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.

How to fix iMessage on your Hackintosh

Since I installed OS X on my Hackintosh, I’ve been facing this one problem with both iMessage and FaceTime: they’re both not working. Instead, I’m being greeted with a window saying the following:

Your Apple ID “name@website.com” can’t be used to set up iMessage at this time.

If this is a new Apple ID, you do not need to create another one. To use this Apple ID with iMessage, contact iMessage support with the code below.

Customer Code: XXXX-XXXX-XXXX

So I’ve decided to write a post explaining how I fixed that. So let’s begin, shall we?

First, you’re gonna need a real serial number. Not a fake one. I found a post explaining just how to do that. For more information just visit this link. When done, reboot your computer.

If you get iMessage to work after rebooting, then congratulations! You got iMessage working! If not, read on.

Second, you’re gonna need to call Apple support. You can call them on the number corresponding to your country. You can also use Skype or magicJack to call them on their US customer support number. In my case, the answering machine picked up the phone. It asked me to provide it with the device’s model and serial number. Ignore it and it should redirect you to the director of the call center. They’ll ask you to describe the issue. Tell them the following:

I’m calling because I’m having problems with activating iMessage on my [insert Mac model]. It’s asking me to call Apple support and provide them with some customer code.

They will probably ask you to provide them with your name, a callback number (if you’re calling from outside the US you don’t have to, just tell them), the serial number and your Apple ID.

Once you’re done, all you have to do is quit out of iMessage/FaceTime and open it again. You should be able to login and use it normally.

Enjoy!

Hackintosh: Is it worth it?

Hello everybody, this is my first post on this blog. And just saying, it’s not gonna be updated frequently. It’s not a daily blog.

What does the term “Hackintosh” mean?

Hackintosh is simply the combination of the word “hack” and “mackintosh” which is what Apple called their computers before going with “Mac”.

Well that’s how they came up with the word, but what does it mean? Basically it’s installing OS X on an Intel (or AMD) computer that is not branded as an Apple product. And no, sticking an Apple sticker on the back of your case or notebook won’t make it an Apple product.

Is it Legal?

Let me get this straight, you are violating Apple’s EULA (end-user license agreement) by installing OS X on a non-Apple computer or a virtual machine (running in a non-Apple OS). Apple mentioned the following in its EULA:

The grants set forth in this License do not permit you to, and you agree not to, install, use or run the Apple Software on any non-Apple-branded computer, or to enable others to do so.

…to install, use and run up to two (2) additional copies or instances of the Apple Software within virtual operating system environments on each Mac Computer you own or control that is already running the Apple Software.

Anyways, I’m pretty sure that the chance of them breaking into your house, taking away your computer then suing you is lower than 0.00000000001%, so it’s not really a problem.

Experience? Ease of use? Stability?

This is something you should know when hackintoshing. By choosing it over a real Mac, you’re basically throwing the Apple experience and its ease of use out of the window. Apple designed the Mac line to run OS X and vice versa, so the stability is based on the harmony of the software and hardware. For example: when Apple releases a new update for OS X, every person with a Mac computer (that is supported) can update without an issue. In my case, I have to re-install my patched AppleHDA.kext (kernel extension responsible of audio) to get my Audio back. Many other hackintoshers have the same problem or other ones.

As for the stability, if you’re going to Hackintosh you have to get familiar with the following screen. You’ll see it a lot.

Kernel Panic

This is known as a kernel panic. It usually occurs when OS X faces a fatal error that it cannot ignore and handle. This can happen for many reason. A wrong bootflag, a kext that’s unstable, an update that broke you installation or simply OS X acting up on you. If you’re not tinkering with your system files, you’ll rarely see it. Rarely isn’t never, don’t be surprised.

Price?

Mac Pro

This is where hackintoshes excel. For less than 450$ you can build a Mac mini equivalent. In addition to that, you’ll be able to customise it the way you want, is the VGA getting old? Swap it out. Same goes for other Mac models.

Conclusion

Finally, I would like to address that the Hackintosh has many pros and cons. the pros include price and customisability. The cons include lack of stability and legality. If you want to try OS X but can’t afford one, do it.

Although, I am aware of all these cons, I’m still going to try it. Reasons include the price, the customisability.

Oh and by the way, don’t use TonyMacX86’s software. Use something else like myHack or install it manually. For more info on why TonyMacX86 is bad, click here.