I just activated my 4G dongle and here are the results of the SpeedTests I did. Coverage is still restricted to few areas in Beirut so
Update: As requested by Razor, here are two speedtest results using Cyprus and Alexandria
Here’s a link to the 3G early results I got during the testing pilot phase back in September 2011.
Prices proposed by Alfa: Is it me or are the new packages really expensive?
The 4G network will only support data at the moment to be followed by calls and SMS by end of June. I already tried to send an SMS this morning and it failed. The 4G coverage map is restricted to Beirut at the moment as shown below:
The devices that work on the Alfa 4G network are:
1- Lumia 920
2- Galaxy S3 (that supports LTE)
3- Galaxy Note 2 (that supports LTE)
4- LG Optimus g
5- iPad mini
BB Z10 and Q10 are not currently supported and iPhones are pending licensing agreements. Sending SMS on #Alfa4G network is expected by end of June. Only the iPhone 5 model A1429 will be supported.
You can zoom in to any spot on the planet and watch the same three-decade timelapse unroll. Try it [Here].
Since the 1970s, NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey have been amassing satellite images of every inch of our planet as part of the Landsat program. Over time, the images reveal a record of change: of cities expanding, lakes and forests disappearing, new islands emerging from the sea off the coast of rising Middle East metropolises like Dubai.
Landsat images taken between 1984 and 2012 have been converted into a seamless, navigable animation built from millions of satellite photos. As Google wrote this morning on its blog: “We believe this is the most comprehensive picture of our changing planet ever made available to the public.” [Link]
I took some screenshots of Lebanon and Beirut throughout the years.
Lebanon in 1984
Lebanon in 1994
Lebanon in 2000
Lebanon in 2012
The only major changes you can spot is in Beirut (Solidere) as you can see below. Otherwise, the green areas are shrinking.
(Photo courtesy of Joumana Haddad)
I always enjoy reading Joumana Haddad‘s articles. This one’s hilarious yet so true.
Lebanese people do not queue. This aversion to waiting patiently for their turn in anything, at any given time and place, is so common, so “natural” and innate, that you’d think it’s written somewhere in their genes: The Swedish are blond. The Chinese have slanted eyes. And the Lebanese don’t, won’t, can’t queue. It is a (para)scientific fact.
Every single day, I experience first-hand encounters with this phenomenon. Take yesterday for example. I was waiting in line for my turn at a payment desk in one of Beirut’s malls, and a guy suddenly appeared from nowhere, and headed directly to the cashier, completely ignoring my presence and that of three other women in front of me. Maybe we were invisible, because the stud didn’t even look our way. What’s worse is that the three ladies standing ahead in line were going to let him get away with it. But I wasn’t. I couldn’t. I wouldn’t: That’s the kind of things that are written in my genes. As soon as he stretched out his hand with the bill and credit card, I stepped forward and asked him to wait in line like the rest of us. He gave me one of those “you talkin’ to me?” looks, so I gave him the “you’re an asshole” look. When the cashier agreed with me, the de Niro aficionado had to surrender and go to the end of the line mumbling something about “crazy people.” What can I say? Guilty as charged.
Also yesterday, another similar scene in the evening at a hip restaurant in downtown Beirut. A guy (again) walks in, apparently without a reservation. When the hostess told him there is a half an hour wait for a table, his nerves (already pressured by his dire need to impress the 30-years-younger-than-him woman hanging at his arm) couldn’t handle it. He started screaming at the employee, and insulting the management of the place. “You don’t know who I am” seemed to be his favorite catchphrase, since he repeated it more than a dozen times before storming out. And yet no, the hostess didn’t know “who he was,” neither did the rest of us dining there.
Read the full article [Here].
As I stated in a previous post, I went to meet Sir Richard Branson today and had the chance to ask him few questions. Here’s what I asked and what he told me in brief:
1- What do you think about the Lebanese authorities and the way they condemn and ban music, movies and books? Do you find it justifiable specially that you were among the first few people to sponsor and sign controversial bands?
He told me that the last time he was there, he was aware of the censorship issues in Lebanon and asked us if things had become better? (To which I answered: No it actually got worse). Then he continued saying that “Freedom of speech is extremely important and that it’s a pity that we ban or censor music, cds and videos in Lebanon. Every individual should have the freedom to decide what to listen to or watch or what not to”
2- Do you think Virgin Radio Lebanon should have opened before in Lebanon? isn’t the radio market saturated by now? Should we expect something like the V festival to take place in Lebanon?
He said that Virgin should have indeed opened before but there are a lot of difficulties to initiate such a project and that now he’s found people ready to cooperate with and make it happen. As for the V Festivals, I was told we should be expecting major events with big artists in Lebanon.
Gino asked questions regarding Virgin Galactic that you can check [Here].
I didn’t expect Branson to be such a cool and down to earth guy. It was an honor meeting him and I hope he comes back again to Lebanon. As for now, Virgin Radio Lebanon is now officially on and you can listen to it on 89.5 FM!
Picture from VirginRadio FB
Picture courtesy of Skyscraper City
I can’t believe they actually attacked him for taking pictures! WTF?
I saw a hole in the fence and tried to take a few shots. Nothing was visible but bulldozers. A man with a walkie talkie saw me and yelled that photos were prohibited. He sent me to the main door. There two men stood, one with greased hair, a white shirt and a metal cap visible in his mouth.
I asked if I could see the site and he refused. “This is private property, no pictures.”
“But this is our history. How can it be private property? There are ancient ruins there.”
He apologized and repeated that I could not access the site.
Another man appeared, easily the tallest on site with light, almost pale skin. He was built like a bouncer.
“You see this fence,” he pointed behind him. “This is private property.”
“I love history,” I said. “I think it should be shared.”
“You want history? Go look over there.” He pointed to the downtown area.
“I want to see what is here,” I said.
“Do you want to have coffee,” he asked, with a smile.
“Sure, but I want to see the ruins first.”
“There are no ruins!” he said, repeatedly. “There’s nothing to see here.”
The site door opened behind him and I tried to get look. “Close the door,” he shouted.
“What’s the secret,” I said. “Are you hiding something?”
One of the men standing behind him was radioing back-up. Soon “the boss” showed up.
He was wearing suit pants and a silky button shirt, slightly opened–gray or grayish hair. Clearly not the type to get his hands dirty.
“There is nothing here,” he said parroting the previous response.
“If there is nothing, than why won’t you let me see it,” I asked.
“Fine, you want to see? Look,” he pointed at the open doorway.
He ushered me inside and stood in front of me. All I could see was a big pile of dirt and rocks to my right. And in the distance, to the far left, I could see a foundation being laid.
“You see there is nothing,” the boss said.
“What about over here,” I said, pointing to the middle area that was not visible from our standpoint.
“Can I go over there?”
“Sure,” the boss nodded, hesitantly.
As I walked down the small dirt hill, an ancient rock wall structure appeared before me. The rocks were rectangular, dark, almost grayish from what I can remember in that moment. They were about 1-2 feet in length and carefully fitted together. I glimpsed a small team of men moving them out of place using a small crane. [Full Story]
Picture from KevinInTheKingdom
I would have picked Kababji over Barbar.
Beirut is a cosmopolitan city where food standards are high.
When it comes to kebabs, Barbar is a Beirut institution. It’s a snack bar with branches throughout the city, but its flagship store is in trendy Hamra, where it takes up a whole block and overflows with customers night and day.
You can eat almost anything at Barbar and be happy, but the chicken shawarma is the tastiest pint-sized snack.
Marinated in spices including cardamom and cinnamon, the chicken is sliced off the rotating shawarma, laid in a piece of warm, fresh Lebanese bread with a smear of garlic paste and a pickle. [CNN]
Picture via Sports-Leb
Event Description: Skydiving
Concept: “Participation & Shows”
Location: Hamat Air Base, North Lebanon
Date: From the 9th till the 25th of August 2013
Daily Time: From 10:00am till 6:00pm
Altitude: Above 4,200 Meters
Jumps Participation: Open for Public “Lebanese & Foreign Participants”
Skydiving Ticket Price:
Tandem Jump with Photos & Video: 444 Euros
Extra Photos & Video: 111 Euros
Prices include: Jump Certificate, Local and International Insurance, TAX.
You can check out more details [Here] and contact the following number [+961 70 722264] if you are interested.
Here are few [pictures] from last year’s event.
Good Job Sareen!
This picture was uploaded yesterday night by Minister Sehnaoui on Instagram with the below text:
I introduce to you Super Geek. A young Lebanese Geek turned Super Hero He’s into high tech gadgets and would pick Star Wars over Politics any day His Mission is to lead the Young Lebanese Digital Lobby to instill change in Lebanon and the World In days to come we will all need to think and brainstorm together to create the Adventures of Super Geek Our fellow Geek @sareen_ak who drew this character to life will help us make this happen We will also need to work together to make Super Geek’s Mission a Reality Share Super Geek with the community so we can have all Geeks on board of our Young Digital Lobby
I am still skeptical about this whole Lebanese Digital Lobby idea and I am not sure how Super Geek’s adventures will be appealing to internet users but I guess it’s a fun initiative for students maybe that can’t do any harm.
This announcement comes with another big event, which is the 4G commercial launch that is set for Wednesday 15th of May. The initial launch is for Limited Locations but will gradually expand to cover all regions. I don’t know whether people will be able to subscribe to the service as of the 15th as we just received few days ago dongles for the pilot phase which did not start yet and will last a whole month.
I will keep you posted once I activate my 4G dongle.
The President’s office – Picture taken from Presidency.gov.lb
A Press Release was posted on the Presidency’s official website where it was stated that the Baabda palace will open to visitors the first Saturday of every month starting June. Looking at the pictures, it is definitely worth a visit.
The first Saturday of every month, beginning in June, will be an opportunity for people to visit the presidential palace in Baabda. Visiting times will be from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. Those interested in making a visit may consult www.presidency.gov.lb for further details.
At least three weeks are needed to process applications for a visit. [DailyStar]
Spotted in Sin el Fil
I can’t read the last word. Never heard of it before.
He’s very serious about his parking space
I found at least 10 of those “Only Player – No Parking” signs in front of a commercial center in Jounieh. I didn’t know a hair salon needed that many parking lots.