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 The maps however are still outdated.

I complained many times about the extremely useless and out of date Google Maps for Saudi Arabia: roads are from 2004 and you can’t even get basic directions!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.

April 25, 2010

Arabic discussion about intellectual property

Filed under: General — Tags: , , , — Khaled A. @ 3:00 am

Good timing especially after the unfortunate things that happened here (Arabic post) but not here (English version).

The issue of Arabic content and intellectual property is serious. We Saudis will never understand or come to terms with copy rights or intellectual properties because we were never taught that in school (thanks Essam). It starts with copying a homework.

That original issue should be resolved by simply saying “this is a quote” cause it’s a full quote from my post. Looks like “through SaudiMac” is enough. kbo.

Anyway, Jassim has started a public discussion in Arabic on his blog about intellectual property. Feel free to join the discussion.

January 16, 2010

Top Arabic Web Apps for ’09

Filed under: General — Tags: , , — Khaled A. @ 4:19 pm

Make sure to check this list of Arabic web sites, I mean apps, strange, in Arabic it’s مواقع = websites but it’s web apps = تطبيقات الويب. Enough nitpicking. Here’s the list of Arabic Web Apps:

  • Mashahd TV OnDemand network. A good example that proves you don’t need to add YOUTUBE/TUBE in your site’s name.
  • Qabas min Hikmah (to quote from wisdom). A database of wise quotes.
  • WA9.LA (link). iTiny. URL shortening services.
  • Gwasah (submarine, gather your friends and sail in the submarine). Allows you and your friends to have private discussions.
  • Kanashah. Online notes web app.
  • Auto Survey. Arabic survey tool.
  • Zahma o La (is it crowded or not). Monitor King Fahad bridge (between Saudi Arabia and Bahrain) activity.
  • Mo3jam (dictionary). A dictionary of colloquial Arabic terms.
  • Kammelna (Complete us, a Belote term). Online Belote card game. Belote is a popular in Saudi Arabia.
  • Arabic Keyboard. Because you can’t find an Arabic keyboard everywhere you go.
  • Bedkash. Classified ads.
  • iconty (My Icon). Arabic icon search engine. For designers.
  • Uzerat (Users). The BugMeNot for Arabic websites. Find logins for sites that demand your registration.
  • Hide 2 Me. Share multiple links in a single short link.
  • Read Now. A stumbleupon for Arabic reading content.

Voting will begin next Friday.

March 18, 2009

Finally, Arabic on the iPhone!

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , — Khaled A. @ 12:19 pm

Finally Apple added Arabic language support the their latest iPhone OS 3.0. This update is currently available as a beta for iPhone developers. The iPhone is now available in 4 Arabic speaking countries: Saudi Arabia, UAE, Jordan and Egypt. And it will be available in Qatar soon. (via SaudiMac).

March 9, 2009

DemoCamp Saudi Arabia

Filed under: Events — Tags: , , , — Khaled A. @ 12:01 am

The first DemoCamp Saudi Arabia which is a launch event for new products, technologies and companies will be held at King Saud University in Riyadh at 6:00p.m. on Wednesday 11th of March 2009 in hall 26.


The websites that are participating in DemoCamp Saudi Arabia are: 3zeema, Fwateer, Moshtry, Kammelna and Books-Exchange. You can find more information about it on their official website.

February 25, 2009

Will the Palm Pre arrive to Saudi Arabia?

Filed under: General — Tags: , , — Khaled A. @ 6:54 pm

In case you didn’t know, in CES 2009 Palm announced their latest phone, the Palm Pre. You can watch the Palm Pre announcement video presented by Jon Rubinstein, an Executive Chairman at Palm and former head of hardware engineering at Apple.


The US Palm Pre will be a CDMA phone, in other words it will not work in GSM countries. Palm didn’t announce any official GSM release. All they said is soon. And the only thing we have are pictures of a Vodafone SIM card in a Palm Pre. Keep an eye on this page for any updates.

If you think Apple’s presence in the middle east was bad then you haven’t seen Palm. They don’t have a middle east page, Palm never supported Arabic and their own dealer is a company in the UAE called ITE. Unless Palm sells the Palm Pre GSM unlocked I see no way for it to even arrive in Saudi Arabia.

Update: and now we have a launch date. As usual, CDMA (US) only for now.

Update (6 Dec 2009): According to this post on the Palm Pre forums, Palm’s response showed no interest in adding Arabic to the Palm Pre.

December 19, 2008

Cut cables disrupts Internet connection in Saudi Arabia and other countries

Filed under: Saudi Internet — Tags: , , — Khaled A. @ 11:33 pm

I am sure you are already experiencing a slow connection to the Internet. That’s because an Internet cable in the sea was cut, again. Saudi Arabia, India, Singapore, Malaysia, Egypt, Taiwan and Pakistan are effected by it the most and it will probably take until December 31st to be fixed.

Read more about it at Bloomberg, AFP, BBC and The Associated Press.

October 6, 2008

Google hiring in the Middle East

Filed under: News — Tags: , — Khaled A. @ 12:46 pm

Google is looking for engineers and managers in the Middle East region. The positions are listen on the Google Jobs site.

The available positions are: Engineering Site Director (Arabic Fluent), Product Manager, Tech Lead Manager and Software Engineer.

September 9, 2008

Restricted World of Warcraft services to Saudi Arabia subscribers

Filed under: Saudigamer — Tags: , , — Khaled A. @ 12:08 am

I have been a World of Warcraft subscriber since 2005, probably one of my favorite games and I switched from Final Fantasy XI Online.

I am not sure of how many players in Saudi Arabia or the Middle East do play it though. But I am aware of a huge player base in Dubai, UAE and, one of the biggest Arabic speaking gaming forums, have an entire forum dedicated to World of Warcraft. People there still openly talk about buying gold and private servers though (which are against the rules of the game).

You can buy the game (and monthly game cards) locally from Jarir bookstore… yeah, not just a bookstore, silly slogan.

My issue with Blizzard is that the extra features available to most subscribers are inaccessible for subscribers in Saudi Arabia. For example, a service for reinventing former world of warcraft subscribers, “Scroll of Resurrection” is inaccessible because of “Your account is not allowed to access to this page because of its country”. Same goes to the Recruit-a-Friend program where you get this error “Not all accounts are eligible to recruit a friend. For a full list of restrictions, please see the FAQ. Contacting Blizzard support is useless since they reply with no information at all, and it sounded like an automated response anyway.

I do not want Blizzard to open local Middle East servers or have an Arabic localized World of Warcraft client, I just want access to those services which are easy to implement.

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.

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