Minecraft as part of class

Posted by Mark


Minecraft is an insanely addictive video game and one I stopped playing some time back since whenever I played it I wouldn’t be get any work done. A local school teacher on the other hand has been using Minecraft as an educational tool in his classrooms. Intel recently conducted an interview with Eric Walker, a teacher at the American International School of Kuwait on how he uses Minecraft to teach his students. You can check out the article on the Intel Free Press website [Here]

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R.I.P. Tchantcho Augustin

Posted by Mark


Last month my old karate coach, Tchantcho Augustin passed away. I’m not sure how many of you know Tchantcho but he was my karate coach back in the mid 80s when he used to give lessons at the now demolished Hilton Hotel on the Gulf Road. Up until recently he was the PE teacher at Le Lycée Français and the karate coach at The Little Gym. He was always super nice and he was really loved by everyone. I used to run into him randomly at Sultan Center every now and then and he’d always remember who I was. He taught a lot of children in Kuwait and he will be terribly missed. May he rest in peace.

The picture above was taken around 1985, I’m the white boy in the front row middle.

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New Kuwait Airport Website

Posted by Mark


The Kuwait Airport website was recently majorly revamped. The website visually looks a lot more cleaner and modern with the most important information, the arrivals and departures timings now clearly displayed as soon as you enter. According to the website theres also a mobile application coming and WiFi will soon be free throughout the airport. Check out the revamped website [Here]

To take a look at previous designs, here’s how the website looked in [2007] and [2011]

Thanks Abdulwahab

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The most powerful Kuwaiti women – 2014

Posted by Mark


Arabian Business released their “100 most powerful Arab women 2014″ list and 9 Kuwaiti women made the top 100. Last year 11 Kuwaiti women made the list with the most powerful being Suad Al Humaidi who came in at number 10. This year Suad dropped down all the way to 46th place leaving Shaikha Al Bahar (pictured above) to take the top spot by coming in 21st place. Below is the current ranking of all the powerful Kuwaiti women who made the top 100.

21 – Shaikha Al Bahar
27 – Maha Al Ghunaim
43 – Rasha Al Roumi
46 – Suad Al Humaidi
50 – Faten Al Naqeeb
67 – Sara Akbar
78 – Donna Sultan
89 – Hanadi Al Saleh
99 – Ghosson Al Khaled

For the full top 100 list, visit the Arabian Business website [Here]

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Spiderman climbs Hotel Missoni

Posted by Mark


Alain Robert is a French rock climber and urban climber who is also known as “the French Spider-Man”. He’s famous for scaling skyscrapers using no climbing equipment except for a small bag of chalk and a pair of climbing shoes. Turns out that Alain Robert was in Kuwait and climbed Hotel Missoni yesterday as part of the celebrations for National Day. Not an amazing feat as climbing Burj Khalifa but still one that should have been better advertised. Judging by the photo above, it doesn’t look like there was a large crowd.

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Gulf Road celebrations turn violent

Posted by Mark


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DMcircle, a networking event

Posted by Mark


DMcircle is a local event aimed at middle managers and executive managers to network, build connections, share ideas, get inspired and to learn about the latest updates to have better opportunities of growing their businesses. DMcircle was developed by a former boss of mine, Loaay Ahmed who some of you might recognize from his monthly column in Bazaar Magazine “Loaay’s 2 Cents”. I was invited to attend one of their meetings last week and although I kinda forced myself to go, I’m glad I did since the whole experience turned out to be a lot more enjoyable than I was expecting it to be.

The event was held at the Jumeirah Messilah Beach ballroom and when I arrived and signed in I was given a “Hello my name is” sticker to stick on my shirt as well as a card with the table number I should sit on. After picking up my stuff I recognized three people I knew, the manager of Bang & Olufsen, the PR coordinator for the Kei Japanese restaurant and Dr John P. Hayes from GUST who was going to be presenting that night. I chatted with them for a bit until it was time to go into the ballroom.


The event started off with two short videos, one about the Ziferblat Cafe that opened in London, the second was called The Ripple Effect of a Great Work Culture (this one was great, everyone should watch this and it’s a very short video). Once we were done with the two videos there were two presentations, the first one was by John who’s a fantastic presenter. His presentation was called “Leading With Your Personality” and was about figuring out people’s personalities so you could better understand why they respond to you the way they do and why they do what they do. The second presentation was via Skype with Safouane Almansour from San Francisco called “MENA, The New Silicon Valley?”. Very few people know this but Safouane used to work in Kuwait before and was the marketing manager for Alghanim Automotive. He was the one who first approached me back in 2006 and asked me if I would be interested in placing an advertising banner on my blog. He became my first advertiser and made me realize I could generate income by blogging for a living so it was great seeing him again after such a long time even though it was over Skype. Safouane is currently the marketing VP for the Silicon Valley start up, Boca Video.

Once the presentations were done we were told to change tables. The card I received when I first arrived had different table numbers for different parts of the event. For example mine was table #3, than #3 again for the second session and then table #1. This would allow people to mix and mingle with other people at the event instead of just sitting next to the same group the whole time. Once we swapped tables a topic was displayed on the large projection screen and we had to discuss it with the people sitting at our table.

Overall it was an interesting event, one that turned out to be a lot more entertaining than I was expecting it to be. DMcircle is held once a month and they’ve been doing this since back in 2009. The only way to take part in this is if you become a member, your company is a member or you get invited by a member. Membership prices start at around KD220 a year as an individual and higher as a corporation. If you’d like more information on DMcircle you can check out their website [Here]

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Salwa Sporting Club

Posted by Mark

Does anyone know where the Salwa Sporting Club is where the ITTF World Tour is being held?

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Kuwait falls back in the World Press Freedom Index

Posted by Mark


The 2014 World Press Freedom Index is out and it’s not good news. Even though Kuwait still leads the region in press freedom, Kuwait dropped down from 77th place all the way to 91. The reason? The arrest of two citizen journalists. Here is how Kuwait compares to our neighbors:

91 – Kuwait
96 – Israel
106 – Lebanon
113 – Qatar
118 – UAE
141 – Jordan
153 – Iraq
163 – Bahrain
164 – Saudi
173 – Iran

Check out the full list [Here]

Thanks yousefq8

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SPARK Athletic Center

Posted by Mark


There are new gyms opening all the time in Kuwait and most of them don’t usually interest me but, when Abdulmohsen Al-Babtain (of Sidekick Academy) emailed me about a new gym he was opening called SPARK, I knew there was going to be something different about it. Actually I really shouldn’t be calling it a gym because it’s more than a gym which is why they prefer to use the term athletic center.


When you first walk into SPARK there’s a small fitness store on the ground floor with stairs on the side leading you up to the main floor of the gym. I met Abdulmohsen on the lower level and followed him up the stairs to the main floor. I was expecting it to be a small specialized gym similar to the two gyms I’m currently enrolled in, Core Fitness and Circuit+ but when I got to the main floor I was shocked. The place was huge, 2,400m2 huge. I got introduced to the head coach right away who took me on a tour of the space. The majority of the space looks very similar to your everyday gym, they had a TRX station right at the start and tons of cardio machines on the far right. Then from one end of the gym to the other they had top of the line Hoist and Bilt fitness equipment followed by a small room at the very end for spinning classes.


But, where things get more interesting was a space in the back corner that occupied around 25% of the gym floor. The space is surrounded by a high black metal fence with a large sign outside saying no one can enter without a coach. Behind the black fence is over 400 square meters of professional indoor turf, the only indoor training ramp of its kind in the world, two 50-meter sprint lanes, a sand pit for simulating training on the beach and a corner with four Woodway super treadmills, one of which can hit can hit 40 km/h.


Finally theres a small room also at the back which they call the SPARK LAB. The lab contains a bunch of scientific equipment that can perform functional screening tests, body composition tests, wingate anaerobic capacity tests and full metabolic testing. One of the equipment is called Bod Pod and is used to calculate your body composition. It’s one of the most accurate ways of measuring your body fat percentage, around 8% more accurate than skinfold calipers. I got to try it out during my full physical assessment and after sitting in the pod for a few minutes the machine printed out numbers that included my body fat percentage, my Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) and Total Energy Expenditure (TEE). Turns out if I sit on my computer all day I can burn 2,246 calories or up to 3,649 with very high activity. Pretty cool.


Now the reason I found the gym interesting is because instead of just focusing on muscle gain or weight loss, they’re focusing on athletic performance. They’ve brought in coaches from around the world (one was a Florida Gator coach) and they want to help improve athletes in Kuwait from runners and basketball players to wannabe Olympians. For example I could go to them and tell them I want to improve my sprinting speed or I want to be able to jump higher and they’ll help me achieve my goal.


The gym is already open and their prices start at KD70 a month which is very reasonable. They also have personal training but that would cost an additional KD20 per session or as low as KD15 depending on how many sessions you would be taking. It’s a mens only gym but they are opening a women’s gym in the coming month or two and it’s going to be even larger at 3,600m2, have more facilities and will be located in KIPCO Tower in Kuwait City.

SPARK is located in Shuwaikh right on top of where Shuwaikh Market is [Map] and for more information you can call them on 22282058.

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