Nano Sim Cards in Kuwait

Post by Mark

The new iPhone 5 uses new “nano” sim cards that are smaller and slimmer than micro sim cards. Luckily it seems all local telecom providers will be getting nano sim cards and we won’t have to do any cutting or card slimming to get it working with our iPhone 5’s. Wataniya already posted on twitter that they will have nano sim cards and Viva just confirmed to me that they will also have nano sim cards available. I’ve contacted Zain as well but I’m still waiting for a reply from them.

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Event: BarCamp Kuwait 2^2

Post by Mark

The next BarCamp in Kuwait is taking place early November and registration is now open. BarCamp is an event that takes place around the world at various times of the year. The subject in focus is technology and people usually present and share ideas or creations like the Bacon Vending Machine in the video below from BarCamp Kuwait 3. It’s more of a fun event than a serious one and if you’re into this it’s a great way to meet new people.


Location: Ibtisam Hall at The Regency, Al-Bida’a, Kuwait
Date: Saturday, November 3, 2012
Time: 3:00 PM to 10:00 PM

For more information including details on how to sign up visit the BarCamp Kuwait blog [Here]

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Vuzix Wrap 920 Review and Giveaway

Post by Mark

Late last month while at the Avenues I spotted the Vuzix Wrap at Xcite and since I’ve always wanted to try one of these before I contacted them so I could get one to review. The Vuzix Wrap is a video eyewear which basically means you watch video through tinny screens that are fitted inside the glasses. According to the package, watching videos using the Vuzix Wrap will feel like watching a 67″ screen siting 3 meters aways. After playing around with it for a week I have my personal opinion on video eyewear’s in general as well as this specific model.

The Wrap works with regular AA batteries which means you can use them wherever you are. The batteries are fitted into a small external compartment which you could keep in your pockets and the Wrap is connected to the batteries using a wire. The Wrap comes with earphones as well which you need to plug in separately into each side of the eyewear. Inside the box Vuzix also includes an adapter to connect the glasses to Apple devices like the iPhone as well as RCA cables so you could connect it to a videogame console or your TV receiver.

I downloaded Truth in 24 II from the Apple Store (which is the sequel to an incredible documentary btw) and watched it on the Vuzix. At first I was expecting it to feel weird and uncomfortable like trying to watch a 3D movie with 3D glasses but the experience was actually pleasant. I’m not sure if it felt like watching a 67″ screen from 10 feet away, but the screen definitely didn’t feel like it was 2cm’s away which is what I was expecting. These kind of glasses could be pretty useful when traveling on a plane since you can watch whatever you want in complete privacy and also zone out from your surroundings since once you have the glasses on you’re pretty much watching TV in your own little room.

But there are a whole bunch of things I didn’t like in the Vuzix Wrap. The video quality left a lot to be desired, other than the fact the screen resolution is low, I felt the contrast lacked with the blacks looking more like grays. I tried to adjust the settings as much as I could but I wasn’t able to improve on it that much. Another issue I had was with the earphones. First you can’t connect your own earphones which is a let down and second I found the included earphone wires to be too distracting. Each earphone plugs into a socket thats located in the front of the glasses so the wires were touching my eyebrow and face while on their way back to my ears. The eyewear along with the various attachments also felt very plasticky and cheap but the biggest issue I had with the Wraps were how stupid I looked wearing them. If you sit on a plane and put these on people are either going to think you’re Ray Charles or some douche with horrible taste who thinks its cool to wear sunglasses inside a plane. This is why although they would be practical to use while traveling, they might be better off being used in the privacy of your home where you can play Xbox on these glasses without having to hog the living room’s TV.

I’m pretty glad I finally got to try video glasses on and I kinda understand how Google’s Project Glass is going to end up working. Price wise Xcite currently have a special offer on these glasses until the end of the month and they’re selling them for KD89.900. If you want to check them out they have them on display at the Avenues branch OR even better you could try to win a pair. All you need to do is just leave a comment below and tonight I’ll choose a winner using Good luck!

Rules: Only one entry per person and please make sure you use a working email since the winner will be contacted by email. If winner doesn’t respond within 24 hours another winner will be randomly chosen.

Update: Comments are closed and I had choose two numbers, a winner and a backup winner in case the winner doesn’t respond.

Winner is #94: Abdullah
Backup is #20: Ahmed

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The Synology DS1511+

Post by Mark

Originally I was planning to write a small post on my experience with the Synology backup drive and maybe compare it to my Drobo but in all honesty, the thing turned out to be a lot more than just a simple backup drive and so the tiny post has turned into a much bigger one.

Synology DS1511+ Web Interface

Firstly a quick brief about what the Synology DS1511+ is. In it’s most simplest form it’s an external backup hard drive that can take up to five 3TB hard drives and has data protection which means if one of the five hard drives fail my data is still protected. But the DS1511+ (from here on I’ll just call it the Synology) is also a mini server and so doesn’t require to be connected to a computer.

Xbench disk test

Performance wise the Synology turned out to be a lot faster than my Drobo. How fast? Copying a 2.48GB file from my computer over FireWire 800 to the Drobo took 4 minutes and 30 seconds. Copying the exact same file over gigabit ethernet to the Synology took just 42 seconds. That’s over 10 6 times as fast!

So yeah if you’re looking for a backup drive to put all your important files onto it and still have your data protected in case the drive fails, the Synology is great. But, the Synology is also more complicated to setup than the Drobo. Cost wise they’re selling the Synology drives in Kuwait for cheaper than Amazon and you can find them at either Blink (where I got mine from) or Cameo. Cameo also has the newer but slightly more expensive DS1512+.

Now that I got all that out of the way this second part is what REALLY makes the Synology cool. Continue below for the second part of this review.

Read the rest of this entry »

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In Limra I Trust

Post by Mark

Whenever I need anything computer related the first place I always visit is Limra Computer Center in Hawalli. It’s a small store (nothing close to being a “center”) located on the ground floor of Walla Complex. I used to be a Professional Computer fan (located one floor above) but somehow I started buying all my stuff from Limra a few years ago and since then I’ve been a regular. The place has character and the main guy (Shankar) is very knowledgable. Depending on when you pass by the place could be packed with people and you’ll have to wait outside the shop until there’s enough room for you to squeeze in. Check them out next time you’re in Hawalli looking for stuff, they’re very trustworthy. Their phone number is 22631043.

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I need another Drobo

Post by Mark

Anyone know who sells Drobo’s in Kuwait? I previously got mine from Amazon but paid around KD40 for shipping back in 2009 which mean it would probably cost me KD50+ with the current Aramex prices. 3gghead Electronics in Baitak Tower used to sell the Drobo for a good deal but they shutdown a long time back.

If you want to know what a Drobo is you can check out their [Website]

Update: Ended up picking up the Synology DS1511+ from Blink. They’re selling them for cheaper than Amazon [Link]

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10Mbps with WiMD

Post by Mark

After trying out WiMD with unlimited speed I finally had to decide on what connection I was going to subscribe to and I decided to go with the 10Mbps. I originally wanted to go with 15Mbps but decided KD72 a month is more than what I was willing to pay. 10Mbps is KD523 a year which works out to KD43.5 a month and to me is a much more reasonable amount.

I’ve had this connection for 2 days now which is enough time to get a first impression. Browsing is still super fast and I managed to download torrents at speeds of around 1.3MB/s to 1.5MB/s which is pretty fast. I imagine with a 15Mbps connection you would get around 2MB/s to 2.3MB/s speeds. The best part is that even if I’m downloading torrents at full speed it doesn’t hinder my browsing experience. Not sure how that is possible but with all my previous connections I always had to limit my torrents download speed so I could still have some bandwidth left to browse with. With WiMD on the other hand I’ve got my torrents set to download at full speed and I browse with no slowdown.

Below are speedtest results. This isn’t very accurate because for example you have various speedtest servers in London and when testing one would give me a very low ping rate of under a 100 but the download rate would be around 4Mbps while another would give me a higher ping rate in the 300’s but with a higher download speed. Thats why I decided I would perform the test on all the servers and post the ones with the highest download speeds.

I really hope the connection doesn’t suffer in the long run once more and more users sign up. That’s actually my only concern but I’ll post an update 6 months down the line and let you guys now how things turned out. If you want to get a second opinion Marzouq over at zDistrict just signed up to a 20Mbps connection and posted about it [Here]

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First Impression: WiMD Internet

Post by Mark

Last week I posted about a new internet provider that I found out about. Turns out they aren’t really new and have been in business for some time now but they were catering mostly to companies and certain individuals until they decided to expand their presence and showed up at InfoConnect for the first time this year. I was looking for a new internet provider myself so I got in touch with them and they came over yesterday to install it.

The internet provider is called WiMD which stands for Wireless Mobile Data. They provide you (obviously) with wireless internet to your home using the 5 GHz wavelength which is kinda similar to a wifi connection except it can transmit a lot further (in theory around 70km I think). To setup their connection you require the installation of a small white box that needs to be pointed to one of their towers. This is probably the most difficult and complicated part since the box needs a direct line of sight to their towers. If you’re living in an area like Salwa, Mishref or Bayan where all the buildings are low then you won’t have a problem. But, if like me you live in an area where you’re surrounded by tall apartment buildings and in my case Salmiya, then you’ll most likely NOT be able to get a direct line of sight. But I got lucky.

When they came over they tried installing the box on one of my balconies but it wouldn’t work. One balcony had tall buildings blocking my line of sight to their Hawalli tower while the other balcony wasn’t pointing towards their Ras Salmiya tower. Since the box is tiny I managed to get permission from my building to install it on the roof specially since we were just going to connect it to an existing pipe. Once we got onto the roof we were able to see their Salmiya tower (which is the communications/post office building near Salmiya Coop) and get a strong connection.

The white box is small and light and can be connected to any existing post on top of your building. You then need to run an Ethernet cable from the box down to your apartment and to your router or directly to your computer. There are two different connection speeds you need to know about. The first is the actual connection speed from your apartment to their tower. In my case the connection speed was around 15Mbps. The second connection speed is the one you subscribe to. So say you have a 15Mbps connection to their tower but you subscribe to their 1Mbps internet connection then you get just a 1Mbps internet connection. WiMD uses internet providers like Fasttelco, Zajil etc.. to provide their customers with internet. That is a good thing because it means if one internet provider is congested or having problems their system is smart enough to shift the balance over to the rest of their providers.

Right now I think they have my connection speed unlimited, so I’m getting internet as fast as my connection to their tower can handle. I’ve provided some speed test results below but really they do not do justice to the connection. Ignore the numbers below because in real world use the connection is super fast. Regular browsing which is what I do 90% of the time is very quick with instant page loads and no sort of lag whatsoever. Downloading files varies, I was downloading the 1.3GB Lion update from Apple at around 300kbps but that’s because I had one session open and it’s probably a limit by Apple. By using the software SpeedDownload I opened up a number of sessions and hit 1.2MB/s. I downloaded torrents as well and the accumulated speed of all my torrents was around 2.85MB/s! That’s by far the fastest I’ve ever downloaded torrents. Whats even better is the fact that while my torrents were downloading at that speed I was still browsing as usually not noticing any slowness. Their upload speed is also faster then anything I’ve ever had before.

I had my brother who lives next door and connected to my network try out gaming online and this is what he emailed me back:

The connection is f****** amazing. I always had trouble playing Halo but with this new connection there’s zero lag at all. Literally, no lag. I would have trouble connecting to games, no trouble here. Pretty cool

and later

I just tried FIFA, another game I had issues with, worked really well.

So first impressions, this connection kicks ass. Now I just need to figure out what speed to subscribe to. Originally I was thinking 6Mbps, then moved up to 10 and now really want to go even faster but once you go higher their connection isn’t exactly cheap. Below are their yearly prices again in case you missed my previous post:

1Mb KD130
1.5Mb KD150
2Mb KD180
3Mb KD225
4Mb KD270
5Mb KD320
6Mb KD325
7Mb KD355
8Mb KD390
9Mb KD473
10Mb KD523
11Mb KD590
12Mb KD660
13Mb KD730
14Mb KD800
15Mb KD870
16Mb KD940
17Mb KD1,010
18Mb KD1,080
19Mb KD1,150
20Mb KD1,220

If you’re interested in a connection you can call them on 22475841 and 22475842 or visit their website [Here]

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The Windows Phone

Post by Mark

I finally met someone who has a Windows Phone and I have to ask this but why would anyone choose Android over Windows? I’m a huge iPhone and iOS fan but if I was gonna change to another system it wouldn’t be Android (which to me looks like a cheap Apple clone) it would be to Windows Phone. Instead of trying to make their operating system look like an iPhone they’ve done something completely different and I love it.

I got to play around with the phone briefly but visually I found the system appealing with smooth and cool animations. From what my friend demonstrated to me it’s also a very social networks friendly phone allowing you to stay connected with close ones in a similar way you would on Facebook.

If you have an iPhone or Android phone you can actually try a demo of Windows Phone by visiting the following url from your phone:

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Review: Digumz Video Game Rental

Post by Mark

Digumz is a local video game rental website which I posted about back in March. Three weeks ago I decided to sign up and try them out and I’m really loving them so far.

Registration was a pretty simple procedure and I had two options for payment, K-net but I would have to leave a deposit or credit card and no deposit. I opted for the credit card payment and once the account was setup proceeded to order my first game. I went with Gears of War 3 and they managed to deliver it the same evening. They drop off the games and pick them up when you’re done and there are no delivery charges which is fantastic.

Their website is really easy to use and practical. Ordering a game is pretty simple and quick. You flip through their site, find a game you want and then click on the “Rent Now” button and it will be added to the queue list. If you don’t have anything on that list the game will be dispatched to you immediately. You could then continue to add games to your queue list and arrange them according to your priorities.

When you want to swap a game you go to your “Games I have” list and click on the “request game exchange” button and the next game on your list gets dispatched. In case your first choice isn’t available they will dispatch your second, if the second isn’t available the third and on and on.

Now there really aren’t any negatives, at least not for me since when I signed up their prices started at KD7 a month. For that price I can rent as many games as I want per month but only 1 game at a time. A couple of weeks back though they increased their prices and now the most affordable package starts at KD15. Lucky for me and everyone who signed up before the price increase, our memberships will continue to be renewed at KD7 a month which is great. At KD15 a month I don’t think I would have signed up since I am probably going to be renting only 1 game a month. For KD15 a month I might as well buy a game a month instead of renting. If you are planning to rent at least two games then KD15 a month would make more financial sense. They also have other packages in which you could rent more than a game a month but of course those packages also cost more.

Here is the link to the Digumz website [Link]
They also have another website where they sell games, here is the link to that website [Link]

At KD7 a month I’m really loving Digumz.

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