HAILO – The Experience

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For the last couple of years there were different applications that came out for Black Cabs, and finding a cab or quick transprotation is London is always a gamble. There have been times where I ended up walking over an hour heading home instead of finding a cab in the rain or on a Friday night. Other Apps came out but they were hit or miss, and always searching for vehicles which drove me nuts.

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Hailo is different then the pack, it is extremely easy to use and secure with cash or credit payment option when requesting the blackcab, so even if you don’t have your wallet or cash on you, you can just charge it to your card which is registered to your Hailo account. The application is both on Android and iOS so anyone could use it.

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The application opens up to your location and you can search for black cabs right away, when it finds a few usually there are anywhere from 3 to 10, you click yes and the closest one or the one that is free first will confirm. They will give you an update on the amount of time, anywhere between 4 minutes up to 20 minutes and usually they are perfectly on time and you can track their progress on your Hailo App.

The best part is that the Cabbie is there to pick you up and can only start the meter with you in it. Once the ride is done you pay the normal fare with a minimum fare starting at 10 & 15 GBP depending on the time of day. Overall it is a very simple experience even when they pick you up from a busy location like a restaurant or the movie theater, they have your name and your confirmation number when they come to pick you up. Each cab has a Hailo sticker on it to make it easy to identify.

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The experience is very simple,easy and straight forward, and once the cab ride is done you rate your cab driver. And I have given mine 5 stars because they pick me up on time and get me where I need to go making it for a pleasent and easy experience. I seriously love this application, no more major issues and has worked perfectly every time I use it, even when I don’t find a cab I try it again and it works perfectly.

Currently its Running in:

  • London
  • Dublin
  • Toronto
  • Chicago
  • Boston

Opening Soon In:

  • New York
  • Tokyo
  • Washington DC
  • Cork
  • Madrid
  • Barcelona

There are some cities like Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Tokyo, Singapore, and London which I would happily get in the cab because they are genuinely great cabs which are comfortable, but Cabs in the US are usually pretty bad, the crown victorias or not maintained vehicles, when I use vehicles in the US I use the Uber App for private driver who usually have decent vehicles like an Escalade or a vehicle like that when in New York or LA.

Link: HailoCab

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Switching To Feedly From Google Reader

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The signs are always there with Google, whenever the links to a product slowly start dropping from the main page you know that they aren’t a fan of it or giving it that much importance. Google Wave went because it didn’t work as a product, Google Buzz ruffled too many feathers even though I liked it, and then Google Reader was suddenly coming to an end. July 1st is the cut off date for Google Reader, I know these days a lot of people aren’t reading blogs as much but we still visit a lot of websites and my online dependency was on Google Reader to keep things organized. The announcement honestly shocked me so looking for an alternative was a scary idea, I got so comfortable with Google Reader I didn’t know if I would find an alternative. After doing a little research I went with Feedly and I’m very happy I did.

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I tried Feedly a few years back and Google Reader at the time was more comprehensive and useful as an RSS Reader, but within those years they stopped the development of Google Reader, and Feedly is miles ahead. The integration is seamless, a very smooth and clean interface and I honestly like looking at it. It works on both Android & iOS, and its web based which is very simple, and moving onto there is extremely simple, just sign in.

What I Love About:

  • Its Fast, really loads fast
  • Multiple Layout Options, so you can see it anyway you want
  • You can mark things read in different ways which works great
  • Integrated with Twitter, Tumbler, Pinterest, and most major social networking sites
  • Works on desktop, iOS, & Android

Link: Feedly

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Phonedeck

The cloud dashboard for your mobile phone

Simply enough its a service that lets you manage your phone calls, text messages and contacts from a remote browser. Discover a new way of managing your phone calls, text messages and contacts remotely from the browser. Currently its working for Android only, and I think some sort of integration with Nokia, not iPhone integration because of the way the application works.

  • Syncs your contacts, messages, and history to this application which you can control online
  • They give you lots of statistics about the people you call, who you call the most, the number of messages sent, if you like statistics you will love this program
  • The only thing to keep in mind is that they do have access to your phone, your messages, and you phone book which can be a bit freaky but it seems to be a legitimate company
  • The simple idea for me is that if my phone is somewhere in the same building but I’m on the laptop, I can see who is calling and answer or reply, its a very cool and simple concept

Link: PhoneDeck

DC Comics for iPAD!!!! At Last

I have been hoping for this App for a long time, Comics have made my iPad indespensible. I love the Marvel App, I’m just annoyed at how slow they are releasing the comics which I am following, I go nuts not being able to read more. Now with DC I will have a large variety of comics to read, but the problem is that I have a lot of comics sitting on my shelf. Its great that they built the application on the Comixology platform which is smooth and high-resolution, with the perfect animated transitions between the scenes, the same as what Marvel did. So I will be buying comics that I don’t have, currently I have a lot of Green Lantern Comics which I ordered a long time ago, so I’m ordering a lot of Batman/Superman comics that I haven’t seen before, a new storyline to enjoy.

Now to look forward to:

  • Superman/Batman
  • Wonder Woman
  • The Flash
  • Green Lantern
  • Justice League: Generation Lost

Link: Gizmodo

iPad Usage

The iPad mania is still going on in Kuwait and all over the world, and I have to say that Apple has a breakthrough product. There are a few drawbacks that would make this the best product period, but right now it doesn’t have any competition. I use my iPad daily, it has gotten me hooked with several applications. The only biggest flaw is that you can’t move data inside applications to and from your main PC, so your iPad gets filled up with data from inside applications, you can’t back-up or move, you can just delete. The battery lasts a decent time but it takes so damn long to charge, if you kill the battery completely it takes over 4 hours to charge fully which is insane. But I can’t stop using it, its so easy to take around and I can carry so much content with it.

Best Applications:

  • AirVideo – Streaming Videos
  • Marvel Comics – A selection of Marvel Comics
  • NewsRack – RSSFeed
  • Sorted – To Do list
  • Dropbox – Extention of the online application
  • GoodReader – Enables you to read all types of documents & spreadsheets
  • AngryBirds HD – Addictive online game
  • Scrabble – The old school board game
  • Shazam – Gives you the name of any song by listening to a clip

iPad Usage:

  • Reading Comics – 40%
  • Surfing The Net – 22%
  • Playing Games – 12%
  • Watching Shows/Anime – 18%
  • Other Applications – 8%

Games Apps for iPod/iPhone

There have been a lot of games coming out for iPhone/iPod Touch, some great and some crappy. I have managed to categorize games based on the amount of time it takes for you to get bored of them. Out of all the games I played these four games have the highest quality and highest return rate, meaning I keep playing again. Also some of them can take your attention for 5 minutes, and some for hours but I didn’t get bored of them yet. Some First Person Shooter games really didn’t work out too well because I sometimes leaned so far as to fall of the chair when I’m trying to go forward and shoot around a corner, but these games are fun and kill a lot of time which they are supposed to do.

Games:

  • Madden NFL – The perfect game for those who love football, season game perfect for your team
  • Star Wars – For a quick game this is a perfect shooter, you get caught up with the flying and shooting
  • Monopoly World – This game is addicting and you really get caught up on it!
  • Command & Conquer – The classic C&C but no multiplayer, still a lot of fun.

Schengen Issues

A lot of people travel to Europe for vacation or business, there is a lot to see and do, so I was surprised to here this happened to a colleague of mine. He is Kuwaiti and applied for a Schengen Visa, he wanted to travel to Germany for a medical check up and a short vacation. He had a schengen visa and his reservations ready to go. As soon as he landed in Frankfurt they pulled him aside at the passport counter, they told him his Schengen Visa is a forgery and he can not enter Germany, they will bring him a translator.

A Sudanese translator came, and he explained to him clearly that he understood and that is clearly wrong. They asked if he applied for his Visa himself at the German Embassy, he said no, the travel agency applied for him and they got the Schengen Visa from Spanish Embassy. They kept claiming it was a forgery, so he contacted the Kuwaiti Embassy, and they tried from their end but the counselor said that no matter what they did they were still claiming its a forgery and refused him entry. So he had no choice but to fly back to Kuwait, luckily the Lufthansa flight lands at 5 am and leaves at 4 pm to Kuwait, so he was arguing for hours but with no luck.

When he got back to Kuwait, he contacted the Ministry of Exterior to file a complaint and contacted the counselor as well. After jumping through a few hoops, he got the explanation that it isn’t a forgery but they have seemed to apply a new law in Europe that if someone travels to a Schengen country that he must get a Schengen which originates from that country to travel to it first then to other European countries, so in his case he should have went to Spain then to Germany. I don’t know if this is completely true because I just went to Italy on a Schengen from the German Embassy, so it doesn’t make sense. Also to get a Schengen from the Spanish Embassy takes one day, and to take it from the French or German Embassy takes about 2 to 3 weeks, the Italian Embassy takes about a week to ten days, so you can understand why large quantities of people apply for it through the Spanish Embassy. Also another explanation that was presented was that the other Embassies were complaining about the Spanish Embassy so they complained that they were taking a lot of income away. So it seems this is the action the German Immigration took, so how do you prove that it isn’t fake.