Buying Digital Cards in Kuwait

Post by Patrick

cards

Buying digital games is becoming a more realistic option with this recent generation of consoles. This is mainly due to the fact that the consoles all have big enough storage, support external hard drives and because our internet speeds are pretty decent so buying a physical copy of a game isn’t necessary anymore. This is positive, especially in Kuwait where games are expensive and since not every game is sometimes even available. On top of that Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft discount a bunch of games for their consoles throughout the year. The problem for us in this region is that our gaming consoles only accept credit cards from the region you have your location set, which will always either be the U.S. or the U.K. So it’s good to know what websites offer digital codes that could be sent directly to your email.

Keep in mind that the only websites that support KNET are local. So if you’re planning on purchasing a digital code from Amazon, be prepared to use your credit card. So what’s the advantage of buying a digital code off Amazon? Well if you’re buying the $10 PSN card, it costs $9.99 which is equivalent to about KD3. $10 PSN cards in Kuwait go for KD3.750 to KD4 depending on the site you choose. If you have a credit card then there aren’t many disadvantages to getting a digital code from Amazon, the only one I can think of is that if you’re an owner of a Nintendo console, you’re out of luck since Amazon doesn’t sell digital codes for the Nintendo consoles.

For those who want to use Knet, we’re not short on options when it comes to local websites. Currently the websites that offer digital codes (to my knowledge) are Blink, X-Cite and GamesQ8. Digumz sells cards, but it’s unclear if they email the digital codes or not. The website that seems to have the best deals when it comes to PSN and Nintendo cards is X-Cite, but their Microsoft cards are more expensive than the others. GamesQ8 is generally pricier than the other websites and will only send you the digital codes through email only during their working hours.

It’s also important to note that if you’re looking for iTunes cards, both Blink and GamesQ8 currently sell digital codes.

Posted by Patrick


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Places that are open 24/7 in Kuwait

Post by Mark

24hours

Back in 2011 I posted a list of places that are open 24/7 in Kuwait. Figured its about time I update the list with your help. If you know of a place that is open 24 hours and isn’t on this list, let me know in the comments:

Places open 24/7 in Kuwait:

Restaurants
• Burger King – Bneidar Gas Station 1, Bneidar Gas Station 2, Fintas, Hawalli, Messilah and Plajat.
• Caribou Coffee – King Fahad Road (towards Chalets)
• Coffee Republic – King Fahad Road (towards Kuwait City)
• Costa – Dar Al Shifa Hospital, Hawalli
• Dunkin Donuts – Amman Street (Salmiya) and Fintas
• Finger Sushi – Kuwait City
• Geant Easy – Salmiya
• Gloria Cafe – Salmiya
• Hardees – Bida’a and Salmiya (opposite Fanar)
• Johnny Rockets – Salmiya
• KFC – Kuwait City, Salmiya (opposite Fanar)
• McDonalds – Airport, Al-Qosour, Al-Rai, Bayan, Bnaider, Fintas, Jabriya, Surra and Yarmouk
• Pizza Hut – Faiha, Fintas, Hawalli, Mishref and Salmiya City Center
• Pizzetta – Seef
• Prime & Toast – Seef
• Shawerma Shuwaikh – Bneid Al Gar
• Starbucks – Dasman, Hadi Hospital and Salmiya opposite Fanar
• Subway – Khaldiya, Mangaf
• The Grove – Opposite Kuwait Stock Exchange

Supermarkets
• City Centre – Dajeej
• Co-op – Al Adan, Al-Faiha, Al Qousor, Al Qurain, Dasma, Jabriya, Mishref, Qurtoba, Rumaithiya, Salmiya, Salwa and Yarmouk
• Saveco Supermarket
• Sultan Center – Dajeej, Fahaheel, Hawalli, Jabriya, Mangaf, Al Rai, Salmiya, Salwa, Shaab and Souk Sharq
• Trolley Market – Alfa Gas Station Hateen

Other
• Burgan Bank – Airport
• Debenhams – Airport
• Edge Fitness – Crown Plaza Hotel Farwaniya
• Gold’s Gym Salmiya
• Oula Car Wash – Jawazat Roundabout, Salmiya
• NBK – Airport
• Pharmacy 24 – Baghdad Street Salmiya
• Platinum Gym – Salmiya and Kifan
• Viva – Airport
• Wataniya – Airport
• X-Cite Electronics – Al Rai, Fahaheel and Hawalli
• Zain – Airport

Note: The list above might not be accurate, please call locations before heading there


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Burger Boutique Black

Post by Mark

bbblack

Burger Boutique are opening a new location at the Sahara Country Club food complex (Murooj). Instead of opening the same restaurant as their current one in Arraya, they’re opening a more upscale version they’re calling Burger Boutique ‘Black’. It will have a completely different and upgraded menu, less fast food and more like a proper restaurant kind of menu. To me it felt like somewhere in between their current Burger Boutique and their Open Flame Kitchen restaurant at 360 Mall. One of the highlights of the new location is their use of dry aged beef on the menu. The burger pictured below for example (the Black Burger) uses dry aged beef in the patty mix for an added bit of flavor.

burgerboutiqueblack

The new Burger Boutique is currently having tasting sessions going on and it’s expected to open up to the public from October 22nd onwards. Here is the location on [Google Maps]


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What will you die of?

Post by Mark

deathby

There is a website that allows you to generate infographics for causes and risks within a country and also compare it to other countries or the rest of the world using data from 1993 to 2013. The grid above shows the greatest causes of death in Kuwait, the larger the box the higher the risk. Based on the infographic, heart disease (IHD) is the lead cause of death followed by risk of a stroke and then road injuries. Check out all the data in detail by clicking [Here] (Make sure you choose Kuwait as the location)

Thanks Saud


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Sheikh Abdullah Al-Jabir Palace could become another local World Heritage Site

Post by Mark

palace

After Failaka (2013) and Kuwait Towers (2014), another local site was added to the UNESCO World Heritage tentative list this year, Khaza’al Palace, now renamed to Sheikh Abdullah Al-Jabir Palace.

This site was built in the early Twentieth Century by Sheikh Khazaal Bin Mirdaw, Ruler of Muhammarah (1897 – 1925 ) on a piece of land which he received as a gift from Sheikh Mubarak Al-Sabah, Kuwait’s Ruler (1896-1915). After Sheikh Khazaal’s death, it was bought by Sheikh Abdullah Al-Jabir Al- Sabah who took it as a family residence, thereafter converted it to the first national museum in Kuwait and the Arabian Gulf region, after which it remained as the property of his heirs until it was taken over by the State and rated as a high preservation building.

When it was built and for many decades thereafter, the Palace was reported to be the most magnificent structure in Kuwait. Patterned on regional antecedents, it was large, elaborate two storey structure in coral stone and mud brick in a stark contrast to Kuwait’s primarily single storey, austere architecture.

palace2

The palace is currently in a very poor state and so UNESCO is proposing the following:

In order to save the property from further deterioration, urgent steps are required to be taken, especially with regard to the original crumbling site of the Palace. This measure should be undertaken in coordination with the operational guidelines of the implementation of the World Heritage Convention. This may be followed by considering the addition of a modest Education and Culture Museum building in the surrounding area which may be devoted to fully express the site’s value to present and future generations. Further, the grounds need to be rehabilitated and the ancillary buildings are required to be activated.

For more information check out this link on UNESCO [Link]

Thanks Khaled


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Kuwait 4G LTE Report

Post by Mark

lte

Last week the website Open Signal published an article on the state of LTE around the world. With the article they shared some date including LTE coverage around the world and LTE speeds around the world. When it came to coverage Kuwait was right on top of the list tied in 3rd place with Hong Kong. The only other countries ahead were South Korea and Japan. On the other hand when it came to LTE speeds, Kuwait’s speed landed at the other end of the list with an average download speed of 7Mbps placing it in 63rd place out of 68 countries. The only countries that performed worst were Bolivia, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Costa Rica and Iran.

Now the more interesting information is the breakdown of the local operators by Open Signal. The operator with the most local coverage was Zain with 87%, Viva with 85% and Ooredoo with 84%. When it came to download speeds, Ooredoo averaged the fastest with 8Mbps, Zain with 7Mbps and Viva with 6Mbps.

Check out the full world wide results by clicking [Here]


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Kuwait Lacking Innovation

Post by Mark

topperformers

The Global Innovation Index (GII) for 2015 was released last week and Kuwait surprisingly (at least to me) ranked last compared to neighboring GCC states. The GII ranked the innovative performance of 141 countries and economies around the world, based on 79 indicators and Kuwait ended up coming in 77th place in the rankings.

43 – Saudi Arabia
47 – United Arab Emirates
50 – Qatar
59 – Bahrain
69 – Oman
77 – Kuwait

I downloaded the full report to better understand why Kuwait came last in the GCC and so low worldwide and found a few positives and negatives which I’ve highlighted below.

Positives:
Electricity output, kWh/cap (Rank 1)
Pupil-teacher ratio, secondary (Rank 8)
Ease of paying taxes (Rank 11)

Negatives:
Business sophistication (Rank 132)
Knowledge absorption (Rank 130)
Cost of redundancy dismissal, salary week (Rank 124)
Ease of starting a business (Rank 120)

Check out the full report on the GII website [Here]

Thanks Musaed


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Old Currency No Longer Accepted

Post by Mark

oldcurrency

Spotted the notice above at my local Sultan Center. Kinda seems a bit too soon to start not accepting old currency since it’s barely been a year since the new ones were introduced.

Update: According to the Central Bank of Kuwait website, the old currency (5th issue) will no longer be accepted anywhere starting October 1st. After that date you’ll have until April 2025 to exchange your old currency for the new one by visiting the CBK Banking Hall. [Link]


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A Visit to the GCCJPPI

Post by Mark

gccjppi1

Last week after posting about how the new Iftah Ya Simsim was now being filmed in Abu Dhabi instead of Kuwait, two readers commented that even though Iftah Ya Simsim was being shot in Abu Dhabi, some of the editing was still being done in Kuwait. One of the readers even invited me to pass by the GCCJPI facilities to check it out which I did.

GCCJPPI stands for Gulf Cooperation Council Joint Program Production Institution. A super long name but if you grew up in Kuwait during the 80s, all it takes is one look at their logo to recognize who they are. GCCJPPI are behind some of the most memorable shows on television back in the 80s. They were behind most of the popular Arabized cartoons and they also created shows like Salamatak (سلامتك), Quff (قف) and of course the Middle East version of Sesame Street, Iftah Ya Simsim.

theater

The GCCJPPI facilities are located in Salmiya across the street from Souq Salmiya. It’s a building I’ve driven by on numerous occasions but never really paid any attention to. The ground floor of the building has one of the largest theaters in Kuwait containing 850 seats while the rest of the floors are offices, recording and editing studios and my favorite, the GCCJPPI archives.

gccjppi2

I had assumed all their archive was lost during the 1990 invasion but turns out they still have copies of everything, their archive is stacked old tapes. According to Nawaf Alshallal, the technical advisor who was showing me around, the Kuwait GCCJPPI office is currently digitizing their whole archive which I got to take a peek at. Not only are they digitizing all their videos but they’re also scanning all their old photos as well. Since I recently watched the documentary “I Am Big Bird” I was curious to see if they had behind the scene photos taken on set of Iftah Ya Simsim. Turns out they did and I flipped through them and there’s some really great never before seen stuff. I’ve already submitted a request to get a copy of these photos so I could share them on the blog. Hopefully I get the approval.

From what I felt during my visit, the GCCJPPI are finally coming back to life. I was even told they’re planning on bringing back Salamatak and Quff which is something I think we really need. I just hope whatever they create ends up on YouTube because theres no way I’d go back to watching KTV again.


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Instagram Ads Launching in the Region Soon

Post by Mark

instagramadvertising

As some of you might have heard, Instagram advertising soft launched awhile back in the States, but what you might not be aware of is that it will also be soft launching in our region very soon. Advertisers will soon be able to place ads within your photo stream which will most likely have a big impact on Instagrammers who currently charge for posts.

Not only will advertisers no longer need to pay Instagrammers, but by placing ads directly with Instagram they can accurately target their customer base. Right now there is no way for example to tell where the followers of a certain Instagrammer are residing, that will all change with Instagram advertising since advertisers would be able to specify who they want their ads to be seen by.

The official word from Instagram MENA is that they will be beta launching the program shortly with a limited group of advertisers. They wouldn’t give me a specific launch date since it still hasn’t been finalized, but from what I’ve been hearing in the grapevine, its expected to launch within the next couple of months. The partners for this launch have already been set and I know one of them but I sadly can’t share who they are because I was told off the record.

Instagram advertisers will have two buying mechanisms once this program launches:

Self-serve: This will work similar to how Facebook Ads work and, similarly, will be priced by an auction.

Insertion Order: Managed clients will also be able to book these which are sold on a fixed price, but rates aren’t yet established for the region.

The targeting aspect of these ads will function similarly to how Facebook targeting currently works.

As I mentioned, Instagram will be soft launching soon with a limited group of advertising partners. This means for now Instagrammers will not be losing a lot of income. But once this program launches officially and to everyone, they’ll most likely feel the pinch.

Update: I just opened Instagram and noticed the ad below so I’m guessing the soft launch might take place this month.

sponsored


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