Category Archives: technology

My favourite apps

iphone-appsI can’t live without my iPhone. It has become an invaluable business and personal communication tool. Like most, I use the computing functionality of the device much more than the telephone. I suspect that I do most of my internet usage through it, rather than my laptop or iPad.

Like most, I suspect, I must have evaluated hundreds of apps over the years. Only a handful remain faithfully in my iPhone that I use on a daily basis. Here is my list:

Primary apps

  • Evernote
    This is my main application. I’ve got it running on all my devices and it receives my braindump on a regular basis. It also holds many in-progress projects; from scripts to blog posts as well as web clippings and information gems that I might require from time to time. Its beauty is extended in its integration into web browsers so much so that if I search for something on the web, it puts out any relevant search results on the very same page too. Absolutely brilliant product and a must.

  • Dropbox
    I do everything on the cloud, and Dropbox – which is an Amazon services front end – is where I put everything. Secure and safe. I don’t particularly care what happens to my computer or any other device as most of my files are stored on the cloud. The practicality of this is astounding. I’m at my desk, virtually, any where I sit at a computer or get a connection through whatever device.

  • Reminders
    A native app now in iOS and on MacOS; I find it very useful for creating lists of todos. Its beauty is that you get a list of current and overdue reminders at a click of a button, and you can assign priority and date/time for each item. I would have liked a third dimension to the Reminders; attaching notes or pictures would be nice, but I guess that’s where EverNote comes in.

Utilities

  • 1Password
    I don’t use any normal passwords and don’t bother remembering any. With 1Password I just use it to generate and remember 16 characters. Try breaking that!

  • DocScanner
    I use this to scan everything: invoices, receipts, magazine articles, my hand-written notes, etc and get them fed directly into EverNote as PDFs where I can further mark them up. EverNote of course has an intelligent OCR function which actually understands a lot of my scribbles. Makes it quite handy!

There you have it. My most important apps. Do you have any preferences? Please share.

Bye VIVA, it’s not been fun

After a year of painfully using Viva’s mediocre but much over-hyped internet offering in Bahrain, I’ve terminated both contracts for my home and office. The best speed I could get out of Viva was something like 4mbps and that was flaky. As far as the uploads are concerned, I don’t think I got much more than 512kbps, and yes, that was flaky too. As a media company with daily uploads and downloads of large files, we couldn’t take it any more. To prevent a complete riot (the guys were suspiciously building a platform in our back garden, when I saw a trap door being modelled in its floor, I knew I had to do something!)

VIVA Bahrain internet broadband offering is a disappointment

So I wend back to Batelco. Paying more than five times the price (BD160 for a business line at 8mbps) is a pleasure for at least having a dependable (well, mostly dependable) connection with an upload speed of approximately 1mbps (well, most days) although the promise was double that.

Here’s the result of a speedtest I did just now:

Batelco internet speed test
What irks me most about these continuous episodes of disappointment with operators and their prices, is the TRA who’s supposed to oversee these companies and force them to at least live up to their promises doesn’t seem to be doing much.

Why is it that Viva is allowed to advertise “Up to 48Mbps” and “Fastest internet in Bahrain” when in real life their dismal speed in most areas I’ve looked at doesn’t even exceed 10Mbps? Certainly both at my home (Barbar area) and office (Abu Sayba area) all we experienced was 4Mbps almost throughout the one year of installation.

When asked by the attendant this morning while cancelling both lines and told him that I was dissatisfied with the speed, he repeated what I got to know as the “Viva party line”: “but even if you get 2Mbps, it’s good enough as our promise is up to 48Mbps!”

Yes sure. Have it your way. Mine is – as a customer – is complete disappointment. And the way I vote, is through my wallet and you’re no longer getting that.

TRA, do what you’re supposed to do, otherwise cowboys will continue to rule the scene and the country will continue to suffer the uncompetitiveness which has become its way of life.

Out with the old…

No no, this is not a political post. I’m (almost) fed up of that crap. Instead, this is just to share with you what I’ve done to my office today in celebration of a new year and a determination to grab this year and bend it to my will :)

Mahmood's Office remodelled

I frankly got fed up of “the desk in the middle of the room” where people have to sit across from each other as if awaiting to do battle with each other and the desk being the main feature of a room. So I decided to shove my trusty 19-year-old desk against the wall and open up the centre of the room. Now, my visitors can sit with me in the office without that huge imposing bulk between us. I feel that the room is now much more welcoming. I do hope the new decor make people more at ease when they visit.

Also to celebrate the new year, I decided to get a brand spankin’ new Apple 27-inch Thunderbirdbolt display and connected it to my MacBook Air. Now I can see!! Wow, the pictures are truly amazing and the videos are worth watching. I can now happily edit my HDR photographs and edit my videos with ease. Me so happy! Thanks to my friends at iMachines for being super quick in delivering the display and providing it a reasonable cost too.

So who amongst you are going to be my first visitor in the new office?

M•Report: endgadget NY meetup vlog

Tech blog endgadget.com held their readers meetup in New York on Aug 25th, 2011 and we were fortunate enough to be holidaying there at the time. Arif and I went to geek out with fellow tech-heads. It was a good opportunity and we both were impressed with various products on show.

Here’s the vlog I created of the event, I hope that it will give you a sense of how vibrant the place was and also see some of the technologies offered: