Find a gas station

Post by Mark

I found out about this app from His&Hers and I think it’s pretty practical. We don’t have a lot of gas stations in Kuwait so they’re a lot harder to find when you really need one. Now the next time you’re hitting empty you just launch the app and look for the closest station to you. The app is called KNPC and it’s available in the App Store for free. [Link]

Thanks His&Hers

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One of my favorite iPad sleeves

Post by Mark


I had been using the WaterField ultimate sleeve case ever since I got it in May of last year and it’s been really great. Only issue I had with it is that it was sometimes to bulky to fit into my smaller messenger bag and Nat couldn’t fit it into her purse unless the purse was also pretty big. So I looked for a thinner case I could use on occasions I didn’t need as much protection and decided to go with WaterField again. They had a model called the suede jacket (video above) which is extremely thin and just allows you to protect the iPad from scratches it might get being carried around freely in your bag or purse. I’ve been using it for awhile now and I love it as well. The material of the sleeve actually cleans your iPad as you pull it in or out which is a great way to get rid of all the smudges. Price wise it’s not that expensive at $19 but when you add shipping and then Aramex’s fee to ship to Kuwait it does become a bit over priced. It’s still a great buy for someone looking for something as unobtrusive as this. [Link]

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Review: iPod Shuffle

Post by Mark

I’ve had a lot of iPods but I don’t think I’ve been impressed with one recently as much as I have been with the latest iPod Shuffle. I got it to use while I am running or walking since the new Nano although small and light, it doesn’t have any physical buttons which makes it difficult to control without looking at the screen. The Shuffle on the other hand is super light and has buttons which for me makes it the perfect iPod for exercising.

Of course the downside is that there is no screen.. you would think but it isn’t. The shuffle has a nifty feature (like the nano) called voice over. There is a little button that you press and a guys voice comes in over your music to tell you what song is currently playing. Click that button twice and the voice tells you how much battery is left. Hold down the button and the voice will flip through your playlist and when you decide on one just press play. This feature is extremely helpful since it really allows you to control the shuffle and find out what you’re listening to all by just feeling your way around the buttons.

Price wise the shuffle is cheap. Sheeel had them on sale for just KD10 and I should have bought one then but I didn’t, instead I bought one from the market for around KD17. Still not too bad, it’s more expensive than Amazon but if you include the shipping cost it comes out the same. The Nano sells for around KD50 here as well so the shuffle is less than half the price. Really the only problem I have with the shuffle is the fact that there is no hold button which is annoying since I accidentally managed to press the forward button a few times by brushing against it. Because of that I was going to give the shuffle a 4.5 out of 5 BUT, I just decided to check the manual and make sure there isn’t a way to put the shuffle on hold and guess what? Turns out there is a hold mode, I just need to press the play/pause button for 3 seconds to activate it. So now it’s perfect. If you’re looking for a music player you don’t want to worry about scratching, breaking or losing and if you prefer physical buttons over a touch screen then the Shuffle is perfect for you. Final score is a 5 out of 5.

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Kuwait Blogs update coming soon

Post by Mark

I’ve been meaning to update the Kuwait Blogs app for awhile now but due to the fact I do all the work on my iMac I haven’t been able to do so. My iMac had a problem with the screen and I sent it in to get repaired under warranty which took around a month to get done. I just finally picked up my iMac today so will most probably be working on an update for the app this weekend.

I’m aware that the current build of the app is unstable with iOS4.3 and it’s my priority fix. I already know whats wrong I just need to work on it. What I also want to do if I have time is update the blogs in the app. I can’t add any more apps since I’ve hit the limit, but I can swap out blogs that aren’t active anymore or aren’t as active as they used to be. So if you have any recommendation on what blog I should add to the app leave it as a comment below.

If you want to download the current app here is the [Link]

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iPad on Sheeel

Post by Mark have a good deal on the original 16GB wifi iPad. For KD120 you get the iPad, a leather case that has a built in keyboard and 2 extra USB cables. There quantity is always limited so if you’re interested you need to hurry up and get it. [Link]

Note: The same iPad costs around KD10 less in the US without the accessories or shipping and tax.

Update: Baroue is selling the iPhone 4 16GB for KD225 which is around the same price if you order it yourself from Apple UK [Link]

Update2: As of this post Blink has the iPad 2’s in stock as well [Link]

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First Impression: The iPad 2

Post by Mark

I managed to get a hold of the new iPad 2 today courtesy of X-cite Electronics and I’m glad I did since there were a lot of questions I had which I managed to get answered after spending some time with the iPad 2.

The iPad 2 I got is the 3G version so the first thing I wanted to check is to see if the iPad was locked to AT&T or not. This time around there are two versions of the iPad 2 3G, there is the AT&T version and there is the Verizon version. The one I got was the AT&T version and it runs perfectly fine in Kuwait. I took out my micro sim from my iPhone 4 and placed it inside the iPad 2 and it worked right away and I was able to browse webpages and stream music from my favorite stations without a problem.

Now physically I was expecting there to be a lot more difference between the old and the new iPad but honestly I felt they were pretty similar. Sure the new iPad is 33% slimmer but it doesn’t feel that different to me (I’ve got big hands maybe?). I never felt the old iPad was actually thick so the fact that the new one is slightly slimmer is a bonus but not really worth upgrading from the old iPad. One thing I want to point out is the fact that I found it difficult to connect the iPad 2 to the keyboard dock due to the way the dock connecter at the bottom of the iPad 2 is on a curve. It took me a few tries the first time and I am guessing I would get better at it after a bit of practice.

The smart cover is pretty cool since it’s very minimal and easy to take off and put on. I didn’t like holding the iPad with the cover on but what’s great about the smart cover is you just pull it off to remove it so it’s very practical to put on and take off and when on it doesn’t add to the thickness by much.

Now I left what I think is probably the most important upgrade till the end and no it’s not the camera which I find useless but the new faster A5 processor. The new iPad 2 is a lot faster than the older iPad and games like Sim City and Red Alert for example run a lot smoother on the iPad 2 compared to the original iPad. Even when launching the apps the difference is very obvious as you can since in the video I recorded above (The iPad 2 is on the bottom).

If you still don’t have a tablet and are looking to get one I wouldn’t recommend anything other than the iPad (both original and 2). If you already own an iPad and are wondering if you should get the iPad 2, well personally I don’t think there is enough change to justify the upgrade. For me the only reason I might get an iPad 2 is if they come out with cool games that take advantage of the new faster iPad 2 processor but other than that I don’t think I would get one. Some people might need the camera or want the smart cover but I use my iPad to read magazines and play games and the original iPad will do both those nearly as good as the iPad 2. But a few months from now I will probably eat my words and end up getting the iPad 2 just because I’m an Apple fanboy.

You can check out the iPad 2 yourself since they are on display at the X-cite Avenues and Al-Rai branch. They are also taking orders and will be delivering them in a week or two. Here are the prices:

Ipad2-16GB-WiFi Black/White KD199
Ipad2-32GB-WiFi Black/White KD249
Ipad2-64GB-WiFi Black/White KD289
Ipad2-16GB-WiFi 3G Black/White KD259
Ipad2-32GB-WiFi 3G Black/White KD309
Ipad2-64GB-WiFi 3G Black/White KD349

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360 Panoramas

Post by Mark

The other day @nibaq posted a 360 panorama of a graveyard in Kuwait and I found out he did it with an iPhone app called 360 Panorama. So I downloaded it and tried it out and found it incredibly easy to use. I just did a 360 interactive panorama of Fahad al Salem street which you can see by clicking [Here]

I think I will be doing various panoramas of places and events around Kuwait when I can and post them here since its so easy to do. The image above is NOT the 360 panorama, it’s just the flattened out panorama.

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SSD Hard Drives

Post by Mark

Awhile back my MacBook was starting to feel sluggish and I was really tempted to buy a newer model but since I was just using the laptop to get online from the couch or for when I travel, I didn’t think it was worth buying a new laptop. Instead, I decided to upgrade my MacBook from a 2.5inch 5400rpm 250GB hard drive to a 64GB SSD.

What is SSD? SSD stands for solid-state drive and to keep it simple its just a hard drive with no moving parts and is around 5 times faster than regular notebook hard drives. I ordered the ADATA 64GB drive from Amazon since based on my research I found it had the best bang for the buck. I also looked at two other brands before deciding on ADATA which were OCZ Technology and Crucial Technology, both of which have extremely fast performance drives but at a slightly more expensive cost.

I could easily review the drive in just 7 words: “It makes all other computers feel slow”. It cut down the boot time of my MacBook to less than half and it also sped up the launch time of all the applications. For example it now takes 1 second to launch Photoshop while other applications like Safari and Microsoft Word launch practically instantly. No waiting or spinning colored wheel just click and they’re open. The SSD drive not only brought new life to my aging MacBook but for day to day use it made it feel a lot faster than all my other computers including my already very fast iMac and Mac Pro.

I got the 64GB SSD and not something larger because the prices became tooooo expensive with the larger drives. For example a 256GB SSD would cost you around $500 which is nearly half the price of a brand new MacBook! The 64GB drive on the other hand cost me around KD35 with shipping to Kuwait and after installing the OS and ALL my software I still had 40GB of free space left. That’s more than I need since I just use my MacBook to surf the web, edit some pictures and for traveling. If you’re planning on storing media like your photo or music library than I highly doubt 64GB would be enough.

I would definitely recommend everyone pick up an SSD drive if you can, it really makes a HUGE difference. But, if you need a large drive and are not in a rush, the longer you wait the cheaper the prices will get. Here is the Amazon link to the hard drive I got [Link]

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EA Games on Sale

Post by Mark

EA is selling a large chunk of its games for a dollar a piece for a limited time. I play a ton of games on my iPhone and iPad so I think this is a pretty good deal if it wasn’t for the fact I already own most of them. Here are the games on sale:

iPhone/iPod touch games
Battlefield: Bad Company 2
Mirror’s Edge
SimCity Deluxe
The Simpsons Arcade
Need For Speed Hot Pursuit
Need For Speed Undercover
Need For Speed Shift
The Sims 3
The Sims 3 World Adventures
The Sims 3 Ambitions
Monopoly Here & Now: The World Edition
Risk: The Official Game
The Game of Life Classic Edition
NBA Elite 11
NCAA Football
Madden NFL 11

iPad games:
Reckless Racing HD
Pictureka! for iPad
Snood for iPad
Yahtzee HD
Clue: Secrets & Spies

Note: Make sure you’re logged in to the US store
Note2: If you don’t have a US account and want to create one click [Here]

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Cheap iPod Shuffles

Post by Mark have a deal right now on the latest iPod Shuffles, they’re selling them for just KD10 which is cheaper than the retail price in the US! [Link]

Update: Looks like the link is dead and so is the offer

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