Confusing Dubai now made a little simpler with Google

Dubai is a place of extremities, on one had you can go out for a Desert Safari, or go down the depth of water to check out the sea life at some of the best under water aquariums and on the other hand you could enjoy a refreshing ski down the artificial ski slope. All within a day’s work. But for a new comer into the city, apart from the taxi or ask a friend there are not too many great options available for getting around the city. Until now, The Roads and Transportation department of Dubai along with Google (Maps to be accurate) have found a solution for this issue. It’s not perfect, but still being worked on since Google Maps as a product is evolving daily. And as RTA suggests on their Bus Stands, Dubai is a Map that gets updated every day.

After talking about Augmented Reality applications and especially one application in the UK where users can point their phone and get information about where they are and where they need to go, its bit of a primitive technology. But, it is going to help out a lot of people anyway. I remember the time when I just came into the city, and during my job hunt getting to places from anywhere seemed like a challenge. I am certain I would have found it easier if this was available then. However here is a 8 step process on how you can use Google Maps for planning your route using Public Transport available in the emirate.

Step 1 : Go to

and click on the ‘set default’ option. Type in Dubai and hit the save button. This will set your Google Map to automatically head to Dubai. This will enable Google Maps identify that it is Dubai indeed that you are looking for directions all the time. Future usage is something I want to be able to cover as well.

Step 2: Select Get Directions option and Select “Public Transport” as an option in Google Maps. The cars option is still being worked upon and might be a little bugged, but the Public Transit option was worked on with RTA and Google and so is in ship shape.

Step 3 : Using your mouse scroll across the city to find your destination or you can even enter it in the point B part of the destination (where Google will suggest you landmarks that are close to where you want to reach). You can double click, zoom or use + and – buttons and icons to the left of the screen just like you would use Google Maps in general. This is similar to operation on Google Earth on your desktop for zooming and finding locations.

Step 4 : Similar operation for starting point location, except that you will select ‘Directions from Here’ In the right click menu or enter into Point A on the screen. Then click on “Get Directions”. This will show all possible directions and routes that you can take using the public transport system.

Step 5 : Click on the individual journeys to find out details about the journeys themselves. This will always show you the route for the time that the search is being made. Not often would you use this feature.

Step 6 : To customize the list of journeys based on timing further, you can click on ‘Show Options ‘ where you can enter the timing of the departure or arrival and the time when you intend to be in that place.

The detail now shows the comprehensive instructions for getting around using public transport in Dubai. Including details like what is the time taken for individual lengths of the journey.

Google Maps is making a difference in the way we are doing our business, in some cases like a colleague in Australia, who wanted to buy property; used Google Earth and Google Street view to avoid the trip to Australia as he was in Dubai. He could make decisions like is it a good neighborhood ? Is there parks etc close by ? What amenities are available in the neighborhood etc. The only hindrances to this now, is how often does Google update the maps and pictures and the accuracy of the information. Especially now that Google Map builder is available for public usage where you can mark up routes on the map to be added into the Google repository.

Have you ever travelled into an unfamiliar part of a city or another country and got lost? Stopping to ask directions from the local people is often the best way to get back on track. Lalitesh Katraggadda’s talk at TED India shows us that by using simple tech tools, locals can provide this knowledge, catalogue it, and store it to make it readily accessible to others. Making maps helps people find their way, indexes resources, and makes society run more efficiently. Check out the talk here.

YouTube – not just for cute cats anymore

When looking at the Indian Movie Industry adopting technology I mentioned how 3 Idiots will be available as a paid service in India 12 weeks from the release of the movie, it might be more of a PR stunt than adoption of technology. The point to be taken from this is the fact that YouTube is now getting involved more into the main stream media and this mostly in India. All of us have spent time on YouTube looking at cute cats, music videos, of just FAIL videos. This is what they have in mind.

In fact, YouTube is not only looking at the cute cats and crazy stunts of Indian guys, but is looking at the core entertainment medium of the sub continent. Movies and Cricket, yes you read it right, being the 2 most discussed topics in India along with Politics, this is the best route to get into the Indian conversation.

Starting with Cricket

Like a lot of people say, cricket is not a game in India, its a religion. If that is true, the IPL is the Haj of the cricketing world these days especially considering that the T20 format of the game was made famous by IPL. YouTube is now the official match partner for the IPL T20 of 2010. Yes, you read it right. No need to scout the web for an illegal source to watch IPL, you can see it live on YouTube. Check out the IPL Channel here.

Watch Movies Legally

I am not sure how many of you know about the foray of YouTube into movies, it now has a channel dedicated to full length movies and documentaries that can be watched online for free and yes legally. most of them even with english subtitles. What’s more the movies section features a grand “Bollywood” channel, showcasing some good movies like Andaz Apna Apna, Hulchal, Maine Pyar kiya, Hera Pheri, Mumbai Salsa and Amar Akbar Antony amongst others.

You can check out the channel here.

Movie Premiers

Yes you read that right as well, YouTube will be premiering a first in the land of song and dance, the Bollywood movie ‘Striker’ will be premiered on YouTube. At this moment they have mentioned that this will not be visible if you are signing in from India. Users in the US will be charged $4.99 to watch the movie, and everywhere else it will be available for free. Being in Dubai I am sure I will be able to watch the movie online.  I hope bandwidth issues will not hinder us watching this, the YouTube intro for Striker says 4 Days to go. I am sure this is a first of its kind in India.

Check out Striker’s Page here.

I think Google are playing their cards right in India, from landmark based navigation introduced in Google Maps by Google India, Transliteration tools to now YouTube innovations. If things go well, they might be able to bring back people into Orkut, Google’s Social network from Facebook.

Star wars attack – starting with Dubai

Something straight of a science fiction movie, The Star wars world descending on the real world and into Dubai. It is the awesome vision of Artist Cedric Delsaux and his collection of images called Dark Lens Trilogy, showcasing the Star Wars descending on earth.

Cedric Delsaux lives and works in Paris, France. After studying cinematography and journalism, he worked as a bookseller and then as a conceptual-editor in an advertising agency. He has been a full-time photographer since 2003. Delsaux won the Kodak prize for landscapes and architecture with his “Star Wars on Earth” series in 2005, and has seen his career as an artist grow ever since. He has been selected to work on several large automobile advertising campaigns, including Volkswagen, Touareg, Peugeot, Renault Espace, Citroen, Skoda, Adrexo, EDF, Viking and SFR. Delsaux was also selected in the Luerzer’s Archive as one of the “200 Best Ad Photographers Worldwide” in 2006. Please visit his website here.

The exhibition of his awesome creations was held at the First Quarter – Fine Art Photography which is the only gallery in Dubai devoted exclusively to fine art photography and serving a rapidly growing membership of artists and photo enthusiasts. You can check out the First Quarter picture gallery and information here.

Leaner and Meaner fighters

While at the Dubai Airshow this year I had a chance to check out the latest in military aviation technology. Well not really the latest but about the closest that was available for people to see. Anyway, from the B1 bombers with the awesome “Master of disaster” B1 bomber to the latest fourth generation F22 stealth fighter everything was there to be scrutinised by press and end users alike. The flying and stationary displays of the aircrafts were not only the displays that were there. It was more and that included in the airshow. The technology display pavilions were amazing as well.

But after a long and exhaustive day at the airshow, I really began to wonder the relevance of the aircrafts. I mean considering the last few years where more than countries going on full blown wars, we have seen smaller gueirella terrorist outfits that make use of imilar technologies as field american personnel. There is a bit of a level playing field considering that in order to engage in combat with these guys one would need to be on the ground and in their lairs. It is definately not as simple as two aircrafts going head to head in open air for a full blown dogfight. In these circumstances is the military fighter aircraft kind of loosing its relevance ?

Fighter aircraft are increasingly required to justify their expense by adapting to new roles and capabilities. Even so, fleet sizes continue to decrease. Despite still forming the backbone of advanced air forces, the size of many global fighter aircraft fleets is on a steady downward trajectory. Simultaneously, this reduction in the physical numbers of combat aircraft coupled with emerging operational requirements has necessitated an expansion in the mission set they are capable of undertaking. Aside from traditional tasks such as defensive and offensive counter air missions, today’s fighters are increasingly required to be accomplished at providing close air support and strike capabilities as well as contributing to intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance efforts.
The future structure of the USAF’s fighter fleet is currently one of the key issues facing the Pentagon and the new administration of US President Barack Obama, with the White House looking to reduce its defence budget while simultaneously remaining engaged in two foreign theatres. As a result of these dual demands, the USAF has been placed under increasing pressure by the Pentagon to focus upon providing capabilities relevant to continuing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, this mentality appears to have shifted attention from the air-superiority mission if current fighter procurement plans are examined. Moreover, the geography of future fighter programmes seems likely to change over the coming years. Despite European, Russian and US dominance in the current global fighter market in terms of market share, a shift away from these traditional centres of fighter technology, although minimal over the next 15 years, does appear to be taking place.
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So, I think the airshows in the next few years is going to consistently move towards civilian aviation technologies and not military technologies. So the last few goldern years of military aviation technology is available for us to view through the air shows. Lets make the most of the airshows then.

Dubai Airshow 2009

F22 Flyby, originally uploaded by mister_jester.

An HDR attempt at F15, originally uploaded by mister_jester.

The Break Up, originally uploaded by mister_jester.

I was recently at the Dubai Air Show and Man was it awesome. Here are some pictures from there.

Have a look at the complete set here.

Hierarchy of needs cause of Dubai crash ?

I just stumbled upon the Hierarchy of needs by Maslow which was published in a paper in 1945. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is also predetermined in order of importance. It is often depicted as a pyramid consisting of five levels: the lowest level is associated with physiological needs, while the uppermost level is associated with self-actualization needs, particularly those related to identity and purpose.

Businessman stacking blocks

The higher needs in this hierarchy only come into focus when the lower needs in the pyramid are met. Once an individual has moved upwards to the next level, needs in the lower level will no longer be prioritized. If a lower set of needs is no longer being met, the individual will temporarily re-prioritize those needs by focusing attention on the unfulfilled needs, but will not permanently regress to the lower level. For instance, a businessman at the esteem level who is diagnosed with cancer will spend a great deal of time concentrating on his health (physiological needs), but will continue to value his work performance (esteem needs) and will likely return to work during periods of remission.

United Arab Emirates, Dubai, Nad-al-Sheba Club, camels

What has all this got to do with the Dubai crash that has been so vastly publicized earlier this week, well I think everything. Most of my friends who left India looking for better prospects a few years ago are now residents of those countries or well and truly getting there.  There might be various aspects in which I might be doing a bit better than some of them, but definitely they are in a position where they are now nearly getting their citizenship in those countries.

Looking at the attitude of those guys I realized that my love for Dubai is like a fish loving his bicycle. I mean its not that I dont really like Dubai, but I do not have a sense of belonging here. I have worked my way up a fairly small ladder and have spent my earnings .. all of them in this country. But still I have no sense of belonging. Being an Indian I have seen first hand the sort of discrimination that happens in this country when it comes to how much money an Indian guy makes or an european/arab national makes for a similar role. Moreover the largely Indian population in Dubai are to a certain extent responsible to keep the machinery of Dubai rolling. Having said that they are subject to a sort of discrimination and the “emiratization” they still seem to work here, one because their need of money / security or lifestyle is met in Dubai at some level.

But South Asians ( mostly Indians) in Dubai have found more than just the nominal construction worker / cleaner / driver / clerk roles and have made their way into the greater roles like Financial Advisors, Financial Analysts, Planners, Engineering Managers etc. In fact the UAE cricket team that is playing to qualify for the Asia cup will not be allowed to play even if they qualify !! Because they are not citizens of this country. Why does this not happen to a South African cricketer who now plays for Australia ?? or an Indian Player who is now playing for England ? Because they are now up the ladder in the hierarchy of needs and have already received their citizenships.

Getting back to what we were talking about, as these guys move up the ladder the sense of belonging to a country or a place where you dedicate a huge chunk of your life gives you a motivation to work in another country than your own. Bearing all this in mind I began to think would the financial advisers of the bigger firms in Dubai would have been the same like they have been ? And this is not only the Indian community but also the expatriates that are in decision making positions in Dubai. I think people would have splurged less and been more cautious with the decisions that they would have made. I could be wrong … but there is no way to find out.

The Quacks of Dubai

It has been long a topic of debate, the medical facilities and the responsiveness of doctors especially in Dubai. I am still scared to go to the DOC in Dubai, I have a ligament that is over stretched and needs help, i am working with medication and some crape bandage. Reading the article below makes it even more difficult … I lost my dad in a cardiac aliment in Bangalore where I was certain the doctors tried everything. But here in Dubai it would not normally be the case, so I can really understand what the family would have gone through. My heart goes out to the family. My humble condolences to Shaila, her sisters and her Mom.

What use are all these discoveries and new methodologies in the field of medicine, if staffs lack basic code of conduct and are negligent beyond words to describe? … What do you call these people … a bunch of Quacks !!!

One day when I was feeling unwell, I decided to take medication on my own to treat my illness. Since it did not subside I decided to go see a doctor at a clinic. The doctor reprimands me saying ‘Have some respect for our profession. What are we doctors sitting here for, if you decide to treat yourselves?’.

Now what will you say, if you have a patient who is in the ICU of a government hospital, recovering from surgery, who complained right from day 1 post surgery of his uneasiness and pain, showed no signs of his condition improving like other patients after their surgery and yet the nurses were not bothered, didn’t insist on following up with the doctors. All this of done in spite of the helpless family members requesting for help !!!

This same patient prior to surgery was an active, healthy and bubbly man, who only had a heart block and needed heart bypass surgery based on doctor’s advice. From a healthy man he was butchered to become a vegetable. What will these same people do when it comes to their families and loved ones … butcher them ????

This is what exactly happened to a man who was a loving husband to a wife and a father to three children. He left his life totally in the hands of the staff’s who turned out to be heartless and cruel in the name of humanity. In his pain he went over and above to do anything the doctors said though it caused him severe discomfort. An innocent life was lost due to the negligence of the nurses at the Intensive Coronary Care Unit of Dubai Hospital.

The patient Mr. Valerian Joseph Pinto underwent Cardiac Bypass Surgery on 23rd March 2008. On 25th March, he was shifted to the Intensive Coronary Unit. The patient suffered from Bronchial Asthma and the nurses never attended to the patient or called for the doctors until the relatives had to alert the nurses of his condition and the Chest Physician was only called the next day in spite of him having breathing problems and being dyspneic. The patient had not slept the entire night. His condition was not diagnosed properly as the Chest Physician didn’t do a regular follow-up to monitor recovery.

The patient insisted on calling doctors as he was suffering from gas problem and breathing difficulty and no action was taken until family members insisted. Repeatedly the nurses kept saying ‘this is what patients go through, we have cases like this’. They never monitored his intake and output. Patient never passed stools 4 days after the surgery. Being an ICU, care was not taken in proper monitoring. If this is an ICU, where are the dedicated nurses for the patient? Do you generalise all patients saying this is normal, even after he complains he is unwell?

The canola was improperly inserted into the left-hand artery causing the medicine to flow outside into the flesh leading to swelling of the hand and the palm and discoloration. The swelling disfigured the left-hand and numbed the thumb, index and middle finger which resulted in the blood getting clotted. This also the family member had to notify the nurses to check. They called the on-call duty doctor to insert the fresh canola. He received a phone call and left the patient there. During this time the nurses were experimenting pricking the canola on the right hand thereby puncturing all the veins. After unsuccessful attempts, they called the Anaesthesia Doctor who came from a surgery and he could not find any artery and confirmed that all are punctured and went off.

There were no IV lines on either hands and they didn’t even start the central line. For 2 days the patient was not given Lasix to help him urinate. This led to urine being accumulated within the system. The patient complained he was restless and had severe perspiration. Did any nurse check on this or call the doctors?

One member of the family wanted to be with the patient overnight to help him as he was completely immobile but the nurses chased us out saying that visiting hours are over and ensured that the security guard was there till we left. The patient had even received doctor’s approval for a family member to stay overnight, but it went to deaf years of the nurses and the nurses chased us out.

The right medication was not given on time and his case was generalised like all the other bypass cases but Mr. Pinto needed extra care since he developed complications. All we kept hearing from the nurses is that ‘we get cases like this’. Our question to the hospital is – are all cases generalised like this? Would these same ruthless people say this if it was their husband, father or brother?

The nurses had a very unwelcoming nature. Hours before he breathed his last , it was a case of emergency but the attitude of the nurses showed pure carelessness. A case of emergency was handled in the midst of three patients who had already undergone open heart surgery and were in recovery. Equipments were not brought in on-time. The seriousness of the matter appeared like a joke to them. The nurses in the room were laughing and portraying cold behaviour when a human was fighting for his life. They were unaware of where the equipments were kept and were moving here and there to find the medication. The General Physician wanted to take an x-ray of the patient’s stomach; there was no portable x-ray machine available at the time.

The night (29 March) before the patient passed away he was very restless and uneasy and kept pressing the bell calling out to the nurses for attendance, as he was desperate and needed to see a doctor. First the nurses would take their own sweet time to attend and after some time they would disconnect the bell so that the patient does not disturb them. In his time of need he was not able to request for help as the bell was disconnected during the night.

After the patient passed away, not a single nurse offered condolences to the grieving family members and continued their cold hearted behaviour. There was no compassion towards patients. This is nothing but butchering a human being. From a lively person who only had a heart block, after the surgery they made him a complete vegetable.

Such inefficient people cannot be a part of an ICU Team. They were neither proactive nor reactive but very sloppy. They paged doctors 3 times and since there was no response, they didn’t follow up. Is this how you treat an emergency?

The cardiac surgeon put the patient on the ventilator; there was no anaesthetic doctor available. They waited for the heart beat to drop till action was taken. Moreover, they are no on-call doctors available. Life support was not given on time.

Oral medication was given instead of supplying through the IV line. IV was stopped as all veins were punctured in both hands.

For one ailment of the patient they complicated it all and caused him to suffer by not providing the right medical aid. The nurses were highly inexperienced who are not aware of the stock the ICU owns. E.g. Flatus tube

We saw the inexperience of hospital staff in treatment, service and reaction of nurses and doctors in handling and treating patients. Right from the male nurse who
delivered the mobile ventilator few minutes before the patient died to the so-called Doctor who wrote the Death Certificate. The nurses were cold hearted. The nurses were not aware whether a flatus tube was available when the cardiac doctor enquired.

When we asked the doctor what was the cause of death, he verbally confirmed saying its Pulmonary Embolism and on the death certificate he wrote the cause as Cardiogenic Shock which is completely different. Till date the hospital has not reverted on the complaint lodged. It took them 6 days to end a life and they need a life time to investigate.

You may investigate and try to cover up your positions but mind you the Lord God up above will not let you cover your position on the day of our eternal judgement.

We lost a loved one in the hands of Quacks.

– Grieving Family of Late Mr. Valerian Joseph Pinto

The Mockup

From the time there have been engineers and architects there has always been an issue in trying to get solution that is acceptable to both the architects and the engineers. I am in the wonderful world of construction, management in particular and as an engineer it is always a loosing battle. Although the client wants to have a high tech facility, the requirement of the facility is nothing as compared to the aesthetics of what he requires.

A client may be trying to build a small shack or even an airport, the requirements are always aesthetics. But being an engineer I would disagree to that school of thought cos, although the aesthetic factor plays a part of first impression, the experience of being in the facility is delivered only by the services in there. Like the Air conditioning, the mood lighting, the plush interiors of the washrooms, Wi Fi Connectivity, High Speed Internet, ample Mobile Coverage etc.

The ultimate battle ground for the engineers vs architects battle is always a client mockup. The engineers trying to prove their point and the architects trying to destroy everything the engineers stand for. For example, CAT 6 cables (data wiring) are definitely the latest, and to work as one of the best wiring systems they need to follow certain guidelines. Some of them being strict segregation between Data and Power lines. But aesthetically the structure housing both the Data and Power lines, like for example a pole holding a IPCCTV camera, would need to be big enough for the data cables, the power cables, the segregation, the maintenance, the operational requirements etc. And since slim is in, all of it trying to be housed inside a very thin pole could be the fuel to the flame of the eternal battle of the architects vs engineers.

I do not think there would be a solution for the war, except if people crossover into each others territories. Like engineers turned to architects who understand the complexities of systems and services like wise more architects turned to engineers to define the aesthetic side of engineering. Until that day comes, daily battles will continue to rage in the battlefield of Mockups !!

Social Networking a Boon or Curse !

Well ever since Gulf News posted an article of my favorite Social Networking Website Orkut, Emirates Internet I.e Etisalat have blocked the website from accessibility within UAE.

Its been three long and painful years in Dubai for me, and for these three years I had lost in touch with a lot of my fiends back home, some very near and dear to me. In this time and age of emails, work get so hectic that mailing friends goes down to the bottom of the priority list. When I was at my vacation last year a few friends in Bangalore mentioned Orkut to me. I was impressed with the idea, created an account just before I got to Dubai. When I got back here, I was surprised to find the number of long lost friends there were on Orkut. Some from more than 10 years back. A lot of my coffee table conversations at that time involved around which friends I found and which ones I was looking for more. It even gave an idea of which of my friends made it and which of them were on the brink of success.

Few months into using Orkut I discovered Groups, there was a group for the School Alumni, One for my college Alumni, One group for the place I worked first, Groups for people with similar interests and even a group for people who had joined too many groups lol. I thought that was interesting. Well for us poor souls it is a boon in disguise. Moreover the assurance that it is run by Google is something noteworthy as well. How many times have you forgotten a friends birthday, Orkut would help remember birthdays as well.

But like everything on the net, the blog has been bitten by the sex bug. There are other tons of communities promoting sexual interests, one of them called Dubai Sex with over 2000 members in it. Interesting as it may seem, this is an issue which is far fetched than just Orkut or any networking site. Alas, the people who are running such communities do not realize the long term effects it has. Not that I do not support it, I mean its their lives and their preferences, and that is the very fact that makes us human. Our perspectives and choices. Well human, choice and perspective are not words that are very widely appreciated in the Middle East and being what they are they have blocked the site.

There goes the days of connections, back to celibacy from friends. I think we will have to wait for someone to say its Ok. Maybe Google to make some modifications or Etisalat to relax a bit. Either way now is the time for alternatives. And my first stop is FaceBook. A little more privacy and tons of features, this application is beginning to loose its charm in my perspective.

A Salik Pain in the Ass !

I resisted a lot and fought myself so that I should not write about it but then I don’t think I have an option now. For the past 3 years since I have come here to Dubai there are only 3 things people talk about, Rents, Traffic and Heat in the Summer. This summer its the highest rent increases in the past few years, and yet that is not the main topic of discussion in Dubai. Its “Salik”, yes Salik roughly translated it is “Clear” in Arabic. Mainly introduced because the Roads and Transport Authorities are actually planning to reduce traffic on Dubai’s Primary road. Sheikh Zayyed Road. And I think they have more than achieved the target.

Although they have achieved the target of clearing the roads intended off traffic. They still need to clean up the mess they have created after the Salik has been introduced. Being the Lazy Kid that I have been I used to take advantage of my proximity to work by leaving as late as possible from Work, Now due to Salik my primary route to get to work is distorted, and so I need to use Al Makhtoum or Business Bay like I did today. Makhtoum bridge was overflowing with cars, it was almost like the Day had ended and people were queuing to go back home towards Deira and Sharjah.

All this was still in the opposite direction of traffic, I wonder how the day was in the direction of peak traffic. Anyway what is keeping people at the moment is “First Salik Violator“, “A review of What people have to say of Salik“, “How it will make things worse“. I sure hope the authorities know what they are doing with the Toll cos rumors are around stating that the next roads for the toll system are going to be All entry and exit points to and from Dubai, including the Emirates Road.

Its Magic !!

What happens to a bunch of grown up engineers when a magician comes along and sweeps them off their feet. Well guess what ? They get thinking logically how does that trick work and debate over it. Thats exactly what happened when we guys from work, had an outing to the Mall of the Emirates this Saturday.
Rather than enjoying the show we were endlessly wondering of the abilities and the how did he do that. Atleast i know i did. Seeing the video, the strongest voice is mine, cos i recorded the whole thing on my N80. Well as interesting as it may seem, there seems to be a trick somewhere ! This is exactly what we were thinking.
Guess some things are better left alone without thinking how. this is one of them.