NBK introducing pay with your phone

Post by Mark

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

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A visit to Pro-Hobbies

Post by Mark

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.


If you want to pass by the store they’re located in the mall behind Showtime in Dajeej. Here is a link to the [Map]. They have a website but it’s still under construction. [Link]

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US iTunes Store

Post by Mark

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.

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Zain e-Go 21.6Mbps Mobile Internet

Post by Mark

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:

Review: Zain E-Go 21.6 MB/s

4th Ring Road
Zain e-go 21.6 mbps…. we like.

Some Contrast
Exclusive: Zain’s latest E-GO 21.6 Mb/s

Review : Zain 21.6 Mbps Internet

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]

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USB in your car

Post by Mark

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

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Jeep service is pretty cool

Post by Mark

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.

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Tokyoflash Japan in Kuwait

Post by Mark

I wouldn’t wear a Tokyoflash watch but I do find them interesting. Sites like Gizmodo keep posting about their different models and every model is like geekier than the next. For those of you who haven’t heard of Tokyoflash they’re basically watches that tell time in unconventional ways using LEDs and mostly without numbers or clock hands.

They’re very weird and I find some of their models nearly impossible to tell the time. But, for those of you who’re interested there is a shop that just opened in Muthana Complex selling Tokyoflash watches and they’re located on the ground floor close to Pizza Hut. [Link]

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Home Network Meltdown

Post by Mark

My home network is just a total mess. Everything could be working perfectly and then suddenly in a blink of an eye the whole network would crawl to a halt and crash. Just like that for no reason. I just spent the afternoon shifting from a wireless network to a wired one and what a headache that was. The hardest part was trying to find a 22 meter long black ethernet cable. I looked all over Hawalli walking from shop to shop and only found one place that had a black 20 meter long one and it was his last piece. Also picked up two Linksys 8-port switches and everything seems to be working fine for now.

The 20 meter cable cost me KD3 while the Linksys 8-port switches cost me KD6.750 each.

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Thousands of stations in your car

Post by Mark

Now that I finally have an iPhone with a 3G connection I can finally do what a lot of other people are doing and that is listen to satellite radio and other international stations in the car. All you need is a 3G capable iPhone, an iPhone radio app and a way of connecting the iPhone to the car stereo.

My setup is an iPhone 3GS with the WunderRadio app and an Alpine iDA-X001 head unit with which my iPhone connects to using the dock connector. If you aren’t as lucky you could use an FM Transmitter or RCA inputs. With WunderRadio you can connect to XM and SIRIUS stations in addition to thousands of other stations from around the world. For example I can listen to Lebanese radio stations like Radio one or Mix FM if I want to. Its not perfect since sometimes the connection disrupts for a few seconds every now and then but thats mostly only with the XM and SIRIUS stations, haven’t had trouble with the rest.

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Logitech Kuwait online store

Post by Mark

It seems there is a local Logitech website where you can purchase Logitech products and have them delivered to you the very next day. The coolest part has to be their prices, from what I checked their prices either were slightly more expensive than Amazon or slightly cheaper.

Logitech Harmony One Advanced Universal Remote
Amazon: KD55.500
Logitech Kuwait: KD49.950

Logitech Illuminated Keyboard
Amazon: KD19.500
Logitech Kuwait: KD26.950

Logitech QuickCam Sphere
Amazon: KD31.850
Logitech Kuwait: KD36.450

Logitech X-140 Speakers
Amazon: KD8.850
Logitech Kuwait: KD8.450

Here is the link to the website. [Link]

Thanks Cajie

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