First Impression: The iPad 2

Posted 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

Posted 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

Posted 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

Posted 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
Tetris
SimCity Deluxe
Pictureka!
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
Monopoly Here & Now: The World Edition
Scrabble
Risk: The Official Game
The Game of Life Classic Edition
FIFA 11
FIFA 10
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

Posted by Mark

Sheeel.com 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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درب الزلق iPhone App

Posted by Mark

This has to be the strangest local app so far and I doubt the creator got permission from Funoon. For those of you don’t know what “درب الزلق” is, here is a [Video]. On the other hand if you want the app click [Here]


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Kuwait Blogs Tip

Posted by Mark

Not sure how many people know this but you can customize the main icons on the bottom of the Kuwait Blogs app. In the latest version I have my blog, Fahad’s blog, Buz Fairy and Me Blogging but you can set up any of your favorite blogs instead. All you need to do is click on “More” and then click on “Edit” on the top right. Now you can just drag and drop your favorite blogs down to the bottom bar.

There is a minor bug currently where you can’t read the names of the 4 most bottom blogs in the edit page. I couldn’t figure out how to fix that honestly. From now on for every update I will have 3 random blogs other than mine set up by default at the bottom. They will most probably be blogs which I think are good but aren’t getting the attention they should be getting.

If you haven’t downloaded the Kuwait Blogs app already click [Here]


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Kuwait Blogs 2.0

Posted by Mark

I’ve updated the Kuwait Blogs app now to version 2.0. Basically I’ve fixed a ton of bugs and also updated the bloggers list by removing inactive blogs and adding new ones. The total amount of blogs in the App has increased and is now 21. Here is the list of blogs:

2:48AM
2:48PM
360 Dewan
4th Ring Road
Ansam
Banana Q8
Black Market
Buz Fairy
Buzberry
Confashions
Fereej
Frankom
High Street Q8
His & Hers
iLSul6ana
Me Blogging
P0ach
Tidbit Du Jour
Trying to be Fahad
Up Till One
zDistrict

Another major update is the graphics. All the icons were redone in high resolution so they will look much better on the iPhone 4’s. Previously they were looking a bit blurry but now they’re back to looking extremely sharp. You can download the update from the App Store or if you haven’t downloaded and installed the App before then you can find it in the store by searching for Kuwait Blogs or by clicking [Here]


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Ministry of Foreign Affairs iPhone App

Posted by Mark

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs State of Kuwait (MOFA) released an iPhone app today on the occasion of Eid Al-Fitr. I’m impressed that they actually released an iPhone app but I would rather have a Ministry of Interior app which would allow me to save my two cars in it and have it automatically check daily if any of my cars received speeding tickets and then warn me with a pop up notification and a beep. Ok maybe that’s asking too much but still a nice little app that would allow me to check my traffic violations conveniently would be pretty cool. Here is the link to the app [Link]

Here are the links to my two apps:
2:48AM
Kuwait Blogs

Update: Just noticed something funny in the app. When you click on the Embassy Search link you get a list of countries… but they’re not in alphabetical order. I actually can’t think of an order they’re listed in. I thought they were listed by Kuwait’s favorite countries but if that was the case USA and UK would be higher. By popularity? Don’t think so since Egypt would be much higher on the list. Distance? Nope. Random? Don’t think so since the first few countries are GCC countries. Can anyone figure it out? Here is the way they’re listed:

UAE
Saudi Arabia
Bahrain
Qatar
Oman
Lebanon
Syria
Jordan
UK
Thailand
Kuwait
USA
Australia
Canada
Germany
Spain
Egypt


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Share your iPhone’s internet onto your iPad

Posted by Mark

If you have an iPhone and an iPad you will probably understand how annoying it is that you can’t share your phones internet connection over wifi to you iPad. Well now it’s super easy.

Visit www.jailbreakme.com from your iPhone browser and follow the instructions to jailbreak your phone and install Cydia. Shoul take around 2 minutes.

When done launch Cydia and search for the app called MyWi. It costs $20 but you can try it out for free for 10 days. Using MyWi you will be able to share your phone’s internet connection over wifi which you could connect the iPad to. Very easy.


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