FIFA Four-Year Plans

As the FIFA World Cup inches closer, I find myself wondering where the past 4 years went and what I have accomplished (or failed to accomplish) in that given time. Thanks to Lebanon being a football-crazed country that doesn’t participate in the World Cup but cheers for every other flag, I tend to make “FIFA Four-Year Plans” instead of Five-Year Plans when it comes to projecting into the future and trying to figure out where my chips will fall and which pigeons will eat them.

Two mondials ago, in 2006, I had just graduated from high school and, unknowingly, I was about to get my first taste of war in Lebanon. Four years after that, I had a biology degree, experienced my first heartbreak, and was a year into getting another degree in a completely unrelated field. I think I had a clearer vision of where I wanted to go at 22 than when I was 18. When you’re in your early late-twenties, the four years leading up to that bring about a lot of self-discovery and character-building. Besides that personal development, you also get bigger doses of reality and start to question yourself more and more. There is a simplification process that happens. Priorities change and your perspective becomes more focused because you realize who and what is important and worth your time & effort. Then, you jump to the next phase: where will I be when the next Mondial rolls around? When I’m 30 and my baby sister is graduating from high school? Where do I want to be and how do I get there?

2014 is the first Four-Year Plan Milestone that feels like a turning point considering I am now a semi-functional adult, caught in that young professional web where my peers are either engaged, married with kids, all-nighting for higher education degrees, or de-stressing with a beer on a sidewalk in Mar Mikhael. In the last four years, I graduated again, had a brief stint as a redhead, joined the workforce, traveled to the Far East, and started this blog. I have fewer acquaintances and more friends. I also tweet and have two tattoos. I have yet to build a Beirut metro, have a bake and shark in Trinidad, or drive a Maserati in the Autobahn. Hell, I didn’t even ride the Teleferique like I said I would while in Jounieh during the ’06 war. Check back with me on these in 2018.

In the last eight years, I have learned that things don’t always go according to plan and, sometimes, it’s better to have a general direction rather than a solid strategic course of action that has no room for compromise. You need to be flexible so you’re open to other opportunities you don’t foresee. Some people say, “don’t give up what you want most for what you want now.” Just don’t forget that maybe what you want now could lead you to something even better than what you want most.

So where were you 4 years ago and where do you want to be 4 years from now?

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Samsung S5 vs. iPhone 5S

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As said back in March, the guys at Samsung CTC gave me a brand new Samsung Galaxy S5 after I complained about my iPhone’s dying battery while tweeting at ArabNet. About a month later, my white S5 arrived and I began to discover how the other half lives.

Let me start with a massive disclaimer: I love my iPhone. I love Apple products because of their sleek appearance and their intuitive interface design. I use a Macbook, an iPod, and have been an iPhone user since 2012. That’s not a long time but, once I made the switch, that was it. I must also say that I feel it makes sense to use products of the same family because all devices are compatible & easy to sync. I recently upgraded to the 5S so getting an S5 (this is going to get confusing) was the chance to experience what my Android friends always use as ammo in the Apple vs Android debate. What I’m saying is, I’m incredibly biased and a very loyal customer of Apple but I tried to have an open mind about it. The overall use of the phone was not easy to figure out but I assume that that was because I’m used to the iPhone interface so navigating wasn’t simple. BUT, due to this, I saw how efficient Apple is when it comes to creating a system that is designed to mirror how you think it should work.

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COOL

Swipe Keyboard: All Samsung devices have this keyboard option. It allows you to swipe one finger over the letters used to spell a word in one movement. The phone will translate your swipe automatically into the word you’re spelling. It’s pretty accurate too – it even got commandments right.

Beauty Face: This is a camera feature that allows you to adjust the level of airbrushing on the faces in your photos. It’s like it was made for taking perfect selfies. It goes from 1 to 5, 5 being most “beautiful.”

Removable Battery: Upon receiving the phone, I couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t turning on until I realized I hadn’t inserted the battery. Yup, bimbo moment. iPhone batteries are built in so when you get the phone, you turn it on and you’re good to go. Samsungs’ are removable which helps when your phone freezes and you need to reset or when you need to replace a fried battery.

Battery life: The battery life is slightly better than the iPhone but, in all fairness, it also takes longer to charge. There’s an app in the Play Store called “Juice Defender” which gives you some options that help you save battery life and reduce use of data networks when the phone is at rest. As my Android friend said, anything that’s missing has an app to make up for it.

Green Packaging: The box the S5 is in is made of 100% recycled material and the printing is with soy ink.

GTalk: Since it’s an Android, having all of Google’s products built into the device is a plus. Besides Gmail and Chrome, GTalk and Hangout is also there. It’s a plus but not a deal breaker since there are so many messenger apps (texting and video) already available on all devices.

NOT-SO-COOL

Data Network Options: The fact that I can’t choose Edge (or any slower connection) means that my data network must be either all or nothing. This isn’t the end of the world but it can be inconvenient when you’re buying a smartphone. The iPhone still has Edge connection when you turn off your 3G so you can still use Whatsapp – this is my method for prolonging my iPhone’s life and reducing my phone bill. When you turn off your data network on any phone, it will prolong battery life so this could also contribute to your Samsung’s battery lasting longer than an iPhone’s, generally speaking.

Sim Card Size: Shifting from the 5S to the S5 took an extra week because I had to find the right sim card adapter. The 5S uses a sim smaller than the nano and the S5 is still at the nano-sim stage. Besides that, the sim’s slot is too tight. You need tweezers to remove the sim card unless there’s a hidden button I missed.

Screen Size: Some appreciate that the Samsung screens are larger and easier to read but I found that the size of the screen made the entire phone too bulky. It’s difficult to use with one hand and my thumb doesn’t reach across the entire screen with ease. I feel the phone’s size is too cumbersome (and that was without a cover), not pocket-friendly, and barely hand-friendly. Perhaps you get used to it or I have small hands. TWSS.

BEST FEATURE

Water-resistant: I wanted to dump the phone in a cup of water to put it to the test but I didn’t have the heart. This may be the only feature that beats the iPhone. In my opinion, this is the best feature since, in the presence of my electronics, my klutzy self and I have become a hydrophobic mess. However, this feature’s not enough to make me switch teams. I will say that a shield of this sort would make the iPhone king of its domain.

Well, that and a better battery life. Apple, are you listening?