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Phuket Tech: Lock down your mobile devices

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET: In New York City, the crime rate has been slowly, steadily decreasing every year for the past 15 years.

Until last year. In 2012, there were 3,484 more major crimes reported than in 2011 – and 3,890 more thefts of iPhones and iPads. Stolen iPhones and iPads are reversing a long-standing decline in major crimes.

The situation in Phuket is no better. I get questions all the time from people who want to know how to track their stolen iPhone, or iPad – or Android phone or tablet. The short
answer: it’s easy to do before the device gets swiped, but impossible (or at least extremely difficult) to do afterwards.

If you have an iPhone or an iPad, now would be a very good time to turn on Apple’s “Find My iPhone” support. The free Find My iPhone app lets you use another iPhone or iPad to pinpoint your missing phone on a map. There are also ways to protect private data; display a message reading “bring my phone back or I’ll tell my uncle Soprano”; play a sound at full volume for a few minutes even if the phone was set to silent (a convenient way to locate the missing phone if you’re in earshot) and remotely lock your phone or pad.

Here’s how to turn on Find My iPhone.

First, make sure you’re running the latest version of iOS. Find My iPhone is available in iOS version 5 or later.

Second, sign up for iCloud by tapping Settings, iCloud. You need to set up an Apple ID, which is just an email address and password. That same Apple ID will work with the iCloud web site at icloud.com. You can also use the same Apple ID in the iTunes Store and the App Store.

Third, tap iTunes and install the Find My iPhone app. It’ll take a couple of minutes to download and install.

Fourth, when the app is ready, tap Settings, iCloud, Find My iPhone. Then tap Allow to turn on Find My iPhone tracking. That’s all it takes. As long as your phone is connected to the internet, it’s being tracked.

If you lose your iPhone or iPad, or it’s stolen, finding it is easy:

  • First, with any web browser, go to icloud.com/find.
  • Second, sign in with your Apple ID and password.
  • Third, click on the Find My iPhone button.

Fourth, if you have more than one iOS device (say, both an iPhone and a couple of iPads), you have to choose which device you want to track.

And that’s all it takes. If your phone or tablet is online, it’ll appear with a green dot next to the name of the device. If it’s offline, you see a red dot. Tap on a device that’s online and the last location of the device will show up on a location map. Unfortunately, the location isn’t updated in real time, but it does get refreshed every few minutes.

You can send the phone a message, if you like, or play that blasting sound. If your iPhone or iPad is offline, you can set an option to have an email sent to you when the device gets re-connected to the internet.

That same web application – the one at icloud.com/find – also works for tracking some Macs, using an app build into OS X 10.7.2 and later, called Find My Mac. All you have to do, in order to activate Find My Mac on a Mac, is to open the iCloud pane of System Preferences and verify your Apple ID and password. Wait for your ID to be verified, then check the box marked Use Find My Mac. Click Next, then click Allow. You’ll have to use an account with administrator access to your Mac.

There are several analogous programs on the Android side of the fence. The best-reviewed app I’ve seen is called Where’s My Droid. Like Find My iPhone, this app will ring even a silenced phone, retrieve the GPS coordinates of the phone and link it to Google Maps. It will also password protect your phone to make it more difficult to wipe it or root it, and Where’s My Droid will notify you if the SIM card or phone number gets changed.

Where’s My Droid Pro (US$4) adds the ability to take pictures with the phone or tablet’s
camera, and send them to you; remotely lock the device; wipe the phone or tablet’s SD card or all of the data on the device.

You can download it on Google Play.

But how do you find your Android phone/tablet if you didn’t have the foresight to install and activate one of these apps? In my experience, it can be done, if you’re lucky.

Plan B – only available for Android – locates your lost phone/tablet by using cell towers and GPS. It sends the location of your phone to your Gmail inbox. I’ve seen Plan B in use, in the US, and results are spotty. I don’t know if it will work in Thailand. It, too, is available on Google Play.

A word of warning. If you do manage to find your phone, DON’T go after the thief yourself. The web is full of horror stories of people who confronted ‘iThieves’ and ended up dead or worse. You may have trouble locating a policeman who understands Find My iPhone, here in Phuket, but then again you may be surprised – more than a few local gendarmes use the program themselves.

So now, while you’re thinking about it, go get all of your mobile devices signed up.

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 [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 Thai massaman curry has topped a list of the World’s 50 Best Foods, compiled by the CNN Travel team. Thailand’s smooth coconut milk and potato-based curry (add meat, tofu or vegetables of your choice) comes in at Number 1, with 2 other popular Thai dishes also making it into the World’s Best food list.

The hot and spicy shrimp/prawn 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, Penang Assam laksa, Malaysia 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…

First Place, Massaman curryEmphatically 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.

Eighth Place, Tom Yum Kung

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

46th Place, Som Tam/Papaya salad

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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