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18 May 2012

Bye-bye uTorrent

There are things in life that I can never forgive, one of them is when a software program adds a toolbar to my browser and changes my homepage or my search settings. Today, I was prompted by uTorrent to update it to the latest release, I did, and hell no, it now became one of those crappy/creepy software's that I can never trust any more.

That's it! Bye-bye uTorrent!

13 May 2012

CSEA: Mobile Applications Competition

Last Thursday, I had the pleasure to be part of the jury of an Android Mobile Applications Development Competition, organized by Sony Ericsson (now Sony Mobile) and The Computer Science and Engineering Association in the American University in Cairo. We had to select top 3 winners, and almost all the jury members agreed on the 3 winners. So, I will list here to final top three winners, with brief introduction to each application.
  1. NoMad: It's a carpooling applications. Imagine you want to go back from your office to home, wouldn't it be nice if you find out that there are other people going the same direction at the same moment, so you both can share a ride. We all suffer from #CairoTraffic, and there are already apps that help car drivers choose routes with less traffic, which is fine, but it doesn't help solving the main problem and reduce the traffic-jams. So the beauty of NoMad's carpooling approach is that it can result in reducing the number of cars on the road, since there will be less cars with single passenger there. The applications is integrated with Facebook, so you can limit your carpooling choices to people you trust. There is also rating system for drivers, and it uses GPS to detect your location.
  2. Schoonect: It's a word play on School and Connect. The applications connects parents to schools of their children. They can track their children's progress, grades, and even track the location of their bus via GPS.The user interface looks nice, and easy to use. It has also interface for teachers, and they said they will consider integrating it with schools own systems as not to make it hard for teachers to re-enter the grades and students information twice. They are targeting international and mid-to-high range schools, and their business model will rely on licensing the app per student and share revenue with schools. The will de-couple the payment method from Google Market (Google Play), so you will get the app for free from there, then you will need a license (or code) to activate it later on, and this is for the sake of the revenue sharing model, and also because Google, for an unknown reason, doesn't support pay applications in Egypt.  
  3. 7atsakaf: Which can loosely be translated into, I will educate myself to be more aware of literature and cultural events. The app is like a mixture of two things, on one hand they are going to agree with cultural centres, underground music bands, and other cultural related activities to announce and publish their schedule on the application. I.e. sort of calendar for cultural activities. The other functionality of the applications, which I myself liked the most, is a SkillShare like marketplace, where people can use it to exchange knowledge. Let's say you are a skilled guitar player, and there are people who are willing to learn playing the guitar, you all use this application to connect you together, find a place and agree on schedule for your guitar lessons. The same for any other skill, whether it is cooking, critical reading, online marketing, etc. I also think this is where they can make money, because I guess it is easy to build business model around this either by charging the knowledge-seekers like they do in SkillShare or via any other method.
  4. There were other applications in the competitions as well such as, Fel Cima (Cinema guide, with the ability to book tickets in theatres in advance), Hatli Sha2a (Real Estate market places for those selling and those looking for apartments) and Daleelak (a combination of City Guide, Weather Updates, Currency Converter, and QR Code Reader, all tied in one application)
Unfortunately, as far as I know, none of the applications is publicly available yet, most of them are not fully operational yet and some are still prototypes. So, I'm looking forward for them to be released to start using them. And will keep you updated with links to them once they are released.