Why the Internet in Lebanon sucks (and why it got worse)

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, the new Lebanese Minister of Telecommunications Boutros Harb decided to “improve” the Lebanese Internet connection. The ministry has released the following table with the new packages that give you much more for a lot less:

Up to 88%, wow!
Up to 88%, wow!

With the new packages, a lot of Lebanese Internet users thought that we’re finally improving. With up to 88% increase, we’re definitely trying to catch up. However, the result of that increase turned out to be negative. The connection country-wise became so bad to a point where it’s unusable. What happened puzzled a lot of people. Everyone thought their ISP was lying to them. That’s not really the case.

During the Lebanese civil war (1975 – 1990), the government came out tired and broke. A lot of maintenance was needed to be done. Despite that, we were able to somehow keep up with the rise of internet in the 1990s. Dial-up connections spread throughout the whole country, and it didn’t take long for most the population to have a working internet connection.

Everyone knows our government isn’t all that good though, right? We were able to have a working dial-up network for a while now, but we didn’t do much for a long while. Until 2007, when the government upgraded most of the phone lines and it was ready, DSL went public. Although the DSL speeds were slow compared to the worldwide average, the new 256Kbps and 512Kbps were definitely way better than dial-up speeds.

A lot of countries began replacing DSL lines with fiber optics. We, however, did not do that. Instead, we continued to slowly improve our DSL lines until we hit 1Mbps average on most lines. While some areas are still stuck with dial-up. Some are enjoying 8-16Mbps.

The packages were expensive and the speeds were low. However, we were at least getting the speed we paid for. The expensive packages were restraining to most people. It caused them to lightly use the Internet limiting themselves to a few YouTube videos per month and rare Skype video calls. It also made them more dependent on WhatsApp and Facebook messenger.

It was all fine and dandy. Until a few months ago, the ministry decided to upgrade the packages. Oh well, that’s so good from them! Except for one problem, we don’t have the technology. The speed were too fast for the current cables to handle. In addition to that, the cheaper quota made people use the Internet more heavily. That, with other factors, caused the Lebanese network to slow down drastically. The mobile network remained unaffected whatsoever (new packages were introduced but are also expensive), stabilizing at about 2-5Mbps on 3G and 25-30Mbps on 4G/LTE. It depended on the area.

As you can see, the government isn’t exactly lying to use or is trying to steal our money (in this case). What happened was simply the result of bad planning and the fact that we’re unprepared for this. Next time the government wants try doing this, it should try to improve the network instead of simply increasing our usage.

Can we stop with the rumors?

It’s that time of the year again. In a few weeks, Apple will hold a keynote and announce its newest iPhone. The product it unveils usually disappoints everyone, but they end up buying it for some reason. It’s all fun and dandy, but there’s one big annoyance.

RUMORS!

Every goddamn year, we start seeing a huge amount of rumors. You cannot ignore them, they’re everywhere: Facebook, Twitter, News websites, etc… These rumors usually turn our to be true, and they actually ruin like 90% of the fun by spoiling the surprise and the suspense in Apple’s keynote.

Something else we can stop is the “expectations”. These are usually based on some companies Apple bought, some idea they patented or simply an order they made. I would give you an example, but I’m sure you’ve seen one before.

In order to avoid as much as possible, do the following:

  1. Mute keywords such as “rumors”, “leaks”, “iphone 6”, etc…
  2. Avoid checking Apple news websites, they’re usually filled.
  3. Don’t try googling it.
  4. Unfollow all Apple-related accounts until the keynote?
  5. Leave the Internet?
  6. ???
  7. Someone who isn’t tech savvy will ask you in real life anyway.

Sorry, it’s just how it is.

NOW STOP WITH THE RUMORS. THEY’RE ANNOYING AS HELL.

My opinion on Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, I’m pretty sure you’ve heard about the famous scientific TV show. Basically a reboot of Carl Sagan’s, this time hosted by the famous (and loved by the scientific community) astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson.

The first line of the first episode was, in my opinion, a warning for the religious watching.

The cosmos is all there is, or ever was, or ever will be. — Carl Sagan

A show beginning with this quote will definitely recognize The Big Bang and evolution as valid scientific theories.
They are anyway, right?

The show was definitely based on teaching the scientific theories, methods and philosophies. Inspiring young children to love science, spreading the importance of evidence during scientific research and rejecting subjectivity while doing so.

Neil mentions global warming (they actually made an episode just for that), and how we are definitely the main cause. He showed the evidence necessary to confirm it. Along the way, he showed us what happened to Venus which is now a hot desert.

Straight the point, I loved the show. Absolutely loved it. I would (figuratively) kill for a second season. Neil was definitely the guy for the mission, he’s the Bill Nye for advanced science. I definitely learned a lot while watching the show. The animations and the way stories were told were absolutely amazing. Satisfying my science-loving instinct.