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Phuket Live Wire: Goodbye to CAT EV-DO; Tips for iPad; PCs4Kids update

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Phuket Live Wire: Goodbye to CAT EV-DO; Tips for iPad; PCs4Kids update | The Thaiger

PHUKET:I remember the day well. October 1, 2007. The people at CAT let me take a sneak peek at their new “AirCard” service – the first wireless broadband service in Phuket.

I’m sad to say that, by the end of this year, that service will be officially phased out.

I call the service “EV-DO”, although the technology is actually called “CDMA EV-DO Rev A.”

Most of the people who bought into the service, in the early days, bought a Sierra Wireless AirCard (“AirCard” is a trademark of Sierra Wireless).

The AirCard plugged into a PCMCIA slot on your PC – back then, USB wasn’t common at all, but almost all laptops had wide PCMCIA slots.

An AirCard cost 15,990 baht. Unlimited EV-DO service ran to 1,290 baht per month.

I recall being absolutely delighted at the time that my downloads of Windows beta test versions would only take hours, instead of days. I downloaded Vista Beta 5728 that week on my TOT line and it only took two days. If I’d had the AirCard at hand, it would’ve taken four to six hours.

It’s hard to believe this was just five years ago.

Like the rest of Thailand, CAT has moved on to 3G. More accurately, to HSPA+, which is far faster and more reliable than EV-DO. The old CDMA network is being dismantled, and EV-DO will disappear along with it.

I asked at the CAT office in Central last week what would happen to the people who still have EV-DO AirCards. They didn’t seem to be overly concerned: my guess is that only a handful of people in Phuket who are actually still using EV-DO.

The bad news is that CAT has no plans to offer you a discount on converting to their “My 3G” network – the one based on HSPA+.

The good news is that… well, there really isn’t any good news. EV-DO users are basically up a creek.

As I explained two weeks ago, CAT has the least expensive, and arguably the best, “3G” HSPA+ service in Phuket.

Getting started with My 3G will cost one-tenth of what EV-DO cost back in the day, and the monthly charges run at 800 baht, for high speed downloads up to 4GB per month.

If you blow your monthly data cap, CAT throttles you back to a nominal 384 Kbps. (Don’t whine about the data caps too much, folks – they are now a fact of life everywhere in the world).

Of course, 3G in Thailand is in a state of massive upheaval and uncertainty. Just like it was five years ago, come to think of it.

Right now, as I also mentioned two weeks ago, there are rumors that CAT may shut down its My 3G program – or someone may shut it down for them.

I figure that’s unlikely to happen, simply because so many people depend on 3G. But, well, you never know, eh?

A passel of tips for all you iPad users

Friends of mine wrote in with a bunch of questions about their new iPad. Here’s what they said:

We have finally bought ourselves an iPad (the New…as there were no iPad 2s available).

Being very new to Apple technology we would appreciate your advice and tips on the following:

• Do we need to download any virus software?

• Do you use Safari or an Apple version of Firefox?

• Do you use a Dropbox program or use the iCloud?

• Any tips and recommendations regarding free downloads that are a must – or the ones that are a must to purchase.

• Do we need to register the iPad with Apple for the warranty (the staff in the Apple Store in Central were not very helpful).

We would appreciate any advice/tips etc that you may have, if you have the time.

I’m not an iPad expert, but I’m certainly a fan. Here’s what I wrote back:

There haven’t been any viruses on iPads yet. But you need to keep your ears open, if one should appear.

I use Safari. I don’t like it. I may switch to Chrome or Firefox, but haven’t had the time to give it a run.

I use both iCloud and Dropbox, but for two completely different things. Unless you need to work with your PC-based documents on the iPad, iCloud is probably all you need.

You need to realize that you don’t need to hook your iPad into a PC any more, or download iTunes for your PC. You can connect your iPad directly to iCloud, and get everything from there. In my opinion, that’s a much better alternative (although there are some cases where you might want iTunes).

Many people in Phuket don’t realize it, but you can get a pre-paid SIM card for your 3G iPad. Details and a lengthy discussion at thaivisa.com/forum/topic/552146-ipad-prepaid-3g-card/ .

Yes, you should register your iPad. If the locals won’t do it, keep your receipt. Apple’s good about service.

Here are the sites I recommend for getting started:

W: apple.com/support/ipad/getstarted/.

W: ipadinsight.com/ipad-tips-tricks/ipad-tips-getting-started-with-the-ipad.

There’s also a list of good iPad apps here: W: t3.com/features/best-ipad-apps.

GoogleEarth is amazing, same with Flipboard, both free. But I wouldn’t spend much money until you get a feel for it…. You’re going to find that there’s plenty to do and learn with just a plain iPad.

Update on the PCs4Kids project

Many of you may recall the PCs4Kids project, undertaken by Ross James and aided and abetted by a long list of locals.

The project’s moving forward slowly. Right now Ross has an application in to Microsoft, asking for donated Windows 7 licenses for all of the refurbished computers. He reports that it looks like the licenses will be granted, but it’s taking longer than expected.

A few of the computers have already been distributed to needy and deserving kids in Phuket, although most of them are still waiting for Win7 licenses.

Ross reports that they’re going to expand the program a bit, to encompass local college and technology school students as well as younger kids.

Ross says that they need monitors – any kind of monitors, but especially flat panels.

“I want to push for flat panels, but I don’t want to turn anything down right now. Here is my angle: You are probably reading this on a screen that you will upgrade sooner or later. Why not do it now?

“You will enjoy the hell out of your new 1080p 24-inch (or 32-inch), and someone else will get your old 19″ with some life left in it. So what are you waiting for?”

Donations of used PCs, peripherals, screens, laptops (especially laptop batteries, working or not!), memory chips, working or not – are greatly appreciated.

Bring them by either of the Sandwich Shoppes, or drop me a line.

Woody’s Sandwich Shoppes hold computer sessions under the tutelage of Seth Bareiss every other Wednesday afternoon, from 1 to 3pm. If you have a Windows problem that needs to be solved, drop by one of Seth’s free afternoon sessions. Details in the Phuket Gazette Events Calendar.

Live Wire is Woody Leonhard’s weekly snapshot of all things internet in Phuket.

Follow him on Twitter: @PhuketLiveWire— Woody Leonhard

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Tourism

The Area Hotel Quarantine – tweaking Thailand’s arrival options

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The Area Hotel Quarantine – tweaking Thailand’s arrival options | The Thaiger

We spoke about the new proposal for an Area Hotel Quarantine last Friday and in Thailand News Today. The mandatory 14 day quarantine (magically extended a couple of days at many facilities at the foreigner’s cost) remains the key sticking point for the return of tourists or travellers, in any significant or useful numbers. A number of visas and quarantine programs has done little to increase the numbers of foreign arrivals to Thailand.

The proposal, leaked out as a ‘discussion’ pending cabinet talks and a final decision, has not received much support from the overseas community that are trying to travel to Thailand, or former expats that are trying to get back. Many of the comments believe the 14 days, even restricted to a larger set of walls, is still too restrictive, costly and inconvenient.

“It would also be nice if the two weeks quarantine was not part of the visa! You get a two month visa minus the two weeks.”

“It’s still a prison if you can’t get out. Voting with my feet”

“There’s just not going to be any tourism until Thailand stops this 14-day quarantine nonsense.”

The proposal allows guests to leave their hotel rooms after the first 3 days of a 14 day stay. The proposal is on the agenda for the next CCSA weekly meeting. The proposal was mooted at a meeting last Thursday and chaired by Thailand’s Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn.

After the first 3 days, guests would have another swab test before being able to spend the remaining 11 days meandering around the rest of the hotel complex (so, suddenly, REALLY large hotels in great locations become much more attractive). But they wouldn’t be able to leave the hotel property.

The Area Hotel Quarantine is being seen as an accommodation for the hardest hit tourist zones in Thailand – Chiang Mai, Phuket, Krabi, Surat Thani (the 3 islands of Koh Samui, Koh Pha Ngan and Koh Tao) and Chon Buri (Pattaya). In all cases the key tourist zones are desperate for the government to ease restrictions or do something… anything… to help boost travel to the battered tourist economies that rely, mostly, on the visits from tourists.

After the 14 day AHQ the visitor will be free to travel anywhere around Thailand.

Last Thursday’s conference call says that Ministers are trying to come up with ways to start re-opening up Thailand to more travellers from next month by expanding the options and slowly easing restriction.. They also want to re-open talks with neighbouring countries and other countries deemed ‘low risk’, or with high vaccination uptake, with travel bubble options, hopefully by May.

About vaccinations, the government is also considering plans to have a no-quarantine option for visitors to come to Thailand as long as they’ve been vaccinated. But the Public Health Ministers says they are looking at the lead from the World Health Organisation about how to administer this sort of ‘vaccine passport’ access as there needs to be a greater body of knowledge about the efficacy of various vaccines. The International Air Transport Association is also in discussion with airlines and governments about restricting access to international travel for people who have been vaccinated.

It was also disclosed this week that some foreigners in the first batch of golf quarantine, where they have to stay in their room for 3 days then can roam around the golf course and play golf, have tested positive for the coronavirus after the test on the third day of their stay. Another batch of Villa Quarantine tourists, visiting Phuket at the end of February, have all returned negative test results.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

(The hotel depicted in the main photo may, or may not, be associated with the Area Hotel Quarantine program)

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Crime

2 Phuket Town nightclubs shut down after allegedly violating multiple laws

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2 Phuket Town nightclubs shut down after allegedly violating multiple laws | The Thaiger

2 Phuket Town nightclubs are shutting down after allegedly violating multiple laws. The Maldives and H20 on Lim Sui Ju Road, on the south end of Phuket Town were ordered by the Phuket Governor to close immediately, with the Maldives being orderd to close for 5 years.

The order comes after the Phuket City Police inspected the Maldives club, arresting the manager for operating an entertainment venue without a permit, allowing people under 20 years old to work or “use services in the venue,” and for selling alcohol without a permit.

Governor Narong cited his authority under Section 4 of NCPO order 22/2558 to order the Maldives nightclub to be closed for 5 years, from March 5, 2021 to March 4, 2026.

The order also prohibits the operators from opening any other entertainment venues during the same period. The H20 nightclub was ordered to close by a provincial order after Phuket City Police say they inspected the venue and charged the operator for selling or providing shisha, or baraku, without permission.

The owner was also accused of operating an entertainment venue without a permit and violating the provincial order for enforcing Covid-19 safety measures. But it is unknown what penalties were handed down to the operator of the H20 nightclub, unlike the Maldives operator, who received a penalty.

Instead, the governor cited the Revolution Council announcement of 1959, to shut down the establishment for 30 days from March 5, 2021 to April 3, 2021. The orders noted that both operators of the clubs have the right to appeal the closures, having 15 days to file an appeal directly with the Phuket Governor.

Meanwhile, Phuket is set to open its doors to vaccinated, international tourists by October, pending the government’s approval. The local government’s initiative, named Phuket First October, proposes vaccinating a majority of its population over 18 years of age in time for the high season.

The move would allow thousands of vaccinated Europeans to enter Thailand, while locals would be protected from the virus symptoms.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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Drugs

Early morning drug busts in Phuket yield 9 arrests

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Early morning drug busts in Phuket yield 9 arrests | The Thaiger

An early morning drug bust in Rawai, Phuket has yielded 9 arrests. The first raid yesterday consisted of 30 task force members who raided a sea gypsy shack near the beachfront in Rawai.

43 year old Saroch Homhuan, and 34 year old Juree Bangjak, were arrested and charged with posession of a Category I drug with the intent to sell, after police found 9 pills of methamphetamine, or yaba in Thai, over 6 grams of crystal meth, or ya ice in Thai, and 3 other “items of evidence.”

31 year old Suriyan Na Takuathung, and 29 year old Prathip Areerop, were arrested and charged with possession of a Category 1 drug with intent to sell, and possession of a Category 5 drug respectively. Police say they found 20 pills of methamphetamine, 0.92 grams of dried marijuana and 5 items of drug paraphernalia.

Police also raided 2 houses in Moo 2, arresting 5 suspects, named as 21 year old Vikrom Kongwiriyakul, 32 year old Narunat Chanthamuwong, 18 year old Chanchai Damrongkaset, a woman named Chantha Hansaithong, and 21 year old Warut Rodphan.

Warut was allegedly found with a bottle containing 500 millilitres of kratom juice. Police also say they seized 150 grams of kratom leaf dregs which are used to boil leaves in order to make the juice. Police charged him with posession of a Category 5 drug.

Police say they confiscated a total of 13 litres of kratom juice from 4 other suspects, which was contained in 10 bottles along with other ingredients and equipment to produce the drug cocktail called ‘4×100.’

All 9 suspects were taken to the Chalong Police Station in which only 1 agreed to undergo drug rehabilitation.

The raids come after the Phuket Provincial Government ordered officers of the Muang District Office to target villages where drugs are prevalent. A spokesman for the government said police will continue to remove drug traffickers from the community while working to improve the quality of local people’s lives so they don’t have to use drugs anymore.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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