Archive for January, 2010

How to import a pet into Qatar?

There’s quite a few people that drop me lines on how to import a pet into Qatar.

So I now present you with a great guide written by Nicky.

Click here for the Qatar Pet Import and Export Guide

So the iPad has landed. What does a Qatari think?

Part 1: The iPad. It’s finally announced. Silence.

Let’s use a visual. Imagine you’re a person who’s decided to go bungie jumping. You stand on the edge of a bridge. Your heart is racing; it actually almost feels like it’s going to burst out of your chest until you finally take that jump. Serenity. After the first few seconds after that leap everything is quiet. You hear the wind going past your ears and for a moment, you start to think “this kind of feels nice, I wish I could keep falli-” YANK, the cord’s extended and your finally shocked back (somewhat unpleasantly) into reality.

That’s what Apple did here. iPad, OMG WTF BBQ!!!11!ONE!! Some people shouted. Looking around twitter I saw that people were more concerned with the fact that they thought it was funny it was named after a tampon. I’m sorry… what?? Notepad wasn’t funny… rappers say “Pen and a Pad”… it’s only one letter different from iPod! (ok that sounds like a G.W. Bush argument).

Point is, to me, it’s near perfect for my needs. Why? I want something thin, light, and can do the basics. I love the fact that it’ll make my life so much more easier when it comes to management. Have you seen the email client? It’s amazing! I’m working all the time and I’d love to have a device which I could pick up, throw in a breifcase or backpack and just use

The biggest scream seems to be that people aren’t happy that there is no flash support. Who cares about flash! Even YouTube is moving over to HTML5 which is much efficient. Have you heard your fan speed up whenever a flash video is playing?

Potential:

There’s just so much potential to this device. It could be used as a great DJing app, a simulator, store management device, home control unit, a project management app, and so much more. I think it’s more exciting to see what the developers are going to be bringing to this device. Having said that, THAT is what makes this a great device. It’ll always be updated.

Marketing:

I think it’s fair to say that the iPad is useful for people who know what they’re looking for.

  • It’s an eBook reader, with MORE functionality and a color screen.
  • It’s a management tool, with an intuitive interface
  • It’s a great browser, with a media player built in
  • It’s a Video player, with an option to do something else
  • Photo manager, with iWork inside.
  • etc….

What I’m trying to come to is that the iPad isn’t this one great fantastic device that does everything amazingly. It’s a device that does just simplifies necessities. It’s got to have at least ONE thing that’s useful to you and the rest are bonuses :P

What I hate:

  • The bezel is too big. I don’t like how it makes the device look so square and closer to a digital picture frame.
  • No camera…. No not one for snaps, but for video calls. Would be a great conferencing tool.
  • Micro-sim… WHY?! I’m still trying to figure out whether I can just ‘cut’ a regular sim card or not.
  • The homescreen is… empty… why?! This should be used with valuable information like how LockInfo provides to the iPhone….
  • No multi-tasking is a disappointment
  • No ‘linking’ or ‘syncing’ with iPhone via Bluetooth

On a side note, is it an oleophobic screen like the 3GS? I hope it will be so I can wipe off fingerprints easily.

Final question? When will the iPad arrive in Qatar? (it’ll take 2 months for the wifi version and 3 months for the 3G enabled in the US, I’m sure we’ll see imports but 3 months is enough to make me lose the excitement :( )

Update: So you’re looking for an iPad in Qatar? I helped set up http://www.shipmypad.com ! So go ahead and grab yours now for 1,500-2000 QR CHEAPER than the rest.

Zig Zag / Lagoon Towers is getting on my nerves

Look, I know that this tower is going to end up being great. Tower A is looking fantastic, but this is getting rediculous. I’m planning on taking over as the building maintanence and service provider when we get the tenants voting for who they want to take care of this building (so remember to Vote for Khalifa Haroon!).

In the mean time, this is what I have to deal with, a huge section was taped off because it looks like there was a major leak.

Nope, that’s not a nice shiney floor. Oh and also just to make sure that you’re CONVINCED that Dar isn’t doing anything, here’s a bottle of piss right next to my car parking spot.

Proof the Apple Tablet / iSlate / iPad exists

I was surprised that a blog like Engadget didn’t cover this yet.

Geoff from the office sent me over this http://blog.flurry.com/

Using Flurry Analytics, the company identified approximately 50 devices that match the characteristics of Apple’s rumored tablet device. Because Flurry could reliably “place” these devices geographically on Apple’s Cupertino campus, we have a fair level of confidence that we are observing a group of pre-release tablets in testing. Testing of this device increased dramatically in January, with observed signs of life as early as October of last year. Apple appears to be going through its cycle of testing and polish, which is expected from any hardware or software company as it nears launch.

Read more on that post to find out what they discovered about the apps that are on the device itself. Seems like there’s plenty of games! So go on, click the link above!

Memories of Palm Tree Island

I miss Palm Tree Island. I remember paying QR 10 for a Dhow trip from the corniche over to the island and even getting a bag of chips and a coke!

Ah how it was easy to please me. I remember hanging out, seeing children playing in the public pools, families chilaxing on the beach, and eating at a Pizza Hut that was open while seeing the ‘adults’ enjoying themselves at a coffee shop. It wasn’t big at all. To me , it was a perfect little island. I wish I owned it now in fact! I’ve got this perfect project!

Where IS Palm Tree Island you ask? Alas, ’tis no more. It’s the island with the lone tree on it in the center of the corniche. Although it used to be add to the view, its now just a place for stupid Tennis marketing and launching fireworks.

Why was it torn down? There’s a number of stories going around. The one I hear most often is that it was supposed to be the spot of the ‘World’s Largest Water Fountain’ and it was supposed to have been created for the Asian Games. Well the Asian Games were in 2006 so I think we can pretty much say that’s not going to happen.

What makes me sad is the fact that they didn’t even have a plan in place before getting rid of it. Why not raze it once you KNOW something’s going to happen.

Ah well…. enjoy some piccies I found from around the internets. (Various sources, Getty images, Qatar embassy, and Mary Steel)

Support the ILQ Volleyball team!

You’ve heard right, ILQ now sponsors it’s very own Qatar volleyball team! A group of women from the Filipino community contacted us and told us that they needed some help raising funds to Qualify for entry to a Volleyball tournament. They only had to mention that they loved the sport and needed a break, and we jumped in to help! Especially since they’d compete in the first expat tournament hosted by the official QVBA!

So if you’ve got the time, want to show some ILQ love, or even really love the sport, why don’t you head on over to the tournament and show them some support (More information below).

Read the rest of this entry »

Making friends in Qatar

Making friends in Qatar can be difficult. Most people only make friends with people at work because it’s that hard. I just thought I’d share some quick pointers when it comes to making friends with Qataris.

Some people may not realize this, but the reason why Qataris don’t just chit chat with strangers usually, is because it’s out of respect. We believe in respecting personal boundaries (some are just shy despite the occasional serious look). However, many will find that once you kick start a conversation, it’ll be as if you’ve been friends for ages! I’d be surprised you didn’t end up BEING friends for ages.

Some people are naturally cautious though. In all honesty, there are many people who want to get to know you… for a short while… As I read from a post about a young boy who told a girl in his class [from one of my favourite blogs (Gaijin Smash)] “I’ll love you only for today”.

You’ll want to stay away from those types of people.

As for places to go to meet people. That’s a tough one that even I haven’t been able to answer. However if you’re looking for online communities, of course there’s ILQ’s forums as a start, then there’s QFriends. I’d recommend QFriends for people who want to participate in Language Exchanges, find PenPals, or just make friends from all over!

That’s the beauty of Qatar. It’s a melting pot of nationalities!

Tags: Making friends in Qatar. Making friends with Qataris. Finding friends. How to get to know people.

New Speed Cameras installed in Qatar (Mr. Q’s concept becomes reality!)

Well I’m kind of excited! I had written a concept about a new type of speed camera two years ago and it seems like it’s now become a reality. Although the current cameras are a bit different in functionality they acheive the same goal.

In short, my concept was that there would be a speed camera that would tag a car that passed by with an unique identifier. When passing the second speed camera, it would calculate how long it took the car to reach it and calculate the average speed. If the car passed the second camera’s checkpoint too quickly, then you would be fined.

Pros: You can’t slow down at the camera then speed up, you have to follow the speed limit.

Cons: The only way to escape is to be a mathematician. If the limit is 80km, and you drove up to 100km for 50 meters and then slowed down to 60 for 50 meters then you’d be safe. (People who speed aren’t geniuses though right?)

Here’s a picture of the new camera and here’s their explanation of how it works

New Traffic Cameras Qatar are not just nice looking – they are intelligent technology.

First thing is that these cameras do NOT flash. They can take photos in complete darkness through ultra-light sensors, so even if it does not flash, it could have caught you. They also automatically read your number plate from the picture taken.

Now, here comes the catch. These cameras are continuous photo-taking cameras and they will take your photo regardless if you have been speeding or not. Then the next camera in 3-5 kms again does the same. Now, instead of checking your speed through advanced radars, these cameras are very simple and all they do is calculate how fast you traveled between the 2 cameras. If you arrived at the next camera faster than 120 km/h (or whatever the speed limit is) then you get fined.

What does this mean?
It means that you can stop speeding up between cameras and slowing down as it does not matter anymore. If you are speeding in between 2 cameras you will get fined.

Looking for an Online Marketing Manager!

Well guys, I’m looking for someone. Someone special. Someone with that online ‘touch’.

Now pull your mind out of the gutter and think straight!

For those that don’t know, I’m the Manager of Online and Corporate Strategy over at Vodafone. (I shifted over from QNV seeing that Vodafone has a vested interested in iLoveQatar and they company is so passionate about change!).

I’m going to be focusing a lot more on VF/ILQ and will need to find someone to join the team and take on some of the load.

It’s a very fun environment I can assure you that, and my team is awesome. The people that work with us are carefully selected so if you don’t have a sense of humour or the right attitude, then please don’t apply!

The position if Online Marketing Manager. We need someone who’ll help maximise efficiency, who’ll be on top of analysing data provided by agencies, determining cost effectiveness, and generally a person who understands online more than life! (Ok the last part was a bit too much).

I would prefer it if you had both Arabic (Important to understand Qatari ‘tone’ in marketing promotions) and English skills (fluent in both); English is a MUST. If you’re Qatari, then great (we’ve got to comply with Qatarisation rules and I would like someone who understands the Qatari culture), but even if you’re not, it doesn’t matter since this role is open to everyone!

You’ll be working closely with myself and the Head of Online. We need YOU to be our right hand man/woman!

Click ‘Read the rest of this entry’ for more (if you don’t know how to do that, that’s the first sign that this job isn’t for you :P)

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Apple’s new creations in a few days!

I’m so excited whenever Apple wants to announce something. They hardly disappoint (except when they don’t actually announce something except for a software update). At the moment, Apple’s done a great deal of rumour mongering (whomever thinks that the rumours are not planned doesn’t know Apple’s game).

So what are people saying? Some are point to a touch screen device (a giant iPhone), some are saying that there’ll be a new iPhone announced, some are saying it’ll be just a 4.0 update announcement, some are saying they’ll be either adding something to iLife or updating it.

We’ve seen people using words like iSlate, iPad, and iTablet when refrencing this new device. Mainly because Apple registered all three words. My opinion is that it’s probably a decoy. I’m not saying there wont be a device, I’m just saying that there might be another name. iPad sounds too much like iPod, iTablet is a mouthful, and the Apple iSlate could be an inside joke ‘Apple is late’. Apple’s always been late in the game but they’ve always done something fantasmagoric.

Let’s see what happens in a week though when it’s time to announce it!

Freedom of Expression

    Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which the Qatari Government is a signatory of states: Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any medias and regardless of any frontiers.

    The Emiri Decision Number 86 of the year 2007 on the establishment of the Doha Free Information Centre marked yet another step towards establishing a State of rights and freedom of speech. The decision stipulated that the Centre be a non-profit organization, headquartered in Doha City, and have the authority to establish other affiliated centres inside and outside Qatar. It is worth mentioning that His Highness the Emir issued a decision in 1998 annulling the ministry of information, giving birth to a new era of freedom of speech where censorship was removed from local media.