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Phuket Live Wire: Woody’s laws for land lines

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

Thai Airways to resume flights from Bangkok to Chiang Mai and Phuket

Caitlin Ashworth

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Thai Airways to resume flights from Bangkok to Chiang Mai and Phuket | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai Airways

After nearly 9 months on the ground due to the coronavirus pandemic, along with problems balancing their accounts, Thai Airways will resume flights between Bangkok and Chiang Mai as well as Bangkok and Phuket later this month. The flights will start back up on Christmas day.

Flights from Bangkok to the 2 key tourist provinces have been grounded since April 1. Starting December 25, the airline will run 3 flights a week on both routes. A source told the Bangkok Post that the new schedules will run until at least February 28.

Thai Lion Air, Thai Air Asia, Nok Air, Thai Smile, VietJet Air and Bangkok Airways have returned to the domestic skies since July and slowly adding frequency to their routes.

In addition to resuming the domestic flights, the Thai Airways is relaunching some international flights from January 1 to March 27 including weekly flights to Frankfurt, London, Copenhagen, Sydney, Seoul, Manila, Taipei and Osaka. Flights from Bangkok to Tokyo will be available 3 times a week and flights from Bangkok to Hong Kong will be available every day.

Thai Airways has been tackling bankruptcy throughout the lockdown and trying to make up for more than 300 billion baht in losses. Since many flights were suspended due to travel restrictions, Thai Airways has tried to make money by business ventures on the ground, like a pop-up restaurant serving in-flight meals and selling off unwanted equipment from their warehouse. There also disposing of much of their older fleet, including all of their Boring 747-400s.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

97 police officers investigated for fiddling Covid-19 payments

Maya Taylor

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97 police officers investigated for fiddling Covid-19 payments | The Thaiger
PHOTO: www.newsbeezer.com

97 police officers, from 41 police stations, are currently being investigated for an alleged scam involving Covid-19 payments meant for officers who worked extra shifts during the crisis. The case was assigned by national police chief Suwat Jangyodsuk in November, when it came to light that some officers may have fraudulently claimed allowances meant for others.

In one incident, an officer responsible for transferring extra payments to police on the southern island of Phuket transferred the money to his own accountant instead. At the time, the transfer was dismissed as a mistake (in his favour), with the officer in question receiving a warning, and payments then made to the qualifying officers.

Wissanu Prasatthong-Osot from the National Internal Affairs Police says the investigation should reach a conclusion within the next 10 days.

“The result of the investigation should be ready in 10 days. Currently, 97 officers in 41 police stations ranging from non-commissioned to generals are under investigation for being involved in the swindle. The bureau aims to provide justice to all policemen involved. After the investigation concludes, the victims will receive their full allowance, while the offending officers will be punished under the law and disciplinary standards.”

Nation Thailand reports that a full list of alleged offenders has been sent to Suwat, with Wissanu promising that none will escape prosecution.

“The National Police chief had also ordered the transfer of offending officers at the commander and sub-commander levels out of their areas as per the investigation procedures.”

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Tourism

Thai-Chinese Chamber of Commerce to propose Guangzhou-Phuket tourism route

Caitlin Ashworth

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Thai-Chinese Chamber of Commerce to propose Guangzhou-Phuket tourism route | The Thaiger
PHOTO: 77 kaoded

A tourism route from Guangzhou, China to Phuket could help the island province recover from the recession brought on by the pandemic and lack of foreign travel, according to the Thai-Chinese Chamber of Commerce. The president of the organisation, Narongsak Puttapornmongkol, says they plan to submit a letter proposing the route under a travel bubble scheme to the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration.

The Thai-Chinese Chamber of Commerce is proposing a travel bubble with around 20 cities in China with no recent coronavirus infections and considered to be at a low risk of spreading the virus. Travellers from Guangzhou recently entered Thailand on the new Special Tourist Visa. It was the second flight of international tourists since travel restrictions were imposed in late-March.

“We believe that the Travel Bubble and the quarantine reduction will resolve the tourism business, which is a huge economic opportunity to recover.”

Once a vaccine is widely available, Narongsak suggests that those who wish to Thailand could also present their vaccination certificate or examination reports from the place of origin. He adds that the mandatory state quarantine period is likely to be reduced.

SOURCE: Pattaya News

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