Bangkok Post

Connecting becomes hard work in China


Iwas recently on a trip in China and while I was there I bought myself a SIMM with a data plan to use Skype and to play the game Ingress. As a technologi­cally advanced and well-developed nation I expected that the communicat­ions system and technology in general would be advanced, stable and ubiquitous. I was wrong.

I found that more than half the time I could not connect through Skype to a foreign number even though I was using their paid service. When I finally connected the quality was good but actually getting that connection was the issue both in Beijing and Shanghai. When it came to playing Ingress, I could barely connect in Beijing and only managed to connect a couple of times in Shanghai. Even then feedback was slow and unreliable. Many foreign sites are blocked in China with sites like Facebook and YouTube regularly off limits and other sites I would normally use were also difficult to reach in some places.

In the general market, finding Apple devices was easy, as were smartphone­s like those from Samsung. There were also a lot of local devices on sale but you had to take care where and what you bought, as I was offered a Galaxy S4 for 3,700 baht at one store and while it looked like the real thing it would have had to have been a fake or copy of some kind at that price.

If you are going to China and want connectivi­ty, I suggest you get a China Mobile SIMM rather than going with China Unicom as I did, apparently the connectivi­ty is a lot better.

If you’re an avid Apple supporter you would have heard that Apple may be announcing new products Oct 15. There will be iPads, Macs and perhaps more. Given that this may all be fanciful speculatio­n, the fourth-generation iMacs, codenamed Haswell, are apparently Intel i5 and i7 based with quad cores. With stock levels in Apple stores currently quite low this is an indicator that new models may be imminent.

Less reliable are reports of a new iPad 5 that has been completely redesigned along with a Retina display version of the iPad mini that will be based on the ARMv8 64-bit series of CPUs.

If you have been waiting for the version of Firefox that works under the new Windows 8 Start Screen then you will be disappoint­ed to hear it has been delayed again.

There have been developmen­t delays meaning it will not ship with the upcoming Firefox 26 due out in December. Instead it will appear with Firefox 27 on Jan 21 next year. The problem is the vastly different runtime model used by MS in Win 8 Start Screen.

When delivered it will not work under Windows RT because Microsoft has done an Apple and refused developers access to the resources they need to build a browser for that platform. You would have thought Microsoft would understand where that particular path can lead having overtaken Apple for exactly the same reason.

Apple has its own issues and in local news it has been summoned to court in Thailand for breaching a contract with Cable Thai Holding (CTH) by allowing an app to stream English Premier League football games to an iPhone.

As reported in the Bangkok Post, CTH paid $300 million for the exclusive rights so you can understand why they were annoyed at Apple, which was making profit on every paid app download.

If you missed the earlier story, an intellectu­al property violation in Thailand can result in a maximum sentence of four years in jail. So far Apple has ignored calls to remove the app from their store.

Researcher­s in Queensland are working on teleportat­ion based around Einstein’s spooky ‘‘action at a distance’’, or quantum entangleme­nt. They claim to be able to teleport between two spots on a single chip.

Even more interestin­g, they claim to have done this with objects large enough to see. In the past it has been photons and electrons that have been teleported.

It may sound trivial since at the chip level electricit­y works just as well but this is another step to creating useable quantum computers. Microwaves are used to measure the qbits (quantum bits) based on 0.2mm aluminium structures.

The next step is to build bi-directiona­l microwave-to-optical interfaces to allow the entangleme­nt to be extended over fibre-optic cables. I’m not sure how far a real quantum computer is from practical reality but each successful experiment of this kind brings them a little bit closer.

James Hein is an IT profession­al of more than 30 years’ standing. You can contact him at

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