Author Archive | Rami

Ramadan Kareem

Do you remember this old Kassatly Chtaura Jellab ad from the 80s and 90s? It has been 30 years since it was first aired on TV and I guess nothing signals the time for Ramadan nowadays like this ad tune does every year on Lebanese TV stations (though it has now evolved a bit of course).

Anyway I wish all a blessed Ramadan!

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For The Love of Elevators

We always encounter strange stuff on the internet and this YouYube channel I stumbled upon today is one of the weirdest I’ve seen so far. “Batatavator” is a channel full of videos shot just inside elevators around Beirut.

From old to new, slow or high speed elevators, the YouTuber behind Batatavator likes all kinds of them.

If elevatorphilia is a thing then this guy is most probably an elevatorphile.

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Things to Do This Week in Lebanon – May 24th 2017

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Here are my picks from Lebtivity for this week. I personally will be taking my kid out to the car free day in Mar Mikhael.

  1. Acting Training for Presentation Skills
  2. The Digital Age of Design & Manufacturing in Lebanon
  3. Discover Mar Mikhael Car Free Day
  4. The Garden Show & Spring Festival 2017
  5. Arabic Calligraphy Workshop
  6. Stone L’oeil – Art Exhibition
  7. Tombé du ciel / Heaven sent by Wissam Charraf
  8. Beirut Design Week 2017 – BDW
  9. On the Streets // C U NXT SAT x Achrafieh 2020
  10. Ramadan Iftar at The Smallville Hotel

Make sure to check Lebtivity.com for much more options.

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Are You Following M Media’s Growing Collection?

I subscribed to M Media a few months ago for the sole purpose of watching Bennesbe Labokra Chou again, but soon after I did it I found it hard to cancel my subscription because of their growing collection with titles that never cease to impress me. (They’re soon adding Film Ameriki Tawil by the way)

I personally usually avoid watching Lebanese movies in theaters unless they’re REALLY good, but I still like to watch them in the comfort of my living room (yes even the likes of BéBé). However unlike western movies/series, Lebanese ones are much harder to find online, and M Media has been recently making some great effort adding titles that were produced over the last few years ranging from drama to comedy and documentaries, in addition to famous old plays from the 90s such as “3ammti Najibeh” and “3arisein midreh men wein” with all content being in very good quality. So I have lately been spending time watching stuff that I missed in theater over the last few years (and also learned that Carlos Azar always lands the Jagal roles in his movies).

At $5/month I guess it’s a good deal, and while I know the people at M are doing their best to get more productions onto their platform, I wish they also add old movies from the 70s and 80s such as the ones by the late Maroun Baghdadi for example, I always read he made some great movies during that era but I rarely had access to them. I also don’t think anyone would mind watching Ahmad El-Zein and Mohamad El-Mawla all over again in those cool action movies from the early civil war days!

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Review – Munchease Khaldeh

On the highway from Beirut to Saida there probably not a single restaurant or sandwich joint worth seeking for good food except for this burger place called Munchease.

Until last summer I never thoigh of checking it out even though a couple of friends kept talking about how good it is, but it wasn’t until they once dragged there me that I knew what I was missing!

I know there are several good burger places in Beirut but Munchease is probably the most underrated one among them. Passing on the highway you can’t miss it after COOP as it stands out with the wooden design and cool ambiance.

The menu is straight forward and is divided into 4 sections, starters, subs, burgers, and hot dogs. By now I can claim I tried almost everything they have and was never left disappointed except for when it gets too crowded inside (especially on weekends) even though the friendly waiters try their best to cope with everybody.

The portions are in general quite generous, and you can sometimes get enough with appetizers alone whenever you do not intend to go on an eating spree! My personal favorites are the mozzarella sticks, onion rings and chicken wings, and although they’re all fried items but they always served crispy and taste “clean” (or non-oily). I highly recommend you try the chicken wings by the way because they’re as good if not better than those served at popular american diners in town.

On to the burgers. They’re good, trust me, and I won’t go on to describe the bun and the patty because they’re just good! However, one thing you have to know about the people at Munchease is that they like their items to be overloaded with sauces and cheese. So the burgers they serve will always be messy (good luck avoiding to drip) and quite heavy with all the cheese inside. I personally always feel full with their decadent combo meals and never managed to finish the fries at the end.

For starters, I recommend you go with my all time favorite “Munchease Special” since it has the least amount of cheese, and make sure to try their different dips since they all taste good especially the honey mustard.

Price wise, value for money is quite fair compared to other places, a fulfilling meal for two with drinks will set you back around $20-25 which is far less that what you’d pay at other popular diners or burger joints.

Long story short, Munchease is worth the 10 minutes drive from Beirut to change from the usual places you’re used to, and with the summer season ahead, it’s also one of the ideal places to hit on your way back from the southern beach resorts.

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Things to Do This Week in Lebanon – May 17th 2017

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Here are my picks from Lebtivity for this week. Whisky lovers should not miss the World Whisky day event taking place this Saturday at Eau de Vie.

  1. BDD Talks: Thinking Life with Johnny El-Ghoul
  2. Rural Lunch – Fair Trade Day Celebration
  3. Stress Management Workshop With a Twist: Zen Day at The Blue House Secret Garden
  4. SARADAR BANK WOMEN’S RACE 2017
  5. The Garden Show & Spring Festival 2017
  6. Canadiana: The Battle of the Bands
  7. A Walk Of Taste
  8. World Whisky Day at Eau De Vie
  9. Blooming April – زهّر نيسان Rural Lunches
  10. Discover Mar Mikhael Car Free Day

Make sure to check Lebtivity.com for much more options.

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New OGERO DSL Prices Announced by General Director Imad Kreidieh

Imad Kreidieh, the general director of OGERO, announced on his twitter account last night the new DSL prices that should soon be offered to the public once approved by the cabinet and they are as follows:

  • 2Mbps / Ulimited – 60,000L.L
  • 4Mbps / 40GB – 24,000L.L
  • Open speed / 50GB – 30,000L.L
  • Open speed / 100GB – 45,000L.L
  • Open speed / 150GB – 60,000L.L
  • HDSL / 100GB – 100,000L.L
  • Open speed / 200GB – 75,000L.L

Note that open speed means as much as your phone line can handle. And according to the tests OGERO is currently conducting the speeds are reaching up to 10 and 12Mbps for people that are close to the exchange offices. As for free night quota, Kreidieh claimed it will not be available at this stage.

Needless to say, any price reduction to the DSL service is good to us, and I believe these new prices are quite fair. What I also wish is to have the process of switching from one ISP to another made easier since it takes up to two months right now.

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Things to Do This Week in Lebanon – May 10th 2017

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Here are my picks from Lebtivity for this week. The 2017 City Picnic so do check it out for something different to do this weekend.

  1. Byblos En Blanc Et Rosé 2017
  2. CITY PICNIC – Lebanon’s Largest Picnic
  3. Energy Lebanon 2017
  4. Kif Ken El 3acha – Theater Play
  5. Arabic Calligraphy Workshop
  6. Crab Friday at Sydney’s Club Bar & Restaurant
  7. NINETEASE-90s night at Eden Cocktail Bar
  8. Pasta Night at Al Murjan Palace Hote
  9. Les Carrés du Square

Make sure to check Lebtivity.com for much more options.

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This is How I Built My Own Netflix At Home

Ever since we had kids our life changed 180 degrees. With the new responsibilities, my wife and I began spending more time at home, going out less, and naturally started watching more TV at our place.

At the beginning things were quite simple, whenever we had something interesting in mind I would go to some BitTorrent website, download the files, and then transfer them to a USB drive in order to watch them on TV. But as time went my collection became so big that I started losing of what’s on my hard drive, and having to use the USB stick each time I wanted to watch something became annoying. So I started searching for solutions and ended up building my own Netflix at home.

Using my mobile I currently can browse everything I have ever downloaded on a sleek and nice interface (like the one above), and it only takes a second to play whatever I want on my TV which isn’t even a smart one!

The reason I’m sharing how to do it is simply because the setup has always impressed my friends especially when they’re around to watch our favorite series, moreover it’s a convenient solution to control what your kids are watching instead of letting them browse YouTube and stumble upon horrible videos.

Anyway, here’s all you need to set it up.

A Faster Wi-Fi

Playing multimedia over your home network means you will need a relatively fast router. In my case the media I stream within my local network is almost all in Full HD resolution, so my home router has to cope with some good amount of bandwidth, which is why I opted to get a TP-Link Archer D5. It is a 1200Mbps ADSL modem router that runs on two channels simultaneously, a 300Mbps 2.4Ghz channel that I use for my older devices, and a 867Mbps 5.0Ghz channel that I dedicated for newer devices equipped with “fast” Wi-Fi adapters (802.11ac) and this is the channel that I use for media streaming to my TV. Another important detail to add is that it has Gigabit LAN ports.

Network Attached Storage (NAS)

A network storage is a hard drive that you connect to your home router via eithernet in order to acess your files from any device you have. Think of it as your own private Dropbox or Google Drive. The one I have is a 4TB Western Digital My Cloud box that I bought for ~$250 two years ago. Once you go past its easy setup, just map it to your computer in order for it to appear under “My Computer” (if you are using Windows) and from there on you can easily access it just like a regular drive to store your files on it. It’s very important for this storage box to also have a Gigabit ethernet port to ensure high speed file transfer.

A NAS is not mandatory for the setup to work though and you can rely on your computer hard drive instead, but with HD movies having an average size of 3-4GB you can never have enough storage. I personally have a Lenovo Yoga 900 laptop with 256GB storage, so instead of storing downloaded files locally I transfer them to the NAS instead.

Google Chromecast

I have a 46″ Samsung TV that I bought back in 2011 when smart TVs were not really a thing back then. Chromecast is a small device that you can plug to an HDMI port in your TV in order to be able to cast or mirror the things you see on your phone or laptop to the TV. It makes watching videos off the internet (whether on YouTube or reruns from TV websites) much cooler.

Plex Media Server

This is the software that does all the magic and you can download it for free from Plex.tv for both computers and mobiles. Setting up Plex is also quite easy, once your install it on your PC open it using your browser and point it to where you have all your media files stored (in my case the storage box), then just give it a bit of time to download the needed metadata which includes the plot of each movie or series episode you have, along with their posters and rating.

Putting it All Together

This is the easiest part, just lay back and make sure your computer is powered on since that’s where the Plex server will be running, and then launch the Plex app on your mobile to browse your catalog and cast whatever you want to your TV.

What happens in the background can be summarized as follows, your mobile communicates with the Plex server on your computer, orders it to fetch the desired movie from your network storage and to mirror it on your TV via Google Chromecast.

Tweaks

  • Instead of manually moving the new media files you download to the network drive, you can use small handy tools like SyncToy (using the option “contribute”) to automatically transfer newly downloaded files to the network.
  • Plex also has the capability to automatically download the matching subtitles for your media file, so you can turn on that option to save time searching on SubScene and the alike.
  • If you want to avoid keeping your computer on whenever you want to watch something, then you can buy a Raspberry Pi 3 (a small computer the size of a pack of cigarettes), install Plex server on it and then attach it to your router. This way you will make it act as a mini server on your network.
  • To avoid manually checking for new episode of your favorite series you can use special BitTorrent clients such as DuckieTV that can do this automatically for you.
  • Since Plex allows creation of multiple channels with different content each, I created a special channel for my little boy with cartoon and animated stuff and just taught him how to use the Plex App on his iPad. This way I can control what he watches and avoid these sick videos on YouTube.

And this is pretty much it! If you intend to build something similar and needed some help then just let me know in the comments.

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Awesome Aerial Video From Around Lebanon

I know YouTube is infested with Lebanese drone shot videos but some just stand out and are too good not to share. The one below is produced by Dark Matters and is available in UHD resoultion, so if you have a suitable display and a hopefully fast connection just let it load in 4K and enjoy the cool shots and music.

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