Friday, July 29, 2005

Changing Phone Numbers

While reading THE DAILY STAR newspaper today, I found out that all current mobile numbers will no longer need the 03 prefix (area code) , but will require the 71 prefix starting September 18, 2005.

Earlier this summer, mobile operators launched campaigns promoting mobile numbers with the 70 prefix.
Apparently, the new 70 & 71 prefixes are necessary to meet the increasing demand in mobile lines, previously restricted to some 800 000.

Although no official announcement has yet been made, I called my mobile operator alfa ( the Cellis substitute) and they confirmed the switch to the new code.

So if you used to dial 03-XXX XXX within Lebanon, you will have to dial 71-XXX XXX.
From outside Lebanon, you will have to dial 961-71-XXX XXX.

What intrigued me the most was the following:
In January of 2006, the ministry will release new nine-digit toll-free numbers for services such as gaming or calling television shows to vote for reality TV contestants. Later in 2006, "01" numbers will begin instead with "2," opening up more fixed lines. (Daily Star)

When I called the OGERO (the fixed lines operator) hotline number 1515 to ask about it, they had no idea what I was talking about.

I will update this story as soon as I get more info.

You can read The Daily Star article by clicking here.

Useful Links:
1- The Daily Star
2- alfa
3- MTC Touch
5- Lebanese Ministry of Telecommunications

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Bang Bang

Friday night, I am waiting for my friends to pick me up and head towards Monot , the heart of the Lebanese nightlife.
Next thing I know, I get a phone call telling me about an explosion in the Monot area.
In order to make sure this was the case, I did the bomb check test we usually do in Lebanon.
I tried to make a call on my mobile, and I got the "Network Problem" error.
The test proved positive.
This time however, I felt like nothing serious had happened. After so many car bombs, we kinda got used to it, and life goes on. Instead of staying home, we just decided to go towards Jounieh where we could hang out at Crepaway or Schtroumpf.
It is funny, but looks like we got to a point where hiding or staying home isn't an option anymore.
Whether you are at home or on the road, you don't know where the next bomb is gonna blow.
Either we convince ourselves that staying home is safer and wait for the disaster to knock on our doors, or we just continue our lives and believe that our hour will come when God decides it is time.

Monday, July 11, 2005

The Lebanese Mentality

I still remember the Mastercard adverstisement where they start showing you stuff like a soccer team T-shirt for X dollars, tickets to a game for Y dollars... And finally a soccer ball signed by the famous Brazilian player Pelé as priceless. And the message at the end: "There are some things money can't buy. For everything else there's Mastercard".

On the other hand, a Lebanese bank has been showing lately a TV advertisement about its plastic cards with the exact opposite mentality.
Usually, advertisers take into consideration the social and cultural beliefs of the targeted consumers... This case wasn't an exception.
As the ad plays, you can read messages such as "The power to give", "The power to lead", "The power to say NO", "the power to decide" and finally you see the numerous plastic cards with the message "The power in your hand".

While some might disagree with the way the message is being delivered, since it clearly states that with money you can do anything you want, I believe it is a reflection of how the Lebanese society is thinking.

Makes you really wonder how materialistic life has become in Lebanon, the land of values.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Hot Dark Lebanese Summer

So the elections are over, a new government is about to be formed, and life goes on in Lebanon.
It is getting hotter every day of this summer, being the weather or the parties on weekend nights and sunny Sunday beaches.

Wanting to increase the excitement in our lives, EDL (the local electric power authority in Lebanon) is managing to increase its power shortages just when we need it the most.
Suddenly, coming back late from a weekend party is an adventure in Lebanon.
Since backup generators are forbidden after 1:00 am , my only source of light was my cell phone's screen. I had to make it to my apartment located luckily on the 2nd floor by using the stairs without tripping. Good thing I was sober that night.
If you think that was easy, (guys) try using the bathroom in total darkness.

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