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

July 22, 2009

Techmology launched

Filed under: General — Tags: , — Khaled A. @ 4:44 pm

Essam and Aiysha has launched a new site called , Techmology. They promise “modern Saudi society with a dash of tech news”. ha ha, ahm. Keep an eye on that site though and best of luck!

March 27, 2009

Saudi Arabia 40th in Global IT Report

Filed under: General — Tags: , — Khaled A. @ 2:17 am

Saudi Arabia’s rank in the Network Readiness Index has raised from 48th to 40th. The Networked Readiness Index (NRI) is reported annually by the World Economic Forum and it measures the propensity for countries to exploit the opportunities offered by information and communications technology.

Here are some interesting numbers about technology in Saudi Arabia:

  • Mobile telephone subscribers per 100 population, 2007: 114.7. More subscribers than people! Only in Saudi Arabia!
  • Internet users per 100 population, 2007: 25.1. %25 is still a low number. Sure it’s 2007 number, where are the 2008 numbers, STC/CITC?
  • Internet bandwidth (mB/s) per 10,000 population, 2006: 1.2. That’s low and depressing.
  • Ranked 110th on High-tech exports, 2006: No surprise there. Outdated too.
  • Ranked 4th on Total tax rate, 2007: We don’t have taxes.
  • Ranked 31st on Time required to start a business, 2008*: Okay, that is actually impressive.
  • Ranked 74th on Accessibility of digital content: Still new on digital content, slow Internet isn’t helping.
  • Ranked 109th on Number of procedures to enforce a contract, 2008: All that red tape.
  • Ranked 74th on Number of telephone lines, 2007.
  • Ranked 22nd on Mobile telephone subscribers, 2007*: high number of mobile phones, since most are not tied to contracts.
  • Ranked 73rd on Secure Internet servers, 2007*: So much for banks.
  • Ranked 85th on Quality of math and science education: It’s a shame, we need to improve our education system.
  • Ranked 70th on Quality of the educational system.
  • Ranked 71st on Internet access in schools: or even computers.
  • Lack of information on High-speed monthly broadband subscription! Thanks a lot STC, the ONLY land line broadband provider in Saudi Arabia!
  • Ranked 106th on Lowest cost of broadband, 2006: STC, stop being so greedy.
  • Ranked 36th on Cost of mobile telephone call, 2006*: At least mobile calls are cheap.
  • Ranked 3rd on Computer, comm., and other services imports, 2006*: Hardware companies should remember that.
  • Ranked 52nd on Personal computers, 2006.
  • Ranked 65th on Broadband Internet subscribers, 2007*.
  • Ranked 59th on Internet users, 2007*.
  • Ranked 75th on Internet bandwidth, 2006*.

And here is what they wrote about Saudi Arabia:

Thanks to progress made across the board,Saudi Arabia (40th) improves by eight positions with respect to its inaugural rank last year.While it places 45th or higher in seven other categories of the NRI,Saudi Arabia’s situation presents serious shortcomings in terms of individual readiness (79th),notably the quality of the educational system,especially for math and science (85th).As a result,individual usage still remains limited (53rd).

You can read the whole report at The Global Information Technology Report 2008-2009 website.

February 7, 2009

IPv6 Development in Saudi Arabia workshop

Filed under: Events — Tags: , , , , , — Khaled A. @ 9:29 pm

This workshop will be held on Sunday 8 February 2009 from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm at the Sheraton Hotel, Riyadh. More info:list of speakers, registration form, workshop agenda.

The IPv6 Task Force Forum came as the outcome of the IPv6 Project that was introduced by the Communications and Information Technology Commission as part of the Internet Services Development Projects undertaken by the CITC. The Commission sponsored the establishment of the Task Force that convened its first meeting on July 30, 2008.

e-invetation-englishpreview

Cisco Expo Saudi Arabia 2009

Filed under: Events — Tags: , , , — Khaled A. @ 12:25 pm

cisco-expo-2009

A quick reminder: “Cisco is pleased to invite you to Cisco Expo 2009, scheduled to take place at the King Fahad Cultural Center in Riyadh on February 9th and 10th, 2009“. Make sure to register here.

Read more: Mohammad Alrehaili will be posting live updates of Cisco Expo 2009, Arab Crunch: Cisco Expo Saudi 2009 on Feb. 9 With Free Live Streaming.

Update: Cisco is having a hard time maintaining the registration process. I keep getting An error occurred while processing your request. Please contact Customer Support for further assistance at customersupport@starcite.com.

February 2, 2009

Official iPhone 3G in Saudi Arabia and UAE

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , , , — Khaled A. @ 12:01 pm

Etisalat in UAE/Mobily in Saudi Arabia announced that they will release the iPhone 3G by the end of February 2008.

No news about Arabic support though.

January 14, 2009

Cisco Expo 2009 in Riyadh

Filed under: Events — Tags: , , , — Khaled A. @ 11:06 am

cisco-expo-2009

Got this email from a friend: “Cisco is pleased to invite you to Cisco Expo 2009, scheduled to take place at the King Fahad Cultural Center in Riyadh on February 9th and 10th, 2009.” No other information on Cisco’s site regarding that, even the online chat support from Cisco was useless. So Keep an eye on Cisco’s Middle East Events page for future updates.

Update: Mohammad Alrehaili will be posting live updates of Cisco Expo 2009.

June 4, 2008

Saudi Arabia one of the top Middle East adoptors of telecoms services

Filed under: News — Tags: , , — Khaled A. @ 9:28 am

Interesting research done by the Arab Advisors Group regarding the annual Total Country Connectivity Measure (TCCM). Household mainlines penetration, cellular penetration and Internet users penetration rates in Saudi Arabia is %207.9. Compared to 2006, Saudi Arabia moved to 3rd place from 4th in 2006.

Intertek announced that the Saudi Arabian Standards Organization (SASO) has accredited its electrical laboratory in Riyadh. The company believes that this accreditation will bring benefits to its clients both in the Kingdom and overseas who wish to have products tested for conformity to the Saudi Standards, Gulf Regional requirements or International requirements.

More at Arab News website.

June 1, 2008

Google Enterprise Executive Briefing conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Filed under: Events — Tags: , , , , — Khaled A. @ 2:09 pm

This is probably the first time Google ever had a conference in Saudi Arabia. Although it is concerned with the enterprise I still find it interesting and worth checking out. The conference will be held on June 2nd 2008 in Marriott hotel in Riyadh.

For me I am interested in Google Maps, as you can see (click here to view the Riyadh city map) Google’s map of Saudi Arabia is what we call in the tech world out of date.

In this conference there is a session covering “Introducing Google Apps & Maps”. I truly hope they will add real support for Saudi Arabia and I would finally open my iPhone’s Google Maps app and use it how it is supposed to be used. With real maps and actual data!

I am sorry for posting about this conference only 1 day before it starts, so here are the links:

April 22, 2008

Gitex Riyadh 2008 Review

Filed under: Events — Tags: , , , , , , — Khaled A. @ 11:00 am

The show has become a telecommunication show, with STC and Mobily (the 2 telecoms in Saudi Arabia) taking almost half the exhibition space, which is unfortunate, there’s usually a mobile and telecommunications show and there is no reason to merge it into Gitex. The other “part” of Gitex was simply computer resellers offering their products.

A few years ago, before Gitex was held in Riyadh, the same building used now was holding a “computer show” which is simply a reseller exhibition where they offer promotions and discounts, no innovation at all.

Asking non-“computer geeks” about the show and what do they think about it, they are under the impression that this is a “telecommunications first and computer sales” show. I guess thats enough for the REC organizers who are paying the license to Gitex. Asking others who attended “real” computer exhibitions like “CeBit” and “Gitex Dubai” the original Gitex and they would say that the complete building of REC expo is only as small as one of the many halls in CeBit or Gitex Dubai.

One of the only innovative thing was AMD showing their new triple core CPUs. Unfortunately, the stand where the AMD distributor (Almasa) was not finished in the first day of Gitex (and honestly I have no reason to return) and Almasa’s site is not mentioning Gitex in their news section. Another is Zai, a local PC OEM, announcing a deal with nVidia to offer gaming PCs this is new for the market because almost no high end video cards appear in the local market, only 2 stores ( PATH and Softland/Binaries ) offer them at extremely high prices ( almost %40 added to the original price ). And that’s the only news I found about Gitex from Google News.

Other companies to note: Samsung, Panasonic (with their new AVCHD cameras), a full section Taiwanese companies looking for local dealers. Also in the exhibition: CITC, MCIT, Sadad Payment System( a Saudi IT project, they even had a new iMac on display, best part of Gitex Riyadh 😉 ), Garmin dealers ( I question the need for that in this show), Riyadh School (again, why?), HTC, i-mate, ITE (Logitech distributor in UAE) I thought we already had a Logitech distributor in Saudi Arabia, Mishaal Sudairy, they got a very old and outdated page though, who redirects his .com.sa domain to some other subdomain? that’s just unprofessional.

Missing from the show: Microsoft (for the second or third year now), Apple, Sony, Intel, Hitachi (they had an amazing stand last year).

The Gitex Shopper had nothing to offer, just “cheap” laptops and a total mess.

The REC Expo building is the same old building with very bad parking arrangements. The entrance to the expo was a total mess, people pushing, no organization at all.

My rating of the show? 2/5. Considering it was a bit bitter, I mean better, than last years’ show which I give it a 1/5. So again: don’t bother, just go to Gitex in Dubai in a few months, it will be worth your time. Anything is better than this.

April 19, 2008

Gitex Riyadh 2008

Filed under: Events — Tags: , , — Khaled A. @ 2:15 pm

From April 20 to April 24 2008, at the same, old, small, crowded, parking space less Riyadh Exhibition Co (you can see for yourself on Google Maps, which is still crappy, as in, no real Saudi map, here).

As usual, the REC site is the template as last year ( this year’s page, last year’s) no online registration and no list of participating companies as usual.

I think I will go this year just for a laugh, hopefully I won’t cry at the state of technology exhibitions in Saudi Arabia.

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