Education

5 Middle Eastern startups with truly innovative ideas

Let’s face it. The news industry and tech blogs are obsessed with startups from North America and Europe. Only now are startups in Asia really starting to make mainstream headlines in the U.S. But what about the big ideas and innovative startups that are being built right now in the Middle East?
As someone who visits the Middle East on a regular basis and would like to live there long-term someday, I thought it might be useful to start cataloging the various startups I’ve been keeping an eye on over the past few months and year.

Middle Eastern Startups With Truly Innovative Ideas

Below is a simple but useful list of startups that are based in the Middle East that are worth checking out. Each does something quite useful (imho) but they’re not really related to one another. They’re also not chosen because of any particular single reason. For example, these aren’t all the ‘most funded’ organizations or the ones with the ‘most active users’ or whatever. They’re just cool. Check them out and feel free to add your own nominations down in the comments!

Recyclobekia


Ever wonder what you could do with old electric parts? This startup takes tossed-out parts from businesses in Egypt and resells them to local as well as international purchasers. The interesting part (to me, at least) is that Recyclobekia was started by 20 university students! Love seeing this kind of innovation.

Instabug

instabug
Here’s an app that is going to be quite useful to other startups out there. It’s called Instabug which is a nifty functionality that lets you shake your phone if you’ve found a bug in a mobile app. The idea of ‘shaking’ a bug is just great to me. What better motion could you associate with running into an error on an app, right? Anyway, you can shake and then submit a report detailing the issue you’ve run into. The feature also automatically captures a screenshot that users can draw on and email to the developer. Best of all, the user never leaves the app to report the bug!

Wally

wally app
Wally lets you take control of your money. Balance your income and expenses. Understand where your money goes. Set and achieve your financial goals. Seamlessly and intuitively. It helps you compare your income to your expenses, understand where your money goes, and set and achieve goals. Wally lets you keep track of the details as you spend money: where, when, what, why, & how much.

Nafham

nafham wallpaperSimilar to Khan Academy, Nafham is an online video-based learning platform that has a goal of helping with student tutoring (a $2 billion industry annually). There are more than 6,000 free videos that range from a few minutes to longer 20+ minute videos. They’re designed to be used in parallel to the Egyptian curriculum, as well. Founded by Ahmed Alfi, Muhammad Habib and Mostafa Farahat.

Jamalon

Jamalon,_Arab_Bookstore_-_2014-09-29_21.50.36
This is a robust online store that would feel like Amazon to most web users out there. Jamalon is the largest online bookstore in Middle East, offering more than 9.5 million of Arabic and English titles with home delivery.

Share Your Favorites!

Want to see your Middle Eastern startup added in a new post on Daily Genius? Just share some information about it down in the comments and we’ll start researching it. Thanks!

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Education

The Magnus Effect (aka how to bend it like beckham)

As someone who has suffered from Extreme Lack of Coordination for their entire life, I’m always amazed at professional athletes – especially those that demonstrate the things that I am least likely to ever achieve – aka, anything that involves hand-eye or foot-eye coordination. Since I can barely kick a ball into a net from straight on, I was fascinated by the video below that explains how great footballers can get the ball into the goal from well, anywhere on the pitch that is not straight on. There are also some really interesting animations and studies of soccer balls in this post, if you’re interested in further reading.
magnus effect
As it turns out, this is due to something called the Magnus Effect, which is when we observe a spinning ball moving in a curve away from its principal flight path. The direction of the ball is determined by the spin on the ball itself (back spin, top spin, side spin, etc). Perhaps some of the great footballers out there are also great physicists, but more likely, they just innately understand how to kick the ball so it spins the right way without thinking too much of the technicalities and equations that most of us normally associate with physics principles. But really, it is much more fun to play around with a soccer ball, so we’ll do that instead.

Understanding Spin: Practical Physics Lessons and the Magnus Effect

Since the trajectory of the ball is determined by the type of spin you put on it, what you really need to understand is where on the ball to kick with which part of you foot in order to impart the desired spin. But if you wanted to understand the Magnus Effect a bit more, check out the video below (which we’ve done a short summary for below).

  • You generate spin on the ball based on where you kick it (the location on the ball that your foot touches) and the direction of force you apply
  • The ball traveling through the air meets air flow resistance from the other direction
  • Right around the ball, there is air drag circling around it (the ‘spin’)
  • As oncoming air passes the ball, the side moving in the same direction as the spinning air drag will accelerate, following the curve of the ball
  • The air on the other side that is moving against the spinning ball meets opposing air and can’t continue around the ball, so it goes straight
  • This creates a net force of air to one side, forcing the ball to curve to the other side (see: Newton’s Third Law!)

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Education

Here's what you should have called your university thesis

Regardless of what sector you work in or what your field of study was in school, you’ve most likely had to write a resume at some point to sum up these experiences. For some folks, summing up what may be years of schooling and work experience into a concise document that showcases you in an awesome enough light to make someone want to hire you can be difficult. Whether it is the ‘selling yourself’ part or the summing up part that is difficult, we’ve come across a little bit of inspiration for you to draw from.
LOLmythesis is a site dedicated to summing up your thesis in one short sentence (preferably one that is humorous). While the site is definitely designed to make you laugh (and it does), seeing the use of humor in this situation got me thinking: how else can I apply this concept? If you’re able to sum up years of serious academic work in one humorous sentence, you can probably do that elsewhere, and actually glean some truth from the fruits of your labor. Here’s an example from LOLmythesis:
Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 10.58.23 AM
I find it particularly useful that they include the actual title of the thesis for comparison here, showing the stark contrast between the seriousness of the thesis with the reality of the content. Look at both – from which do you understand more about the content of the thesis after reading? Is there one that would actually pique your interest enough to at least read a bit of the text? If you identified the real title as being titillating enough to make you want to read a thesis, I understand that you are an academic and may have lost your sense of humor. Don’t worry – we understand, and we won’t judge you.
So the next time you need to sum up something difficult (like your years of studies and work experience), make it funny and real. You may end up being more easily able to identify the important stuff in what you’re working on!
(and here are a few more of our favorites from the lolmythesis site!)
Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 11.12.28 AM
 
Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 11.16.27 AM
Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 11.15.59 AM

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Work

Parents are the brake on the digital transformation of education

It’s cynical and reductive, but, at its most basic, education is a content industry – information suppliers delivering into the (hopefully)  willing minds of their audience. The pupil/teacher relationship reduced to provide/consumer.

It matters because many content industries have been ravaged by a digital revolution and come out the other side disrupted, almost unrecognizable: It started with music, then media … it’s been hitting education for some time now, and things are changing. But are they changing quickly enough?

There’s often a common factor in the way that digital fractures an industry, the way that consumer expectations differ from supplier expectations. Those suppliers who understand, or can cope with, those new demands will prosper. Those who stick to their old ways fall by the wayside – it’s why “upstarts,” who aren’t dealing with the legacy of an old business model, can prosper at the expense of the old names. And yes, this is all a gross simplification, but you get the point.

In the music industry, consumers began to view “ownership” as a looser concept than suppliers. File sharing became common, and the legality of that was often questioned. The traditional transaction of music has changed – old-fashioned record companies suffer while the likes of Spotify prosper. In media, the purchase of journalism has become something consumers are less willing to do. Upstarts like Buzzfeed, which regard journalism as a supply chain rather than a craft, are doing just fine.

In education though, it’s different. We can see who the old supplies are – it’s the schools. And we can see examples of possible new models, such as the Khan Academy. But where it gets less predictable is that the chain is longer – there are suppliers (schools) and there are consumers (pupils). But between the two, there are the decision makers — the parents. And its the role of the parents which make the digital disruption even harder to predict. While they don’t make every single decision on behalf of their consumers (kids buy plenty of apps themselves), but they do tend to make significant ones – what hardware, what school environment and what education apps (not many kids actually choose to buy those maths apps).

And, for further simplicity’s sake, if we assume that the traditional providers of education are quite laggardly in the adoption of digital, and we assume that pupils have a more natural affinity for digital tools, then which side of the education divide do the parents fall?

The answer to that could be the key to how far digital technology disrupts the education industry.

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Education

4 free Google tools to help students boost their search skills

Let’s say you have a big paper coming up, a presentation that involves some in-depth online research, or perhaps something completely pointless to look up on Google. Whatever your reason for diving into the bottomless pit that is online searching, it’s important to know about the resources and guides that are out there.
Lucky for you, the people basically running online searches (Google) have you hooked up. If you’re a student of any age, then listen up. Check out the guides and free Google tools available at ‘Search Education,’ a free site filled with anything you could ever dream of … if you dream of helpful guides to Google searching.

The 4 Free Google Tools Worth Checking Out

What kind of awesome free tools are available, you ask? Good question! Here is a handy roundup of the various tools along with a great introductory video that explains what Google Search Education is all about and how it helps out students around the world. Enjoy!
Lesson Plans & Activities
There are boatloads of free (!) lesson plans here that any teacher looking to do some skill-building around online research should check out.
Google Power Searcher
Ever wish you could become a ‘Google Power Searcher’ (their term, not ours)? Then go here and explore free online lessons and activities that will help you learn all the ins and outs of online search. You’ll definitely learn something new.
A Google a Day Challenges 
This is a favorite of the Daily Genius team. You can really put your newfound Google skills to the test by taking on the daily ‘Google A Day‘ challenge. What’s that, you ask? It’s basically a question / quest that’s not unlike Alice jumping down the rabbit hole in Alice in Wonderland. You are tasked with finding a hard-to-find answer online. Great for student’s projects or just building up your own skills!
Live Trainings
Did you know Google does LIVE search training sessions? And that they’re free? And that they’re run by people at Google? How cool is that? Check out this page for upcoming sessions and how you can take part. Great for an entire classroom or just a single person. Either way, you’ll learn something with some hands-on tutoring.

More Tools Coming Soon!

There are a bunch of other free Google tools that will help you get better at online searching. We’ll be bringing you a steady flow of them on Daily Genius – for teachers, students, marketers, business people, CEOs, and everyone else. Want to stay in the loop? Join us on Facebook or Google+!

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Education Work

Are you addicted to your phone? There's an app for that

These days, we seem to be plugged in pretty constantly. If  you’re not, there’s usually a question hanging overhead – WHY? This usually comes along with a hefty expectation that you should be replying to emails and phone calls at all hours simply because your smartphone gives you the ability to do so. And while some folks take a ‘digital detox‘ when they go on vacation and look for Points of Interest Orlando to clear their mind, the constant use comes back into play as soon as the holiday ends.
For many people, using a smartphone regularly throughout the day isn’t a choice, it is a necessary part of the work day. But no matter how connected you need to be, constant connection is never a must. So how do you curb that addiction to your phone?
addicted to your phone
If you want to curb the addiction to your phone but don’t know where to start, the folks at Checky are offering you a (virtual) hand. There’s definitely some irony in the fact you’ll be downloading an app in order to help you see what your smartphone use statistics look like, but the idea is good. Think of it like weighing yourself when you’re trying to lose weight. If you don’t weigh yourself, the reality of that number you don’t want to see is much less real. But if you do weigh yourself, even periodically, you have a reminder of the progress you’ve made and the progress you still need to make.
After downloading the (free) app, it will tell you how many times you check your phone per day. It is a really simple concept, based on the idea that awareness will help encourage you to change your behavior. For example, if you use the app for a few days and find that you check your phone around 150 times per day on average, you can set a goal to only check it 110 times per day. Or eventually, under 100 times per day. The app also encourages you to share your stats on social media for some friendly encouragement/competition (more commonly/accurately known as social shaming, perhaps?).
Checky is made by Calm, a company that makes an app called – you guessed it – Calm, which aims to help you meditate, relax, or just quiet down your mind for a bit.
 
 

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Education Work

Are you addicted to your phone? There’s an app for that

These days, we seem to be plugged in pretty constantly. If  you’re not, there’s usually a question hanging overhead – WHY? This usually comes along with a hefty expectation that you should be replying to emails and phone calls at all hours simply because your smartphone gives you the ability to do so. And while some folks take a ‘digital detox‘ when they go on vacation and look for Points of Interest Orlando to clear their mind, the constant use comes back into play as soon as the holiday ends.

For many people, using a smartphone regularly throughout the day isn’t a choice, it is a necessary part of the work day. But no matter how connected you need to be, constant connection is never a must. So how do you curb that addiction to your phone?

addicted to your phone

If you want to curb the addiction to your phone but don’t know where to start, the folks at Checky are offering you a (virtual) hand. There’s definitely some irony in the fact you’ll be downloading an app in order to help you see what your smartphone use statistics look like, but the idea is good. Think of it like weighing yourself when you’re trying to lose weight. If you don’t weigh yourself, the reality of that number you don’t want to see is much less real. But if you do weigh yourself, even periodically, you have a reminder of the progress you’ve made and the progress you still need to make.

After downloading the (free) app, it will tell you how many times you check your phone per day. It is a really simple concept, based on the idea that awareness will help encourage you to change your behavior. For example, if you use the app for a few days and find that you check your phone around 150 times per day on average, you can set a goal to only check it 110 times per day. Or eventually, under 100 times per day. The app also encourages you to share your stats on social media for some friendly encouragement/competition (more commonly/accurately known as social shaming, perhaps?).

Checky is made by Calm, a company that makes an app called – you guessed it – Calm, which aims to help you meditate, relax, or just quiet down your mind for a bit.

 

 

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Education

Staying safe online: Google's best tips and tricks

Do you ever think about staying safe online? Not to be a wet blanket, but for all the awesome stuff the internet offers, it can also be home to an equal amount of scary stuff. From hackers stealing credit card numbers to faux Nigerian princes to plain old creepers, the ability to hide behind a screen means you should be extra cautious while you’re browsing, searching, and buying. So what does ‘being cautious’ actually mean, beyond using some common sense and not believing that the guy emailing you is actually a random Nigerian prince who wants to give you a few million dollars for no reason?
Well, if you want to stay safe on the internet, go right to the source – Google. They’ve created this handy infographic below that outlines what exactly ‘common sense’ entails when it comes to internet safety. So whether you’re new to the idea of having to protect yourself online (I’m referring to you, Mom), or if you’re teaching your kids or students about internet safety, this is a pretty great list to use.
How do you stay safe online? Tell us by leaving a comment below, visiting the Daily Genius Facebook Page, or mentioning @DailyGenius on Twitter – we want to hear what you think!

Staying Safe Online

  • Look for the “S” in your web address. Https>http, in security terms
  • Don’t share your passwords
  • Don’t reply to suspicious messages
  • Lock your screens
  • Flag inappropriate content when you see it
  • Keep your software up to date
  • Don’t reuse your passwords
  • If it seems too good to be true, it probably is
  • Secure your router
  • Use 2 step verification for account sign in whenever it is offered
  • Secure your wi-fi network
  • Log out of public or shared computers
  • Leave a virtual key under the mat just in case
  • Stop and look before downloading
  • Back up your online data
  • Think before you share
  • Learn how to decipher suspicious texts and emails
  • Do your most sensitive online tasks from your own personal devices, not public ones
  • Don’t send sensitive info via email
  • Report scams, spam, and phishing
  • Run antivirus software
  • Pick strong passwords
  • Know and use your social media privacy settings
  • Don’t upload things intended just for friends and family for all the public to see, use the ‘private’ setting
  • Don’t ignore online warnings
  • Use a secure browser
  • Only install software from trusted sources
  • Get to know your email settings
  • Learn how to remotely wipe your device

digital-safety-guide-google

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Education

Nine habits that rich and successful people have

The problem most of us are trying to solve, in some way or another, is the problem of becoming successful. You can quibble about what constitutes success, but the fact is, we are, mostly, trying to get through life by being better at it.
I enjoy the process of finding solutions to problems. Indeed, I’m writing is about that very thing – the intelligent, lateral thinking processes that finding solutions to problems in unexpected ways.
So I was interested in this, on Entrepeneur.com, recently, the way that successful people have created habits that answer that problem – how to be consistently successful.
Thomas Corley spent five years studying the lives of both rich people (defined as having an annual income of $160,000 or more and a liquid net worth of $3.2 million or more) and poor people (defined as having an annual income of $35,000 or less and a liquid net worth of $5,000 or less). Among the many things he discovered were nine particular behaviours that rich people exhibit but poor people don’t.
Of course, you have to take all such data, including this, with a pinch of salt but it makes interesting reading nonetheless.
1. Rich people always keep their goals in sight.
Rich people who agree: 62%
Poor people who agree: 6%
Not only do wealthy people set annual and monthly goals, but 67% of them put those goals in writing. “It blew me away,” says Corley. “I thought a goal was a broad objective, but the wealthy said a wish is not a goal.” A goal is only a goal, he says, if it has two things: It’s achievable, and there’s a physical action you can take to pursue it.
2. And they know what needs to be done today.
Rich people who agree: 81%
Poor people who agree: 19%
Not only do the wealthy keep to-do lists, but 67% of them complete 70% or more of those listed tasks each day.
3. They don’t watch TV.
Rich people who agree: 67%
Poor people who agree: 23%
Similarly, only 6% of the wealthy watch reality shows, compared to 78% of the poor. “The common variable among the wealthy is how they make productive use of their time,” explains Corley. “They wealthy are not avoiding watching TV because they have some superior human discipline or willpower. They just don’t think about watching much TV because they are engaged in some other habitual daily behavior — reading.”
4. They read … but not for fun.
Rich people who agree: 86%
Poor people who agree: 26%
Sure, rich people love reading, but they favor nonfiction — in particular, self-improvement books. “The rich are voracious readers on how to improve themselves,” says Corley. In fact, 88% of them read for self-improvement for 30 minutes each day, compared to 2% of poor people.
5. Plus, they’re big into audio books.
Rich people who agree: 63%
Poor people who agree: 5%
Even if you aren’t into audiobooks, you can make the most of your commute with any of these commute-friendly self-improvement activities.
6. They make a point of going above and beyond at the office.
Rich people who agree: 81%
Poor people who agree: 17%
It’s worth noting that while 86% of rich people (compared to 43% of poor) work an average of 50 or more hours a week, only 6% of the wealthy people surveyed found themselves unhappy because of work.
7. They aren’t hoping to win the jackpot.
Rich people who agree: 6%
Poor people who agree: 77%
That’s not to say that the wealthy are always playing it safe with their money. “Most of these people were business owners who put their own money on the table and took financial risks,” explains Corley. “People like this aren’t afraid to take risks.”
8. They watch their waistline.
Rich people who agree: 57%
Poor people who agree: 5%
Wealthy people value their health, says Corley. “One of the individuals in my study was about 68 and worth about $78 million. I asked why he didn’t retire, and he looked at me like I was from Mars. He said, ‘I’ve spent the last 45 years exercising every single day and watching what I eat because I knew the end of my career would be my biggest earning years.’ If he can extend his career four to five years beyond everyone else, that’s about $7 million for him.”
9. And they take care of their smiles.
Rich people who agree: 62%
Poor people who agree: 16%
Oh well. 7/9. Must try harder.
 
Steven is crowdfunding his book, Why Did The Policeman Cross The Road, at Unbound. You can support him there.

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Education

How Google search works (Google's official visual guide)

If you’re into search engine optimization (SEO), love building websites, or simply use Google a lot, then this guide is for you. It’s Google’s official visual guide, albeit a basic one, to how a typical Google search works. The guide comes in the form of an interactive scrolling visual that you can see here. It’s also embedded below so you can just start scrolling to your heart’s content.
So, how does a Google search actually work?
Great question! In order to answer that, it’s important to understand how Google itself works. You need to know how it indexes sites, how it fights webspam, who is doing what, and more. Basically, there are a lot of things to know including:

  • How the Google algorithm works and how it changes (well, that’s a secret really but they do share some details from time to time)
  • How Google views and fights webspam (it notifies site owners who can either take action or not)
  • How big is the entire Google index (about 100 million gigabytes and growing all the time!)
  • How many searches are done every second (way more than you think!)

This graphic is an incredibly basic look into how Google searches and the entire search process works. As you can imagine, it’s extremely complicated and there’s a reason Google has hundreds of employees working every day on refining and perfecting the search process and algorithm.
visual guide to google search

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