May 19

Google Play paid applications now in KSA !

Until recently, Google Play paid applications, namely Android mobile apps were not available for sale in countries such as Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Oman and Bahrain.

Today I was able to purchase my own application on Google Play, SMS Compressor in KSA ! SMS Compressor is a compression software that can compress messages to contain up to 220 – 250 characters per SMS instead of 70 for Arabic characters.The purchase was done with STC line.

When I opened Google Play on my Android device I found paid apps listing. I searched for my application and tried to download it, I had to check the agreement checkbox and I got the download start immediately ( Because I already had a google checkout account bound to my credit card ). Indeed when I checked Google I found the paid app country listing updated with new countries such as KSA, UAE, Morocco, Oman and Bahrain.

Although I did not find any official statement about it , I think this will be publicly announced  soon, mainly because KSA is the largest android market in the region. Depending on my apps downloads I can say that KSA accounts to 75 % of the smartphone market in the arab world.

Such a step will be a great push for arab android application developers who depended previously on advertisement revenues from their free apps. No doubt this will change with the introduction of paid apps in KSA and other arab countries because the arab market has a huge potential and is currently severely underserved.

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Feb 06

Volunia the social search engine launched

Today Massimo Marchiori launched Volunia, a new search engine qualified as “social”. Marchiori is best known for creating the HyperSearch engine which has led to Google’s PageRank algorithm.
The conference held in University of Padua in Italy was streamed online on http://www.unipd-cmela.it/volunia/.

The entire conference was in italian which restricted the audience to italian speaking  community.

The new search engine which is the result of three years of work and two million euros of investment contains a toolbar which guides the user while browsing, and provides a 3D visual presentation of the sitemap of visited websites. It also shows who is looking for the same information, allows making friendship with them and tracking their subsequent searches.

Marchiori stated that Volunia is a 100% italian search engine and it is not trying to compete with google because this will lead to failure as he said, instead it’s trying to show things from a different perspective.

Users can apply to get a Volunia account on the website and they can invite their friends too. It’s said that it will be open to public starting next week.

We need to wait and see how the project is going on. It’s quite interesting because it brings the social aspect to every page on the web. We also need to see what will be Google’s reply, now struggling to convince users to migrate from Facebook to Google+.

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Jan 15

Project management with basecamp

Last week I created a free account on Basecamp to check their project management website. To my surprise I found no Gantt charts ! instead I found an easy intuitive way to schedule projects using Todo list/Milestone approach. I can add users and assign tasks to them, and add logins for other parties to check the project progress. Colors and logos are easily customizable, everything well thought of.

It’s strange how experience and exposure to other people ideas create layers of complexity for the most straightforward processes !

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Jan 14

Baby Tulin

Last Sunday morning I got a call from my wife. I am in the hospital she said, waiting to deliver. I really wanted to be there with her but unfortunately I couldn’t. Few hours later Tulin came to life, it was on Sunday 8th of January. I had a strange feeling when my mother told me to listen to her crying. She’s wonderful. I hope I’ll be able to raise her the way that makes her proud of me, it’s a new kind of responsibility.

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Jan 08

Zain 4G experience

Last Thursday I bought Zain 4G package which included a modem and a 4 months rebate averaging for 200 SR/month.

My friend Zaynoun went with me to their office on Wednesday and cancelled my existing subscription costing me 350 SR/month. Thursday morning I went back and paid for the new 4G subscription. In my area Zain is the fastest 3G internet provider (around 6 Mbps) so I wanted to get their 4G because they will be more likely faster than the other ones. The operation went smoothly and I got my new SIM and modem, Zain customer service was good. I went home fast to try my new dear, but unfortunately the sim still wasn’t activated when I got home. I waited till afternoon but nothing happened, so I went to the nearby point of sale and asked them to check what’s wrong. The guy checked and told me that the sim card was not provisioned yet and asked me to wait till next day for it to work. On Friday I woke up late and it still wasn’t working. Saturday morning I went back to Zain office in order to check for news. A customer support guy came to the office, he was clear to be having his breakfast during work time. I told him that I have a problem with my new sim, so he asked me where I bought it. When I told him it was from another point of sale he asked me to go there to check with them, it was clear he wanted to get rid of me so he can continue eating.

I went to the other point of sale, a representative there took the sim details and called support people to check the issue, he told me to wait another 24 hours. I hope this time the problem will be fixed

Update: The connection worked on Sunday. a lot faster than 3G.

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