Category Archives: Cyber Gypsy Gear

Hong Kong

Hong Kong
Hong Kong

Hong Kong is my favourite place in the world. Nowehere else do you get that blend of the exotic yet with subtle reminders of home, like the fact that the little bins are the same as the litter bins in London, people speak English, the street names are in English and Chinese and have very British names like Nathan Road, The Peak etc. So it feels homey yet it’s as far away from Streatham as you can get.

I arrived in the morning when we were dumped at a bus stop in Shenzen, I thought we were being dropped off at a ferry terminal, but instead we caught a bus to the train station and hopped on a train. What surprised me was the fact that to all intents and purposes Hong Kong is still a separate country. It has it’s ownbcurrency still with many coins having good old Lizzy on the back of them. I thought they would have at least changed to the Chinese Yuan.

So we busied our way through customs and I arrived in Tsim Sha Tsui in good shape, reunited with my lovely Hong Kong.

I had to do that very Hong Kong things as soon as I arrived which is to go into McDonalds, it’s one of the few places to go where it is not a fortune for a meal and all travellers bump into each other in McStodge.

I then caught a star ferry over the harbour, something I could do over and over again like a dog fetching a stick.

Star Ferry
Star Ferry

All of the ferries have lovely names like ‘Solar Star’ ‘Twinkling Star’ etc. There is no ‘Freddy Star’ but that’s probably a good thing now isn’t it.

So I get a number 54 bus from Central and head on up the long walk to the YHA at Mount Davis where the view out of the window is that picture at the beginning of this post. Click on it and you’ll see it close up.

I have planned my time here to make the most use of my few days. I am going to relax today in this mountain idyll, spend tomorrow night in Chung King Mansions on Nathan road where I used to stay over 11 years ago when I first arrived in Hong Kong, then on Tuesday night I will go over to Lantau and visit a few of the places I used to know when I lived there for a year. I might even attempt a swim in the waterfall pools.

I love it here, it’s just everything you could want from a place. It is mostly national parks, it has great footpaths, cycle ways, it is civilised in a very English kind of way and the people are quirky and touchy and the food is to die for. It’s just heaven on earth.


Hot Gossip

I discovered the Yangshui expat community today which is a hotbed of intrigue and gossip. One feller who is new to the scene is apparently ‘splashing the cash’ around so the lads are keeping an eye on him. One fellow was swaggering around like he owned the place and more alcohol is consumed by this small bunch of English teachers and climbers than is drunk by the whole of the rest of China. I’m not sure if I like this kind of scene or not, it’s a bit like a schoolyard and I never warmed to school very much the first time around.

I managed to find someone that did a traditional kosher massage and nearly missed my bus because of it, but I managed to hop on and find myself a little bunk by the window.

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Lazy Day

It’s lovely here, the Chinese have built a little shangri-la by some of the most eye catching scenery in the world. It’s not perfect and it would be easy to walk around with a critical eye, but it’s a great place to pass the time so today I did my spring cleaning and re-charged my batteries. This consists of cleaning out the rucksack by throwing away the pile of rubbish that accumulates on the road. Everything seems to have a value when you are travelling, even reciepts in languages you cannot fathom, so I have been ruthless and disposed of them all. I then washed my clothes which are drying right now, scrubbed myself, washed my hair, combed out the dreadlocks by dragging my fingers through my barnet and now I feel a good deal lighter.

I bought an expensive local jasmine tea and have been enjoying that all day, for lunch I ventured out to a local chinese eatery and selected from the goodies below…

If you click on the picture you will get a larger image to pop up. This techological  advancement is cone of the many free add ons provided in the wordpress add on library gawd bless em.

I also booked my ticket to Shenzen and hence onwards to Hong Kong. I have planned my time there to take in some of my old haunts from when I lived there over 11 years ago, so that’ll be a trip down memory lane.

Tomorrow I might cycle up country and take a bamboo boat trip up river, my bus isn’t til 8pm and I know the way well enough by now to find the river landings for the bamboo rafts.

So, I’m not going to rabbit on anymore as I am going to get some dins with a German feller called Fred that I met on the way through Guilin. I like yangshuo, but then again I have fallen for quite a few places on this trip on reflection. It’s a wonderful world. (right now a Chinese girl is watching TV in the YHA munching on raw sugar cane, she looks like a panda and reminds me that we are all still animals at heart).

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Batteries ETC

I have a £50 Battery in my vaio and it is working fine. A SONY original 7200 mah original is £270, so for the change I could go on a week’s holiday to Spain, eat 150 kebabs or afford a few tickets to go see Tottenham Hotspurs play at white hart lane.


I’ll report back if my VAIO fries in hell, which is what SONY would have you believe would happen if you use a non standard battery. I reckon the risk of data loss from not having a working battery as a backup power supply is more worrying.

I have been hearing more and more rumours of WiFi networks in London. The square mile is supposed to be switched on soon, which would expand my office somewhat. Nobody knows who will pay for it, and it does not look as if it will be a free network like in Norwich, but it’s a start.

The question is what we’ll do when we have it. In zoo’s the animals often stay put when the cage doors are open, even alerting the zoo keepers to the fact because they feel insecure, so maybe we will take time to adjust to our new found freedom.

We’ll see.


I like my Sony VAIO. It has one of the best screens I have ever seen, and it is quieter than a cat stalking a bug on a rug. However, my battery has gone kaput after only one year and I’m not happy about it.

Not least because if I want to get another, it will cost me £139 for the almost useless standard battery, and £279 for the longer life battery that would count as standard on any other laptop (the screens on these things use so much power they sap the batteries, which is an OK trade for me as I want a good monitor on my laptop).

Originally I thought my laptop, which is a VGN FS215B, had daughter board problem as it didn’t register any battery at all. I posted a note on Sony’s award winning online help, and in a week got a message back saying if, after cleaning the battery terminals it still doesn’t work, I should buy another battery.

It took them a week to chew over THAT.


I have an old jalopy of a Eurocom that lasted three years without a hiccup before this. It may be true that the screen had the luminance of a muddy pond, and it made more noise than a politician, but it still works and lives to this day as my trusty gypsy back up.

At the first available opportunity I am going to check out Panasonic Toughbook technology. This Cyber Gypsy needs something that I can use in my cluttered old wagon, on the road, in the shower, whilst up mountain peak or in that white water raft.

My Sony is cute, but I think it might be a fireside option.

OK. If I am going to make this a review I had better review the damned thing.


Great screen.
Quiet, I used to know my old laptop would not be stolen because I’d hear where it was at 50 miles, not this one.
Quite fast.
Look cute.


Seems like the batteries are useless and SONY are making a mint out of replacing them.
Looks cute, the girlfriend prefers checking her email out on this rather than her DELL.
Doesn’t feel solid, it has that ‘sell them pretty so that when they look worn they’ll come back for another’ quality about it.

If anyone has come looking for a review that includes information on how to overclock the damned thing, remember I’m a Cyber Gypsy, and am more interested in how I can run the thing on solar power.

And i’d like the battery to work.


This laptop broke not long after the warrenty date. I have a friend who works at Sony, he has a buddy in the parts department, he said DO NOT BUY SONY VAIO LAPTOPS, now that’s coming from the horses mouth.

What apparently happened to this one is the glue that holds the VGA chip to the mother board came unstuck so the screen stopped working. To buy another motherboard is more than a new laptop – I tried getting a second hand motherboard off of eBay but this didn’t work as there are so many different motherboards for the one model.

So do not buy a Sony Vaio, even at Sony they admit that Sony Vaio Laptops are Shit, they are designed to break shortly after the warrenty runs out – I own a Nissan, they are successful because they are well engineered and they last forever, why Sony has decided to go for the old American model of built in obsolescence I do not know, but as they seem to be making a good load of money they really do not seem to care.

Have I made myself clear, DO NOT BUY A SONY VAIO, of you want a SONY VAIO REVIEW then this is it here, the SONY VAIO REVIEW is that SONY VAIO LAPTOPS are a rip off.


Google’s neighbourhood, one big WiFi network!

Last week Google offered to make it’s entire hometown one big WiFi network

Mountain View, California, will then be the biggest community in the US with free WiFi.

About 72,000 people live in Mountain View, an 11 square mile city 35 miles south of San Francisco.

companies like Google and VeriSign are based in Mountainview, so during the day the population can rise above 100,000

Laptop Travel Tips

Laptop Travel Tips
By Elizabeth Lord

Travel laptops require more consideration on top of the usual factors involved in buying a laptop, such as performance, price and warranty. Getting a system that is light is critical. With widescreen models becoming more popular, whilst great for viewing, it just adds weight to the system. If you are not into watching movies or complex graphics, a smaller screen should be fine.

While the price of laptops compared to desktops has shrunk recently, you will still pay slightly more for a laptop. With laptops reasonably difficult to expand or upgrade, it’s a good idea to add more memory or get a bigger hard drive at the time of purchase. Your system should have at least two USB 2.0 ports, as this will be the main way of connecting to external devices.

If you are a frequent traveler and want to use your laptop while flying, there are some other design issues you might want to consider. Widescreen laptops can be a hassle if you are in the coach section, as there is hardly enough room to open the machine. A system with external controls for volume and Wi-Fi can also be good, to avoid annoying other passengers or interfering with the aircrafts navigational system. For really long flights, a second battery is probably the most cost effective way of keeping your system powered up.

As laptops are more likely to be damaged or stolen while on the road, it is a good idea to have a backup plan. Do a regular backup so if something bad does happen, you don’t lose too much data. The easiest way to do this is to buy a laptop with a built in DVD burner. One DVD disc should be more than enough to store your work data. You could also use a CD burner, but you would probably need to carry multiple discs. If you only have a small amount of files you need to backup, a USB flash drive would also do the job.

Laptops that are on the road regularly are more likely to break down. So invest in a good quality carry case to limit any potential damage in transit, and always keep your backups up to date.

Most warranties these days are only twelve months, so if there is a extended warranty available, it may be worth taking up if you are constantly on the road.

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