Events, Happenings, and Awesomeness in Qatar (We’re on Radio too!)

One of the most popular sections of iLoveQatar.net is our events listings and we’ve been growing! In fact, we’ve listed over 1,000 events to date! That means that since the site started, we’ve listed enough events to keep you occupied every single day! You can visit our event section here: http://iloveqatar.net/forum/list.php?27 (btw you can post your own events there) and soon the link will change to www.iloveqatar.net/events

We then decided to launch a twitter channel called @Qatarevents which has been keeping everyone on twitter in the know. We’ve got thousands of visitors too!

Next up was a monthly newsletter. Some of you might know it by now. It’s called ‘The Buzz’. We figured that some people might want a monthly dose of what’s going on, articles, hot topics, and fun stuff rather than daily info. (I recommend signing up to it of course, I think it’s pretty cool.)

Now although people visit our ILQ facebook page for an awesome community, we thought that some people may JUST want an events feed on Facebook too, so we just recently launched Qatar Events on Facebook.

So we took a breather, took a sip of our gahwa (that’s Arabic for coffee btw), looked around the room and then felt like we hadn’t done enough. So we started working on the new events section. We wanted it to look simple, be easy to search, and easy to submit events too. So we came up with this! (See the two screenshots). We like it, and we’re sure you’ll like it too. It’s going to go live VERY soon and what’s better is that you can sign in with Twitter and Facebook if you want to leave a comment or ‘favourite’ your events.

It’s great to know that our hard work was appreciated because we’ve now got a regular spot every Thursday at 6pm with @FinnertyLaura on her show. Tune in and you’ll hear about the upcoming events for the weekend and the next 7 days.  You’ll be able to hear either myself Khalifa (a.k.a Mr. Q), Bassam, or Zhan!

It’s easier than ever to tune into QF Radio. Got an iPhone? Download their app here. On a computer? Visit their site here for a live stream. In your car, then tune into 93.7 FM

Anyway! If you’ve got an event, please do share it with us by emailing events@iloveqatar.net

Ramadan-Kareem.net everyone! (Tents, Events, and more!)

Ramadan Kareem!

I hope that everyone has a great Ramadan period, and whether you are Muslim or not, there’s a lot to do in Qatar during this time.

www.Ramadan-Kareem.net has launched and it’s even bigger and better than last year’s effort.

Last year, we launched a real first…our site got lots of attention by helping people find out about all the wonderful things happening during Ramadan in Qatar. So we had a challenge: How do we take what we did last year and make it even MORE useful? This year we’ve partnered up with Vodafone again as well as got some support from QF Radio and Katara!

The beauty of www.Ramadan-Kareem.net is that it’s so simple. Not only is it easy to navigate but there are some great features!

We’re Mobile!
It only made sense to create a mobile version of the site. Especially since we partnered up with VodafoneWe took Ramadan-Kareem.net and shrunk the site into a useful mobile tool. It looks and feels like an app as well! So get tap-tap-tapping on your smartphones! Don’t have one? Don’t worry, the mobile version works on most devices! :)  Oh and if you’re a Vodafone customer, it’s free to visit the site!

We’re on the Radio!
QF Radio will air a special English-language Ramadan show every day during Ramadan at 8pm! Hosted by Laura O’Shea. They’ll be using Ramadan-Kareem.net to share what’s happening in Qatar, some of our own tips, and useful applications with their listeners too!

When you visit our site, you’ll see an ‘On Air’ button. When you see it light up, it means the show is…on the air!

We’ve got an app for that!
Whether you are on the site or on your mobile, we’ve got a list of great Ramadan-related apps to download. We’ve listed apps for iPhone, Android, and Blackberries. Just click your favourite app’s icon to download!

We’re Dynamic!
The website’s background changes depending on the time of day.
☾ In the morning the sky is dim and a sun rises
☾ During the day the sun shines bright, birds fly around and the wind gently sways the hanging lanterns
☾ For sunset—and because it’s so rare for us to enjoy a beautiful one in real life—our site’s sunset begins 15 minutes before night, so if you’re lucky enough to be on our website at exactly the right time you’ll see a brilliant orange sky.
☾ When it’s time to break your fast, the moon pops out, the lanterns light up, and the stars twinkle.
☾ We’ve also got some fun messages that pop up while you’re on the site. “Whoa, it’s hot outside!”

Why is this special?
Because it’s a fun way of letting people know when its time to break their fast! Don’t have a calendar? Have a calendar but don’t know what time it is? Just visit the site and if you see the moon, you can break your fast. It’s also a tool for kids!

We’re social!
☾ Sharing is caring:
You’ll notice Twitter, Facebook, the ‘Like’ button, and the new Google +1 button on the site. So sharing the site is extremely simple! Go ahead! Click on our LIKE and +1 buttons.
☾ Tents and Events:
-During Ramadan many people meet up at night at various tents and events to be together and socialize. If you’re looking for a calendar of events, then our site is here for you. Our calendar will constantly be updated as we get wind of more events!
-Last year people asked for more events besides simply the ones at hotels, and so we’re working hard to get as much as possible on there! Got an event yourself? Let us know so we can add it to the site!

Send an eCard!
We’ve created some very nice and colorful Ramadan cards for you to send out to family and friends. All you need to do is select your image, type in your message, position the message so that it’s in just the right spot, and click send!
Love the card? You can save it in MMS format so that you can transfer it to your mobile and send it to anyone through your mobile!
Don’t see an image you like? You can upload your OWN image and send it out as an ecard!
We love choices!

Ramadan 101
We know that some people might not know what Ramadan is all about, so we’ve included an “About Ramadan” tab on the site. If you want to brush up on your understanding of Ramadan, then visit this section for: when it is, what it’s about, dates and times, tips about eating, drinking and smoking, dress code, and other special considerations.

Convenient Prayer and Iftar times!
We’ve tried to make your life as easy as possible when it comes to knowing when to pray and when to break your fast.
☾ We’ve got a full Ramadan calendar on our site
☾ You can download the calendar to your phone or desktop
☾ You can register to receive FREE SMS notifications
☾ You can pick up a pocket calendar in store
Prayers, Quran Verses, Tips and Recipes Via SMS
As a new addition this year, Vodafone customers can also subscribe to receive daily prayers and verses from the Quran, audio clips, tips and recipes during the holy month of Ramadan.

Suhail package: Receive a prayer and a verse from the Quran daily.
Text SUHAIL to 97796 to receive this package every day for a month for only QR7

Al Hilal: Receive a prayer, a verse from the holy Quran and an audio clip from your favourite scholar.
Text ALHIL to 97781 to receive this package every day for a month for only QR10

Al Badr: Receive a prayer, a God Good name animation, a fasting and health tip and a clip from Al-Afasy.
Text ALBAD to 97797 to receive this package every day for a month for only QR12

Al-Thuraya: Receive a prayer, a recipe and a health tip daily.
Text ALTHU to 97780 to receive this message every day for a month for only QR10.

Send an eCard!
We’ve created some very nice and colorful Ramadan cards for you to send out to family and friends. All you need to do is select your image, type in your message, position the message so that it’s in just the right spot, and click send!
Love the card? You can save it in MMS format so that you can transfer it to your mobile and send it to anyone through your mobile!
Don’t see an image you like? You can upload your OWN image and send it out as an ecard!
We love choices!


Vodafone customers only for the above.

What are you waiting for? Spread the word!
Oh! And to make things even MORE digital, we’ve created cool QR Codes that you’ll see behind the Ramadan booklets on desks. It looks like a sqare barcode with the VF logo on it. Download a QR code scanner from your app store.


Here are a few suggestions:
iPhone: RedLaser
Nokia/Symbian: reader.kaywa.com
Android
: QR Droid

And show some love to Vodafone by checking out their site! www.vodafone.com.qa They’ve got some special promos and if it wasn’t for them Ramadan-Kareem.net wouldn’t be as cool as it is!

Forget NyanCat. I present you with NyanQat

After doing a bit of searching on KnowYourMeme I presented with another viral sensation call NyanCat many months ago. I’ve now decided that it was time for NyanQat to make an appearance.

Original:

 

Qatar Version:

Loads going on! I’m going to the Qatar Food Festival :)

I’m sorry for not posting an article in quite a while but there’s just been loads going on! (Of course if you’ve been following the events section you’ll know that already).

We’ve got the circus in town at Souq Wagif, the jewelry exhibition that just ended, we’ve reached the end of the Spring Festival in the souq as well, BUT the 2nd Qatar food festival has just started! Oh almost forgot, the Floating Book Fair started too!

If you haven’t already signed up to the newsletter, please do! Don’t worry, you won’t be spammed and the newsletter goes out ONCE a month. :) Just click here to sign up!

If you’re interested in the food festival, then just click on the banner below for a list of restaurants and hotels that are participating.

It’s only 5 – 15 QR per plate!! Driving past today it looked packed, so I’m heading off early :)

Hanging out with Samsung

So I was invited over by Samsung and Forbes Associates, to visit the Samsung booth over at the Asian Cup Fan Zone at Aspire park. I was quite excited, and honored, that they wanted Mr. Q to check out what they had to offer. I was already familiar with their fun apps (see http://blog.iloveqatar.net/2011/01/asian-cup-apps-and-other-fun-stuffs/ ) and didn’t really know what to expect from the booth itself.

I was greeted by some people from Samsung who had flown over from Korea for the next two weeks and they started to take me on a tour. They first wanted to show me their Galaxy Tab. Of course I didn’t mention the fact that I’m actually an iPad user, but I had to admit that I was always interested in the Galaxy Tab. It’s about half the size of the iPad, also quite thin, and runs off of Android. There’s one CRUCIAL difference though. It plays flash. I was told that with Flash running constantly that it would get a battery life of around 6 hours (but who runs flash constantly). The average battery life was 10-12 hours (nice!). I could definitely see people buying this because of its portability. They had this Q&A game on it that I was asked to play. (I scored 3/5 :( ) but got a nice little pair of blow up ‘sticks’. I was told that in Korea they bang them together while watching a match and it sure did make a loud noise!

I was then asked to do a little interview on camera where they asked me what I thought about Samsung. I explained that I was always a fan of Samsung products, my father loves their dual sim phone, and I used to almost exclusively use them for a period of time. (I love their Ultra series of phones. BRING THEM BACK SAMSUNG, I LOVED IT!). In fact, I was actually just thinking about the Samsung U100 recently ( picture here ) and wished they’d make a new one.

They then showed me their Shouting booth. You go into a room, select the country you are routing for and then scream your lungs out to support them! The best person (I think) wins a prize! After participating you get a horn as a gift.

They then have a set up for you to take a picture in front of a green screen so it looks like you’re with one of your favourite teams. I took a picture with the Qatari team (of course), and when finished, they printed it out, and put it in a picture frame that looked like the Galaxy Tab. I thought that it was quite awesome!

Basically with everything you participate in, you get a small gift to take home. It was very fun and the staff there were all having a fun time themselves. Anyway Samsung, thanks for inviting me to hang out, thanks for sponsoring the Asian Cup, and thanks for all the cool stuff you guys make! Now I wonder if the Samsung Qatar team are as cool as the Samsung Korea team.

Some pics! (click to enlarge)

Doha Qatar from 1947 to 2006

Fahad Al Assiri http://twitter.com/#!/FahadAlAssiry put together an AWESOME overlay of maps of Doha. Amazing to see how Qatar has evolved :)

How to use ILQ’s NEW toolbar

Here’s a quick explanation of the new toolbar that’s been added to ILQ!

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.