Should you get a new iPad? Yes!

Post by Mark

Recently I bought a new iPad, the iPad Pro 9.7″ specifically. I wasn’t planning to, but someone had a brand new unopened iPad Pro in my classifieds section listed for KD120, and it was just too good of a deal to pass up. I had a third generation iPad from 2012 which I had been using occasionally and like most people who own iPads, I really didn’t think I needed to get the new one. I just didn’t think there would be that big of a difference but damn I couldn’t have been more wrong.

The difference in experience between my old iPad 3 and the new iPad Pro is ridiculously huge, I’m not sure where to begin even.

Probably the most noticeable difference between my old iPad and the new one is the speed. I used to find my old iPad sluggish especially when browsing and opening new tabs which is what I was using it mostly for, but I didn’t realize how slow and sluggish it was until I started using the new iPad. Launching apps is now instant and the speed which websites load and tabs open up is just as fast. Tabs would actually load in the background now while before they’d only load when in the foreground. It’s a little thing but it makes surfing the web a lot quicker.

Another thing that stuck out for me was the multitasking ability. My iPad 3 didn’t support the new iOS 10 and all the cool features that come with it like AirDrop and multitasking. So once I got the new iPad and started multitasking I realized how much of a big difference it makes especially if you’re like me and like to do a bunch of things at the same time. I can now browse reddit, check twitter and stream Hulu all at the same time with just a few swipes (pictured above). It’s so easy to do as well, if you want to load up another app on the side, you just swipe from the right edge of the screen to the left and that’s it, you’ve now got two apps running side by side. If I wanted to attempt the same on my MacBook Pro it would involve more steps and the end result wouldn’t look as good.

The faster speed and multitasking ability alone would have made getting the new iPad worth it, but there are a few more things I liked as well. Compared to my old iPad the new one is so much thinner and lighter so its so much more enjoyable when using in bed. The ability to use Apple’s smart keyboard is also a huge plus. I picked up a new Apple Smart Keyboard for just $80 on eBay and I love it. Most of the time I use it as a protective cover but whenever I need to type something I just fold out the keyboard and start typing. No need to wait for Bluetooth to connect or to make sure my keyboard is charged, it just works right away all the time. If I could draw for shit, I’d also pick up the Apple Pencil but I can’t so I won’t.

Basically, if you have an old iPad it really is worth upgrading to the newer models especially if you’re still running iOS 9. I’ve started using my iPad a lot more now and I can’t believe it took me this long to get one.


Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Local Phone Apps I Use

Post by Mark

iphone6-2

Someone suggested I put together a list of all the local apps I use so I’ve listed them below. Any local app I should be using which isn’t on the list? Let me know!

NBK: They’re my bank and so I don’t have an option except to use their app but it’s actually a pretty good one. Quick to login with just my fingerprint, the app looks good and I can perform all my banking from within it. The only thing I can’t do is add new beneficiaries for money transfers. I still need to login to their website and add it from there the old fashioned way.

Talabat: Not a big fan of talabat, not a big fan of their app either. I literally have it installed and use it just so I could order from CHKN. That’s it.

Carriage: Although they charge a KD1 delivery charge, it’s the only way to order from some of my favorite places like JOA and DOH! Plus you can track the status of your order and watch the delivery guy get lost on your way to your house via GPS tracking.

MyFatoorah: I use this app to invoice clients and sometimes friends. Easier than having people add me as a beneficiary to their bank account, they can just transfer money to me by paying me with Knet.

Xcite: I don’t use the app to shop from, but more as tool whenever I am trying to find out the price of an item locally.

4Sale: Worst app design but also the only way to access the best classifieds website in Kuwait. I tend to just use it to flip through the cars category always looking for something interesting on sale.

Klean: It’s a laundry service app but they also clean sneakers so I only tend to use this app when I need my sneakers cleaned.

Alive Yoga: Since I’m a member at Alive, I use the app to check the schedule of classes and to sign up. It’s pretty good plus once you sign up, the app can add your class to your phone calendar so you don’t forget.

Other Notable Mentions:

SnappCard: Used to be one of my favorite apps but after their last update, they now force you to review your previous order before you can use the app again. Imagine if Talabat did this, forced you to review a restaurant every time after placing an order and not allowing you to use the app until you do. I deleted the app obviously.

Burgan Bank: Also my bank, terrible app, looks like something from the 90s. Very limited with what I can do in the app but thankfully they recently added fingerprint login and so one positive thing about it.

Go Tap: I used to use this app to buy iTunes cards from before I connected my iTunes account directly to my US credit card.

iBadala: A phone directory app, rarely use it anymore since I just google things but it’s still on my phone just in case.


Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

My Current Favorite iPhone Repair Shop

Post by Mark

Every so often something happens to my iPhone and I end up having to head to Hawalli to get it repaired. For the past two years I’ve been going to a place called U.S. Workshop and I didn’t really think they were that special, until recently. A couple of weeks ago I broke my iPhone screen again but this time I really wasn’t in the mood to drive to Hawalli, so I called up FixAid and had them come over and replace my screen at home. When the repair guy handed me the phone, the color tone of my screen was very blue, but I thought maybe it was just my eyes getting adjusted to a crackless screen. Then for the next couple of days the touch screen was being weird and unresponsive. Since they have a 10 day warranty period, I took the phone back to FixAid and explained to them the problem. We tried another screen on and ended up facing a similar issue with the screen color so I told them I didn’t want it anymore and they were professional enough to refund me the money minus a service charge.

I took the cash and headed to U.S. Workshop in Hawalli. They always ask you what kind of quality screen you want to replace it with, the low quality for KD20 or the high quality KD30 screen? (I have an iPhone 6s). I went with the KD30 screen which is basically identical to the original iPhone screen color tone wise and responsiveness. Once I got my phone back and realized it was perfect again I told them how I used a home service because I didn’t want to drive down to Hawalli all the time. Thats when I found out they also offer home service as well for an extra KD5 charge. So, below are the details in case you ever need an iPhone/iPad repair shop.

Location: Bin Khaldoun Street, around 3 buildings after Blink, inside the building before KFH. There are some steep steps you climb up to get into the building, thats how you’ll recognize it. [Google Maps]

Telephone: 22610042


Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

MacBook Pro Touch Bar Update

Post by Mark

When I posted my MacBook Pro review a couple of weeks back I mentioned that the Touch Bar was still new and people were still trying to figure out what it could be useful for. Well I think people are starting to figure it out. One thing I found out since I published that post was that the app BetterTouchTool supported the Touch Bar. I already had BetterTouchTool installed and had been using it for years because it allowed me to customize my trackpad gestures. Now it also allows you to customize the Touch Bar which is useful because some apps like Chrome don’t support the Touch Bar yet.

So using BetterTouchTool I started creating useful buttons for the Touch Bar I could use when in Chrome. Then the developer added the ability to display the date and battery life time remaining information in the Touch Bar. When he did that I realized it would be super useful if I could display my Spotify track names in the Touch Bar while I was browsing in Chrome. So I contacted the developer and requested that feature and sure enough, a few days later, BetterTouchTool got the ability to display what track was playing in the Touch Bar. The picture on top is of my current Chrome Touch Bar setup, I have a button to take me in and out of full screen mode, a button to view my download list, a button for incognito mode, a track play/forward button, track/artist name display area plus my battery remaining time which Apple doesn’t allow you to view anymore by default.

People are still creating interesting stuff for the Touch Bar, one guy for example created a translator, whenever you highlight a word or phrase in the browser, it would automatically translate that text and display it to you in your Touch Bar using a predefined language of your choice. There are also a ton of fun/silly/useless things you could do to the Touch Bar like displaying an infinite loop of Nyan Cat or turn your Touch Bar into Kitt from Knight Rider. You could even install an app that would turn the Touch Bar into a piano or play a game of Pong using the Touch Bar to control the rudder. You can check them all out in the video above.

So yeah, looks like the Touch Bar is getting more and more interesting. If you have the new MacBook Pro Touch Bar, make sure you install BetterTouchTool so you could customize things the way you want.


Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

MacBook Pro Touch Bar vs MacBook Air – My Review

Post by Mark

I don’t think any notebook has ever gotten as much hate as the new MacBook Pro’s have and I can’t understand why. Last week I replaced my 13″ MacBook Air with the new 13″ MacBook Pro with the Touch Bar and I just love it.

Before I go ahead and explain why I love the new MacBook Pro so much and why I think its so much better than my already amazing MacBook Air, I’m going to first quickly explain why the biggest issues people have with the MacBook Pro don’t really affect me. This review is also fairly long compared to my regular posts so I’ve titled all the main paragraphs that way you can skip down to the area you care more about if you don’t feel like reading.

No USB Ports
This is probably the biggest issue people have with the new MacBook Pros, they don’t have the regular USB Type-A ports and instead Apple replaced them with the newer, slimmer, faster, better but also less popular USB-C ports. In my case I rarely used the USB ports on my MacBook Air, the only time I ever used them was when I traveled I’d charge my iPhone from my Air’s USB port and when I wanted to copy stuff onto or off memory sticks. I barely used USB so for me if the ports are USB-C or Type-A… I don’t really care. I bought the USB-C to Type-A Apple adapter so IF I ever need a regular Type-A port, I’ll just use the adapter. I’d rather have a slimmer notebook without any USB ports than a thicker one with. But again thats because I rarely used the ports to begin with and I can always move things around wirelessly.

No SD Card Slot
This I was more upset with than the lack of USB ports. I take a lot of photos with my camera for the blog and when I travel so it was very practical having an SD card slot in my MacBook Air. But it’s not that big a deal really having no SD card slot. My current camera’s SD card has WiFi anyway so I’ll just wirelessly transfer the photos onto my Mac. Actually, most of the time I copy the photos over to my phone first, edit them in VSCO and then AirDrop them onto my Mac. That’s what I did with these pictures in this post for example.

Battery Life
This wasn’t an issue until Consumer Reports tested the new MacBook Pro’s late last month and got battery life that ranged anywhere from 4 to 18 hours. They cited major inconsistencies which I have yet to encounter with my short time with the notebook. So far my MacBook Pro is lasting me as much as my MacBook Air would which is to say all day of on and off use.

Max 16GB of RAM
A lot of people have made a fuss that the maximum amount of RAM the new MacBook Pro’s support is 16GB. I had 8GB of RAM on my MacBook Air and I was doing design work and editing large files on it without any issues. I have 8GB of RAM on my new MacBook Pro and I expect it to perform even better than my MacBook Air so I’m fine with the 16GB limit since I don’t need more than 8.

The Review
Now with the controversial items out of the way let me start my review. I’ve never owned a MacBook Pro (or PowerBook). My first notebook ever was a white 12″ iBook G3 Dual USB back in 2001 (considered the most unreliable Apple notebook ever). Since then I’ve had a bunch of other low end Apple notebooks until I moved up to the MacBook Air. I got my first one in 2011 and then replaced it in 2015 with the updated model. Anyone who owns a MacBook Air will tell you they’re incredible notebooks and I really didn’t need to replace mine, it was more than enough for my needs, but something about the new MacBook Pro’s attracted me, I think it was the Touch Bar but once I saw them I knew I needed one. In the week I’ve owned the MacBook Pro, a few things have really impressed me compared to the MacBook Air:

The Size
Somehow Apple has managed to make the MacBook Pro smaller than the MacBook Air and also weigh the same. Side by side when compared to the MacBook Air, the MacBook Pro is clearly smaller and more compact.

The Screen
My biggest issue with the MacBook Air was the screen, not because it didn’t have a retina display which I could care less about, but because the viewing angle was terrible. I used to constantly adjust the screen tilt to make sure I was getting the best viewing angle. With the new MacBook Pro I don’t have that issue, no matter how much I move the screen looks great. The color difference and brightness is another thing I instantly noticed, side by side the MacBook Air looks dimmer and the colors duller when compared to the Pro. I’d find it really difficult to move back to the MacBook Air now.

The Sound
The speakers on the new MacBook Pro are much better than the MacBook Air. Like the difference in sound quality is pretty dramatic, other than the fact the sound is much more louder on the MacBook Pro, it also has more bass and much more clarity to it. And because the speakers are pointing towards you (with the Air the sound is indirect), the left and right channels are also a lot more clearly defined. I’ve started listening to music on my notebook which I never used to do before.

The Keyboard
Based on the reviews I read online about the keyboard, I was worried I was going to hate it. I don’t, it’s now one of my favorite things in the new MacBook Pro. I type better with it, I type faster and it just feels so much more solid when compared to the MacBook Air keyboard which now feels too squishy to me.

What About the Touch Bar?
This is one area I have yet to make up my mind on. There are two parts to the Touch Bar, the main touch display area and the TouchID (fingerprint sensor) which is located on the far right. I love the TouchID since it allows me to sign into my MacBook instantly. I’m also hoping that soon I could use TouchID to unlock 1Password like I do on my iPhone, that option alone would make this MacBook Pro worth it over the Air.

Now the touch display area of the Touch Bar is what I’m still trying to get a hang of. Right now it really isn’t that useful. It looks cool for sure but it’s currently not that much more practical than keyboard short cuts. Also not all apps support it yet and the ones that do don’t allow that much customization to it. Because of the way I rest my hands on the keyboard while using the trackpad I also keep accidentally touching the Esc button which is annoying (I’ve done it 3 times while writing this article) but I’m getting used to it. While I’m typing this post up I have Spotify showing on my Touch Bar but for I wish instead of the audio scrubber showing (pictured above), I could choose to show the name of the song and artist in that space instead. The Touch Bar is still new though so I’m hoping we’ll get more customization options over the next year as companies start understanding what people want from the Touch Bar.

MacBook Air vs MacBook Pro
This is a really easy recommendation to make, the MacBook Pro is a much better machine over the Air in every way. The MacBook Pro weighs the same as the Air but is also smaller in size so the biggest advantage the Air had over the Pro series doesn’t exist anymore. The MacBook Pro screen is better, the keyboard is better and if you’re used to listening to music on the Air’s speakers, then you’re gonna love the MacBook Pro. The only thing I have difficulty recommending is the MacBook Pro with the Touch Bar over the version without the Touch Bar. Is the Touch Bar worth an extra $300? I think I’m leaning towards a yes, but only if you’ve got the money to spend. If you don’t thats fine, you aren’t really missing much.

I ordered my MacBook Pro from eBay and it cost me KD548 ($1,789) and another KD10.5 to ship to Kuwait using PostPlus. It was considerably cheaper to buy it on eBay since Apple charges tax and I would have ended up paying KD600 ($1,963) if I had purchased it from the Apple Store. It was also quicker since when I was ordering the MacBook Pro, the wait time on the Apple Store was 3-4 weeks before shipping. But, the advantage of ordering directly from the Apple Store is you could customize your Mac with more RAM or a faster CPU. I also purchased the “Space Gray” color which is what you see in the pictures in this post. Let me know if you have any questions.

Update: Turns out 1Password already works with TouchID, I just needed to enable it in the settings!


Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

My Abandoned Apple Store Photos are Popular Again

Post by Mark

apple

Back before the iPod came out and Apple became popular, there was an Apple store located across the street from Salhiya. As a teenager I used to walk by the store and dream about owning a Power Mac which I thought back then was one of the hottest looking computers on the market. Fast forward around a decade later and that Apple store was abandoned. I ended up taking some photos of it in that abandoned state and published them online as part of my Miskan project. The photos got picked up by the likes of Engadget and Gizmodo since the store was like a time capsule. After my 15 seconds of fame that was it.. until this week.

Somehow the photos have started making their rounds around the internet again, they first got posted on reddit and then the popular YouTuber EverythingApplePro who has like 3 million subscribers shared the photos in his latest video. Gotta love the internet. My pictures make it in his video above at the 2:10 mark but you can check out all the photos I had taken back then [Here]

apple2

I eventually ended up getting the vinyl ‘Think Different’ campaign banners that are in the photos. I still have them tucked away in my closet and from what I’ve been able to gather, they’re now worth a nice penny or two.

Thanks Salah!


Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

How to Block Spam Messages in iOS 10

Post by Mark

block1

Previously on my iPhone, whenever I got a spam message, blocking it was fairly simple, you clicked on the sender on the top and then a “Block this Caller” option appeared and I’d click it. But, with the new iOS, things are a bit more complicated and the “Block this Caller” option is now hidden in a different menu without an obvious way of getting there. It actually took me a bit of googling to figure out how to block callers in iOS10 so I figured I’d share it on the blog since spam messages are pretty common in Kuwait.

Step 1
Instead of clicking on the sender like you previously would do, you now need to click the little “i” on the top right of your phone (photo on top)

block2

Step 2
In this second menu, you need to click on the senders name

block3

Step 3
Once you’re at the last menu you’ll now notice the “Block this Caller” option is available again at the bottom of the screen.


Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

iPhone 7 Prices in Kuwait

Post by Mark

iphone7

Below are the current prices of the iPhone 7 in Kuwait, the cheapest online seems to be Best Electronics. Check out the list below and if I’m missing a website let me know.

Best Electronics
iPhone 7 32GB: KD238
iPhone 7 Plus 32GB: KD326

Blink
iPhone 7 32GB: KD259
iPhone 7 Plus 32GB: KD375

Lulu
iPhone 7 32GB: KD240
iPhone 7 Plus 32GB: N/A

Mr Babu
iPhone 7 32GB: KD239
iPhone 7 Plus 32GB: KD329

Quick
iPhone 7 32GB: KD270
iPhone 7 Plus 32GB: KD370

Taw9eel
iPhone 7 32GB: KD245
iPhone 7 Plus 32GB: N/A

uBuy
iPhone 7 32GB: KD240
iPhone 7 Plus 32GB: N/A

Xcite
iPhone 7 32GB: KD240
iPhone 7 Plus 32GB: KD330


Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

New Taxi App – Abi Taxi

Post by Mark

abitaxi

Haven’t tried using this app yet but hopefully it’s more reliable than the other taxi app I’ve tried using before, Q8 Taxi. I tried ordering a cab with Q8 Taxi when I had to drop off my car for detailing and the drivers kept canceling my taxi request. Whats taking Uber so long to launch in Kuwait??

To download Abi Taxi on your iPhone just search for Abi Taxi in the app store or click [Here]


Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Dizly – The Social Gifting App

Post by Mark

dizly

Dizly is a locally produced app that allows you to buy and send a variety of gifts to people. I’ve had the app for awhile now but they’ve recently made some changes to it that have improved the experience dramatically with the most important change being that you no longer needed to create an account just so you could browse the products.

Since Christmas is in a few days I figured now would be the best time to post about the app. They’ve also given me a promo code “Diz248am” to share with my readers which will give you a 15% discount on all the items. The app is available on iOS and Android and you can check out their website for more details [Here]


Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Page 1 of 4312345678910Last



Contribute

If you have anything you think would be interesting to share on this blog
[Email Me]