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Phuket Tech: Measuring (actual) internet speed – Live Wire

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket Tech: Measuring (actual) internet speed – Live Wire | The Thaiger

PHUKET: Over the years we’ve had a lot of ups and downs with the Phuket Internet Speed reporting site, phuketinternetspeed.com. We’ve gathered 30,000 speed tests from around the island, from almost 900 computer users, covering nearly 100 different internet packages. That makes Phuket Internet Speed, by far, as best I know, the largest community-based independent speed reporting site on the internet.

Our emphasis has always been on single-threaded international download speeds. You may well argue that single-thread international download speeds aren’t as important as they once were, and you’d be right.

Many people in Phuket now use torrents to download movies, music, and other files that they just can’t get in Thailand. Torrents employ multiple streams, frequently to different countries – they pull pieces of a file from any available resource, then re-assemble the file once the pieces have been downloaded. If somebody who’s broadcasting a torrent is located in Thailand, chances are good you’ll be pulling some parts of the file from inside Thailand.

Browsers are getting good enough to pull down some files in multiple threads. Single threading is still the most common way of getting files, at least to a first approximation, but multiple threading download managers are becoming much more common.

All of the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in Phuket now cache sites so, for example, if you think you’re watching a direct feed of the Rugby World Cup, you aren’t: the ISP brings one copy of the live feed of the Rugby World Cup to Bangkok, and the feed that goes out to subscribers in Thailand actually originates in Bangkok, delayed by just a fraction of a second. It’s so fast that you wouldn’t notice, but the caching approach saves the ISPs a huge amount of (expensive!) bandwidth outside the country. The caching is automatic, part of a software package the ISP buys, and generally works well.

Many of the major websites now have servers mirrored in Singapore, and the web site owners pay for dedicated fast lines from Bangkok to Singapore. So if you check your Gmail (from Google) or play a YouTube video (also from Google), you aren’t actually hopping to a server in the US or Europe. Your connection actually goes to Bangkok, then Singapore over a very fast (and usually reliable) dedicated line. Bottom line: if you’re working on a Microsoft, Google, Amazon, or Akamai website, your domestic inside-Thailand speed is very close to the speed you’ll see on-screen. The balancing on the back end – where your Gmail mail, say, gets synced with backup copies all over the world – happens internationally at the blink of an eye. Perhaps a leisurely blink, but it’s so fast you’ll never notice.

Over the years, international download speeds have become less significant. They’re primarily a concern when you’re going to websites that don’t have many viewers inside Thailand, or when you’re downloading files that aren’t very popular in Thailand. At the same time, domestic download speeds have become more important, because they frequently reflect what you actually experience.

Unfortunately the speed tests offered by ISPs (primarily based on an engine built by a company named OOKLA, such as speedtest.net) are hard-wired to give you the fastest possible result, with little compensation for reality.

The Phuket Internet Speed reporting site has drawn interest from many different organizations, most notably Google, which has an ongoing effort to improve internet access across the globe.

Some of the interest we’ve drawn, though, hasn’t been good. Starting in October last year, two of Phuket’s ISPs started cheating on the test regime we were using. All of Phuket’s ISPs “throttle” international access – with very rare exceptions, they intentionally slow down any attempt by customers to go outside of Thailand. The cheating ISPs found a way to “poke a hole” through the speed throttling, when customers were going to the specific websites that we used for the speed test. As a result, speed tests that Phuket people have posted since October need to be examined with a grain of salt.

It took a couple of months, but we finally discovered that the ISPs were cheating on all of the test sites, except one – the one in Parsippany, New Jersey. Heaven only knows why they missed Parsippany, but at least as of this writing, our old test regime still gives valid results when run to Parsippany.

That said, I’ve switched internet speed testing site to testmy.net for my own personal use, and I suggest you do the same. None of the ISPs are cheating on this site – in fact, it isn’t clear if they ‘can’ cheat in the same way, because the location of the test seems to change. Which suits our needs perfectly.

The site has an additional advantage: it will run automatic, periodic speed tests, then gather and display the results. That helps me keep track of when my line is working well, and when it goes to the dogs.

Here’s how to set up automatic testing on testmy.net:

1) Go to testmy.net. In the upper right corner, click Create Account. Follow the instructions to create a new account, either a completely new account (which I recommend), or by logging on with an existing Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ account.

2) When you’ve jumped through the hoops, click in the upper right corner to Sign In. On the top bar, click Auto Test.

3) Up at the top, click on the link that says Server Selection (it’s in a nearly illegible blue). Choose one of the offered servers. I use the one in Dallas, but you may prefer one of the others. Testmy.net will remember your choice. Once again, click Auto Test.

4) Select the button marked ‘Combined’. On the right, you can run the test as many times as you like – I typically run it every hour, for 100 times (or four days). (Note: if you’re running on a 3G line, you probably don’t want to burn through your data allowance by running a lot of tests.) Click the button marked ‘Min Download Size’ and choose a good-sized test regimen – I usually run 3 MB. Similarly, click the Min Upload Size button and pick a significant test – I use 1 MB.

5) Click the button marked ‘Start Automatic Test’. The test runs immediately, and you see the result.

6) Don’t do anything. As long as your browser is running, and it has a tab open to the testmy.net site, the testmy.net program will run tests for as long as you’ve specified. If you click on Your Results in the upper right, then choose your login name, you’ll see a graph like the one in the screen shot on this page.

7) From time to time, drop by phuketinternetspeed.com and post some of your results! That’s the easiest way to see what other people are experiencing.

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, — Woody Leonhard

Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.

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

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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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Thailand

21% of Thai teenagers are gambling

Greeley Pulitzer

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21% of Thai teenagers are gambling | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Gambling, local style, Rai Et, north-east Thailand – Pinterest

Early in October the Thai Health Promotion Foundation met to discuss the gambling situation in Thailand in 2019. Also present were the Centre for Gambling Studies, Stop Gambling Foundation and related groups.

The meeting was set up after a report revealed that more than half (57%) of the Thai population, or 30.42 million people, gamble. The director-general of the Centre for Gambling Studies at Chulalongkorn University shared the report, which was based on data from a survey of 44,050 people across 77 provinces.

The figure is an increase of 1.49 million people from 2017. While most Thai gamblers are of working age, 2.4% of the total were aged between 15-18 years. This means that 21% of that age group are gambling.

According to California’s Council on Problem Gambling, youth, like everyone else, gamble for many reasons, including entertainment; socialisation; competition; loneliness, and boredom; to get rich quick; to impress others; be the centre of attention; make new friends, and because winning provides an instant, temporary boost of confidence.

“The California Council on Problem Gambling lists depression as one reason youth turn to gambling, noting that depression can just as easily be an effect as a cause. This is especially important to note in a country like Thailand.”

In an article in The ASEAN Post, it was noted that in December 2017, Thailand’s Department of Mental Health (DMH) reported that an estimated one million teenagers are believed to suffer from depression, many of whom go untreated, with two million more are at risk, making upward of three million among a population of eight million teens then.

The DMH said that stress and anxiety may affect a student’s ability to concentrate and perform well at school, and they may show several warning signs, such as lack of attention, loss of interest in daily activities, lethargy, sadness, and sleeping issues.

“It is clear from studies that depression and gambling go hand-in-hand: the unfortunate case in Thailand is that it is affecting children too.”

SOURCE: The ASEAN Post

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Bangkok

Professor: Military government too interested in tourism – not people’s welfare

Greeley Pulitzer

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Professor: Military government too interested in tourism – not people’s welfare | The Thaiger

A professor of Rangsit University has criticised the previous military government for focusing too much on tourism and not enough on the welfare of the Thai people. The professor was speaking at Chulalongkorn University at a seminar discussing street stalls and urban development.

She questioned the National Council for Peace and Order’s policy of clearing street vendors in all but a few areas such as Yaowarat and Khao San Road that mainly cater to tourists.

She claimed that the NCPO – in power since the coup of 2014 until this year’s election – was more interested in economic development through tourism than in the welfare of the public.

Having affordable street food options was not just about tourism, she said, it was vital for poor workers who have migrated from the countryside, adding that it was part of an informal rather than a formal economy.

“For years people had earned their living from selling goods and services, including food, on the streets.”

This in turn provided an affordable option to eat for workers who came to Bangkok on for large investment projects. The issue, she said, was not just about tourism but the wider economy that might benefit.

The professor noted that CNN had once called Bangkok the best place in the world for street food but this had changed with the sanitized food trucks that have appeared since stalls and vendors were banned from most areas.

The Thaiger notes that banning street vendors has divided the capital. Many are happy that the sidewalks are easier to navigate, but others – including tourists – have said that the lifeblood and character of the city has suffered.

SOURCE: Naew Na | ThaiVisa Forum

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