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Phuket Live Wire: Woody’s laws for land lines

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket Live Wire: Woody’s laws for land lines | The Thaiger

PHUKET: In the past four editions of Live Wire, I’ve been talking about the things you need to consider if you want to get a good internet connection in Phuket. Believe me, it ain’t easy.

I’m moving to Kathu shortly, and the kind of problems I’m having are no doubt indicative of the kind you’ll have, the next time you need a new internet connection – or you get fed up with your current package.

Last week I talked about getting wireless “3G” service for my phones, tablets, and the like. I also talked about setting up most phones so they’ll hook into the 3G network, then let computers connect to the Internet over the phone, using a standard WiFi connection. The process is called “tethering” and it’s very simple on my Galaxy Note II, and my wife’s iPhone 4GS.

If your phone or tablet doesn’t have a tethering capability (not all of them do), you can buy a MyFi box, to set up a WiFi hotspot using a 3G account. Very powerful stuff – and decent (if not spectacular) speeds with all of the Phuket 3G carriers.

The big downside?

All of the 3G connections are capped – you can download 3 or 4 or 5 GB of data in a month (roughly 1 GB = 1 hour of high definition TV), after which your speed gets throttled back to the tortoise spectrum.

This week, I’m going to delve into getting a land line. And I’ll start by letting you in on a handful of hard-and-fast laws that apply to every land line here in Phuket.

Keep in mind that there are three good reasons for wanting a land line: they’re usually (but not always) faster than 3G; they’re usually (but not always) cheaper than 3G; and they don’t have those data caps that plague 3G wireless internet access – not just in Thailand, mind you, but increasingly all over the world.

Which leads us to the first law of land lines: If you aren’t going through very much data – you use email, go web surfing, run maybe a few YouTube videos every day, Skype in moderation – don’t bother with a land line. They’re more trouble than they’re worth. Read last week’s Live Wire, choose a 3G provider, and buy a dongle if you need one – the internet can plug right into your desktop or notebook or ultrabook computer, with a simple USB dongle. No wires required.

On the other hand, if your needs are too weighty for a 3G connection, it’s time to start schlepping.

The second law of land lines is: Never get one. Get two. Internet lines in Phuket go down all the time. Even the most reliable lines that I’ve had (and I’ve gone through dozens of them) just plain fail from time to time, and there’s nothing you can do about it. Call the provider and you’ll get all sorts of fanciful explanations as to why a line has gone down – but 99 times out of a hundred, the person talking to you on the phone doesn’t have the slightest idea why it’s down, and nobody tells him or her anything about anything.

Instead, get two different lines, from two different providers. Then set up your routers so it’s easy to unplug one line and plug in the other. If you aren’t sure how to do that, go to your favorite computer shop and ask to buy a plain, cheap router. Shouldn’t cost more than 1,000 baht. Plug all of your computers into the router. Then when the technician comes to install your new internet line, tell him that you want to plug their “modem” into your router.

They’ll understand, and it should go in easy; they’ll connect one line from their “modem” to your router, and all of your computers will work off that one link to the internet.

When the second internet service provider comes to install their line, tell them the same thing. They’ll hook up one wire from their “modem” to your router. From that point on, when one of the lines goes down, reach around to your router, pull out the plug to the dead line’s modem, and stick it in your spare modem.

That’s called “hot swapping” – which sounds way cool, but it’s really very simple.

The third law of land lines: You never really know. Just because the guy down the street has a good (or bad) line, that doesn’t mean you will too. There are just too many variables.

I keep a close watch on phuketinternetspeed.com to see how people are faring with downloads all over the island. But their experiences aren’t necessarily predictive. The numbers on the site are good for broad, general analysis, I think. But they aren’t definitive for any one location.

The fourth law of land lines: The price you pay may have no bearing whatsoever on the speed you see.

There are dozens of reasons why that’s true, but the main one is that the internet service providers don’t have a lot of control over some parts of service levels (hourly loading, for example), and the parts that they do have control over (additional overseas bandwidth, for one) are expensive to fix. Thus, you see weird situations like the TOT Fiber 2U service delivering roughly the same international speed as a lowly TOT ADSL line, at less than half the price.

The fifth law of land lines: The technician won’t show up when you expect. That’s true all over the world, I’m told, except for the Google Fiber techs in Kansas City, USA. Remember that the tech isn’t supposed to install a line all the way to your computer. They’re only responsible for getting the line to your property. While most techs will go the extra mile and get your hardware hooked up, it’d be nice if you gave them some extra folding money, a cup of ice water, a cookie, and a thank you.

The sixth law of land lines: The times they are a-changin’. “The first one now will later be last.” Technology’s changing quickly, and some internet service providers are keeping up, while others fall by the wayside.

If you aren’t happy with the line you have now, get a different one. Chances are good you’ll pay less than you paid a couple of years ago – and you might just get a faster line.

Next week, I’ll step you through the process of elimination that I went through to get new land lines into my house.

Starting this month, a German-language group will hold informal computer clinics at the Sandwich Shoppe in Patong on Sunday mornings, at 11am. Sehr gut!

Our regular weekly computer clinic roundtables continue every Sunday morning, 10am at the
Sandwich Shoppe, Chalong. If you have a Windows problem that needs to be solved, or a question about internet service in Phuket, drop by and ask one of the assembled gurus. It’s always free. Sponsored by the Phuket Gazette and Khun Woody’s Sandwich Shoppes.

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

Follow him on Twitter,
@PhuketLiveWire, and “like” the pages at facebook.com/SandwichShoppe, facebook.com/phuketgazette and now — Woody Leonhard

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Patong

Phuket hotels slashing the price of rooms

The Thaiger

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Phuket hotels slashing the price of rooms | The Thaiger

by Sophie Deviller

Hotels on Thailand’s most popular holiday island are being forced to slash prices, with rooms left vacant and beaches sparse as Thailand’s tourism chiefs struggle with a plunge in Chinese visitors caused by the US trade war and a stronger baht. Phuket was the most visited destination in the country last year, after Bangkok, and a good gauge of the state of its crucial travel industry.

Tourism accounts for 18% of Thailand’s gross domestic product and Chinese holidaymakers make up more than a quarter of total arrivals. But while 2.2 million people from the country visited in 2018, according to official figures, the numbers for January-September were down almost 20% year on year.

Claude de Crissey, the French Honorary Consul in Phuket and owner of about 40 rooms in the Patong Beach area, says Chinese tourists are usually present even during the current low season.

“That was not the case this year,” he said, adding he had to lower his prices by as much as 50%.

The problem is not only in Phuket, with hotels also struggling to fill rooms in the seaside resort of Pattaya on the mainland and on Koh Samui.

Trade tensions with the US have already made some Chinese reluctant to take holidays owing to uncertainty back home, while the Thai baht has risen about 10% against the yuan this year.

A boating disaster off Phuket’s coast that killed 47 Chinese holidaymakers in July 2018 also scared some off.

“We are worried,” said an industry insider, declining to be named due to the sensitivity of the topic in a country where tourism provides tens of thousands of jobs. Adding to the headache is the fact that more than 3,000 new hotel rooms are being constructed on the island, raising the question of who will fill them.

Phuket hotels slashing the price of rooms | News by The Thaiger

“In terms of business, it’s not good,” said Kongsak Khoopongsakorn, vice-president of the association of hotels in Thailand and director of Vijitt Resort.

“Because … we have more hotels, more rooms to sell, we have more restaurants, more coffee shops.”

Still, tourism authority chairman Yuthasak Supasorn said he remained “optimistic.”

“We should reach our goal of 39.8 million foreign visitors.”

However, that is only up from 38.2 million in 2018, much less than the jump seen from the previous year’s total of 35.6 million.

Counting on India

Now hoteliers and tour package operators are targeting visitors from elsewhere, particularly India, which experts see as a huge untapped market.

A rapid expansion of the middle class in India, increased direct flights and visa-free travel have prompted Thailand to revise forecasts upwards.

It now expects two million Indian tourists this year, after an increase of nearly 25% on-year in the first seven months. But for now, the lower arrivals is evident on the streets of Phuket.

“I’ve never seen anything as bad as what it is at the moment,” said Paul Scott from Australia, who said he has been coming to Thailand for 15 years.

He mainly blamed the stronger baht for the drop-off but also the fact that Thailand wasn’t the untouched vacation paradise it once was. “Now it’s not so new … and it’s not cheap,” he said.

SOURCE: AFP

Phuket hotels slashing the price of rooms | News by The Thaiger

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Events

The 15th Mai Khao Marine Turtle fun run attracts more than 4,000 runners

The Thaiger

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The 15th Mai Khao Marine Turtle fun run attracts more than 4,000 runners | The Thaiger

4,000 runners from Thailand and overseas took part in the 15th Mai Khao Marine Turtle Fun Run and Half Marathon 2019 yesterday, starting from the Phuket Gateway.

The event is expected to raise 700,000 baht for the charity, now in its 15th year. The money raised goes towards to The Mai Khao Marine Turtle Foundation, which is committed to protecting the marine and coastal environment, and ecosystems, for the wellbeing of sea turtles that nest in the Mai Khao beach and the surrounding areas.

The annual race also provides funds for thePhuket Marine Biological Centre’s Injured Turtle Rehabilitation Program and The Third NavalArea Command’s Turtle Hatchery Program.

The race was in its 15th year and runners of all ages and abilities took part in the race. The morning’s racing was divided into five categories – the 21.1km half marathon, 10.5km mini- marathon, 5km fun run and 3k family run and VIP participants for all the races. The route of 21.1 kilometre race took runners northwest along the Haad Sai Kaew beach towards Thao Thepkasattri bridge, past the rural road No. 3006, run along the road – Pi Lai viewpoint area returned back along the T. Baan Tha Nun to the iconic Sarasin bridge before finished the half marathon in the Phuket Gateway.

For Mini Marathon 10.5 km – Over all category, Mr. Chinnawat Changlek clocked 39 minutes and 40 seconds to clinch victory in the male half marathon, winning prize money and a trophy with the signature of Phuket’s Governor. The winner in the female mini marathon was Surakarn Wanna with a time of 47 minutes and 47 seconds.

Winners also received a prize gift voucher as well as a medal. Congratulations to all participants.

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Events

‘Phang Nga Bay and Beyond’ exhibition by Marilyn Band at Mom Tri’s WOK Gallery Kitchen in November

The Thaiger

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‘Phang Nga Bay and Beyond’ exhibition by Marilyn Band at Mom Tri’s WOK Gallery Kitchen in November | The Thaiger

The Art exhibition “Phang Nga Bay and Beyond” by Marilyn Band is being held at Mom Tri’s WOK Gallery Kitchen, Chalong, Kata Hill, Phuket from November 30, 2019 – January 31, 2020. The opening will take place on Saturday November 30, 2019 at 6.30 pm.

Artist’s Statement

“For the current exhibition, I am presenting recent work, a more abstract expression of Phang Nga Bay’s beauty, which intends to encourage the viewer the opportunity to interpret and appreciate a little bit of paradise. I am quite excited about these more abstract works as it has allowed me to explore the essence of these limestone monuments in the bay.

“I find the natural world a beautiful, magical place. My paintings are inspired by many sea voyages. Though based on reality I try to introduce my own feelings and vision which will delight others.”

Biography

Marilyn Band has been creating art since childhood, influenced by a family who surrounded her with paintings and the creations of several generations of her ancestors who were famous stained glass artists. She went to Florence, Italy for life drawing and then went on to study graphics at High Wycombe Technical College in Buckinghamshire, England and started her career as a graphic designer in a variety of advertising agencies in London.

On Holiday in the Seychelles, she met her future husband, Nick Band, and they have been sailing around the Indian Ocean and SE Asia for more than forty years allowing Marilyn the chance to draw and paint the now disappearing tropical cultures from Zanzibar to Sri Lanka to Phuket, and beyond.

She arrived in Phuket in 1980 and immediately built a studio that has been the center of her art projects. Between sea voyages and other travels, Marilyn has become one of Phuket’s most significant artists with one person exhibitions at Mom Tri’s Boathouse and Villa Royale Galleries.

She has also designed and developed the graphics for the island’s world famous Phuket King’s Cup Regatta media.

She continues to explore new avenues of self- expression in acrylic, oil, watercolour, ink, collage and silkscreen.

'Phang Nga Bay and Beyond' exhibition by Marilyn Band at Mom Tri’s WOK Gallery Kitchen in November | News by The Thaiger

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