All posts by umar

Kids App – Let’s Play with DingDong

If you are looking for a fun and harmless app to keep your kids occupied for hours and hours, then this app is your answer.

Let’s play with DingDong is a music app for kids which let’s the kids familiarize themselves with different aspects of music in a fun and exciting way.

The app features an animated character called DingDong, who is fond of music. You do different activities with the character, like dress it up, sing songs, play musical instruments, and so on.

While doing these activities, the kid gets familiar with music in a non intrusive way and that’s the beauty of this app.

You can see my detailed review in the above video. I let me daughter play with the app and she loved it. It’s now installed in her own tablet and she plays it every day.

Let me know your comments about this app.

Android Download

Get out of bed with Alarmy

If you are like me, you struggle getting out of the bed in the morning. Even if you have the loudest of the alarms (the rest of the family would hate you because of that, but that’s besides the point). It’s very easy to just snooze the alarm and go back to bed.

If only there could be a way to make me get out of bed when the alarm goes off.

Well, now there is. And it’s called Alarmy.

The concept is out of the box but simple.

Here is how it works.

You set up the alarm normally, but during the setup process you take a picture of any object (ideally as far away from your bed as possible, for example the shower or sink or perhaps the view from your window). Now when the alarm goes off, you cannot turn it off until you take the same picture. This will force you to get out of bed and use your camera, take the picture and turn off the alarm. The result is that you are up and alert. After doing all this there is no way I am going back to bed.

Alarmy is my permanent alarm app. Now I can never be late for work.

Download link for Android

Download link for iOS

Why I purchased property in Dubai

Few years ago I purchased a house in Dubai and I am living in it now, rather happy and satisfied.

I am often asked, why did I decide to buy in Dubai specially when it is considered a very volatile and unstable market for real estate investment. I will try to answer this question in this post.

When I moved to Dubai, I had no option but to rent a place. The property values, or Dubai bubble as some may call it, was at its peak. The rents were super high. But still, I had to rent a place, like many others who live in Dubai. But what bothered me most was that I was paying very high rent to live in this city, and I didn’t know how many years I was going to live here, but at the end of my stay in Dubai I would have nothing to show for it. I probably would have paid hundreds of thousands of dirhams in rent over a decade or so (assuming I was going to live here for 10 years) but I would still be empty handed.

And then the property market crashed. Real estate prices dropped like a stone. Interest rates plummeted. It was a buyer’s market. The banks offered highly attractive deals for a mortgage. So I talked to a bank and applied for a mortgage. Meanwhile I also started looking for a nice apartment or house to purchase. Until that time I wasn’t sure I would actually purchase something, but I wanted to see how to goes.

Turned out luck was on my side. So the bank approved my mortgage application, and I found a beautiful newly constructed town house, perfect for my family and ideally located. I made my offer and the seller accepted it. Rest of the paperwork took a few weeks and before I knew it I found myself moving into my very own house in Dubai. It was surreal!

I have been living in this house for a few years now, and I can say for sure it was one of the best decisions of my life to purchase a property at the peak of a downturn. It was a big risk but it was well worth it. The peace of mind is just priceless. I don’t have to worry about rent increases, finding and moving to a new place every couple of years, the stress and hassle of moving, and settling down all over again. Many of my friends are still doing it.

The two biggest factors that influenced my decision to purchase were:

1. I was paying the rent anyway. So why not pay the bank in form of mortgage and have this peace of mind that my money is not going to waste. I can sell my property and get my money bank. The fact that property value has more than doubled since the downturn means I will earn a decent profit when I sell it. I can even rent it out and live off the rent since mortgage payments are so low because of low interest rate, I will be left with enough cash even after paying the mortgage.

2. There are no property taxes in Dubai. And despite all the speculations, it is a pretty safe form of investment. The property value in Dubai will only increase in long term. Yes, there might be some minor corrections here and there, but in the long term the value will not be lower than what I purchased at.

If you ask me, I would say If you have enough money to pay the down payment, and if your mortgage is going to be more or less same as what you are paying as rent, then go for a purchase. Another factor is if you are planning to live in Dubai for long term then it makes most sense to buy your own property and sell it when you leave, for a decent profit.

Needless to say, the above circumstances might not apply to you. So do your own research and analysis before making a decision.

The Best Places to Visit for Entertainment in London

The Big Smoke ensures you’ll never get bored again.

London is a city renowned the world over for its rich cultural heritage, and the city is quite deserving of its status as an international travel destination. The Big Smoke offers world-class entertainment to everyone who visits it, and if you’re going to London for some great shows, here are the best places to visit:

  1. Somerset House

Somerset House is one of the most popular entertainment venues in all of London. A magnificent arts and cultural center, the Somerset House transforms to fit the seasons. In the summer, 55 fountains dance in its courtyard, while in the winter, it transforms into London’s favorite ice skating rink. Somerset House is also renowned for being home to London Fashion Week, housing various art exhibitions and performances by different artists, and even holding workshops for families to acquire new skills.

  1. Theatre Royal Drury Lane

Established in 1663, the Theatre Royal Drury Lane has been providing world-class entertainment for centuries. It’s also a favorite of the Royal Family, and it has two royal boxes. Its rich history includes being the place where the public first heard Rule Britannia, and even the National Anthem, so history buffs visiting London will have the time of their lives here.

  1. Hippodrome Casino

One of the city’s older buildings is now one of the most popular entertainment hubs in the area. Described on Mayfair Casinos as “A looming structure that has been everything from a circus to a theatre to a nightclub” and “a must-see for anyone seeking a taste of entertainment in London”, the Hippodrome offers not just a great selection of casino games, but also live performances by some of today’s greatest artists. It’s also a great choice for discovering new acts.

  1. Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club

Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club is probably one of the few jazz clubs in the world that is capable of sustaining a full to bursting audience almost every night. Established in 1959, the club has played home to some of Jazz’s biggest names, as well as some up-and-coming artists who are yet to make their mark in the industry. But the club isn’t just for Jazz enthusiasts, as Ronnie’s Bar, located upstairs at the club, also has eclectic DJ sets and live music that includes flamenco, blues, jive, and even tap dancing.

  1. Southbank Centre

If you’re looking for a more laidback atmosphere, the Southbank Centre is for you. It’s been called “the most vibrant arts centre in the country”, “Britain’s leading arts institution”, and even “The most buzzy, music-filled site in the whole of London” by various news outlets. What makes the Southbank Centre so entertaining is its reputation as a festival center, and the various art and activities that can be experienced both inside and outside of the building. There is a wide array of cultural events offered here, from music, dance, art, spoken word, and performance art.

What are your favorite places to visit in London for entertainment?


Places to Visit in Turkey and Their Specialty

Given Turkey’s diversified natural beauty, its historical and cultural values together with its fascinating buildings, it has become one of the favorite destinations to millions of tourists. Every consecutive year, tourists make time to visit Turkey and spend quality vacations there. Indeed, Turkey has various attraction sites with diverse specialties. In order to make a visit to Turkey worthwhile, one has to find out about the places to visit prior to the vacation. Below are some places that one can visit in Turkey, but compared to their magnitude, these are just a tip of the iceberg.
1. Turkey’s Traditional towns
Indeed, Turkey forefathers established great architectural background. They created wonderful traditional houses that still exist up to date. Today, those famous houses are home to millions of Turkish citizens. In fact, some of them have upgraded to town level and they include:
Safranbolu- The town lies within the black sea region of Turkey. This town dates back to the 17th century, and it is a preservation of some of Ottomans architectural works.

Ankara — This is another one of Turkey’s attraction sites. Furthermore, Ankara is Turkey’s capital city, causing it to have a very high population density. Among the attraction sites within this city are museums and markets which are large enough to keep one busy for a whole day.

Antalya — This city is truly a breath taking holiday destination. It has naturally beautiful beaches and gardens that create a friendly environment to visitors. Further, Antalya boasts for its friendly and welcoming population. On a visit to Antalya, one notices the cooperative behavior of the inhabitant creating an urge for one to reside there a bit longer.

2. Turkey’s Shopping Malls
Of course, upon visiting a new environment, tourists often purchase attractive products to carry on their return home. However, it might be a challenge finding something that is unique and of high quality. However, upon visiting Turkey, one need not worry since there are various shopping malls, most of which deal in Turkey’s antique products which one cannot find anywhere else. Some of these famous shopping malls include:
The Grand Bazaar — This shopping mall is located in Cukurcuma Antiques District in Istanbul. It specializes in antique and new Turkish products ranging ceramics to large ones which include carpets. One Turkish ceramic characteristic that attracts tourists is decorations. Indeed, the Grand Bazaar should be on everyone’s must visit list.

Istinye Park Mall — This is among Turkey’s latest shopping malls. Istinye has a unique design including closed and pen air sections. This new mall specializes in various things among them flowers, books jewelry, cafés and restaurants.

3. Tourists activities
As a tourist destination, Turkey region of Cappadocia offers a number of interesting activities ranging from sports, arts and culture. Along Turkey’s long coastline, tourists can engage in several activities including swimming, water rafting, yachting, hiking and above all the incredible hot air balloons. Cappadocia is famous for its hot air balloons activities that attract over a hundred balloons in a day. In addition if one makes a visit to Turkey during the hot weather, one can enjoy underwater diving and enjoy seeing the sunken ships. Similarly, among Turkey’s mountainous regions, tourists can go for mountain climbing and skiing.

In case one is travelling from India to Turkey, one can get the Indian Visas online or on arrival to Turkey.