Tag Archives Technology

iPhone 6s. ‘Nuff Said.

iPhone 6s. ‘Nuff Said.

Apple iPhone 6s and 6s+

What is the feature that most draws you to buy the just announced iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus?

To me, as a die-hard Apple-geek, it doesn’t have to be that much, just the new new shiny thing would suffice. However; it’s nice that it has 4k video, 12MP camera, Live Photos (love this feature!), 3D Touch and a plethora of other features which make my mouth water. I want one now.

And before you say it; yes, I know that some of these features are available on Android devices. I still prefer Apple, thank you very much.

Another thing: I won’t wait for it to be brought by our telcos. I don’t trust any of them and don’t want their obtuse contracts. I’ll just go out and buy one outright and be done with it.

And I’ll have the iPhone 6s in Space Grey with 128GB please.

Now where can I book a plane ticket to that someone else is paying for? 😉


My favourite apps

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.


  • 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.


It started with Blackberry, but now Skype and Google are in the sights

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Hate to say that I told you so, but indications are now heating up to target any secure platform with demands of open access by the so called security services:

As Research In Motion faces an increasingly public dispute with several countries over the ability to monitor communication on its BlackBerry devices, virtually all other major technology communications companies have remained silent on the issue. That may soon change: RIM is likely just the first test case.

The government of India indicated yesterday that RIM isn’t the only company from which it will demand greater monitoring access. State authorities listed Internet phone company Skype SA and Google Inc., provider of the wildly popular Gmail service, as targets.

The move signals that the issue of monitoring data traffic goes far beyond RIM’s encrypted BlackBerrys – and probably has more to do with a looming collision between the advance of digital communication and the security demands of the state than with the Ontario company’s technology.

The Globe & Mail

What’s amazing about this situation is that it will come to pass. It will be condoned and even readily accepted in a few days time. People have become immune to state interference in every facet of their lives, easily sold into the haze of “security” – what it actually is a perverted use of the security ogre to gain access to peoples’ lives.

I don’t mind if this access was required and mandated by legitimate security concerns. I wouldn’t even mind if there was a trusted legal structure in the countries requiring access which protects the gained information and protects against its improper and illegal use. Sadly, none of our countries – the Arab and Muslim world – has anything close to this requirement.

So the wheels are resolutely turning. Against normal people and for various security services. Services who are ungoverned and mostly above the law. Services which are archaic, improperly staffed and completely outdated. Services whose only contribution to the country of their residence is the attempted depletion of the columns of the unemployable. In ours, even that privilege is diverted elsewhere, in true “Athari” style.

The essence is, my friends, is that the so called “security agencies” we are “blessed” with, are ill-suited to challenges of this day and age. And with their refusal to change or even attempt to understand the modern psyche and connectiveness, and with the unabashed aid and support given to them by the ambiguous, partial and directed judicial systems, all of which are resoundingly playing into the bosoms of corrupt political systems, how can we but expect a calamity in the offing?

Look, it’s too much to hope for business (RIM, Apple, Google, Skype, etc) to side with “us”, even though we are their ultimate benefactors. It is governments and political institutions which stand between their products and our pockets. They’re not going to “stand their ground” and state that they’re not going to give away the keys to unlock our privacy. Mark my words, they will. RIM seems to have done so already in the big K. of S. A. and it will in all the other situations too quite readily – okay, they’ll moan and groan and act like a teenage virgin welcoming being ravished, but coyly mind you, at least to seem respectable and not too easy, RIM – as will Skype et al – will ultimately bend over and lube up.

What’s the solution?

I offer you none. Other than to direct you to Open Source. At least with no exclusive economic motive behind those products, and with the varied and disparate developers, maybe, just maybe we can delay the advent of our total violation.

Privacy, my friends, is gone.


An experiment in live broadcast

What do you need to broadcast live video and audio? A truckload of equipment? A staff of highly technical personnel complimented with nice eye-candy to man the front end all with salaries in the thousands?

Nope. Not any more.

All you need is an iPhone, an iPhone app, a 3G connection and an account at UStream.tv! Seriously! See my first ever attempt at live broadcasting above, and subscribe to my live channel where you’ll find the other parts of this “broadcast”.

The limitations is that if you’re doing it on Zain’s 3G network, don’t get too excited. It’s as slow as treacle and you will get plenty of drop-outs at the higher frame resolution, I suggest you reduce the resolution to 176×144 rather than 320×240. I would love to hear from anyone with the other operators to compare.

This, my friends, is a game changer.

But the real question is, how long will this take our informed and illuminated Misery of Information to block this service “because it’s not commensurate with our moral values as Bahrainis”?

Not too long I don’t think. At least let’s enjoy this technological innovation while it lasts.

Given half a chance, I’m sure that every single village in Bahrain will have several streams going in no time at all to broadcast everything from religious precessions, weddings, community issues and even their own local news channel covering topics which interest them.

Given half a chance, we will have hundreds of broadcast stations with thousands of highly trained and talented people running them, opening a complete new stream of highly lucrative job creation opportunities in TV, broadcast and new media.

Given half a chance, we can innovate and show the world our capabilities.

Given half a chance. We could lead, for a change.


iPhone 3Gs – got it

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It’s cool being in Italy not just because it is truly the most beautiful country on Earth, but it’s laws also prohibit the likes of Apple to dictate their terms on and in their country. It is therefore one of the few countries on Earth that you can legally pick up an unlocked iPhone without a contract any time you like…


And that is exactly what I did on the 2nd day of being here. I purchased two, one for my son and the other for me; 2x 32 sweeties! And after almost a week of using it, I can tell you the experience is worth it; twice the speed or even faster compared to the old one, and a host of features which I’m not going to go through at the moment as Apple’s own site as well as many others could furnish that information much better than I could. Suffice it to say that the Compass feature is bloody good especially when trying to navigate the narrow and utterly confusing Roman streets. The camera IS much better and helloooo video, at last! I finally can do video after more than a year with the predecessor. Oh how I missed thou!

To those wavering on the decision to get one, waver no more. Just plunge in and thank me later.


Blackberry Bold

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Blackberry Bold in my mitts!I was in my friend Omar Shaheen’s office earlier this afternoon, and as he is now a big wig magazine publisher and owner of FACT, he was given a new toy by Zain to check out.

Omar was kind enough to allow me to have a shooftie for a few minutes. Unfortunately, he wasn’t that keen on letting me walk away with it, even though I promised I would write a comparison article with the iPhone for FACT. Bummer.

I should have curbed my enthusiasm and downplayed it a bit. Maybe then he would have let me have it for a few days! It’s a problem when you wear your emotions on your sleeve and publicly salivate at technological devices!

Anyway, I fondled it for a few minutes and briefly investigated its features which are very impressive and very practical indeed. It looks that it will resolutely kick Apple’s ass when it generally becomes available in a few weeks time. It – to me at least – looks like a much better value for money and I will probably shall be fighting to get to the top of the queue to get me one.

At least it is unlocked and you won’t have to beg, borrow and steal to get one and get locked in with a long term contract for the privilege of owning something that will generally become obsolete just a few weeks after you have purchased it.


Firefox 3 ROCKS!

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Get Firefox!My brother told me about the new beta release of Firefox first, but I just discounted it and told him that I’ll wait until it’s officially released. I’ve been bitten by betas before and as Firefox is my main browser and I depend on it for my work, I didn’t want to take an unnecessary risk by installing a still unofficially released product.

I know the limitations of version 2, especially in the Arabic rendering, which is a major annoyance. So when I got some free time, and as I am completely protected by Time Machine, I thought what the heck, let’s install it and see what happens.

Once the download and installation finished, though, I was utterly blown away! It was a true “wow” moment. The first thing I did after that was check out alwasatnews.org which is one of the worst designed newspaper sites I have come across, but certainly one of the best for their content. I was blown away there too, no more question marks in the Arabic script and even the hamza was rendered perfectly.

I’ve just downloaded and installed Release Candidate 2 which was a painless exercise. I encourage you to try it out, you would be doing yourselves a favour. So go grab a copy of Firefox. You can thank me by commenting about your experience with it here.


Why I hate Facebook

facebook frustrationYes, I’m resurrecting the issue again.

I realised that I don’t like it much because it forces you to install what they call applications which in turn forces you to share your private information regardless of what you think. You can’t even read a message someone sends you unless you agree to install an application of sort, again, only after agreeing to “share” your information to nameless authors of that application.

Why do you like/dislike it? Tell me please? I just want to really believe that it is actually useful.