Iraq

Cat Watch

Monday, February 2, 2015 

Cat Watch
Cat_Watch
The twins resting after a busy day.

 

The Twins

Posted at 17:48:24 GMT-0700

Category: catsphototravel

Lizard Visit

Saturday, January 31, 2015 

A New animal visitor came by today.

Gecko Top
Just hangin’

Gecko Face

 

Posted at 14:00:58 GMT-0700

Category: photo

Cactus Farmer

Wednesday, December 25, 2013 

A few years back, when I was in 3rd or 4th Grade, my brother and I went to visit David and Jesse Lenat at their Cactus Farm. While we were exploring the green houses, their dad, Richard, gave us each a cactus to take home.

Mine lived in a small pot near the window through the rest of grade school and high school and then my mom cared for it through college. It grew into a little cluster of pencil thin green, spiky pads over the years.

After I graduated, moved to California, and got an apartment in SF; I was home for Christmas one year and took one of the pads wrapped in tissue to California. It grew well there and now produces big, bright yellow flowers every year.

This Christmas, I stuffed two tiny buds into glass bottles and brought them to Iraq and planted in the yard with one of the cat’s help (paw in the background).

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Posted at 03:01:17 GMT-0700

Category: catsGeopostphotoplaces

Iraq

Friday, November 1, 2013 

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Posted at 12:51:24 GMT-0700

Category: photoplacestravel

A Day Out And About In Basra

Sunday, March 10, 2013 

A day spent out reviewing alternate sites where unexpected underground obstructions impact construction means a chance to make new friends.

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Two of the excellent officers assigned to our detail get us through traffic and keep us safe.

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These days the attention we attract is welcome and fun.

Posted at 08:11:06 GMT-0700

Category: placestravel

Iraq Blocked For Many Android Apps

Sunday, March 3, 2013 

I’m not sure who decides what apps are blocked on a country by country basis, but an awful lot of apps are blocked in Iraq and it seems like more and more.

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OTT apps like Whatsapp and Viber sort of make sense. These apps are at war with the carriers, who claim the app is making money somehow on the backs of the carriers*, and they seem to be largely blocked from install in Iraq. One would imagine that was Asiacell’s doing, but I changed SIMs and that didn’t help.

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But then I noticed that weird apps like Angry Birds are not allowed in Iraq—apps that makes no sense for a carrier to block.  The advertising model actually works and ad-supported apps show (some) relevant, regional ads, as they should, in theory generating at least some revenue for the developers. Part of the problem may be that there’s no way for in-app payments to be processed out of Iraq and therefore developers of even “freemium” apps may choose to block their apps in the country reasoning that if they can’t make money, why let people use the app?

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If so, it seems short sighted: ultimately payment processing will be worked out and even if it isn’t, Iraqis are allowed to travel to countries where in-app payments do work. Establishing a beachhead in the market, even without revenue seems prudent. Blocking users who represent neither revenue nor cost seems arbitrarily punitive.

* The carrier’s business should be to transport bits agnostically.  They have no business caring what we do with our bits; no bit costs more than any other bit to carry.  If they can’t figure out how to make money carrying bits, they have no business being in the bit carrying business. When they whine about a business like WhatsApp or Viber or Free Conference Call or Skype or Google hurting their profits what they really mean is that these new businesses have obviated a parasitic business that was profitable due to a de facto monopoly over what people could do with their bit carrying business.

If the bit carriers were competent application layer developers, they’d have developed their own versions of these “OTT” applications.  But they’re not competent developers and so they have not and they’ve squandered the expertise and market control they once had and are now crying that they can’t even make the core bit carrying business work. This should not inspire sympathy or legislative support.
Dear telco, I will pay you a fair market price for carrying my bits.  You have no right to worry about what bits I choose to send after I’ve paid my bit toll.  If you can’t do that, we the people have every right to build our own information highways collectively without you.  And we probably should anyway.

Posted at 05:29:54 GMT-0700

Category: cell phonesplacespoliticstechnology

A Friendly Arrival in Iraq

Wednesday, February 20, 2013 

I got through immigration in record time, no complications at all. Only a few questions about the power supply in my luggage at customs.

I thought I would get a cup of coffee from the stand an acquaintance operates at the airport, but I arrived as they were having breakfast. As this is Iraq, that meant I had to join them for a jovial breakfast of eggs, fresh tomato, cucumber, potatoes, and meat pastries while they told me funny stories about each other in a mixture of Arabic, English, and Spanish. They would not let me pay anything, a really pleasant and friendly welcome into the country.

But I couldn’t stay long, I had to take a taxi out to meet my friends at the arrivals lot, where the in car is a B6 Land Cruiser.

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Posted at 20:23:39 GMT-0700

Category: photoplacestravel

Visiting the Burj Khalifa

Saturday, February 2, 2013 

Dubai is an interesting contrast to Iraq. The first time I went through DXB from BSR it was more than a little culture shock. Getting out of the airport only amplifies the experience.

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Jared and I had dinner at the Mall of Dubai and before eating had a little walk around the fountains – the largest dancing fountains in the world at the foot of the tallest man-made structure in the world.

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Dubai is an good place to spot cars. Obviously the gold accented rolls is more pose-worthy than the $450k GTO. Then again they were probably posing with the license plate number which I think was 1, and therefore cost as much as 20 Ferrari GTOs.

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The fire fountains:
[quicktime width=”560″ height=”331″]http://www.blackrosetech.com/gessel/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/fire_foundtain_dubai.m4v[/quicktime]

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Posted at 17:58:15 GMT-0700

Category: mapphotoplacestravelvideo

The Cat Farm

Saturday, August 11, 2012 

The yard cats in Iraq are starting to look kind of healthy on a diet of human food and scraps. They don’t really have pet food, but there is almost always leftovers that appeal to the furballs. The white one has learned that being friendly to humans = getting first dibs.

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Posted at 14:39:38 GMT-0700

Category: -

On the Road in Iraq

Tuesday, May 3, 2011 

We took a very nice tour from Baghdad to Basrah by car. The countryside is pretty amazing, from the relative lushness of the fertile crescent to the desert sands of the south to the marshes of the deep south and the distant flare gas fires on the horizon.

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Normal flare gas

[quicktime width=”560″ height=”310″]http://www.blackrosetech.com/gessel/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/blowout.mov[/quicktime]

Ut oh, blow out…

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Camels in the desert… camels crossing the road:
[quicktime width=”560″ height=”316″]http://www.blackrosetech.com/gessel/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/camel_crossing2.mov[/quicktime]
Posted at 14:46:28 GMT-0700

Category: photoplacestravelvideo