Fasttelco – Aloo Service

FTAloo

I got my hands on the Fasttelco Aloo service a few weeks back now and its turned out to be much better then expected. The Aloo service is an ISDN service based in Kuwait from Fasttelco, you can have a local land line number attached as SIP line to any SIP capable App like Media 5, Bria, or Zoiper. The local lines start with 2220XXXX, these are the regular lines. It works great across 4G & 3G while driving, didn’t disconnect at all.

You get different different choices of lines:

  • Normal Line 70 KWD
  • Silver Line 120 KWD
  • Gold Line 200 KWD
  • Platinum Line 500 KWD
  • Diamond Line 1000 KWD
  • Royal Line 5000 KWD

This is a one time payment for those lines above, then its 60 KWD a year for the service. The yearly service rate is a reasonable rate compared to what you can do with the line. I purchased a Gold Line for a number that is easy to dial and remember. I plugged the line directly into the Android internet calling, it would ask if the call is through the internet or through the phone line, when I choose internet it uses my FT Aloo line which works perfectly. We tried it on two phones but only one could be used.

The best use of this phone is when you travel, it doesn’t matter what line you have on your phone as long as you have data. So when I’m abroad I can divert my Kuwaiti line to the FT Aloo line and it will ring where ever I am as long as I have data in the country that I am in. One point though, even if it doesn’t connect the line will still ring and miss you service from Zain won’t show the line that called you because it was diverted. Still the ability to use this line abroad is fantastic and well worth it.

Fasttelco 1838485

Abyat – Excellent Customer Service

AbyatLogo

Recently we needed a few items for the office so we decided to pick it up from Abyat. We were fixing up the waiting room so it need a carpet, a few tables, and some print work they had available.

It’s simple there with everything available to you in all the different sections, we even picked up some lights from there to replace the old ceiling lights we had.

Some items were to be sent out for delivery, and the next day there was a mistake they sent the wrong color carpet but everything else was fine.

So we didn’t sign the delivery note, and the whole order wasn’t that large but the man took it back and they sorted it out the next day with the right items. But throughout that time the Customer Service called us, the Warehouse Manager called, and the person in charge of the section called. They really followed up which is excellent on their end to my surprise, and this was sorted and done without us even bothering to call them, and it was just one item so it wasn’t a hassle to sort it out in our case, but they made a fuss about it and got it done. It’s rare to see service such as this in Kuwait and I was impressed.

Zain Local Blackberry – No Roaming

BlackBerry9800Torch

With Zain you have a choice of two plans, International or Local, with International you get an extra 10 MB for international use and unlimited local, with Local you get no allowance for international but you get unlimited local. With both plans you pay 6 fils per KB, with the international you get that fee once you go over the 10 MB monthly allowance. Now because of all the pricing and billing blunders that people suffered while traveling internationally with a local plan Zain switched off Blackberry Service for people who travel internationally but with a local plan. If you want Blackberry Service running but you want to keep your local plan you have to go to Zain and sign documents stating that you understand the bills against you. Now I can understand the billing issue but they seriously have to find a way to warn people when they are reaching their limits instead of just cutting them off. My friends just learned about this little change in policy while they were traveling, so even if they wanted to activate their Blackberry service they would have to go to Kuwait and sign the document and then they would switch it on, so no way to do it while you are abroad. But for those who don’t want to switch it on you can still use the Blackberry service internationally when you are connected to a Wifi connection.

Google Nexus One with Zain, Wataniya, & Viva

GoogleNexusOne

Voice Coverage:

  • Zain is good, except for those dropped calls at quite a few locations
  • Wataniya has good coverage, a few problem areas but overall good
  • Viva seems to go from bad to spotty coverage, pretty much the worst of the bunch

With the new Google Phone its a very Data oriented phone with lots of different services and integrated items that require constant data usage. You can manually configure the APN details so that you can access 3G/Edge of your network. The biggest adopter and advertiser of Google Android phones currently is Viva, the other operators haven’t adopted Android Phones yet. Now the surprising part is this, I have used my Google Phone with Zain and Wataniya, the settings work automatically and I’m on the 3G network right away downloading data and it transfers to a wireless network that it recognizes if it connected to it previously. It puts the priority on normal wireless if its available before using 3G/Edge. Now the surprising part is Viva, the settings don’t download right away, speaking to the technical staff they run you in circles and they don’t even know. I even tried explaining to them the exact details but I honestly couldn’t get a coherent answer from them. With Wataniya and Zain they knew exactly what I was talking about and they provided me the APN settings and the exact details, IPs, and ports. Overall for voice services in Kuwait you either go with Wataniya Telecom or Zain.

Detailing In Kuwait

Detailing is a real artform and very few have perfected it in Kuwait, and these few places that I have listed below have done a good job of coming close.

I am one person that likes to drive and ride all forms of machines, I also take care of those machines. One aspect that people forget about is taking car of the vehicle’s exterior & interior, not just the mechanical parts.

falahdetailing190408-006

We have bad washing practices in Kuwait, not including bad weather, dust and all possible forms of damage to a cars exterior. You lose the color, the vibrance of teh car, your interior might even change shades of color and you might not notice.

Detailing Steps:

  • Air Pressure
  • Clay
  • Full Wax
  • Leather Treament
  • Engine Detailing

All these steps will bring back the color and shine of your car, getting rid of those annoying scratches on the car, getting rid of the circles from washing your car with crappy quality cloth. Getting the color of your leather back to its original look and feel. I recommend a full detailing at least once every 6 months, you will love the way your car looks and your car will thank you. I’m doing this to my Landcruiser after taking it for a major beating in the deserts of Saudi for five days.

Recommend Companies:

  • Al Falah Car Wash (Al Soor Street, Kuwait City)
  • Zeibart (Al Rai on the way to Avenues from Safat Alghanim)

Economy Seat Ranking for 2009

wataniya2

Over the past year I have gone to some odd places, and on different airlines and I have gotten a really good experiences and some really horrible ones during traveling. Sometimes things go really wrong and sometimes it goes so smoothly your surprised. Well out of all the airlines I have ranked the economy seats based on the criteria below, and the higher the ranking the better the ratings of each but I’m going to number each but the results are below. This is of course excluding the attitude of the stewards on the plane, this is just pure seat comfort and relaxation throughout the trip. Up top is Wataniya Airways, with nice leg room, a reclining back, wide seat, and you don’t feel like you are packed into a truck like a bunch of sheeps. The worst out of the lot is Jazeera Airways, and they are just really bad, the seat is tight, I have to take my phones and wallet out my pocket to fit without feeling pressure on my legs.

Ranking Criteria:

  • Seat Comfort
  • Leg Space
  • Seat Reclining
  • Seat Width
  • Amenities

Ranking (Top to Bottom)

  • Wataniya Airlines
  • GulfAir
  • British Airways
  • Emirates Airlines
  • Royal Jordanian
  • Oman Air
  • Middle East Airlines
  • Jazeera Airways

Foil A Car Or Not


Foiling is a new phenomeno that has been taking place in the Kuwait and the Middle East, its the simple practice of changing color or design of a car using a special type of sticker on top of the car’s original color. Its a quick way to change colors, styles, and protecting your vehicle’s body. Its legal in the US and Europe, now for the Middle East its a different story.

I was reminded of this topic because of Brake Banzeen’s article linked below, Creative FX did a fantastic job on the F430, making it look easy. In Kuwait you can do it in a few legit places or in Shuweikh, in Al Zeena Street, but I wouldn’t recommend either. I was thinking of getting a strip or something done with the material but it looks like the police are out with vengeance.

Sticker guys who were caught in Shuweikh applying the stickers across whole cars like that were apprehended and deported for applying the stickers. I asked in a two day period 15 Indian and Bangladashi workers were apprehended, and this is when they are trying to do an honest job. I don’t know how they want to hold them responsible when they should just fine the owners of the cars, but it seems there is something else is going on. Word from the top is simple, if your car has the whole sticker applied it is towed and impounded for no less three days, and thats if you can get it out. They are out for blood and I honestly can’t imagine why. They make things really difficult for anyone that wants to do any customizing to a car, and everything is always illegal because its easier for them to take that route to figure a simple system of regulating it. Really not worth all that trouble.

Link: Brake Banzeen

Mr. Delivery

delivery-bag

I remember a while back about a delivery service that delivered food or items from your house to any other location. I was trying to remember the name I remember that Kuwait Black Market had them a while back and found it. KBM spoke about Mr. Delivery and we wanted to order from Johnny Rockets on Friday night and didn’t want to move, and we were really hungry and lazy at the same time. We called them up, they said its 2.5 KD for delivery from Johnny Rockets Salhiya to Mishref, which isn’t too bad and they asked for the bill amount and I told them over 50 KD (We were very very hungry, and we have a friend named The Ferret who can eat anything and everything). Then Johnny Rockets called and told us the driver was there but the food didn’t leave yet, they called us once it was done and he took the food. He got to us in about 15 minutes, right behind the house without having to call and find the street or getting lost. A great service which I will be using again and recommending to people. Also one other note, he had a heat bag to keep the food warm which is a plus, I was impressed, fixed low price and no hassle service what more could I have asked for.

Mr Delivery

  • 22494944
  • Reasonable Prices & No Headaches

iPod Disappearance @ Toyota

Usually when I’m traveling I try to get a car service done or anything that would take some time to get done. I had this arranged with Toyota to get my 10K service and a little paint job done for the Landcruiser. It took a total of two and a half days to get it all done, when my friend went to pick it up the Body Shop Manager told him that the iPod from my car was missing and they can’t find it, it was listed in the original paper when the car was submitted and they can’t find it. Now my friend went a little ballistic on them before I even knew, but they offered right away to purchase a new one for me. So he called up Alghanim Electronics and they are sold out and waiting for the new iPod Classics which were announced. The body shop work cost 95 KD and the 10 KD service was 25 KD, and the cost of the iPod Classic 120 GB was 85 KD. But it wasn’t available so I ordered it from Amazon and emailed my friend the emailed invoice, he sent it to them and they were reluctant to pay since it was an emailed invoice but after my friend spoke to the Body Shop Manager again, they paid the 80 KD, but that doesn’t include Aramex shipping but I didn’t mind. I usually take out all the items from my car but I wasn’t there this time around, but I have to say I was surprised this happened at Toyota, at BMW I would expect it in Kuwait but not Toyota. They were gracious enough to offer to pay right away, even if it took a little arguing.

Gear Up

While I was driving two weeks ago in the Landcruiser a sudden whining sound started, when ever I stepped on the gas. I knew something was wrong but I didn’t know what exactly and luckily I was close to home.

The odometer was at 154’000 Kms and I recently did the 150K service a couple of weeks back so I’m surprised something went wrong. I thought it would be a minor issue and would be resolved quickly. Dropped off the car at Al Rai Toyota Service on Wednesday, they said Thursday is a half day and I have the car back on Saturday. I thought that would work out fine for me. I got a call early Thursday morning with a list of items and a quote of 450 KD, I was about to start shouting on the phone because he basically wanted to replace the gear box and other items in the car. I told him that you recently did a 150 K service and supposedly checked all these items, I argued with the guy on the phone for about 15 minutes and told him that I will be passing by in the afternoon before they close. Got in by noon and the guy had a different tone, and the Egyptian manager was trying to explain. I told him I will pay for wear and tear such as replacing the clutch, but items that should have been checked at the 150 K service is something they will replace but I won’t be paying for it. After making me wait for about 30 minutes, I had the original parts list and told them they are going to replace all that they listed, and they came back to me with a 340 KD quote which is a huge difference.

They started working on the car on Thursday, but I didn’t get it back until Monday because even when I picked it up on Saturday it seems nobody bothered to do a road test drive because the huge whining sound was still there and turns out it had nothing to do with the gear box. Once they fixed that the car has been driving like it was when I first picked it up 10 years ago, the gear box felt solid and the change smoother, not so loose as it was before. Al Sayer service is probably the best in Kuwait, but sometimes you do have to get into an argument.

Parts Replaced:

  • Front Axle Assembly
  • Clutch Assembly
  • Bearing Kit
  • Boot and Cover Assembly Kit
  • Bushings
  • Front Shocks Seals
  • Radial Kit for Shocks