Hermanos Kitchen – Filipino Asian Restaurant

Post by Mark

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A couple of weeks back I was driving in Salmiya when I got stuck in a bit of inside road traffic. While waiting for it to clear up I spotted a small hole in the wall restaurant next to me called Hermanos Kitchen. So I looked for it on instagram to see what the place was and it turned out to be a Filipino restaurant. It looked like a nice place so yesterday I decided to pass by and try it out.

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Hermanos has only been open for a few of months now and so is still fairly new. The interior is small with around 6 tables and looked good for a hole in the wall. They had a Westlife concert playing on the television which is actually exactly what I would have expected at a Filipino restaurant. The menu was hand written on the wall and I couldn’t understand any of it. I had’t really had any Filipino cuisine previously and so had no idea what all the items were. It was one of those occasions where I wished the menu had pictures alongside the dish names or at least a description in English.

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The waiter tried his best to explain and recommend dishes and I ended up ordering three of them, the Astig Na Chicken BBQ, Fish Be Wit U and the Manoy Bikol Express. Also ordered an A&W Root Beer Float!

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From the three dishes I ended up liking only the chicken BBQ, but the other two I actually wouldn’t have ordered if I knew exactly what they were since they contained ingredients I generally don’t like. My favorite thing though obviously had to be the A&W Root Beer float, hadn’t had that since A&W shutdown over a decade ago.

There a lot of different Filipino restaurants in Kuwait but this one just seems like the nicest one. The prices are pretty good with my bill coming out to around KD7. I just wish it was more non-Filipino friendly, an English menu would have made things much more easier. If I do go back it would definitely have to be with an Asian a Filipino friend which I just realized, I don’t think I have.

Check out Hermanos Kitchen on instagram under the account @hermanoskitchen and on Facebook [Here]. They’re located in Salmiya behind Johnny Rockets [Google Maps]


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Bang & Olufsen Beolit 12 vs Beolit 15

Post by Mark

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Back in 2013 I picked up the Beolit 12 from the local Bang & Olufsen dealer. Although I had buyers remorse at first, I quickly got over it as soon as I started using it and then instantly fell in love with it. Other than the beautiful design, the Beolit sounded incredible especially since it was a small portable unit that ran on batteries. It turned out to be a great buy and I started taking it to the beach and outdoor gatherings with me, even friends were always telling me to bring it along, thats how good it was.

But, back in January my Beolit stopped holding a charge. I ended up with a fairly common blinking red light issue with the and the battery was just dead. Thankfully the unit was still covered under warranty and the local dealer (who are great btw) managed to order a new battery from Dubai and get it installed in my unit. Everything was great again until last month when I got the blinking red light again. This time my unit was out of warranty but I couldn’t even pay to get it fixed since the model was discontinued and the dealer had no more batteries to swap. Instead the dealer offered me a discount on the newer Beolit 15, and I would be able to buy it for KD175. I checked Amazon UK though just to compare and noticed that with shipping to Kuwait the price was KD133 for the exact same model. I sent them a screenshot and they got back to me telling me the lowest they could do is KD150. I took that deal and I’m now a proud owner of both the Beolit 12 and 15.

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Since there weren’t any decent comparison posts online I figured I’d put one together. Originally I was planning on selling my Beolit 12 but now I decided to keep it since I realized although both models look the same, they’re pretty different with how they work.

First thing you’ll notice is the price difference, the newer Beolit 15 is considerably cheaper than the 12. I originally paid KD250 for the Beolit 12 but like I mentioned, you can get the 15 from Amazon UK delivered to you in Kuwait for just KD133. I think the price drop probably has to do with the fact they’ve cut a few corners (more on that later), that the Beolit 15 no longer uses Apple’s proprietary protocol Airplay (so no licensing fees to pay Apple) and also because they’ve now been producing the Beolit for a few years so it’s probably cheaper to make.

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The Beolit 15 no longer uses Airplay and instead uses Bluetooth which most people will prefer, but not me, and I’ll explain why. With the Beolit 12 I could setup the unit on my home network and then stream music to the unit whenever I wanted from wherever I was in the house. The Beolit 15 on the other hand uses Bluetooth. I like Bluetooth, it definitely makes things more convenient as a portable unit, it also allows Android users to stream music to it but it also makes it less practical as a home system compared to the 12. B&O have included a “power saving” feature where after 15 minutes of inactivity, the unit shutdowns… even when connected to a power source! This means every time I want to stream music to the Beolit I need to go to my bedroom and turn it on first. Doesn’t sound like a big deal but it is because I didn’t have to do that before and there is no technical reason why B&O you shouldn’t be able to keep the Beolit 15 always on when connected to a power source. Another issue that arrises because of Bluetooth is that my phone now has to be close to the unit. I have my Beolit in my bedroom, if I play music when I first wake up, I can’t then take my phone and move to my laundry room to iron a shirt because the music will start cutting off. I need to leave my phone in the bedroom if I want the music to keep playing which isn’t practical. This is why I’ve decided to keep my Beolit 12 as my permanently-plugged-in-always-on-bedroom-speaker, and the Beolit 15 strictly for when I need music when I go camping or to the beach. On the bright side, side by side the Beolit 15 surprisingly sounded a bit better, the music sounded fuller and I think it’s because it has a slightly different speaker arrangement. It’s not a big difference but it was noticeable when switching between one unit and the other.

There are a few other differences between the two models. The Beolit 12 has flat touch buttons on top of the device to control the unit while the Beolit 15 has push buttons. I prefer the flat buttons since I think it makes the device more water proof. I’ve had liquids spill on top of the unit and the buttons kept working because there was nowhere for the liquid to seep in. I’d imagine with the new push buttons, the liquids would be able to make their way inside unless the buttons are weather proofed and I haven’t be able to find any info on that. Another change is the leather handle, the Beolit 12 had a thicker harder leather handle while the 15 has a thinner softer leather handle so I’m worried the new handle isn’t as durable as the older model. Finally the power cable on the Beolit 15 is a regular black cable that feels cheap and looks out of place while the Beolit 12 had a cable with a color that matched the unit and was also thicker and had a nice texture to it.

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If it sounds like I’m being picky thats because I am. End of the day this is a beautifully designed speaker by Bang & Olufsen and small things like using a cheap looking black power cable hurts the design. Instead of feeling like I stepped up with the Beolit 15, it feels like I’ve stepped down to an economical version of the Beolit 12. But then again that would explain why it’s now considerably cheaper. Battery life on both devices is supposed to be similar but I haven’t timed it or anything myself. B&O say the Beolit 15 has a 24 hour battery life but they said that about the A2 and I have yet to make it last more than a few hours. So thats marketing BS, expect it to last around 4-8 hours depending on how loud you play it, just like the Beolit 12.

Would I recommend the Beolit 15? As a portable unit for sure, I doubt you’ll find anything that sounds as good or looks as good and with the new price point its definitely much more accessible. But if you’re looking primarily for a small home speaker and you use Apple devices, then I would recommend the older Beolit 12 instead. It’s still available to buy and although slightly more expensive, the ability to keep it always on and being able to keep your phone anywhere you want in the house makes it a much more practical home speaker.

If you’re interested in the Beolit 15, they come in a variety of colors (mine is polar blue) and is available locally I believe for KD195 and on Amazon UK for around KD133 or KD150 (shipped to Kuwait) depending on the color. Here is the Amazon UK [Link]


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Meet the Oracle, by Breville

Post by Mark

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As most of you know by now, my obsession du jour is currently coffee, specifically lattes. I just started having them for the first time around 2 months back and I’ve been hooked ever since. Like everything I obsess over, I start really getting into, reading as much as I can and watching endless hours of videos until I know the subject inside out, and thats what I have been doing with coffee machines. Arabica had already passed me a small coffee machine to play around with, the Delonghi Magnifica S but I quickly grew out of it and wanted more. So I started doing a lot of research and had finally decided on the Breville Dual Boiler unit with the Smart Grinder Pro. Just to clear something up quickly, Breville is called Sage in the UK so the machine is listed on Amazon UK as the Sage Dual Boiler not Breville.

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The reason I decided on the Breville Dual Boiler is because it would allow me to pull my espresso shot while at the same time I can steam the milk. That option was important for me since it would save me a lot of time and was a closer experience to the professional coffee machines. You would think pulling shots and steaming at the same time would be a common feature with these machines but they actually aren’t except in the higher end models. Coffee and steam both require different temperatures, so with single boiler units, you either pull your espresso shot first, then wait for the boiler to heat up to a higher temp so you can steam your milk or the other way around, you steam your milk and then wait for the water to cool down before pulling your espresso shot. With dual boiler units, one boiler is set at the correct temp for coffee, the other for steam and you can perform both tasks at the same time.

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After finally deciding on my machine, I placed the order on Amazon UK and then posted the article on the blog on how you could order expensive appliances from Amazon UK and end up paying less than the listed UK price and get it shipped to your doorstep here in Kuwait. That night, like every night for the past few weeks I was watching random videos on youtube on coffee machines and I came across a video review of the Breville Oracle. I was a bit surprised because I thought the unit I was getting was there top of the line model but the Oracle was even a step above mine. The Dual Boiler didn’t have a built in coffee grinder so I was ordering the Smart Grinder Pro along with the unit but the Oracle had one built in. There was another Breville model that had a built in grinder called the Breville Express, but that unit had a single boiler and I didn’t know there was a dual boiler also with a built in grinder.

But the Oracle not only had a grinder and a dual boiler, but it also had a feature I hadn’t seen on any other machine during my research, it not only ground the beans, but it also filled up the portafilter with the correct amount of coffee and then tamped it (check the video I shot above). But that wasn’t the only trick up its sleeve, the Oracle also automatically steamed the milk for you but unlike most automatic steamers, the Oracle allowed you to set the temperature of the milk and generated micro-foams so you could create latte art. So I quickly headed to Amazon to check the price and it was around KD500 shipped to Kuwait, around KD100 more than the cost of the Dual Boiler and Smart Grinder Pro units I had ordered. The KD400 I was paying for my items was already more than I wanted to spend on an obsession I’ll probably be bored of in a months time, so I wasn’t going to pay even more for the Oracle.

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Randomly, the next day, I get an email from my classified section. Every time someone posts an item for sale, I get an email informing me what the item is so I can make sure people aren’t selling anything inappropriate. The email I got that afternoon was informing me that someone was selling the Oracle in my classified section, it was in like new condition and he was asking KD250 for it. Right away I got in touch with the guy and asked him if he’d let it go for KD200, he agreed and I headed over 30 minutes later and picked up the machine. The guy turned out to be a reader of my blog and after reading about how you could order appliances from Amazon UK, had ordered his 6th coffee machine. Since he wasn’t using the Oracle, he decided to sell it which is how I ended up with the unit. Such a strange coincidence.

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I’ve now had the Oracle for close to a week and I’m just so in love with it. Setting up the machine was fairly easy to do, the most important aspect you need to get right is dialing in how fine you want your beans to be ground. There are 65 levels to choose from but selecting the correct level is fairly easy with a bit of trial and error. With every espresso pull you should get around 20-25ml of espresso, if you get more than that you need to grind your beans finer, if you get less than that you need to grind your beans coarser. Once you set that the first time, as long as you continue to use the same beans you’ll get a consistent espresso pull every single time. I’m using the Arabica Blend of beans from Arabica and the coffee I’ve been producing is as good as the coffee I would get at their shop. I even stole a few empty cups from them so I could compare the volume I was making to theirs and I’ve basically nailed it now. I also experimented with 6 different kinds of milk before settling on the full fat Lactofree milk from Almarai. The steamer in the Oracle is so ridiculously good, I have the temperature set at 60 degrees which is when the milk is at its sweetest point and combined with the Lactofree milk I end up with such a deliciously sweet tasting milk. I’ve even been steaming milk for my hot chocolate and god damn the hot chocolates I am making are coming out so good.

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Over the past week I’ve made a whole variety of coffees for friends from Americanos, Cappucinos, Lattes to straight up espresso shots, and everyone just thought it was the best shit ever. And it’s all because of the machine and the beans. Although I am physically at the machine making the coffee, I’m really not doing much, it’s the machine that is really doing all the work for me while making it look like I’m the amazing barista. I also don’t really have anything negative thing to say about the machine. I kinda wish I had more space on top of the machine for all my cups but thats a minor quibble. The machine also does go through a lot of coffee beans. 500 grams of beans make around 22 cups of coffee give or take. The Arabica Blend of beans I get is KD10 for 500 grams which means every espresso pull costs me around 450 fils. A liter of milk is 450 fils so add around 150 fils and each latte I make costs me roughly 600 fils. At Arabica it costs KD1.850 for a similar sized latte so I’m saving KD1.250 per cup when I make it at home. Since I paid only KD200 for my machine and I have 3 lattes a day, that means I’ll recoup the cost of the machine in less than 2 months time. Not a bad deal at all. Cleaning the machine is fairly easy, I’ve developed a routine I perform at the end of the night and it just takes around 5 minutes which is a small price to pay for great consistent coffee.

As you can tell from this post I love this machine and I can’t recommend it enough. I really wanted to dig into even more details about what makes this machine special but it would be too long of a post and I’d bore 90% of you talking about little things nobody really cares about. Instead if you want to find out even more about the machine then I’d recommend you watch [This Video] on Youtube, they give a great rundown of the machines features. I then suggest you head to Amazon UK and order one since this really is the only coffee machine you ever need [Link]


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Followup On Vigonovo the Italian Restaurant

Post by Mark

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Back in August a new Italian restaurant opened up called Vigonovo and I wrote about it on the blog a couple of days after their opening. I didn’t mention anything about the food back then since they had just opened but now that I’ve been there a bunch of times I can say Vigonovo has become one of my favorite restaurants in Kuwait.

The food first of all is really great, its Italian but its light with simple ingredients so you never leave in a food coma no matter how much you eat. The menu is always changing and the portions are tapas sized which means you get to eat more than one dish (my average is 3 dishes). But, my favorite thing about Vigonovo has to be the chef, Marco. Its become a habit for me and my friends now to just go there and have him whip up whatever he wants for us. Since the cooking is homestyle it just feels natural to let Marco tell us what we are having that night, as if we’re visiting his home. And I don’t think we are the only people who do that, I think most of his regulars let him just decide what they’re having, it’s more fun. Speaking of his regulars, I didn’t realize we had such a large Italian community until I started going to Vigonovo. Every time I’m there at least two or three other tables are filled with Italians.

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I don’t really have anything negative to say about the place, I think the lights could be dimmer in the evening and I find the blue walls weird (when you see it you’ll understand) and thats about it. Oh and their instagram account is private which I’ve told Marco I find annoying because it means I need to follow them to find out about new dishes.

If you’re looking for an authentic Italian restaurant in Kuwait then this is it. The place is located in Salmiya next to Gia. They’re right next door to Lorenzo in the shop called “Rose Gathering” (they’ll be changing the sign soon). Vigonovo is currently open daily from 5PM onwards except on Fridays when they close. Definitely worth checking out. Here is their location on [Google Maps] and their instagram account is @vigonovo_kw


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Game Review: No Man’s Sky

Post by Patrick

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No Man’s Sky is a exploration and survival game that takes place in a procedurally generated universe that features 18 quintillion planets. You have your own space ship that allows you to fly from planet to planet, galaxy to galaxy, discovering new planets, animals and plants, while trading with various different races.

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The game starts off by placing you on a random planet with a broken spaceship. Your first task is to look for resources to help you repair your ship and take off from the planet. This first area serves as a light tutorial that should help you get a grip on the games loop. After you successfully take off from the first planet, the universe opens up to you and you can either choose to follow on the games set path to the center of the universe or you can choose travel to any galaxy and any planet you like as long as you have the fuel.

The problem with having procedurally generated content though is that a players experience is based off luck and chance. I’ve seen people complain that planets look the same, feel the same and there is truth in that, but my personal experience has differed. I’ve been lucky enough to discover a wide variety of planets, ranging from planets that have nearly zero life on them with intense weather to planets teeming with life. So even though I’ve seen planets that look similar, I’ve also been lucky enough to see enough variety that I’m still interested in exploring and taking screenshots of planets I like.

Read the rest of this entry »


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Grilled Lobster at IKEA

Post by Mark

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When I first heard that IKEA was serving grilled lobster alongside their usual meatballs and chicken nuggets, I thought it was funny, but then I became curious. Was it any good? So yesterday I decided to pass by and try it out.

It was a bit crowded when I dropped by for lunch since they had a buy one get one free offer on their meatballs dishes. When my turn finally came up I asked for the grilled lobster and noticed the woman next to me look at me and smile as if I had just told a lame joke. But, the look on her face when I got handed my lobster dish was priceless. IKEA is the last place you’d expect to find lobster on the menu which is why I was so curious to try it.

The grilled lobster costs KD4.750 and comes with a side of steamed vegetables or french fries. And unsurprisingly, you get what you pay for. The lobster was super dry, tough and bland, it didn’t even taste like lobster. Definitely not something I’d want to have again. My recommendation? Order the meatballs instead.

Thanks Grant


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Review: The Micro 3D Printer

Post by Mark

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3D printers are a lot more common and accessible nowadays and I’m fascinated with the technology. As a huge Star Trek (TNG) nerd, a 3D printer to me is the first step towards a Replicator, a device that prints out whatever you want from food to gadgets. 3D printers are still a long way off to becoming a fully functioning Replicator, but we’re on the right track and they’re becoming more mainstream and affordable which brings me to the Micro 3D (M3D) printer. The local M3D dealer sent me a Micro 3D printer to review and I’ve been playing around with it for a few weeks now and figured it was about time I write about it.

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The Micro 3D printer started off as a kickstarter project back in 2014, their goal was originally to get $50,000 worth of pledges but eventually ended up getting $3,401,361. It was a huge success and a year later they started shipping them out. So what is a 3D printer? It’s basically like your regular printer except instead of printing ink on paper, it uses plastic ink (filaments) to print out three dimensional objects. Over the course of the period I’ve had the printer I’ve printed random stuff like iPhone cable protectors (pictured below), a AA battery case, a Nintendo 3DS cartridge box, a small toy robot, a wrench for my Dremel (because I lost my original one) and a bunch of other random stuff. Even a new adapter for my Dyson vacuum cleaner.

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Now all the items I printed were already 3D modeled since I don’t know how to use 3D software myself. The website with the largest library of 3D models is probably thingiverse.com. You can find anything you want there from car parts to the latest optical illusion that went viral last week. You just download the 3D model, load it up in your printer software and click print. Need a new iPhone cover? Just print one yourself, need a privacy shield for your iMac camera? Print one. A Pokemon ball? Print one. And if you do know how to use 3D software, then you could basically create anything you want.

The Micro 3D printer is a very compact device that doesn’t look intimidating at all. It comes in various colors and will sit nicely on any desk. There are no buttons on it, everything is controlled using the software so it has a very clean simple look to it. There is even an internal filament holder so that the ink stays hidden in the device but you could also mount the ink externally. One of the first things I printed was an external ink holder from the M3D website and it made swapping inks more practical. When it comes to the inks there are tons of colors to choose from and there are even two types, regular PLA ink and what M3D calls, the Tough Ink. I tried both types and prefer the Tough Ink since unlike the regular PLA, the Tough Ink has a rubber like feel to it and is flexible. Here is a video comparing the two [Video]. The disadvantage of Tough Ink is that it’s more expensive and a roll doesn’t last as long.

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Over the few weeks I had the printer I did run into a bunch of issues, most of which aren’t printer specific. When your laser printer at home has a problem, it’s most likely a printer jam or you’ve run out of toner. With 3D printers there is so much more that can go wrong, for example here is a 3D printer troubleshooting page to give you an idea of all the various issues you might run into [Link]. Even something so minute as the room temperature can have an affect on the printing. It was frustrating at times but when you get everything working properly again you get a sense of reward, like you just cracked the Enigma code. Another issue is the amount of time it takes to print stuff out. The quickest thing I’ve printed took maybe 50 minutes while the longest took around 10 hours. I basically print stuff and go to sleep or leave the house. I’m not sure how much faster or slower other 3D printers are but it’s still something I wanted to point out in case you’re expecting to print stuff in a few minutes.

3D printers are still in their infancy but if you want to dabble in it then the M3D printer is a great way to start. The M3D printer costs KD155 while the regular PLA ink costs KD6 and the Tough Ink costs KD9. It’s one of the most affordable 3D printers on the market and I believe the most affordable one you can buy in Kuwait. It’s such a strange feeling to click print, go to sleep and then wake up to find a new object in your house that wasn’t there the night before. You’re essentially printing objects out of thin air and I’m really looking forward to seeing how this technology will evolve in the future.

If you’re interested in the M3D printer, the local dealer have a special deal right now for my readers, if you add the printer to your shopping cart and with it two regular PLA inks, use the promo code “248am” on check out and you’ll get the filaments for free. Here is the product page [Link]

Update: Here is a link to my collection of various 3D items that I’m interested in or already printed on [Thingiverse]


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The New Porsche 911 Carrera S II (991)

Post by Mark

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The past few weekends have been pretty exciting for me, I had a Lotus for three of them and then this past weekend I had the new 2017 model year Porsche 911 Carrera S. It was actually perfect timing since I had recently taken out the Lotus Evora which I consider a direct competitor of the 911 so it was a good opportunity to compare the two. This wasn’t my first time in this current generation 911, I had previously raced one around the Dubai Autodrome during the Porsche World Roadshow a few years ago. But this model I drove this past weekend was the face-lifted version which they’re calling the 911 II.

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Visually the exterior of the 911 II doesn’t look that different from the previous years with most of it being just aerodynamical upgrades. But, there are some important changes that take place under the hood. The new Carreras are now turbo charged giving both the regular Carrera and the Carrera S an extra 20HP each. This upgrade has allowed the Carrera S to hit 0 to 100km/h in under 4 seconds making it the first Carrera to break the 4 second barrier. The previous model hit 0 to 100 in 4.1 seconds but this new model now does it in just 3.9.

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Another major upgrade is the infotainment system which now includes Apple’s CarPlay. I’ve been using CarPlay since 2014 and although it looks pretty, it’s fairly buggy and lacks some important features. Luckily you’ll still be able to use your phone via bluetooth in the Porsche, something I sadly can’t do in my car. An important thing to mention is you now no longer have multiple options of the infotainment system to choose from. I think thats great because end of the day this is a Porsche so you’d expect all the cars to be fitted with the best infotainment system available. But previously what came standard was an infotainment system that lacked features unless you were willing to plough down around 800KD for the proper one. Now all the 911’s come standard with this new system which is great. Finally one more new feature which I personally loved is the new steering wheel with a rotary switch that controls the driving mode similar to that of the Porsche 918. The steering wheel was oddly my favorite thing about this 911, it felt great in my hands and the design will surely look great years down the line, something I can’t say about the older Porsche 911 (996).

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The 911 is pretty much flawless, there really isn’t anything I can fault about the car, even the trunk was surprisingly big. The car was fast, lots of fun to drive and the model I drove had a flashy lava orange color with a beautiful black interior. Which reminds me…People of Kuwait I have a request, STOP ordering Porsches with Bordeaux Red or Beige interiors! Please stop it! Seriously there needs to be an intervention. I was so surprised when I realized I was about to get into a 911 with a black interior in Kuwait, I figured it must have been an international Porsche dealer guideline or something. The Porsches interior looks so much sportier and hotter in black, it’s really the only way to go. Anyway, back to what I was saying, the car was fantastic and I can understand why everyone in Kuwait has one, it’s probably the best daily driver sports car you can get.. which is why I don’t think I’d ever buy one myself.

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The cars local success is the cars biggest downfall for me. Every other person in Kuwait seems to have a 911. When I want to plucker down KD40,000 for a car I don’t want to blend in with half the population of Kuwait. I mean I get why everyone is buying the car, it makes perfect sense but Kuwait is such a weird place, you’d think these cars were so much more affordable based on the number of them out on the road.

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Still that doesn’t stop me from heading over to the local Porsche dealers website every few weeks and building my own car. If you’ve never checked out their website before you should, there is an option to build a Porsche but the best part about it is it will tell you how much it will cost (Jaguar you guys need to add the prices on your website). So I’m on their website every now and then building a Cayman GT4 or a 911 for fun trying to fill it up with options that make sense and offer the most value and I take it fairly seriously as if I’m buying the car even though it’s all just imaginary. After driving the 911 this weekend there is one option I’m taking off the list for sure and thats the KD900 Burmester sound system. It’s not worth it, the car I drove this weekend had it and I was disappointed with the sound. It was extremely boomy and I can’t imagine the stock sound system sounding any worse. Another option I won’t be adding? The Lane Change Assist (a KD210 option), there aren’t any blind spots on the car and anytime the lane change warning light came out, the other car would be in clear sight of me. There are tons of options you can add to the car and they quickly add up. For example the Carrera S starts at a very reasonable KD34,000 but the model I drove costs around KD43,000 because of all the options it had in it. You don’t need door sill guards in stainless steel and illuminated (KD220 option), or the air vent slats painted (KD360 option) or the Porsche crest embossed on the head restraints (KD60 option) or a bunch of other superficial options. So if you hold yourself back with the options you should still be able to get a 911 at a fairly affordable price (for what it is).

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I ended up dropping the car back to the dealer earlier then planned, that should basically summarize my feelings towards the car. I’ve driven a ton of cars over my lifetime, a lot of them were dull and a lot of them were exciting. When I took out the Camaro ZL1 or the Lotus Exige, I was a completely different asshole in them, when I took out the Mercedes S-Class I felt like a pimp. But with the 911, I just felt like a boring and responsible person, it didn’t excite me in anyway. On the plus side, they’ve introduced the Miami Blue color which reminds of the old 90s Riviera Blue 911 (993) which was and is my favorite Porsche of all time. FYI, thats the color to get with a full black interior.

Like I said, if you haven’t done so already, head over the Porsche Kuwait website and build your own car [Link]


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Game Review: Doom

Post by Patrick

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Doom was one of those games that I wasn’t allowed to play when I was a kid but I did anyways. It was dark, atmospheric and kind of scary. The games were unique at that time and basically laid the foundation for future first person shooters. Since then Id software tried to recapture that magic with various other games like Doom 3 and RAGE but were never really were able to reach the heights of Doom I and II…until now.

There was some hesitation from fans when the new Doom was announced since the market was oversaturated with first person shooters and it would take something special for the new Doom to make a dent. The development history of the game was troublesome, Id Software had completed a Doom game, didn’t like what they had created and then restarted the development process from the beginning. So there were a lot of questions that needed answering, would the new developers be able to design levels as good as John Romero and co.? Would the new developers be able to create the same fast-paced action that were present in those original games? Would they try to create a more immersive narrative even though those older games didn’t really rely on one? Even then, would a first person shooter with a reliance on gameplay over narrative even succeed nowadays when narrative seems important to the consumer and the players?

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I was able to get my hands on Doom a few days before its official release and even though the multiplayer beta was disappointing, I was really looking forward to the single player campaign. As the games release date got closer, it was revealed that no review copies were sent out to any of the major websites so many people were expecting the worst. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting when I put the game in, I hoped for the best though. Thankfully what I got was nothing short of incredible. The game has incredible visuals and art direction, the environments look great, the monsters look extremely detailed and the animation is top notch. The music and the sound design are also fantastic and suit the game perfectly. Another aspect of the game that adds to its value is it doesn’t take itself too seriously. The developers built a ridiculous and amusing lore surrounding Doom-guy. They took this generic guy and turned him into this legendary warrior that demons fear. He has a personality even though he doesn’t say a word, it’s all in his actions. The game plays fast, it’s brutal and the music accompanying the action is memorable. The way the game starts is brilliant and probably one of the most memorable introduction to any game I’ve played.

The developers were successful at modernizing Doom in a couple of ways. First off is you can now upgrade your weapons, thankfully it’s not convoluted. Each weapon has two upgrade paths and the manner in which they’re presented is simple and straight forward. Your armor can be upgraded as well and like your weapons, the process is simple. You can also upgrade the amount of health, armor and ammo you can carry. You’ll also come across demonic runes that present a challenge and if you complete the challenge you’ll unlock a rune that you can equip that will also help you out in some way.

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Other ways the developers were able to modernize Doom is the games level design. The original Doom games had complex level designs that were maze like and contained plenty of secrets to discover. The developers were able to take that feel and successfully modernize it. Levels have a lot of verticality to them and you’ll be jumping around quite a bit. It sort of feels like a Metroidvania kind of game in some ways. You’ll get lost in the levels the same way players did in the original game. The levels have secrets and even when you know where they’re located, some secrets are still tricky and challenging to get to.

The game also features two other modes besides the single player campaign mode which are multiplayer and Snapmap modes. Multiplayer is self-explanatory and I haven’t really touched it since release because I’ve been spending all my time playing through the campaign while the Snapmap mode is where all the user-created content will be. Snapmap lets you create and share your own levels and challenges. I’m actually impressed by how much content Doom has to offer.

Its been a while since I’ve enjoyed a first person shooter as much as I’ve enjoyed Doom. It might just be the best single player first person shooter I’ve played. It’s memorable, it’s fun and it’s very violent. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a fast-paced action game that doesn’t take itself very seriously. I’m relieved it turned out this good since I chose to play Doom before Uncharted 4. I don’t like giving out perfect scores (I’ve only given 5 games perfect scores), but Doom deserves it.

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Post by Patrick


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The Lotus Evora 400

Post by Mark

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Like the Lotus Exige S which I recently wrote about on the blog, theres a lot to love and hate in the Evora 400. I actually ended up having the car over two weekends so I got to spend a pretty good amount of time with the car. I’ll get all the good stuff out of the way first, then talk about a few negatives points before telling you what I think.

When I first got into the Evora 400 and drove off I was really surprised at how civil the car was. Unlike the Exige S, getting into the car didn’t require any acrobatics since it’s like a normal car, you just open the door and get in. The interior was also a lot more fancier looking with leather all around, beautiful center console with controls for the AC and gear box, and with seats there were super comfy. The Evora has a Supercharged 3.5L V6 producing 400hp but you wouldn’t be able to tell when the car is in regular touring mode. I thought the Evora was too quiet, like nearly electric car quiet since all you couldn’t hear the engine or exhaust, just the whine of the supercharger. The car felt too civil which was starting to feel disappointing since the reason I’m in a Lotus is because it’s a sports car and so I wanted it to sound like one. Luckily, the Evora has a cool trick up its sleeve. On regular touring mode, the car doesn’t sound any louder than a Toyota Camry, but as soon as you hit the exhaust button on the dashboard, everything changes. The Evora suddenly comes to life and the sound becomes brutal and so violent. If you’re in an indoor parking lot and roll down your windows, oh wow you won’t believe how beautiful the Evora can sound.

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I think that was my favorite aspect of the Evora, it can be super silent and an unassuming daily driver (just don’t go with bright orange), or it can be the loud in your face track car. Daily driver is how I kept describing the car to my friends whenever they asked me what I thought of it. Then you have the looks, god damn it’s a super hot looking car. Like the Exige S, everywhere I went people wouldn’t stop staring, it’s such an eye catcher.

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But, not all is great. As I mentioned earlier in the post, I had the Evora 400 over two weekends. The reason for that is the first weekend I ran into issues with the gearbox. Something was wrong with the programming and so when I would give the car a hard kick down, the car would sometimes shift from 1st gear to 2nd to 3rd and then just get stuck there instead of continuing to shift up. On one occasion it even got stuck on 2nd gear. Then one night on my way back home, the gearbox, engine and traction control lights all came on and the car wouldn’t shift anymore and just stayed stuck on 3rd gear. I dropped the car off back to Lotus the next morning and got it back again this past weekend. I guess they reset the software or something but all the issues I had with the gearbox the previous weekend disappeared. Putting that bit of bad luck aside though I did have more issues with the car, ones that a software update couldn’t fix. One of my issues with the Exige S was the lack of storage space, not sure how it’s possible but the Evora has even less space. There is a small pocket on the door that might or might not hold your wallet depending on how big it is, and there is also a small glove compartment that can hold your sunglasses, but other than that there is nothing. I had to keep my phone in between my legs or on the passenger seat because there was no room to put my phone. I should mention there is a back seat in this car that supposedly can hold two passengers, but unless those passengers don’t have any legs I’m not sure how they’ll fit there. The back of my seat literally touches the rear seat so there’s no way anyone can sit behind me thats for sure. Finally the last issue with the car is one that I find mind boggling. I took the car to get it washed and it leaked in water from both doors in the exact same location. If it was one side you could say it might have been a defect or whatever, but both sides? Thats just poor design which is why I don’t understand how Lotus didn’t catch this.

The Evora 400 starts at KD34,000 which puts it right in the Porsche 911 turf. But the question then becomes, do you want a car that everyone has? Or do you want a car that is less common and unique? If I’m paying that much money, I don’t want to blend in so then it becomes about how much issues can I put up with. Personally, with all the issues I had with the more affordable Exige S, I’m in love with that car. Maybe if I ask nicely they’ll let me take the Exige S back out for another weekend.

If you’re interested in test driving a Lotus then pass by them, they have both the Exige S and Evora 400 available. Here is a link to their instagram account @alghanimlotuskw


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