iPad Air & iPad Mini 2

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After so many years Apple has finally upgraded the memory on the iPads, they finally got to 128 GB and with that I will be upgrading my 3 year old iPad 2 which I still love to use and abuse. Now with the latest update from Cupertino a lot of people wanted more like the iWatch or the Apple TV Major update, but it looks like that will be at a later stage, but for me the iPads were the winner and the iPad Mini 2 was the best of the bunch, yes now I have a reason to purchase one.

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Basic Breakdown iPad Air

  • Its Thinner
  • Only 1 lb – Very Light
  • Twice the Wifi – 2 Antennas that work smoothly together
  • A7 Chip 64 Bit – More Power Won’t Hang – Hopefully it will survive my abuse
  • New Design & iOS7 – I’m liking IOS 7 from my Update
  • Up to 128GB of Storage – At Last

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Basic Breakdown iPad Mini 2:

  • New Design
  • A bit heavier then the previous design due the new design
  • A7 Chip 64 Bit – A lot of power packed into a small Design
  • Retina Screen – 7.9inch Display – At Last, everything will look good on it
  • Up to 128 GB – Thank you
  • Twice the Wifi – 2 Antennas that work smoothly together

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I am personally going to be getting the iPad Mini 2 – 128 GB because I want the space and that beautiful screen with the powerful wifi. I don’t care for LTE because I have one of the first 3G versions that I never put a chip in and when I did it was annoying and preferred wifi. Also if you purhcase the iPad LTE the US like most of us will, the 4G won’t work in Kuwait so that would be pointless. Also for the price of the 4G units, they are not worth it at all, serisouly almost 1000 USD for the top end iPad Air, thats just ridiculous, but the iPad Mini 2 is an excellent buy.

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Pricing:

  • iPad Air Wifi/LTE
  • 16GB – 499/629 USD
  • 32GB – 599/729 USD
  • 64GB – 699/829 USD
  • 128GB – 799/899 USD
  • iPad Mini 2 Wifi/LTE
  • 16GB – 399/529 USD
  • 32GB – 499/629 USD
  • 64GB – 599/729 USD
  • 128GB – 699/829 USD

Pics From Venture Beat

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UAE & Oman Bike Trip

This started off back in early June and we were discussing the details about going on a nice long bike and we were discussing the locations and honestly UAE was a nice location to start with. I didn’t want to rent a bike and do a tour, I wanted to ride on my bike on a trip not another bike. There were about six of us as I mentioned in the other post but by the time it came to commit only four could commit from the six, and it was a solid number so we went ahead with the idea. All the major planning and details were being discussed over the few months but the major travel arrangements didn’t happen except until the first week of October, I probably should have started it earlier since everything would get booked up on Eid and I thought we were going to go to odd places and there would be availability but I was very wrong, we hit German tourist territory with about 3/4 of all the locations we went to.

Bike Travel Preparation

  • We did as much research as humanely possible.
  • Luckily there are a lot British nuts in UAE who ride so we found a substantial amount of youtube videos for the areas we were heading towards so we knew what we were in for
  • Tristar serviced our machines and got them prepped by checking every nut and bolt on our bikes
  • I got a Garmin Nuvi 1490 LMT with updated Middle East Maps from Seas & Deserts
  • Mapped everything on Google Maps including stops and made sure we were on track to the nice curvy roads

Setting Up The GPS

  • I got the Ram Mount for the Garmin Nuvi 1490LMT
  • Installed the Garmin Battery Cable thanks to Tristar
  • The GPS wasn’t budging in speeds upwards of 240 kph so it was perfect
  • I transferred our routes through a program called Tyre which you can download here
  • I double checked our route on the Garmin Device and modified it slightly since it wasn’t 100% as we wanted

We got information from Tristar on which shipping company to use and we also checked a few others. We decided to have our bikes shipped to Dubai and start from there, we didn’t want ride from Kuwait to UAE because I heard that Saudi is a very boring straight line, no curves so it would be tiring and no reason to ride it. After a little research and a few quotes we went with Al Sawan shipping since they have had experience shipping motorcycles to Europe and other locations in the Middle East for other riders. They got our bikes to Dubai within 5 days ready in a storage facility, so picked them up from Dubai Green Park Community on Wednesday morning and road back to Dubai. It felt like we were the wild pack and about to embark on an insane adventure.

This is the route we took:

  • Day 1 – Dubai to Ras Al Khaymah
  • Day 2 – Ras Al Khaymah to Khasab, Oman to Ras Al Khaymah (Curvy Road)
  • Day 3 – Ras Al Khaymah to Fujeirah (Curvy Road)
  • Day 3 – After we got to the Hotel we took a ride from Fujeirah to Kalba then Hatta and Back (Very Curvy Roads)
  • Day 4 – Fujeirah to Al Ain (Again Very Curvy Roads through Kalba and Hatta)
  • Day 5 – Al Ain to Dubai (Straight Line & Boring)

We had to pack 7 days worth of clothing into a small tail pack on the back of the Diavel, and I carried a back pack which was a bit uncomfortable and not a smart idea. I brought a laptop and a few things which didn’t require and taking up space. So on the travel days I was in a bit of an uncomfortable position. I didn’t know the exact routes and the GPS gave us about 90% of the right routes, the thing is I double checked it as much as possible.

I had my GoPro Hero2 attached to my Helmet and switched it on during the curves which was a lot of fun. The one thing I just had to keep in mind was to switch it off at border crossings, but we had a few incidents at security checkpoints where the camera was running but I didn’t know they were there and they asked about it if it was running. So I just had to keep it in mind during our trip since we had a few places that we crossed that I put the GoPro away.

There were three parts to the ride that I loved, Khasab Oman, a beautiful two lane road by the coast head from Ras Al Khaymah to Khasab. It was thrilling to ride and felt brand new, I wish to ride again soon, we just didn’t have the chance to fully enjoy it. Then there were the curves just before Fujeirah, it was just over the top, high speed curves and then some tight curves up in the mountains, I was excited while riding, I haven’t seen roads like that in my life.

When we got to Dibba Al Fujeirah after the first set of curves we were riding by the coast with some very beautiful roads passing by the Gas Storage Facility in Fujeirah before getting to our hotel. It was fun and Fujeirah had the most modern mall, I think it was called City Centre, very nicely done. We dropped our things and went riding to Kalba since it was only 15 KM away and then continued another 60 KM to Hatta which we went through the infamous tunnel, I loved hearing from my screaming exhaust and I think so did the people outside the tunnel. The Diavel really is another name for Devil because that’s what it sounded like screaming through. We found a few Wadi’s which we stopped by, it really was a fun adventure, and took some pictures there as well. Then we rode back to the hotel and decided to turn in after getting some coffee. The one thing I have to say is that you can find a Starbucks in every location, I was shocked, they are everywhere.

Next day we headed out for our longest ride over 230 KM and surprisingly we only had to fill once even with the Monster riding with us. We hit the fun curvy part on the way to Hatta and through the tunnels, its such an amazing road. Then when we came close to the Oman border the roads became straight and it got a bit boring, so it was a little over an hour of straight highway, and as we got close to Al Ain the roads were turning into a major highway, four lanes on each side. When you get into Al Ain it is a beautiful area with lots of vegetation, and it feels like the old Sharjah that I remember from the 90s. And one thing for sure is that it was extremely clean, every road so clean, in UAE & Oman.

Throughout our ride we only got caught in traffic during the evening in Dubai as we were leaving. The best times to leave are early morning so you can enjoy your day where ever you are going. Everyone gives us way, about 90% of people on the road were nice to us or indifferent. The other 10% are a bit crazy but compared to Kuwait it’s a walk in the park. We spent most of our day riding and when the sun sets we are back at the hotel, getting a bite to eat and passing out to walk up at the crack of dawn when possible.

Our Hotels:

  • Palace Old Town – 1 Night
  • Hilton Ras Al Khaymah – 2 Nights
  • Nour Arjan Rotana Fujeirah – 1 Night
  • Mercure Grand Jebel Hafeet – 1 Night
  • Palace Old Town – 1 Night

Since the moment the GPS was switched on we travelled a total of 1402 kilometers all over the UAE and a bit of Oman on Day 2 & Day 4. It was a hell of a trip and to top it off we went wakeboarding in Dubai Marina which was a lot of fun. I only got upstaged by my young cousin and I was falling face flat into the water, but I enjoyed it. The ride to Dubai was exhausting because it started getting a bit hotter then we expected and it was all a straight line, it was very boring, so hitting the water right away was exactly what was needed. This was probably one of the best rides I have been on and the roads in the UAE are better then any road I have seen in the UK or all of the West Coast of the US. The Diavel and Monster S4RS were more then capable for a very long trip and taking roads of every kind and I’m hoping to do something like this again and soon.


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Review: Skyfall

Bond’s loyalty to M is tested as her past comes back to haunt her. As MI6 comes under attack, 007 must track down and destroy the threat, no matter how personal the cost.

This is probably one of the best movies I have seen in a while, there is a reason why I love Daniel Craigh as Bond, he is raw and rough. He says more with his facial expressions then he does speaks, he really knows how to throw a punch and those fights feel real. This story isn’t the typical world is in danger and Bond needs to save it, MI6 is hit and it is hit hard, Bond is presumed dead and M has to fight this out. This time around death doesn’t feel so light, its real and its a home. Bond comes back but he is human, he isn’t the perfect robot, he is human and there are some new characters that I enjoyed especially the ending of a certain change in government roles which I won’t mention. I’m liking the new Q he has the typical British Wit and they make fun of themselves with some of the ridiculous equipment they have had before. This movie takes a slightly different one but I like what they did with it, and I haven’t even gotten to the bad guy yet. The villain, a laughing lunatic called Silva (Javier Bardem), a suave Hannibal Lecter type whose motive is revenge against MI6 for not appreciating him. This movie has its slow parts but carries a more serious tone then its predecessors and for once we know for sure there is going to be a sequel and I hope its sooner rather then later. With this I feel that Daniel Craig is the only Bond actor who has stepped out from the shadow that was cast by Connery, he has proven himself a capable Bond.

Link: IMDB
Rating:

Movie Downloads

A long weekend is coming up and you have to throw in a few movies while its here. These are the ones I have in hand at the moment, but then there are the ones that are in movies, but I wouldn’t watch a censored movie. Surprisingly the one I really want to see is Something From Nothing The Art Of Rap which is a very cool rap documentary, another documentary about the hacking that went on last year is We Are Legion, the rest of the movies are the usual entertaining ones for the long weekend.

  • The Amazing Spiderman
  • Madeas Witness Protection
  • Fast Girls
  • Safety Not Gauranteed
  • The Expendables 2
  • We Are Legion
  • Magic Mike
  • Madagascar 3 Europe’s Most Wanted
  • The Tall Man
  • Thats My Boy
  • Rock Of Ages
  • Prometheus
  • People Like Us
  • Men In Black 3
  • Arbitrage
  • Something From Nothing The Art Of Rap

Burger Boutique – Finally Open

The wait has been too long, Burger Boutique was the first to open years ago with the comic book themed menu that I loved. I didn’t know what to expect from Burger Boutique but all I knew was that it was going to be something good and honestly I was looking forward to it. Then I got the call that they were inviting people to try it out. Let me say this the pictures I took do not do it justice, it is in Al Rayah Mall just opposite its original location on the 2nd floor. We were a lot of guys so we ordered pretty much everything on the menu and everything was so damn good.

I had high expectations for the Burgers and they did not disappoint, the normal burgers and the sliders. They were going for a recycling theme which I thought was cool but sometimes it was just too much paper to get to my food, I felt like a cave man ripping at his food and the guys didn’t give me chance to take pictures, food would just disappear so it was eat or be eaten situation. They have expanded on the types of fries they have and I loved the chilli cheese fries, so damn good. There were so many other good things on the menu but I didn’t have a chance even remember their names.

The one thing that really surprised me that tasted so good that I burnt my tongue since it was really hot was the chilli cheese hot dog. It really tasted amazing, like the kind of hot dogs that you think it should taste like, the ones I remember from a long time ago and this just really hit the spot. Also the selection of milk shakes are really good, I loved the Oreo Milkshake it really stuffed me at the end. One thing that I love about Burger Boutique, Slider Station, & OFK, its their buns, they just taste so good and with the opening of Burger Boutique they have opened their Bakery so now they make all their buns there and it just adds to the flavor of the Burgers. I will be going back and I loved that their open, if you have a chance and your feeling a burger then you should stop by for sure.


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Zain Home Router (LTE/4G Speeds)

I had a chance to get my hands on the Zain router, running on the LTE/4G frequencies in Kuwait which still hasn’t been fully certified from the Ministry of Communications. So people are asking the main reason for the delay is MoC, they have everything deployed for a little while now, but as usual politics is what stops things in Kuwait, but MoC is a totally different story.

Getting my hands on it I had a bit of skepticism but I did try AT&T’s 4G services and I have seen how fast it is and its scary fast. So the first thing I wanted to do is test it where ever I can, and this case I tested it at work and friend’s places and my home. Overall I am impressed with the hardware, it is solid and gets a lot of signal, decent speed even when it is low signal, and that was the important test for me, even with low signal it was getting decent speeds around 10 MB.

It’s a Huawei modem, looks good and simple, 4 Ethernet ports on the back and right now the services are not open to the public. The worst signal I got was ranging from 8MB to 16MB, up to 32MB to 42MB. Those are some very scary speeds, and surfing the net feels lighting fast, I do love fast internet. And for 33 KD a month honestly its not too bad, but the cap should at least be 200 or 250 GB not 80 GB

Pros:

  • Gets decent speed even with bad signal
  • It doesn’t have to be next to a window like Mada so you can place it inside your house and it will work
  • It has reached 42 MBPs with me, which got about 4.1 MB down with downloads

Cons:

  • The Cap is 80GB, thats nothing compared to the speed
  • You can buy more space but its overpriced in my opinion
  • Its not consistent at times, but I think they are just ironing out a few kinks in the system

Based on what speeds can be reached you can reach which is 2.1 MB/s to 4.1 MB/s you can use up your 80 GB cap in 11 to 6 hrs depending on your speed. And previously the 21 MBps had a 60 GB limit from Zain so logically it should be at least 120 GB based on their original capping scheme. Overall I think the cap is ridiculous but they are going to do it then a person should get a good bang for their buck with a 250 GB limit.

If you reach the cap you can buy an extra 25 GB for 12 KD or 5 GB for 3 KD, overall I think the pricing is off and not proportional but at least they give you an option to buy more data. For a 15 month contract you get the first three months 50% off and the device for free with 33 KD per month after the first three months. Overall the package is pretty good.

Testing In Shuweikh

Sometimes it would hang a bit, in an odd way and torrents would slow down even when the surfing speed is still high so its a bit surprising. The main issue is consistency, nothing beats a fiber connection but if you don’t have the option then this is the next best thing for surfers. Some gamers will like it but if you care about your ping then this is a bit on the high side. So its great for surfing and certain amount of downloading, not for heavy internet use, but its the perfect back up to your home internet if something goes wrong.

Testing in Miseela/Bidaa

In my case I have crappy land lines so I depend on WIMD and I’m honestly very happy with them even though they are a bit congested still at least a solid 12 to 15 MB and hitting 20 MB in the evenings with no cap. If you can have fiber thats always better but then again this device will really do the job because 4G coverage is supposed to be all over the country by the time it rolls out.

Testing In Fintas with One Signal Bar

Overall I think its an excellent product but they are working out the kinks, it did really reach those high speeds but we have to keep in mind nobody is on the network and it isn’t commercially available so until it is then we can judge the real speed based on the number of users, I hope they have the band width to accept the number of users who will get on board. I’m not sure when it will go commercial because the issue isn’t with Zain its with a governmental entity and you can never guess when they will be done.

Speedtest with VPN on, overall not bad, surfing speed feels quick

Traffic For The Next Few Days (Stay Home)

From the text messages and posts that the government has been announcing that basically we shouldn’t be out for the next few days. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday all the roads are basically going to be packed on the map, 600’000 people are going to be rerouted at the busiest times of the day.

  • 10:00 am – 2:00 pm – The Roads in Blue will be blocked
  • 4:30 pm – 9:00 pm – The Roads in Blue will be blocked

Based on the map we are pretty much screwed, and driving to work is going to be a nightmare. I was thinking of taking the seaside so at least I could get a view while stuck in traffic. I don’t know how they decided to plan this, but as usual there was no planning in the matter, but at least they announced that they are blocking it so we know what we are getting our selves into. So if you don’t need to go out don’t, but if you do be prepared for a lot of road rage.

CANON EOS M CAMERA

Now this is the camera for me, at last Canon can hear my thoughts.

Canon’s EOS M is finally upon us. $800 will get you the company’s first mirrorless, interchangeable-lens camera, with a 22mm prime and a sales pitch centered firmly around its video capabilities. It certainly took them long enough when all the other manufacturers were doing it, Canon finally stepped up to the plate and they are pulling out all the stops. Blurring the lines between a DSLR and a point-and-shoot, it has a lot of the Capabilities of the DSLR packed into a compact size yet you can use your DSLR lenses on it. And the specifications on this camera are nothing to joke about, Canon have done a good job and I want to add this camera to my list.

Here’s Canon EOS M feature highlights:

  • 18 Megapixel CMOS (APS-C) sensor
  • DIGIC 5 Image Processor
  • Full HD Movie with Focus Tracking
  • 3.0-inch touch screen with LCD
  • Touch AF and Multi-touch Operation
  • Hybrid CMOS Auto-focus for photo & video
  • ISO 100–12800, expandable to 25600
  • Compatible with Canon EF and EF-S lenses (Optional EOS M mount adapter is required)
  • Compatible with SD/SDHC/SDXC memory cards, including new Ultra High Speed (UHS-I) cards
  • Includes Canon EF-M 22mm F2 STM

Full manual exposure control when shooting video, and an available mount adapter so you can use nearly any EF or EF-S lenses. The exact type of camera that I would like, I don’t want to lug around the DSLR around my neck all the time but sometimes I want a camera that I can uses all the lenses that I have, and with all the features this mirrorless beast is very rich in video controls and options. The release date is set for October.

Price: $800
Link: Amazon

An Amazing Night Ride

Riding season is upon us and so we must ride, honestly there is no better feeling of that rush when you first hit the road. I tried with all my will to remain calm and collected, to take it slowly when I get back on that bike, its been a few months since I was on, to get my bearings and the feeling right, but I was TOTALLY over the top and gunned it the moment I could, I didn’t even realize I only had a quarter of the tank left. This was right after work and Tristar just brought my bike back, I just updated my playlist and was ready to ride.

I love riding the Ducati Diavel is appeases my need for top-speed horsepower and throttle-cracking torque. This really feels like an Italian bread machine, everything about it screams Ducati attitude, I especially love the color scheme of carbon fiber and red. Heading down the road I was on a high, taking corner to corner as if my life depended it on it. I tried riding a bit more sensibly but I couldn’t get the excitement out of me. I could even see other riders and how happy they were riding, there were a few idiots on the road but they couldn’t ruin my mood. I was only out riding for two hours but it was a world of time and I made the best of it. Ducati has really come along over the years and the last thing anyone thought they would do a few years ago is make a cruiser, they thought they would stick to race bred machines, but instead they built the Diavel which is stylish, powerful, and an elite enthusiast machine.


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Customs Going Overboard

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I have recently been complaining about package delays from Customs but it seems it has gone to another level. You can forget that half the people aren’t going to work because they have decided to strike until they get the salary of a CEO in a billion dollar investment company with all the benefits. There are new regulations in customs that EVERY package has to be searched and ANY media goes to ministry of information.

I spoke too soon about my limited edition Gears Of War 3, I should have just picked it up from here instead of the craziness that I now face with them. My package has been transfered to the Ministry of Information because they don’t trust my translation for video game and they said all media has to be searched by Customs not some. I thought customs was an issue before but this has been taken to another level, I went to the Ministry of Information to see what is going on. They told me that it takes 4 days to process and if its clear it is sent back to customs at the airport and then you clear it there. So basically another 7 to 10 days for the whole process to go through on top of the two and half weeks it has been in Kuwait. I will see what will happen next.