Update on Driving Fines in Kuwait

According to Assistant Undersecretary for Traffic Affairs at Ministry of Interior Major General Abdullah Al-Muhanna, two things are going to happen:

  1. The seizure of vehicles will be stopped (temporarily mind you) due to the fact that there is no space to store seized vehicles. “confiscation of violating vehicles will be stopped temporarily because there are currently 38,528 vehicles in the seized-vehicle garages and they do not have space for any more impounded vehicles.”

 

  1. The hubub regarding the increase in fees for licences is not true. “Major General Al-Muhanna denied that the charges for traffic services provided to expatriates including renewal of driving licenses and vehicles registrations will be hiked to hundreds of dinars. He also denied any intention to prevent expatriates from possessing more than a vehicle.”

 

  1. If you are driving in the emergency lane above 45 KMH, you will get a fine, the camera WILL take a picture (don’t ask me how I know, just trust me).

Two proposals have been submitted to Ministry of Interior — one is to increase the fines of traffic violations by up to 50 percent and the other is to increase the fees by double for some traffic services. Which they are, is speculation. However so far it is only a proposal, so no need to reach for your passport and check expedia just yet.

Link to confirmation on the first two (here).

Who still watches Music Videos?

Let’s face it, the house that MTV built was only good up to the 90’s.

We were all there (hopefully), we saw the height of video clips, with shows such as “the making of…” that always ended with “the world premier of …”, it was dramatic, it was art, it was brought to the limelight with performers like Michael Jackson (Thriller, need I say more?):

This was a movie in itself! Not a music video!

And who can forget “Remember the time” starring the Eddie Murphy as the Pharoah?

Nowadays however, most people mostly search for music on Youtube with the “lyrics” string in order to minimize its bandwidth usage, plus who has the time to watch video clips nowadays anyways?

Well, during a usual morning of streaming music with the “up next” feature switched on, and as I was flipping through my many open tabs I accidentally came upon the video of the song that was playing, now I’d definitely heard it before on the radio, but seeing it, my mind was like… wtf am I watching?

Seriously, WTAF is going on here?!

@xcitealghanim have ta great Service Center!

Now usually I don’t do this but uh…

We’re writing something good about something that happened in Kuwait!

No no, we usually do, I even go out of my way to send recommendations about employees that perform good service.

Anyhoo, my dad had bought me a rice cooker from Xcite. One fine day as I was transporting said rice cooker it fell to the ground and the area near the button got dented.

worried

 

As the damage was self-inflicted, the “warranty” technically should not fly. I had considered just going out and buying a replacement so that my parents don’t find out I broke it, then I decided to bite the bullet and take the rice cooker to the service center (as I was simultaneously going for another item).

I get to the service center on Saturday morning and take two numbers – one for Mobiles and one for electronics. I hand in the rice cooker, the lady asks if I have the warranty, I told her as I dropped it, I don’t think the warranty would work (ever the Honest Abe), she asks for the mobile number through which the item was purchased, I gave it to her, she looks through her system and sure enough finds the item in my list of purchases.

She stamps the worksheet as “Warranty”, at first I thought it might be a mistake, so I left and waited for their call.

Sure enough, on Monday they contact me and say the item is ready.

I collected it yesterday and kept waiting for someone to ask me to pay something,, nobody did!

This is a great way to check for warranty, as opposed to requesting us to keep hold of the multiple paperwork involved in any purchase.

I have visited the Panasonic (i.e. BEST) service center several times, each time they request a “downpayment” for the technician to “meddle” with the device, just to have a look at it.

XCite, hope this is paving the way for your service center revolution, as currently the majority of complaints against you are regarding returns and what not’s.

Signed,

An enriched Customer

The Ultimate Android App for All Androiders – #Moboclean

Attention, THIS IS NOT A TECH BLOG! Although sometimes, we tend to dabble in things outside our comfort zone when the situation really demands it, and so I am here to talk to you about – Moboclean.

I know, it sounds like a failed sales pitch from the beginning right? Did I mention it is free?

Got your attention now right? Lets drive the point home.

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The reason many users gravitate toward Android as opposed to Apple is customization – with Android you can root your phone and update everything – a new OS, theme etc. whereas Apple does not provide such customization.

Now, we are all familiar with rooting right? No? Jailbreaking for Apple? Still no? Well, despite allowing users the absolute right to mess with everything with the phone, all phones purchased come with firmware – as in the software belongs to the brand you brought it from i.e. Sony, Samsung, HTC, LG, Huwaei etc. so sometimes, in order to get max customization privileges, you need to root your phone.

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However when you root your phone you run the risk of turning it into a brick and losing the warranty.

Why would you need to root?

like we said earlier, phones come with firmware, and apps downloaded come with strings – for example, they set themselves to automatically start up with the phone, to send anonymous statistics, to access your calendar, contacts, number etc. To some people who view this as a huge invasion of privacy, this poses quite the problem.

Moboclean solves that problem.

Whereas rooting is risky – Moboclean carries 0 risk (at face value). What it does is it roots the application itself and gives you superuser permission, in certain cases, to decide whether or not an app is allowed to run automatically, access bluetooth, location, number etc.

download

What is in it for me?

Believe it or not, this saves battery. I sh*t you not, I have been using Moboclean for the past few days, and already the battery life is considerably longer. Initially it used to be great (running on Xperia Z2) but after the latest update (as a result of the privacy bug with android) the battery drain has shifted into overdrive and before whereas my phone would last almost a full 24 hours and still have 20% or so juice left, it started requiring an afternoon pick-me-up charge.

How does Moboclean work?

Again, as we are not tech junkies, we can only speculate on what happens, as we explained above the app reinstalls all your other apps and tweaks them to the point where you are allowed to set their internal settings yourself.

Now this does not work for all apps, and it doesn’t affect firmware apps, but that is ok because you can manually disable those from your applications settings – I don’t think it is possible to keep an app installed and disable it, or atleast it is not on Xperia Z2.

Problems, if any?

Glad you mentioned it! In our usage of Moboclean, we did come across the following problems:

1) the uninstall/reinstall, although automatic, sometimes results in your “personalized settings” getting deleted, such as Viber favorites etc.

2) Your passwords would need to be re-entered for everything – so make sure you know them before uninstalling.

3) You would be required to know how to interact with the app (all the titles in it are self explanatory btw.) in order to resolve any problem that might arise as a result of the reinstallation process – for example, I denied my tracking apps access to my location without my permission, so even if the satellites connect the map does not load, so I had to open the settings and set it to always acquire my location etc.

4) Whatsapp will take time to load! Be patient! It is preferable to backup all your convo’s before uninstalling – I set mine to backup everyday at 4AM, but then all the conversations from 4AM till the time of the uninstall-reinstall will be lost.

5) Once you disguise your location it is impossible to change back to “prompt”.

You can read up more on this magical app here and you can download it from this link here (note it is not available on the Playstore).

Delayed Flights and Fighting for your Rights – a Why to Guide

We are all familiar with the internet approved “how to” guides for everything from cleaning your closet to torching your midsection to building a model rocket capable of reaching the stratosphere (link). Let us give rise to a new phenomena, which may already exist, I have no clue as I haven’t Googled it yet, but lets assume its my own concoction – the “why to” guide.

Why you should do x-y-z and not simply ignore it and move on with your life.

Readers of this blog would be no strangers to my current strife with a certain airline regarding several problems with them.

As if the world was taking note of my plight, BBC published an article entitled, “Delayed airlines passengers ‘missing out on millions in compensation” (link) and it made me think, airlines should not get away with this. How many times in our lives were our flights delayed, a couple of minutes, sometimes long hours, with nothing from the airline save an apology and a cold slice of Pizza?

It is time to hold people accountable. I am not saying this is the road to easy money, but it is a step in the right direction for accountability (remember this word when Captain America – Civil War comes out in 2016!).

Just recently another landmark article was posted, “Ryanair faces big payouts after losing flight delay case ” (link).

A lot of people are familiar with Ryanair as the 9th worst airline in the world (link), well apparently they had a little disclaimer on its tickets that tells passengers they only have 2 years to try to take action for flight delays against the company. this did not sit well with authorities as the standard time is 6 years, so the ruling was just passed to scrap the 2 year thing and give everyone 6 years to take action – as per EU laws. The law of the land supersedes that of the company.

Why is this important to you to know? A lot of airlines try to hide behind fancy wording on their tickets that they are not responsible in case of x, y, z etc. but they are. You will only know this if you take the step to take action against them. For example, all parking lots/ valet areas have an infamous saying that they are not responsible for the vehicle, right? Guess what, legally that is BS as they are responsible – they are taking money to provide a service, so if the car is damaged or anything, it is on their heads. Same with airlines.

Let us see where this goes, all I can say at the moment is, POWER TO THE PEOPLE.

“Let it Rot” campaign against fishmongers a success in Kuwait

Kuwait is made up of a multitude of people of different nationalities, creeds, religions etc.

What happens when all these people decide to unite and say, “enough is enough”?

Well, their demands are met.

Case-in-point, last week a friend sent me a message regarding an initiative that was taking place in Kuwait entitled “let it rot” in response to fishmongers ridiculous rise in prices of their wares.

This message was sent via Whatsapp, it was mostly in Arabic detailing the prices of the fish per kilo etc. and how they were exorbitant. The plan was simple, for one week, everyone refuse to buy fish until appropriate remedial action is taken. Given the article posted on Arab Times (link) the campaign was a success, “The first positive result of the campaign was seen when the price of Zubaidi fish dropped from KD 15 per kilogram to less than KD 5”:

let it rot

Now how about a similar campaign for rents?

Why I’ll never run the Mallnitz Marathon again

A dear friend told me, you haven’t lived till you’ve run a race in Europe.

Ok, maybe those weren’t her EXACT words, but the meaning was there. So on a recent trip to Austria, I searched to see if I could make any races in the area, and to my luck, I found one!

Now, you need to understand the serendipitousness of this endeavor – initially we were staying in Vienna for the majority of our stay, we chose to go to Salzbury as well and booked a lovely bed & breakfast there through Airbnb (here is the link to the place, it was amazing, the owner is very sweet and also a runner! which came in handy, as you’ll see later in the story). We had originally booked 22-24, I later found the race would be on the 25th, we would have returned to Vienna. A quick calculation of train routes etc. showed that I could get to this Mallnitz location by taking a train for 3hrs45mins!

Through sheer coincidence, we discovered that Mallnitz happens to be closer to Salzburg than Vienna! 73KM vs 500+KM. As we would have a car then, it would be a short drive away. And the rest as they say, is history.

To get to Mallnitz, you drive 60KM to a train, then pay EU 17 to board your car on a train that goes through a mountain to Mallnitz.

Arriving in the small town, it was everything you would expect a small town to look like, the one main road was closed off for the race, everyone was dressed in running gear or traditional wear to celebrate this annual event. I ran to the information office which had a poster of the race outside to ask where it was, the office was closed, a passerby saw my plight and asked if I needed help then directed me to go straight 200M and i’ll find the start line.

Mallnitz Marathon 2015

(more pictures can be found here)

Everything about the location screamed “picturesque”, small town race with a big crowd. I found the registration office, and they knew who I was ahead of time as I had already registered online, plus was probably the only one from “abroad abroad” as in outside the EU. I paid them EUR 20, got my bib and race pack which consisted of one bottle of water, 2 energy bars, a Salmon tennis cap (blue) and a coupon for a meal after the race. Now, EUR 20 is around KD 7, remember that. It was the same amount for both the 10KM and the 21KM. I opted for the former as I had not been running long distance in quite some time.

As the runners started showing up, they herded us inside to give us a briefing regarding the race. I was the only one that sat till the end for a “refresher” in English, although I got the gist of what the Austrian dude was saying initially. Red ribbons for 10KM, purple for 21. I told them I was used to running and that I run in high temperatures, they said, almost nonchalantly, that that won’t help as here the thing is all about elevation. They also said if I wanted to give up I just had to run to someone and hand in my bib number to get a ride back to the start line. I dismissed that as poppy cock. Little did I know I was in for quite the rude awakening.

T-20 minutes till the race.

Preparing for the Mallnitz Marathon

(me mumsy tells me my face looked very tired, but I wasn’t feeling it at the time)

The whistle blew, and the runners were off, GPS synced and ready. We ran about 500M on road then veered into the forest, initially I was thinking, ok, this is doable. However the minute you got used to the terrain of grass, it suddenly shifted and became gravel, rock, mud, river etc. throughout the course of the run.

Believe it or not, Longshanks came in 2nd

Believe it or not, Longshanks came in 2nd

My first surprise came when we passed through a meadow and I saw the largest black horse my eyes ever did fall upon. It was so gargantuan (especially next to the beige pony that grazed beside it) that I almost believed it to be a statue. That belief was shattered when I ran by it, only to have it turn its head towards me. Luckily I was not bitten.

The next shock came at the uphill that was mentioned during orientation. Initially he had said the elevation was “only 300M”, little did my feeble mind fail to comprehend the gravity of a 300M incline,, at an angle of almost 35*. I felt akin to a mountain goat, running on my tip-toes and much below my average speed to go up the harrowing hill.

Physics has taught us that what goes up must come down, well that theory is also true for what curves up, it must also curve down later, and just before you cheer at the downhill speed gain, keep in mind I was wearing the same shoes I run in in Kuwait, showing signs of wear and tear, smoother on the bottom. That, coupled with grass, and the fact that it was starting to rain so the ground was moist made the steep run down quite precarious, one wrong step and you would slip and fall flat on your face. Fortunately that did not happen.

After being passed by several runners more adept at mountain trekking than I, I decided mentally not to allow anyone else to pass. As always, there was one person hot on my trails, and as chose to forgo my earphones so as to be “in tune” with nature during my first forest run, I could always hear them behind me.

We came across a padlocked gate that fortunately had a volunteer standing by it to open it for the runners. It swung outward, away from the runners. Which was good. And not so good, as you will find out later.

Around the 6.5KM I almost took a wrong turn and was alerted by my pursuer, in sign language. I lost a few seconds in which he had caught up to me, but quickly managed to retain my place ahead of him. This game of cat and mouse carried on for several KM’s, with me begrudgingly deciding to just let him go and focus on finishing the race and not falling down and breaking my leg. However my inner competitor always roared in righteous indignation to allowing someone to pass me.

Another few meters, and we were faced with another padlocked gate, with no volunteer in sight. I stuck my hands out and pushed through, the door swinging forward before me. More uphills and downhills, and a pile of fresh manure followed (for the sake of this recollection, we shall say I ran over it).

Nearing the 8KM mark there was another gate, I sped up just before it so as to push through with authority and was surprised when I ended up crashing into it as it refused to budge! My competitor had caught up, and it took us a few seconds to realize that this gate swung “inward”, as in towards the runners, meaning you had to come to a complete stop to open the gate!

I was irate, at this point, my nemesis had caught up and taken the lead, and again, part of me wanted to relinquish the pursuit and just focus on finishing the race. However my inner demon refused to lose the lead we held for 8.5KM straight, and dug deep to find the strength to surpass him once more.

A very sharp right turn later, we were back in civilization, on paved road. It was only a matter of a few meters until we reached the finish line, and nothing can compare to the joy of hearing your name and country of origin spoken by a stranger to a standing ovation by a group of strangers.

at the finish line of the mallnitz marathon

In hindsight, the true beauty of the course could only be realized when you combine the actual task of running it, over hills and bridges, rivers and open fields, gravel and grass, with the aerial shot provided by GPS:

The Mallnitz Race

In addition, a review of their results posted online shows that I came in 7th place, which is not too shabby for my first forest run:

Lord Aymz at Mallnitz

However, the reasons I would never run the Mallnitz marathon again is as follows:

1) Despite the registration amount, which was the same for 10 & 21KM, there was no medal for finishers, only first place. Given that the amount is exactly similar to what we pay here for 10KM (642marathon) I felt cheated in that I had no metal to show for it, only the bib.

2) The fiasco with the gates was quite tiring indeed, to have to come to a full complete stop in order to open a gate towards you whilst running is pure idiocy.

3) The people of Mallnitz, although extremely welcoming of me as a participating runner, were very speculative of my wife who accompanied me and were caught staring at her, a lot, due to her being veiled.

The only way I would actually re-run the Mallnitz 10KM run is if they did what all other races do and offered a finishers medal to make the moment more memorable.

The meal at the end of the run was a plate of pasta, with cheese sauce and meatballs.

I had two plates, I was very hungry.

Beef, not pork.

Killed over a Selfie by a Gulf National in Dubai…

From humble upbringing, to tragic end. That is the tale of Mahendran Yadav, the managing director of Emirates Homes Real Estate Brokers, who was tragically struck down (some say unintentionally) by a Gulf National in Dubai after a row erupted between them whereby the former was taking pictures with friends that the latter believed to be inclusive of him and his fiancee. Taking matters into his own hands after complaining to the hotel restaurant staff where they were and seeing no cessation of selfies, he confronted the group and the events which ensued resulted in the death of one of them.

Over a selfie.

Imagine.

What is worse are the comments left by some people on the article (here) and I quote:

“Right to take photograph at a public place is relative and not an absolute one. The hotel restaurant is not exclusive domain of anyone where one could take photographs in spite of objections of others using the restaurant. The victim should have been civilized enough to understand this especially that he was a real estate broker, he should have shown shown some manners. This does not mean the attacker had the right to kill him; but the victim brought it upon himself by refusing to accept request to stop taking photographs.”

“Though the loss of a life is very unfortunate, it’s extremely provoking to take a pic of someone, especially a lady, without consent & more so to refuse when asked to stop. Hotel managements need to inform their guests.”

“The assaulter however if he had a problem he could’ve changed tables or asked his fianc�e to give her back to the camera instead of showing off his muscles on Yadav. I once in Dubai was with a friend in the Atlantis hotel, we ordered dinner, which was so well presented so I took a photo of my plate, the flash was on. Another gulf national next to me started acting funny and he clearly didn’t like it that my camera flash went off and he had a young wife or daughter I guess. Being from the Gulf myself I apologized to him, ,showed him that my photo didn’t have him and that I’m already loyal to mine own not to ogle his wife. 5 years on, I feel bitter that he had this sense of entitlement to express his opinion on my actions.”

When did it become OK to descend to barbarianism over a photograph? When it is crystal clear that the picture taken does not derive its focus entirely on you, it should be no hassle to either get up and move to another table or simply remain silent.

I have yet to add this to the list of complaints I receive in public, from anyone, but rest assured should it ever arise my response would not be to refrain from taking pictures, but to request the requester to get off their high horse and slap them with the realization that they in fact did not marry Helen of Troy.

I am sure a search on Google would paint a more harrowing picture as to how many lives were lost unnecessarily as a result of macho bravado over a picture.

The victim had arrived in Dubai and was employed as a driver before he worked his way up the ladder and made his fortune as a real estate broker, heading up the Emirates Homes Real Estate Brokers firm since 2003.

And now his obituary will read, “killed over a selfie by a Gulf National in Dubai“.

Why NAS are the worst baggage handlers in the history of Kuwait

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The fun never stops with airline troubles!

Following the fiasco I went through to receive my lost luggage from Pegasus Airlines, fate would so have it that someone very near and dear to me would suffer similarly – my Dad.

His luggage was also delayed, his airline was also handled by NAS, in his case however they immediately sent a text message informing him that his luggage had arrived in Kuwait. Seeing as how he was not carrying the lost luggage report on his person at the time, we decided to visit the airport later that evening to collect it.

So we arrive there, he goes to the lost luggage desk, hands over his report and is told to wait for 20-30 minutes as they retrieve the bag from customs. The waiting period becomes longer, every time we go to them we are told, any minute now. Finally, after an hour at the airport, we are told that THEY HAD TAKEN DELIVERY OF THE BAG EARLIER THAT DAY and that THEY HAD NO IDEA WHICH DRIVER HAD IT.

Not only that, but they had not updated their system to reflect that the bag was collected by their driver, so we were waiting in futility at the airport for a bag that had already left.

So word to the wise; if you fly an airline that lists NAS as their handling company in Kuwait, good luck…

You’re going to need it.

Travel Essentials – Toilet Trouble Abroad!

Tis the season to be traveling, fa la la la la, la la, la la…

However, a travel to your dream destination can quite quickly be turned into a nightmare if you find yourself on the short end of the stick and missing a very, very essential item.

More often than not, that item is electronic in nature, or linked to, such as a charger or adapter etc. Most of the time, a replacement can be found at your destination, and calamity avoided.

It is only when the item is not considered norm that you find yourself in a precarious position.

Now, people go to different countries all over the globe. Some travel for entertainment, others travel for adventure, some for relaxation and others for medication. In all forms of travel, there is one universal requirement common all around the globe, and that is:

toilet-thumb-450x450-17583

The how to guide for this device is pretty much standard around the globe, it is what comes later that differs greatly across countries and continents, specifically, what to do at the end?

If not planned properly, a 2-week vacation can turn into disaster when you reach for the water hose and find, nothing.

Just you and a stack of toilet paper…

So hurry up and invest in the following for smooth sailing when it counts!

portable bidet

If you would like obtain handset which Raspberry Ketone Diet Raspberry ketone supplement

August 2011 ( View complete archive page )

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