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Phuket Tech: The death of Windows – Live Wire

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket Tech: The death of Windows – Live Wire | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: In the past week, the Windows world received quite a shock. First IDC, then Gartner – the two biggest names in computer industry prognostications – announced that, for the first time ever, shipments of new PCs had declined, year-on-year from the first quarter of 2012 to the first quarter of 2013.

And the declines were substantial: somewhere between 11 and 14 per cent, depending on whom you believe. There’s a lot of baggage behind the numbers – they only measure shipments, they don’t count sales, and there’s no mention of returns, which are probably huge – but just on the face of it, that’s quite a comeuppance for the industry.

I’m not talking about Windows PCs. I’m talking about all PCs – including Macs, MacBooks, and the like. As of this writing, Apple hasn’t disclosed its first quarter sales numbers, but it’s clear that even the MacBook market has declined, possibly by 5 to 10 per cent.

Of course, the 800-pound gorilla driving all of this is the tablet and the smartphone. If you combine PCs, laptops, netbooks, ultrabooks, tablets and smartphones, sales numbers are increasing at an enormous rate: the computer industry’s never had such a good quarter.

But if you confine your stare to the traditional PC market, things are going to hell in a hand basket. Quickly.

A big part of the blame, in my opinion, is Windows 8. I’ve written and wailed and moaned and groaned about Windows 8 since we saw the final bits last August. Now that I’ve seen a leaked copy of the new Windows 8.a, code-named “Blue” I can confirm that things aren’t getting better. And I expect the PC market to go down the tubes, in part because of Win8’s poor showing. I’m on record as predicting that PC sales (inclusive of returns) will decline 20 per cent or more this year. When I first said that, people told me I was crazy. Now many of the same people are wondering if things won’t actually be worse. They may.

Here’s the thing. Tablets – iPads, and increasingly Samsung tabs and competing Android tablets – can do many, many things that people would normally use a computer to accomplish. It’s taken the industry three years to finally figure that out (the iPad is three years old), but it’s true, and consumers know it’s true: why lug around that three-kilo laptop when you can get the same stuff done better, faster, easier and cheaper with a little iPad?

I’ve been diving into Google Apps and Google Docs lately, and let me tell ya, they can’t do everything Word and Excel and PowerPoint can do – not by a long shot – but if all you want is to whip out a memo, run a few numbers, or make a simple presentation, the free Google Apps will probably do everything that you need.

There’s that word: free.

For people accustomed to paying for software (ahem), going from a $1,000 laptop with a $200 copy of Microsoft Office to a $300 Android tablet (or even a $500 iPad) with $0 Google Docs just makes a whole lot of sense. Most people have a PC with Office on it anyway. If you really need Office, you can go back to the old dinosaur. But if you don’t need to write a book or balance the federal deficit, why bother with the big iron?

But wait a second. Now phones can do most of that stuff, too.

I carry around a Samsung Galaxy Tab II. At first, it felt like a brick. It still feels funny sticking the relative big phone to my ear to deal with a, you know, a phone call. Now, I don’t know what I’d do without it. Jot down notes; run to Wikipedia; check movie playing times; Skype; Twitter; maps with turn-by-turn voice directions; free apps for my bank account; stocks; follow Bitcoin prices; Facebook. And all of my email, contacts list and calendar, right there – synced via Google to my iPad, my PC, and my Mac – on a bloody telephone, wherever I go.

I don’t know how I ever lived without it, seriously.

The major American publishers report that last year, 25 per cent of their book sales were electronic. And you can bet that almost all of those books were destined to go to tablets – particularly the Kindle and Nook – or other mobile devices.

The future of the PC business in general, and traditional Windows in particular, doesn’t look good. I’ve been warning people about it for years, but the time’s finally come. Windows is done. Get over it. Learn how to use an iPad or an Android tablet (heck, if my two-year-old can do it, so can you).

I’ve been working with Windows since Windows 286, and Office since Word 1.0 (which predates Office by quite a bit). I’ve been writing about Microsoft products and the world of Windows for more than two decades. And I’m tellin’ ya, the age of Windows is over. Technology caught up with the old-fashioned desktops and laptops. In an attempt to catch up with the modern mobile world, Microsoft welded together their old desktop with a new telephone-like interface, to the detriment of both. Microsoft just heaped dirt on Windows’ grave with the travesty called Windows 8 – and they don’t show any signs of letting up; Windows 8.1 will probably be just as bad.

If you want to buy a Windows Phone, by all means, do so. If you’re tempted by a Windows tablet, though, make sure you know what you’re getting before you shell out the shekels.

And if you’re thinking about buying a new computer, don’t – get a tablet or a better phone. Sure, you’re going to want a Windows/Office computer sitting around somewhere, gathering dust, just in case (or an OS X computer, if you feel so inclined). But my days of buying new Windows computers are over, and I suggest you follow suit.

Except, well, I’ll reconsider when the new MacBook Air comes out. No sense being pedantic about it…

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.

I’m very happy to announce that we’ve found a new owner for Sandwich Shoppe Patong, and it will continue just as it is, for years to come. Look for Patong computer clinic announcements in the near future.

Live Wire is Phuket Gazette columnist Woody Leonhard’s weekly snapshot of all things internet in Phuket. Shoot him mail at [email protected], follow him on Twitter, @PhuketLiveWire, or “like” his page at facebook.com/SandwichShoppe.

Follow him on Twitter, @PhuketLiveWire, and “like” the pages at facebook.com/SandwichShoppe, facebook.com/phuketgazette and now Google+, or send him mail at [email protected].

— 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.

World

The World’s 50 Best Foods: Thai massaman curry tops the list

Maya Taylor

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The World’s 50 Best Foods: Thai massaman curry tops the list | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Young Sok Yun on Flickr

The humble massaman curry has topped a list of the World’s 50 Best Foods, compiled by CNN Travel. Thailand’s coconut milk and potato-based curry (add the meat, tofu or vegetables of your choice) comes in at number 1, with 2 other popular Thai dishes also featuring. The hot and spicy shrimp soup, Tom Yum Goong, comes in at number 8, with papaya salad, aka somtam, in 46th place (mai phet please!) Tell us your favourite Thai dish, and why, in the comments section (below).

CNN Travel says its staff conducted extensive research on global cuisine to find the 50 best dishes ever created. Nice work if you can get it…

Italian pizza, Mexican chocolate, Japanese sushi, Chinese Peking duck and German Hamburger also top the delicious list.

Here’s what the writers had to say about the 3 Thai dishes that made the top taste grade…

Massaman curry, 1st place: Emphatically the king of curries, and perhaps the king of all foods. Spicy, coconutty, sweet and savoury. Even the packet sauce you buy from the supermarket can make the most delinquent of cooks look like a Michelin potential. Thankfully, someone invented rice, with which diners can mop up the last drizzles of curry sauce. “The Land of Smiles” isn’t just a marketing catch-line. It’s a result of being born in a land where the world’s most delicious food is sold on nearly every street corner.

Tom Yum Kung, 8th place: This best food Thai masterpiece teems with shrimp, mushrooms, tomatoes, lemongrass, galangal and kaffir lime leaves. Usually loaded with coconut milk and cream, the hearty soup unifies a host of favourite Thai tastes: sour, salty, spicy and sweet. Best of all is the price: cheap.

The World’s 50 Best Foods: Thai massaman curry tops the list | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: Richard Lee on Flickr

Som Tam/Papaya salad, 46th place: To prepare Thailand’s most famous salad, pound garlic and chilies with a mortar and pestle. Toss in tamarind juice, fish sauce, peanuts, dried shrimp, tomatoes, lime juice, sugar cane paste, string beans and a handful of grated green papaya. Grab a side of sticky rice. Variations include those made with crab (som tam pu) and fermented fish sauce (som tam pla ra), but none matches the flavour and simple beauty of the original.

The World’s 50 Best Foods: Thai massaman curry tops the list | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: www.needpix.com

SOURCE: Thai Residents | CNN Travel

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Protests

K-Pop fans show their support for the young Thai protesters, donate 3 million+ baht

The Thaiger

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K-Pop fans show their support for the young Thai protesters, donate 3 million+ baht | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Fan-funded 'happy birthday' signs around Thailand's BTS and MRT station

Art meets politics again, this time with hundreds of thousands of K-Pop fans raising funds in support of the growing student protest movement in Thailand. So far they’ve raised more than 3 million baht (as of 10am this morning) but the amount is rising quickly as Thai and overseas K-Pop fans respond. The most popular band in Thailand at the moment is BTS, the South Korean septet which is currently the most popular band in the world (as of today BTS commands the Number 1 and Number 2 positions on the US Billboard singles chart).

BTS fans have so far been the largest contributors donating funds to the protest cause.

The BTS Thailand page, not to be confused with the BTS Skytrain, is urging K-pop fans to stop the practice of paying for billboards in support of their favourite idols and to celebrate the birthdays of the 7 members. RM, Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V and Jungkook issued a statement on their fanpage asking fans to stop funding the BTS and MRT “inconvenienced protesters and normal citizens from getting home and putting them in danger”.

Bangkok’s two main rail systems were closed down over the weekend as police and protesters played a cat and mouse game. The protesters were withholding the announcement of protest locations to the last minute whilst police second-guessed their moves, ending up in mass inconvenience for the wider public in shutting down the entire network, including the Airport link.

“We’re calling Armys and other fans to stop buying ad projects with the BTS and MRT.” (“Army” is the name of BTS fans.

Fans of K-pop groups as well as other “idol” groups often pool their resources to purchase display ads in the MRT and BTS stations wishing their stars happy birthday or on other significant anniversaries.

It’s thought that many more millions of baht will be raised by the K-Pop fans in the next few days.

The young Thai protesters are tapping into a strong social media network, and have “weaponised” the social media and messaging platforms. The main App they are now using, to communicate their intentions, is “Telegram”, developed by a young Russian couple but now operating out of Germany. The App features encypted messages, impossible to track, and has 400 million monthly active users.

Telegram is a cloud-based instant messaging, video telephony and voice over IP service with end-to-end encryption for secret chat only, whereas Cloud chat uses client-server/server-client encryption and its messages are stored encrypted in the Telegram Cloud – Wikipedia

Meanwhile, other K-Pop acts that have mobilised their fans win support include Girls’ Generation, GOT7, NCT, WannaOne, Nu’est, X1, Day 6, Red Velvet, MonstaC, Woodz, Shinee, Super Junior and R1se. We’re sure the fans of Black Pink are also contributing but didn’t have their figures available at the time of publishing. Fans of popular Thai actors and celebrities are also donating to the pool.

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Property

Thailand’s property market waits for an end to Covid-19

The Thaiger

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Thailand’s property market waits for an end to Covid-19 | The Thaiger

The Coronavirus outbreak poses challenges for Thailand’s property market as potential Chinese condominium buyers remain stranded in China. Meanwhile, some believe that the outbreak may bring opportunities for non-Chinese buyers and in the long-run, the Chinese may be looking for an overseas refuge in the event of these types of emergencies popping up again

Through all this, there will be a certain level of pent up demand for Thai real estate.

Of course, it’s not just the Chinese unable to come and inspect potential buys, the rest of the world is also mostly shut out of Thailand.

Market remains weak

The pandemic is hurting the condominium market as Chinese nationals were accounting for half of the international buyers in Thailand, or 57.6% of the total foreign condo owners in 2018.

Vichai Viratkapan, acting director-general of the Real Estate Information Centre says that 50% of Chinese condo transfers are expected to disappear in the first 2 quarters of this year and the total transfer value by the Chinese will miss the mark of the usual 29 billion baht by about 25% (around 7 billion).

However, since Chinese property buyers only make up 6% of the total international and domestic housing transfers in Thailand, the proportion of total housing transfers in the country is likely to be similar to last year.

Developers looking to sell current stock whilst shelving new projects

CBRE reports that most Thai developers are postponing the launch of new condo projects to focus on clearing existing stock.

“Discounting completed projects to generate quick revenue as a financial lifeboat is the best solution for many of the country’s larger developers whilst the market is in limbo.”

Rathawat Kuvijitrsuwan, head of CBRE Research and Consulting in Thailand believes that, now business is gradually recovering, a few developers have started to launch new condominium projects.

“In the first half of 2020, the Bangkok condominium landscape was gloomy with fewer than 10,000 condominium units launched, which was much lower than the total number of new launches in the past three years of more than 60,000 condominium units per year.”

The Chinese are reluctant to complete transfers

The virus has continued to affect hospitality operators, including hotels and condominiums that service tourists, nationwide. Since China has suspended tours, put restrictions on movement, and locked down cities, home to over millions of people, it also poses a threat to real estate developers as their clients are unable or unwilling to fly.

“Currently multiple off-plan condominium developments are approaching completion, and Chinese clients are unable or unwilling to transfer. Chinese clients who made a reservation in Q4 2019 are requesting a refund and withholding their investment,” said Marciano Bijmohun, Business Development Director at FazWaz Property Group.

He believes every condominium that is in transfer status will see the percentage of non-transfer units rise in the coming months.

“These non-transfer units will cause a big financial hit to developers.”

If a client refuses to transfer, does not comply with the terms and conditions stipulated in the sales and purchase agreement, and decides to release the property, their deposits will be forfeited.

“However, there is some good news, these non-transferred units can be offered with a discount to new clients.”

Also, as China has been susceptible to a few disease outbreaks – from bird flu to the current coronavirus – it may prompt Chinese buyers to look for second homes outside of China.

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