Mifi 2352 for Zain – Kuwait

June 4th, 2010 1 comment

The following settings are needed to use the Mifi 2352 (unlocked) for your Zain 3.5G data plan:

APN: hspps
Username: hspps
Password: hspps
Authentication Type: PAP

That’s for the Zain mobile carrier of Kuwait.

Categories: Technology Tags: , , , , ,

Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Launch in Kuwait

May 12th, 2010 No comments

Microsoft are doing Visual Studio 2010 launch in Kuwait and then premiering the movie Robin Hood. That’s two days before the movie launch in Kuwait cinemas.

Location: Cinescape 360, 360 Mall
Date: May 18th, 2010

Agenda:
01:45 PM – 02:00 PM | Registration
02:30 PM – 05:15 PM | Presentations
05:15 PM – 05:30 PM | Break 
05:30 PM – 07:20 PM | "Robin Hood Movie"

Register and book your seat here.

MSFT_VS2010_launch

Q8CPC – Kuwait’s National Collegiate Programming Contest

April 18th, 2010 2 comments

[UPDATE: the competition has been postpond to September.]

For the first time, the ACM’s International Collegiate Programming Contest is coming to Kuwait by the American University of Kuwait. The contest will be held by May 1st, 2010. The opening ceremony and the practice session will be held two days earlier. More information will be revealed soon.

This contest is a good opportunity for students to prepare for the regional contest ACM ACPC formally known as (ACM ICPC ANARC).

Check the PDF for the “Call for Participation” letter: Q8CPC Call for Participation.

Categories: Programming Tags: , , , ,

Zune for International Users

April 7th, 2010 1 comment

So you are now one of those people who found out about Zune and got really turned down by Microsoft for preventing us to access the device and the Marketplace just because we do not live in the US? Don’t worry because I have the ultimate workaround.

zunesoftware

Since the released of Zune Software 4.0 and the integration of Zune Marketplace to the Xbox 360, Microsoft has stepped a big leap forward into the Music and Entertainment industry. The Zune Software 4.0 is user-friendly and much more responsive than its competitive the iTunes in the Windows platform and the Zune HD device is awesome and feels much more robust than the current iPods. And thanks to the Zune Pass, the Zune Marketplace now provides unlimited number of music at the tip of your hand to listen to or download, of course, with DRM lock. The Zune Pass cost only $15 USD monthly but the problem is that if you are not based in the US, you won’t be able to enjoy the Zune Marketplace, heck, you won’t even be able to buy Zune. To be fair to the Microsoft folks, I think those roadblocks were necessary for license music in the Marketplace whether the Zune team really wanted to block international users or no.

In this article I’m going to talk about how to own a Zune HD and get yourself hooked up with the Zune Marketplace with the full features of Zune Software 4.0 just like living in the states.

Get the Zune HD

Officially the Zune HD is supported and sold only in the states but you could find sellers in ebay that would happily sell it and ship it to your country but for an extra profit.

Zune HD

Another alternative is to buy Zune HD through Amazon or any other retailer and ship it to a “shipment forwarder company” in the states that ships anything they receive under your name to your home address. Basically, those types of companies will provide you with a US mailbox and an address, and if anything is mailed/shipped to that address it will be forwarded and shipped to your home. I personally use Aramex’s Shop&Ship but if you cannot use Aramex for any reason, you could always use DHL since they provide a very similar service. This kind of shipping service is available in my country and I’m not sure if it is available everywhere.

Grasp the Full Potential of the Zune Marketplace

Zune HD can play all music and videos in that’s already in your hard disk and playable by Zune Software 4.0. Now, here what really made me ditch iPod and iTunes, it is the Zune Marketplace. The main reason I made the move from iTunes to Zune Software is that I can get unlimited music with Zune Pass as I mentioned previously.

Now it is time to do some changes in your computer. Follow the next instructions before opening the Zune Software for the first time. You can download Zune Software from here.

Accessing the Zune Marketplace

zuenmarket In a typical non-US computer you won’t see the Marketplace & the Social tab in Zune Software, however, you could easily solve this by setting your location to US. To do that, go to Control Panel –> Clock, Language, and Region –> Change location, then select your location to “United States” [Windows 7].

Now you should be able to see the Marketplace tab after restarting the Zune Software.

Get a Windows Live Account

Now you need to register for a Windows Live ID which is the generic account for all Microsoft services, or you could just grab a new Windows Live or Hotmail email which is also considered as a Windows Live ID. You could use your existing Live email.

Just ensure that in your profile your home address is set to US. You could use any US-based address you want. Heck, you can use any of Microsoft offices address 😀

If you followed previous instructions you should be able to browse the Zune Marketplace and play with it. But wait! We are not done yet. Follow next instructions if you want to be able to buy Music and download them.

Note: To login successfully in your Zune Software, your PC location has to match the location in your Windows Live profile which should be US by now.

Purchasing Music from the Zune Marketplace

xbox point cardTo purchase Music from the Zune Marketplace you’re going to need Microsoft Points which is the currency being used for the Zune Marketplace and it is also the same currency being used for the XBox 360 Marketplace. You can purchase Microsoft Points online by the Zune Software but the problem is that Zune Marketplace only accepts US-credit cards. Fortunately, I was able to overcome this roadblock with the Xbox point card.

You can purchase an Xbox point card by either asking a friend from US to buy one for you and send you the card code, or you could head to ebay and buy one. Some sellers in ebay will just email you the card codes regardless of your location which is perfect for a fast solution. I personally buy from GSG online retailer because I’ve bought several Microsoft Points from him already so I trust him, and he usually send the code in less than 24 hours.

Now that you have the card codes, launch Zune Software in your PC then go to Settings –> Account –> Redeem code. Enter the code and you’ll be redeemed with Microsoft Points which can be used to buy anything in the Zune Marketplace.

You could also use those points to purchase videos on the Zune Marketplace but you’ll need to workaround it more to download videos. I’ll talk about it later.

Zune Pass

Want to enjoy the ultimate experience of Zune? Then Zune Pass is your salvation.

zuenpass

Again, the Zune Marketplace will not accept a non-US credit cards so you won’t be able to purchase Zune Pass on your own. It took me a lot of Googling (Bing suck!) to figure out alternatives which is the Zune Pass Anywhere retailer. It provides you with a Zune Pass but for a higher price and they will need to access your account so you’ll have to submit your password. Basically, they will access your account and buy a Zune Pass.

Alternatively, if you have a friend in the states you can ask your friend to buy you a Zune Pass card from Best Buy for $15 and email you the card code.

Videos

So far you should be able to download music yourself with no problem. The experience is not complete without the ability to purchase videos from the Zune Marketplace or downloading it. Easy, get a VPN (aka Virtual Private Network) for as low as $40/year from some firms.

I use Witopia but there are many other companies that provide VPN and you probably could even find lower prices. But you have to ensure that the VPN is based in the states. By the time I write this article it seems that the video download works even when the VPN service provide you with an anonymous-IP.

As soon as the video starts downloading, you won’t need VPN anymore. If your VPN connection is slow, you could pause the download then disconnect your VPN connection and resume the download with your regular connection.

After doing the first download, it doesn’t seem to need VPN anymore to download any additional videos. I don’t know the actual reason behind it but I can guess that because I have already purchased a Zune HD and linked it to my account.

Finally…

What Microsoft has done with Zune HD and Zune Software 4.0 is really incredible. If you were one of those lucky people who own a Zune HD and Zune Software, you officially own the modern device and software. They are both much user-friendly, easy to use and feels much more modern than the iPod-like interface. If you are a tech-savvy you are probably bored from the iTunes and iPod interface which feels really out-dated. You would also notice the big gap in performance with Zune Software 4.0 compared to iTunes 9.1.

You can connect to my profile:

Happy Zunning!

Novatel Mifi 2352 with Viva

April 3rd, 2010 18 comments

Purchasing the Novatel Mifi 2352 is a procurement that I’m never going to regret. Not only I can access the Internet with my phone through a wifi router that can fit in my pocket, but I can also use my PDA and Zune HD to access the web at the same connection (subscription) while on-the-go. Sharing my connection with my Internet-savvy friends is also a big plus. In this post I’m not writing a review about the device but a quick test. Why should I write another review when there are a lot of reviews online?

 

01042010303

The following test is based on my connection which is an HSDPA connection from Viva Telecom in Kuwait. According to the carrier, my subscription speed can reach up to 7.2 Mbps. I bought the device from Cameo store which is located in Hawalli, Kuwait, for 72KD. And it comes with various wiring options and a small how-to-get-started print.

 

Speed Test

Here comes the speed testing in Salwa area, but keep in mind that lots of variables can game here. I just want to give you a sense on what this device is capable of. I’m not doing a scientific or geekish connection test, I’m just doing the regular method of quick speed testing for a regular web citizen to understand.

 

Capture4

 

I’m going to do the speed testing with both the Mifi 2352 and my old USB dongle Huawei E180 for comparison. I’ll use the same sim card on both connections. Note that both devices supports up to HSPA speed, that’s up to 7.2 Mbps for both devices and it’s stated on the datasheets of both devices.

 

Capture2 The image above represent the status of the connection on the Mifi 2352 device. As you can see, it is connected by HSPA technology (HSDPA & HSUPA). I did the test to a server located in Washington DC by Speakeasy. The first test of the Mifi 2352 resulted about 1.74Mbps download and 0.27Mbps upload. I switched back to the Huawei USB dongle and the tested result was 2.19 Mbps for download and 0.24Mbps for upload.

 

I did both tests again and the result was:

  • Novatel Mifi 2352: Download 1.09Mbps – Upload 0.28Mbps
  • Huawei E180: Download 2.92Mbps – Upload 0.21 Mbps

Definitely there are differences in the performance of both devices. It seem that the USB dongle is faster on downloading. Again, this is a quick-test to have a sense of what to expect from the Mifi 2352. It’s not a scientific test and it is not reliable testing method and I’m doing this in uncontrollable testing environment.

 

I’ll do more testing later and then I’ll report back.

Categories: Computer and IT Tags: , , , , , ,

Senior and Fresh Graduates Job Oppotunity from Microsoft

March 31st, 2010 No comments

 

Microsoft has a program called MACH (Microsoft Academy for College Hire) to hire fresh graduates. As a Microsoft Student Partner, Microsoft has informed me that they are looking for fresh graduates and senior students in Kuwait University who would like to take part in this program. Participants will be offered a full time employment opportunity at Microsoft.

In order to qualify you have to meet the followings:

  • Be a final year student of an IT-related degree (2009 graduates will also be eligible)
  • Have a GPA equivalent to 3.0 or above
  • Be able to demonstrate a passion for technology
  • Speak and write fluent English and Arabic
  • Possess excellent communication and presentation skills as well as strong interpersonal skills
  • Be a strategic thinker
  • Be able to balance individual creativity with working as a team
  • Have a high degree of customer focus
  • Be available from July 2010 to take part in our summer internship.

For more information and to apply, read this document: Job opportunity from Microsoft

ISP Support Prank!

March 17th, 2010 No comments

Check out this audio I have received from my friend Majed Bassam. It is on Arabic and it shows the difference between the ISP call center support between Arabian countries. Enjoy!

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Categories: Fun Stuffs Tags: , , , ,

My Personal Saga, The ACM Student Chapter of Kuwait University – Part (2) – The First Three Activities

March 14th, 2010 No comments

By the end of November of 2008 the new board of 2009 was established. The Chair and Vice Chair position were chosen by a vote from the previous board members. It resulted on me to run as the Chairman and Mosa Alsulaimi was chosen as the Vice Chairman. All other positions were chosen by recommendation of previous board after interviewing only those whom applied for the board. We’ve ended up with the following board members:

Kuwait University ACM Student Chapter Board of 2009

Chairman: Saleh Alsaffar

Vice Chairman: Mosa Alsulaimi

Treasurer: Ali AlSahaf

Public Relation: Taleb Behbehani & Shatha Shameya

Media Coordinator: Areej Hamouda & Faye Altammar

Membership Coordinator: Mohammed Ghazall

Cultural Coordinator: Yacoub Dashti

Faculty Supervisor: Dr. Mohammed Jeragh then Dr. Abdulla Mutawa

It took us time to organize ourselves and then we ended up with three events being held during the first semester.

 

Trip to KNPC

The plan was to do an education trip to KNPC’s I.T. department and gain more knowledge on how I.T. professionals work there. IT happened so fast and easily since a volunteer named Bader Alnaser has a relative who works there and which made it easy for us to contact them.

A very informative trip to Kuwait National Petroleum Company located in Alahmadi area.  At 12:30 we gather at the parking lot where the buses were waiting for us. Later on, at first sight, the building looks really astonishing and huge. We’ve started off with an introductory seminar about KNPC and the a quick glimpse of the I.T. infrastructure of the company that took about half an hour.

The seminar ended and there was a buffet where we had our lunch and in the same time they‘ve interviewed me for the local KNPC magazine. After we filled our stomach with tasty lunch they guided us to the upper floor where awesome servers were running in a room. They’ve divided us into three groups and showed us the aim of each server, how they are connected and lots of other information.

The going back trip was quiet and we have really enjoyed the trip. We were talking about it on the way back to the campus. Students were provided with snacks and drinks on the bus. By 3:30 we were back to the campus and the mission was a great success!

 

Trip to Kuwait Airways

We wanted this trip to be a technology demonstration of Kuwait Airway’s infrastructure but unfortunately they’ve decided to show us their safety measurements instead. We headed to Kuwait Airways and learned the types of planes in service and their safety which is, according to them, the reason why their tickets are expensive!

 

CCNA1 and 2 Courses

We provide student with an official CCNA1 courses almost every year but this time we added CCNA2 courses to satisfy the growing number of CCNA1 graduates. This is an official course from Cisco and has been introduced to Kuwait University by Dr. Fawaz Alenezi. The course costs only 30KD to 40KD which is cheap compare to the original price of 150KD. Of course, this course is only for Kuwait University students and staff.

Around 50 students were registered for the CCNA1 and 13 students for the CCNA2. First class kicked off by the Winter vacation of February 2, 2009. The course ended with the final exams being held by March 15, 2009 and all students who passed the CCNA1 and CCNA2 exams had their certificates printed and signed by Cisco.

My Personal Saga, The ACM Student Chapter of Kuwait University – Part (1)

March 8th, 2010 1 comment

There is no doubt in my mind that 2009 was one of the best years of my life. Not only was I a chairman in the ACM Student Chapter, I was also a Microsoft Student Partner, Adobe Student Representative for Rich Internet Application, Sun OSUM Leader and I also held the Vice President position of the DotNet Club. I’m going to start writing a series of post talking about the student club and our activities and by that I hope what we have done will still remain in the memory of students and in a tiny dot in the massive world wide web. For whom you may ask? For whomever is interested in whatever happens in KU or might find useful information

 ACM Chapter logo

The History of Computer Engineering Societies

cpe_logo high res The ACM Student Chapter of Kuwait University is officially known as CpES, the Computer Engineering Societies, and we are the only student club for the Computer Engineering department of Faculty of Engineering and Petroleum. The society was founded in 1993 under the supervision of Dr. Imtiaz Ahmed with 6 board members but unfortunately, the chapter was engaged for only one semester because all members were at their senior year. I do not have any picture or publication that were published during that time nor that I have any more information about the members.

ACM is the world largest and oldest educational and scientific computing society founded in 1947 and serves all professionals and students in the field of Information Technology.

The chapter remained idle until 2000 and they managed pull one successful activity which is a trip to the Scientific Center of Kuwait to reestablish the chapter. The students who were involved were: Mohammed Al-Kanderi, Mai Al-Sharhan, Abdullah Al-Bloshy, Othman Al-Failakawi and Basma Al-Jenae.

The chapter went idle, again, until September 2001 were five officers (board membes) arise to lead the chapter. Those students were: Bashar Al-Finaini (Chair), Bashayer Al-Awad (Vice Chair), Nada Shishter (Treasurer), Ahmad Al-Qaoud (Secretary), Deena Rabee (Media Coordinator) and Dalal Hasan (Cultural Coordinator). The chapter during that time was under the supervision of Dr. Amar Al-Hosaini, and according to what I have found in the chapter’s achieves that during that time the chapter registered officially as an ACM chapter. I’m not sure if that indicates that the chapter wasn’t officially registered post 2001.

Their first event which was called "Computer Engineering Student Week of Information Technology" and followed by series of ‘special’ events according to the archives.

By Spring 2002-2003, there were seven officers and 50 members under the supervision of Dr. Hamed Alazmi. Two new positions were integrated to the board which were the Chapter Coordinator and the Webmaster. The officers were: Bashayer Al-Awad (Chair), Ahmad Al-Qaoud (Vice Chair), Dalal Hasan (Cultural Coordinator), Nada Shishter (Webmaster), Abdulla Al-Meer (Secretary), Abdulla Al-Qitifi (Media Coordinator), Mohammed Al-Meer (Chapter Coordinator) & Motlaq Al-Rahely (Treasurer).

And through the years, new positions were added and revoked and board members were changing constantly as follows:

Fall 2003-2004: Dr. Mohammed Al-Failakawi (Faculty Supervisor).

Spring 2003-2004: Bashayer Al-Awad (Chair), Ahmad Al-Qaoud (Vice Chair), Dalal Hasan (Cultural Coordinator), Abdulla Al-Meer (Secretary), Mai Al-Shayee (Treasurer), Abdulla Al-Qitifi (Media Coordinator), Anfal Meshari (Webmaster), Ahmad Al-Furaih (Chapter Coordinator), Mariam Bishara (Chapter Coordinator), Sadiq Torabi (Membership Coordinator) & Asmaa Al-Najem (Membership Coordinator).

Fall 2004-2005: Hamad Al-Ghemlas (Chair), Abdilhadi Jeragh (Treasurer), Maryam Bisharah (Secretary). (I can’t find anything more about this period so I don’t know the rest of the officers)

Fall 2005-2006:  Abdilhadi Jeragh (Chair), Hamad Alghemlas (Vice Chair), Malek Alrabea (Media Coordinator), Hesa Albalol (Cultural Coordinator), Yousif Alzanki (Secretary), Hisham Farahat (Treasurer), Majed Bassam (Webmaster), Huwai Aljurais (Public Relation), Asma Alosaimi (Membership Coordinator), Dr Mohammed AlFailakawi (Faculty Supervisor).

2007: Malek Al-Rabeea (Chair), Hessa Al-Baloul (Vice Chair), Bader Al-Khazi (Media Coordinator), Asma Al-Osaimi (Secretary), Ahmad Ashkanani (Treasurer), Bashayer Alarbeed (Membership Coordinator), Hamad Al-Meer (Public Relation), Duha Shubai (Cultural Coordinator), Amir Ahmed (Webmaster), Nosayba Abubakr (Cultural Coordinator), Omaima Al-Osaimi (W.E. Coordinator), Dr Fawaz Alenezi (Faculty Supervisor)

2008: Hamad Almeer (Chair), Abdulla Taha (Vice Chair), Taleb Behbehani (Treasurer), Mosa Alsulaimi (Public Relation), Ali Alsaffar (Media Coordinator), Ali Alsahaf (Cultural Coordinator), Dana Khalid (Membership Coordinator and WIE), Saleh Alsaffar [me] (Webmaster), Saad Alwatyan (Secretary), Dr Mohammed Al-Failakawi (Faculty Supervisor) then followed by Dr Mohammed Jeragh (also Faculty Supervisor). Total chapter members 115.

2009: Saleh Alsaffar [me] (Chair), Mosa Alsulaimi (Vice Chair), Ali Alsahaf (Treasurer), Taleb Behbehani (Public Relation), Shatha Shameya (Public Relation), Areej Hamouda (Media Coordinator), Faye Altammar (Media Coordinator, dropped by mid-term), Mohammed Ghazal (Membership Coordinator), Yacoub Dashti (Cultural Coordinator), Majed Alqabandi (Webmaster, dropped after first event), Dr Mohammed Jeragh (Faculty Supervisor) then followed by Dr. Abdulla Almutawa (Faculty Supervisor). During that term we had an outstanding 264 members within 3 months of registration.

2010: Majed Alqabandi (Chair), Mansi Elenezi (Vice Chair), Mohammed Rajab (Secretary), Mishari Alomran (Treasurer), Bader Alnaser (Public Relation), Fatema Abdulkareem (Public Relation), Mahmood Shaban (Media Coordinator), Sara Fahad (Cultural Coordinator), Shefa’a Ahmad (Membership Coordinator), Hussain Buhamad (Webmaster), Dr Abdulla Almutawa (Faculty Supervisor).

Activities

I’m going to list all events we have done during the 2008 and the 2009 terms. I don’t have the list of all events before the 2008 period. I’m going to update the post when I have the full list of activities that have been done before the 2008 term.

 

2008 Events

  1. Notes and files handout day
  2. Web design tutorial
  3. CCNA1 and 2 courses
  4. Global Awareness seminar
  5. Trip to Wataniya servers in the Liberation Tower
  6. Trip to Ministry of Communication in Liberation Tower
  7. Graduating Adivising Sessions with CpE Department
  8. cPanel workshop
  9. Open Day at KSE
  10.   HTML Workshop
  11.   Javascript Workshop
  12.   Informatics Day 2008
  13.   Islamic Day Seminar
  14.   Trip to Kuwait’s smartest building: Permanent headquarters of the Arab organizations
  15.   Web design workshop
  16.   Distribution of the Year Book.

 

2009 Events

  1. Trip to KNPC
  2. Programming contest
  3. Intel i7 Processor Architecture seminar
  4. cPanel session (twice)
  5. CCNA1 and 2 courses
  6. Entertainment Day
  7. Trip to Kuwait Airways
  8.   Petroleum company session
  9. Ramadan Open Day with KSE
  10. Session with freshmen in association with the CpE department
  11. Alternate Energy conference
  12.   Java Beginners session
  13.   Java Intermediate session
  14.   Informatics Day 2009
  15.   Installation Festival
  16.   Java Advanced session
    So I have listed the events during the 2008 and the 2009 periods. Of course we did have some other activities we have done like handouts and participating in CpE department events.Coming up a blog post with details about each event.

Improv Everywhere

February 25th, 2010 2 comments

Ever went to have lunch peacefully but then suddenly, while eating, a joyful music comes up then spontaneously a girl starts singing then the scene gets even more crowded with more people signing in public?

What about going to a subway and waiting to reach your destination then people start pouring in to the subway train with no pants?!

Those are the kind of scenes that Improv Everywhere does. They are based in New York but because their popularity, their missions inspired many groups world wide leaded by undercover agents like the Sydney Flash Mob Freeze and the Michael Jackson tribute flash mobs.

Improv Everywhere causes scenes of chaos and joy in public places.

 

One of their most known scenes is the No Pants Subway Ride. My favorite prank is the Food Court Musical.

 

There are many great flash mobs being done globally and historically it being done since decades ago. I’d like to share some flash mob videos: Michael Jackson tribute in Stockholm, The T-Mobile Dance in UK, Sound of Music in Antwerp, Supermarket Flashmob and Consider Yourself.

Enjoy your weekend with this playlist

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