Category Archives: Uncategorized

Data Cards, WiFI and Roaming

In 2004 I set up my first on-line store whilst on the 17th floor of a hotel in Chiang Mai, overlooking the night market, and the hills in the distance where nestles the monastery of Doi Suthep.

My internet connection was made by stripping a dial up connection lead, popping on a connector and plugging into the telephone socket. I then used a local prepaid card that gave me lots of low bandwidth connection time, enough to get my site up on-line.

Since then you can just use a 3G data card which costs 1,767 a month from here, that’s around 27 quid a month..although it seems you have to pay around £230 up front for that.

I was recently researching into European data cards and came upon a Spanish data card that you use through a 3G mobile, then just activate and pop up as you go. It works out to be very cheap in Spain, but as usual the price goes up to 5 Euro a MB outside of Spain.

All I want is a Data card that will allow me to cross borders and still do my work. And I want to pay around £20 to £30 a month for it, that’s not too much to ask is it ;0)

Still Stranded

I can feel the winter rolling on to the London streets because it wakes up something that should be left sleeping. I feel too awake in fact, which doesn’t scare me half so much as it used to.

This is the time of year to be heading south with the beautiful birds, perhaps as a bit of a loping companion to them but all with the same goal in mind.

I however have to stay in London to babysit some important work that will sustain me through winter, so I am hoping to be a fluid gypsy by Christmas, or it’ll be a fluid Christmas for me in the cold clutch of blighty.

The good news is that I am doing ninety nine percent of my work on a laptop meaning that when I do pull in the anchor I will take my ability to pay the ferryman with me. And isn’t that what this is all about my fellow travellers?

On that note I have been looking at SIM cards that will work across Europe.

Apparently the way forward is to use a Spanish SIM card for internet access because it proves to be very cheap in Spain, plus not stupidly expensive like our UK versions whilst in other countries. I’ll tell you where to get hold od these SIMS when I get more information.

Sunload Bags

What a great idea, to build solar panels into a bag and power your goodies.

With a mobile data card and a sunload bag you can be a right proper cyber-vagrant. It is a pity as they seem to look a bit naff..I would have gone for the total industrial rubber look and not have tried hard to pretty a solar panel up. It’s the deck of a bloody yacht for gods sakes.

Wonder of they’ll send me a free one for saying these lovely things about them…

Buy to Let Why Don’t You

I posted this in the guardian in one of the blogs….

I remember a time when people KNEW it was immoral to make money off of the backs of other people, when we knew that making money off of the back of other peoples necessity was not good.

This seemed to change in the eighties. I lived in Reading at the time and remember landlords could charge ludicrous rents because the housing benefit would pay. I knew people who did deals with landlords splitting some of the profit. I talked to one chap who owned 100 houses whilst also working as a taxi driver. It was raining gold for him and he was going to milk the system for all it was worth. He didn’t have any empathy or sympathy for his tenants, why should he care about young white kids who seemed completely immoral. His houses were barely habitable, some of his tenants were barely ever sober. This was before the days of buy to let but he just bought houses in the names of every person he knew or had ever met. He didn’t come across as a bad man, he just prioritised those close to him.

Soon my friends were doing the same on a smaller scale, filling houses with friends to pay the mortgage, then another to pay for the pension. In the Thatcher years we all stopped being embarrassed to make money and when you don’t know who your neighbours are why not fleece the buggers.

Then came buy to let. I could not believe it when it happened. Already property prices were spiralling out of control.

This is wrong. The French know it and legislate to make it harder to gamble in property so what is it about us that means we lose our sense of right and wrong so easily. A free market can of course handle some legislation to guide morality, but those here who get a hard on thinking about bank balances might not agree.

Without sounding like too airy fairy, Karma happens right now. If you think you can be better off or safer by climbing onto the backs of the people around you then that’s your problem, sadly that can’t be sorted out in this blog, or probably ever.

Animism and Facebook

I have a belief, probably born out of a friends hurried explanation of animism related to archaeology, that early humans took on attributes from things in their environments that were important to them. It seemed so obvious that a vulnerable human would want to be the strong Lion, the lofty eagle.

They valued these things so much that they worshipped them, giving rise to early religions and here we are, living in a harmonious world where we have evolved religion to reflect the glorious wealth of knowledge that the human race holds. Yeah right. I digress.

We did not only worship these things but took on the attributes they displayed. People became as courageous as Lions and as slippery as fishes, in fact a good part of our success has been to gather a tool kit of character traits and use them to our advantage.

The other day I was surfing the web, or was I. Actually I was sitting tapping away on a vaio in South London, but having the human ability to shape shift gives me the ability to make this a noble pursuit – if indeed that is what surfing conjured up to the Californian early adopters of the internet.

So, after ‘surfing’ my way on to facebook I was asked to give a present to someone. It was only after clicking on the aforesaid gift that I found that I was to be charged to give a tiny graphic of a monkey to the person of my choice. It wasn’t a monkey and I didn’t surf here to get the damned thing. I tapped on my vaio to have the chance to send someone a bunch of binary that looks like a graphic that looks like a representation of a monkey.

Which would make them happy apparently.

Having thought about it I guess I might be happy to get a binary monkey. I mean if facebook is (amongst other things) about reminding us that we have friends, then a binary monkey is a reminder that one of them thinks I am important enough to spend a few dollars on. I’d prefer an Aston Martin but heck, nobody got me one of those recently so I’ll stick with the binary monkey.

And what about the fish tanks! Someone offered me a fish tank yesterday. I spent three years teaching scuba diving in South Easy Asia so this seemed like a poor reminder of my underwater realm. I also baulked at ticking the box that said I must let the powers that be ‘Know who I am and access my information‘. I said no and was presented with a ‘Granting access to information is required to add applications. If you are not willing to grant access to your information, do not add this application.’.

No choice about that one then.

I had some conspiracy buff tell me the other day that facebook is financed by the CIA. Well I don’t mind particularly because I wasn’t thinking of buying it myself, but I won’t have anyone snooping into my fish tank useage.

I did however add the ‘places I have been’ application because of vanity. They can’t snoop on my fish tank but tracing my movements is OK. I do understand that I have paradoxes in my life.

It’s the birthday of an ex girlfriend on Sunday. She lives in Paris and I have no time to send her a present.

Now where is that monkey…

Bad Gypsy

Summer has meant too much roving and not enough writing so I’ll get busy over the next few weeks. I know the power of scribbling be it on a web journal or on a scrap of paper. So be it.

I actually attempted a post from the Big Green Gathering, but it was soon evident that my database had become corrupted by my moving my hosting account so it was not to be. Shame, I was in a tent in the middle of a field tapping away whilst drinking a cappuccino, which to my mind is pretty much the pinnacle of human achievement.

I had an opportunity to talk to people at the Big Green about what they considered to be the role of roaming technology in the gypsy lifestyle. To be honest I don’t think many people have really thought about it, or if they had they weren’t really aware of the possibilities.

I can understand this when people were living lifestyles where horses are more important than technology, but if you are going to live an expansive life in the modern world perhaps taking a hold of new technology is one way of planting a flag for that lifestyle.

I had a great week anyhow. The Big Green lasts from Tuesday until Sunday to give people more of a feeling of living an alternative lifestyle and it was a blast. I met old friends and relaxed with my daughter until I thought I would hardly be able to move I had chilled out so much. The fact that I had volunteered to steward the event kicked me into action every now and then which was good.

My last post was almost four months ago when summer was just gearing up. I love this time of year and would challenge anyone to find a better place in the world to spend the summer. I have spent years in tropical countries and would happily decamp to them in winter, but summer here is the best on earth and I’ll come back every year for the gypsy life in old blighty.

Online Photoshop

The whole idea of hosted programs that you access through a web browser is not a new one, but with google spearheading the offering such large on-line storage, combined with the kind of bandwidth we can use to move large files around we have the tools for the job.

The interesting thing to our extraordinary Cyber Gypsy would be that it would eventually lead to any kind of mobile tool to be used merely as an access point, not as a storage facility for large amounts of info. If we can connect from anywhere, we can access our stored files from anywhere.

Adobe just announced that a cut down version of Photoshop will be created as an on-line tool. Soon will follow other Adobe tools, perhaps Dreamweaver next. These will be free, supposedly creating income from advertising. Netiquette changes quickly, so soon it may be that what we see now as expensive pieces of software will be free tools to get bums on seats. Maybe the operating system that Google is supposed to be secretively working on is actually just a complicated browser come windows vista combination, tools plugged in to work on-line and off-line at will. But that’s me just getting silly. All I know is that there is getting to be less and less reason to cart a laptop around.

Croke Malarkey

Having recently been welcomed into the bosom of my long lost Irish relatives, both north and south of that most curious invisible fence, I feel I can comment on anything I want when it comes to things Irish. I’d also like to add that upon meeting the folks in the homeland, I have found out where that part of me that requires vocal freedom, comes from. Also that part of me that could quite happily swim in alcohol for the rest of my born days, oblivion warming me in milk soaked dreams of silk and velvet.

But I digress. I am just about to go out and watch the England Ireland game that is, due to the scrubbing up of Landsdowne road rugby football stadium, being hosted at Croke park, the home of Gaelic football.

Croke park is hosting a rugby match iagainst England, the old foe, for the first time in it’s history. There has been the most vocal disapproval that not only are the English going to walk on hallowed turf, but that god save the queen will be played in a place where Irish people were murdered by the black and tans in an act of pure spite.
Now not only is this the second time that god save the queen has been played (the first time was at the para Olympics where nobody seemed to mind), but Ireland is a country that has now outstripped the UK in it’s per capita earnings, and has in all other walks of life learned to forget the past. Isn’t it time therefore to go that extra mile, and teach those in the North who still harbour resentment that peace is for our time, and that we have other more pressing things to unite us, not divide us.

Right, I’m off down the pub ;0)

Skype and mobile data cards

T Mobile seem to be green lighting the use of SKYPE on mobile data cards (since October actually, but I am just catching up), but I am still a little unclear about why they were against it in the first place, although the fact that people might be bypassing those expensive daytime mobile calls in favour of cheap skype calls might be a clue. All we need now is for the quality of those Skype calls to improve and away we go, just pop a computer in your pocket and roam.

There does seem to be a big difference in the amount of data these data cards call unlimited though. Vodafone seem to think 1 gig is unlimited data transfer (a few youtube video download sessions will gobble that up)  for £45 per month, but t-mobile thinks 3 gigs per month on a £29 plan is excessive, and 10 gigs per month on the £44 plan (which allows the use of VOIP). Am I missing something here or is this a no brainer.