Tag Archives: singapore

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.

 


Is Romance Really Dead?

Hearts are about to melt !!

 

So for those of you in the know, I recently made the acquaintance of a new squeeze – courtesy of one Dennis Raymond Hambridge and a recent illness.  When people get ill, they end up in hospital – hospital is where nurses hang out !  Well, ok, to be accurate – they work there.  I recently hung out in a few hospitals as my Facebook followers will be well aware of.

Just happened that one of those nurses was extremely hot – and I am not over quoting that level of extreme either – super hot, hotter than fake news !

Now, with a little help from another nurse (Thank You Abby) – I managed to get a date with this hot nurse.  Her hotness did not wane – and she had quite an impact on me.  We met a few more times, had some more dates, walks, coffee, crumpets, wine etc etc until it was time for me to head back to Thailand for 3 months of work.

That was tough.  I really didn’t want to wait for 3 months to see her again so arranged to fly her to Singapore for 10 days – she will arrive on the 16th of this month.

Now, this is where it gets really sticky.

A little competition has ensued.  A competition between the pair of us to find the most romantic thing to do in Singapore.

I have no doubt that what I have just done will totally blitz anything she can think of, anything you could think of or anything you all could collectively think of.  It is completely untouchable –  I MEAN UNTOUCHABLE !!

When the lady readers find out what I have done, there will be collective sighs, smiles, happiness and maybe even a tear welling in the corner of an eye.

When the male readers find out what I have done – you will be doubly pissed off.  Firstly because when your missus finds out what I have done, she will be pissed that you have never done anything that could even come remotely close to this, and secondly, as a male, you will be jealous that you have never thought to do something so immense – and I do not use that word lightly.

So what have I done?

 

I can’t tell you ………….it’s not due to happen for a few weeks and the squeeze may just find out from here just what it is.  What I will promise all of you is to let you know when I will be back in the UK, and invite you all out for a beer or two again and you can meet her and ask her in person – then you are all gonna blub like babies – well the chicks anyway – Amy Beard will definitely blub!

 

Blub on Bitches

 


Wonderlustre

I went shopping today.  It was not your normal shopping trip but it was for me.

An elegant chance to fool around in someone elses territory so fool around I did.

I was looking for one of those bluetooth speaker thingys that are all the rage at the moment. I was struggling to find one that I liked but did happen across a slightly larger version with a separate woofer and fancy LED’s.

I paired the Samsung to it and tapped in a song to check out the quality.  It was actually pretty good.  It was also a little too expensive at $419 Singapore dollars and if I am honest, a little too big to be portable – but I could have some fun with it.

It boasted a 30 metre bluetooth range so I thought I should give it a go.  Selected a suitable song, in this case the classic Prodigy track ´Charly`(a trip into drum and bass version) and started to walk away.

Here`s the thing – in order to be sure the bluetooth was still connected, I would need to hear the song as I got further away. As the sound had further to travel, this could mean only one thing – more volume.  I pumped it up.

Now for those of you that are not immediately familiar with the trip into drum and bass version of the Prodigy’s ´Charly`it is a little further down the page.  One thing I did notice though – from the peripherals of a 30 metre range, I had a very good view of the sales attendants moving in on an increasingly loud audio system playing what might be considered inappropriate music for the normal clientele of downtown Singapore.

And this is where bluetooth comes into its own – before they could get close enough to identify which of their machines was pumping out such a gorgeous tune – I could turn it down, down so far it was silent and they had no idea where it was coming from.

You guessed already what happened next right?  As they walked away I could turn it up again.  I got four assaults in before they realised that if they stood next to the machines I would have to expose which one I was connected to  in order to continue the dance.  Imagine the fun you could have if you and say 5 of your friends went in to Currys and all connected to different devices?

I am now looking for 5 friends when I return to the UK in July.

 

It did remind me of a trick my grandma taught me as a kid.  Did you ever play knock door run?  Posh southerners call it knock down ginger, Richard Bolam used to call it ´Cherry Knocking although I never understood why.  Well my grandma told me I should get a bit of cotton and tie it around the door knocker and unravel the cotton and hide on the other side of the road.  It bloody worked too - I ´borrowed a reel of black cotton from my mums sowing basket and headed to the top of Hinde Close and found a suitable victim with a door knocker on the row of houses opposite on Stonehills.

Very carefully tied the cotton to the knocker, walked backwards across the road unravelling the cotton and hid behind a small bush on the opposite side of the road.  Pulling in the slack, I could then give it a gentle flick and rattle that knocker

Five times I had that man come to his door, even knocking it again seconds after he had just closed it.  I only stopped because I could no longer contain my laughter – I never did tell my grandma how well her plan came off  – she would have laughed, offered me a fag and a glass of Sherry no doubt.

 

Anyway – Drum and bass Charly as promised. Turn it up and get out of your seat.

 

 

 


And as quick as a flash

It was gone – 5 weeks of holiday disappeared in the blink of an eye.  In my terms, an unproductive month to say the least – or was it ….?

I was a little miffed that I didn’t get to see my old mucker and avid reader Conor over in Northampton, but I did get to catch up with some other good old buggers so it wasn’t a complete write off. I really wanted to have a rip in his bug but will have to be next time now.

I am in the luxury of an Ibis Budget hotel at Birmingham airport with a pint of John Smith’s Smooth, reminiscing over the last month or so.  I must confess that I thought maybe I had gone the whole month without writing a page here but then I saw the last post which was most definitely this month with the knee photos and the killer Courtney Love vid.

Glad to say that the knee is making a great recovery now and better still, the doc and the physio think I could be running again in 3 months – that would be absofuckinglutely fabulous – I miss running.  My waistline does too  – without those extra calorie burns, I am a good 7kgs too heavy – that’s a stone and a little bit to you old timers!

Now, I did have the absolute pleasure of meeting a very tasty young lady while I was off.  See, when you get to my age, it’s all MILF’s and GILF’s – I am very VERY pleased to say I have encountered my very first GILF and thoroughly enjoying it!  I am also hoping it will be my only GILF encounter if you fully understand what I mean.  Can’t tell you too much right now but as things unravel, I will share more.  Needless to say she is smoking hot and has my fullest attention.

Moving on from nurses, let’s talk about eBay for a moment.  You may remember me putting my beloved Range Rover up for sale.  Inevitably I got the usual spaztards with the ’10 grand cash by the weekend’ bollocks – I don’t play well with spaztards if I am honest – so imagine this – some complete wanker messages me simply saying ‘£8000?’  That was it – his whole complete message.

Naturally I had an epiphany and responded exactly as such an insult deserved.  Screen dump below – read it from the bottom up – he even had the audacity to call me a gentleman afterwards – the prick !

 

I think you might call that ‘not suffering fools gladly’ ??

So tomorrow morning I start the long hard slog back to Thailand.  I still have no idea where I will meet the boat but will rest easy in the first class section of both legs of the flight – actually, come to think of it, I still need to find a hotel for Tuesday night.

A couple of days in Thailand and then we head to Singapore.  It’s all new to me but there is one thing I am extremely mindful of.  There is a section of the trip that runs through the Straights of Malacca – now apparently this is rife with piracy so please keep an eye on the news to see if we make it safely through.  If you hear about some mad English fool that used a home made flame thrower to fight off a pirate attack – that will most definitely be me!  If I don’t make it out alive – don’t send flowers but do drink a Belgian beer or two!

After surviving Singapore for a couple of months, we sail for Bali – Are you at all jealous yet ?

Special thanks to those who came out to the Merchants Inn on Friday night – it was good to see each and every one of you.  Thanks for the beer and the hang over that followed.


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

 

 

 

 


Time for a change ?

For those in the know, Rue was here for a week but now is languishing back in the tropical temperatures of the UK.  During the week here, we tried to explore a little.  One thing I found was a shopping mall (I really hate saying mall instead of centre) with a theme park inside.  The roller coaster looked half decent on YouTube at least so we headed out to find the place.

Turns out that the roller coaster wasn’t all that.  The theme park was all for kids so a little bit tame to say the least.  Still, I soldiered on and found the indoor kart track, complete with electric karts.  I tried that once before in Vegas and loved it, so I talked Rue into having a go (by that I mean I paid !).

Turned out to be a right good laugh and we had 10 minutes of very close racing.  How close was actually flipping amazing.  When we got off the karts, the staff were staring at the timing screens, keen to point them out to us.

0.001 seconds

 

So I had been beaten by just 0.001 seconds – of course that victory was gained by a death move at the hairpin which included Rue nerfing me off the track to get by.

It was a good vibe but I had lost – after all, it was Cheap Trick that once said that there are no points for second best.  I plotted my revenge.

On Tuesday we headed back to the track for the rematch.  The stakes were high, we were BBQing on the 20th floor.  Rue pulled out first and slowed to let me take the lead – fatal mistake.  What followed next was 19 laps of sheer magic.  I pulled a lead that extended to the length of the start/finish straight  and try as he might, he couldn’t get near me.  It’s fair to say, in Formula 1 terms I absolutely annihilated him – almost 0.3 seconds faster.

Vengance

 

So it was done.  I had more than made up for the 0.001 seconds defeat from the previous week.  I gloated all the way to the coffee house as Rue kept telling me he wasn’t competitive anyway.  I comforted him saying that at least he had improved on his previous time but as I just looked at both photos, seems he didn’t manage that so I shall gloat some more next time I see him.

Not competitive eh?  That’s why you rammed me off the track in the first heat !!

 

There – that done, my time here in Qatar is almost over.  This brings me to another dilemma.  I am heading back to the UK next week to tie up a few loose ends (not a metaphor for bondage), complete some training updates and then decide whether to find a new job or stay off for a few months and take some more exams.

Two days ago, I had a very good job offer from a boat in Thailand that spends its time between there, Singapore and Indonesia.  It was a seriously good job offer too.  Wicked Salary, 80 days paid leave and a months salary as a bonus at end of year.  There was also a short discussion with another sailing yacht currently in Mallorca but heading to the Caribbean and Americas Cup.  I kind of dismissed the sailing yacht as the captain sounded very distant and uninterested on the phone.

The more I thought about the Thailand gig, the less I wanted it.  Last night I typed a mail to the captain explaining that his job wasn’t for me and held it in my draft box.  I was of the mindset that I would also tell the sailing boat the same thing and knuckle down and do my next exams. Then today the captain emailed me with an offer that just blew everything else away, clean out of the water, to the point that I just cannot ignore it.  I am sure that was his plan, to make it impossible to say no.  He has offered me more than a 20% increase over my last job – that is massive!

So now I have a dilemma.  Tonight I will talk to the current engineer to get his take on it all, then I might start negotiations.  Not to be cheeky but I reckon I can squeeze more out of him.

 

Lets see what happens next.

 


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