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]
I had seen a few adapters that convert the car lighter into a powered USB port but they were all ugly looking or too bulky. Then I read about the Belkin Micro USB adapter on Gizmodo and decided to order one from Amazon.
Because its tiny it fits perfectly into the car lighter without sticking out so it actually gives the impression that it came built in from the factory. I am currently using it to charge my iPhone and BlackBerry but you could use it to charge other devices. Very practical.
It costs KD5.750 and comes with an iPhone cable. [Amazon Link]
Update: Changed picture to a better one
Update2: According to a reader its available at Alghanim X-cite for KD8
I have a problem with my Jeeps AC in that it sounds like a jet engine when at full blast. So, I took the car to the dealership to get it checked since I will be in Lebanon for the next few days. While there the service guy suggested I do a full checkup since my cars millage is 75,000km. He then suggested since I am going to be out of the country he could email me a detailed cost estimate and I could reply back to him telling him what to fix and what to leave.
For a minute the guy must have thought I didn’t know what the Internet was because I kept asking him questions like:
“You have internet?”
“On this computer here?”
“So you will email me yourself and I can reply to you?”
“Do you check your email?”
I am not a fan of the Jeep’s dealership and I’ve made that clear before but the ability to receive a detailed cost estimate on my BlackBerry while I am in Beirut just made up for all their previous fuck ups. I’m impressed.