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Phuket Live Wire: When good lines go bad

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket Live Wire: When good lines go bad | The Thaiger

PHUKET: International internet speeds in Phuket have been surprisingly good this week, with TOT finally recovering from whatever was ailing it last week.

TOT Fiber Optic is only marginally faster than 3BB’s 12Mbps line or True’s 10Mbps line – at five times the cost. True “3G” HSPA continues to run very fast, but only on the extreme west coast of the island, and your fast account kicks out after 5GB of downloads in a month.

Twitter and Facebook are playing key supporting roles in the downfall of several Middle Eastern regimes. The power of technology – more accurately, the ability of people to use technology in powerful ways – continues to amaze me.

News recap:

Microsoft shipped Windows 7 Service Pack 1, but it isn’t a big deal. Microsoft botched the update to Windows Phone 7, bricking many phones. It looks like Apple will announce iPad2 on March 2. Many Thai-language children’s nursery songs are available on YouTube.

Featured fix:

It looks like we’ve nailed a persistent problem for many Internet users in Phuket. Two weeks ago at the Computer Clinic, a couple of people complained about an unusual combination of problems.

When they tried to go to google.com or hotmail.com, or one of a small handful of very popular sites, they either timed out, or they saw weird pages with text scattered more-or-less randomly on the screen.

If they immediately switched over to another site – just about any site – it came through fine. But if they then tried to go back to google.com or hotmail.com, they got a slow, slow response, or no response at all.

I’ve had four more people ask me about the same symptoms in the past two weeks.

David Weinraub (of papayasoft.com), Henry Habermacher and I put our heads together – working on Twitter, of all places – and finally came up with a solution. At least, I think it’s a solution. If you encounter the same symptoms, it’s well worth a try.

The six people who complained about slow-loading or broken Google and Hotmail pages all had one thing in common: they’re all using 3BB.

Putting two and two together, it’s likely that 3BB isn’t “caching” Google or Hotmail pages correctly. (“Cache” is a computer term that means “hold onto a copy of something so you can give it out quickly, without going to the original source.”)

Corrupt caches are generally caused by bad hardware, although there are some other possibilities. Most likely, 3BB has a flakey computer somewhere that’s munging up copies of Google and Hotmail, and dishing those out to 3BB customers. I have no idea if the problem is isolated to Phuket, or if it extends to all of Thailand.

The solution we found involves changing the Domain Name Server, or DNS. I wrote about this same problem four years ago, here in the Phuket Gazette. Back then, TOT had the messed up DNS. If you’ve never heard of the Internet-based phone book known as DNS, check out that article for details, www.is.gd/xNVHRS.

If you’re running Windows XP, you can follow the instructions in my old article to find the location for changing the DNS number.

If you’re running Windows 7, click Start, Control Panel, View Network Status and Tasks, then on the left click Change Adapter Settings.

Right-click on whichever Internet connection you’re using and choose Properties.

Double-click Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4). You will see a dialog box like the one shown on this page.

Although I recommended a different DNS in my old article, I now recommend that everyone use the free Google DNS at 8.8.8.8 and the free OpenDNS server at 208.67.222.222, by filling in the boxes as indicated in the picture on this page.

Click OK, and you’ll no longer be using 3BB’s phone book, you’ll use Google’s, if it’s available, or OpenDNS’s if it isn’t.

David found that switching the DNS numbers alone didn’t always work. He then had to “flush the cache” by going to Google.com or Hotmail.com, and pressing Ctrl+F5 (this tells your PC to bypass its own cache and reach out to the server to reload the page).

He then had to “flush the DNS cache” to get the old 3BB demons completely out of his system. To flush the DNS cache in Windows, click Start, All Programs, Accessories. Right-click Command Prompt and choose Run As Administrator. Then type

ipconfig /flushdns

And press Enter. (Note: there’s a space in front of the slash.) That will permanently take your machine off of your ISP’s Domain Name Server, and put you on DNSs that are competently maintained.

The next Phuket Computer Clinic this Sunday, from 10am to noon at the Sandwich Shoppe in Patong, will feature internationally recognized, award-winning computer author Brian Livingston.

Brian will be leading our weekly get-together with a presentation on “Making a Cell Phone Run a Monitor, Keyboard, and Mouse.”

He’s bringing a preliminary demo (not yet phone based), and looking for feedback on design, ergonomics, and marketability. If you know mobile apps, or you’re just curious about where the market is headed, be there.

We cover more than “just PCs” at the gatherings, with topics ranging from iPads to Facebook to HD television to Android phones. These gatherings are sponsored by the Phuket Gazette and Khun Woody’s Sandwich Shoppes.

For the latest international internet connection speeds in Phuket – real results, tested by real Phuket users – see phuketinternetspeed.com.

For news updates about computers in Phuket, see Twitter: @PhuketPC

Live Wire is IT guru and Phuket Gazette columnist Woody Leonhard’s weekly snapshot of all things internet in Phuket.

— Woody Leonhard



Read more headlines, reports & breaking news in Phuket. Or catch up on your Thailand news.

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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Phuket

Palang Pracharath MP chastises Karon Police for not offering protection during condo visit

The Thaiger

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Palang Pracharath MP chastises Karon Police for not offering protection during condo visit | The Thaiger

VIDEO & SCREENGRAB: M Today

The Palang Pracharath member of parliament from Bangkok, Sira Jenjaka, had an argument with Lt Col Pratuang Polmana, Deputy Superintendent of Karon Police during his inspection to the controversial Peak Condominium in the Karon area of Phuket.

MP Sira was surveying the construction site of the project and the sales office, which also serves as a coffee shop, where he saw Lt Col Pratuang inside.

He stopped there and asked why the Deputy Superintendent didn’t send any officer from Karon Police Station to provide security for him, a standard protocol when parliament members visit a specific area.

The MP had publicly stated he had received death threats for revealing ‘problems’ with the ‘paperwork’ for the Phuket condo project that he claims has been built on land without the proper documentation.

Lt Col Pratuang said that he already prepared a team of officers to provide security for the MP but they were waiting for a confirmation. Then the MP asked his team to record a video of the conversation and said that, while he was not threatening anyone, he believed the police must respect and offer protection for a government MP who comes to work in the area, which was then followed by an argument.

There was a “middleman” who eventually separated the Deputy Superintendent and pulled him aside to calm him down. The ‘police whisperer’ then came back to apologise to the MP before they went inside the coffee shop for further private talks.

Read the original article about the allegations against Peak Condominiums in Karon HERE.

Palang Pracharath MP chastises Karon Police for not offering protection during condo visit | News by The Thaiger

The Peak Condominiums in Karon, currently under investigation after allegations made by Government MP Sira Jenjaka, who claims death threats have been made against him over the matter.

 

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Patong

How to be charged 2,600 baht for having a flat battery in the Jungceylon car park

Tim Newton

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How to be charged 2,600 baht for having a flat battery in the Jungceylon car park | The Thaiger

A rant…

Started off with trying to exit the Jungceylon carpark in Patong, Phuket, late on a Sunday night. After watching a film in their tawdry cinemas, I was assured by ticket sales staff that I should present my ticket stub with the car park card for free exit.

Getting to the exit gate and I was told I had to go to an ‘elevator’ to get my ticket stamped. As there were already three other cars behind me (it was around 9.30pm at this stage), it caused quite a kerfuffle and tempers (mine included) were starting to fray.

The poor woman at the exit booth (whose key work skill must be ‘patience’), kept yelling ‘elevator, elevator’, doing little to inform us what we were actually meant to do. (I wanted to leave a car park, not go on an elevator?!?).

Anyway, minor ‘misunderstanding’ sorted out soon enough, and returned to my car to exit the car park (about 10 minutes later).

A Russian man had had his own adventures with the Jungceylon car park the night before. Firstly he was stuck there on the Saturday night with a flat battery in his white sedan. As it was very late, and wanting to get home, he left the car in the space and took a taxi.

As I was sorting out my own car park ‘misunderstanding’, other car park staff assisted him with his flat battery by jump starting his car. The assisting staff were given a gratuity, I don’t know how much.

But on reaching the exit gate he was told he had to pay 1,800 baht. (Presumably for around 24 hours of car parking).

With his fist full of receipts, around 3,300 baht worth, he was also told ‘elevator, elevator’. He got out of his car, there were another three cars backed up behind him at this stage, and went to find the ‘elevator’. Upon returning he was now told he had to pay 2,600 baht! How the amount had magically inflated to 2,600 baht remains a mystery but the cark park ‘gatekeeper’ was not to be messed with.

By this stage about eight young Thai gentlemen, with name tags, keys hanging from their belts and hand-held radios, had turned up to ‘assist’ in addressing my complaints and ensuring that the Russian man was not able to leave the car park before paying the 2,600 baht. The only common language among the Russians and the Thais in the situation was English and it was not going well.

Google Translate was getting a fine workout but wasn’t really helping.

During the extended ‘negotiations’ the cars behind were detoured around and allowed free exit.

Given the man’s travails in having a flat battery, having to come back to the steamy car park late on a Sunday night, the cars piling up behind him and the loss of face for just about everyone at this stage, the ‘smart’, good PR thing to do would have been to thank him for spending 3,300 baht at their expensive shopping centre, lifted the boom gate and waved him on his way.

But no, these young Thai car park staff wanted their pound of flesh and there was no way in the world that barrier was going to be lifted until the man had paid every baht he ‘owed’. Three police turned up to try and sort things out but all departed in exasperation, knowing the car park staff were being pig-headed but unable to intervene because they would have caused their fellow Thais a loss of face.

At this stage the Thai car park staff were already starting to utter things under their breath and spitting out ‘farang’ in their deliberations.

During the entire two hour drama many other cars had the same issue of not understanding that they needed to report to the bottom of one of the ‘elevators’ to have their receipts stamped. There didn’t appear to be any signage or understanding of the procedure (until, of course, you go through this rather drawn out lesson in Jungceylon car park procedure). There was a sign outside the elusive ‘elevator’ but given there are seven other exits from the car park you’re unlikely to see them.

Apart from Jungceylon losing the patronage of at least two, or more, customers over their overly-officious and unprofessional behaviour, the system will surely remain unfixed waiting for the next stupid ‘farang’ to stroll innocently into the underground farrago.

The only bright light in the dingy car park fiasco was the pleasant young gentlemen sitting at the ‘elevator’ with his stamps and gracious smile, wearing full eye make up and blissfully unaware of the surly car park Nazis. He profusely apologised but I am fairly sure he was none-the-wiser about my lengthy explanation of the situation.

Give the man a pay rise!

For Jungceylon, I would urge better signage, in a few languages (it IS a tourist town), to inform us about their rather opaque car park procedures.

I did ask for a statement to include in this story from some of the ‘people with hand radios’ or a comment from the Manager. But there was none forthcoming. Our forum remains wide open for a response from management.

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Patong

Phuket’s lifeguards say goodbye to a champion of local beach safety

The Thaiger

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Phuket’s lifeguards say goodbye to a champion of local beach safety | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: Phuket Lifeguard Service

A commemoration ceremony has been held for Prathaiyuth Chuayuan, a local Phuketian who helped drive Phuket’s first beach lifeguard services. He passed away on Friday morning after a heart attack.

He first experienced chest pains whilst delivering his daughter to school in Phuket Town on Friday morning, drove himself immediately to the Vachira Hospital nearby but succumbed to cardiac arrest around 9am.

He was 57 years old.

He worked with Australian lifesavers to help train local lifeguards and improve the skills of the Phuket’s beach enthusiasts, and finally sought international accreditation for the growing body of competent Phuket lifeguards.

The Phuket Lifeguards Service, founded and run by Prathaiyuth and his wife Witanya, saved innumerable lives each year whilst battling Provincial Hall and local government for increased funding in annual contract negotiations.

Daren Jenner, a FOT (Friend of The Thaiger) and local safety officer for the International Surf Lifesaving Association, sent a message to us expressing his deepest condolences to Prathaiyuth’s wife, family and friends.

“I had many good conversations with him over the years. He was a good-hearted man who did his best in difficult and changing circumstances. A very big loss for Phuket and the lifesaving community here. ISLA sends our deepest respect for his long commitment to ocean safety in SE Asia.”

Phuket's lifeguards say goodbye to a champion of local beach safety | News by The Thaiger Phuket's lifeguards say goodbye to a champion of local beach safety | News by The Thaiger Phuket's lifeguards say goodbye to a champion of local beach safety | News by The Thaiger

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