Top 5 Smartphones released/to be released in September 2013

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Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Vs LG G2 Vs Sony Xperia Z1 Vs Nokia Lumia 1020

I don’t think we’ve ever had that many exciting smartphones being released in the same month as it’s the case this September. Personally speaking, there are 5 smartphones that I am looking forward to try out:

1- Samsung Galaxy Note 3
Note3

I switched to Android back in December 2012 and got the Samsung Note 2, which is more of a phablet than a smartphone but I loved it. The screen was huge, the phone was ridiculously quick, the battery life was amazing but the camera wasn’t as good as the iPhone 4 or 5 and my Note 2 came with an insane chip, so I replaced it with the new Samsung S4 instead until the Note 3 comes out. I just hope it won’t have any software bugs like the S4.

2- HTC One
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The new HTC one is already available in Lebanon at Go Mobile, HTC’s distribution partner in Lebanon. I’ve tried the previous HTC and I liked it but I was always worried that I wouldn’t be able to repair it anywhere in Lebanon, plus I wasn’t very impressed with its camera and pictures. The new HTC wants to rival the Samsung S4 and new iPhone 5s and includes new features like the HTC BlinkFeed™, HTC Zoe™ and HTM BoomSound™.

3- LG G2
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The G2 is the LG’s latest flagship device and is a very powerful smartphone that has some very useful and unique features. I was invited to check it out before it gets released and I am very tempted to try it out. Unlike the S4 which is a great device but has loads of useless options, the LG G2 will have some unique features like the Audio Zoom (Yup Audio Zoom!), a breakthrough optical image stabilization (OIS) for the camera and rear keys. It’s a very powerful smartphone and a major improvement from the older LG models.

4- Nokia Lumia 1020
Lumia
Three words sum up this new Lumia model: 41 megapixel camera. The camera has become a very important feature in the smartphone industry and Nokia is introducing a camera that is capable of matching the pictures of a DSLR. The only down side is the OS which I am unable to get used to yet. I was hoping to see this awesome camera on an Android device but Windows acquired Nokia so that’s not gonna happen anytime soon. The Nokia Lumia 1020 is set to be released on September 25.

5- iPhone 5s
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I’ve been reading a lot about the new iPhone ever since it was announced, and it’s being portrayed like the greatest iPhone ever made and the best smartphone out there in the market. The fact is though that the 5S looks exactly like the 5 as most of the change was done on the inside. The new iPhone is much faster and comes with the latest iOS7, has a revolutionary and highly praised fingerprint sensor and a better camera among other things.

I was an iPhone user for 3 years but I like Android OS better now and I am not planning to switch back anytime. The only thing that interests me is the iPhone camera as Apple has always been ahead of others (At least till the S4 came out) in that field. Apple’s new iPhone 5s is set to go on sale today.

PS: The smartphones were listed randomly, not by order of preference

Dangerous spots in Lebanon

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Here are the top 10 most dangerous spots in Lebanon as mentioned by Matt Nash.

10- Ain al-Hilweh
9- PFLP-GC Training Camps
8- Britel
7- Hospital Emergency Rooms
6- Minefields
5- Laylaki
4- Syria Street
3- Al Kabir River
2- Arsal/Hermel/Baalbeck
1- The Highways/Roads

I didn’t expect to see “Hospital Emergency Rooms” in that list haha! Unfortunately though, and according to a study conducted in late 2012 by the American University of Beirut, nurses face more workplace violence than security guards in Lebanon.

FCO 301 - Lebanon Travel Advice Ed9 [WEB]
You can download the full map [Here].

Speaking of dangerous spots, the UK updated its travel warning and no longer advises against all but essential travel to the whole of Lebanon. However the FCO did warn against all travel inside Lebanon to:

– Tripoli
– Palestinian refugee camps
– Within 5km of the Syrian Border
– The Hermel Area, including Arsal, Baalbek
– The Bekaa Valley east of the Baalbek El Hermel High Way to the Syrian border and down to En Nabi Chit
– Southern suburbs in Beirut, defined as: south of the sports stadium to the airport, east of The main airport highway including the neighbourhoods of Ghobeiry, Chuya, Haret, Hraik, Burj Al Brajne, Mraije, Er Rouais and Laylake.
– Bekaa Valley west of the Baalbek El Hermel High Way
– Saida
– South of the Litani River.

The Best Time For Highway Pothole Repairs in Lebanon

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Source: Carol Maalouf

I posted almost a week ago about the huge life threatening pot hole that emerged out of nowhere in the middle of the Jal el Dib highway. I also wondered whether the authorities will wait for an unfortunate accident to occur before fixing it and I was wrong as they decided to go ahead and fix it today.

It’s always good to see the Lebanese authorities actually fix something but they always figure out a way to screw things up by picking the worst time possible for their repairs. Only few weeks back, they decided to close the Zouk Mosbeh bridge during Eid and today they closed down half the Jal el Dib highway during peak hours between 1pm and until this hour.

Every time they schedule their works at a very bad time, I try to make some sense out of it but I am unable to. The only (absurd) interpretation that I came up with is that they want to show everyone that they are actually doing something, so they pick the worst hours to let people get stuck in traffic and see them in action.

If they are not done fixing the pot hole by tomorrow morning, expect to get stuck an extra hour in traffic on your way to Beirut.

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via MTV

Update: We’re screwed till Saturday
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Picture via Anthony Rehayel

Four Lebanese movies coming out this fall

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1- Habbet Loulou (حبة لولو) A movie by Layal M. Rajha

[YouTube]

In modern day Lebanon, in a country divided between those who have too little and those who have too much, three women try to defy their social labeling and incapability. “Habbet Loulou” is a story about illegitimate children, prostitution, and abortion. A heartfelt tale that streams from the veins running under the very streets of Lebanon.

2- Ghadi a film by Amin Dora, written by and starring Georges Khabbaz

[YouTube]

The trailer of Ghadi, a film by Amin Dora, a social comedy written by and starring Georges Khabbaz giving you a closer insight about a special kid and the struggles of his humble family. Expect strange phenomena to affect the behavior and beliefs of their little Lebanese town’s population.

3- BéBé Directed by Elie F. Habib

[YouTube]

This is a Lebanese Romantic Comedy about a 33 year old Mentally impaired girl who leaves her home for the first time alone, with a bag of one million dollars in cash.

4- Sleepless Nights (ليال بلا نوم) Directed by Eliane Raheb

[YouTube]

This documentary shows how an ordinary man get involved in the civil war by becoming responsible for the life and death of hundreds of people, the destruction he makes to himself and to the others, and how, after the war, when he feels guilty, he tries to regain his humanity by helping a mother to find his missing son. The film asks if there is still a place for the forgiveness between the different camps, and how to avoid an other war which could contribute to the destruction of a country and its people.

Hitchhiking in Lebanon

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tumblr_metye67Ajv1qa4h36o1_1280-640x426Wen Wassil 3ammo? Tla3! – Source

On my way back home yesterday, and as I was about to make a turn and go park in front of my house, I spotted a man in his 50s or 60s on the street trying to tell me something. I slowed down and asked him what he needed; He told me that he’s been standing here for an hour and a half and needs a ride to Zouk. Honestly speaking, I wouldn’t have thought twice before picking up him few years back but with everything that’s been happening in Lebanon, one has to consider all possibilities before doing anything.

So I first hesitated and wanted to just ignore him and move on, but he looks tired and sad so I thought I ask him few questions and see how I can help. He told me that he was going to see his son, whose phone was closed for some reason, and that he always hitchhikes. I noticed that he was holding some money in his hand (Around 4000 Liras) as he was hoping for a cab to pass by, but knowing that he lives nearby (That’s what he said), he should have known very few taxis pass by this area, specially after 10pm.

Anyway, I finally asked him to sit down and rest a bit and I called a taxi company to come pick him up. They took some 15 minutes so I waited outside with him, paid the taxi driver and sent him to his son (If that’s where he’s really headed). He first asked me how much it will cost, as he was worried that they might rip me off, and then went inside a small market and bought himself a soft drink (Mirinda) with the money he had while waiting.

I felt guilty that I didn’t take him myself but I stopped picking up hitchhikers years ago after all the stories I heard and I am not making any exceptions. He could be mentally ill, or trying to drag me somewhere where I get robbed by others, or just an old powerless man trying to get to his son’s place (I don’t know what kind of son leaves his father this way). In all cases, I hope I did the right thing and I feel bad that we’ve reached this stage in Lebanon where no one can be trusted.

To leave on a positive note, and as I was looking for pictures of hitchhiking in Lebanon, which I’ve never done myself, I remembered a post about a 25 year old photographer called Sébastian Dahl who has hitchhiked 10,000km to get from Oslo (Norway) to Beirut (Lebanon). He used 112 cars, trucks and scooters in total and took some awesome pictures. Check it out [Here].

Omar Dean at X Factor Australia 2013

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[YouTube]

I’ve been told this guy is Lebanese-Australian and is apparently a hot favorite for winning X Factor Australia. I tried looking online but couldn’t find anything on his [website] or [Facebook Page].

The only thing I found was this [post] on Lebomemes and his video shared on the Lebanese in Australia Facebook page.

Either way, he’s definitely impressing the judges so the best of luck to him!

Thanks Fouad!