Questler Online Learning Network Launches New Version

| Jul 9, 2008 | comment Leave a comment

Questler LogoQuestler, the online learning and knowledge network, just launched a new version of their service today, with a sleeker looking logo and a new navigation system.

This new version brings a number of changes beyond the design, like:

Channels: New channel pages have been introduced for each user, where you can browse all their contributions, whether quests or comments, per their learning interests or all tags of their posts. Users can go to their settings to customize the design of their own channel.
They plan to launch specialized channels from companies and organizations that have quests to share soon.

RSS Feeds: It is now possible to subscribe to Questler’s everyone feed, as well as to RSS feeds for any specific user channel. RSS feeds are also available for tags and keyword searches, enabling you to follow topics of interest to you.

Extra Tagging: Now everyone can add more tags to any quest when they post a comment on it, this way other users will be able to filter through the Quest View page to see their comments per tags they’ve added.

Quest creation from a comment: Users can now post a comment on a certain a quest as a new Quest; the two will be linked and can be viewed in the Related Quests tab.

Related Quests: When viewing a quest’s details, all related quests will be listed on the same page, enabling interested users to further explore the topic. Recent quests as well as latest quests by the same user are also available now.

Home/Dashboard: To make posting quests easier, it is no longer necessary to go to the quest page to post, it can be done directly from the home page. A new dashboard also helps browse through the latest conversations quickly.

Questler New Version

Another detail worth mentioning is that the Beta moniker has been dropped from this version, which does feel more mature as an online service, more organized and better rounded at the corners.

# Questler

WeNear, Location Based Services Framework

| Jul 8, 2008 | comment 2 Comments

weNearWeNear is a new framework for location based services, which aims to help connect users with their interests.

With the widespread use of mobile phones and other mobile devices in the Arab world, weNear comes to enrich the mobile experience even more, beyond just making phone calls and sending sms messages, by providing a platform for location based social and business services.

As an example of one of the social uses, based on a user’s location, the service will be able to identify other weNear users that were marked as friends, and locate them on the map; making it a lot easier to find and reach them. Of course, a privacy option is built in to hide a user’s location whenever they want.

Through weNear, users will also be able to socially interact and communicate with other nearby users, announcing interest-based information and sending tagged messages which will be received by those whose interests match these tags.

When it comes to business uses, weNear users can receive immediate notifications with information about interesting nearby services, events or products; creating new chances for advertisers to connect with potential clients based on their location and their interests.

Another example Implementation is “Almotawef”, which is an application for Muslim pilgrims, that helps them find their relatives and groups during Hajj, walks them through the Hajj rituals and points them to the places they have to go to.

weNear was developed by Egyptian company eSpace.

# WeNear

Net Monitor Ipoque Finds Big Gaps Between West And Middle East Internet Activity

| Jul 7, 2008 | comment 2 Comments

ipoqueIpoque, a part-time researcher of Internet activity and trends headquartered in Leipzig, Germany, recently released the findings of a study conducted between August and September 2007, in which it observed Internet traffic in five regions of the world, to establish an overview of the Internet’s current state.

Three petabytes of anonymous data representing over one million users in Australia, Eastern Europe, Germany, the Middle East and Southern Europe were analyzed as part of the study.

According to the study, P2P is still producing more traffic in the Internet then all other applications combined. Its average proportion during the measurement period regionally varies between 49% in the Middle East and 83% in Eastern Europe.

By studying the complete protocol distribution for Germany and the Middle East; the results found that in both regions, Web browsing accounts for the the second-most traffic with a share of 26% in the Middle East and 10% in Germany; not including any audio or video streaming content.

Media streaming content ranks third in Germany with a proportion of about 8%; In the Middle East it is negligible with less than 0.1%. Possible reasons include lower-speed Internet access and less media-rich content on local-language Web sites.

The third position in the Middle East and the fourth in Germany is taken by direct download links file sharing websites such as RapidShare.com and MegaUpload.com; 62 of these one-click file hosting services were studied, and they account for nearly 9% of the Internet traffic in the Middle East and over 4% in Germany.

When it comes to VoIP (Voice over IP), the results show that 30% of all monitored Internet users in Germany use Skype. In the Middle East, the number is only 7%; SIP follows far behind with only 1% users in Germany and in the Middle East; as for other systems, the numbers are negligible.

# Source: ipoque Internet Study 2007
# Via: Mashable

Places.ae Dubai Location Based Directory Goes Mobile

| Jul 6, 2008 | comment 10 Comments

Places.aePlaces.ae, the Dubai location based directory, previously reviewed here, have taken their service one step further, officially launching the mobile version of their service at http://m.places.ae

The mobile version has been under development and test for a while now, and now that BlackBerry support has been integrated into it, it has been launched officially.

This mobile version also supports iPhone and Windows Mobile clients, with an even more optimized interface as their browsers and UI are better than those of the BlackBerry; as well as any mobile device that can read HTML pages.

Places.ae BlackBerry Home

However, if you have a BlackBerry equipped with GPS, it’s even easier to find places you’re looking for, as place.ae will use the information from the GPS satellites to know where you are and find a list of places that are closest to your current location.

If you click on one of the entries in the list, you will see a little static map of the place, and as phone numbers of the places are often detected, it’s easy to call a place to ask for other details or make a reservation if necessary.

For more details on how to use a GPS-enabled BlackBerry with Places.ae, you can check out the details and instructions on the Places.ae Blog.

Swalif Think Day, An Event Encouraging Arab Thought & Innovation Online

| Jul 5, 2008 | comment 2 Comments

Swalif Think DayUnder the slogan “Think“, Dubai’s Knowledge Village will be witnessing a joint event by GadgetsArabia, Swalif Soft, and the Emirates Internet Group, on August 7th 2008, aimed towards pushing and encouraging development in the Arab internet industry, by bring together a number of high profile speakers from some leading Arab web2.0 companies.

Some representatives from Google Middle East will be attending the event, as well as people from Arab internet companies and prominent Arab websites and portals. Members of the press and media will be attending too.

Event Location:
United Arab Emirates
Dubai
Knowledge Village
Conference room, block 1, 1st floor

Event programme:

  • Welcome & Opening Note
    Speaker: Ahmed Gabr, Editor of GadgetsArabia
    Time: 5 minutes
  • How do I attract big advertisers to my site?
    Speaker: Tariq Al-Asiri, CEO or Argaam.com
    Time: 15-20 minutes
  • Open discussion on online advertising
    Q&A with Tariq Al-Asiri; moderated by Ahmed Gabr
    Time: 20-30 minutes
  • How do you launch a web2.0 project, and what are the difficulties and challenges you could face?
    Speaker: from TootCorp
    Time: 15 minutes
  • From idea to implementation in web2.0
    (Use of APIs, Usability, Productivity)
    Speaker: Habib Haddad, Co-Founder of Yamli.com
    Time: 15 minutes
  • Web2.0 success story
    Speaker: Rida Al-Barazi, of SpinBits.com
    Time: 15 minutes
  • Open discussion on web2.0 and web development
    Q&A with all speakers, moderated by Ahmed Gabr
  • Closing note

The event is public, open to everyone and free.

Conserve The Possibility To Try Again

| Jul 4, 2008 | comment Leave a comment
Research has shown, in fact, that the vast majority of successful new business ventures abandoned their original business strategies when they began implementing their initial plans and learned what would work and what would not work in their market. The dominant difference between successful ventures and failed ones, generally, is not the astuteness of their original strategy. Guessing the right strategy at the outset isn’t nearly as important to success as conserving enough resources so that new business initiatives get a second or third stab at getting it right. Those that run out of resources or credibility before they can iterate toward a viable strategy are the ones that fail.

Clayton M. Christensen ; ‘Innovator’s Dilemma

The Long Tail, Why The Future Of Business Is Selling Less Of More (Chris Anderson)

| Jul 3, 2008 | comment 6 Comments

Chris Anderson’s book The Long Tail, is one of the business books that I found really interesting and worthy of reading, in how it explains and advocates why the future of business is selling less of more, as it’s title clearly puts it.

It all started with an article Chris Anderson, who is editor-in-chief of Wired Magazine, wrote in Wired that was called “The Long Tail” and that became quite popular and famous; after that he started a blog about it and then expanded his thoughts into a book.

In short the phrase “The Long Tail” is to describe certain business and economic models where products that are in low demand or have low sales volume can collectively make up a market share that rivals or exceeds the relatively few current bestsellers and blockbusters, if the store or distribution channel is large enough and the necessary filters are available to drive people to find these products. Examples of companies using such a model are Amazon, Netflix, iTunes and Google.

The book and the concept are very interesting, and with the evolution of the internet it’s easier than ever to cater to all tastes and provide all products: general best-sellers and niche products, increasing the scope of products available for sale, and obviously the opportunities to make more revenue.

If you’re selling products, marketing them or just interested in business: I recommend you read the article as well as the book; they’re really interesting and provide several examples and rich insight into how the business world and markets are changing.

# Amazon: The Long Tail

Feedoor, Central Feed Management Service

| Jul 2, 2008 | comment 3 Comments

FeedoorFeedoor, is an interesting feed management service that aims to give users complete control over their feeds, and the flexibility to do whatever they want with them.

The service is quite simple and straightforward, packing a number of features in its corners. Some of the most important and interesting of these features are the following; it gives users the possibility to:

  • Combine and splice several feeds of different formats (RSS, ATOM, RDF) into one feed.
  • Easily add individual items such as videos, photos or audio directly into existing feeds.
  • Create feeds of random items such as videos, photos and audio; thereby creating podcasts or media channels.
  • Customize the look and feel of their feed page by using available themes or creating their own themes.

And for the created feeds, the service provides detailed statistics including: Subscribers, hits, visits, and referrals.

Feedoor screenshot

A developer API was launched recently enabling developers to pull content from hosted feeds, statistics of a certain feed, or the number of subscribers. The API also gives the ability to build and add themes, widgets and doors (small interactive applications that can be integrated into the feed to enhance reader interaction with feed content).

For people hosting their websites on their own domain names and who want to have their feeds hosted under the same domain, the option is offered for free.

A number of publishing and publicizing options are available as well, making it easier to integrate or show off a feed’s content on several places on the web.

Feedoor currently has an English interface only, although it supports different languages in the feed content.
The service was initially launched in 2007 from Jordan by Mahmoud Mehyar.

# Feedoor

weNear Launch Location Based Applications Competition

| Jul 1, 2008 | comment 2 Comments

weNearweNear, a mobile platform for location-based services and applications, developed by Egyptian company eSpace, just launched a location based applications competition today, which is open to students of The Computer Science Department at Alexandria University, Egypt.

The competition consists in building interesting location based applications using the weNear API. It starts today, July 1st, and the final submission date is August 31st.

Those interested in being part of the competition can go to the weNear competition announcement page to find details about the weNear architecture, documentation, and some initial client/server communication code in several programming languages to help them get started.

Contestants can then submit their applications at the weNear competition sub-site.

Should be interesting to see how this works out, and what different applications come out of it.

# weNear competition

Online Multiplayer Games Account For Over 60% Of cashU Revenue

| Jul 1, 2008 | comment 6 Comments

cashURecent numbers from Maktoob’s cashU service, the largest internet payment system in the Middle East and Africa, show that user payments for online multiplayer games account for over 60% of their revenue.

cashU was launched some years ago to provide an easy online payment system for people without access to credit cards. At first they used to provide a credit card number that people could use on all sites, even those that weren’t affiliated with cashU, but that option was stopped after some time, and now users can only pay on cashU affiliated services.

Apparently some of the people who use the service the most are young Arab online gamers, who use it to make payments on the biggest names in online multiplayer gaming – World of Warcraft, Maplestory, and Runescape, which have a multi-million user base globally, and a loyal fan base in the Middle East.

Multiplayer games have been surging in popularity throughout the world in general, and the Arab world is no exception, which is making it a target for expansion for a number of established games, like Maplestory which has a Middle East version planned for Q4 of this year, and Travian that supports Arabic.

We also reported a couple of days ago on how MBC Group is launching a new project with Chinese CDC Games, which consists of an online Arab gaming portal, in an attempt to lure online Arab gamers and get a share of the rising market.

Massively multiplayer games have explored many different distribution models, and many of them can be freely downloaded and experienced for a trial period. Typically the user only pays for a subscription fee, but there exists a third party market for virtual gold, which can be used to buy armor, weaponry, and spells.

# More: Maktoob Business

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