Khaled rambles technology, tea/coffee, consumer rights and other interest from Saudi Arabia

November 29, 2010

Google fails in Saudi Arabia

Filed under: General — Tags: , , , , , , , — Khaled A. @ 1:03 pm

Update: Google updated Riyadh’s satellite images to something from late 2010. The maps however are still outdated.

I complained many times about the extremely useless and out of date Google Maps for Saudi Arabia: roads are from 2004 and you can’t even get basic directions! Allright, Google have problems with all the red tape, we get that. But I was shocked to see Microsoft Bing Maps already supporting very recent maps of Saudi Arabia.

Here’s an example, Al Oruba st intersection with Prince Turki st, in 2004/2005 a northern road was constructed turning it from a T-shape intersection to a normal intersection. Here’s the satellite images on Google Maps:

Now here’s the regular map on Google Maps. 6 years later and it’s still the same:

Now let’s have a look at Microsoft Bing Maps:

Bing Maps is up to date with the Saudi map, how come Google isn’t? Is Google being denied?

If Google allowed us to use the Google Map Maker it would not have happened.

The Bing Maps do not have any points of interest but that didn’t stop Microsoft from allowing us to use navigation on the map! Google Maps can’t figure a simple straight line:

While Bing is EXTREMELY USEFUL even without points of interest:

Another example of Google’s failure in the region: the lack of an Android Market in Saudi Arabia. This is Motorola’s response to @Yalmisfer when he asked why is his Motorola Milestone Android phone is lacking an Android Marketplace:

Android Market was removed per requirements of Google in the individual Arabic regions such as UAE, Egypt, Oman and Saudi Arabia.

The same is happening with the Samsung Galaxy Tab and Samsung Galaxy S apparently. Google doesn’t need to release an Arabic Android market, they don’t even support Arabic language natively in Android until now!

@Yalmisfer also got to talk with Samsung Middle East:

I got a call from the firm doing the PR for ME for Galaxy and they are asking me to try it and write a review about, I asked them and the answer was No market for Middle East

My rant is over.

August 9, 2010

Dealing with haters

Filed under: General — Tags: — Khaled A. @ 2:26 pm

Tim Ferriss discussed, at the The Next Web 2010 event in Amsterdam, how to deal with haters, how to benefit from them as well.

Here are some ideas that Mashable listed after they interviewed Tim. Quoted from Mashable of course.

“1. It doesn’t matter how many people don’t get it. What matters is how many people do.

“It’s critical in social media, as in life, to have a clear objective and not to lose sight of that,” Ferriss says. He argues that if your objective is to do the greatest good for the greatest number of people or to change the world in some small way (be it through a product or service), you only need to pick your first 1,000 fans — and carefully. “As long as you’re accomplishing your objectives, that 1,000 will lead to a cascading effect,” Ferriss explains. “The 10 million that don’t get it don’t matter.”

2. 10% of people will find a way to take anything personally. Expect it.

“People are least productive in reactive mode,” Ferriss states, before explaining that if you are expecting resistance and attackers, you can choose your response in advance, as opposed to reacting inappropriately. This, Ferriss says, will only multiply the problem. “Online I see people committing ’social media suicide’ all the time by one of two ways. Firstly by responding to all criticism, meaning you’re never going to find time to complete important milestones of your own, and by responding to things that don’t warrant a response.” This, says Ferriss, lends more credibility by driving traffic.

3. “Trying to get everyone to like you is a sign of mediocrity.” (Colin Powell)

“If you treat everyone the same and respond to everyone by apologizing or agreeing, you’re not going to be recognizing the best performers, and you’re not going to be improving the worst performers,” Ferriss says. “That guarantees you’ll get more behavior you don’t want and less you do.” That doesn’t mean never respond, Ferriss goes on to say, but be “tactical and strategic” when you do.

4. “If you are really effective at what you do, 95% of the things said about you will be negative.” (Scott Boras)

“This principle goes hand-in-hand with number two,” Ferriss says. “I actually keep this quote in my wallet because it is a reminder that the best people in almost any field are almost always the people who get the most criticism.” The bigger your impact, explains Ferriss (whose book is a New York Times, WSJ and BusinessWeek bestseller), and the larger the ambition and scale of your project, the more negativity you’ll encounter. Ferriss jokes he has haters “in about 35 languages.”

5. “If you want to improve, be content to be thought foolish and stupid.” (Epictetus)

“Another way to phrase this is through a more recent quote from Elbert Hubbard,” Ferriss says. “‘To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.” Ferriss, who holds a Guinness World Record for the most consecutive tango spins, says he has learned to enjoy criticism over the years. Ferriss, using Roman philosophy to expand on his point, says: “Cato, who Seneca believed to be the perfect stoic, practiced this by wearing darker robes than was customary and by wearing no tunic. He expected to be ridiculed and he was, he did this to train himself to only be ashamed of those things that are truly worth being ashamed of. To do anything remotely interesting you need to train yourself to be effective at dealing with, responding to, even enjoying criticism… In fact, I would take the quote a step further and encourage people to actively pursue being thought foolish and stupid.”

6. “Living well is the best revenge.” (George Herbert)

“The best way to counter-attack a hater is to make it blatantly obvious that their attack has had no impact on you,” Ferriss advises. “That, and [show] how much fun you’re having!” Ferriss goes on to say that the best revenge is letting haters continue to live with their own resentment and anger, which most of the time has nothing to do with you in particular. “If a vessel contains acid and you pour some on an object, it’s still the vessel that sustains the most damage,” Ferriss says. “Don’t get angry, don’t get even — focus on living well and that will eat at them more than anything you can do.”

7. Keep calm and carry on.

The slogan “Keep Calm and Carry On” was originally produced by the British government during the Second World War as a propaganda message to comfort people in the face of Nazi invasion. Ferriss takes the message and applies it to today’s world. “Focus on impact, not approval. If you believe you can change the world, which I hope you do, do what you believe is right and expect resistance and expect attackers,” Ferriss concludes. “Keep calm and carry on!””

That was enlightening. (quoted from Mashable).

Update: Added clarification about quoted part.

August 3, 2010

Just like that, Blackberry services banned in Saudi Arabia by CITC

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — Khaled A. @ 11:19 pm

So it wasn’t just the “Blackberry Messenger” that will be banned in Saudi Arabia. According to this the CITC has expressed concerns about the BIS for a year and asked the local carriers (STC, Mobily and Zain) to “look into” the concerns and provide an alternative for 3 months! The three months end next Friday August 6th.

Someone pulled the switch and f***ed it up for everyone.

No, not Conan.

There are almost 1 million blackberry user in Saudi Arabia and they only got one official statement about the ban less than 3 days. So 3 day notice? This is unacceptable! The CITC should have issued a longer warning period like the UAE TRA who announced the ban 2 months in advance!

The carriers, STC, Mobily and Zain did not warn their customers in the last 3 months as well. Both are at fault, CITC and the carriers.

And what will the customers do now? a 3 day notice is not acceptable especially for what is considered a business device. UAE Etisalat will offer free phones to Blackberry customers including iPhones!

Lastly, STC PR denied the ban 2 days ago which is obviously a lie. I never believed STC’s stupid lies anyway.

Sorry I am rambling but this idiocy is frustrating.

April 10, 2010

iPad in Saudi Arabia and some rambling

Filed under: General — Tags: , , , — Khaled A. @ 2:14 am

OHAI, I didn’t see you there. I guess I was still laughing. I have been extremely busy with a lot of stuff including SaudiMac of course. I guess I have a few things to ramble about:

SaudiPad

I got my Apple iPad finally. Bought it from the Apple Store and shipped via MyUS. A word of advice: don’t choose DHL when shipping, try FedEx.

I like the iPad, it’s exactly as advertised. Reading on it is pretty good (I have no experience using an e-ink device). Thamer was interested in getting one, that’s good. Yeah I named it SaudiPad.

Update: Oh look, a website for SaudiPad.

Make sure to read Mazen’s review of the iPad, I can proudly say that it’s the first iPad review in Saudi Arabia: Apple iPad: Bigger Than Life.

Flash and Apple

It’s hard for a Flash developer to write an objective article about the issues between Apple and Adobe (no Flash on iPhone, Apple blocking Flash CS5 iPhone app builders). The result will be expected, it’s like asking a Mac user to compare a Zune to an iPod.

Claiming that the town hall meeting mentioned here is a “Press Briefing” is just a lie.

I highly recommend reading this: Why Apple Changed Section 3.3.1, it raises a good point and provided an excellent example:

Consider, for one example, Amazon’s Kindle clients for iPhone OS and Mac OS X. The iPhone OS Kindle app is excellent, a worthy rival in terms of experience to Apple’s own iBooks. The Mac Kindle app is a turd that doesn’t look, feel, or behave like a real Mac app. The iPhone OS Kindle app is a native iPhone app, written in Cocoa Touch. The Mac Kindle app was produced using the cross-platform Qt toolkit.

It’s Scary how it ends implying that some people are considering blowing up Steve Jobs with a suicide bomber… This article is supposed to be funny, a parody … I say we Arabs are still behind in that too. All of it is link bait and that’s why I’m not linking.

March 28, 2010

From STC: 100 megabyte fiber? wait, MEGABYTE?

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , , — Khaled A. @ 3:33 pm

This is downright ridiculous. Another press release with STC lying to their customers once again (example: STC announcing they are the first to have HSPA+ and we saw no HSPA+ devices from them until now!).

But first I have to show you this press release: STC Customers enjoy the Benefits of the 4G/LTE Network. This press release is probably from the future sent via the TARDIS. 4G/LTE plans from STC is behind Mobily and Zain. Now back to topic.

STC’s latest announcement (STC’s English news site hasn’t been updated since 2009) was titled “STC provides its customers with the highest Internet speed in the region (100 megabytes) through FTTH technology”. The press release talked about “package which secures the highest Internet speed 100 megabytes/second through the Fiber to the Home technology FTTH technology.” Yes, 100 mega bytes per second, so it’s 800mega bit per second.

The press release claims “for the first time in the Middle East and North Africa”, “for the first time” is something STC loves to say even if it’s not true. But these services are only available in 3 neighborhoods in Saudi Arabia and only one in Riyadh: An-Nakhil District in Riyadh.

UAE’s Etisalat launched their fiber to the home services in October 2009. It was initially available at 30mbps but it covered over have a million homes in 2008! STC only connected one neighborhood in 2009.

Wikipedia have a list of FTTH countries. Only UAE, Jordan, Kuwait and Lebanon are currently listed from the Middle East, no Saudi Arabia.

Please, STC, fix your weak DSL infrastructure and provide customers with better service. Mobily is already installing Fiber in a lot of neighborhoods in Riyadh!

Press release can be found here.

March 3, 2010

Riyadh International Book Fair 2010, let’s try this again

Filed under: General — Tags: , , , , , — Khaled A. @ 11:04 pm

Apparently I was still used to 2009 I didn’t notice it on the old Riyadh Bookfair web site! They have finally update the page with a new design, tolerable design and actual content.

Riyadh Bookfair Schedule & location

It will be held at the new REC building (Gowalla location).

As for the schedule, the fair will be open from 10am to 10pm except Friday which opens at 4pm:

  • Wednesday 3/3/2010 For All
  • Thursday 4/3/2010 For All
  • Friday 5/3/2010 From 4pm to 10pm For Men
  • Saturday 6/3/2010 For All
  • Sunday For All but from 4pm to 10pm For Men
  • Monday For All
  • Tuesday For All but from 4pm to 10pm for Men
  • Wednesday For All
  • Thursday For All
  • Friday 12/3/2010 From 4pm to 10pm for Men

“For All” means “family” “men & woman”, ya know. And yes, no women only days.

Technical books?

There is no list of registered publishers online.

Issues with the website

Can I rant? I wanna rant!

I will visit it soon, I hope they have some good computer books.

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