Blogging from a Mac

My dear friend Bander offered me a great deal on his old Macbook Pro. I’ve been wanting to try out MacOS for ages and thought this would be the perfect chance for it.

After using the laptop for about a day now. I have to admit Leopard has very nice eye candy, but that’s it I’m afraid. It’s too mouse oriented, and I like to use the keyboard, a LOT. It seems I’m gonna stick with Linux for the time being, especially with Lucid Lynx being around the corner, but I’ll give Leopard a few more days and see if it grows on me.

Have a good day everybody

My Internet Experience

Update: This article is no longer valid, you’ll find my updated experience with Zain here

I finally got fed up with my Orange DSL line back in April. It’s 2009 and they still can’t offer me anything faster than 512Kbps which was very irritating. I wish I could say the service was stable. Sadly it was expensive, disconnected on regular basis, customer care loved telling me the problem was due to internal wiring, and had a 3GB download limit. I could have upgraded to the new DSL in one bill plan but that incurred a 23JD switch fee and a 1 year commitment, which I wasn’t ready to commit to. That being said, the download quota for the 512Kbps account was 7GB, which isn’t much better. What annoyed me the most was the fact the bill was different every month. All of that was very far from their ads saying “Internet = Life” and the ads with a big “8”, meaning 8Mpbs. It felt like Orange was taunting me, saying “We have high speed Internet, but not for the likes of you”.

I’m not a big fan of Wimax, actually I’m not really a fan of wireless; My PC and Xbox are both connected “wirefully” to my router. The wireless network I have at home is for the benefit of my father. For months I held on switching to Wimax in the hope for the Exchange my land line was connected to to be updated or fixed or whatever, but to no avail.

Anyways, I had heard Zain will be offering their own Wimax service. Being a fan of their GSM service and their customer support I thought I should wait for them. The minute a sales representative called me and said I could visit and get the device I went to their HQ and got a 2.4Mbps account.

I had a few issues with coverage at first, but after I saw how the Zain people dealt with the issue I loved the service even more. I’ve been loving the service ever since. Fast, stable, almost no issues after the initial coverage problem, everything consistent during the past 6 months. Now that I’m re-reading this I have to admit I had an issue with one of the employees I dealt with. She was very rude and disrespectful. She’s the exception in this case. Also, after reporting her to her superior I was switched to a different employee and had smooth sailing afterwards.

Today when I got home from work my father told me browsing was excruciatingly slow. After doing the usual troubleshooting steps I called customer care. After giving them my user information they told me that I had exceeded my download quota and if I wanted to get extra download I needed to send an SMS which would restore my speed in about 15 minutes. Fair enough, even though I think 10GB is a low limit for a 2.4Mbps connection it’s still much better than Orange’s 3, or 7 if you choose the go to the new plans. I was impressed to hear it took 15 minutes to restore the speed, because with Orange you have to wait about 24 hours.

During my phone conversation with tech support I was browsing and I got this:

Isn’t this just brilliant? I loved the fact they tell you about the speed reduction so you won’t have to call tech support. My father told me he had seen that page earlier today and forgot about it.

So I decided to buy the extra GB, thinking that in 15 minutes I’d have to restart my CPE. 30 seconds later I got a confirmation message that 1GB was added to my account. A few seconds later browsing felt faster. After checking I was surprised to find out my account has been restored to it’s original speed and I didn’t need to do anything from here. Now this is what I call good service.

Don’t get me wrong, Zain isn’t perfect, nobody is. Zain, If you are reading this please reconsider you download quota. In this day and age digitally distributed media is the way to go. Either increase the quota or at least allow for un-metered download during the night or something. Keep up the great work and hope you can provide us with something even better soon.

Microsoft Community Night

So I went to a community night hosted at the Microsoft Innovation Center here in Amman with my friend Bander which he told me was interesting. Even though I knew I was going to be the only non-Microsoft guy there I thought I should check it out.

The session was about using Silverlight with Sharepoint. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised with Silverlight’s capabilities. I only thought it was a Flash competitor, but it turned out to be more than that.

At the end of the session the host had a Sharepoint 2007 best practices book to give away. The organizers decided to ask a question and give the book to the person who answers it.

The funny thing was that I was the only person who knew the answer, and I was given the book. That’s when Bander jumped saying “Don’t give him the book! Don’t give him the book! He’s a Linux guy, 2 weeks ago he didn’t even know what Sharepoint is” 😀

Anyways, fun night, and I’d like to play with Sharepoint and Silverlight and see what they’re capable of.

Xbox 360

So I finally coughed up the money to get an Xbox 360, the thing is, every store that sells the Xbox in Jordan is highly overpriced (423$ as opposed to 199$ for the Arcade version) and the consoles are VERY old, dating back to 2007. This means they are using the old chips which are highly not recommended. A friend of mine, Tamer, came from Bahrain Friday and was kind enough to pick up the console for me. Thanks man ^_^.

I just had to take some pictures of the event. Enjoy 🙂