Over the weekend I picked up an iJacket while I was shopping in Bahrain. I originally posted about it back in 2007 and then totally forgot about it until I saw it at the store.
Firstly just to be clear, I got the jacket because the jacket looks good. I was not interested in the iPod connectivity, thats just an extra benefit for me but not the reason I bought the jacket. I am not the type of person that walks around listening to music and so I won’t be using the controls on the jacket a lot. Now since I did get the jacket and I do own a number of iPods I figured I might as well give my feedback.
The iPod has a special transparent and water proof pocket on the inside of the jacket. There is a regular iPod connector in that pocket and you connect your ipod to it. The pocket also has a small opening for your headphone cable to pass through. The controls on the jacket sleeve are fairly basic, volume up and down, pause/play forward and reverse. The idea is that when its cold outside you don’t want to unzip your jacket and pull out your iPod every time you want to perform a simple command and that’s where the controls on your sleeve come to play. Without unzipping your jacket or removing your gloves you can control your iPod by just touching the buttons on the sleeve. Although I call them buttons they’re not really buttons. The part of the sleeve where the buttons are located feels exactly the same as any other part of the sleeve. No bulge or anything of that sort just the shapes of the buttons imprinted on the sleeve.
When I first tried using the controls I thought I had a malfunctioning jacket since the buttons didn’t work. Then I found out that the jacket auto-locks the controls after 8 seconds of no use and to unlock the controls you have to hold down on the unlock button for 5 seconds. That’s the biggest issue I have with the jacket… the auto-lock feature. It makes the jacket unpractical. Imagine you’re listening to music and then a friend wants to tell you something. To pause the iPod you need to hold down on the unlock button for 5 seconds and then hit the pause button. So it takes at least 6 seconds to pause the iPod which is silly. You know how sometimes one track plays a lot louder than others? Well you need to wait 5 seconds for the buttons to unlock before you could quickly lower the volume to a decent listening level.
That’s why I’m giving the jacket a 2 out of 5. The auto-lock feature is the dumbest idea ever. There is no reason to have it since I can’t imagine the buttons being pressed accidentally unless someone grabs you from your arm and how often does that happen? I’ve already emailed Zegna asking if there is a way to disable the auto-lock but I doubt there is. As a jacket the iJacket is very comfortable and great looking. As an iPod controller it sucks big time because the auto-lock makes it impossible to use. Now a cool feature I would use a lot if it was included would be iPod/iPhone charging. I know there are a few jackets out there that do that but currently the iJacket doesn’t which sucks. I’m hoping if there will ever be an iJacket 2.0 it will.
I got my Drobo tonight and just wanted to post an update on how much it ended up costing me including shipping.
Price of Drobo: KD100
Price of shipping to DHL mailbox: Free
US Tax: None since it shipped to my DHL mailbox
Shipping to Kuwait: KD31
Customs and handling fee: KD8
Total price of Drobo: KD139
It looks very cool and the size isn’t that big. My 1.5tb hard drives just arrived to Kuwait tonight so they should be ready to pick up tomorrow so I could install into my Drobo. You don’t need a voltage converter, the Drobo adapter is 100-240v.
I don’t know why I have this obsession with cheap HDMI cables. The last time I found a good deal was at Ace Hardware. They were selling the 2 meter HDMI cable for KD2.100 and the 3 meter for KD2.600. Since then they completely sold out of all their cheap HDMI cables and just have the expensive ones left. So the cheapest HDMI cable I have found recently is at Geant. They’re selling the 1.5 meter long cable for KD2.500.
Ace Hardware surprisingly are selling these wooden LED clocks. I had previously seen them only online and they look pretty cool. They’re priced very reasonably with the small ones for around KD5 and the big ones for KD6.
I am a huge fan of XBMC which I believe is the best media playing software out there. I first started using it on my original xbox, then I installed it on the AppleTV and now I just moved over onto the Acer AspireRevo. XBMC on AppleTV was great except for the fact it couldn’t play 720p and 1080p videos.
Two weeks back I found an article on Gizmodo about how XBMC installed on an AspireRevo could handle 720p and 1080p video files with great ease and best of all it cost only $199. So after failing to find one for sale in Kuwait I placed an order for one on Amazon and got it via Aramex.
Installing XBMC was super easy and after I set it up I copied all my settings from my AppleTV and started experimenting. I can’t believe how easily this thing plays HD files! I have trouble playing HD files on my Apple G5 yet this little thing which is slightly smaller than an AppleTV can play it without a hitch. It has HDMI out, its small, its super silent and streams HD movies from my server with great ease, I love it.
I ordered a remote control for it but it hasn’t arrived yet so I am using my browser or iPhone to control it. Shipping with Aramex cost me KD18, no tax since computers no longer get taxed.
If you want to get one here is the [Amazon Link]
If you don’t know what XBMC is click [Here]
Here is a guide to install XBMC on the Revo [Link]
Update: This is the remote control I bought for it [Amazon Link]
I don’t remember how I found out about this application but its pretty cool and I use it a lot. Dropbox allows you to share a folder across different computers. The way it works is very simple, you install the software at home and it will create a folder on your desktop called Dropbox. You then install the software at work and it will create a folder on that desktop also called Dropbox. Now whatever you dump into that Dropbox folder at home will show up on the same folder at work and whatever you drump into that Dropbox at work will show up at home. I even have the iPhone app so I can view the contents of that folder on my phone. It works on Macs, WIndows and Linux computers. Here is the [Link]
I just got an email from a friend at NBK about this new service they will be trying out in Kuwait which is payment via NFC (near field communication). Instead of paying by cash or plastic cards you could pay by just waving your phone. The service is going to be called Bouky and they’re launching a 6 month pilot which you can sign up to if you’re interested (link at the end of the post).
This service is already used in places like Japan and the Far East but it will be the first time here in the Middle East. Another cool feature will be that you could wave the phone in front of “smart” posters and redeem offers or download free pre-paid visa cards. My friend signed me up for the 6 month trial so I will get to try it out. During the trial period I will be able to pay by waving my phone at some 100 outlets in The Avenues. If you’re interested in trying Bouky out they will be choosing only 500 customers for the trial period. To sign up follow this [Link]
Note: You need to be a Zain mobile user to beta test this service
Tonight I passed by a shop called Pro-Hobbies in Dajeej. I needed some paint for my Tamiya crawler and the Tamiya dealer had run out so they recommended I pass by Pro-Hobbies instead. It was my first time there and the place turned out to be really cool. While Tamiya specializes in on and off road electric cars and buggies, Pro-Hobbies specializes in helicopters and nitro powered race buggies.
While there I also got to check out the KHR-1 Robot. I had seen this robot before on YouTube playing football so it was very exciting to see the robot live. They aren’t selling them yet, they just got one to try it out and see if there is a market for it. The robot costs around KD400 which isn’t cheap but the way it moves is just incredible. It’s fully programmable and is driven by 19 servos (motors) which explains the hefty price tag considering a single servo usually costs around KD12. I took a video of the robot which you can see below. It was running out of batteries and the floor was slippery but you can still see how cool it is.
Early in the year I decided I was going to start buying all my iPhone apps instead of illegally downloading them. Problem I faced was the fact that I couldn’t download some of my favorite apps because they were only for the US based users. The apps I couldn’t download were the Amazon and eBay ones and both of which don’t cost a thing, they’re free. But, since my credit card is Kuwaiti based I have to purchase all my applications from the Kuwaiti iTunes store which didn’t have those two apps. Recently CNN released an iPhone application and again it was only available to US based customers so I looked for a way to download these apps and I found one.
To download applications from the US based iTunes store all you need to do is get a US based iTunes gift voucher. I found a website online where you could buy a $15 cards for $18 and have the code emailed to you. The website uses PayPal so its safe and unlike some other websites this one sells legit cards so you know your account won’t get shut down by Apple later. Here is the [Link]
Once you get a US iTunes card just go to the US iTunes store and click on Redeem Code. Then create a new account and under the credit card option choose “none”. And that’s it, you can now download US only iPhone apps. As a bonus you can also download songs and movies as well.
Update: If you just want to download some free US only applications like the ebay and amazon apps, a reader just posted that you don’t even need to buy a voucher for that. Just go to the US app store and click on a free app, then create a new account like above with a US mailing address and for credit card choose none.
I got a phone call yesterday from a friend at Zain. He wanted me to try out their new e-GO which can hit speeds of up to 21.6Mbps. Sadly I couldn’t pass by to pick it up since I had to catch a flight to Lebanon but I was just catching up on some blogs and it seems some other bloggers managed to get the e-GO and try it out. So far the reviews have been positive. Here are some blogger reviews on the new 21.6Mbps e-GO:
I should get my hands on the new e-GO once I get back to Kuwait in a couple of days. The picture above is taken by zDistrict.
Update: According to Some Contrast, the new e-GO and 21.6Mbps connection is available right now at every Zain branch. The new e-GO sells for KD45 and the monthly membership is KD32 but if you sign up for 1 year you get the new e-GO for free.
Update2: 360Dewan tried his 7.2Mbps connection after Zain upgraded the network to 21.6Mbps and he was able to achieve download speeds of up to 758kb through a connection via his iPhone 3GS. So it looks like everyone’s connection has benefited from this upgrade. [Link]