PHUKET: Continuing my series of articles answering questions that I hear most often… it seems like half the people I know have got an iPad recently.
The question I’m hearing over and over: What apps should I put on my iPad?
There’s no definitive answer because the iPad ecosystem changes faster than a Republican primary. At last count, you had more than 500,000 apps to choose from, and the number’s going up by more than 600 per day.
Why? Money. The iPad’s booming. Apple hasn’t officially reported its sales numbers for the last quarter of 2011 yet, but it looks like they sold about 40 million iPads in the calendar year 2011. Compare that to about 350 million PCs (including Macs) sold in 2011. iPad sales are increasing rapidly – up much more than 100 per cent between the fourth quarter of 2010 and 2011. PC sales are decreasing, especially in the US – down 5 per cent year-on-year.
While nobody’s saying the PC is going away anytime soon, it’s clear that the iPad has started to grunt like an emerging 800 lb gorilla.
If you have a new iPad, there’s a handful of apps you should have downloaded by now. To get any of these apps, turn on your iPad, and touch the button for the AppStore, then search for the app by name.
If you’re on Facebook, the Facebook app is a no-brainer: using the Facebook app on the iPad is much easier than using it on the web. Ditto for Twitter. Bloomberg has an excellent news app. Weather Channel. I swear by Flipboard. Skype works like a dream.
If you’re a Windows user, the iPad works great with Windows, in spite of what people may tell you. I wrote two articles about getting iPad and Windows to work together with various apps, at Windows Secrets Newsletter. Look it up: http://bit.ly/r2Hwob and http://bit.ly/nqblsO.
Those are the important apps for every iPad owner. Those of us who live in Phuket also have a handful of apps that work great. And they’re free.
To start this guide to Phuket apps, I went to the Apple AppStore and searched for “Phuket.” Not exactly rocket science.
I was surprised that I didn’t find the two apps that were mentioned earlier in the Gazette. “Checkin Good Deals” didn’t draw a hit in the AppStore search engine. When I searched for “Tiny Coffee” I found that app in the iPhone store, and most of it works: Static (non-zoomable) maps to all of the Tiny Coffee locations, and the full menu appears on-screen. I couldn’t get the History button to work.
The FM 91.5 app also appears in the iPhone section, not in the iPad section. The app gives a live broadcast from FM 91.5, as long as you don’t switch to a different app (that’s a limitation of the iPad’s iOS, not a problem with FM 91.5). You can use the app to Request a Song and send a message to the current DJ. Unfortunately, there’s no on-screen volume control. It’s a basic app, but a nice way to listen to local radio when you’re hangin’ with your ‘Pad.
I found a couple of additional apps that appear to be very much works-in-progress. I’ll refrain from commenting on those. There are also many apps of varying quality geared to tourists: maps, reviews, typical travel magazine stuff. They’re frequently expensive. Remember that the average AppStore App sells for US$1.98.
One very pleasant discovery was that the web site Thaivisa.com has recently released two free apps – one for iPad and one for Android – and the iPad app (the one I tested) works very well. Thaivisa.com, for those who don’t know, is a remarkable source of information for foreigners living in, or visiting, Thailand. It covers visas in spades, as you would expect from the name, but thousands of posts touch on every facet of farang life. An entire forum is devoted to Phuket, another to Farang Food, another to Sports – you get the idea.
The Thaivisa iPad app is now my favorite way to look at the forums. It’s very well organized, absolutely no clutter, and as fast as can be. Unfortunately, it falls down in three places: you can’t post anything using the iPad app (the option to “Open in Safari” doesn’t work, at least on my iPad), there’s no Search capability, and you can’t use the pinch gesture to make type larger and smaller. Still, it’s an excellent app to catch up on the latest at Thaivisa.
Which brings me to my favorite local iPad app. Yes, I’m biased, but if you take a look at what’s on offer, I bet you agree. The Phuket Gazette’s app is a remarkable achievement – there are huge news organizations that don’t even come close with their iPad apps. Picture-toting tiles on the left give you quick access to the latest stories. The charm bar at the bottom has links to the Events Calendar, Issues and Answers (re-named “Expat Issues”), Classifieds, Queer News, the Lifestyle section, Sports and PGTV. Controls for resizing fonts, and sending links via e-mail, Facebook or Twitter are immediately available.
I know that many of you are thinking about coming up with your own iPad apps – I’m thinking about doing one for the Sandwich Shoppes – so I kicked around the Gazette office and asked about the details. I was surprised to find that the app was designed and built right here in Phuket. The Gazette IT Manager Seubsak (“Big”) Sahaworapun led the team.
Khun Big’s observation: “To create an App, you first need to purchase a MacBook computer and an iPad (or iPhone). You need to learn Objective-C, one of the most sophisticated object-oriented programming languages; Cocoa, Apple’s native object-oriented Application Programming Interface (API); and Xcode, a development software that integrates everything needed to compile and upload the finished product to the App Store.” One of the team members spent a week in Bangkok at an Apple briefing. The result speaks for itself.
The Phuket Gazette launched the first version of its iPad app last March. Version 1.0 tried to mimic the Gazette web site, and didn’t work very well: as iOS designers have learned over and over again, if you’re just going to copy your web site, it’s much easier to have your readers use a browser, and let them futz with scrolling and pinching. iPad apps – at least, good iPad apps – are different. They’re far more immersive, and the touch interface melds in with the content.
Version 1.0 took two programmers – working about half-time – a full year, plus a graphic artist and lots of edit time. Coming up with a good iPad app is not for the faint of heart.
The Gazette app currently in the AppStore is version 1.2, and it’s come a long way, baby, with a revamped design and full video – which posed a significant technical challenge. Give it a try.
With Woody hunkered down writing a book, the weekly Computer Clinics are taking a new turn. Until Woody emerges with an 860-page copy of “Windows 8 All-In-One For Dummies” under his arm, around May or June, Seth Bareiss will hold computer sessions 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 at the Sandwich Shoppes. Details in the Phuket Gazette Events Calendar.
Sponsored by the Phuket Gazette and Khun Woody’s Sandwich Shoppes.
Live Wire is Gazette columnist Woody Leonhard’s weekly snapshot of all things internet in Phuket.
Follow him on Twitter: — Woody Leonhard
Top 10 Phuket fitness options – get fit on a tropical paradise
by Krix Luther
Living and working in Phuket for more than 11 years as a full-time Personal Trainer, I have had the pleasure of watching the island develop and make its mark on the wider Health and Fitness industry. I can comfortably say it is becoming an important Health, fitness and wellness hub of South East Asia.
The island has an incredible amount to offer, so much so, you could get lost if you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for. Knowing what is what, what to do, where to start and which is best for you and your fitness journey, can be a daunting task.
Here’s a snapshot of what the island has to offer, whether you’re a beginner, average gym rat, fitness enthusiast or pro athlete. You will find something that suits you.
So, in no particular order, here are the Top 10 Phuket fitness options.
1. Phuket Detox Centres
Phuket Detox Centre? At first, most people think a Detox centre is some sort of Drug Rehab facility. Although a lot of detox centres in Phuket will state they can aid their clients in overcoming some addictions, their primary objective is to help people cleanse and detoxify the body through different variations of fasting and or dieting.
(The Thaiger recommends you should consult with a medical professional before undertaking any detox treatment)
Phuket detox centres offer similar options. Full fast (which means eating nothing but supplements), Juice cleanse, Raw Food Diet and Healthy Eating. There are plenty of other programs available around the island.
Included in these programs are, yoga, meditation and fitness/movement classes, morning beach walks, wellness talks and a variety of other holistic practices, all tailored to help the body heal itself, emotionally, spiritually, mentally and physically.
I have worked with pretty much every major detox centre on the island, and they all have their own niche, styles and methods.
2. Phuket Muay Thai Camps
Thai Boxing (Muay Thai) is Thailands national sport and is huge in Phuket. 13 years ago there was only a handful of local Muay Thai Gyms in Phuket. It wasn’t until a gym called Rawai Muay Thai decided to build a professional website, social media presence and advertise Muay Thai training in Phuket to westerners abroad.
Watching its explosive success, it wasn’t long until more gyms popped up doing the same thing. Sinbi Muay Thai, Tiger Muay Thai, Dragon Muay Thai, etc. Then with the growing popularity of UFC, some of these Muay Thai Gyms started hiring MMA coaches along with Brazilian Jujitsu specialists and trainers with wrestling backgrounds. I believe Phuket Top Team were the first to do this followed by Tiger, now you have dedicated MMA gyms like AKA Thailand joining the island.
Muay Thai Gyms in Phuket seem to be popping up as fast as 7 Elevens, some are closing with equal speed as well. But if you are looking to better your Muay Thai game or just would like to get fit by trying something new, then you can check out the list of well established Muay Thai gyms in HERE.
3. Phuket Fitness Centres
There are a lot of gyms now that are just 100% dedicated to fitness classes. Like Phuket Cross Fit, Yoga, TRX, Circuit & HIIT training, correction workouts, workshops and more. They don’t have a regular weightlifting facility or gym membership where you can just rock up and hit the weights whenever you want. It is just a pure class schedule fitness centre.
The main open Phuket fitness centres I would say are Titan Fitness and Unit 27. By “open” I mean you can pop in for 1 class or buy into monthly or block packages. Then there is Phuket Fit, and Phuket Cleanse that is more closed and comprehensive, what I mean by that is they include on-site accommodation and meals, and you can not just walk in for the one-off session, you have to be booked into their program.
All are great facilities. If this is something that’s more of an interest to you, then you can check them out HERE.
4. Phuket Gyms
Phuket has a vast selection of high-end gyms, with top-notch equipment and facilities as well as your old school dirty, rough, broken equipment, no hygiene, Rocky Balboa style gyms. Whichever your preference, Phuket has a gym that suits your needs and budget. So if you are just looking to join a gym on your visit then here is a list of the best gyms in Phuket.
RPM Health Club, Koh Kaew – PHOTO: Phuket Index
5. Phuket Personal Trainers
There are a lot of Personal Trainers in Phuket but only a few freelance ones. Most are attached to a gym or fitness centre and cannot work outside these places. Many people wonder, is a personal trainer worth it? In my biased opinion, the answer would be “Yes… if you can find a good one.”
You can read my article here on “what makes a good trainer.” So you can make your own assessment of the trainer you hired or are about to hire.
6. Phuket Yoga Retreats
Just like personal trainers, there are a lot of yoga instructors in Phuket and few Freelance ones like my friend Kim White. But there are also some great Phuket yoga retreats. These yoga retreats are similar to the detox centres, they are enclosed facilities with accommodation, food, yoga classes along with other holistic heal classes and workshops.
PHOTO: Yoga Health Journal
7. The Great Outdoors
One of the best things about Phuket is that it’s beautiful, the oceans, the beaches, and nature surrounded it. Despite the island’s obsession with getting rid of single-use plastics it still has fantastic places to swim and snorkel.
You can hire a bike and cycle around the mountain roads and be mesmerised by the stunning views, or you can join in the Clean The Beach Boot Camp and have a great workout on the beach once every two weeks, exercising in the sand, the ocean and nature. There is nothing like kicking off the shoes and training in your bare feet. Enjoy the beaches, rainforests, walks and activities around the island. It’s warm and hot all year round (with a bit of rain between May and November). Here’s a list of our Top 10 beaches.
As a last resort, and you’re not a ‘bicycle’ sort of person, rent a motorbike and let the engine do the hard work for you. Make sure you wear a helmet (it’s law), have the appropriate health or travel insurance and appropriate driving license.
In the health and fitness industry, meditation is very much underrated, but there are a lot of physical benefits of meditation, not just mental/psychological ones. And in Phuket, there is a great place to learn how to meditate or take your meditation to the next level at the Phuket Meditation Centre.
If it’s something you were curious about then I would highly recommend trying it out. They have free introductory classes every Tuesday and Thursday.
9. Phuket Free Diving/Scuba Diving
Just like the great outdoors there are some great spots to do a bit of diving in Phuket. Whether you are a hardcore free diver or looking to get your first Scuba Diving certificate, then Phuket has some great options for you. Make sure your divers are accredited and check their experience in diving around the island.
10. Massage, Ice Baths, Sauna
If you going to train hard, then you best recover hard. There is nothing like booking a fitness holiday and overtraining in the first week and getting injured. Phuket has some great relax and recovery facilities, from massages to Sauna and Ice Baths and even float therapy in a sensory deprivation tank. These are great for reducing stress, lowering cortisol levels and preventing you from seeing those classic signs and symptoms of overtraining.
Phuket expat re-invents the way sewing machines work
British inventor creates a new sewing system that eliminates the bobbin.
When you list the worlds top inventions the sewing machine is rarely included, it’s lucky if it makes it into the top 50!
But there are very few moments in our daily life when we are not close to something that’s been produced using a sewing machine.
Now a recent patent, developed by a Phuket expat, is set to bring the sewing machine back into the forefront. Templeton Hancock, a British sewing machine mechanic and former sewing machine demonstrator living in Rawai, has created a new Everlasting Bobbin Sewing (EBS) System that eliminates the need for constantly changing thread bobbins.
A bobbin is a spindle or cylinder, with or without flanges, on which wire, yarn, thread or film is wound. Bobbins are typically found in sewing machines, cameras, and within electronic equipment. In non-electrical applications the bobbin is used for tidy storage without tangles – Wikipedia
“The inception to create the EBS System came to me after a conversation I had with a customer who voiced her frustration with having to continually change the bobbin. It made me question why no one had come up with a satisfactory solution to discard it.”
“The EBS System offers huge benefits not just to manufactures but to everyone who regularly uses a sewing machine; it saves time, improves the quality and finish of garments, reduces waste and make the sewing machine more user-friendly and lessens the impact on the environment.”
The first patented sewing machine was in 1790 to an Englishman, Thomas Saint. Over the next 60 years, the machine was modified and improved to something that is still mechanically recognisable in comparison to today’s machines.
Since the 1980’s there have been significant electronic advancements to the sewing machine, but the need for a refillable bobbin has always harkened back to its introduction in 1853. Over the years, there have been many who have tried to solve this bobbin dilemma. The simple EBS System provides the solution.
So, how does it work?
With current technology, the needle and upper thread pass down into the machine bed. As the needle draws back up, the upper thread is left behind, just slightly, but it is enough that a loop is formed. Machines are timed so that a rotating hook underneath the machine, spinning off a centrally placed drive shaft, can catch this loop and pass it over the bobbin and bobbin case to create a locking stitch.
The EBS System is different. The drive shaft is moved to one side and the hook is placed within a bearing which has drive teeth on its circumference. A void is now created within the bearing which allows for a thread feed tube to supply endless amounts of thread to freely pass without interruption from the rotating hook, eliminating the need for a bobbin.
The bobbin holds, on average for #40 weight thread, around 34.3m of thread. In manufacturing this can equate to the bobbin running out on average, every 9-11 minutes. Methods of turn around to get the machine operational again can vary from 22 seconds to 3 minutes, cutting into the amount of hourly units produced and also increasing wastage/seconds garments for the item in production when the thread ran out.
Analysis of Operation in manufacturing puts aside an average 20% of Standard Allocated Hours (SAH) for changing the bobbin, adjustments and staff rest breaks. By removing the need to refill the bobbin and using the EBS System, manufacturing can be increased by as much as 19%.
Realising the problem with the bobbin, many manufacturers have opted for using a chain stitch instead of a locking thread for seaming. The downside being that the chain stitch uses more thread, creates a bulkier seam and is not as strong as the lock stitch.
By using the EBS System instead of a chain stitch, a factory making jeans (for example) could save an average of 8.9m of thread per unit produced (depending on method of manufacture), and at the same time produce a better quality garment with stronger and less bulky seams. 8.9 metres multiplied by the amount of units produced each day, week and month, equates to being considerable saving even before you add back in the garments that would usually be discarded as wastage/seconds which have now been mostly eliminated.
The EBS System is not just limited to clothing. Footwear, upholstery, luggage and automotive manufacturers are also to benefit from the lack of a bobbin. When the bobbin thread runs out, holes have been made in the material and it takes a short time before the machine operator notices.
The precision of the fit and strength of the material has been compromised and a labour intensive task now begins to reinforce the stitch and try to match the holes already created in the material.
A continuous stream of thread will reduce the amount of wastage of leather and vinyl products in the pursuit of perfection that is expected and demanded by consumers.
The EBS System is not just for industrial use.
The simplicity of the design makes it versatile to be used in the domestic market. The EBS System is a relief to home sewing enthusiasts whose interests are within home decor and quilting. No more will they suffer the frustration when the thread runs out in the middle of a project.
The versatility of the EBS System is that it can also be used with the current refillable bobbin for those small repairs and quick fixes that would require a variety of short lengths of different coloured thread.
The EBS System also looks to the future. A.I. and automation is making advances into the sewing industry, but these machines still need to be carefully monitored as they still rely on the need for a refillable bobbin. Using the EBS System machines will enable manufactures to run for 24 hours with very little supervision, with an endless flow of lower lockstitch thread.
US Patent #10156034 PCT#IB2019/050843
For further information contact Templeton Dean Hancock… [email protected]
Templeton Hancock, Phuket-based seining machine mechanic and inventor
Dog rescued from 10 metre well in Phuket
A dog has been rescued after falling into a 10 metre deep well behind a temple in Thalang.
Rescue workers were called about the incident at 4pm yesterday that happened behind Tharua Temple in Thalang.
They found a 10 metre deep well and a dog who’s stuck at the bottom of the well. Rescue workers abseiled into the well and brought the dog up. It took about 20 minutes to retrieve the dog.
The little dog was female aged around 3 years old. The dog quickly sped away into the forest.
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