Ayshay :: Kuwaits very own Underground Music Artist

Fatima Al-Qaderi
Specter I

I make it a weekly habit to check out Marks Blog 2:48am, and this week I came across a really interesting post.

Apparently Kuwaits very own Fatima Al-Qadiri (aka Ayshay) seems to be off to a relatively good start in the underground ambient music scene. If you like listening to non-mainstream ambient tracks you might wanna check her out.

Ayshay – WARN-U

Fatima’s background is also colorful, born in Dakar, Senegal 1981. Living and working in Brooklyn NY, with a bachelors degree in linguistics. I bet she had a very interesting life, and I would love to interview her.  She seems to be a very deep and interesting person, and she may well motivate the next generation of Kuwaitis to break out of their restrictive culture.

I wish Ayshay all the best, and once I find out where I can buy her tracks I will do so and add them to my collection.

My favorite Android Apps

These are some of my favorite apps, if you got some interesting apps to share with us, please leave a comment =)

Exchange Clients

If your using a custom ROM chances are you lost your native exchange client. Or maybe you just wanted better integration with your organizations Global Directory. I’ve used both of these lovely exchange clients and you honestly cannot go wrong with either of them. I might prefer Moxier though over touchdown though.

Exchange for Android 2.x (aka Touchdown)

Moxier Mail

Security

Google Authenticator

If you have a Android device chances are you have a Gmail account. You can secure your email account with this official “One Time Password” tool from Google. Best of all its free! I highly recommend that everyone active their 2-step authentication ASAP!

KeePassDroid

I manage a lot of passwords, at home, for two workplaces, and in some cases for family and friends. KeePassDroid helps me keep track of all my passwords or any other sensitive information in a encrypted database. The app is available on iPhone, Android, Mac OS, Linux, Windows. You could for example drop your encrypted database file in a private folder on dropbox, and that way you would have access to the same database file no matter where you access it from.

Tools

3G Watchdog Pro

Chances are you Mobile Service provider keeps tabs on your mobile data usage and bills your or disrupts your service according to your data usage. This app will help you keep track of how much data you consume, and is very helpful in keeping within set data plan limits.

ABBYY BCR

I hate business cards, so I just scan them with this app, and let the Google Addressbook do the rest.

Root Explorer

If your rooting your Android device this is a great file browser.

FuelLogPro

I always wondered what the “real” total cost of ownership is for my car. If you want to keep track of your cars costs, and its performance, such as mpg, km/litre etc. Then this a great app for you. (Free version is available also, ad supported)

WeatherPro

Awesome weather app. Great for people that have an active lifestyle, can help determine which day would be best to ride your bike for example.

1 VPN

I absolutely hate having to type in my VPN password each and every time I connect. This app saves your password and also allows you to connect with one touch via a widget on home screen.

Gentle Alarm

The best Android Alarm clock. By far probably one the best purchases you’ll ever make

PocketCloud

A very decent RDP/VNC client for Android. Will connect even when behind a NAT/Firewalled network. It does this by storing your public IP in the google cloud. And uses your google account credentials to get you connected to your PC.

Games

Aura

Eve Online Pilot manager

Evanova

Another Eve Online Pilot manager

EVE Mail

Read only EveMail app

Moron Test

Silly title, Great Game, Insanely Addictive

Customization

Smart Keyboard Pro

The best Android Keyboard. This is a must have app

Flikie Wallpapers HD

Great selection of wallpaper

Hotspot Widget

A quick and easy way to enable your hotspot

LauncherPro

The only Launcher that I use

OnOff WidgetPack

I use this for its 2g/3g widget mostly.

Entertainment & Shopping

SoundHound ∞

Heard a song, wanna know who its by, Soundhound has got you covered. You can even hym a song and it will tell you who its by.

XE Currency

Zinio

Get your magazines cheap. Think Kindle but for Magazines

Amazon Kindle

Barcode Scanner

Amazon.com

Package Tracker Pro

If you ship a lot of packages this app is very helpful in keeping track of them. Can sync via the cloud too. So enter tracking numbers at home in a browser and your phone will have the same info on the go.

ShopSavvy

Dont get ripped off, let ShopSavvy tell you if you can find your toys cheaper elsewhere

Productivity

Skype

Docs

Dropbox

Evernote

A nice tool that is cross platform, allows to me clip or take notes everywhere. I use this all the time.

ReadItLater

Reading something interesting but need to head out, read it later will push it into the cloud and you can later load it from any device.

Social & Feeds & Forums

Facebook

Google Reader

Google+

Tapatalk

Lots of forums can be browsed with this app. For mobile devices its a must have app if you browse forums a lot.

Twidroyd PRO

The best paid twitter app. Look for Twicca if your looking for a free twitter app

WhatsApp

It really did kill SMS usage for me. Everyone has whatsapp and theres no real reason why you should not have it either.

Generated by ShareMyApps

Al-Babtain Renault Service Center

So the other day I took my car to the Al-Babtain Renault Service Center, and this is something I absolutely hate doing. There is nothing, nothing in Kuwait more aggravating and annoying than their service center.

My car was due for a major Service, and needed a few things fixed as well. Such as exhaust mounting bracket, engine seat, and front axle bearings.

Total Cost: KD 176

Value: ZERO

For this service there actually exists a 42 point checklist, which I happened to get a hold of. One of the items of the checklist was labeled “Windshield Wipers”. This was marked as functional and checked by the Servicing Technician. In actuality it was not working and hasn’t been working for years.

When I called their bluff, they profusely apologized, but that was about all they were willing to do.

The question I ask myself is this; If they lied on something as obvious and easy to check as a wiper, wouldn’t that be a good indication that the 42 point check was never performed to begin with?

A few days later, someone from the CRM department called and asked if I had any complaints, comments, or suggestions about their services.

Here is what I said:

  • You pretend to service the car and charge me for it anyways
  • The technician failed to check if the cars horn is working
  • Often screws are not replaced, especially the bottom engine cover (I’ve lost 3 already because of that)
  • Al-Babtain does not stock spare parts for Renault cars (They consider it Dead Stock) This is especially true for their sports line
  • The Renault showroom is shared with the Nissan Showroom a ratio of 99% Nissan to 1% Renault.
  • Its obvious that Al-Babtain does not care for the Renault Brand, which is a shame, because they’re excellent cars
  • Any parts needed for repairs or service if ordered take 70 days to arrive in Kuwait, if you want it sooner Al-Babtain forces you to pay the DHL shipping charges. So you end up paying out of your pocket so that an exclusive Renault Dealer does not have to stock parts
  • Often if a part is not available the Service Adviser explains “Oh this part is not really needed”
  • The spare parts are too expensive, in many cases are worth more than the car itself (Lol, yes really)

I also explained to them that I have made complaints before, and in one particular incident, a group of us complained to Renault France directly in order to resolve our problems. But the bottom line is, they don’t care. To this date since 2004 I have never seen them make an attempt to make things right for their customers.

In essence Al-Babtains Renault after sales service is non-existent. To my horrified surprise even their Service Adviser acknowledged this by saying that the company was best at collecting money and not giving anything in return.

I was promised by the CRM rep that it would be looked into, and that someone would contact me. I told her that she was merely kidding herself, and no such thing would actually transpire, however on this point Id love to be proven wrong. So far its been 24 hours, still no call. Probably no one will call anyways.

So the moral of the story is, Renault Cars are great, if your considering one, you best consider something else, cause their after sales service or lack of will simply kill your joy for it. And finding someone else to fix your Renault is going to be very difficult.

Selecting an Android Mobile Device

This is a follow up article to: Why I returned to Android, and sold my iPhone4

Some Android device makers lock the bootloader in ways that make it nearly impossible to develop a custom ROM for the device. A super hot, sexy, fast, device that cannot be rooted is basically very expensive paper weight, and utterly useless. Should the manufacturing company drop support for the device you will be left out in the cold. This is done quite often, because manufacturers simply expect you to buy a new device that they have just pumped out. And more often than not these devices usually still have known bugs and radio issues, or battery drain issues.

Base Logic

One iPhone 4 is just like the other. Android devices are not! I do not know of any Android Devices that are acceptable to use straight out of the box without modifying it with a custom ROM and applications that depend on root access. So when selecting an Android device make sure you look at the following:

Continue reading “Selecting an Android Mobile Device”

How to move and map C:/Users to another Drive (I.E. SSD to Sata Drive)

1

Boot from your Windows 7 install media

2

When prompted to “Install now” or “Repair your computer”, select “Repair your computer”

3

You will be asked if you want to “Repair and Restart” by the System Recovery options, choose “No”.

4

Ensure that Windows 7 is listed as one of the installed OS’s available for recovery, select it then press next.

5

You will be given a list of recovery tools, chose “Command Prompt”.

6

In the command prompt you will be using Robocopy to copy c:\Users to d:\Users

Type the following: robocopy c:\Users d:\Users /mir /xj

Note: /mir tells robocopy to mirror the directories, this will copy all files and permissions.
/xj is very important, this tells robocopy not to follow junction points. Forgetting to do this, will render your system to a non bootable state.

7

The copy will take some time, Make sure no files show as failed to copy (FAILED column = 0).
If it fails, don’t worry, just delete all the files in the temp directory. And do step #6 again.

8

Remove the old Users Folder from the c: drive:

Type the following: rmdir /S /Q C:\Users

9

Create a NTFS Junction that points to the new Users folder:

Type the following: mklink /J C:\Users D:\Users

10

Now restart and there you go. No further configuration or fiddling required. New user profiles will all be stored on the d: drive, as will any user specific data. And it is achievable without any messing about in the registry, searching and replacing values, or having to mess with new profiles in any way. Totally fire and forget.

11

Important Notes:

The command prompt in windows recovery will show you different drive letters.
For example. Lets say you want to move C:\Users to D:\Users.
In the recovery command prompt, your “target” D drive might appear to be the drive X.
So you have to substitute the target drive D with X in the steps listed here.
Dont worry when you reboot it will list the drive correctly as D.
If you have multiple drives, before you start create a directory on your target drive and call it “TARGET”
Then you can find your drive by changing drives in the command prompt (I.E. c:\ <enter>, d:\ <enter> etc…) followed by the command “dir”. This will list directories, if you see the directory “TARGET” it means you have found the target drive, take note of the drive letter and use it as a substitute.

Caveats!
If you have remapped, or changed your drive letters, these steps will not work, and the easiest and fastest way to get this done is simply to do a fresh install and then follow this tutorial. Be sure not to make any changes to drive letters after a fresh install.

Further reference & Source: http://www.tildee.com/FqyRfj

 

 

 

Why I returned to Android, and sold my iPhone4

Before anyone gets too excited, allow me to describe the objective of this article.

Target Audience

  • This article is most suited for Advanced Users (i.e. Your not afraid of custom ROMS, flashing firmware, generally hacking your phones)

Obvious?

  • If its not already obvious all the annoying iPhone issues I list bellow do not exist on Android Devices (Gingerbread+)

Objective

  • Share my experience on the iPhone 4 with others. This is based on real world usage over a period of 2 months as a primary phone.
  • Make it easier for people to choose which OS/Device might suit them better

iPhone 4 – iOS 4

In a nutshell id say the iPhone 4 and its iOS4 is a “fun” device to use. The iPhone is certainly easy to use and manage for the “masses”, it works out of the box, anyone and everyone can use it, from your 5 year old to your grandparents. One thing that you cant fault it for is its incredible battery life, especially if you happen to browse a lot on the go. Having said that however the iPhone 4 is not without its faults.

  • Its not possible to add custom sms tones. So if one iPhone user receives an sms, chances are 6 other people are going to check if they received an sms. Do not confuse this with ringtones. Im talking about notification tones that should play when you receive an sms. For some this alone could be a deal breaker.
  • iPhone is designed to store only 2 numbers of each type per contact. So if your contact has 3 mobile phones your out of luck, cause you will not be able to label them as such. In fact you can only store “one” mobile number, and one “car” number. (Seriously car phones? Who has these things?) https://discussions.apple.com/message/12445916#12445916 <- Solution?
    This topic seems to be addressed in this other thread on this forum:
    http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/Google+Mobile/thread?tid=78d374bcf2b5b4e7&hl=en
    From answer approved as correct by Google employee:
    “Some other threads on this forum mentioned that the ActiveSync protocol itself has this limitation:  3 email addresses, 2 numbers, and numbers must be labeled from a preset list of labels:  “home”, “work”, etc.  “other” is NOT one of these labels, so a number marked “other” will not sync from iPhone->Google or vice versa.”
  • If your sending an SMS to a contact that has both a “mobile” number and a “home” number, the iPhone will promptly ask you which number you would like to send an sms too. Kind of silly really, since home numbers on average are not capable of receiving sms texts.
  • If a contact has multiple contact numbers, you are unable to specify which number to call by default. This may be another deal breaker for some.
  • If you have a lot of contacts in your address book, chances are many of them do not have telephone numbers. Which means you will not want to see them on your dialer list when your looking to call someone. The iPhone 4 does not allow you to hide contacts that dont have numbers associated with them.
  • There is no real easy and quick way to toggle 2g/3g connectivity. You will want to be in 2g when the phone is not in use, and switch to 3g when your actively browsing (see: Auto3g on Cydia)
  • If you like to actively use multiple apps, iOS4 is terrible for this purpose, when compared to Android. On a scale of 1 to 10 Id rate the multi app experience on the iPhone a solid “two”. One being worst, and ten being best.

Bellow are some other minor caveats:

  • The iPhone keyboard behavior cannot be be customized
  • You cannot hold the top row letter keys for a number entry if held for 2 seconds or more
  • No Led light to indicate missed calls or messages
  • Widgets are not supported
  • You cannot arrange Application Icons in a specific order, its not possible to have spaces between one icon and another
  • Horrible Memory Management, frequently freezes and slows down
  • No top titlebar notifications
  • Push notifications do not work with 3rd party apps (Twitter, Etc..)
  • Multitasking mechanism is useless, pressing the home button twice to bring up the task switcher, which displays a single long row of apps that are installed on the iPhone. (To be fair only the ones that you have run at least once since last reboot, but very quickly this will equate to all of them)
  • The iPhone 4 is very heavy!
  • The amount of times that the AppStore prompts you for the iTunes account password is just utterly ridiculous. On update, on installation of a free app, on removal of apps, on purchase of an app. Very very annoying, since your password will be a complex one to type in each time. (Apple accounts are forced to have complex passwords, which is a good thing)
  • App Store will not update an App that is larger than 20mb if your not on WiFi
  • App Store has trouble updating multiple apps (10+) takes freaking forever to complete even on wifi. The best workaround for this is to use iTunes to update and then sync the updated apps across.
  • When AppStore begins a program update, the program is immediately unavailable until the update is complete. Android Market however is very capable of caching the update 1st, before updating it.

App Market VS App Store

Both App markets offer a lot of apps, and to be honest you cant go wrong with either. So you never really have to worry about not being able to have that app for a specific function. In my case however the apps I used on both the iPhone and Android devices, I found the Android version often are superior. There are exceptions to this: (Echofon, Deliveries). However I was still able to find apps that provide the same functionality.

I guess what Im trying to say is, ignore all those articles that claim one app market is better than the other, cause quite simply its rubbish. They both do the job, and do it well. Albeit the App Store is very annoying with the obsessive password entry requests.

Some Alternatives to the iPhone 4: