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Using bitcoin on the iphone

By now you know what Bitcoin is, but the big trick is how you can start using it. Apple recently has lifted the ban on Bitcoin wallet apps and you can now find a Bitcoin wallets in the App Store.

While you might say “hey what’s the big deal mankind is been carrying money in their pockets for hundreds of years”, carrying virtual money in your pocket does give you some significant advantages. The main two advantages are security and your ability to send and receive money globally. While exchange costs are obscenely low when compared to other methods like credit cards, PayPal or western union, passing $100 bill to a friend still cannot be beat for its zero cost of transaction.  However once you have to mail that hundred dollar bill to your friend in Bolivia, transaction costs go thru the roof.

In looking at Bitcoin wallets on iPhone, I had a look at two apps currently in the App Store. I tried out CoinPocket and bitWallet.

CoinPocket has a nice modern clean. Interface. It requires you set a master password before using the app. Do not forget this password. . For getting paid you can generate a QR code with your Bitcoin address or send your Bitcoin address by email or message. Receiving a Bitcoin took me about five minutes. Sending it took about the same. To send the Bitcoin you’ll need the receiver’s address and also the password you set at installation.

BitWallet also has a nice clean interface. It has the ability to generate multiple Bitcoin addresses as well as copy and paste the Bitcoin address.  There is a watch lists feature that allows you to watch various BTC accounts for transactional activity.  Bit wallet also has optional wallet security, unlike CoinPocket’s mandatory password.

While both are quite similar and functional, I think after some brief use bitWallet would be my preferred choice, due to the copy and paste and a bit more sensible layout.

Here are some screens of the process with CoinPocket:

After setting your master password, you can receive BTC with your new address.

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Compose email places the BTC address into an email to send to anyone.

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Once you transfer in a BTC, you’ll see this

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Send screen.  I found the fee calculation a pain, as you have to send .0001 BTC less than your total to account for the fee.  This should be automatic.

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Send requires your password

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Detailed info on the confirmations and fee.

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bitWallet

First create a new BTC address and name it.

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Then request payment into your new wallet. Copy the BTC address, send it via message or email, or another mobile user can scan the QR code.

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You can see once the blockchain has seen the transaction.

 

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Copy your BTC address any time.

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dtac 4g

DTAC 4G Trials that you can join

Enjoy 4G on dtac TriNet, dtac offers 4G free trial for 4 GB for 4 months.-1DTAC has announced 4G in Thailand, is running a trial that you can try out.  To try 4G on dtac TriNet in Bangkok,  Simply dial  *2014*9# for a 4G Trial of 4 GB per month for 4 months.  This privilege is for dtac TriNet prepaid and postpaid customers who have applied an unlimited Internet package starting at 399 Baht as specified by the service provider.  4G is available in the service areas and can be enjoyed for free for 4GB/month up to 4 months.

More details:

  • Ensure TriNet is your operating network.
    If not, simply upgrade to TriNet by dialling *3000 (free).
  • Check compatibility before using 4G on dtac TriNet. Simply dial: *364*9#
  • Ensure your SIM supports 4G.
  • Ensure your phone and equipment support 4G.
    Apple: iPhone 5, iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, iPad Air, iPad with Retina display, iPad mini, iPad mini with Retina display
    BlackBerry: Z30
    HTC: Butterfly S, One Max, One mini, One (M8), Desire 816 (coming soon)
    LG: G2, Nexus 5
    Nokia: Lumia 1020, Lumia 1520, Lumia 820, Lumia 920, Lumia 925
    Samsung: Galaxy Note 3 LTE, Galaxy S5
    i-Mobile: IQ X KEN
    Sony: Xperia V, Xperia Z1 Compact, Xperia T2 Ultra, Xperia Z2 Tablet LTE, Xperia Z2


opensignal.com

Crowdsourced network speed testing from OpenSignal.com

Open SignalWhat’s the best way to find out the best 3G or 4G network? Let all the users using the network report back with their experience. That’s what a new company called Open Signal aims to crowd source.

How does crowd sourced 3G mapping work?

We can all help to improve their coverage maps by grabbing the Android or iPhone apps. Once installed the app pings the cellular network you’re on and report back to the Open Signal servers. By recording the speed, network, tower and GPS location, Open Signal can determine which network has the best coverage in each area. Since speeds in any given area are constantly in flux, the data you see on the site today won’t be the same in the future. Also for now, the number of people in Thailand with the app is quite small, so the network survey is limited to those using the app.

Thailand cities and their best networks

Below are links to the maps of the major cities in Thailand, the current best network and their ranking compared to worldwide averages.

  • Bangkok – TOT 3G – 17% Better than worldwide average
  • Chiang Mai – AIS   – 35% Better than worldwide average
  • Pattaya – AIS  – 15% Better than worldwide average
  • Hua Hin – DTAC – 33% Better than worldwide average
  • Phuket – DTAC – 25% Better than worldwide average
  • Hat Yai – AIS – 49% Better than worldwide average
  • Khon Kaen – True Move – 29% Better than worldwide average

Bangkok 3G map

Power of the crowd

Open Signal aims to provide visualizations and analysis based on the data collected, including cellular coverage maps that show exactly how strong signal is in any particular area, as well as all the nearby towers for your carrier. As this data comes from users with the app, the info is not quite a good representation of carriers in Thailand – yet. Looking at this map of towers, it’s clear that much more data for Thailand is still needed. bangkok cell towers The site has a goal of being the “global authority on wireless networks” and to get there they will need a large install base.

Mobile data usage tracking

The mobile app has a few nice features besides just helping with a supply of user generated data for the maps on the site. One of the nicest features of the app is the data usage display. The app keeps track of your 3G data usage as well as your Wi-Fi data usage. The good thing about this is you can keep tabs on your cellular data allowance as well as realize the whole amount of usage you put through your smartphone. They also provide a month-to-month graph to give you some data visualization ability. iphone data usage

Mobile Expo at Queen Sirikit

The mobile expo is on October 3-6 at Queen Sirikit convention center. The Mobile Expo is essentially a huge phone and accessory sale. If you’re in the market for an android-based smart phone or device this event has what you’re looking for.

Notable brands that showed up this year are in Ais, DTAC, Truemove, Samsung, Sony, Lenovo, and a handful of Thai brands.

The biggest booths were held by Samsung, AIS, Dtac, Nokia and Truemove. Apple of course was nowhere to be seen, however I can easily see why they would not want to be associated with the plethora of choice that has become android.

On display at the Samsung booth was a full line of android phones as well as their new smartwatch. The smartwatch was double the thickness of my pebble watch and quite a bit of chunky metal on your arm. I can’t see any mass adoption for this particular model, but surely will get slimmer and easier to use in the future.

The major non-phone product I noticed for sale was supplemental battery packs. These were everywhere in every color and size, a sign of the current lack of battery power in today’s smart phones.

The Intel booth displayed some products like the fitbit and jawbone devices, but they were not for sale.

The bottom line for this event is that it’s for selling phones and accessories. There’s not a whole lot of cutting edge tech on display. If you’re looking for a new android phone this would be the place to come.

A few photos from the 2013 Bangkok Mobile Expo

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floorplan1

006 true move

International calling from Thailand

While in Thailand, you might find the need to call your family friends or business associates back in your home country.  Doing so these days easier than ever before.  From VoIP options, Skype, or carrier discounted international calling programs, the options are plentiful.  Finding the right calling tool for you will depend on who you’re calling, what type of a call it is, and your quality expectations.

 

App Options

These options are ways you can use an app on your smart phone make international calls.

Skype

By now most of us are familiar with Skype and it’s abilities.  Loading Skype with some credit, gives you the ability to call any number in the world directly from the app on your smart phone.  This can be done with Wi-Fi or over the 3G.  Call rates are competitive, and for the ease-of-use definitely worth it.  Rates are however almost double some of the hard-core VoIP rates.   If you really need to do a lot of international calling you may want to check some of the sit providers or, sign up for one of Skype’s package pricing deals.

Google Voice

talkatoneWhile and exciting option, Google voice is only available for US customers, or savy individuals can use the USA VPN or proxy, and have access to USA phone number.  One set up you have a USA phone number that anyone can reach you want.  Google voice has many features, but one of the best for outbound calling is the ability to call any number in the US and Canada for free.   To take advantage of this ability directly from your smartphone you need an app called Talkatone.  Once set up, you can use the keypad to call any USA number and make a free call.  As for caller ID, your Google voice number will show on the destination phone.

Line

line naverLine is the latest multi-messaging app sweeping the world. Line has both a desktop and smart phone client, with chat, voice recording and live voice options.  It works exactly like Skype in the way you can make a free call to anyone on your contact list.

Viber

viberViber’s popularity maybe on the decline, but it is the original smart phone calling app. While it came out before Line and provided a very easy to use service for calling anyone in your address book, its user base has now been surpassed by the popularity of line.

Facetime and Facetime audio

facetime audioMany Apple users are already familiar with FaceTime. FaceTime audio simply FaceTime without the video connection.  This means this is simply a direct phone call.  This works over 3G or Wi-Fi.  In the test I have done here the only major problem is the connection time, while the call quality is quite good with only an occasional lag.  To use FaceTime audio need iOS 7 update.  The downside is the person you’re calling also has to have iOS 7 and FaceTime audio.

Tango

Tango is an audio and video chat app.  Again both parties will need to have this installed to make a free voice or video call.

3CX Phone

3cx sip clientWhen you have the need to call any number anywhere, what you need is a sip VoIP client for your smartphone.  There are many SIP clients available for your smart phone but the one I’m currently using is the Free 3CX phone app.  Like any sit client, you will need to have a VoIP account with a SIP provider.

Carrier Options

All the Thai carriers have ability to call internationally from your mobile phone.  While the prices have become more competitive, there are ways to get even better rates when making a call from your Thai mobile phone.   All of these free fax services ask you to dial a number prefix and then the number you want to call like this: dial cheap prefix –> Country Code –> City Code –> Local Number

True Move

006 true moveTruemove users can use an International direct dialing service.  By using the prefix 006, you can get rates of 3 baht per minute 22 international destinations.

You can check the rates by dialing *006*Country Code#  dial.

To make premium grade international call via true 006 to fixed line or mobile number all over the world.
Just dial 006 –> Country Code –> City Code –> Local Number
(without the “0” before local number)

Example: Call Tokyo, Japan
Dial 006 –>81 –> 3 –> 67XXXXXX

More Details

AIS

ais 005AIS offers several international direct dialing service.  Please include dialing 005, 00500, 001, 009, 007 or 008.

International call service is the service that enables you to use your AIS One-2-call! mobile phone to make international outgoing call to the foreign destination numbers.

You can make international call by yourself.

  • Make call via AIN network : 005 Globaline , 00500
  • Make call via CAT network: 001, 009
  • Make call via TOT network: 007, 008

AIS customers can now make international call by pressing “+” to represent access code 005 from AIN GlobalComm
or by directly pressing 001, 005, 007, 008, 009 or 00500 to access international call services from other providers.

DTAC

dtac 004Dtac has the same international discounted calling service by dialing 004.

  • Dial access code 004 = call through Dtac Network Co., Ltd
  • Dial access code 001 or 009 = call through  CAT Telecom PCL.
  • Dial access code 007 or 008 = call through TOT PCL.

Prices to the US start at 8 Baht per minute, and you can check prices to any country here.

Software options

 

SIP Providers

This is protocol is a non-proprietary system for making international calls.  While a company like Skype uses their proprietary method for making calls, the SIP protocol is used by thousands of companies offering various types of calling programs and packages.  In general you will need an account with a sip provider, and then a hard or soft phone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SIM Card Sizes

SIM Card sizes have changed over the years and we’re now on our fourth size the nano SIM. All annoying for some, it looks like we’re just about to the end of the goal of trimming any excess plastic from the Subscriber Identity Module. The latest iPhones now use this smaller nano SIM. The good thing about these ever-increasing SIM sizes is it’s just an exercise in trimming plastic, and any simple SIM cutter can do the job.
credit ausdroid.net

Back in the old days, this is how many phones would take a full sized sim card.  Slide the whole credit card sized SIM into the back of the phone.

 

Old format nokia

 

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Thankfully old big Nokia’s like this are no more, and we’ve reduced the necessary amount of plastic required to have a Sim card in our phones.
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Here’s a chart of what the iPhones and iPads are currently using in terms of a Sim card.

 

Apple sim sizes

 

 

Also here’s a list of Android phones using a Micro SIM.   The list is now over 100 phones.

 

sim sizes mm

 

 

 

Thai iphone 5c grey price

Graymarket prices up for the 5C & 5S

MBK does not have the phones yet, but this is not their first rodeo. Expect to see the Apple 5c and 5S shortly after they launch in Singapore and other first launch countries.  People here clearly don’t like to wait,  especially people that are used to paying full price for an unlocked phone.  You can clearly expect to see these phones a day or two after launch as there will be plenty of people flying back from Singapore with two or more per person.

Thai iphone 5c grey price

 

iphone 5c salmon color

Apple iPhone 5s Videos

Take a look at the iPhone 5s and 5c. The 5c is bascially a replacement of the iPhone 5, not really the cheaper low budget phone everyone had talked about. Much more like a Macbook / Macbook Pro positioning.  Also note that Apple smartly disable comments on the Youtube postings – not know for a high level of discourse.

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