Oct 24, 2005

Good English-Arabic auto-translation site/program?

I want to buy an auto-translation program/site-subscription for my mother. She will use it mainly to read Biology/Science related sites. So, I've embarked on an "evaluation" mission for all the products currently available. For now I'm just collecting links to auto-translators (that support English-to-Arabic).

Mr/Ms reader, if you know of any other sites that I do not list here, please let me know (in the comments box).

So far, all the ones I've tried range between terrible and bad. I can't find any "sensible" translator. My currently evaluation/test page is: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eye

http://www.systranbox.com/systran/box (5/10)

http://www.arabsgate.com/trjm/ (very basic)

http://tarjim.sakhr.com/sakhr/ (can't try it yet)

http://www.sendbad.net/dload/ptarjmah.php (download site)

http://www.almisbar.com/salam_trans_a.html (can't try it yet)

http://www.cimos.com (bad translation)

Oct 20, 2005

The Russian Rag!

Today I've learned about one of the funniest musical pieces ever.. The Russian Rag.

George Cobb, a composer from the beginning of the century, claimed that he can turn any piece of music into Ragtime style (which is famous for syncopated off-beat rhythms). While sitting in a famous restaurant in New York in 1918 (Jade?), a friend of his challenged him to turn Rachmaninoff's Prelude in C-minor to ragtime. George didn't think long. He got up, went to the piano, and played what became known as the "Russian Rag". Unknown to him, Rachmaninoff was in the restaurant at the time. He walked slowly towards the piano. As Cobb finished playing, he turned around to see Rachmaninoff standing right in front of him. Cobb almost had a heart attack, as Rachmaninoff said "nice melody, but the rhythm is all wrong" :-)

The Music:
Listen to the original Rachmaninoff's Prelude in C-minor here
Listen to George Cobb's Russian Rag here

(I'm still looking for a midi of the New Russian Rag. Please let me know if you find it.)

I found another attempt to rag'ize the prelude here. But it's not as good.

I've just started learning about Jazz music. (The course starts with an intro to Ragtime & Blues). This is turning into a very interesting experiment. I didn't think that Jazz is this much fun.

Oct 18, 2005

Corruption Perception Index - questions

The Corruption Perception Index (CPI) for 2005 has just come out. Jordan is ranked 37th with score 5.4 out of 10. An increase from last year's 5.3, rank also 37.

Things that puzzle me:
1- Jordan is higher than Italy (5.0, rank 40)

2- Syria, Saudi, & Egypt are at 3.4, rank 70. Yet, Lebanon is at 3.1, rank 83!

3- Iran & India are at 2.9, rank 88. Both of these countries are industrial and have very strong universities. Interesting to see their ratings so low.

for more discussion on CPI, see Naseem Tarawneh's blog: http://www.black-iris.com/?p=52