Free WiFi at The Village

Post by Mark

WiMD has setup free wifi at The Village in Abu Al-Hassany. They’re planning to roll out a country wide wifi network in the near future and for the next few months they’re testing the service out at The Village. No idea what the download speed is or if any ports are closed but my guess is their network won’t have a problem handling any bandwidth abuse.


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Internet Slowdown

Post by Mark

If you’re experiencing internet slowdown then you’re not alone. An undersea cable near Egypt was cut and it’s now effecting internet all over Kuwait. I guess the sharks are back…


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10Mbps with WiMD

Post by Mark

After trying out WiMD with unlimited speed I finally had to decide on what connection I was going to subscribe to and I decided to go with the 10Mbps. I originally wanted to go with 15Mbps but decided KD72 a month is more than what I was willing to pay. 10Mbps is KD523 a year which works out to KD43.5 a month and to me is a much more reasonable amount.

I’ve had this connection for 2 days now which is enough time to get a first impression. Browsing is still super fast and I managed to download torrents at speeds of around 1.3MB/s to 1.5MB/s which is pretty fast. I imagine with a 15Mbps connection you would get around 2MB/s to 2.3MB/s speeds. The best part is that even if I’m downloading torrents at full speed it doesn’t hinder my browsing experience. Not sure how that is possible but with all my previous connections I always had to limit my torrents download speed so I could still have some bandwidth left to browse with. With WiMD on the other hand I’ve got my torrents set to download at full speed and I browse with no slowdown.

Below are speedtest results. This isn’t very accurate because for example you have various speedtest servers in London and when testing one would give me a very low ping rate of under a 100 but the download rate would be around 4Mbps while another would give me a higher ping rate in the 300’s but with a higher download speed. Thats why I decided I would perform the test on all the servers and post the ones with the highest download speeds.

I really hope the connection doesn’t suffer in the long run once more and more users sign up. That’s actually my only concern but I’ll post an update 6 months down the line and let you guys now how things turned out. If you want to get a second opinion Marzouq over at zDistrict just signed up to a 20Mbps connection and posted about it [Here]


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First Impression: WiMD Internet

Post by Mark

Last week I posted about a new internet provider that I found out about. Turns out they aren’t really new and have been in business for some time now but they were catering mostly to companies and certain individuals until they decided to expand their presence and showed up at InfoConnect for the first time this year. I was looking for a new internet provider myself so I got in touch with them and they came over yesterday to install it.

The internet provider is called WiMD which stands for Wireless Mobile Data. They provide you (obviously) with wireless internet to your home using the 5 GHz wavelength which is kinda similar to a wifi connection except it can transmit a lot further (in theory around 70km I think). To setup their connection you require the installation of a small white box that needs to be pointed to one of their towers. This is probably the most difficult and complicated part since the box needs a direct line of sight to their towers. If you’re living in an area like Salwa, Mishref or Bayan where all the buildings are low then you won’t have a problem. But, if like me you live in an area where you’re surrounded by tall apartment buildings and in my case Salmiya, then you’ll most likely NOT be able to get a direct line of sight. But I got lucky.

When they came over they tried installing the box on one of my balconies but it wouldn’t work. One balcony had tall buildings blocking my line of sight to their Hawalli tower while the other balcony wasn’t pointing towards their Ras Salmiya tower. Since the box is tiny I managed to get permission from my building to install it on the roof specially since we were just going to connect it to an existing pipe. Once we got onto the roof we were able to see their Salmiya tower (which is the communications/post office building near Salmiya Coop) and get a strong connection.

The white box is small and light and can be connected to any existing post on top of your building. You then need to run an Ethernet cable from the box down to your apartment and to your router or directly to your computer. There are two different connection speeds you need to know about. The first is the actual connection speed from your apartment to their tower. In my case the connection speed was around 15Mbps. The second connection speed is the one you subscribe to. So say you have a 15Mbps connection to their tower but you subscribe to their 1Mbps internet connection then you get just a 1Mbps internet connection. WiMD uses internet providers like Fasttelco, Zajil etc.. to provide their customers with internet. That is a good thing because it means if one internet provider is congested or having problems their system is smart enough to shift the balance over to the rest of their providers.

Right now I think they have my connection speed unlimited, so I’m getting internet as fast as my connection to their tower can handle. I’ve provided some speed test results below but really they do not do justice to the connection. Ignore the numbers below because in real world use the connection is super fast. Regular browsing which is what I do 90% of the time is very quick with instant page loads and no sort of lag whatsoever. Downloading files varies, I was downloading the 1.3GB Lion update from Apple at around 300kbps but that’s because I had one session open and it’s probably a limit by Apple. By using the software SpeedDownload I opened up a number of sessions and hit 1.2MB/s. I downloaded torrents as well and the accumulated speed of all my torrents was around 2.85MB/s! That’s by far the fastest I’ve ever downloaded torrents. Whats even better is the fact that while my torrents were downloading at that speed I was still browsing as usually not noticing any slowness. Their upload speed is also faster then anything I’ve ever had before.

I had my brother who lives next door and connected to my network try out gaming online and this is what he emailed me back:

The connection is f****** amazing. I always had trouble playing Halo but with this new connection there’s zero lag at all. Literally, no lag. I would have trouble connecting to games, no trouble here. Pretty cool

and later

I just tried FIFA, another game I had issues with, worked really well.

So first impressions, this connection kicks ass. Now I just need to figure out what speed to subscribe to. Originally I was thinking 6Mbps, then moved up to 10 and now really want to go even faster but once you go higher their connection isn’t exactly cheap. Below are their yearly prices again in case you missed my previous post:

1Mb KD130
1.5Mb KD150
2Mb KD180
3Mb KD225
4Mb KD270
5Mb KD320
6Mb KD325
7Mb KD355
8Mb KD390
9Mb KD473
10Mb KD523
11Mb KD590
12Mb KD660
13Mb KD730
14Mb KD800
15Mb KD870
16Mb KD940
17Mb KD1,010
18Mb KD1,080
19Mb KD1,150
20Mb KD1,220

If you’re interested in a connection you can call them on 22475841 and 22475842 or visit their website [Here]


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More information on WiMD

Post by Mark

Someone from WiMD the new internet provider I posted about earlier in the day left the following comment:

Many thanks, first of all, for giving us a platform to voice our services.

First things first, WiMD stands for Wireless Mobile Data. The name implies the meaning, so no gimmickry with names and how strong and powerful we are. Our technology is not based on the WiMAX standard and we don’t believe in sharing the customer subscribed bandwidth. We have nation wide coverage for our residential customers as of today.

Having said the above, we pride ourselves in what we commit to our customers. In today’s age of blogs and forums, we are aware that customer satisfaction is of prime importance and any wrong information/commitment can only do more harm to us than good.

As most of your readers have mentioned, they have never heard of us. This is true as we didn’t launch or market our services in the residential domain before today. All our existing residential customers till date have been through word of mouth and personal referrals. For obvious reasons you don’t get recommended for bad service or performance, do you?

We don’t want to take any further space and just want to introduce ourselves us a healthy alternative to your existing miseries with limited bandwidth and slower speed. Our request to all is, don’t judge us without even trying us. Our company policy for bandwidth commitment to customers is based on the site survey we do before delivering our services. Fair and transparent. Our NOC and Helpdesk are equipped to answer your queries.

And even after this, if your satisfaction quotient is not reached, kind reminder to our existing and prospective customers. We have a fair money bank policy which means, if you are dissatisfied with our services, you get the remaining balance on your contract reimbursed upon cancellation.

Just want to remind your readers, we are in Hall 6 @ InfoConnect. Please feel free to drop by.

We mean business and that is what we are here for. So no strings attached, no hidden dramas. JUST PERFORMANCE.

No idea on the price but one reader mentioned they start from KD385 per year.

Update: Here are their prices per year

1Mb KD130
1.5Mb KD150
2Mb KD180
3Mb KD225
4Mb KD270
5Mb KD320
6Mb KD325
7Mb KD355
8Mb KD390
9Mb KD473
10Mb KD523
11Mb KD590
12Mb KD660
13Mb KD730
14Mb KD800
15Mb KD870
16Mb KD940
17Mb KD1,010
18Mb KD1,080
19Mb KD1,150
20Mb KD1,220

Update2: I’m going to be trying out and signing up for their service. First hurdle is to see if I can install the antenna on my balcony instead of the roof since I don’t have access to my buildings roof. Hopefully the balcony would work, I’ll find out on Saturday.


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WIMD, a new internet provider?

Post by Mark

From what I read on their website it looks like they will providing internet by rolling out a large Wifi network that covers all of Kuwait. No idea when they’re planning to start (or if they’ve started already) and how much their prices will be. If anyone manages to get a hold of them and find out more let me know. [Link]

Thanks Sabah


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Kuwait Elections 2012 Live Results

Post by Mark

Looks like this year the government is really thinking digital with the upcoming elections in Kuwait. Last week I posted about their Flickr page where they were uploading pictures taken at different events related to the elections. Well Saud A. Almutairi contacted me and provided me with details regarding the election day website he helped the government setup.

On the day of the elections the Kuwaiti public will have access to preliminary results via the following channels:

Main Website
On the day of the elections after all polls are closed at 8pm that’s when counting will begin. An hour later if you visit the MOI news portal at http://news.gov.kw you will be automatically redirected to a live results website containing 5 tabs each representing a Kuwaiti circle and each containing 3 lists:

    The Candidates
    This first list will be a list of all the candidates (ordered alphabetically) and contain two fields that will be constantly updated: the vote count and current rank of the candidate. This list will NOT be auto sorted based on rank as to avoid confusion. This list will remain alphabetically ordered.

    Follow
    The second list will contain a list of candidates a user wants to follow. This list will be empty by default until the user adds his candidates. In the screen shots below you can see how it looks empty and how it looks with some candidates added.

    The Leaderboard
    This final list will contain the top 15 candidates based on rank. This list will be constantly changing as per the vote count so unlike the first list, the names of the candidates here will move up or down. This list will also contain the percentage of votes the candidate has based on all votes in the circle.

If there is an update the numbers will flash. Updates to the website should start around 10PM and occur every 5 to 10 minutes.

Mobile Website
When a user visits http://news.gov.kw from a mobile device (tested on the iPhone and Android) they will be presented with a mobile optimized version of the website. You can check out the screenshots below on how the information will be presented. The only thing to note here is that on the mobile website, the list of candidates are sorted by rank.

Twitter Integration
For twitter the MOI will have 5 handles, one for each Kuwaiti circle. The system will be set up to automatically post updates every 5 minutes on the Top 12 candidates.

Here are the twitter handles for all circles: @MediaKuwait1 @MediaKuwait2 @MediaKuwait3 @MediaKuwait4 @MediaKuwait5

Note: The results from the MOI are considered preliminary scores and NOT official scores.


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Prime Cuts New Website

Post by Mark

Prime Cuts revamped their website recently and I think it looks a lot better than their older one. In case you didn’t know, they’re a supplier of various gourmet products with their main focus on high quality beef cuts from around the world. They have a physical store in Salmiya which I have yet to check out but you can order from their website and they’ll deliver. Here is the [Link]


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Anonymous accounts on Twitter to be suspended – Interior Ministry

Post by Mark

Interior Ministry announced on Monday that it has asked the Ministry of Communications to suspend all anonymous accounts on the social networking site (Twitter).

The ministry said in a press statement that such measure comes in order to preserve the rights of citizens and residents of people who were used to slander them and their families under fake names, saying that such is a crime punishable by law.

It confirmed that all public have the freedom of expression guaranteed to them by the Constitution as long as those practices are going according to the law, especially with regard to using the (Twitter) site.

It explained that this step comes within the context of the ministry’s keenness to preserve community values and respect for the law. [Source]

That’s technically not possible. Kuwait’s Ministry of Communication can’t suspend twitter accounts. Sounds like a request from a department that doesn’t understand how twitter (and possibly the internet) works. I’m sure the MOC know that’s not possible and probably just replied to them with “enshallah”.


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Mark Cuban invests in brotips!!

Post by Mark

Back in September I posted about Brotips, a website that belongs to a young 16 year old Kuwaiti called Yousef Khraibut. Well Yousef emailed me awhile ago telling me Mark Cuban has invested in Brotips! How cool is that?! Mark Cuban if you don’t know is a business magnate and investor who also owns the NBA team Dallas Mavericks. That’s pretty freaking cool! Here is a link to an article on this deal at FastCompany. [Link]


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