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Lenovo K3 Note (K50-t5) – Features, Specifications and Unboxing July 1, 2015

Posted by Bilal in Lenovo, Product.
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Lenovo a Chinese company, founded in 1984 with headquarters in Beijing. It has got a diversified portfolio. It acquired IBM’s personal computer business in 2005. In 2002 Lenovo entered the smartphone market and as of 2014, it is the largest vendor of smartphones in Mainland China. Another big entry in its portfolio is one of the old famous mobile manufacturer, Motorola Mobility, which Lenovo acquired from Google in Oct 2014.

In spite of so much Chinese smart phone market shares, the contribution in international smart phone market is considerably less. Internationally, its shares in computer market (PC + laptop + Notebook etc) are more as compared to its share in smartphone market. To expand its coverage Lenovo has release a new series of smart phone named “K Series”. Currently available smartphone series of Lenovo are: Vibe, K, S, P and A

Lenovo_Smartphones_Stylish_Mobiles_PDAs_with_Android

Lenove Smartphone Series [Orignal]

These series are in descending order of their quality, performance and value. If a phone is of lower series, it does not mean that its price will be less than higher series. Some devices excel only in certain aspects as per their target market. Another factor about the series is the availability of firmware update support. Since Android M has already been announced while Android L has not got proper reach, this factor gains more importance than it is usually given.

I got my Lenovo K3 Note from the UAE based online store KingSouq.com. The product was shipped from Hong Kong vai Dubai and it was delivered to me in Jeddah via Aramex. It took almost 10 days for the delivery (later orders took 12 – 15 days).

After all this background + history, I come to the core part, the specification of the device.

Lenovo K3 Note White & Yellow

Lenovo K3 Note White & Yellow (Credits)

It is an Octa Core device with 64 bit MT6752 chipest clocked at 1.7GHz. It supports dual SIM with one 4G LTE support. The screen size is 5.5” which offer  FULL HD (1080×1920) display at 401ppi. The RAM is 2 GB and internal storage is 16 GB with up to 32 GB SD card support. The primary camera is 13 MP with auto focus, dual-LED flash and FULL HD video support. The secondary camera is 5 MP with touch focus and face detection options.

Lenovo K3 Note K50-t5

All this is packed inside a slim and sleek body of 152.6 x 76.2 x 8 mm with a surprisingly less weight of 150 gm. Did I mention, that the big 3000 mAh battery, which is removable, is included in this weight. It is also got FM radio and the charging cable provides a fast charge. There is no port on the bottom side of the device. The audio as well as USB port is located on the top. To insert the SIM / SD card, you to remove the cover as well as the battery.

The device is available in White and Yellow colors. There is also a lower edition of the device Lenovo K3 (without Note). It has got a 5.0” screen with 1 GB RAM, 13 MP primary camera, HD display and no gyro sensor. Also, the battery is less i.e. 2300 mAh. The price difference may be less as compared to the specification difference. So, be careful while proceeding with the purchase.

The first device that I received was loaded with a pre-rooted version of Android 5.0. If you want more technical details, it was VIBE UI 2.5 and the build version was 1512 [VIBEUI_v2.5_1512_5.495.1_ST_K50-T5]. Here is the un-boxing video of it (available in FULL HD also):

The other devices that I got later (on behalf of friends and colleagues) was having a different version of the firmware 11520 [VIBEUI_v2.5_11520_5.827.1_ST_K50-T5]. Unfortunately, it has also got some Chinese bloatware. Don’t worry, it is easy to get rid of it. I will try to write a separate post for this. For the time being, you can download the Titanium Backup from the play store and uninstall them (after taking a full backup).

VIBE UI is the interface engine by Lenovo. It offers a smooth and colorful interface with nice options. A plus for VIBE UI is SafeCenter app which is like the firewall for your device. It tries to fill this missing piece from the Android (although Android M has been announced to provide it natively). It is also loaded with the Maxx Audio sound engine.

P.S.:-

If you are curious about the QR code on the back of the box, it decodes to: Lenovo Mobile. The site is in Chinese and it (probably) this is the product of your interest. Don’t forget, Google Translate is your best friend in need.

SharePoint 2013 Developer Boot Camp – Jeddah May 2, 2013

Posted by Bilal in Events, Jeddah.
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On April 30th, 2013 Microsoft Arabia arranged a mega event in the coastal city, Jeddah. The main focus of the event was the latest version of SharePoint, SharePoint 2013. The first event on this topic was conducted in Khobar on 28th of April. The third and the last event will take place on 5th of May in Riyadh. In Jeddah it was a male-only event.

SharePoint Developer Camp Jeddah

The agenda of this event was as below:

Time        Session Details

08:00 – 09:00    Registration and Breakfast

09:00 – 10:00    Keynote

10:00 – 10:15    Break

10:15 – 11:15    What’s new in SharePoint 2013 for Developers

11:15 – 11:30    Break

11:30 – 12:30    Overview of Enterprise Social

12:30 – 01:30    Prayer and Lunch

01:30 – 02:30    Create Cloud-hosted apps for SharePoint Part 1

02:30 – 02:45    Break

02:45 – 03:45    Create Cloud-hosted apps for SharePoint Part 2

03:45 – 04:00    Break

04:00 – 05:00    Building Windows 8 Apps with SharePoint 2013

05:00 – 05:30    Closing and Prize Draw

Session 1 – Keynotes

The keynotes were delivered by Ammar Abuthuraya, Platform Strategy Manager at Microsoft Arabia. During the keynotes, the main focus was on Office 2013 and Office 365. Office is one of the most matured products. In Office 2007, there was a huge facelift and the concept of ribbons were introduced ( instead of classic menus). In office 2010, there were minor alterations in main user interface with an attempt to reduce the gap between office 2003 and the latest version of office. In office 2013, the main user interface is almost same office 2010. A lot of improvements have been implemented in the backend of the latest version of office e.g. the startup is noticeably faster as compared to the previous versions. Many other highly level (advanced) features have been added i.e. now we can open videos inside the office, open in a browser is no more required. An OCR engine has been implemented that will attempt to open the PDF files as text, if the conversion is unsuccessful (i.e. in case of Arabic) the file will still be displayed but as images.

Office 365 is a new (or reintroduced) subscription based Cloud version of office. It starts for as low as 4$ (~15 SR) per user per month. The user setting and customization is linked with his/her Microsoft Account. It is possible to start writing a document on your office machine and leave it in the middle, when you reach home, you can continue from where you left.

Office 365 Home Premium offers a very economic package of 100$ per year. Also, a user can use his subscription on up-to five devices (desktop, laptop, tab, mobile etc.). If a user is interested in native application instead of web version, a download of common applications is available for different platforms.

Microsoft Office Apps and Lync where also described briefly.

Session 2 – What’s New in Sharepoint 2013

This session was delivered by Ali Khawaja, Architect, Microsoft USA. As the title suggest, in this session Ali tried to cover the NEW or Improved features of Sharepoint 2013.

Some of the features mentioned are:

  • Apps: The concept of apps have been introduced. Apps are much improved form of WebParts. Using apps we can display any type of contents on a SharePoint page with a possibility of an external data source. The concept of apps is basically the brainchild of the social network, Facebook. The apps are rendered as iFrame in SharePoint page.
  • Office and SharePoint Store
  • SharePoint Client Side Object Model [CSOM]
  • SharePoint Server Side Object Model [SSOM]
  • Workflow: The workflow engine in SharePoint 2010 is based on Windows Workflow Foundation 3.5. In SharePoint 2013, it is based on WF 4.0 and 4.5. These newer engines have been re-written from scratch and provide very much improved functionality
  • Access: Access service was already available in existing versions, it has been packed with new features.
  • Fedration, Security and Deployment

Session 3 – Overview of Enterprise Social

This session was also conducted by Ali Khawaja. In this session Ali described about utilizing social network inside an enterprise.  The main benefits of utilizing the social network in a corporate environment can be summarized in these four points:

  1. Employee Engagement
  2. Team Collaboration
  3. Connected Organization
  4. Business Agility

In 2012, Microsoft acquired the Yammer service, a private social network and now it is also available in an integrated environment of SharePoint and Office 365. For startups, a free version is also available. One thing to be noted is that Yammer is a cloud ONLY service yet. It is very easy to start and adopt Yammer as compared to SharePoint with has heavy software + hardware requirement.

Session 4 & 5 – Create Cloud-hosted apps for SharePoint

These sessions were conducted by Shoaib Barry, Applications Developer at ISC Saudi Arabia. To host an app there are three options:

  1. SharePoint Hosted
  2. Auto Hosted
  3. Provider Hosted

Each of the hosting environment has its own merits and demerits. To begin with SharePoint app development, the installation of SharePoint is not required. It can be built and tested using emulators and cloud support. Office 365 developer account is available with a free 30 days startup period.

To consume an app, there are three options:

  1. Full Page
  2. App Part
  3. Custom Action

With the highly revamped security model and available of apps, we can seamlessly populate the menus in a SharePoint page from an external source.Hosting apps in the cloud provide global exposure for all the SharePoint users scattered worldwide.

Different demos where shown by Shoaib to elaborate the new and the enhanced features.

Session 6 – Building Windows 8 Apps with SharePoint 2013

This session was conducted by Fauzan Khan, from Microsoft Arabia. Sharepoint SDK for Windows Phone 8 has been released recently. It provides the Out-of-The-Box (OOTB)support for building apps  for Windows Phone 8 liked with SharePoint server.

Push Notification Stores/Service [PSN] has been provided to handle push notifications. Users can implement receivers for different app events like Upgrade, Install or Uninstall. Different demos where performed to explain these features.

Session 7 – Prize Draw

It was also conducted by Fauzan Khan, the event coordinator. User entry coupons were selected randomly and the selected attendants were presented with different prizes i.e. Microsoft Keyboard, Microsoft Mouse, Microsoft Headset etc.

Finally, this day long event came to an end around 6 PM.

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Boundless Mobility with Lifebook UH572 December 13, 2012

Posted by Bilal in Fujitsu Lifebook UH572, Product.
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Having split office timings, I do not have much privilege to hang out. From 2 Pm to 5 PM is the break time. This time can be utilized for some outdoor activities, depending on the weather. A change of environment and surrounding keep you fresh and you get better productivity.

Lifebook equipped with built-in 3G module has cleared the boundaries and limitation to get connected at any time at any place. Let us have a look for the out of the office work places:

Jeddah is a coastal city and my office is closer to cornice than my house. If weather conditions are not sever, a visit to the sea side is a nice option.

On Google Maps:

Link for the place: http://j.mp/RCc89g

Note, the links are from Google Earth and if your connection is low, it could take some time to load FULLY (in 3D).

 

AlBaik is one of the best fast food chain in the region (not in the whole country, it is mostly in the western region of the country with 25+ branches in Jeddah city only). Its main specialty is its fried chicken served with a garlic sauce. It is a nice place to dine in and have some chit chat with fellows.

On Google Maps:

Link: http://j.mp/Uf9Kjf

 

When feeling tired or bored, a visit to the garden is a nice productivity boasting option. Mother nature has its pleasant effect.

On Google Maps:

Link: http://j.mp/VwQAfF

 

If you are looking for a fine dine-in place I would recommend Chinese restaurant. You can have a quiet and clam environment with no distraction where you can pay full attention to your Lifebook and have a good time.

On Google Maps:

(The monument is a big big bicycle and new-comers/visitors are jokingly told that it belongs to Prophet ADAM. The grave of His wife EVE is in this city. Jeddah, an Arabic word, means Grand Mother i.e. EVE grandmother of all of us)

Link: http://j.mp/Uf9UqX

 

In the last, if you are still not feeling hungry, this is for you as an apparizer:

A typical over HOT AlBaik fired chicked with fires, bread, fresh coleslaw, ketchup and the unique garlic sause. If you are still not sure about the taste of it, ask these people:

Microsoft Developer Camp – Jeddah – Building Windows 8 Apps May 12, 2012

Posted by Bilal in Events, Jeddah.
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On Thursday, May 10, 2012, an event has been managed by Microsoft which is 3rd and last for this title. It has been held in Riyadh, Dammam and finally in Jeddah. It was conducted in the King Fahd Medical Research Center, King Abdul Aziz University Jeddah. The main feature of Windows 8 is its revamped user interface (UI), the Metro UI. This new UI has been mainly aimed for touch devices although it can be used for regular devices also. To attract the developer community, Microsoft has gone extremely forward and provided a wide range of development languages ranging from C#/VB .NET , XAML, HTML5, JavaScript up to classic C/C++.

The main focus of this developer camp was to introduce the basics of this new Metro UI to the developers. The agenda of the event:

09:30 am – 10:15 am The Windows 8 Platform for Metro style app

10:15 am – 11:00 am Designing Apps with Metro Principles and the Windows Personality

11:00 am – 11:15 am Break

11:15 am – 11:45 am Everything Web Developers Must Know to Build Metro Style Apps

11:45 am – 12:15 pm Building Metro Style Apps : What .NET Developers Need to Know

12:15 pm – 01:15 pm Lunch

01:15 pm – 02:15 pm Building Windows 8 Metro Style UIs

02:15 pm – 02:45 pm Integrating with the Windows 8 Experiences

02:45 pm – 03:15 pm Bring Your Apps to Life with Tile and Notifications

03:15 pm – 03:30 pm Break

03:30 pm – 04:15 pm How and when Metro style apps run

04:15 pm – 05:00 pm Building Metro style apps that take advantage of modern hardware

05:00 pm – 05:30 pm The Developer Opportunity: Introducing the Windows Store

05:30 pm – 06:00 pm Closing

The event was conducted by Fauzan Khan from Microsoft Saudi Community. The first session was about the introduction of metro UI, what it is, what is the idea behind it, how it works etc. In next sessions the technical concepts of developing metro apps were explained. It also included the new and revised concepts in Windows 8.

Some of the concepts mentioned in brief or details are listed below:

  • Windows Run Time (WINRT)
  • Windows Library for JavaScript
  • Roaming profiles linked with Live Id
  • Semantic Zoom
  • Design Mode (Adaptive & Fixed)
  • Contracts (Search, Share, …)
  • Application Life Cycle
  • Background Application API
  • Live Tiles
  • Toast notifications; last not the least
  • Windows Store

If you are planning to proceed with Metro App development, along with many other new ideas & features, at-least you must go through these initial concepts.

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Google Saudi Arabia 2.0 April 12, 2012

Posted by Bilal in Events, Jeddah.
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On 24th of March, Google conducted its 2nd event for the Saudi Arabia market under the brand name Google Saudi Arabia 2.0. Last year, the first event of its kind, was conducted by the search giant in Four Season Hotel, Riyadh. This year, it has been conducted in Jeddah Chamber of Commerce & Industry. It’s a two days event. Day 1 is technology oriented while the Day 2 focus mainly on business related products & tools. A point to remember is that the very first step of its kind was taken by Microsoft in fall 2010 when they conducted Microsoft Open Door 2010 in Riyadh as well as Jeddah. Microsoft CEO, Steve Balmer made the key note speech in Riyadh. Although Microsoft was the trend starter, they skipped the Saudi Arabia from their books for the next Open Door event that has been held in other states of Middle East in Q1 o f2012.

The agenda of the day 1 is as under:

Time

Track 1 Topic

Track 2 Topic

Track 3 Topic

Track 4

8:30:00 Registration      
9:30:00 Opening & Keynote      
11:00:00 Mobile Development/SDKs Chrome Extensions Google APIs GWT Workshop
12:00:00 Google+ Chrome Extensions (continued) Google APIs (continued) GWT Workshop (continued)
13:00:00 Lunch      
14:00:00 Google+ API 101 Mobile Development Workshop: Augmented Reality Google APIs (continued) Website Optimizer 101
15:00:00 Maps API 101 Mobile Development Workshop: Augmented Reality YouTube API Search Quality, Webspam and Communication
16:00:00 Break      
16:30:00 Google Your Career: Engineering Opportunities Creating Killer Webcontent YouTube API Webmaster Workshop (continued)
17:30:00 Getting ready for the Job: CV & Interviews tips Creating Killer Webcontent (continued) Localization: Google Translate & Translator Toolkit Webmaster Workshop (continued)
18:30:00 Closing comments      

The main organizers for this event (and such other events in the region) were +Patricia Estridge and +Rania Hadi. The key note was delivered by Nelson Mattos, the Vice President of Engineering, EMEA Region. There were 50 Googlers from all over the world (last year, the count was 30). He discussed about the concepts and ideas that drive the Google & its products. He advised to think big, start small. He said that Google follow this approach users first, money second.

He was followed by Hmad Hamzawi, Head of New Business Development, MENA & CA region. He talked about the recent Google Innovations & Demos specially the new Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich). One of the main part of his presentation was Mobile Predictions for 2012.

After the keynote, the participants were provided with four tracks to select as per their interests and expertise. I opted for the Chrome Extension sessions which were delivered by Ahmed Hassan. It was a split in two sessions. In the first session, he explained what exactly the extensions are, what their internal components are, what are compulsory and what are optional. In the second session that was after a 5-10 min break he started with building the chrome extensions. Gradually, the complexity of the examples increased. All of the sample code is available in Google Chrome Extension developer help section.

It was followed by the lunch. It was a lunch box having mainly a sandwich and salad box. It seems that the lunch was decided by a diet conscious person who focused highly on organic foods.

For the next session I tried to go for Mobile Development Workshop but it was fully occupied. We tried with other sessions but they were also not available. We were left with only option for the Google+ API. Google+ is the new social product by Google. They say that Google + You = Google+.  In this session different features of Google+ API was described, what they are, how we can use them in our applications, etc…

After this I went for Search Quality, Webspam and Communication session. It was a quite a new name. It was presented by Tony Fadel, in a very friendly atmosphere. He mentioned that their team was even unknown to many other Google teams, although it exists since 2008. The task of their team is to improve the quality of the search results by applying new algorithms, conducting different analysis and experiments and even manual modifications. Surprisingly, he mentioned that 500 changes are made in the Google search page every year. Then he mentioned that how the spam is controlled, automatically and manually. The goal of their team (or Google) is to not to provide just simple results but quality results. You can check the full details in the slides.

After this session, I noticed that the remaining sessions are not much related to my scope. I checked some other booths for the time being. It was really nice to know that Google map maker is available for KSA now. So, we can expect improvements in the maps in the coming months.

The logistic support for this event was provided by Badir. The internet support was provided by Mobily. Free WiFi was available in the beginning until the start of the first session. After that it stopped responding and after some time, it was no more available as an open connection.

The official page for this event is: http://goo.gl/lF368

 

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Windows Phone Camp – Jeddah October 27, 2011

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This week, on 23rd of OCT Windows Phone Camp was conducted at Effat University. The event was sponsored by Telerik

The agenda of he event was as below:

8:30 AM Arrival and Registration
9:00 AM Welcome/ Windows Phone 7.5 Overview for Developers
9:45 AM Building Windows Phone Applications with Visual Studio 2010
10:45 AM Break
11:00 AM Building Windows Phone Apps with Silverlight
12:00 PM Lunch
12:45 PM Windows Phone Fast Application Switching, Tombstoning and Multitasking
1:45 PM Live Tiles and Push Notifications
2:45 PM Break
3:15 PM Monetizing a Windows Phone 7.5 Application
3:30 PM Build your app or work on a hands-on lab
5:00 PM What’s Next/Resources/Event End

The event was conducted by Microsoft Saudi Community. During this event, the very first community of Jeddah region was announced. If you are living in Jeddah and you are interested in Microsoft products and technologies, you are welcome to join though following social channels:

Some of the snaps of the event are shred here:

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Windows8 KeyNote – Build Event September 14, 2011

Posted by Bilal in Events, Jeddah.
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Windows 7 is generally available for retail since 22nd October, 2009. Many things have been changed and many more have been arrived after that. The main focus from desktop has already shifted towards laptop/net-book. These days the trend has greatly diverted towards touch pads and slates.  The main pioneer was Apple’s iPad followed by similar products from Samsung, Asus, Motorola etc. Generally these pads uses iOS, WebOS or Andriod. There are some windows based (Windows 7) options available but they are more powerful and hence more expensive than others e.g. Asus Eee Slate.

build_logoMicrosoft has announced the Build Windows event to be conducted on 13-16 September 2011, to officially announce the next version of Windows i.e. Windows 8. To keep the local community up-to-date and introduce them to the latest development architecture & tools, Microsoft Saudi Community arranged the live webcast of the keynotes in 3 cities of the Kingdom: Riyadh, Jeddah and Al-Khobar. The tag line for new Windows 8 is:

In 1995, Windows changed PC. BUILD will show you that Windows 8 changes everything

In Jeddah, the event was planned at Dar Al-Hekma College. The keynote was supposed to start at 7 PM (Makkah Time). As per the agenda, the registration was planned to start at 5:30. A welcome note was given by Mr. Adel Al-Massarani, The Developer & Platform Group Lead, Microsoft, KSA. He explained about the technical communities and user groups operating in the Kingdom. He mentioned that Microsoft Arabia is interested in improving its collaboration with the technical community of Western Region. Microsoft is also planning to increase the frequency of the Sponsored Programs and events to help the users to adopt the new technologies.

It was followed by a short refreshment and prayer break.

The keynote was kicked off by Steven Sinofsky, president of Microsoft’s Windows Division, in a some-how Steve Job inspired style. He explained the new and cool features of Windows 8. Contrary to  previous pattern of Microsoft, Windows 8 does not have any new hardware requirements, any PC that is fulfilling the requirements of Windows 7 is fully acceptable for Windows 8. The main trend building thing in Windows8 is the Metro style UI. Along with the traditional mouse based approach, this Metro style is Touch Oriented. In previous years, Office 2007 introduced a new ribbon based look and feel. Although it was taken as a new standard by many other applications (web  applications as well) but it was not ported to Windows itself. But in case of Windows8, this metro style is highly dominant and the next release of Office is also expected to adopt it. Microsoft has been wise enough to provide simple and easy upgrade of classic applications to Metro style with minimum code.

During the keynote a lot of features + updates were described ranging from a daily user’s interest to the developers extent. This post is not intended to explain the keynotes in details. Below is JUST the list of some of the noticeable features:

  • Extremely fast start up (8 sec in the demo)
  • Infected USB boot protection
  • Picture Password for Login
  • ARM based architecture now supported
  • Support for a wide range of programming languages, ranging from Win32 API, C++, VB, C# and even Javascript.
  • Spell Checker available throughout the System
  • User Profile Sync across multiple machines (based on Live Id)
  • Javascript based templates for application development in Visual Studio
  • Microsoft Application Store linked with Visual Studio with Live status display of the application
  • New low power state: Connected Standby
  • Support up to 256 TB of hard disk
  • Simple Refresh or Reset to factory setting feature
  • Improved file copy with visual progress and better speed
  • Fully loaded Control Panel and Task Manager
  • Up Button is finally back in the Windows explorer with a new bar similar to Office Quick Launch bar
  • Built in support for multiple monitors, ISO mounting and burning etc.
  • Touch Enabled Internet Explorer 10 with extreme hardware acceleration
  • Option to switch between Metro and classic Desktop style
  • Browse SkyDrivesimilar to a native folder
  • Tap to share available for NFC for supported hardware
  • Different keyboards with emotions natively available. Split keyboard also available for thumb typing

Towards the end of the presentation, it was announced that 5000 Intel i5 based, 11 ” tablets made by Samsung will be given to the audience. This tablet, called Developer PC, is preloaded with Windows8 and other required tools for developing and debugging applications.

The keynote session last for about 2 and a half hour.  It seems that Microsoft is planning to go far ahead with its new Metro styles Windows with full support for desktop machines up to the new touch centric tablets with extra slim sizes and increasing processing power. We can clearly expect to see Windows based tablets available for general users in the 1st half of 2012.

One more good thing is Windows8 can easily be downloaded (legally) from the following link:

http://dev.windows.com

The local attendees of the webcast were given a short survey by Microsoft Arabia to know about their interest which will help in understanding the needs and requirement of local market.

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Microsoft OpenDoor Expo Jeddah 2010 November 13, 2010

Posted by Bilal in .NET, General, Microsoft, Tech News, Tips & Tricks, Updates, Windows.
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Microsoft OpenDoor 2010 Saudi Arabia took place in two cities Riyadh (2nd and 3rd Nov) and Jeddah (7th Nov) at Intercontinental Hotel. It was the first time that Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer visited KSA and delivered the Key Note but his visit was limited to one day and it was in Riyadh only.

The registration was web based and no registration fee was mentioned. I happen to know about Professional Developer Conference (PDC) that used to have separate registration fee for students and professionals. Anyhow, for this expo, a bar code was issued to each participant against his Windows Live ID.

The Expo started with the keynote of Developer & Platform group Manager
Adel Al-Massarani about Cloud Computing and Abdurrahman Al-Qahtani
Manager Windows Phone Group, about the new Windows Phone 7. It was followed by the presentation of the Platinum Sponsors

Mobily was also a platinum sponsor but they are already making too much advertisement through different mediums. No time was given to the Gold Sponsors. All of the sponsors have their stalls in the lobby where attendees can easily get their information.

After that there were three options to go:

  • Track A for IT Professional
  • Track B for Developers
  • Track C for Technical Managers

Each track was taking place in separate hall. Attendees had full choice to attend any of the tracks at any time as per their taste.

I joined the Track B (Developers). It started with a presentation of Mohamad Halbi about Windows Azure Platform, the cloud service operating system. It was a brief but comprehensive overview of the Azure Platform right from the start to a live working demo. He showed how windows Cloud could be utilized to get a cost effective and reliable performance.

It was followed by lunch and prayer break.

The next session was about Microsoft Web platform by Abdurrahman Al-Qahtani. He demonstrated about the new Web Platform and also gave some working demonstrations.

After a break of about 15 min, the stage was conquered by Jerry Yasir about the advanced features in Microsoft Excel 2010 and its interaction with Microsoft Sharepoint 2010. He showed how we can get the graphical representation of data and its distribution/sharing with other people through SharePoint.

Then there was prayer break. Refreshment was available in the side room that can be utilized by anybody at any time.

Last session of the track was about Visual Studio 2010 from Architecture Point of view by Abdurrahman Al-Qahtani. He should that how the advanced tools in VS 2010 can help in understanding/designing the architecture of a system graphically using UML.

In the last, there was a combined closing session of all the tracks in which winners were selected through a lucky draw. Gifts include 3 web-cameras and 1 XBOX 360 and another set of 2 web-cameras and 1 Xbox360 for the female participants.

And so, a wonderful Expo by Microsoft came to an end. We wish to see more such events in the near future by international companies like Microsoft, Google, Apple, etc… Also, we expect to see Steve Ballmer in Jeddah next year.

 

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Purchasing an iPhone 3GS from Mobily April 25, 2010

Posted by Bilal in iPhone, Product.
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[i hav been enjoying my 3GS for more than two month but I could not manage to share my experience b4…..! Even this post has been written in 3 sittings over a span of more than 3 weeks]

Few days before I purchased my new toy [yessss], my colleague has to go to the STC office on the Palestine Street while I gave him the company. The Mobily office is also there. I took this opportunity for-granted and went there. The receptionist told me that they have only Black Colored set of 32 GB. At that time I had not decided for white or black but I just confirm him about the availability of the stock that he confirmed. Next week, when I went there, got the token number and finally it was my turn. When I talked to the Mobily guy, he told me that they only have the black sets, I said him its okay. Then he revealed to me that they are offering the postpaid package (99SR) ONLY! It was really disturbing! I m an STC user and its my luck [or bad bad] that I have to purchase it from Mobily i.e. STC’s first competitor. I asked him about the availability on other branches, he said that no such system is available that could tell about the availability of stock on a certain branch. Its really a bad thing for such a big big company like Mobily, the SOLE official iPhone distributor in the Kingdom! He told me that I have to go from one branch to another, get myself covered with black dust until I m able to find the GEM buried in the coal mines.

Feeling very upset, I asked him about the main branch at Jeddah, Tehleya [that was suppose to provide the iPhone on the launch day of 7th Dec as per the notification sms], he said NO; Tahliya is out of stock long ago! A much desperate situation for a person who has been waiting for this day sooo long and finding no way to reach his destination.. I then requested him to discuss wid his colleagues and guide me from which branch I should start my hunt? After consulting his colleague on phone and verbally, he advised me give my luck a try by starting from the Arbaeen Street branch.

Morally very down, we went to the Arbaeen Street branch. So in order to avoid the same thing happen again, I first of all asked the receptionist about the availability of the required device, instead of the Yes/No answer he asked me about the capacity (16 or 32) and told me to take the token and wait while he checked the stock in the back store. I asked him again and he replied me same; wait!. Anyhow, I waited until it was my turn. I went to the counter with extra fast heart beat and repeated the same question, IPHONE 3GS 32 GB with prepaid plan. His reply was simple, “YES”! His short answer was like an oxygen for my bad mode.. He asked me for the color White or black, it was also a shock of happiness. In the last branch the answer was “NO” and here the answer is “this or this”.

I had made a little search for white or black color. Some people were saying that its up to ur personal choice but many other were in favor of white color. At one page I got this comment which I think is most reasonable or this is what I was looking for:

White is magnet for Dust,
while black is magnet for Finger Prints,
select as per your personal interest.

So, I can say that I got my 3GS Black colored by CHOICE.

The next step was the Mobily sim card. It was the part of the package, a Mobily SIM card with 250 MB data for 6 months for no extra charges [ as a bonus 😉 ]. Before the attended proceed with the issuing process of new number, I requested him to try my STC number, off course with some alteration. To my hard luck, it was not available (or not available without some extra fee). We made 6/7 attempts and finally we selected the number.

Although, the first interaction with Mobily was not so pleasant, but I must admit that the staff specially the attendant was very helpful. The overall atmosphere/performance of the customer centers is good or at least better than STC. This is ONE of the main aspects in which STC needs much improvement.

In the last it would be unjust if I don’t mention a person who is helping a lot of peopel like me in this cause publicly and personally. He is known as Mr. Khaled. He maintains a personal siteand also a technology blog about Apple and Mac activities in Middle East or more specifically about Saudi Arabia: Saudi Mac. I hav been visiting his pages months before I purchased my iPhone. He keeps us up to dated thru blogs and also Twitter. If u r interested in such things, I would recommend u follow him on twitter.

Chill till next…..