Category Archives: Technology

50% Reduction On Local and International Phone Calls For Telecarte and Kalam Prepaid Cards

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Telecom Minister Boutros Harb announced that the prices of phone calls made through prepaid cards will be slashed by 50% for land line calls and 30% for cellular phone calls. International calls were also made cheaper by 50%. Prices will be adjusted starting April 1st which is today.

Here are the old and new rates:
– LL50 instead of LL100 per minute of call from a landline.
– LL100 instead of LL200 per minute of call from a mobile line.
– LL300 instead of LL600 between 7am and 10pm for international calls (LL100 instead of LL200 for the rest of the day).

Of course any reduction in prices is always welcome, even though the above are irrelevant to me and many Lebanese, but what we really need are better internet quotas at the moment at lower prices. Moreover, these unbelievably high subscription fees for postpaid lines should be lowered. Anyway, I think it’s too early to judge Minister Harb as he’s been in office for a couple of weeks now, so let’s just hope he fulfills all his promises which include unlimited internet, deployment of fiber optics, better DSL coverage and an enhanced 3G service.

New Telecom Minister Boutros Harb To Lower Mobile Phone Rates

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Telecom Minister Boutros Harb tweeted yesterday that he asked Alfa and Touch to revise the contracts signed with the state in an attempt to improve the quality of services and reduce the cost of cellular calls. I honestly don’t think Harb has enough time to make drastic changes but as Matt stated, he could suggest new rates for mobile phone users and let the cabinet vote on them.

I hope it works out and I wish Minister Harb would consider increasing these ridiculously low data plans without additional cost.

iPhone To Be Officially Released Soon By Lebanon’s Alfa Telecom

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marwan

According to 9to5mac, Apple is signing deals with new carriers worldwide and among them Alfa in Lebanon. Alfa’s CEO Marwan Hayek confirmed it in a tweet that iPhone will be soon officially released in Lebanon.

That’s definitely good news but we still have to see whether Alfa (and maybe Touch later) will offer reasonable prices and plans. I will try to figure out how soon the launch will be for those interested.

Update: I was told the launch will probably take place by end of March.

Thanks Sandro!

Apple Acquires Burstly, A Daher Capital Company

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Apple has acquired Burstly, a software company that helps developers create smartphone and tablet applications. Burstly currently owns TestFlight, an iOS service that allows programmers to release and manage beta software to a limited audience, and an ad management platform called SkyRocket. Burstly is a Daher Capital company, which is a Beirut-based family business founded and led by Michel Daher.

You can read more about the acquisition on [Bloomberg], [Mashable] and [TechCrunch].

For those of you who are not familiar with Michel Daher, he’s the founder and chairman of Daher Capital. He also founded Master Chips and Poppins, two of the largest FMCG companies in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as the very first hedge fund in Lebanon and Master Capital Group, the largest independent non-bank affiliated financial services company. He’s the only Lebanese to ring the Wall Street Opening Bell twice.

Apple Inc. (AAPL), speeding up the pace of acquisitions, bought Burstly Inc., a software company that helps developers create smartphone and tablet applications. The deal, first reported by TechCrunch, was confirmed today by Kristin Huguet, a spokeswoman for Cupertino, California-based Apple. Terms weren’t disclosed.

Apple is sticking with its strategy of acquiring smaller companies, while Internet leaders Google Inc. and Facebook Inc. are doing billion-dollar deals. Burstly’s TestFlight product is used by app makers to test their software with small groups of customers. The Santa Monica, California-based startup also offers a product to help developers make money from advertising.

The underlying technology Apple acquires in deals is often used to enhance existing services or in future products. In 2012, Apple bought fingerprint-security firm AuthenTec Inc., whose technology was recently incorporated into the new iPhone 5s. Purchases of navigation companies have been used to improve its mapping software.

Check Out The EyeEm Market!

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Follow me on EyeEm Najib

For those of you who don’t know about EyeEm yet, it’s a photo sharing app that’s not just focused on photo sharing, but tries to connect like-minded users through the photos they take. It “combines the familiar ‘snapshots and filters’ approach with metadata that collects not just location and time for each photo, but contextual information like what a user was doing at the time”. What I always loved about EyeEm is that it doesn’t require you to crop your pictures and has some really cool filters.

One of the people who founded EyeEm and is still running it is a Lebanese called Ramzi Rizk, whom I had the chance to meet last year. Ramzi told me about EyeEm’s growth and some of the plans they are working on. Speaking of which, the next step for EyeEm at the moment is the EyeEm market which was launched a couple of weeks back. It’s basically a market where you remain the copyright holder of your images and make 50% net revenue from each photo you sell. If you want to know what are the types of pictures clients are usually interested in, check out this [post].

I think this is a smart step as it will encourage professional photographers to submit their photos and amateurs as well. If you want to know more about EyeEm, the best way is to download it and try it out. It is available for iPhone and Android.

PS: For those of you who haven’t joined yet and don’t want to upload all your Instagram images one more time, you can now connect your EyeEm account to the Instagram one and import all the pictures. It’s very easy and fast.

CNN Report On Lebanon’s Slow Internet

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CNN

While one cannot deny that Minister Sehnaoui has improved the internet situation in Lebanon as a whole, internet is still relatively slow in Lebanon and the data caps are still ridiculously low. I am currently registered to the 1.5GB 3G plan and always exceed my monthly limit, even though I use WIFI at work and at home.

Let’s hope things will improve with the new minister.

You can watch the full CNN Report by Mohammad Jamjoum [Here].

PayPal Has No Plans To Launch In Lebanon Anymore

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According to Executive-Magazine’s [article], we won’t be having PayPal anytime soon in Lebanon.

The Lebanese launch, however, is not just stuck in the pipeline – it has been taken out of it altogether. Currently, Barel says, there are no specific plans to launch in Lebanon at all. “We are trying to expand to new territories and to other countries, but right now we don’t have specific targets for Lebanon,” he says.

Whatsapp Down In Lebanon

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Lebanese Telecom Minister Boutros Harb tweeted today to explain to the Lebanese that the ministry had nothing to do with the Whatsapp outage and that the applicaton is facing problems. I can imagine how panicked all the Lebanese were. Whatsapp was bought by Facebook for $19 billion dollars and the first change done was making the “last seen” notification become optional.

Love Translator App by The Mukhi Sisters

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[YouTube]

It’s no secret that men and women don’t always get each other. That’s why the Mukhi sisters have come up with a fun Valentine app that translates what women really mean. Men just type in what women are telling them and the app translates the sentence to “English”. In case Love Translator doesn’t return an answer, you could always suggest one with the help of your wife/fiancee/gf or just “Break the language barrier” and get a jewelry suggestion. I think that’s a pretty cool idea and I would love to see a compilation of the best suggested answers after a while.

Speaking of jewelry, I never understood why women or anyone for that sake love getting jewelry so much. Personally speaking, that’s like the worst gift I could get from anyone.

Born to an Indian father and a Lebanese mother, the Mukhi Sisters bring you the best of both worlds in contemporary jewelry pieces. Passion for jewelry was innate and inherited by their parents who have been renowned jewelers for years. Each their own design and their own personal touch, the Mukhi Sisters line of jewelry is sure to satisfy everyone’s tastes.

The app is available only on the iTunes Store. [Download]

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