Nokia Lumia 900 hands on

Thanks to Nokia Lebanon, I’ve been uising this Lumia 900 device for a couple of weeks now and my experience with it has been very pleasant! The Lumia 900 is one the first Nokia devices running Windows Phone operating system (version 7.5) which I honestly think is as good as the currently dominating systems, i.e. Android and iOS.


Although the Lumia 900 is powered by a 1.4GHz single-core processor and 512MB RAM, I was surprised by how fast the operating system is. Scrolling and moving between application was so quick and smooth.

As for the design, well there’s nothing to complain about as the phone fits almost perfectly in my hand, with the volume, sleep, and camera buttons all situated on the right side.


The display is a 4.3-inch, 800 x 480 AMOLED ClearBlack screen, and I know that’s less resolution that what you may find on other competitive phones, but I say it’s not a deal breaker. Colors on the other hand seems pretty fine and well saturated for my taste.


That was basically my only disappointment with the device. Knowing that the Lumia 900 has an 8MP camera with a Carl Zeiss lens, you’d expect the phone will take some really good photos, but unfortunately the camera under-delivers. I don’t mean the photos are disastrous, but they’re just not too good. Below is for example 2 photos I took with an iPhone 4S and a Lumia 900 for you to notice the difference.

iPhone 4S

Lumia 900

Battery life:

On my first couple of days using the Lumia 900 the battery was lasting for like 10 hours since I had 3G turned on all the time and was spending long time toying with apps. But on the next days I started turning off 3G whenever I had WIFI around me and the battery life improved significantly improved, so at around 11PM I’m usually left with ~20% battery remaining with screen brightness set to maximum.

Windows Phone:

My experience with the operating system has been very pleasant so far. It took me like an hour to get familiar with it and start downloading some apps to make full use of the Lumia 900.

Multitasking is supported and you will be able to view the open application by a long press on the “back” located on the left. Still, it should be pointed out that every time I tried accessing an application sunning in the background I would receive the application’s splash screen… which made me wonder if that application was really working in the background or not.

The experience Windows Phone offers with applications is very nice as well, and they almost all look so gorgeous on it, but still what I believe this operating system is lacking is definitely a wider selection of games and applications like what Android and iOS have.

One this you should be aware of though is that Windows Phone 8 (the upcoming version of Windows Phone) is around the corner and the Lumia 900 is not going to support it.

All in all:

No device is flawless, and that applies to the Lumia 900 as well, but am I willing to continue using it? Definitely yes. Especially that the main applications that I’m concerned with are already available and working very well for me (WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, WordPress, etc..), and I’m pretty pretty sure many more applications will be added to the Windows Marketplace soon.


Boobs, Botox and the Babes of Beirut

… that was actually the title of a recent article at the Huffington Post by David J Constable.

I visited a nightclub one evening to witness the dolls and their dates myself. In Taïga Sky, a rooftop nightclub in Batroun (30 miles from Beirut) everyone is smoking, bouncing on the spot and eyeing each other up, not in a complimentary way but diamond gazes of fierce competitorship. The top trump card here is a tan and a good set of pins, and in that respect it’s no different from the techno cattle clubs in the UK, however in Lebanon the women look like Cleopatra, with a dark natural beauty beyond anything Max Factor can supply and into the billion dollar industry of plastic surgery. Their partners are a mixture of bodybuilders in Lycra t-shirts or fat, pony-tailed Arabic mafiosi. It’s as captivating as it is frightening.

Back in Beirut, in the VIP corner of Le Capitole, another five-star rooftop bar, I see the wives and girlfriends of artists. They must be the better-halves of surgeons as surely no one can afford to spend that much of their own cash on reconstructive surgery and blow-me-up operations. There are benefits to marrying/dating/having sex with a plastic surgeon, as these well-ironed and unwrinkled faces suggest to me that they don’t reach the age limit of nightclub entry, such is their youthful appearance, bronzed with potions and powders.

You can read the rest of the article here.

It’s amazing how some foreign journalists are willing to judge the whole Lebanese society based on a few visits to some of the country’s posh bars and clubs!


Shake Shack is coming to Lebanon!

I just learned Al-Shayaa is soon bringing Shack Shack to Lebanon! In case you’re not familiar with it, Shake Shack is a pretty famous burger joint in New York and several other cities in the states, and has expanded to the Middle East over the last couple of years with restaurants opening in Dubai and Kuwait.

From what I read online by people who have tried the burgers at Shake Shack, it seems like they taste really good! So I really can’t wait for them to open here.

Now of course the question is where will Shake Shack be located and when is the opening taking place?

photo via GadgetLam


According to Raja, Shake Shack will be opening at Beirut City Centre.


A new malware targets Lebanese Bank customers!

Kaspersky Labs recently discovered a new malware called “Gauss” with a module that aims to capture Lebanese bank accounts login credentials. And the targeted banks included Bank of Beirut, EBLF, Blom Bank, Byblos Bank, Fransabank, and Credit Libanais.

The article suggests the malware has been created by the US and Israeli governments and was not intended to steal money from client accounts, but rather to trace the source of funding to certain individuals (Hezbollah members I suppose).

The spyware, dubbed Gauss after a name found in one of its main files, also has a module that targets bank accounts in order to capture login credentials. The malware targets accounts at several banks in Lebanon, including the Bank of Beirut, EBLF, BlomBank, ByblosBank, FransaBank and Credit Libanais. It also targets customers of Citibank and PayPal.

The researchers don’t know if the attackers used the bank component in Gauss simply to spy on account transactions, or to steal money from targets. But given that the malware was almost certainly created by nation-state actors, its goal is likely not to steal for economic gain, but rather for counterintelligence purposes. Its aim, for instance, might be to monitor and trace the source of funding going to individuals or groups, or to sabotage political or other efforts by draining money from their accounts.

Still, that doesn’t seem like the only purpose for that malware, since the people at Kaspersky are still working to crack the larger part of its code and identify what is it responsible for.

Make sure to read the very interesting and worrying report from here.

I know protecting your network from a nation-state-created malware is quite hard, but I hope Lebanese banks are now taking the necessary measures to protect themselves from such attacks and eventually safeguard our information.

 Thank you Ibrahim Lahoud


10 Tips to driving in Beirut

Get up close and personal. Don’t panic if you feel your car caressing another. Many a vehicle in Beirut looks like it’s suffered multiple collisions – but this is an illusion. These cars just had the misfortune to be subject to the ‘Oops, let’s carry on’ philosophy of making contact with parked cars.* Indeed, most of the time it’s just the slow build up of tiny little encounters while trying to park, or driving while intoxicated (it does happen). That and cripplingly low wages that prevent people from repairing or upgrading.

You can read the rest of the tips on The Huffington Post here.

One additional tip from me is to always plan an alternate route in your mind wherever you’re driving to in case some group of douchebags decided to suddenly block the streets with burning tires over a silly matter.


Andrea Paoli advances to quarter finals

Andrea Paoli who’s representing Lebanon in Taekwondo in the 2012 Olympic games won against Nidia Munoz from Cuba today morning and is now one game away from the medals now that she has advanced to the quarter finals.

Her upcoming game today isn’t going to be an easy one though, since she’ll be competing with Tseng Li-Cheng from Taipei, who was ranked first in the 2012 Asian championships.

All the luck to Andrea!


Andrea unfortunately lost 2-5 to Tseng Li-Cheng.


Free car wash in Beirut

So what do you expect when a water pipe bursts causing a fountain in Downtown Beirut? People started slowing down causing a slight traffic jam to wash their cars!

This actually happened right across the street Paul Gemmayze.


You don’t mess with Lebanese expats!

Check out this video showing Nicholas Dawoud, a Lebanese expatriate in Massachusetts, putting up a fight against a couple of burglars at his mini market when they tried to rob him on Friday.

According to this article, Nicholas Dawoud was robbed of $1,800 a few days earlier and so he decided to fight back with a baseball this time and eventually succeeded in holding the man with the help of his neighbors until the police arrived. Hat-tip to the man!

Thank you Kheireddine


Car crashes into Wardieh pharmacy in Hamra

That pharmacist must be so lucky!


This was shot off the monitor of the security cameras of Al-Wardieh Pharmacy in Beirut Lebanon on 12 July 2011.

After midnight, while my buddy mahmoud K. (pharmacist) was walking out the door of the pharmacy, this car slid off the main road after getting into an accident and then hit the pharmacy’s main entrance and display, barely missing Mahmoud(you can see him jump away once he sees the car coming straight to him).. Nice reflex buddy 🙂


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