IT companies in Jordan, and Batoul herself has been working in the field since 1989. I asked her if she thought if there were any significant barriers stopping women from working in the IT world here, and according to her, there are none, if the person herself is confident and strong-willed. She emphasised the fact that in the technology sector, what matters more than most is skill. When I asked her if she could estimate the percentage of women in the field, she suggested it’s 20%, and she believes that working women in Jordan in general only form 14% of the general workforce.

Now, if that’s true, then there are more women employed in IT, than most of the other fields. This for me spells the opportunity that women in technology can be a positive role model for women empowerment, and that should eventually reflect on the rest of society, and inspire women in Jordan to become more independent working individuals, and we can’t keep affording to ignore that as a society, because as Ms. Ajlouni told me, we actually need women’s input these days more than ever.

Now, I end this post with a positive example of a young woman that founded her own company, and is reaching out and helping her society. Maria Mahdaly is an online activist, and the co-founder of Rumman Company. Here is a video of the interview I made with her.

This post is only part one, documenting what sparked my interest. I plan to post two more posts, one about the actual research I did, and one concluding it, and I really hope you guys can help me. Share any thoughts you have done here in the blog, give me tips where to look, and let’s see what we can do to help empower women, both in the Jordanian technology world, and on a larger scale.

MENA ICT is just Awesome

Yesterday my jaw-dropped when I saw this.

That’s the business park, the venue where this year’s MENA ICT forum is going to be held. I pass by that building almost everyday, but seeing it all lit up like that at the night simply made me turn into an eight-year-old that just saw a pony-unicorn. But then I thought about it seriously. Whatever childish feelings of awe that I had at the time, they were justified.

I’m particularly pleased with the forum’s attempts to contact us Jordanian bloggers, and particularly tech bloggers that are few, to cover this event. Most of all, I wanted to cover this, because I felt their commitment was more than an effort to get free publicity. They actually communicated with us, showed an understanding to what we do, and gave us all the resources we might need, and treated us as friends, and for that I have to thank them.

I also feel awed by how organised everything is. We are not used to big events like these, and it makes me happy to see the world’s attention focusing on Jordan in such a positive manner. I used to travel a lot, and everybody I met outside always had a positive idea about Jordan, and they would in particular mention how impressed they are by his Majesty King Abullah II ibn Al Hussien, and this forum is a direct manifestation of his Majesty’s efforts and vision for Jordan, and that also makes me feel very proud.

I am hearing the welcoming speech as I write these words. Hopefully, Abed Shamlawi’s words of welcome will be the start of a great day for Jordan, ICT in the MENA region, and for all of us.

I wish you all peace, and the best of luck.