LED Bulbs

Post by Mark

I’ve been thinking about swapping my halogen bulbs with LED versions and so after a bit of research I found two bulbs that were reasonably priced and highly recommended. Since I couldn’t find the specific bulbs I wanted locally I decided to order them from Amazon UK.

I got the bulbs, I tried them out and I’m disappointed.

The major benefit of LED bulbs is energy saving. Halogens are usually 35w or 50w while the LED replacements are either 3w or 6w. The 3w is supposed to be comparable in output to the 35 and the 6 to the 50. The bulbs I ordered were 6w and compared to the 35w halogens they replaced the 6w were considerably brighter.

As you can see in the picture above I ordered two different style of bulbs. The one on the left contains 3 LEDs with each one being 2w in strength. The one on the right is made up of 80 lower powered LEDs. The two bulbs turned out to be very different, the one on the left for example takes a second to light up once you turn the switch on and the beam of light it gives out is concentrated like a spot light. The one on the right on the other hand comes on instantly with a light beam that’s much wider. Both bulbs can not be dimmed.

Now what I hate about both bulbs is the color of the light. Halogens are pretty warm and even though I ordered these two bulbs as warm they turned out to be much cooler in color. By cooler I mean when compared to regular halogens, both these LED bulbs were more bluish than yellowish. They really don’t light up the room nicely which is why I found them very disappointing.

Who should buy LED bulbs? They’re for people who want to make the world a better place by consuming less electricity. Personally I wanted to try them out for my apartment in Lebanon. We don’t have 24/7 electricity in Lebanon so when the power goes off the backup generators come on and with the generators you have a limit to how much power you can consume. For the power of one 50w light bulb I could power eight LED bulbs of similar strength and still save electricity. That’s a big difference.

Here are the prices and models if you’re interested
Left: EDISON 6W LED GU10 – KD6.200
Right: 6W 80LED GU10 – KD6.000


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Team from Kuwait came 2nd in the GCC Microsoft Imagine Cup

Post by Mark


[YouTube]

Ali Taqi, a student at AUK emailed to tell me about their performance in the Microsoft Imagine Cup that was recently held in our region. The Imagine Cup is a student technology competition where the aim is to create technology that will help solve the worlds toughest problems. The AUK students came first in Kuwait and second in the GCC and have now qualified to the next level which is to compete on an international level in New York. Their idea is very simple and according to them was inspired from the blog.

The students saw how when I took a picture of a problem and posted it on the blog the proper authorities would find out about the problem and get it fixed. So the students came up with the idea of creating a software which would be set up with a variety of different authorities (emergency services, garbage collection, health ministry etc..). They then would create a phone application for people so that when they find a problem, they can just snap a picture of it and then have the application send it to the proper authorities along with a geotag so that the location of the problem can be located quickly. They’ve called their idea the Revolutionary Reporting System or RRS for short.

In the video above for example they’re showing you how this software can be used to report an accident. Usually you would waste time trying to get a hold of the emergency call center and then trying to tell them what the problem is and where the problem happened. With this software they created things would be a lot easier.

I wish the guys involved in this project the best of luck (Ali Taqi, Bader Al Mohammed Ali, and Eissa Al Qadeeri). It’s a great idea and I for one would use it all the time. I do think they need to work a bit more on the video presentation before the New York event so maybe a local film maker can volunteer to help them out with this.

You can read more on this project by visiting the AUK website [Here]


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First Impression: The iPad 2

Post by Mark

I managed to get a hold of the new iPad 2 today courtesy of X-cite Electronics and I’m glad I did since there were a lot of questions I had which I managed to get answered after spending some time with the iPad 2.

The iPad 2 I got is the 3G version so the first thing I wanted to check is to see if the iPad was locked to AT&T or not. This time around there are two versions of the iPad 2 3G, there is the AT&T version and there is the Verizon version. The one I got was the AT&T version and it runs perfectly fine in Kuwait. I took out my micro sim from my iPhone 4 and placed it inside the iPad 2 and it worked right away and I was able to browse webpages and stream music from my favorite stations without a problem.

Now physically I was expecting there to be a lot more difference between the old and the new iPad but honestly I felt they were pretty similar. Sure the new iPad is 33% slimmer but it doesn’t feel that different to me (I’ve got big hands maybe?). I never felt the old iPad was actually thick so the fact that the new one is slightly slimmer is a bonus but not really worth upgrading from the old iPad. One thing I want to point out is the fact that I found it difficult to connect the iPad 2 to the keyboard dock due to the way the dock connecter at the bottom of the iPad 2 is on a curve. It took me a few tries the first time and I am guessing I would get better at it after a bit of practice.

The smart cover is pretty cool since it’s very minimal and easy to take off and put on. I didn’t like holding the iPad with the cover on but what’s great about the smart cover is you just pull it off to remove it so it’s very practical to put on and take off and when on it doesn’t add to the thickness by much.

Now I left what I think is probably the most important upgrade till the end and no it’s not the camera which I find useless but the new faster A5 processor. The new iPad 2 is a lot faster than the older iPad and games like Sim City and Red Alert for example run a lot smoother on the iPad 2 compared to the original iPad. Even when launching the apps the difference is very obvious as you can since in the video I recorded above (The iPad 2 is on the bottom).

If you still don’t have a tablet and are looking to get one I wouldn’t recommend anything other than the iPad (both original and 2). If you already own an iPad and are wondering if you should get the iPad 2, well personally I don’t think there is enough change to justify the upgrade. For me the only reason I might get an iPad 2 is if they come out with cool games that take advantage of the new faster iPad 2 processor but other than that I don’t think I would get one. Some people might need the camera or want the smart cover but I use my iPad to read magazines and play games and the original iPad will do both those nearly as good as the iPad 2. But a few months from now I will probably eat my words and end up getting the iPad 2 just because I’m an Apple fanboy.

You can check out the iPad 2 yourself since they are on display at the X-cite Avenues and Al-Rai branch. They are also taking orders and will be delivering them in a week or two. Here are the prices:

Ipad2-16GB-WiFi Black/White KD199
Ipad2-32GB-WiFi Black/White KD249
Ipad2-64GB-WiFi Black/White KD289
Ipad2-16GB-WiFi 3G Black/White KD259
Ipad2-32GB-WiFi 3G Black/White KD309
Ipad2-64GB-WiFi 3G Black/White KD349


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Wind turbines?

Post by Mark

A reader emailed me a picture he took of his neighbors house where they’ve installed two wind turbines. I find that pretty strange honestly. It’s good of course that they’re thinking green but I would have guessed solar power would work great in Kuwait and not wind. I mean how many days of the year is it windy in Kuwait?

Thanks Imad


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My phone is off for you

Post by Mark

Although the project sounds cool there is no way I think I could switch my phone off or ignore it while I am out having a meal. During lunch and dinner I actually enjoy catching up on emails on my iPhone and the messages and pictures from our diwaniya BBM group on my Blackberry. [Link]


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Shawermanator T-1000

Post by Mark

In the future, there will be no more shawerma guys, there will be shawerma robots. [YouTube]


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Get your VVIP BlackBerry PIN

Post by Mark

This is really funny. I just found this post on Blushberry, its a picture from a magazine spread in which they’re selling BlackBerry’s with “special” PIN’s. According to Blushberry the BlackBerry with the PIN 55555555 got sold for KD9,000 and it’s not even the new BlackBerry its the old one! [Link]


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Google Maps in the car

Post by Mark

I’ve always wanted a navigation system in the car that uses Google Maps and it seems this is going to happen very soon since the 2011 Audi A8 will be the first production car to include Google Earth. What I would also like to see one day in the future is real time updated maps. Imagine Google Maps with real time updates while you’re stuck in a traffic jam. You could just zoom in to the area in front of you and see what’s causing the traffic or even better you could check the traffic on the roads before you leave the house.

Actually, I just realized, you don’t need real time updated Google Maps, why don’t we have video cameras or still cameras along major roads which people can access and check online? Something like [This] and also the picture above. The technology has been around for some time now and shouldn’t be too difficult to implement here in Kuwait. Can we please get live traffic cams? Pretty please??


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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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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:

zDistrict
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

Blushberry
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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