Rannamaari : an MSN Messenger bot

I had a few minutes to spare before I hit the bed tonight, so I tended to something I've been meaning to do for a while - making a chat room service out of Blobsy.

The chat room I implemented allows for group chats on MSN Messenger without people adding each other to their contact list and also protects the email addresses from being communicated to each other thus allowing fun chats with privacy. The service which I've called "Rannamaari" is now live on [email protected] Just add the address to your MSN Messenger contact list and open a conversation to it.

The service is rudimentary at the moment but I am open to suggestions if anyone's interested in sustaining this. I personally think this is a great way to meet and chill on the net while preserving your identity from strangers. I plan to give the ability to make separate, private rooms on the bot - pretty much along the lines of how it works in IRC.

Enjoy!

Rannamaari MSN Messenger bot:
[email protected]

Hydrofoils

Hydrofoils are amazing marine vessels. They go off tangent on the traditional boat designs by lifting the hull entirely off the water when a certain speed is reached. I had been fascinated by hydrofoils enough that Nishan and I made plans few years ago for constructing one ourselves - if only we had enough time and money then!

The "hydrofoils", just like the wings in an airplane, give the boat an upward force that lifts the hull thereby drastically cutting down the resistance forces imposed by the hull-water interaction. Hydrofoils are pretty much mainstream these days with lot of personal, commercial and military hydrofoils in operation and under development. There even are hydrofoil surf boards that lift up the entire surf board right off the water when there is enough speed. There are also hydrofoil designs for human-powered small water transport vessels. Imagine rowing a "bicycle" boat that requires less effort simply because there is less resistance from the water!

Maldives probably could use a bit of hydrofoils around. They work in conditions with up to 2.5m high waves which is well within most island to island travel. They save precious energy, would be a nice sight to for any spectator and would perform better than the dreaded hovercrafts that once graced the seas near Male'.

- http://www.hydrofoils.org/ has info on a variety of hydrofoils
- http://lancet.mit.edu/decavitator/ has info on a human powered hydrofoil including construction details!

PS. A real neat hydrofoil based "Water scooter" is available for an affordable US $500. Check this out - I'm sure you'll want one! I wouldn't mind receiving one as a gift :-P

Contribute: History of the Maldives on the WWW

Maldives as a nation has progressed on the net, albeit slightly, over the years. We've seen various web presences come and go and various projects pop into existence and then grow while most fizzle out and die soon after.

I am interested in compiling the history (the story!?) of the Maldivian presence on the World Wide Web. So I invite and urge everyone to drop a comment and share:
- what your earliest memories of the Maldivian internet presence are
- what your favourite Maldivian websites have been
- what web projects did you find useful, impressive...
- what government websites you visit(ed) regularly and/or find useful
- what commercial websites you visit(ed) regularly and/or find useful
- which community projects you participate(d) in or are aware of
etc

Thanks!

Note: Shaahee had an effort underway earlier this year to compile the history of usage of computers and the Internet in the Maldives into a book. He is now planning to open up the project as an open, web-based collaboration effort. The project should be having a public launch pretty soon...

Imagining the tenth dimension

We are aware of the world around us as being composed of three spatial dimensions. Theoretical physicists of our time however have been dabbling with theories that postulate reality as being composed even higher dimensions. Einstein named "time" as being the fourth dimension in his "special relativity" theory. Later, "string theory" took up the number of dimensions to 10 and "M theory" pushed it up to 11. Imagining higher dimensions can be a bit unwieldy without walking through the steps that reach the higher dimensions.

I found a neat narrated animation at Imagining the Tenth Dimension website that starts from the 0th dimension and builds up to the 10th dimension with demonstrations of how it may apply and how we may perceive it. Check it out ;-)

New website for Maldivian Students' Association-UK

I've been tied up past few days developing a new website for the Maldivian Students' Association-UK, as well as developing a new website Content Management System for Technova.

The new website for MSA is now online at http://www.msa-uk.org/. The website has a few more content updates to be done and is awaiting the member registration/management system to be put in place along with a few "community" tools to be also tied in.

MSA will be holding their Annual General Meeting(AGM) in London in just a few days. If you are a Maldivian student in the UK, you are welcome to pop into the MSA base anytime 22nd-24th Dec and join the activities.


MSA online presence revamped

Radheef.com on TV!?

According to a friend in Male', our online Radheef was featured on this week's "Fahimagu" programme by Television Maldives. I would like to thank them for appreciating the work!

The Radheef has been getting some attention lately and several people have mailed us with suggestions, comments and notes of appreciation. We understand that font rendering is messed up on some browsers and the list-as-you-type feature isn't going down too well with slow connections. Few people have requested that the radheef be made "open" so as to allow updates and corrections. There will be updates to the Radheef the coming few weeks to remedy many of the issues and also to apply a few enhancements. If you've got any suggestions or comments do drop a comment and let me know. :-)

PHP script for live Hulhule flight info

The Maldives Airports Company has rolled out a website (http://www.fis.com.mv/) where real-time flight arrival/departure information is available. It's about time they did that and I am sure many people will find it very useful.

I wrote some code yesterday for Nattu, who is currently developing a new website for Haveeru News, to get the data from the Flight Information Services (FIS) website and display it on the Haveeru website. Haveeru has access to an XML feed of the data with more fields available than that shown at the FIS site. The script I wrote implements a class that parses the XML file and provides easy access to the flight information via the class properties.

Sadly, the XML feed is not (yet) available to the public and so today I modified the code so that it works by scraping the publicly available data on the FIS website. The code implements an object called "flightinfo" that can be used in any of your PHP applications and the data displayed as you please. I've included a demo sample file as well.

- Download the flightinfo script