Free Bashar.

20Aug07

Bashar Al-Sayegh was arrested and beaten yesterday by the Kuwaiti Secret Police for an anonymous comment on Bashar’s forum regarding the Amir (which was deleted). Jasim Al-Qames (Al-Jarida Journalist) was also arrested and beaten by the Kuwaiti Secret Police for taking picture; and was forced to sign a unread document. Jasim has been released; Bashar is still in custody by the Secret Police, There was a press conference held today at Al-Tahaluf calling for the release of Bashar. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Bashar and his Family.

For more information
Sa7at Al-Safat (arabic)
6a5 6ee5 (arabic)
Q8-SWS (english)
Elkoot (arabic)
BilKuwait Alfasil
(arabic)

 

Update:
Bashar has been released!

 


Once again .. the fall season is upon us. This is roughly the same list as last year; in addition to Heroes, 30 Rock, Dexter and Ugly Betty. We also say farewell to The O.C. and The Sopranos as they have officially finished off their (long) runs. I am also following up on Jericho, LOST, Fifth Gear and Top Gear.

The following are shows I will be watching (downloading) this season and their return dates:

August 13th

Weeds (HBO)

September 17th

Prison Break (FOX)

September 23rd

The Simpsons (FOX)
Family Guy (FOX)

September 24th

How I Met Your Mother (CBS)
Heroes (NBC)

September 27th

Ugly Betty (ABC)
Grey’s Anatomy (ABC)
Smallville (CW)
My Name is Earl (NBC)
The Office (NBC)

September 28th

Numb3rs (CBS)
Las Vegas (NBC)

September 30th

Desperate Housewives (ABC)
American Dad (FOX)
Dexter (Showtime)

October 1st

Everybody Hates Chris (CW)

October 3rd

South Park (Comedy Central)

October 4th

30 Rock (NBC)

October 12th

Men In Trees (ABC)

October 25th

Scrubs (NBC)

I will have another post about the new shows to look forward too, and its quite a long list.


MTC > Zain.

07Aug07

MTC is (finally) switching over to their new branding: Zain. After August 10th, all further advertisements/refrences are not allowed to carry the MTC logo or template. MTC has yet to release their new logo; so I recreated the one from Q’s post, hence the ghetto lines.

From what I understood, the reason for re-branding is unifying their name worlwide; but since ‘Zain’ itself doesn’t appeal to cultures outside of Kuwait, it defeats the purpose. They should have chosen a better global name like Agility, or added a red swish to the old logo like NBK. I am personally not a big fan of the re-branding .. the new logo reminds me of Microsoft Zune (neo-fonts and gradient).

Goodbye MTC ..

 


Different ISPs have different strokes .. Since the marketing people are having a field day with the pricing stategy, I can’t make this into a simple chart.

Qualitynet:
Qualitynet is charging the same as their DSL service; their current rates are here.
Prices (may) include the 7kd connection charge.

KEMS:
Here is the confusing one .. They have only one package: you sign up for the first three months (and get a free wireless router); then you renew for a year within those three months.

  • 256: 38.5kd for the first three months. 99kd to subscribe for an extra year.
  • 512 70kd for the first three months 199kd to subscribe for an extra year.
  • 1mb 115kd for the first three months 399kd to subscribe for an extra year.
  • 2mb 190kd for the first three months 699kd to subscribe for an extra year.

Prices already include the 7kd connection charge.

Fasttelco:
Fasttelco is charging the same as their DSL service; their current rates are here.
Prices already include the 7kd connection charge.

United Networks:
I was unable to contact their sales staff and you have to be added to a mailing list to receive further information. Based on their adverts, they seem to be offering a 1kd a month (for limited 64kbps) internet connection. On the bright side, they have announced new DSL rates (which could be the same as fiber-optics) .. the current rates are here.


Almost two years after my post about the rumors surrounding the availability of fiber-optics in Kuwait .. Qualitynet has announced that it now offers internet over fiber-optics to homes already wired up in South Surra & Fahed Al-Ahmed.

We have had fiber-optics at work (Kuwait City) for the past year now and offers several benefits over DSL:
1. Not affected by line quality (poor line = slow dsl)
2. Extremely high data transfer rates.
3. Lower latency (lower response time)
4. Delivery of media services (voice and multimedia over IP, and IPTV (including high definition TV, video on demand, and home entertainment).

Now before you start dreaming of two-second downloads and buffer-less video streaming .. the prices and speeds are the same as DSL. Since the cost of bandwidth is expensive (thanks MOC), we won’t be seeing any significant bandwidth upgrades in the near future. To those of you who are feeling smug about being on a fiber link .. you are paying as much as us (dsl people) and are no faster.

Update:
All Kuwaiti ISPs will be offering fiber-optic connectivity in South Surra and Fahed Al-Ahmed .. Certain ISPs will be offering better pricing/speeds (from those of DSL). I should have a comparison of packages offered by ISPs tomorrow.


B’s Post.

25Jul07

 

Nibaq has an interesting post about a post by 2:48am about an interesting post about a post by Z District about an interesting post about a post by me, which he found really funny called Kuwait Blogs 101.

Check it out. [Link]


1. The Language-Challenged Blogger:
This is the category of bloggers who have trouble differentiating between languages, e.g. “I got into a car accident oo Ri7t ma5far Shamiya ilyom.” Writing a word or a sentence to refer to a specific person, place or thing in Arablish is fine, but writing the whole post – think several paragraphs – is just plain retarded. There is something wrong when your posts need subtitles. There are over 6,800 languages in the world, pick one and stick to it instead of using every other symbol known to humankind.

2. The Mixed Case Syndrome Blogger:
Bloggers who think writing half the letters in caps is cool and rebellious, e.g. “PuRgAtoRy NeEds HeLp.” There is a reason the letters are automatically lowercased; if you are unable to see the difference, please remove the shift button from your keyboard. It is annoying, illegible, unnecessary, and adds completely nothing to what you are trying to say. Anyone who capitalizes the second letter in a word should be assaulted multiple times to the head with an old keyboard (with the exclusion of Apple Fanboys).

3. The YouTube Leech Blogger:
This caption is under the handful of bloggers who place videos from YouTube in every other pathetic post. So you enjoyed the video of the kid screaming “Bloooood”? How about you write something significant after posting the video of the ninety-year-old guy dancing the Macarena in his birthday suit? Now, there are some interesting videos on YouTube that get forwarded across the globe through emails and Facebook messages. But at the end of the day, the previously hilarious clip gets worn out pretty quickly. The whole thing is overplayed, overdone and overused to such an extent that you find yourself gasping for something genuine. It is acceptable if someone refers to what is in the video they posted i.e. a song, play, etc. and relates it to their post’s subject, but if the entire post is made up of embedded text; you might as well be killing kittens.

4. The Resurrected Blogger:
Scores of bloggers claim to quit and then come back a week later. If you want to quit, stop posting. Do not be a Drama Queen by announcing a tearful goodbye to the blogosphere about your final virtual days and then return because your so-called loyal readers (read: nagging do-nothings) missed you. Chances are the same people who miss you will have forgotten you in about a week. As for the people who claim to quit just to see how many comments they will get: you need to find a new hobby or rather, a life. This goes double for the people who over dramatize it with cliché phrases like “Blogging changed my life!” and “I’ll never forget you guys!” before they bounce right back in after a short period of time with an equally sappy and subtly arrogant “I missed the blogging me! Did you?”

5. The Déjà Vu Blogger:
Many bloggers write about the same topic as every other blog without adding something new to the mix. We know that legalizing alcohol was an April’s Fool’s joke. We know that Virgin was shut down by the government due to unrelated circumstances. Unless you add your own take on the issue at hand, it is just another useless post. Nobody wants to hear or see it unless there is something new and authentic inside. And yes, it is your own blog and you can post whatever you want whether it is spanking new or stale news. But that is the catch see; it is your blog, why not put in the extra effort and really make it your own?

6. The Stereotypical Kuwaiti-Blogger:
Villa Moda, The Avenues and Marina Mall sums up about 95% of most of these individuals’ posts. And for the record, I do not care much for the display picture that shows 10% of your oh-so shiny and lush hair as a way to entice and allure their readers to think, “My, who is this wonderful mystery of a being!” Either write something worth reading or grab your glittered cell phone and spill all to your best friend who probably might be just as disinterested as the readers who indifferently skim your latest post for a maximum of 45 seconds.

7. The “I am not a stereotypical” Kuwaiti-Blogger:
Yes, we know that the culture does not understand you, and well, we just do not care. Go ahead and write about how nobody really “gets you” or how no one really knows where you are coming from or how every single person you encounter is a downright hypocrite. At the end of the day, no one is as big a hypocrite as you are. And please do not post about wanting to leave Kuwait because it is boring and you would much rather spend time playing pool in a shoddy little bar in Wichita. We know that life here is mind-numbing and we too take a break from the rut we call living. The way I see it is that you have two choices: you either leave for good or suck it up and deal. Right now, you might be boasting about your bright plan to quit everything before packing up your bags and taking off. The thing is kiddo, both you and I know that you are not as ballsy as you think you are so save yourself a few hours of sleep and stop daydreaming about Neverland since the probability of you basking in the glorious sunshine of Libertyville is zero to null.

8. The Tagging Blogger:
You smoked one cigarette in your life, crashed a car and took off without telling anyone and you also enjoy long, romantic walks on the beach? James Dean would be so proud of your rebellious stance on life and the fact that you adore the color red. I found more interesting information in spam and chain emails than I do in tags. Then again, one thing everyone loves to do is find a way to talk about themselves. Since we are all Narcissists disguised under innocently constructed personas, tagging allows you to do just that without being creative whatsoever since the only thing you rely on is your memory and typing skills.

9. The All-Day blogger:

Post 1: 9am – I had breakfast, it was good.
Post 2: 9.15 – I took a shower, it was good.
Post 3: 9:30 – I got dressed, it was fun.
Post 4: 9:45 – A stranger came into my room. He said his name was “K” and that he is a blogger. He is choking me right now. This may be my last breath. If not, I will tell you all about my near death experience after fifteen minutes, as always.

10. The Misspelled Blogger:
Even if they had Miriam-Webster toilet paper, some bloggers would still be unable to spell for shit. A word of advice? If you see squiggly red lines under the words you type, refrain from clicking on the “Publish Post” option.

*This post is dedicated to L for proofreading/editing seventeen different variations.


I finally got my hands (literally) on an iPhone to see what all the fuss was about:

  Continue reading ‘iPhone in Kuwait.’


Imperial27.

11Jul07

ABNE & Co is proud to announce its first Redbull-flugtag flying endeavor, Team Imperial27, in remembrance of Imperial Airways’ first Kuwaiti in 1927. The team will be composed of lead pilot and magician Nibaq (pilot), accompanied by conspiring engineering extraordinaries Marzouq, Mark and K.

Stay tuned for further information about Imperial27’s voyage into the waters of Kuwait.



 


Black is also in.


 


White is in.


I went to the first annual Kuwaiti Short Film Festival yesterday; I throughly enjoyed the caramel popcorn.


A friend has commented that my blog has been negative as of late .. and I should dedicate a post to something other than technical-stuff, newspapers and cars.

As my memory is quite limited lately (if its more than an hour .. its forgotten). I went through my older posts to remember what I used to post about (restaurants, magazines and movies). And lo and behold, I found an old layout I created for my room. After almost a year and a half (and several thousand revisions) its quite ironic to see that it has turned out roughly the same. As for the revisions, I have to give credit to my wonderful interior designer for helping me with the colors (forcing them actually, which was a good thing)

Some updates:

Nov 5 – 2005
Phase 1 of the redesigned room, the blueprint:
Phase 2 is going to be the color scheme (hinting towards a lime green wall, rest will be white, with orange/violet trim along the furniture.
Phase 3 is going to be the actual furniture design (Designing it myself, as it can’t be that different than the other things I do).
Phase 4 is going to be the random pieces of cool yet useless stuff lying around.

Now:

Phase 1: Pretty much the same layout .. didn’t go as funky with the desk shape though.
Phase 2: Grey+Red+White+Wood = Designer (thank you for talking me out of the yellow/green)
Phase 3: I did the designs for the desk, bookcase and bed. However, the bookcase wouldn’t fit (carpenters fault). So, I went with an ikea set. It actually fits quite well.
Phase 4: er .. nope. I might put my vinyls/turntables back in my; haven’t used them in ages though. I am going to get some designs printed once I find a competent (cheap) canvas printer.

And I finally have a red desk ..

(There, you have your cheerful post, next post is dedicated to castrating the next person who tells me to turn off my lights to save electricity)
(And Marzouq .. my dual screen is cooler than yours 😉 )


As some of you know, Mona Al-Fuzai has written a ridiculous article discussing what not to do in Kuwait (and the prevalence of rape by taxi drivers and bosses). I chose not to directly bring up the issue on my blog as Mark had posted about it here.

The Kuwait Times has decided to pull the article from their website, perhaps the editor decided to actually read it this time around.Mona Al-Fuzai has written a reply in the Kuwait Times to the criticism online. I felt the need to respond to certain parts of her reply, as there are various things i disagree with (in addition to the various inconsistencies).

Mona:
Furthermore, no one could disprove the truth of what I had written, even though it was an exaggerated satire.

You can not use sarcasm and comedy when inciting that rape is commonplace in Kuwait; and then have the article printed in a newspaper. Newspapers are held to a certain standard to provide its readers with credible news backed by evidence. Writing a ‘comedic’ view on rape and being a foreigner in Kuwait in a sarcastic tone is not acceptable by any standards. As for disproving the ‘truth’, I suggest you include evidence or facts as to the number of women raped by speaking to Taxi Driver or Bosses.

Mona:
What is the rule of journalism? Is it to print colored pictures of pretty girls, singers and celebrity news? Is this what many people want to read and learn about nowadays?

From Wikipedia: Journalism is a discipline of gathering, writing and reporting news, and more broadly it includes the process of editing and presenting the news articles. Journalism applies to various media, including newspapers, magazines, radio, and television.

So to answer the hypothetical question, yes, Journalism does apply to ‘printing colored picture of pretty girls’ among other things. Printing a ‘exaggerated satire’ as a newsarticle about women being raped by speaking to men is not really considered proper Journalism.

Mona:
A real press is one who encourages many Kuwaitis to work for the betterment of the country and believe in their abilities to make Kuwait better by their own pens with their real names open for every one to see and not hide behind fake names and fake email addresses.

If a ‘real press’ is about working for the betterment of their country, then why should it matter if they are using anonymous names.

Mona:
How are we supposed to develop and advance if we ignore our nation’s problems and do nothing for our country except hang out in the malls and say, “Wow, how dare he/she talk about Kuwait like that???”

How are we supposed to develop if women (and foreigners alike) are threatened by living in Kuwait due to the ‘exaggerated satire’ article on being raped.

Mona:
For those who sent me nasty emails asking if I’m a Kuwaiti or threatening me or questioning my right to criticize Kuwait, I say shut up.

The title of your article was ‘Free press, free opinion: This is my Kuwait’; therefore your entitled to the same opinion as the people criticizing your article. What goes around comes around, do not expect people to respect your opinion if you start the article telling them to shut up.

Mona:
Giving advice to others in order to help them avoid possible risk or commit mistakes is the Islamic way. You can read more in the Islamic Sunna from the life of the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) to learn how important it is to give advice and what blessings you can get out of it.

Interesting, I wonder what is the position of the Islamic Sunna when telling people to ‘shut up’ and writing an ‘exaggerated satire’ about being raped (I am beating a dead horse here) .In short, the original article was by far the most warped and slanted article about life in Kuwait. The reply, to the online criticism, was even worse. I truly hope that Kuwait Times can hold itself to a higher standard and read articles before they print them. To Mona Al-Fuzai, I am sure that you had the right intentions when you decided to write the original article however, you failed miserably. As for the reply, please read over your articles before you decide to submit them.

(FWIW, the majority of people that read my blog know my name and who I am .. chalking this up to another ‘fake name’ is quite petty)


No new numbers?

06Jun07

MOC announced (in various newspapers nonetheless) that they would be adding another digit to all numbers beginning June 1st. Its a week after the supposed changeover; and yet the numbers have stayed the same. Did the MOC decide that the number change was not advertised well enough to go through with it? Or did they realize that we have enough numbers as is (with mobile retention rate at 100+%).

My solution to the number issue would be a bit simpler than issuing new digits. The average house has roughly three telephone lines .. however they only need one real number. Therefore give each house multiple connections to the same line (like hotlines); You basically have three telephone lines that share the number with multiple calls allowed either way. If the line is being used, it still rings on another link. You can still make simultaneous calls on the same telephone line (used or unused).

Update: As some of the commenter’s have stated, MOC has postponed the addition of new digits until next year.


For all the people that want access to their emails, but don’t want the blackberry; These are the settings I used to get Gmail on my E61i:

Incoming mail settings:
Username: (your username)@gmail.com
Password: (your password)
Incoming Mail Server: pop.googlemail.com
Access Point: (gprs access point or WLAN)
Mailbox Name: (anything)
Mailbox Type: POP3
Secuirty (ports): SSL/TLS
Port: Default
APOP secure login: Off

Outgoing Mail Settings:
My e-mail address: (your username)@gmail.com
Username: (your username)@gmail.com
Password: (your password)
Outgoing Mail Server: smtp.googlemail.com
Access Point: (gprs access point or WLAN)
Mailbox Name: (anything)
Security (ports): StartTLS
Port: Default

Make sure you have GPRS access with your service provider and POP enabled in your Gmail account.


MTC-BlackBerry.

30May07

MTC has finally launched the blackberry service in Kuwait (after Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and UAE). Their AD-campaign was a bit unnecessary as those who know what blackberry is already want the service. And those who don’t know what it is probably don’t want it.

BlackBerry as a service has two main features Push-Email and Enterprise-Server.

Push Email:
With normal email services (Pull-Email), you have to send/received the message by connecting to the server and ‘pulling’ the data (either manually or a timed auto-connect). With Push-Email, emails are transferred actively as soon as they come in, the email server ‘pushes’ the email instantly (like sms).
This service is good for those who heavily rely on email as a time-critical method of communication. If you don’t need emails instantly, you don’t need push-email.

Blackberry Enterprise Server (BES):
BES is a server installed at the clients location that manages information; it can be used to sync contacts, emails and calendar items instantly. You can purchase a new device, log into the BES and automatically sync all important information; the backup is kept there.
This service is good for large companies relying on IT for collaborating employees. You can easily create and manage meetings and clients within the BES system. If you don’t have many employees (or have a difficult time collaborating meetings/contacts), then you probably don’t need this service.

How much does it cost, and how do I get it?

BlackBerry Enterprise will only be available for corporate customers with the following packages (This is the info directly from MTC)

Services:

  1. Local Package: K.D 14
    • The fair usage capacity for local usage is 1GB monthly locally, if the customer exceeds the limit capacity he/she will be charged 0.000001 K.D/KB.
  2. Global package: K.D 24
    • The fair usage capacity for local usage is 1GB monthly locally, if the customer exceeds the limit capacity he/she will be charge 0.000001 K.D/KB.
    • The fair usage capacity for global usage is 10MG monthly internationally, if the customer exceeds the limit capacity he/she will be charge at normal international data roaming rates.
  3. Discounted Global Package: K.D 22 (for more than three lines)
    • The corporate customer is only eligible for the discounted global package when the corporate subscribes for more than 3 blackberry global packages.
    • The fair usage capacity for local usage is 1GB monthly locally, if the customer exceeds the limit capacity he/she will be charged K.D 0.000001/KB.
    • The fair usage capacity for global usage is 10MG monthly internationally, if the customer exceeds the limit capacity he/she will be charged at normal international data roaming rates.

    The Enterprise Server includes 20 license, and the prices of the licenses are one time activation fee.

Phones:

  1. 8100 – BlackBerry Pearl – 172.250 KWD
  2. 8700g – BlackBerry Pearl – 183.000 KWD
  3. 8800 – BlackBerry Pearl – 223.000 KWD

You are not restricted to the above phones to utilize the service; There are other phones (Nokia E61i) that support the BlackBerry Services (BlackBerry-Enterprise and Push-Email) as listed here.


Kuwait finally has a team in the Gumball 3000 .. Khaled Al-Mudhaf has gone and entered his yellow LP640 in the 2007 rally (complete with a Kuwaiti flag on the roof) as Team # 054.  There are also a couple of other Khaleeji cars; Two Saudis (TurboS and Chrome Gallardo) and an Emirati Team.  Best of luck to Khaled and his co-driver .. while we couldn’t make it to this years Gumball; we will be seeing you at GulfRun.


The MOI has finally caught up with the business masterminds behind Vergen-Kuwait. Some of the reasons listed; distribution and publishing of illegal materials and the renting of store location without licensing, among other cryptic rules.

I am not the biggest fan of Vergen-Megastore; due to their extreme price gouging, inability to spell and the ever growing prostitution of the remaining store space.

However, like it or not, Vergen is still one of the pillars of Marina Mall. This country (and its countless malls) are in need of a decent Media superstore. As I mentioned in my post about the Avenues .. the mall feels dead without the presence of a Borders, Barnes and Noble or even That Elsalsil.

To the people at the MOI .. enough with the censorship. People can watch movies on their satellites, read books online and buy anything else in Hawalli. You are just pushing the general public to other forms of pirated of illegal media (which can’t be controlled).