Applecentric

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This post has been a long time coming, and at this point I think it is somewhat appropriate. I have been a Windows user for a very long time, some Linux and Solaris thrown into the mix for a little while but never really Apple. So over the past few years I got introduced to Apple, the first one being the Mac Mini from last year which was an impressive little guy. If you asked me back in 2006 if I would be using a Mac I would say that is blasphemy but now I will happily admit it. Over the years I think that Apple’s hardware has improved drastically and you get the better hardware for a better price unlike before, and OS X and higher is much better then its previous versions with better compatibility. Still I’m really annoyed that they don’t have NTFS built into OS X but I think its just Apple being their usual stubborn self so people can’t use the same external USB/Hard Drive between Apple & Windows Machines. I have been using my iPod for a while now, pretty much since the iPod Touch came out and the useful applications and games. So a few years later I got into my first apple, and it was as if I was walking into an unknown zone. Overall I think Apple does have a winning product but you can’t knock Windows just yet, it does have its good uses and I know you Apple fans do get crazy but it wouldn’t be dominating in the market if it didn’t do something right. A lot of you know how much I love Android products but I do love my iPad, I will admit which platform is better for which application, and Apple knows how to integrate all their products but its annoying how much they lock out other companies from innovating on their platforms. I prefer my Android over iOS by far but I wouldn’t mind it syncing with iTunes so I can get my music, of course there are ways to get around it but I’m too lazy to go through the hassle. Luckily for me I started using Spotify to a large extent and so I depended less on iTunes but still on an Apple device iTunes is worlds better then on Windows, for one thing it works.

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What I really think which is better in which:

Mac:

  • Graphical Items
  • Doesn’t Crash As Much, And Yes It Does Crash Under My Abuse
  • Very Smooth Interface, Very Nice Design Of Their Machines

Windows:

  • Network Management
  • Larger Software Compatibility
  • More Games, Alot More Games
  • Larger Variety of Manufacturers to Choose From

I haven’t really jumped into any video editing yet so I can’t compare between the machines, but most probably I will be trying it out on the Mac for sure. If you ask me which do I use more I would say its 70% Windows 30% Apple, and for work I can only use Windows. Apple can be used in Advertising or Media companies but everything else its Windows, too many work applications just aren’t compatible with Macs.

Ubiquitous – The Most Masculine Office I Have Seen

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I always like seeing these crazy offices and its usually the tech companies that have them, but this time it comes from Ubiquitous, a communication company, I think marketing and branding. They have made the most masculine office I have ever seen, it looks like an old gentlemen’s club where people should be smoking cigars and drinking whiskey, not people working on computers. It’s rare to see an office using black walls and dark wood, but this place got it right, I wouldn’t mind working in an office like that.

Link: HiConsumption

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ZAIN Spam Messages

The one thing that I loved about GMail from day one is we stopped getting spam, with yahoo it was getting bad and with hotmail it was basically garbage getting dumped on you. With Google they caught 99.99982% of all the spam that came out. But when it comes to text messages we get so many random text from shopping extravaganzas to nut case candidates to the randomest things, this is all on my Zain lines. I don’t use text messages as much as used to but seriously they are a major pain with all these spam texts that we get from 88990, 99077, and so many other random numbers, and you are charged for receiving them even when you are abroad. As we were complaining online and included Zain Kuwait in the Twitter conversation they let us know that we could unsubscribe from the Ads via the above text actions but there is a bit of skepticism, so hopefully we can get out of it but lets see for how long. There is no laws regulating how cell phone companies can use our numbers and no real ways for them to check, we are left uninformed of what we can do to protect ourselves from being spammed but this is a decent step in the right direction and lets see how long it will last without ads.

Companies & Social Media In Kuwait

Over the last year and half a lot of companies and specifically telecom companies have gotten heavily into all types of social media. They are active on blogs, in events, facebook, and twitter and other platforms that they can expand on. I’m honestly proud that these companies see the value of social media in Kuwait and its strength, we are ahead in the region on this aspect and we keep moving forward which is a good thing.

It feels like more companies are taking social responsibility and they are giving people more direct access to them and it helps resolve issues. Also it does expose them to more criticism which most companies don’t like, and there are those who don’t care at all. Now a lot of companies, especially the Telecom companies have been sponsoring blogs which is a good step, it supports the community and it gives them an air of legitimacy. But then also brought another creature to evolve which are the Blogs For Cash movement, they make blogs just to sell off ad space and make money, and usually they don’t last too long or their content is crap but still they keep popping up.

Now Telcos are getting more and more involved with lots of events, I keep seeing people post about them and I do get invited but 99% of the time I don’t have time to go and other 1% I would rather do other things. They are handing out iPhones like they are candy and pretty much the next hot item, which is great and good for people to review and experience their service. But recently a lot of these gifts and sponsorship come with strings, string that I for one would never accept. At this point they tell you can talk about their competitor, you can’t attend their events, and you can’t really bad mouth their products. When the money comes with strings such as those I wouldn’t want it no matter how much they are offering. Whats funny is that recently I have noticed blogs which are Team Zain, or Team Wataniya, or Team Viva some keep trying to buy out the other. In reality it isn’t a bad thing but when they interfere with the content to this degree its unacceptable and its a very bad path they are choosing, some still don’t apply it but some companies are. At the end it is the choice of the blog to make the decision of which sponsor they would like on board.

Messed Up International Calls

What the hell is going on with Phone lines in Kuwait. I just came to accept that when people call into to Kuwait the call quality is usually crap, but when you call out you get a decent line. Over the last few years for some reason the lines have gotten worse, and lately most of the time when someone calls me from overseas I get some random 222#####, very rarely is it with the caller ID and sometimes its a 5 digit number like 29268. Now recently over the past two weeks I have gotten some strange caller ID numbers which start with 9982#### or 9878####. Now it seems that some Zain lines are being used as Voip numbers, I’m sure that it isn’t Zain doing this because all international lines in Kuwait are controlled by the Government for the most part, if they know they have control over it. Seriously, when someone calls me from abroad I would like to know who it is.

2011 Year of the Pads

Tablets

There were are lot of big launches in 2010 but looks like 2011 will be the launch of all kinds of tablets from Windows, Android, Blackberry and don’t forget Apple. The iPad 2 seems its to going to get a revamp with a better screen, just as good as the iPhone 4, maybe a few other things like a better speaker, and dual docking ports so you can use it in landscape and portrait mode. Then there is the HTC which is going to be interesting as I am a big fan of HTC products.

  • HTC Pad – Some sort of announcement in February, I’m looking forward to what they have lined up.
  • BlackBerry PlayBook – Expected in March
  • Apple iPad 2 – Yes a New One, expect it around April
  • Asus Eee Pad – Android or Windows 7, Release date around April
  • Dell Streak 7 and Dell Streak 10 – Most probably Android

Link: PocketLint

HTC Desire – The Android Phone

I have been using a few Android phones for a while now and overall they have made huge strides with the different iterations of the Operating Systems. I know for one that I am looking forward to seeing a sleek Android tablet since it feels more internet oriented then the Apple OS which is more Application oriented and Apple does have a lot of amazing applications. I hope they keep improving on this operating system and more amazing phones keep coming out, I for one am loving the HTC Desire.

The Good:

  • Accurate Touch Screen
  • Big and Bright Screen
  • Very good Camera and Flash
  • Excellent Battery Life (Much better then the Nexus One)
  • Charges very quickly (Nexus One used to take too long to charge)
  • Solid EDGE/HSDPA/3G connectivity and smoother switch over to Wifi when available, Data is excellently managed and integrated (Nexus One was choppy at times)
  • Solid feeling phone
  • Much better loud speaker
  • HTC already upgrade from 2.1 Eclair to 2.2 Froyo smoothly
  • HTC Sense adds a light smooth interface on top of Android which is intuitive

Zain Settings:

  • Go into Mobile Network, Click “APN”, Options “Add New”
  • Name it “PPS”
  • Username “PPS”
  • Password “PPS”

Make sure to save it and Edge/3G worked where ever there was coverage


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Blackberry Alternative?

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Seems there is a lot of talk about stopping Blackberry service in the GCC and some talk in Kuwait. Kuwait’s simple story is that they want to block some sites from being accessed as all internet, email, and messenger services are routed through Blackberry’s servers which circumvent most of the blocking requested by MOC from the ISPs. Now Saud is announcing they will stop BB service by this Friday, and UAE by October, so even if you are roaming there you won’t have Blackberry Service.

A lot of people love their Blackberry and can’t stop using it, but as soon as the service is disconnected they mentioned that they will switch over to the iPhone right away. I know a lot of people mentioned that all these smart phones have IM Clients that rival BBM but in reality none is simpler and more standardized then Blackberry, and it just won’t be the same in that case. I know that I have my Android and its a great phone but if they plan on disconnecting Blackberry any time soon I don’t think I would going back to SMS or enjoying the instant messaging as I do with BBM.

Using BBM 5


There was a lot of problems with the pre-release of BBM 5 months ago, contacts were being deleted and the chat program was crashing. This time around its Blackberry that had the official release of BBM 5 with all the new features. After using it for over a week and a majority of my usual contacts have switched over the change is interesting.


Pros:

  • You can see details of the other person’s contact
  • Enlarging the contact’s photo
  • Associating BBM contacts with your phone book, the picture from BBM gets associated with your Phone book
  • Groups are a great edition you can share pictures, lists, dates and conversations between the group and its very organizing unlike inviting people to conversations such as before. Also you can have the group symbol on your Blackberry Homepage so you won’t have to go into the BBM to see it.
  • Barcode scanning makes it easier and unique to add people to your list, you always notice people looking for their BBM PIN no matter how many times you explain it to them.
  • Backing up contacts remotely and locally.

Cons:

  • The one major con that I think BBM 5 has is when your trying to send images. It’s not as easy as before and you have to transfer a picture, it doesn’t compress it and sends a simple small picture as it did before. Takes time to transfer the image so the half the time it fails.


Overall I think Blackberry did an amazing job with BBM 5, the only problem is with sending images but still its a huge step forward. Maybe they will be able to adjust it at a later point, but the benefit of the groups and shareing details are enourmous.

Wataniya Telecom on the Line

Wataniya Telecom has pulled the same move as Commercial Bank of Kuwait, Fire everyone and rehire, just to lower the costs. So the breakdown of the situation is simple.

They are giving presentations about the changes and open discusssions, for a little while. And a Wataniya Telecom employee has only 4-5 hours to decide if they will sign the new contract with the new terms, or else they will be terminated, fired, out of job, on the street.

They have lowered the basic salaries of a majority of the employees, but compensated for it in large allowances. Now they have changed the working days to 5 days instead of 6 days which is good, vacation days have improved. Bonuses are calculated at a lower rate because its based on the basic salary which has been lowered, but health insurance has been improved towards people with families and three days for compationate leave. They even added one week for weddings not included with your vacation, both male and female.

Overall its an interesting combination but they are putting their employees

Update: They only have two hours to sign or they are terminated