I remember having a Gameboy when I was a teenager, and I remember how awesome carrying my video games with me all the time. Whenever we were in a car or in a place that didn’t have TV, you’ll see me challenging my cousin playing video games on Gameboy.

Last week I tried a new portable gaming device which brought all the old memories of Gameboy. Its the new Nvidia Shield which, manufactured by the well known company of making advanced video and graphics cards for computers and laptops.

Priced at 299$ the Shield kind of looks like the Xbox Controller with a fold high definition touch screen with extra buttons for the convenience of using Android system. The operating system is similar to the operating system in mobile devices. The interface is not that impressive. but i thought the Nvidia game store is making up for that. but I think Nvidia really needs more than that to overcome the ugly and inconvenient grip of the device.

There’s the Nvidia function button which adds the ability of playing games from the PC, if you have Nvidia graphics card installed there, and display and play whatever you were playing on the PC. I played a first person shooter and it was smooth and looked impressive. In my opinion the Nvidia Shield is a nice portable gaming device, but the only drawback is how it feels in the hands, especially if you’re hardcore gamer who spend hours and hours


Social media and online identity

Most people use online social media everyday, it’s a way of staying social and connecting with the world through the web. We share different kinds of media based on what we like, what interests us, and sometimes what we think is funny and want our friends to see. But it’s beginning to be our online identity somehow.

In some websites and forums, users can link their Google+ or Facebook instead of creating a new account. That could save a lot of time if the user is new to the website or forum, or if the user have never participated in a comment before. Users have the option to select what they share with these websites. I really like the convenience of joining a website of interest and being able to participate in a comment, but I am concerned about the safety of my personal information.

Since most websites require to access basic information, I don’t know how safe my identity is, or who has access to it. I think having an option of sharing the basic information once is fine, but I wouldn’t like it if linked my Facebook account to a website to register, and some time later they used my information without asking for my permission.

A new console joining the war of gaming leadership


OUYA (Photo credit: Urustar)

After the release of Sony’s new PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One, and because of the advance of hardware specs comparing to older versions of the consoles, a new type of consoles is entering the market. It doesn’t have the same specs as the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One, but a lot of people are liking it and want to get it despite the simplicity of the idea.

It is the new Android powered gaming console Ouya, the first totally open video game console. What’s so special about it is that the developers are trying to bring Google’s Android to the market of hardcore gaming without losing the casual gamers from the simple, yet so popular, games from Android based phones. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could try every game before buying it? Ouya also lets you play the games that was developed by amateur programmers, plus a huge variety of free games.

Ouya’s main marketing target is to bring more programmers and developers to the big screen. The success of games on smartphones was surprising, because people are using their smartphones to connect to the internet and stay in touch by linking it to Facebook and Google+. That led to the rise of simple and competitive games, in which players can challenge friends with high scores and achievements.

What do you think about Android based games? Would you get Ouya or stick to the PlayStation and Xbox?

My favorite coffee house

I like Starbucks Coffee. When I go there, I usually order a tall medium roast coffee, in a grande cup, topped up with cream, with sugar inside. If I am hungry, I also order a chicken Santa Fe panini. Starbucks coffee is always fresh; they grind the beans right before brewing the coffee, and they brew a new batch every 10 minutes.

The new cup size exclusive for middle east

The new cup size exclusive for middle east

Yesterday, Starbucks unveiled their new cup size exclusively for Middle East, which is bigger than their biggest cup “Venti”. “Burj” which means tower or skyscraper in Arabic. When I was in Saudi Arabia I used to go to Starbucks in Tahlia and hangout with my friends every weekend. It is a big 3-story store with a nice and friendly environment. Starbucks has a lot of stores all over my city “Jeddah”. It’s funny how people call it “Cancer Coffee”, because it spread in a short time. For example, if I walked to the main street near my home, I could see at least 3 Starbucks shops from where I would be.

My friend started working for Starbucks last week. She was telling me how the company focus on the quality of the products and customer service. During the week she was in training, she kept telling me things about the company’s history, mission, values, and so on. Some information was interesting… they opened their first store in 1971, in Seattle, but it was only in 2000 that they opened their first store in Saudi Arabia. Starbucks also owns the brands Seattle’s Best Coffee, Torrefazione Italia Coffee, and Tazo Tea.

Anyways, it seems that all new employees learn about the company, and are called “partners”, to create a sense of ownership. They learn how to prepare the beverages and food, but also learn how to serve the customer in a personal way. They are encouraged to interact with the customers as friends, by using their names, memorizing their usual beverages, and making them feel special. After all, their mission statement is “To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time.” And Howard Schultz, Starbucks Founder and Chairman, wrote the following on his book: “We’re in the people business serving coffee, not the coffee business serving people.”

I think that they don’t know my name and my usual order yet, because I am not a frequent customer and I sometimes go to the drive thru, which provides a different kind of interaction. Talking about the drive thru made me remember the lady that works at the McDonald’s Drive Thru at night. She must hate what she does, because she always seems to be in a bad mood. That is the total opposite of what Starbucks expects form their “partners”.

My visit to Victoria and Butchart Gardens

I’ve been in British Columbia since September 2010, and I have always wanted to visit Victoria. When I asked my friends who have been there, most of them told me its not worth the trip. But a friend of mine came to visit Canada and spend the summer here for the first time. So I thought it would be nice to take her there, see the parliament building, and enjoy the ferry trip. It took me only a bus ride to ask myself why my friends didn’t like Victoria.

I didn’t arrange my trip to Victoria like I usually do when travelling. I just thought I would visit Butchart Gardens and then spend the rest of the day exploring downtown. I arrived at Swartz Bay from the ferry and took a couple of buses to get to the Butchart Gardens. As I was passing by the cities, I was amazed by how quiet and nice Vancouver Island is. The bus trip felt a lot shorter than it really was.The variety of trees and the beautiful landscape of Vancouver Island were magnificent.

Victoria's world famous Butchart Gardens are a...

Victoria’s world famous Butchart Gardens are actually located in Central Saanich (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I want to highlight here the Butchart Gardens. As soon as I arrived there and passed the entrance gate, I saw the breathtaking view, and how well the place was taken care of. Not only they offer a guide of the plants they have, they also have a Plant Identification Centre with knowledgeable staff, who can offer in-depth information. They have a specific order of the flowers and different special gardens, such as the Japanese garden. People walk on small pathways that will through 55 acres of gardens. It was amazing.

I guess that my friends didn’t like Victoria because they were not into sightseeing and enjoying the day; they were expecting an exciting nightlife and were disappointed with their experience. I didn’t stay there for too long, nor spent the night, so I can’t compare my experience to theirs. That being said, I invite you, who have been to Victoria, to share your thoughts and impressions about this destination on the comments’ section of this post.

Color Blindness

Side-by-side comparison of two images of apple...

Side-by-side comparison of two images of apples as seen by a trichromatic observer and the same apples as seen by a deuteranope (color blind individual). Simulation performed using the vischeck website (www.vischeck.com) with an algorithm originally developed by Brettel et al, 1994. Original images of apples are taken from the Wikipedia commons: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:GreenApple.png and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Braeburn_apples.jpg Author: Alex Wade (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have a friend whose brother is color blind. She told me that it took some years for her family to figure out that he didn’t see the colors like everybody else. When her brother was little, he would use weird colors to make drawings. Once he drew a green dog. When people asked him if he had ever seen a dog that color, he said that yes, many dogs look like that. For him, that shade of green was the same as brown. Another situation she told me was when they went to a beach house that they hadn’t been for a while. Her brother got the family curious by saying that the tap water in the washroom was coming out green.When they went to check it out, the water was actualy brownish, because of the rust inside the water pipes.

This conversation with my friend made me curious, so I’ve checked some information about color blindness online. There are different types of this color vision deficiency. My friend’s brother has difficulties in distinguishing some shades of green, red and brown. He has the red-green color blindness type. But there are rare cases in which the person only sees shades of grey. There are some tests to find out if a person is colorblind or not. Check the picture below. If you can’t see the number 74, you may have the red-green color blindness.

Color blindness is more common in men, as it is caused by damaged recessive genes that are carried by the X chromossome. In my friend’s case, her grandfather was color blind. Her mother then carried the defective genes, but didn’t have the deficiency. When her brother started to mix colors up, her mother soon suspected he could be color blind. So for a woman to be color blind, both of her X chromossomes have to carry the defective genes.

Depending on the type of the color blindness, it may affect the lives of people who have the deficiency. In some countries, they may not be able to get a driver’s license, for example. My friend’s brother has not had any problems so far.