Abu Dhabi Weather

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Haloween Parties

Tia in front of the traditional Halloween race track.
The past two years some friends and I have arranged trick or treating in the apartment building that we live in. This year, I was too busy to organize it so we found a party for the kids to go to held at the Al Ghazal Golf and Rugby Club near the airport. While this party was only marginally related to Halloween, it involved kids, dressing in costumes, running around, and eating candy so was a pretty good deal for 25 dirham each. They had a few people in costumes running around and, some jumpy castles, games and a little track with motorized bikes for the kids to ride. Even though the kids didn't get to knock on doors and beg for candy, they had a lot of fun The bonus was I didn't have to be responsible for organizing everything.
My son ans Smurfette with some kid.

If that's not enough, they get to do it all over on the 31st after school. For the school organized party, I found it interesting that in respect for the local culture the kids were asked not to dress as witches or wizards.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Something that users of free wireless services found in airports, restaurants, and cafes may not be aware of is that while they are busy chatting to friends via Facebook or sending email is that their internet usage can easily be tracked. Also, hackers can set up seemingly innocent free wi-fi hotspots and give them innocent sounding names such as "Free Airport Wi-fi" with the sole purpose of getting sensitive information.
Avoid this message and see all your favorite American shows on Hulu with a VPN.

What's more, search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing, collect and store i.p. address information with the purpose of targeting advertising. Sure, the thought of someone at Google having access to all the times you Google your own name may not creep you out, but a lot of people may get anxious with the thought that there exists a record of them cyber-stalking their favorite actress after they come home from a night out.

This can be avoided through the use of a Virtual Personal Network otherwise known as a VPN. Simply, a VPN is basically a virtual tunnel through your internet service provider that comes out in a different place. The data is encoded so there is no way that anyone can detect where the usage is coming from or even what it is.

Listen to Pandora streaming radio outside the U.S. with a VPN.
An added benefit to this is that when using a service that allows you to code your internet usage, is that you can change your computer i.p. address to another country to access services available to only that country. For example, the Hulu allows you to watch American television shows for free and the internet radio service at Pandora allows you to create customized radio stations to suit your own tastes. Unfortunately, these completely legitimate websites are unavailable to those outside the United States. With a VPN, you can change your i.p. address to access these services.

Also, a VPN can help with services like making cheap international calls with Skype that are blocked in the UAE. While Skype is no longer illegal in the UAE, the site is still blocked at the request of Etisalat, the main internet an telephone provider in the UAE.

Two good sites are proXPN and Witopia, but unfortunately, if you are in the UAE and don't already have a VPN, these sites may be blocked. If that is the case and you wish to look into what a VPN can do for you, the blue banner at the top of this page should get you there. In my opinion, better security for your computer and a more accessible internet is definitely worth checking out.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


The culprit in the 35-car pile-up: fog.
Once again, fog caused a large accident on the roads in the U.A.E. Please note that it was the fog that caused the pile-up and not the dangerous driving in foggy conditions. Luckily, there were only 35 cars invloved this time as opposed to the 127-car pile-up earlier this year. Also, no one was killed like in this 18-car pile up.  Still, these accidents all have only the fog to blame, not the tailgating at 85 miles per hour with 100 yard visibility.