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Sit still Singapore – Live Wire

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Sit still Singapore – Live Wire | The Thaiger
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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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Phuket

Phuket told to prepare “response plan” in case of second Covid-19 outbreak

Caitlin Ashworth

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Phuket told to prepare “response plan” in case of second Covid-19 outbreak | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Daily News

As Phuket awaits foreign tourists, city officials are told to prepare a “response plan” in case of a second wave of Covid-19. An official from the Ministry of Tourism and Sports held a workshop in Phuket today to discuss the risk of another outbreak as the country opens up to those on the Special Tourist Visa.

The ministry’s permanent secretary Chote Trachu says now that the country is allowing tourists (who are required to quarantine upon arrival) an infection “may somehow slip through.” He says a response plan needs to be in place in case this happens, adding that there should be corporation from the Ministry of Public Health and Ministry of Defense.

“If any tourists are found to be infected, the disease must not be allowed to spread among the people. There should be no panic, and public health officers will investigate the case. Tourist Police will track down the suspected person in an investigation with the Ministry of Public Health.”

Chote says all provinces – not just Phuket – should have a response plan. Although tourists must go through a mandatory 14 day quarantine upon arrival, Chote says there are some cases where the incubation period for Covid-19 is longer than 14 days.

“There are a variety of cases. Sometimes, the infection does not show after 14 days, or even 15 or 16 days. Each situation is different.”

Recently, a woman in Koh Samui tested positive for the coronavirus 5 days after she was released from a Samut Prakan quarantine facility. Traces of the virus were found on gym equipment the woman used at the quarantine, leading health officials to suspect she was infected before arriving to the island.

“We urge Thai people to not let their guard down. Everyone must wear masks, wash their hands and take care of personal hygiene. This will help prevent them from contracting the disease.”

SOURCE: Phuket News

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Business

Approval sought for multi-billion-baht Phuket medical hub

Maya Taylor

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Approval sought for multi-billion-baht Phuket medical hub | The Thaiger
Mai Khao beach in north Phuket - PHOTO: www.makemytrip.com

Industry officials are seeking the go-ahead for a project to transform over 140 rai of government land in Phuket into a world-leading medical hub. The project is budgeted at 3 – 4 billion baht, depending on which report you read. Kitkong Tantijaraswarodom, from the Federation of Thai Industries, believes the development of a medical and wellness hub in the sub-district of Mai Khao, north Phuket, will help revive the southern island’s battered economy. Phuket has become increasingly reliant on a steady flow of tourists over the past 2 decades.

The southern division of the FTI covers Phuket, Krabi, Phang Nga, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Trang, Patthalung, Surat Thani, Ranong, Satun, Chumphon, and Songkhla.

“The FTI will ask the government to green-light the project during the scheduled mobile cabinet meeting on the island on November 3.”

Kitkong says businesspeople in the south are anxious for the government to approve the project, which will provide both locals and foreign medical tourists with state-of-the-art medical care. The facility is expected to include long-term care, hospice and rehabilitation services, in addition to a dental hospital, sports therapy centre, and a medical training school for doctors, nurses, pharmacists and medical laboratory scientists.

The chair of the FTI’s southern chapter is also calling on officials to provide small and medium-sized businesses with additional support, in the form of access to loans, in order to deal with cash shortages.

“In the short term, the FTI wants the government to help SMEs, especially those in the tourism sector.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Phuket

Man’s body discovered hanged in a Phuket Town apartment

The Thaiger

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Man’s body discovered hanged in a Phuket Town apartment | The Thaiger

A man has been found hanged in Phuket Town apartment yesterday. Police are treating the cases as a suicide at the moment.

The man was found hanged from the apartment’s ceiling fan. His lifeless body was discovered around 11am after neighbours complained to the manager about the smell coming from the man’s room.

Police and the local Kusoldharm Foundation rescue workers attended the scene. Police later confirmed the incident happened in room on the 3rd floor of an apartment lock in Soi Phoonphol Soi 1, Talat Nuea in Phuket Town. Police said the man was 35-45 years of age and had a 29 year old girlfriend from Chumphon. He was paying 1,000 baht a month and had been renting the room for 2 months. Police estimate that the man had been dead for at least 3 days.

Police told media that the man had used, what appeared to be a dress, tied around his neck and then to the room’s roof fan. The apartment manager told police that he had been late on on his recent rent, speculating that the man may have been suffering financial hardship.

The man’s identity has not been released at this stage.

His body was taken to Vachira Hospital for an autopsy.

If you or anyone you know is in emotional distress, please contact the Samaritans of Thailand 24-hour hotline: 02 713 6791 (English), 02 713 6793 (Thai) or the Thai Mental Health Hotline at 1323 (Thai).

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