Thursday, 5 April 2012

Internet upload and download speed by country

I know this may be a bit old but I couldn't help but sharing it when I came across it today since no matter how old it can get it is always interesting to gain insight into things like why does it take forever to add an attachement to my email or why is that page timing out etc...

If you thought U.S is the country with the fastest internet in the world, you’re wrong. Its Korea, followed by some very interesting countries like Latvia, Aland Islands, Japan, Romania and Lithuania.
And the countries with the slowest internet are: Guyana, Zambia, Nepal, French Polynesia and the like. Surprising isn’t it ? Here’s the entire chart where all the countries in the world are ranked according to their internet speeds. Both the speediest and the sluggish internet connections of the whole world !

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Sony MDR-ZX100 Stereo Headphones

I just received the Sony Stereo Headphones as a gift today and I was so pleased with them that I couldn't let this night pass before I made a blog about them. I am not a technical wizard/witch so I am not going to go into technical details but will just simply share my few hours experience so far.
Firstly, I wanted a headphone instead of an earphone and without going too much into why as it is out of topic it suffices to say that I feel a headphone is more practical for me as it is easier to find in my bag, I would be less worried about lending it at school from a hygienic point of view among other things. Secondly, I wanted a stylish headphone that wearing it in public won't embarrass me. Third, I wanted a good quality one that would last long. Today I received a white Sony headphones that looked like this
As you can see, it is a stylish headphone that comes in a range of colours, mine was white. Also, what is special about it is its ear lobes, that cushioned for ear comfort and protection, semi-rotating for flexibility and adjustable to head height. Also, so far the sound quality is so fine and I can't complain about it at all. If I am to rant at all, it would be about the Sony logo which I don't know why, but wish it was smaller, but that's just me and I think is irrelevant to the overall quality of the product. Although it is a present and I have not received an invoice with it ;) but on it is for about 20 USD, so that's really excellent value for money. The following is how it looks like without the packaging
So in sum, this is a stylish and affordable product from Sony that I recommend to anyone looking for a good quality but not so high tech headphone.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Electrical Contact Cleaner Spray

It happened that last week we had a problem with our Philips LCD Monitor. The problem was that a pop up window to adjust colour setting (like what appears when you push one of the buttons underneath the screen) would not go no matter what we did. Turning the monitor off/on several times, playing with the control panel, switching the wires and connecters several times and even connecting it to another computer didn't help either. The pop up window didn't go no matter what. We contacted Philips customer service and maintenance and explained the problem and they said their team will contact us back for a quote for fixing the monitor but that never happend. Finally, we looked on to several blogs about similar problems happening with other people and it was often mentioned that the Electrical Contact Cleaner Spray would be a good thing to try as it might be some dust stuck inside the screen that are clogging the buttons from functioning properly and hence the pop up window.
The very next day we got the spray for about the equivalent of ten dollars and worked our way to open to monitor (which was a bit tricky and had to look at other blogs for instructions) and sprayed the lower part of the monitor where the panel of the buttons is. We left it open for 24 hours and after closing it up and turning it on..Horraaay the window was gone! The screen is back to normal. We were so glad that we saved the price of a new monitor and the price of fixing it by Philips (who never bothered to take the job anyway). Hence, what the whole point of this was to recommend the Electrical Contact Cleaner Spray in every home as it could surely save some bucks.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

The Auto Colour Correct Feature: Irfan View versus Gimp 2

The other day I got Gimp2 installed to my laptop and I started using it for improving photos. In the past I relied totally on the Irfan View Program for that and thought I would be just satisfied. However, although I still praise the program for its simplicity and user friendliness, yet today I just discovered a very simple feature of Gimp2 that gives better results in photo enhancement particularly in the colour correction domain. I would like to share this with you in hopes this would help and also I would really like to hear your story if you use Gimp2 and have another simple feature that I could use.

I took this photo in Lebanon/Saida last May using a Canon 1000D and the first thing I did was open it in both Irfan View and Gimp2.

The next thing I did was adjusting the colours of this photo using the Auto Adjust Colors feature: Image-Auto Adjust Colors or -shift+u-. The result was not so dramatic as shown in the following:

The third thing that I did was open this photo in Gimp2 and using the Auto feature: Tools-Color tools-Levels-Auto and the result was very close to what I wanted and to what the colors of the sky I saw as I recall from when I was taking this photo:

I also tried the same steps using another photo, one of my portraits and I also liked the auto color correction results of Gimp2. However, on another photo, which I took in autumn 2010 using a mobile phone camera rather than an SLR camera, I could not spot any major differences between the two applications. I think the photo needed much more work than just an auto correction feature given that it was taken using a less than an average camera and with an autumn sun that was not too bright. 

In conclusion, Gimp2 in my experience is much more sophisticated than Irfan View to use for photo editing and needs much more advanced user skills than that of its counterpart. However, Irfan view is more user friendly and faster with quick photo fixes and effects. Nonetheless, they both offer an automatic color correction feature that is very simple to use, but Gimp2 -with some exceptions, such as type of camera and the intensity of light- gives better color adjustment results and more crisp, vivid and true to nature colors.

Thank you for reading. 

Sunday, 16 January 2011

My experience with BlackBerry Torch (9800)

As expected in my post titled Android, no more..., when my mobile phone contract was due an upgrade I didn't go with an Android device, many factors affected my choice, mainly "out of the box" Arabic support - I got myself a BlackBerry Torch (9800) ! If you want a list of its specs you can check them here.

 Below is a list of factors that made me go with BlackBerry.
  1. Arabic support out of the box. Having suffered from lack of Arabic support on my previous Android device, it became the first thing to check when choosing a new mobile phone. I was happy when testing the device in the store, I browsed to Arabic web site, and it displayed as expected, no more squares ... I could read Arabic emails, websites, tweets, etc... without having to install anything at all.
  2. Push technology. This meant I receive emails instantly for any email address I setup. On the other side, this will save battery life as email was "pushed" to the device, rather than the device "pulling" emails.
  3. Webkit browser. When it comes to mobile web browsing BlackBerry devices with OS 5 or earlier, aren't the best, but with OS 6, Webkit based browser (same browser used on many platforms, including Android) was introduced, though still lacks "Flash" support, but it's way better than previous versions, especially when used with the touch screen.
  4. Response time. As we're talking about my experience, honestly, the response time on my previous device, there was about a second or so lag between when I press a button and actually get the response; whereas on the Torch, it was so fast that it felt as if it responded before my finger touched the screen!
  5. Battery life. Again, switching from Android device, where I had to charge the device at least once everyday, this was definitely an advantage.
  6. BBM. I ran Instant Messenger on mobile phones before, but having an IM application running in the background (keep pulling the data), your battery won't last long, with BB it didn't really affect the battery at all. 
  7. Touch screen / slide-out keyboard. This is one of the things I liked most, as you can use the "on screen" keyboard (portrait and landscape), which is useful when typing in Arabic (or any other than non-Latin character language), and or the hardware keyboard, which once used to, it is so comfortable, and the typing accuracy rate is high.
The above list is only some of things I liked about BlackBerry Torch. There are many other things that I like that aren't listed above, and I'm more than happy to share my experience if you ask.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

My relationship with my iPOD Touch 3G 64GB

How it all began:
I got it as a birthday present. At first I thought, this is the best mobile thing in the market that plays music. How accurate was that?
A few months afterwards*, I found myself not only downloading music on my iPOD Touch, video clips, and short YouTube videos but best of all came in the form of my favourite anime shows. Today my iPOD has more than 10 different anime series, some of them are more than a 100 episodes. Lately, I harnessed a new iPOD addiction- downloading free apps from the apple store!
Some apps include games, puzzles, dictionaries, encyclopedias, audio books, touristic info, TV and radio broadcasting stations (including a few news channels). Yet, the most alluring ones were hypnosis apps! Indeed you can get hypnosis sessions from the comfort of your couch! Now how effective those are is yet another matter. My experience of them however, was one of sheer amusement and delight.
To conclude, today I share with this little device a part of myself. I have develpoed an irreversible relationship with it. I reach out for my iPOD whenever I need anything from How to Make Suchi to Whats Happening in Ouagadougou. And yes, my friend (who is a new iPOD Touch owner and who's status on Facebook recently changed back to "single") had a point when she expressed, "with the iPOD Touch at hand who needs a boyfriend"!


* for an IT phobic like me, that's actually quite fast!