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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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Fujitsu Lifebook UH572 – First Boot Up December 13, 2012

Posted by Bilal in Fujitsu Lifebook UH572, Product.
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In this post we are going to discuss about the very first boot-up of the Fujitsu LIFEBOOK UH572 right after unboxing. Although it has been a while since I have been enjoying with my LIFEBOOK, this stuff has been delayed for other high priority tasks. A lot of stuff has been shared about the LIFEBOOKs during this campaign but I haven’t found any post regarding the very first system start-up and I believe it is still worth sharing.

 

In the first boot up, system installs drivers and devices, does some housekeeping and get it ready for the first use by applying the OEM additions along with the system components.

 

Applying OEM settings, is mainly related to drivers/configuration for additional hardware devices and features available in the system. Different elegant pictures appeared in this duration with message Please Wait … in different languages.

 

And we are ready to explore

 

 

The first thing to do with a new machine is to check its performance that how well it performs in different aspects. Windows Experience Index (WEI) is a good place to start:

Dissection of Fujitsu Lifebook UH572 December 13, 2012

Posted by Bilal in Fujitsu Lifebook UH572, Product.
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Dont get scary, in this post we are not going to physically dissect a Lifebook rather we will be technically discussing SOME of the features of the Lifebook.

On a business trip from Riyadh back to Jeddah, I found myself sitting beside an arrogant  Dell Inspiron 15 fan boy. I do not mean to say that all Dell Users are arrogant but this dude really happen to be an old days DELL fan boy.

When the flight was up on the air, both of us opened our machines and we had a talk:

Fan Boy: Is this is real laptop or just a China made laptop type gaming console

Me: This is not a laptop at all.

FB: Then what it is ?

Me: it is an Ultrabook

FB: Ultrabok??? What exactly it is?

Me: Ultrabook is an innovative technology by Intel that comes between laptop and desktop computers

FB: Nice, what this special this tiny and shiny toy has got in it that my all-time love, rock solid Dell does not have?

Me: Well, to be  something, does not necessarily means it should be bulky and dull looking. Gone are the days when big size was a symbol for being well equipped. This slim and elegant Lifebook has got a 3rd generation i5 processor, 13.3’’ Anti-glare display and a lot of other promising features.

FB: That’s just okay nothing extra ordinary as compared to my Dell

Me: Well, for your information, it has got a SSD hard disk for a quick boot-up. It has a 4-in-1 card reader. It has USB 3.0 and its Bluetooth is 4.0.

FB: It sounds good but still not fabulous.

Me: My shiny Lifebook has got some other features to amuse you. It has a built-in HDMI port as well as buit-in 3G module. Just insert the data enabled SIM and you are connected, no need to look around for hotspots.

FB: that is something, but does your Ultrabook or Lifebook as you are calling it, has some kind of security?

ME: Lifebook is the brand name of Ultrabooks by Fujitsu. It is a blend of German and Japanese expertise gained over a period of 30+ years. You are asking for the security, Lifebook has got state of the art security features like Advanced Theft Protection (ATP) which allows you to remotely lock/erase your data in case of theft.

FB: WoW, that’s really impressive.

ME: You can check the full specifications of these Lifebook HERE.

FB: That’s good, but I have a concern.

ME: Sure, go ahead…

FB: Such a powerful and elegant machine would be very much expensive.

ME: Ohh, it’s not like it sounds to be. It is very much economical as compared to its features. You can check it here: www.shopfujitsu.com

FB: Its really nice to know and thanks for sharing such valuable information

ME: It’s my pleasure…

Then he asked me if he could test my Lifebook. Then we had a good time exploring and discussing about it.

 

It feels really good to share some good information with others.

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:

Fujitsu LifeBook UH572 is As thin AS … December 13, 2012

Posted by Bilal in Fujitsu Lifebook UH572, Product.
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The very first thing that anyone observe about the Fujitsu Lifebook UH572 is its slim body. Its slim like a tablet (almost) and powerful like a regular laptop. Its innovative style and the finish make it very elegant.

Let’s compare the UltraBook with some common day to day used items:

One of my favorite chocolates is Snickers. I love its blend of chocolate with a different variety of ingredients specially high blend of peanuts. At work, in the mid of the day, before the lunch break, if I feel short of calories (due to extra light breakfast) or at any time if I want some boast, it is one of my top choices.

UltraBook vs Snickers

UltraBook vs Snickers

Although evolution of technology is at a big rise, old toys/tools still help in some particular conditions. If you are into some lengthy and complex calculations, a solar powered table calculator by Casio is a useful companion.

Ultrabook VS Casio

Ultrabook VS Casio or New VS Old

Office Paper stand is a nice equipment to place and classify the frequently used document.

UltraBook in a A4 size Paper Stand

UltraBook in a A4 size Paper Stand

Yes, my UltraBook is one of my projects and I need to access it frequently.

In the last there is a special gift for the Lifebook fans. Try finding the UltraBook:

Find Ultrabook

Fujitsu Ultrabook UH572 – Security Features December 5, 2012

Posted by Bilal in Fujitsu Lifebook UH572, Product.
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Security has been a hot topic since long. With more and more stuff going in digital form, along with it’s a lot of benefits it has its price. The highest of them is the security (I believe so). Here, we are going to talk about the Lifebook UH572 from security perspective.

Normally, there is a default plan/path and if required a backup plan. The UltraBook has gone one step ahead with three (main) levels of security:

  • Physical or Anti-Theft Security
  • Hardware or Device Security
  • Soft or Data Security

1. Physical or Anti-Theft Security

Lifebook has got a Kensington lock slot (or K-Slot as it is called in short). It is the primary anti-theft mechanism used these days for electronic devices. It is used to attach devices to their bases/stands to avoid theft. Details about K-Slot can be checked here: Wikipedia

Kensington lock slot

Figure: Lifebook UH-572 — K-Slot on the extreme left

Drawback:

The way it is easy to install, the same way it is easy to crack. It can even be picked using a cardboard. It is just an attempt to block from novices attacks.

2. Hardware or Device Security

If  someone happen to steal your Lifebook (God forbid but it could be a real situation), among many possibilities, one case is that if you have got your BIOS as well as hard disk password protected (yes, Lifebook provided with BOTH of these options), the person will try to open your machine and get some benefit from individual components.  Lifebook have got six T6 Torx. This is not a regular type of screw and its driver is commonly not available.

Drawback

The sad thing is T6 Trox screw driver, although not commonly available but it is not so hard to find.

3. Soft or Data Security

As it has been mentioned above that Lifebook is equipped with BOOT and HardDisk password, it also provides a new and wonderful feature Advanced Theft Protection aka ATP. It allows you to remotely perform operation on your machine like theft report, data deletion etc. You can read in more details about ATP at this link: Advanced Theft Protection(PDF File)

Final Thoughts

Even with all these layers of security, there are always some open holes that have to be considered. But, its a lot lot better to have a complex security instead of no security at all, at least in this way your chance/magnitude of loss is highly reduced.

Disclaimer: To make some thing secure, you should be aware of the possible breach points

Fujitsu Ultrabook UH572 – Package Unboxing November 30, 2012

Posted by Bilal in Fujitsu Lifebook UH572, Product.
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As I mentioned in my last post that I have been selected as an Insider for the Fujitsu Lifebok4Life campaign so here is my first task: Fujitsu Ultrabook UH572 – Package Unboxing.

The package received was quiet bag as compared to the Ultrabook itself. I was curious about its extra-large size. Let’s find it out:

As we have opened the box, we try to check the main items in it:

Next, we are ready to explore the beauty of the wonderful beast:

Finally, as a preparation for our flight, we try to pack it in the provided leather bag:

That’s all for the time being. I am going to play with this new gadget and share my experience in the coming posts…

Note:
This article has been posted on Lifebook4Life Blog also.

LIFEBOOK4Life – Ultra Test Flight by Fujitsu November 25, 2012

Posted by Bilal in Fujitsu Lifebook UH572, Product.
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Intel has introduced the Ultrabook concept. These lightweight, sleek, elegant and powerful machines comes between the laptops and the tablets. The main goal of the Ultrabook is to get a fully responsive machine with no compromise on style and weight.

Fujitsu has recently launched two new Ultrabooks namely Lifebook UH572 and Lifebook U772. They have started a campaign to test and analyze these Ultrabooks. A set of 40 independent IT bloggers have been chosen from different countries. These people called insiders, have to perform different tasks related to five different categories: Mobility, Security, Elegance, Reliability and Connectivity. These five categories also represent the five themes of the Lifebook.

Lifebook UH572

The whole campaign is in the form of a test/virtual flight. You arrive at the airport, report at check-in, get your boarding, pass through the security check post, and then wait in the longue for the announcement of the flight. In this way, the whole challenge becomes pretty exciting and interesting. During these steps, you clear different tasks and share your views.

Apart from the selected insiders, other people can come on board and Join the Flight. They can participate by reading the details of the tasks accomplished by different insiders. They share their views/feedback about the task or the Lifebook through comments or liking the interesting posts and even tweeting about the tasks. Each of these actions give them some points that help them in unlocking the badges. By taking a seat on the virtual plane, they register for the raffle. There are some tips for improving the chance to win:

  • Comment on 10 different blog articles
  • “Like” 10 different blog articles
  • Share 3 articles with your friends on Facebook
  • Log in on 6 different days

Seems charming??? Join the game:

https://lifebook.ts.fujitsu.com/blog/challenge/join

Grab a Seat:

https://lifebook.ts.fujitsu.com/blog/challenge/profiles

I have the opportunity to be an Insider for this amazing challenge. You can track my activities on this virtual flight on my profile page at Lifebook4Life blog. If you are a twitter fan, I can also be reached there: @bhaider7 . Initially, I had been on my vacations and then some work and life chores kept me away. I hope to accomplish the tasks in coming days on regular basis.

Last but not the least, here is the official trailer for this challenge:

The clock is ticking and this challenge is going to finish in mid December, so buckle up and be hurry…

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

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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

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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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