May 26, 2014

The amazing Evan Peters as Quicksilver in X-Men: Days of Future Past

Every few years, we witness the rise of a new generation of movie stars. They start off with secondary roles alongside your favorite movie stars, and slowly but surely grow on you as they eventually become the "new favorite movie stars".

Even Peters is a young actor who will definitely make it big in the movie industry, a la Johnny Depp.

From the acclaimed series American Horror Story where he pulled off complex and dark characters, Evan proved that he has that rare combo of Dark Comedy and Drama, that weird grin which either scares you or makes you laugh.

In the wonderful movie "X-Men: Days of Future Past", Evan Peters plays Quicksilver, a mutant who's simply ... quick. While Quicksilver only plays a small part in the movie where Logan needs help rescuing Magneto from a heavily guarded Pentagon prison, I can honestly say that those scenes with Evan (especially that kitchen scene!) are the funniest most brilliantly shot scenes in the entire film.

Check out Quicksilver:



Here is his character video:


Thank you Evan for your brilliant acting!

May 19, 2014

Useful Resources for Web Developers in 2014



>> Last Updated on May 19th 2014 <<

Here are some resources for Web Developers which I find useful (not listed in a particular order):

1- Google Chrome's Developer Tools: F12, Inspect Element, the Console, viewing Network calls, Editing HTML/CSS are the ultimate Trial/Error teaching method for programmers. These tools are your new best friend on both local and online environments.

2- Fix that Float Clear dilema: we've all been there, a couple of floated children inside a parent and the need to clear that parent. Just add this CSS class to your parent div and use the following CSS definition in your stylesheet:

      .clearfix:after {
        content: ".";
        display: block;
        height: 0;
        clear: both;
        visibility: hidden;
      }

3- PHP Mailer: simply better than PHP's native "mail" function: github.com/PHPMailer/PHPMailer

4- TCPDF PHP class for PDF documents: sometimes you just need to create some PDFs, this is what I personally use: tcpdf.org/examples.php

5- CSS Minifier: minify your CSS for production at cssminifier.com

6- CSS Unminifier: unminify your CSS for development at mrcoles.com/blog/css-unminify

7- Get Started with node.js, express, jade and mongodb:
cwbuecheler.com/web/tutorials/2013/node-express-mongo

8- Use a Hex Color Tool to get slightly lighter or darker colors from your primary color - very useful for Link hovers, background variations, etc, all of which revolving around the main Color Scheme: hexcolortool.com

9- Find and replace text in MySQL table (very useful when manually exporting your Wordpress website to a new domain name):

           UPDATE wp_posts set my_table_name = replace(my_table_name, 'Text To Change', 'New Text')

10- Country list with ISO code for dropdowns: textfixer.com/resources/country-dropdowns.php

11- Security Enhancing with htaccess: askapache.com/htaccess/securing-subdirectories-with-htaccess.html

12- Snazzy Maps (Google Maps styles): spice it up to match your website's Color Scheme. Meet Snazzy Maps: snazzymaps.com

13- My favorite color scheme designercolorschemedesigner.com

14- Use morris.js for good looking chartsoesmith.co.uk/morris.js

15- Remove empty lines from text (very useful sometimes): textmechanic.com/Remove-Empty-Lines.html

16- Validate JSON with JSON Lint: jsonlint.com

17- My preferred website speed test tooltools.pingdom.com/fpt

18- My favorite jQuery Image Slider > FlexSliderflexslider.woothemes.com

19- Modern HTML/CSS: Bootstrap getbootstrap.com, Flat UI designmodo.github.io/Flat-UI, Foundation foundation.zurb.com.

20- Meta tags for Facebook developers.facebook.com/docs/opengraph/howtos/maximizing-distribution-media-content/#tags and debug your URLdevelopers.facebook.com/tools/debug

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If you enjoyed this post, you are welcome to add your own resources in the comments.

May 11, 2014

Any Country For Sale?

Samir is a young Lebanese guy who stumbled across this online forum where users post countries for Rent / Sale. His general approach was "What the heck".

Vicky is one of the main moderators on this forum, her CV describes her as "genuinely honest person".

The following is Samir's sole request on this forum:

Samir: So my Jewish friend told me his grandparents once requested a new country on this forum and they got one in the late 40's, and he recommended that I come here for any country-related requests.

Vicky: Hey Samir and welcome to our forums. I'm glad you've taken an interest in Countries. Please post your requirements and we'll try to help you out!



Samir:

Hey Vicky, thank you for the quick reply, here's the deal:

Who: Lebanese guy, 21 years old, fresh university graduate with high GPA.

What: looking for a new country, preferably for sale, but will settle for rent due to shitty conditions.

When: a.s.a.p

Where: anywhere

Why:

My humble reasons list:
- the average salary for a university graduate here is 800$
- the smallest apartments cost at least 150 000$
- my country's only money sources are: telecommunications and fuel
- my phone bill is the most expensive in the entire world and I pay at least 200$ per month for fuel
- my country is located in the center of a universal struggle of religion and politics
- I share a single 2-lane (rarely 3-lane) highway with everyone
- electricity is not available 24/7 (heck it's not even available 7/7)
- there's no clean water processing
- we have no tramways, metros nor train stations
- with every day I grow more cynical

Vicky: wow ... alright I will run your request through our supercomputer and find you something.

Vicky: well Samir I am sorry to say that we do not have any available country which can solve all your problems at the moment. I am afraid you're just gonna have to ride it out. Sorry about that.

Samir: Thanks Vicky for being genuinely honest. Perhaps there's no solution to the mess I am in, perhaps there are no heroes to save the day, no magical solutions which bring people together regardless of their political views or religion, no special potions that remove religious extremism or spells that invoke intelligence and consciousness. We'll ride it out, we always do, but it's sad that generations are being lost in the process, while history keeps repeating itself.

This thread has been closed by Vicky.

The Highway Theory

The highway theory is my way of explaining how people need to travel the world and see cultures to understand what is considered to be "normal" for others in the technological, social and economical fields, all in hope of raising awareness and knowledge.

It goes something like this:

A, B and C represent 3 different nations driving on the same traffic-free highway. A and B are equally as fast while C is slower than them. This scenario allows a 3 way comparison:

1- Inferiority: C is slower than A and B.
2- Equality: A and B are equal.
3- Superiority: A and B are faster than C.

--------------------

1- Inferiority:


C is moving at a constant 80 KM/H, a normal yet slightly slow speed considering it's a highway. C is feeling good about his current speed, unaware whether it's fast or not because the road ahead of him is clear. All of the sudden, A and B quickly pass him by going almost double the speed.
So now C has "data" to refer to: his 80 KM/H became too slow by comparison, and every second he wastes at this rate widens the distance between him and A / B to the point that they soon disappear out of sight.

Conclusion: a country's technological level is measured by how behind that country is from the other ones. In this case, even when C was travelling at a reasonable speed, his performance was very weak compared to the other faster cars, which he never knew until he saw how fast they were going. C suddenly feels inferior and will not enjoy it.



2- Equality:


A and B are both moving at 150 KM/H. To them, C's performance was extremely bad, even if he was walking at a reasonable 80 KM/H.  However, driving beside one another at the same speed, two interesting concepts arise with A and B:

1- They are motivated by the close competition, thus constantly working on taking the lead.
2- Because they are both going at high speeds, so they don't FEEL like they're going fast. They KNOW their speed is higher than everyone else, but to them, the only thing to compare to is one another and neither is faster here. High performance comes naturally to them.

Conclusion: A and B feel equal and normal while both are running at high speeds. This sense of equality makes them forget that there are plenty of Cs out there who cannot match their performance. They are blinded by their own competitiveness and their false sense of equality.

--------------------

3- Superiority:


Since A and B are so far ahead of the pack, they consider themselves to be superior by comparison to C, even if C is relatively normal. These countries are taking advantage of their advanced skills in hope that the other countries do not eventually catch up.

Conclusion: countries who are way advanced than others feel like they are "normal" and others are way behind. Having the latest technology, great urban planning, water treatment, full time electricity, a transportation system and many other things is considered to be "normal" by these advanced countries, something which countries like C need to realize in order to know that they are really behind. This gives A and B a feeling of superiority over other countries, forgetting that humans are the same everywhere, the difference is the cultures and beliefs.

--------------------

The Highway Theory


A and B never knew Fast until witnessing Slow and C never knew Slow until witnessing Fast.

--------------------

If we want to change Lebanon, we need everyone to understand that we are a C by traveling and seeing the world with its As and Bs! Only then will we see how far behind we are.