Tag Archives: asia

Smartphones – The choice of a New Generation.

The other day, I very nearly took a step into the unknown.  It would have been a momentous occasion too, no less spectacular than when Armstrong walked on the moon.

I almost wrote a blog from my phone.  It would have been a first for me, if I am honest I find those little screens a bit fiddly.  Can you imagine JK Rowling writing her next book on a smart phone? Aint gonna happen – genius needs comfort.

Anyway, not being a complete tech phobe – I did upload some photos from my phone to the blog.  It also happened to be very easy too. I liked it.  But there was method in my madness.

Around 6 months ago I finally took the plunge and bought an Android phone.  Spurned on by Apples continued push to constantly take away all the functionality in their products that I like and thus force me to pay for a cloud account that I do not need or want.  Better still, they take away functionality and then put it in an app that you have to buy.  That can’t be right.

So, slowly I began to use the Samsung S7 Edge. What a beautiful phone – if nothing else, looks wise it was like comparing Florence Welch to Vera Duckworth, Florence being the Samsung.  It sits in your hand with more ‘ooomph’ than an orphaned kitten, it really is something to behold.

The big drawback was something all Android/Mac users will tell you about – synchronizing.  See, when you plug your iPhone 6S into your Mac, it syncs everything for you, writing data in both directions between your phone and your laptop.  The Samsung has none of that, despite several apps claiming they will do it, I have yet to find one that really does work.  So manually, I pull out the expansion card and write all of my data, music, contacts across once or twice a month.

It really was a bit of a drag – or so I thought.  The more I used the phone the more I liked it.  Yes, dragging the data across was a bit of a pain but I am happy to do it now and have much preferred to stick with the Samsung over the iPhone.  In fact over the last couple of months, the 128gb iPhone 6 has become nothing more than a very expensive iPod.

Another nail in its coffin – I downloaded a music player to the Android the other day and have to say the sound is insanely good so the iPhone days are clearly numbered.  With a 7 year old Mac beginning to creak at the seams, there could easily be a 100% move away from Apple on the cards.

Apple have left me miffed for a long time, offering updates with many new things but they never – NEVER tell you what they have taken away, and they always take away something I am very used to using.  Now at this point I would normally push you over to the App store where you could read customers reviews of Apple software updates so you can see for yourselves – BUT – as their last 3 software releases got so badly slammed by the users, Apple decided to stop letting people leave reviews. That’s good logic right ?

Now, back to Samsung – technically, the phone is streets ahead.  I won’t bore you with blurb but instead stun you with a master piece of a practical experiment.

In the photos section of my blog you will find a folder entitled ‘Asia’.  In there are photos that have only been taken with a smart phone, my big camera hasn’t seen the light of day. If you click on one of the photos it will open it in full screen but also show you the source of the photo – i.e. iPhone 6s or Samsung (SM).

You will be stunned by the photos the Samsung has taken – stunned!  You will be certain I am telling porkies and I used my big camera – but no, they are all phone shots – the Samsung not streets ahead, but motorways/freeways/autobahn ahead.  The iPhone is an infinity away – it misses the mark by at least a Steve Jobs.

So there you are – Samsung over Apple every day of the week.

There is however, a sting in the tail.  A sad ‘Steve Urwin’ style of sting that threatens to diminish all that the Samsung has achieved. Even the waterproof phone that I can use to Skype the squeeze while I am in the shower has a serious, loyalty threatening flaw.

Customer Service.

I had the misfortune just over a week ago to be laying on the floor with the phone in my pocket. I heard that light and gentle crack that can only come from smart phone glass and knew instantly I had damaged my phone.  I took it out of my pocket to see the back of the phone was shattered.  I was pretty amazed if I am honest – I didn’t even realise the back was glass.

Anyway – it broke. I took it to the local Samsung shop here in Singapore.  They told me as it was a UK phone, they could not repair it as the parts were different.

I got in touch with Samsung customer services in the UK. I got in touch with then 6 times in as many days.  After 6 days of repetitive email it transpired that the Samsung ‘Experience’ store in Leicester couldn’t repair it for me, they could only sell me a new unit. It also came to light that there was not an approved Samsung repairer within a 50 mile radius so my only option was to have a courier collect the phone, have it repaired and returned to me.  This would take 7-10 days.

I am lucky.  I have a back up phone – the 6s.  Could you imagine not having a back up phone and being without your whole world for a week or more?

Now here’s the real sticking point for me.  If I broke my iPhone in the same way, I could walk into ANY Apple store worldwide, pay a small fee and take an exchange phone out of the store normally within 20 minutes or so of walking in. Samsung may just piss me off and direct me back to the Apple store.

Samsung please take note (but note a Galaxy note as they catch fire right ?)

Now, bug off over to the Asia photos section and see what I mean.

 


Trump Politics

The first thing I intend to do when I get home for my first break is to sit quietly with an ice-cold glass of Cravendale semi skimmed milk and a full size packet of McVities Chocolate Digestives fresh out of the fridge and eat as much as I can – you see, it’s the simple pleasures in life that are important.

Let’s talk Trump for a moment. I like this guy for the simple reason that each morning when I open the news pages on the internet, there will be a very amusing story about what Trump has been up to the previous day – politics has never been so colourful – not in my lifetime anyway.

Ok, that may come as a shock to a few, first Brexit, then Trump but I am also expecting the dutch to vote for Geert Wilders in a couple of months time and then Marine Le Pen to finish a close second in her elections. The face of Europe is changing.

Lets talk Asia for a moment. I have started a little photo album over to the right. I will add photos as I can – the problem is, there is so much stunning scenery yet I am fully aware how shite scenery photos can look – So I will try to get creative. I can’t help but avoid one or two scenery shots but I will try to keep them to a minimum. Apart from that, in almost 2 months of being here, I have had just 3 hours to myself off the boat. It has been a busy busy time. I have now had a chat with each Captain and told them that this level of use with lack of maintenance is not sustainable and if I can’t win the maintenance game, I won’t play (obviously I put it more diplomatic than that).

I hope to get some time out soon so that I can head to the local red light district of Patong. It is here I intend to set the scene for ‘Lady Boy or Lady Girl’. This is a new game I am developing for you pale faces back home. My intention is to present to you 10 photos of the local hookers, you just need to guess which is which. I am not too sure if any of the hookers will be happy to let me take photos of them touting for business – I rather suspect I will have to buy them each a drink at the over inflated bars’ prices where they work. Either that or I will get beaten to death by handbags.

Obviously this game is dependent on me actually getting off the boat, which, for the first two months has proved impossible. I managed 3 hours the other weekend when I made it to Nai Yang where I had breakfast overlooking the beach and then a half hour Thai massage ( no happy ending!). I did thoroughly enjoy it if I am honest. I was a little surprised when I realised the masseuse was actually standing on my thighs and arse cheeks – but when in Rome !

I land in the UK on the 22nd March – it would be good to head to the Merchants for a beer. Let me know what you think. I also have a local number here in Thailand for those that don’t know it yet. +66 634 977 489 – works great (free) with iMessage and equally free with Skype.

Just had another tip today – that brings the grand total to 27,000 baht since I got here in mid December. No time to get off and spend it means it could be in my wallet for a long long time

love you long time – $5 fucky fucky


And the winner was……….?

Me I hope – generally, after all isn’t that what it is all about?

It was a tough few days I can tell you.  Some times during my more thoughtful moments, a sickly feeling appeared in the pit of my stomach. Yes, I know, something of a cliché but it was true.  Right up to my midday deadline and even 3 hours past it, I still didn’t know which way to turn.

I wrote two acceptance emails in the hope it would push me in a certain direction but it didn’t.  Careful not to send one of them by accident, I saved them as drafts – after all, I would be needing at least one of them right ?

My self imposed midday deadline approached and a song came over my speakers that would give me the all needed surge into one direction.  A stunningly beautiful song, performed by a rather class act.  The lyrics also seemed to fit so well.

The song reminded me of those rare moments you get at sea.  You landies just wont understand but I will try to explain.

Most of the time I am sailing in shit weather.  Its wet, cold, dark, big waves trying to wash me off the boat every ten seconds or so. The boat is rolling from side to side at such angles that washing machines no longer work, taking a shower becomes impossible, taking a dump without covering yourself in it becomes the second biggest challenge of the day – second only to trying to stay alive.  If you’re trying to sleep and the boat is cresting sizeable waves, you lift off your mattress, just like when you drive over a hump back bridge a little faster than you should.  Conditions are so rough you either sleep in your clothes or spend 20 minutes trying to dress yourself in the most basic of gear.

And you get that for two weeks at a time if you are unlucky.  Two weeks of relentless pounding, walking the boat holding on to anything you can find, like a drunk trying to get along the bar to his taxi at the end of the night.  It can be a constant fight for survival.

Until you have those moments of clarity.  Sure, they don’t come very often.  Alone on the deck, helming at sunset and a random song comes on.  Purely by coincidence, it is the perfect sunset tune.  It happens maybe once a year.  It’s that moment of clarity that makes it all worth while.  Perfect timing with the sunset and that random song make for four minutes of absolute bliss.  Now I don’t mean absolute bliss as those twats that claim to be ‘living the dream’ might proclaim – let’s be honest, they are the same twats that post photos of burgers on their Facebook feeds and claim the same.  This bliss is beyond a level they could comprehend. The battle is not yet won, just survived – there is another battle not far around the corner. Always know where your life jacket and rescue beacon are.

The song ends in perfect harmony with the sun disappearing over the horizon, your mind clears and you focus on night time duties.  Keep everyone safe, and arrive at the next port of call.

I can’t imagine those moments being anywhere near as spectacular from the inside of a bridge on a Motor Yacht as they are standing behind a wooden helm on an open cockpit.

I have Birdy to thank for that – stop reading and have a listen to this…..

Suddenly all of the pain, struggle and strife of the last few thousand miles disappear and it is worth all of the grief. The ocean calms and your eyes begin to adjust to the darkness.  The hard earned spoils of offshore sailing drift away waiting to be discovered again like a long ago launched message in a bottle.

 

It was also that same fight for life, that clamber and struggle to dress, the 6 hours a day in the weather of an open cockpit, surprise squalls with excessive wind speeds that threaten to tear the rig in two, a boat constantly leaning at 15º for days at a time that made me think a little harder.

For all the romance, beauty and style of a sailing yacht – it doesn’t offer stability in turbulent waters.  Imagine being able to shower at any time, to have a poo with out clinging onto your towel rail.  Getting dressed with the light on in less than 20 minutes  because you dont have to worry that you will wake your cabin mate up who has just had an equally harrowing watch on the helm.

Yes, Motor Yachts are typically vulgar floating masses but that mass offers options.  Options like your own cabin, your own shower or better still, your very own toilet – no more cleaning up other people’s mess.  There is also the benefit of a full size engine room, stand up head room everywhere, two huge V16 diesel engines with 7000 horse power between them and two big 175 kW generators to keep me company.

Add into the facts that it is a little better paid, has 90 days paid leave instead of 60 and paid in $ – it had to be the better option right?  It seems writing two acceptance emails actually did pay off.  Seeing everything written down for clarification made the two roles stand out.  No more getting dressed in the dark, no more head hitting in an engine room to small for an elf (a bit of irony there).

Even with that clarity, as I hit send on the acceptance mail draft, I still had that ‘oh fuck’ moment where I doubted myself.  One thing I am certain of – if I took the sailing yacht job, the first time the weather got rough, or I stubbed my toe on something or twatted my head in the engine room – I know I would have been cursing my choice.

After the end of my last relationship – it’s time to move on to something different, after all, if you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you always got.

 

It’s Quiet Company

 

 

 

 


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