Where to fix your iPhone or iPad

Post by Mark

I heard about this place that fixes iPhones ages ago but never had a reason to pass by until today. My mum accidentally dropped her iPhone into her coffee and it stopped working so I took it to the Michel Chinese Workshop in Hawalli. That’s the official name of the store but you can call it the iPhone and iPad Workshop. The shop is located in the basement of a complex and is run by a very nice Chinese couple in the front and four young Chinese technicians in a small glass room in the back.

This tiny place kicks ass. They fix whatever problem you have with your iPhone or iPad and at a very reasonable price. They fixed my mums phone for KD15 while one of my twitter followers was able to replace his broken iPad screen for KD30. They’re also fast, it took them less than an hour to diagnose what the problem was with my mums phone and also fix it.

Finding the place isn’t too difficult as long as you know Ibn Khaldoon Street since they’re right on it. Get to Ibn Khaldoon and if you pass McDonalds on your left, keep driving around 100 meters and you’ll spot the above banner on your right hand side. If you’re on Ibn Khaldoon Street and you pass McDonalds on your right then you’ve passed the place. In case you get lost you can call them on 66228596 or 22640666.

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iBadala vs Urban Moon

Post by Mark

I have a habit of installing apps on my iPhone and then only using them a handful of times and never again. Over the years I’ve accumulated a ton of useless apps to a point where finding one I needed became a hassle. So I decided to do some spring cleaning and delete the apps I hardly use anymore as well as apps that do pretty much the same thing. For example I had two apps that I used to re-size images on my phone, two apps to listen to internet radio stations, two RSS readers and so and so. I also had two apps which I used to find numbers of local businesses, iBadala and Urban Moon. So which did I decide to keep?

First I’ll state the obvious, iBadala looks terrible. The app feels like it’s stuck in a bad design time-warp somewhere between Windows 3.11 and the Pontiac Aztek. It’s not a pretty app while Urban Moon on the other hand looks a lot cooler and feels trendier. It has a pretty icon and a nice start up splash screen that really helps with the first impression. So in the looks category, Urban Moon wins hands down.

When it comes to functionality though, things are completely different. Although Urban Moon is the better looking app of the two and one that feels like it should be easier to use, it isn’t. When I run either one of these apps it’s usually because I’m looking for a number, usually a restaurant to call and check if I can reserve or see how long the line to get in is. Whenever I run Urban Moon I first need to wait for the app to check for updates, and if any are found I have to wait for them to download before I can even start using the app. Depending on how fast my internet connection is at that very moment this could take 5 second if there are no updates (on my 4s) or 10 to 20 seconds if there are any updates. The thing is, even 5 seconds is too long since it makes the app feel sluggish right from the get go due to the app freezing on the start up screen until it’s done checking for updates.

iBadala on the other hand takes just 2 seconds to launch and is then ready to use right away. While Urban Moon has all the numbers built into the app, iBadala grabs a number for you from an online database. Although that sounds slow in reality the search can take as little as under a second depending on how fast your connection is. The disadvantage here is the fact that if you don’t have an internet connection you can’t find any numbers.

It wasn’t that hard really to choose between the two. Even though iBadala is an ugly app, I constantly found myself using it instead of Urban Moon to find numbers quickly. Even if there wasn’t a long wait at the start of Urban Moon I still had to enter a section (another 1 second lost) before I could get to the search box. In any case both apps are free so you could download both and try them out and see which you prefer. I actually got Urban Moon back when they were selling it for $3.99 but they’ve recently made it free (but added advertising) which I think is a better way to go about it.

Here are the links for both apps:
iBadala App
Urban Moon App

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iPhone 4s for KD219

Post by Mark

Eureka have an offer just for today where you can get the iPhone 4s for just KD219. Eureka usually has a habit of running out of stock 2 minutes after opening so I don’t usually post about their offers except this time they’ve mentioned “unlimited quantity”. [Link]

Update: X-Cite have now also lowered the price of the iPhone 4S and you can buy it online directly from [Here]

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iPhone 4S for KD229

Post by Mark

X-Cite is selling the iPhone 4s on their newly launched online store for KD229 (just for today). That’s basically how much it cost me ordering it directly from Apple UK. [Link]


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I’m heading out

Post by Mark

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The iPhone 4S – Battery Life

Post by Mark

This is going to be my last post on the iPhone 4S since there is only one thing left to discuss and that is battery life. When I first got the phone I noticed the battery life was similar to the iPhone 4 but this weekend the battery life got so bad I actually went and purchased a car charger.

But I also found out why the phone started draining a lot more battery than my iPhone 4 ever did and that’s because I was using the Reminder App a lot because of Siri. When I tell Siri to remind me to pick up tea once I get to the supermarket, the phone starts checking my location at intervals to see if I’m at the supermarket or not so it could remind me to pick up tea once I am.

Once I turned location based reminders off I noticed the battery life went back to normal. It’s not hardware related since the Reminder App is also available on the iPhone 4 but Siri makes it more fun and easy to use. So to summarize things, the battery life is the same if you use the iPhone 4S like the iPhone 4, but once you start taking advantages of some of the iOS 5 features, battery life on both the iPhone 4 and 4S starts dropping considerably.

On a side note, check out this tip on how to make the Reminder App even more useful [Link]

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How to get Siri to learn your home or work address if you live outside the US

Post by Mark

A friend of mine figured out a way to get Siri to learn your home and work address as well as other addresses. Just follow the steps below:

1) Open the Maps App
2) Find your home, office or other location
3) Place a pin on the street in front of your location. Street not building or land etc…
4) Click the blue arrow that appeared over the pin
5) Click on Add to Contacts
6) If it’s your office address add it to your contact info
7) Go to your contact info, click on edit, then go down to the address you just added and make sure the label for that address is work (or if it’s your home address then home)

And that’s it. You can now tell Siri to remind you when you get home or to your office and she will do it. You could also add locations like super markets for example so you could tell teach Siri where Sultan Center is and then tell her to remind you to pick up milk once you get to Sultan Center and she’ll do that.

Thanks Saleh!

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Follow-up review on the iPhone 4S

Post by Mark

My iPhone 4S arrived from the UK yesterday and so I managed to spend more time with the device and now have a few things I want to highlight, mostly the negatives.

According to Apple they’ve improved the reception on the iPhone 4S. I never had any issues with the reception on the original iPhone 4 but I do have an issue with the new “improved” reception on the 4S. Although the phone signal now spends most of its time with full signal bars which is great for people who use the phone to call people, another problem has come up instead. The phone now spends a lot more time on Edge instead of 3G internet. I hadn’t seen the little “E” icon on my iPhone for ages but now it’s popping up all the time. I first noticed it in my underground parking, I used to get a weak phone signal before (say 2 bars) but would have 3G. Now I have full signal bars but Edge instead of 3G. I figured it’s not an issue since I don’t spend too much time in the basement checking email or tweets. Once I got out of the parking it swapped back to 3G, but then once I hit the traffic light near Corniche Club on the Gulf Road it was back on Edge. It swapped back to 3G again before going to Edge once I got near TGIF. I even got the Edge signal at the Kuwait Stock Market traffic light. And I’m not talking about Edge appearing briefly and disappearing again, I’m talking about Edge being there the whole time while I’m waiting at the traffic light.

Edge SUCKS. I might as well not have internet since Edge is that horribly slow. I don’t know what Apple did to the reception but I hope this is just a bug that will be fixed in the next software update because I would rather have 2 signal bars and 3G instead of full signal bars and Edge.

She’s great but I have an issue and it’s not that she doesn’t understand me sometimes (check above). In my previous post I mentioned how I wanted to use Siri to remind me of stuff when I get home or get to work. For example “Remind me to walk my dog when I get home”. Siri is supposed to know when I get home and remind me to walk my dog. Problem is because we are in Kuwait we can’t teach Siri where home or office is. Siri uses Google Maps address to learn our home and office locations and right now Google Maps addresses only work in the US. What I don’t understand is why Siri won’t learn the locations using GPS positioning. If you use the Reminder App without Siri you can teach it locations using your GPS position. I already has a saved location in the Reminder App called “Work” and I can tell the App to remind me to do something once I get to the location “work”. Why can’t Siri use the already saved location information or why it can’t learn locations using GPS instead of street addresses doesn’t make any sense.

Finally another issue with Siri and I don’t know if this problem is only happening with me or not but Siri refuses to make phone calls. If I tell her for example to call my wife or call my brother, she will start the calling process and show me she’s dialing the number but then she replies back apologizing that she can’t call them. I’ve tried it with a bunch of different people in my contact list, I’ve removed the +965 from numbers, I tried everything and Siri will keep telling me she can’t call them. Again a strange issue which hopefully will be fixed in the future.

The phone is fast, for day to day operations it’s not noticeably faster than the regular iPhone 4 but just run any game and you’ll instantly see a huge difference. Most games were loading and opening instantly and even games like Rage were loading in just a couple of seconds. If you’re a gamer you’re gonna love the 4S.

The only thing really left to test is the battery life and I can’t do that right now since I’m too busy playing with Siri and the new features. Maybe once my phone use goes back to normal in a weeks time I’ll be able to compare it to my previous iPhone.

If anyone has any questions or anything they want me to try just ask in the comments below.

Update: My guy at Alghanim just called to tell me they’re selling the iPhone 4S 16GB for KD289 and they already started delivering the phones to people from yesterday. I purchased the phone from the Apple Store in the UK and with shipping it ended up costing me around KD230. But I guess if you want the phone right now and don’t want to wait 2-3 weeks for it then this is probably your best option.

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First Impression: iPhone 4S

Post by Mark

As I mentioned in my previous post, Alghanim Electronics sent over an iPhone 4S for me to try out. I’ve been using it for a few hours and thought I would share my first impression on two of the most important new features.

The Camera
Thew camera on the iPhone 4S is a much better camera when compared to the regular iPhone 4. I saw some sample shots on the Apple website and they looked great but those shots were obviously taken in perfect lighting with an amazing photographer. I was curious to how the camera would fair in boring regular situation with random light and a not so great subject. Since the weather today is a mixture of humid, hot and dust, I decided to go to the roof and take a landscape shot.

On the left is the iPhone 4S shot and on the right the iPhone 4. Although it doesn’t look like that dramatic a difference when you zoom in at 100% it’s a complete different story as you can see below.

As you can see the iPhone 4S photo had a lot more details and a lot less artifacts. Another advantage of the iPhone 4S camera is that the lens is brighter which means better shots in low light situations. Below is a photo I took indoors.

Again zoomed out like this the details don’t show as much but once you zoom in at 100% (check below) you’ll see that the iPhone 4S shots are a lot less noisier and a lot more sharper.

One of the main reasons I purchased the iPhone 4S is because of the camera. I take a lot of shots for the blog and although I should, I don’t usually carry my good cameras with me all the time. Most of my shots are taken with an iPhone so the ability to take better shots is a great advantage for me. If like me, image quality is something you care about then the difference between the iPhone 4 and 4S is actually pretty major. You can download the full resolution images I shot and used above from these links:

Landscape with iPhone 4S
Landscape with iPhone 4
Low light with iPhone 4S
Low light with iPhone 4

Another reason I got the iPhone 4S is because of Siri. I’m a huge Stark Trek TNG fan and Siri reminded me a lot of the computer on the starship Enterprise. Even though Siri is limited when compared to the computer on Enterprise (it can’t prepare meals for example), it’s still very impressive and I love it. Siri is going to get even better in the future and I honestly can’t wait.

There are a few things that won’t work in Kuwait though. If you ask Siri for the best burger joints in Kuwait it will tell you it won’t know. Some of the Siri features are US only for now but it does do a whole bunch of other things. You could ask it to convert currency for you, find out the population of countries as well as other trivia. More importantly for me it can take notes and set reminders which is a big deal for me. I’m a very forgetful person and also very lazy so even when I usually remember something I never write it down or set a reminder. Now with Siri, once I remember something I can just tell it to write it down or remind me when I get home or work to do something. She’s really going to be my personal secretary/assistant.

Siri didn’t have that many problems understanding me. I do tend to mumble and I did have a few instances when Siri wouldn’t know what I was talking about but I also found Siri pretty forgiving. For example I might start saying “tell me” and then mid sentence change to “I mean what is the capital city of Kuwait” and Siri would still understand and tell me “Kuwait City”. Yes it does feel weird (ie stupid) talking to a phone but I’m sure I can get over that.

I ordered my iPhone 4S last week from the Apple UK store but for those of you who haven’t ordered yet and just want to walk into a store and pick one up Alghanim Electronics will have them in stock starting tomorrow. I asked about the price but as of this post they still hadn’t finalized it yet.

Update: The prices for the iPhones has been released by Alghanim and they are the following (don’t shoot the messenger):

iPhone 4S 16GB for KD350
iPhone 4S 32GB for KD390
iPhone 4S 64GB for KD420

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Hello iPhone 4S

Post by Mark

My iPhone 4S is currently stuck in customs but Alghanim Electronics sent me one over to check out. There are two things I was looking forward to, Siri and the camera and so far it feels a bit weird having a conversation with my phone, it’s something I need to get used to. I haven’t tried the camera yet but will be doing so in a bit.

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