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Sit still Singapore – Live Wire

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Sit still Singapore – Live Wire | The Thaiger

PHUKET: I was in Singapore last weekend, and frankly am surprised by the way “4G” technology is being marketed in all sorts of places: the tops of taxis, television ads, magazine and newspaper ads, radio and TV.

Everybody, it seems, wants to know more about 4G, and how to can get it.

It’s not just Singapore. All over the world, companies that can build their 4G (more accurately, LTE) networks faster than their competitors are seeing not only a huge influx of new business, but also increased stock prices.

Conversely, the companies that are having trouble building out 4G – or the ones that are simply stalling – have lost an enormous amount of money. Some even face bankruptcy because they haven’t yet locked down 4G frequencies or started building the antennas and associated infrastructure.

Of course, Thailand doesn’t have 4G, although there are some experimental networks going up now. Phuket wouldn’t know 4G from a dead cow.

The reasons for 4G’s explosive growth are only partly technical. LTE (4G), if set up correctly, really can run two or four or six times faster than “3G” HSPA+. But if those fast new towers are hooked into the same old, tired wired networks – if the “backhaul” hasn’t been upgraded (in communications-speak) – real-world 4G speeds aren’t considerably faster than 3G.

Technology’s nice, but I’m convinced that the reason why demand for 4G is growing through the roof in Africa, in particular, depends primarily on a simple bit of marketing: People who use 3G tend to be a bit, shall we say, self-impressed with the technology they’re using (present company included, of course).

4G, simply because of the name, sounds infinitely better and more in tune with the world than that old, tired 3G. People who can afford 3G will, in general, shell out a few more shekels for 4G, if only to see and be seen with the latest and greatest.

In other words, 4G is a surefire marketing miracle, if Thailand’s government manages to get its act together and auction off the frequencies needed to make a 4G network happen. Hey, the 3G auction only took about a decade. Maybe this next auction will turn around faster.

More surprises from Singapore: the newspaper ads for StarHub home broadband fiber optic in Singapore compares the company’s “Fibre Broadband International (US) Average Peak Download Speed” with comparable speeds from M1 and SingTel, the other two large fiber optic companies in Singapore. Imagine that. The newspaper ads talk about real-world international download speeds to the US, instead of fabricated speedtest.net runs to the local switch. What a refreshing change!

Speaking of which, StarHub says its average peak download speed to the US is 45 Mbps. The best speeds we’re seeing in Phuket run about 2 Mbps, on a good day with a strong tailwind.

SingTel’s charges for a new fiber optic line are quite reasonable: 1,200 baht/month gets you a 150 Mbps line. Bump that up to 1,900 baht/month and you will get their 200 Mbps (no, that’s not a typo) fiber broadband line. And as a bit of lagniappe, they also toss in an Acer Aspire V5 Touch tablet, a Windows 8 tablet that’s been
relatively well received.

While in Singapore I had a chance to spend some time at Sim Lim Square – and I was more than a little bit disappointed with what I saw. Sim Lim used to have row after row of computer vendors: monitors over here, peripherals over there, desktops and laptops galore.

While I wouldn’t go so far as to say that Sim Lim’s turned into a pale version of its former self, I would note that the aisles aren’t so busy, the selection isn’t as good, and in general there aren’t nearly as many people as there used to be.

Of course, that’s a problem everywhere, with traditional desktop/laptop/Ultrabook computer sales way down in practically every city in the world. Panthip Plaza in Bangkok isn’t immune. There’s so little business in Panthip that most of the shops are wide-open and anxious to see paying customers.

PC sales have been declining for the past couple of years, and I see no indication that trend is going to change any time soon. Tablets and phone sales are way up. So, as you might imagine, the number of shops in Sim Lim that carry traditional PCs has declined sharply, while business in the shops that carry tablets has gone up.

I guess what worries me most about Windows 8 is the lack of remarkable hardware to run it. If you really want to run Windows 8 on a PC, you need a touch screen. The vast majority of PCs available in Sim Lim are Windows 7-era (but new!) laptops and Ultrabooks, with no touch screen, and Windows 8 pre-installed. That’s the worst of all possible worlds, and likely the reason why places like Sim Lim and Panthip just aren’t as busy as they once were.

Let’s see if the Thai regulators are capable of rolling out 4G. Who knows, we might start catching up with Singapore. At least, if they would sit still for a few years.

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.

We’re moving the Sandwich Shoppe – Patong to Kathu in the next few weeks, and starting a new Sandwich Shoppe Express in Kata in the coming months. Stay tuned for more info about our new locations, and computer gatherings, as events unfold.

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 Google+, or send him mail at Woody@KhunWoody.com.

— Woody Leonhard

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

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Crime

Now you see him, now you don’t… Patong Police hunt foreigner over $30k theft

Greeley Pulitzer

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Now you see him, now you don’t… Patong Police hunt foreigner over $30k theft | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Patong Police

Patong Police have yet to develop any tangible leads tracking down a foreigner who made off with US$30,000 in cash from a currency exchange booth in Kalim, north of Patong in Phuket, last Tuesday.

The man is about 168 centimetres tall with grey hair and around 60 years old, Patong police told The Phuket News.

“We have no clue what nationality he is.”

He was last seen at the currency exchange booth wearing a purple polo shirt, blue jeans and black cap. Police have checked hotels in the area, police stations across the island and Phuket Immigration, but have yet to join the dots and come up with firm leads.

“Investigators have checked CCTV in the area and collected what evidence we have but we still do not know the man’s name or where he was staying.”

The man had visited the booth several times before Tuesday, when he disappeared with the $30,000 in US banknotes, according to police.

“It was always small amounts”, he added, noting that the amounts didn’t warrant staff at the exchange booth to check the man’s passport before making the exchange.

The man arrived at the booth again at about 1pm on Tuesday, saying that he had 900,000 baht cash to exchange.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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Crime

Mystery surrounds security guard found dead in his Phuket room

The Thaiger

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Mystery surrounds security guard found dead in his Phuket room | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: Phuket Hot News

The security guard of a hotel in Nai Yang, northern Phuket, 52 year old Yingyot Butsabong, from Maha Sarakham province, was found dead yesterday (October 16) in his room. Police remain mystified how the man came to grief.

A woman named Supattra received a call from the hotel he worked at and was informed that he didn’t show up at work yesterday, so she went to his apartment to check on him.

She saw that his room was locked from the inside, so used the key she had in her possession to open the room and found Yingyot laying on the floor, face down. She thought he was just sleeping so she tried to wake him up but once she flipped him, she found that he already passed away.

She immediately called Saku police, and once on the scene, police found that there was some blood on the floor. The man had a 2 centimetre wound on his left eyebrow which was deep into his skull. There was also a wound on his chin about 1 centimetre long and about a centimetre deep. His left eye had a bruise which looked like he was attacked by a hard object.

Police report that he had been dead for around four hours in the room.

The room was not ransacked and there was no sign of fighting or theft. His body has been sent to Thalang Hospital for a detailed autopsy and to look into the cause of death.

SOURCE: Phuket Hot News

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People

‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people

Nattha Thepbamrung

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‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people | The Thaiger

On October 18, the ‘Always Smile Journey’ group and its partners will host an exhibition with plenty of fun activities at the Yak Yai Market, near Chalong Circle, in Phuket. This event was designed to raise funds to provide free English classes for underprivileged people on the island of Phuket on Saturdays and Sundays. The group does not accept donations but aims to raise money through the sales of the products available at the event.

‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people | News by The Thaiger

From 2 pm to 8 pm, there will be a number of artists, musicians and performers who will keep the attendees entertained along the way. There will be a short film about His Majesty King Rama 9 as well as fun activities and games for kids and families, which are all free of charge.

The big bike crew is also a part of this event. They will ride a parade from Rawai Beach heading to the market and showcase their gorgeous two-wheel buddies.

One of the highlights of the Always Smile Journey exhibition is the ‘Happening’ artists group, who will draw and paint a picture of the His Majesty King Rama 9 under the name ‘Street Art King Bhumibol’ on a 4×10 meter sign live at the event so the guests will experience this large-scale art in action. The Happening will also offer portrait sketching for the participants.

‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people | News by The Thaiger

One of the works created by the Happening team; a painting of HM the King Rama 9 on a huge wall (Photo credit: Chawat Chumpasan)

There will also be some western menus available at the event which will be donated to underprivileged children.

This free English class project has over seven years of experience through its cooperation working with individuals and other charity organizations. Throughout the years, the group visited several areas such as Ban Laem Hoy School, Ban Bopud School and Ban Angthong School in Samui, Surat Thani province, Ban Bueng Ao Oun School and Ban Kakoh Rayong, in Surin province, Jalae Village of Lahu (Muser) in Chiang Rai province, as well as community education centers in Siem Reap, Cambodia and in Luang Prabang, in Laos.

This event is a cooperation between several groups, including Happening, Yak Yai Market and Arrow Media, Tattoo artist group, Thonburi Art School Alumni, International School of Tourism, Suratthani Rajabhat University, big bike group from Phuket, artists/performers/musicians from many provinces as well as several businesses across Phuket.

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