Monday, 10 November 2014

Some Things Never Change

After a year or so out of the country I find myself back in Beirut for a few months before I (hopefully) head off to the UAE.

As a freelancer and a digital media guy, I’ve been rudely reminded of the state of the city’s Internet infrastructure, or the lack of it. It seems that merely updating your profiles and playing around on a few sites takes forever and I half expect to hear the clicking and beeping of an old dial up modem in the background.

I suppose I got lazy and complacent, living in London over the past year and enjoying Internet speeds so fast as to almost be redundant. I mean, if you’re getting in excess of 2 MB/s, who needs 3 or 4?

Case in point - when I shamelessly lifted the image above (from here) the website code popped up in Google and I had to reload.

So, I’m back, trying to (re?) adopt my old lifestyle of sticking the laptop in my bag and heading off to Hamra’s cafes to get a little work done like some sort of high tech hobo. I’m leery of endlessly paying to refill my generator at home, so it’s to Prague I head when the daily three-hour cut approaches.

Freelancing’s a pain in the ass at the best of times, but when you head into a place and get 56 KB coming down the pipe, you know you’re screwed, it's like listening to the endless dripping of a leaking tap. I was told time and again that the Internet plans in the country have improved, but it seems like the bars and cafes of Hamra have avoided the upgrade. Expensive coffee? Sure. Internet from 1995? Yep.

First world problems, as they say, but it is depressing when your 3G connection is faster than your wireless.

If anyone has any recommendations, I’d much appreciate them.