Lebanon getting free WiFi in public parks

I know it’s hard to belive, but the news is true! The ministry of telecommunications is teaming up with the Association of Banks and Sodetel to bring free WiFi to 11 public parks in Lebanon (mainly in Beirut) during working hours.

  1. Herch Beyrouth on a surface of 30.000 m2, knowing that its total area is 330,0000m2
  2. Sanayeh- René Mouawad (22,000 m2)
  3. Sioufi (20,000 m2)
  4. Ramleh Bayda  (10,000 m2)
  5. Manchiyeh- Tripoli (10,000 m2)
  6. Bourj Abi Haidar (7,000 m2)
  7. Talet el Khayat – Moufti Hassan Khaled (5,000 m2)
  8. Abou Chahla (5,000 m2)
  9. Yassouhiyé (4,400 m2)
  10. Saint Nicolas (2,200 m2)
  11. Basta Tahta (2,200 m2)

Sioufi will be the first park to have the free WiFi starting today when ministers Nahas and Sehnaoui launch the service.

It’s a great initiative indeed. But given the current internet speed in Lebanon, I highly doubt the service will be really usable by the people. I mean we’re barely able to make use of the internet at home, let alone a shared public bandwidth!

6

Cheyef 7alak – Honoring Lebanese douchebag drivers

LBC International started a cool new website called “Cheyef 7alak” aimed to track irresponsible drivers. The idea behind the initiative is very simple, whenever you spot some bad driver/biker/pedestrian, take a photo of him/her and upload it to their website or Facebook page, and leave it to them to publish it and give those douchebags the attention they’re seeking!

Given the quality of our driving here, including myself (yeah I won’t pretend I’m the prefect driver here), I’m afraid they’ll get overloaded with photos very soon!

7

Fête de la musique Lebanon 2011 schedule

Here’s the schedule for Fête de la musique this year which is taking place as usual in Downtown Beirut, Hamra and Gemmayze. I’m personally looking forward to watch Band Audi, Wled El Balad, and Youmna Saba & Jade Balaben.

Place des martyrs

20h00 Gabriel Abdel Nour (Pop)
20h40 Michelle & Noel Keserwany (Folk)
21h10 Belime (Electro pop)
21h40 Bruno Live! (Pop rock)
22h20 Dana Dragomir
23H30 Anixa@Labex (Funk disco)
23h55 Epic (Rock)
00h35 Poly (Soul pop funk)
01h05 Mancer Dust (Rock alternatif)

Thermes romains

20h00 Soukara (World music)
20h35 Stephy Sfeir (Folk)
21h00 Nahas Project (Fusion jazz)
22h10 Les Blérots de Ravel
23h35 Limelight (Rock alternatif)
00h05 Lazzy Lung (Rock alternatif)

Souks de Beyrouth

20h00 Akachic Field (World music)
20h30 Rabih Rihana Trio (Jazz rock)
21h10 Silent Movie (Soundtrack)
21h35 Sandmoon (Folk rock)
22h20 Soweto Kinch (Hip hop jazz)
23h30 The Incompetents (Pop alternative)
00h10 Wled El Balad (Rock)
00h50 Jammit The Band (Reggae)

Jardin Samir Kassir

20h00 Karim Kneyzer (World music)
20h30 Episode (Rock symphonique)
21h10 Nadine Khouri (Folk rock)
21h50 Samar (Electro folk jazz)
23h00 Band Audi (Rhythm & blues)
23h40 Beirut Blues (Blues)
00h10 Plugged (Rock alternatif )
00h40 Rebellious Phoenix (Rock)

Gemmayzé

20h00 Charles (Pop)
20h30 Valérie Abou Chacra (Pop)
21h00 Cheesecake (Jazz pop)
21h40 Jolly Joker (Rock alternatif)
22h30 Tony Bayeh chante Zaki Nassif
23h30 Blue Band LB (Reggae)

Hamra

20h00 Purple Sea (Trip hop)
20h30 Moe Kabbara (Folk)
21h00 Arcane (Rock progressif)
21h40 Hanna Barakat & group (Pop rock)
22h20 Elissa Boustani’s band (Pop soul funk)
23h00 Nachaz (Rock blues)
23h40 Youmna Saba & Jade Balaben (Folk)
00h10 Nasama (Rock)
00h50 Pulse (Blues rock)

Scene Basement (souks de Beyrouth)

21h00 Ladybug
22h00 The BCE
23h00 ACIX
00h00 Djette
01h00 Jade
02h00 Vanclode Jandam
03h00 Ronin & Nesta

VJ’s :
Labo Strongsky & Vj Mosig

Eglise évangélique

18h30 Ecole de musique Ghassan Yammine

Schedule via Agenda Culturel.

7

Geekfest Beirut Vol. 4 – The gaming edition

This edition of GeekFest Beirut is all about games and gaming. On June 17th Beirut Art Center will turn into one large gaming platform with avant premier access to newly released games by Sony & Nintendo, a Mobile Gaming platform sponsored by NOKIA and a small pavilion of vintage games for hardcore geeks sponsored by Multimedia Megastore (M2). This will be the largest Game Case in GeekFest History and a revel for all game lovers to enjoy and participate in and be challenged by other pros. As it goes we expect no less that 150 geeks to come to challenge each other in virtual battles and win prizes courtesy of Nokia, Crepaway and GoNabit.

The event will also be catered by Crepaway and 961 Beer.

Do not miss out on the fun.

Need I say more? You can check Geekfest Beirut’s pages on Facebook and Eventbrite for more details about the event.

1

MTC Touch slashes calling rates for prepaid lines

It turned out that the price reductions I posted about yesterday are really coming and will be targeting owners of prepaid phone lines. According to this article from The Daily Star, MTC Touch is releasing 3 new recharge cards tomorrow for its Magic prepaid lines:

  1. Start: Priced at $10 and has 30 talking minutes (Rate is $0.33/min)
  2. Smart: Priced at $16.6 and has 60 talking minutes  (Rate is $0.27/min)
  3. Super: Priced at $30 and has 120 talking minutes (Rate is $0.25/min)

Given that there will be no hidden charges, MTC Touch is offering up to 36% reduction over the current rates ($0.39/min) and Alfa is supposed to follow a similar pricing. Pretty good in my opinion though the calling rates are still considered very expensive compared to the rest of the world. I just hope some day our government stops relying on this sector to fund its treasury and leaves the two operators to really compete on prices and services.

Next on the list is launching of the 3G service, let’s pray for it to arrive on time too!

Update:

Alfa also published the new rate plans for their prepaid lines which are now called “Waffer”. Thanks to Bechara.

17

The resurrection of Zein El Atat

I was passing by the airport road a few days ago when I noticed this small center for Zein El-Atat, whose permit for producing herbal products was revoked a while ago, being built near the Fantasy World.

Definitely doesn’t look like someone who’s experiencing a turbulence in his business, right?

2

MoT to announce charges reduction this week

The news below is from Assafir newspaper of Friday June 10 2011.

تخفيضات جديدة الأسبوع المقبل
«الاتصالات»: 3 ملايين مشترك في الخلوي

أعلنت وزارة الاتصالات ان نسبة الاختراق في الهاتف الخلوي بلغت حتى تاريخه 75 في المئة من مجمل المقيمين في لبنان، بارتفاع بلغ 30 في المئة (نحو 700 الف مشترك جديد) منذ نهاية العام 2009.
واشارت الى ان مجمل عدد المشتركين تجاوز عتبة الـ 3 ملايين بفعل الاجراءات التي اتخذتها الوزارة، لجهة توسعة الشبكات وخفض التعرفات، اضافة الى تقديم عروض جديدة، ومنها ما سيجري إطلاقها الاسبوع المقبل وتتضمن تخفيضات اضافية تتراوح بين 25 و50 في المئة على الكلفة الفعلية التي يتكبدها المواطنون.
من جهة اخرى، استقبل وزير الاتصالات د. شربل نحاس، في مكتبه امس، رئيس مجلس ادارة شركة ألفا مروان الحايك لمناسبة حصوله على جائزة رجل العام 2011 للاتصالات في العالم العربي.
وقال الحايك: إن هذه الجائزة ثمرة الجهود المبذولة بين وزارة الاتصالات وشركة «ألفا»، والتي أدّت الى احداث نقلة نوعية في قطاع الخلوي، تمثلت في اطلاق عروض جديدة وزيادة نسبة الاختراق وخفوض في التعرفات، والاهم بدء العمل الفعلي لادخال خدمات الجيل الثالث والمتوقع ان يتلمسها المستخدمون منتصف هذا الصيف.

Seems like the ministry of telecommunications is promising 25-50% price reductions on some mobile services this week. Let’s wait and see, and while waiting let’s just hope this won’t require some further approvals from any other party!

2

Beware of the Power Balance MTV is trying to sell

I was watching MTV Lebanon last night and saw and advertisement by some female basket ball player for some silicone wristband called “Power Balance” claiming it improves balance and strength, all for $8!

A quick search on Google will be enough to let you know it is just another scam! Bravo MTV.

In our advertising we stated that Power Balance wristbands improved your strength, balance and flexibility.

We admit that there is no credible scientific evidence that supports our claims and therefore we engaged in misleading conduct in breach of s52 of the Trade Practices Act 1974.

If you feel you have been misled by our promotions, we wish to unreservedly apologise and offer a full refund.

Via Gizmodo

9

Virgin ticketing box office ridiculous internet charges

Have you noticed that Virgin’s ticketing box office imposes a 3.5%  as “internet charges” on your total payment for tickets purchased through their website?

The main advantage of online purchasing is that people usually get deals at a lower price in the comfort of their home. Virgin probably didn’t get that right. Next time I have to make a ticket purchase, I’ll just go to one of their branches instead of using their website.

Thanks @sam_lb

4

Lebanese American artist builds cool Lego sculptures

Nathan Sawaya is a Lebanese American artist who builds 3-dimensional models from Lego toy bricks, and his latest creations are 2 sculptures of Conan O’Brien and Stephen Colbert!

As you can see, Sawaya is somewhat of a LEGO art savant — his New York studio is currently filled with 1.5 million colored bricks. He makes everything from human figures to architectural models to portraits out of the colorful toy bricks, delighting kids and adults alike with his creations. And we were impressed to hear him say in a recent interview on New York Nonstop that many of the LEGO pieces he uses are recycled.

You can read it all about it here.

Via Un peu de kel shi.

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