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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Car Chargers Are Not Created Equal – TYLT Charger

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There are lots of times you go into stores looking for car chargers and grab the first thing in front of you. When your phone is about to die and you plug-in the car charger hope to bring it back to life, only to realize after the 20 minute drive that you have an extra 10% which will probably give you another 30 mins to an hour of use.Chargers range from 0.750A to 1.750A, and most of them are on the lower range, be sure to check the car charger output so you know the power you will charge with. Simply put the higher the better.

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The TYLT car charger is one of the best I have one as how fast it can charge, at 2.1Amps it really charges your phone quickly. I have found that they are consistent with the power output and this applies to both MicroUSB and Apple products. There products are cleanly made and in it almost chargers a percent a minute, so in a 25 minute ride you would charge up to 20% which is amazing. There are other products who advertise the high Amp output, but only TYLT and Griffin seem to be legitimate, and in this case I highly recommend TYLT chargers, all their chargers are dual chargers, the long flexible one and the v-split charger. I first found them in Virgin in Dubai Mall, but you can also find them on Amazon.

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My Experience With Windows Phone 8 – The Last Mobile Platform From Microsoft

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My experience with Microsoft dates back to the original CE phones back in 2003, I wanted something different and that phone was different and to configure it you needed a doctorates degree in physics. But I like the bubbles game on it, then i tried Windows 3.0 for work and that had decent integration with Microsoft exchange. But nobody did integration like Apple & Google did, so I switch to Android the moment it came out and before that I was on the SonyEricsson platform.

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With the introduction of the Windows Phone 8 they are finally trying to make a decent competitor to the Apple & Android platform and right now its a few steps behind but still impressive. With Windows Phone 8 has some decent integration with Windows 8 such as auto photo updates, and the Microsoft Office Suite integrates nicely with the Windows Phone 8, especially OneNote which is probably the best note taking tool I have ever used, even better then Evernote. As well as SkyDrive integration which can sync your photos as well as your documents, trying to be a better DropBox for Windows which isn’t too bad.

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The operating system itself gets a little getting used to, its like visiting somewhere for the first time, you know enough to get around but need some time to get really familiar with it. There is smooth feeling to the operating system that I like, and after 6 months of abuse the phone has not hung on me once which is great for a smart phone of this caliber.

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What I Like:

  • Easy to sync Google Contacts and emails with the WP8 interface, even after Google extended
  • The App store is pretty decent, has some junk in it but they all started off that way, they have about 80% of the Apps that iOS & Android have.
  • Music integration has been fantastic, you can load up all your iTunes playlist as well spotify which is exactly what I’m doing.
  • Has some fun XBox integration so the games you play are displayed.
  • It sort of between the strict Apple platform and the loose Android platform, its formed but flexible and I really like the tiles and options of the live tiles.

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What I Don’t Like:

  • The email display feels wrong, it just doesn’t do a good job of displaying emails no matter what email I use. I think they can do a better job with that.
  • They don’t have instagram, I won’t kid myself I’m addicted to it.
  • Slow to get the necessary Apps into the App Store, App Store needs some more Apps, not everyone is developing for it yet
  • Better integration with Windows 8, I want it seemless, just as Android is integrated with everything Android.

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Hardware:

I’m using the HTC 8X and I’m honestly loving it, its a light phone with an excellent camera. And the battery lasts over a 30 hours with a lot of abuse. Even when I was riding over 5 hours in San Diego while listening to Spotify the whole time it only lost 25% of the battery which is insane, if i did it with the Nexus 4 it would have lost 50% and with the iPhone 5 only 20% battery would be left.

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My Top Apps

  • TVShow – Best TV Show App I have seen, better then anything on iOS or Android
  • Weather Flow – Great Weather App
  • SkyDrive
  • Spotify
  • WhatsApp
  • NextGen Reader – Fantastic RSS Reader – Displays Images and information perfectly without having to visit the site
  • Flixster – For the movie fanatic
  • Battery Status – Updated information on your battery
  • MyTrips – For the TripIt Addicts, I use it all the time when I travel

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Conclusion

Overall I’m honestly loving the windows platform. This phone got a high rating for stability and the long lasting battery and a great selection of Apps. Microsoft have a good thing, they just need to clean up their App store and integarte it with Windows 8. They really are in need of Youtube and Google Maps, there are replacements but they don’t beat out the originals. They built an excellent product I just hope they keep on improving it, and I love that when other phones run out of battery this one is still going. The success of this platform depends on the Apps available and Microsoft knows this, Blackberry failed because of this, thats why they are throwing everything they can at it and hopefully it will keep growing. They have substitute Apps for most of the major ones, but hopefully the major App developers will develop for Windows.

Rating:

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Sim Card Cutter Blunder

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Just before traveling I bought a MicroSim Cutter since now all my phones are Micro Sims, got it from one of the phone shops on Khalid bin Waleed Street in the city. Simple process, it was on my to do list so a few hours before my flight I cut my US, UK, and then I decided to cancel my BB service at last and I cut that chip too and switched phones around.

Did that really quickly.. too quickly.

I wanted to put the chip in the phones and it looked a little too small. Turns out the guy sold me the iPhone 5 Nano-Sim cutter! I was pissed, now I have to get new Sims and some of them I can’t get except when I land, thats ridiculous. I’m an idiot for not checking, and that guy must have switched them, and then I blame Apple for changing the Sim Card sizes every time they change a number on their damn iPhone! Very annoyed!

Interesting HTC Phones

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HTC Sensation comes with a fresh serving of Android 2.3 Gingerbread, but it’s all about the HTC Sense UI version 3.0 with a touch of refinement and functionality straight from the lock screen, the power house from HTC. You can choose between a number of lock screen options such as weather updates, quick access to apps and a handful of clock widgets. A 1.2GHz Qualcomm dual-core chipset supports the nice 3D-like transitions in the menu, all carrying resemblance to the ones on the HTC Flyer tablet. The phone is the first with a contoured glass 4.3-inch display meaning that your Super LCD screen is set back slightly to avoid scratches. The resolution is qHD (540×960) with an aspect ratio of 16:9. On the back you have an 8MP camera with dual-LED flash with “instant capture,” meaning little to no lag between pictures. The camera is also capable of recording video at 30fps in full HD (1080p) resolution.

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HTC ChaCha is one the coolest Qwerty phones for Android yet. Its very smooth looking, I like the design of it, its more business like and it still has the functionality of a touch screen. It is an Android 2.3.3 (Gingerbread) running smartphone with Facebook button for instant access to the social network. It has QWERTY keyboard, 2.6″ touchscreen, 5MP rear camera, 0.3MP front camera, Wi-Fi, GPS, and Bluetooth. The perfect on the go phone, quick connectivity and light use.

SMS & BBMs – Some Decency

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This has been a topic on my mind for some time now, it has been the same with emails and everything else. I don’t forward texts, BBMs, or Emails, I know most of the time it annoys people and sometimes they messages contain malicious code which can damage your PC or phone. With the use of BBM people are broadcasting a lot of events and other things happening which is great there is a limit to it. I think people should exercise some common decency when forwarding certain messages out.

The case being with deceased relatives, what I have seen recently is no common decency in the matter. When people broadcast bbms or send out mass text messages about someone who has recently been deceased within hours or even the same day. A lot of the times the immediate relatives from cousins to brothers and sisters and even parents don’t know about it and get shocked from these messages and its devastating. Sometimes its hard giving someone the bad news that their son or daughter or mother or father has passed away, there is never a way to handle it. But getting it via mass message isn’t the way, and people should refrain from forwarding that type of message. This has gotten on my nerves quite a few times but recently it was a disaster, when a family member is abroad and they find out from their daughter’s friend’s mass bbm that smoeone close passed away, its shocking to say the least.

Zain Roaming Blackout

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This has probably been a disaster for any Zain subscriber over the last three days who has been using his or her phone outside of Kuwait. I got numerous calls from family members over the weekend from strange lines to check with Zain why did they disconnect their lines, I called up Zain to ask about different people and a few were even with Zero balance. Now they told me they were having a small glitch in their system and they will be back up in a matter of hours, I conveyed the message, usually that means 3 to 4 but even 10 hours later it was still the same situation. I called numerous techies of Zain and they kept telling me the nothing is wrong with the lines, but they are making a slight upgrade which could have had an impact on roaming Zain subscribers, so another story this time. The third time I just went to the one at the airport and those guys were swamped, turns out it was a company wide problem not just a few people for the last three days. Then the guy at the counter told people to contact the Ministry of Communication as it was their problem. So Zain did something to mess up all roaming calls, or pissed off somebody at the MoC, or MoC did something that damaged ONLY Zain’s roaming lines. Yet all Viva and Wataniya customers were working fine, for those who were expecting business calls or contacting family or any form of communication through a Zain line was practically out of luck. What ever the problem I’m surprised its still some what of an issue and at the end as usual the customers bore the grunt of the damage, I doubt Zain will offer them anything to compensate some of these damages.

BBM Recorvery – Contacts & Groups

I have suffered multiple crashes from my BBM 5.00.55 so I decided to upgrade but something was acting up and then half way thru the update the phone fell and restarted which resulted in BBM disappearing from my screen.

I had to remove the software through the desktop manager and then reinstalled BBM 5.00.57 from the phone. The best and only way to really restore all contacts and groups is through your email. Back Up to your email consistently to make sure that you have the latest contacts and groups.

One I asked to restore from email it took about 20 minutes to verify the email which freaked me out a bit, then it took about 10 minutes to restore all my contacts and several hours to restore the groups which some how came through successfully. So Blackberry has a clear and good working process for restoring the contacts and groups.

Zain – Bill Warning

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I paid my bill on the 2nd of December, and now it is the Friday 18th of December, I get a text message warning form Zain. It was zeroed on the 2nd of December, and we aren’t even close to the end of the month, and I get the warning of disconnection from Zain. They show no appreciation for customer loyalty, they don’t watch for customer consistency, and at least this time I got a warning that I will get disconnected in the next 7 days, even though it is a Friday I can pay some time during the week. The bill is around 182 KD which isn’t out of the ordinary in my case when I have times that I travel a lot, there have been times where it has been a lot more, I have called and complained that they disconnect without consistency, and they say it’s the system and I know that this system only applies to certain people but what about others, I know that it isn’t applying to them. They don’t show any appreciation for customers that consistently pay on a timely basis, and they randomly disconnect, I have never been able to understand their pattern.

At this point I am only stuck with my number that I have had for a very long time, changing it is a huge hassle for me so I’m stuck with Zain. The moment you can switch operators and keep your number I think Zain will be the biggest loser, they have recommended for people to keep my card on the bill but I have known that Zain does sometimes overcharge its customers and drastic amounts, times when mistakes were made, and it takes a long time to get your money back from Zain then to clear it up right then and there, so giving them my card details it out of the question. So with Zain a person’s track record means nothing to them, you would think with so much information that they have on their customers that they would do a better job of maintaining their customers, they have no idea that people only stay with Zain because the annoyance of changing numbers.