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Ali Shabdar on business, technology, and pre-singularity life

Ali April 30, 2015
2 ½ day workweek - Coping with Weekends in the Middle East

2 ½ day workweek - Coping with Weekends in the Middle East

The Problem As a part of my work, I'm in direct contact with accounts in Turkey and a number of countries in the Middle East. Being located in Turkey means that I "enjoy" Saturdays and Sundays as my days off, but in UAE, for example, Fridays and Saturdays are holidays. To make the matters more complicated, Iranian weekend is on Thursdays and Fridays, limiting the workable days between these countries to just 3 days, from Monday to Wednesday. Add to it about 2 hours of timezone difference and you'll end up with almost 2 ½ days of common workweek, especially if you need to work with banks and government offices.

Ali April 15, 2015
Importing data from FTP server into Zoho Creator

Importing data from FTP server into Zoho Creator

Zoho Creator has grown to be a great cloud-based app creation platform. You can build simple apps in the matter of hours or have complex solutions up and running much quicker than a from-scratch project. Manipulating data is a core capability of (Zoho) Creator . There is a rich toolset of UI elements, business logic components, and reporting tools to make your life easier. If you need more functionality you can always create custom functions and behaviours using the powerful Deluge scripting language. To take it even further there is a rather capable REST API to connect your app to the outside world. In this post I’ll show you how to import data from an FTP server into a Creator app using a Deluge function and a little middleware. Note: I assume that you are familiar with Creator and Deluge. We will also get some help from a PHP script, so some PHP knowledge is helpful too, but not necessary. You can use the code in this tutorial without changing anything other than the FTP url and account.

Ali November 24, 2013
Bulk exporting Word documents to other formats with JavaScript

Bulk exporting Word documents to other formats with JavaScript

JavaScript is hot commodity for server and client side web development. But when it comes to command line programming it is unlikely to ditch the likes of Python and Ruby for JavaScript. I don't have the luxury of picking my toolset at work. I'm a business consultant with no access to anything beyond the essential enterprise software. Heck, I don't even have access to PowerShell. All I have left with is JavaScript. Life is fun. I assume that I'm not the only one facing this challenge, so it may be worth sharing how I do some basic automation at work using JavaScript.


The team needed to convert a big number (200+) of Word documents saved in different formats into a single format, DOTX to be specific.

Ali November 16, 2013

World-class Customer Service

In mid October 2013, Apple started recalling mid-2012 Macbook Airs, due to a SSD problem that was apparently and isolated issue to Toshiba drives only....