Boy oh boy I can barely keep up with how all this technology works. It’s keeping track of me in ways I wasn’t even aware of me self. I got the replacement phone yesterday and got it all up and running and back to normal. Back whenever iOS5 came out and I changed to that, a few months back, it mentioned ‘the cloud’ and how all my stuff was going into ‘the cloud’. It asked me questions like “do you want to merge with the cloud?” I said I thought I’d need some time to think about it but it seems like I must’ve agreed without knowing it because yesterday I was going through my photostream, which is the collection of photos I have taken. And I was surprised because I started seeing photos I thought were lost with the stolen phone. Copious shots of the cat. Emo shots of the landscape around my mum’s house from when I went out walking.
I don’t know exactly when & how these photos got from the phone to the cloud but I hope to goodness it was at a time when I was sitting in a free wifi place, rather than the 3g global roaming thing. I have no idea what the next phone bill will look like. When the phone got stolen the one password I didn’t change was the apple account one because you need to input it everytime you buy something but the other functions that use it stayed open. Thus I got a rather odd surprise when looking through the photostream last night; there were three pics taken by whoever took the phone, one two days after it happened, and the other two four days after. I like to call this one, ‘Portrait of a Robber’.
This remote photos from stolen gadgets idea would be a great device to work into a mystery murder story, except most people wouldn’t know what the heck you were on about.
After raggin’ on Jakarta/Indonesia I thought it was worth mentioning a couple of positives.
On the sunday morning I was walking around I found that a couple of major-looking wide streets were closed to cars and a whole load of bycyclists had gathered and were leisurely hangin laps of this big circuit (near the Hi Plaza). I don’t know if it is a regular thing or if it was some kind of _____-a-thon (probably not) but it had a good vibe. There was these two guys on spring-loaded stilts getting their jump on. The future of personal transport? There was also some people in old-timey get-up with old-timey bicycles.
From what I saw of it, I quite like the Indo-bahasa approach to English use in its own culture. I’m often critical of Korea in this area, and after seeing Indonesia I can see how Korea is much closer to Japan when it comes to mixing English into its own advertising, signage and stuff like that. I didn’t see much in the way of bad spelling/grammar where English was used in Jakarta. (In fact the one I most commonly saw was the “It’s Note!” Samsung sign; Korea: spreading bad grammar throughout SE Asia).
This is a good eg. of the lateral approach I saw in Jakarta:
Anyway, I think I discovered an untapped market: forced holidays for people’s own good. Do you have a friend or family member who’s in a rut, and is ungrateful about everything around them? We’ll bail them up and send them to some place where things are a lot less plush than what they’re used to. When they get back they’ll see life in a whole new light.
I moved into the part of Seoul that was just ranked as having the highest internet d/load speeds in the whole world. I just watched a WRC rally montecarlo video file come through at 10Mb/s. That’s faster than I can transfer to usb.
PS. I’ve discovered that if I’m in the Northern hemisphere then I’m more productive (writing-wise) if the main window is facing north. And if I’m in the south, then it’s south. Unfortunately the pot-plants don’t do as well.
The main thing I have to report is that I was pick-pocketed on the Transjakarta busway and they got my phone. That was Monday so I’ve had time to get over it, but it’s a bummer and leaves the net result of the Indonesia experience in the minuses.
It’s tempting to say, “I guess it was my fault”, due to the circumstances but that’s a cop-out. It’d never have happened in korea. I got back to Seoul yesterday morning and I’m appreciating it a bit more than I did before I left.
The circumstances were I was stuck in a little crowded cluster of people around the doors on the bus heading south for ‘Blok M’. I was holding onto a bar above for balance and my shirt hem was raised enough that the top of the phone was exposed in my pocket. I’m out of touch with being wary of things like that because as I said, you could be stuck in the middle of a pressed up and clammy clusterfuck on the rush-hour subway here and even have your phone fall out of your pocket and someone would still return it to you.
Anyway that happened Monday mid-morning. I got back to the hotel, cancelled the phone serviced and scrambled around changing all the passwords to the open apps on it, then didn’t feel like going out for the rest of the day.
The next day I used Blue Bird taxis to get around and for the most part found them really good. Due to the constant traffic jams I don’t think it’s worth their while for the drivers to take indirect routes to jack up the fair.
But I did notice people here and there charging that bit more where they could, which is disappointing. It’s not a huge amount but it’s the principle.
On tuesday I did get down to Blok M and found that where the action is. The suburban shopping mall & mall rats action, that is.
The gap between ultra-rich and ultra-poor is a whole lot more apparent in indo than Korea. On the bus to the airport you can see huge swaths of tin-shed shanty shacks. On the Sunday I bumped across a high-class shopping mall with outlets for brands like Gucci etc. and in the valet parking (read: park wherever you want incl right outside the front doors) section I saw a Lamborghini murcielago (like this but in green) and a Mercedes SLS; the first time I’d seen either of those in real life. I know there’s ultra-rich people in Korea but they tend to be more low-key about it.
On the whole I’d say that Jakarta just isn’t a tourist city. I’ve never been into seeing the touristy things, and I do like to watch people in their natural settings but considering that Jakarta is the capital of the fourth most populace country on the planet, I can safely say that Jakarta is a business city and the Indos do their leisure in other parts of the nation, and they expect us foreigners to as well. The most common signs I saw on the largest buildings were those of banks. There’s no real defining features in the city that I could see.
I’m having a few days checking out Jakarta on the way back to Korea. It’s 4 hours behind Melbourne so it made the plane flight easy to do in one day but it was a long day. The bus into the city from the airport was easy enough and I thought I might be able to walk and wheel the suitcase thru to the hotel but it turned out to be a bit too far so I got a tuk-tuk, which was kind of fun after getting over the CO2 poisoning. The concept of the tuk-tuk is great but unfortunately it’s them and the old buses that seem to be disproportionately contributing to the pollution problem in the city. Little tree wheeled vehicles that don’t need high acceleration and have short spells of idle time between uses (recharging) are perfect candidates for electric motors.
There’s a lot of little, new toyotas on the roads too. I saw this awesome Torana parked outside the hotel yesterday evening.
Because of the time shift I woke up at 5 this morning but it felt too weird to get up then. I should have though because it was hella hot by midday.
The people seem quite friendly. All the motorcycle traffic reminds me a bit of Hanoi but the people here are more smiley. And surprisingly chilled re hawking their wares—there’s almost none of it. But also, after a whole day of walking around, with a pocket of walkin around money, I didn’t find anything really worth buying. The most interesting thing I saw was this poster of Benito n’ Adolf, and I am looking for stuff to decorate the new apartment with, but I let it slide.
What I’m really after is some good coffee beans but I haven’t seen any of them either.
There these scrawny little cats here and there too. They’re all really short-haired, as I guess you’d want to be in weather like this. Being scrawny makes their balls really conspicuous. It’d be hard work finding enough foodscraps to get by in a city like this but the consolation is that no govt agency is going to cut off your balls. Here: I saw this one in the gutter of the bus lane taking a shit!
The combination of humid heat-haze and smog must be pretty strong because I hardly got burnt at all eventhough I was out there for a long time.
There’s three things I’d like to see invented for mobile phones that I think would have to be hardware things but I could be wrong. If so go ahead and say there’s an app for that.
1. Whereby two phones could be linked and have a Geiger counter like thing that made more noise the closer you got to each other. It’d be for you and your S.O or an idiot friend, and used when you’re trying to meet them in a crowded area devoid of landmarks. Those conversations that go, “I’m standing right on the corner”. “I don’t see you… Hold on… I’m here. Where are you?” “on the corner.” “which corner? “the McDonald’s corner”. Those conversations are awkward and frustrating. It’d be good to have this function turned on without the phone being fully turned on.
2. There should be a little chunk that you can pull off the phone and leave, say, at home, so if you go for a walk you can get a readout of how far you’ve walked and in which direction you’re going in relation to the home beacon. This would also be good when visiting new cities provided the hotel room cleaner didn’t steal or throw away the chunk.
3. Three involves the voice activation function that new phones have and again it’s the kind of thing that should work when the phone’s on standby. You’ve misplaced your phone somewhere in the house and you say, “phone, where are you?” and the phone beeps, or if you’re a bit of a fruitcake you could have it say, “I’m here!” in a chipmunk voice. I can’t count the number of times j-e has used my phone to call her phone when it’s been right under her arse.
Just on the voice function, I’m wondering how many people are using it. Not many I’m guessing.There’s a real gap between typing on and talking to the machines. And with the Australian version of Siri, I heard a snippet of it and she sounded like a disgruntled NSW policewoman who would readily give you an involuntary enema if so commanded. Maybe people would be more willing to speak to it if it had a less human, less ‘perfect’ voice. Eg. Like HAL, or c3p0 or the Stephen hawking voice program.
Another book I read is Owning your own shadow by Robert a. Johnson. I’ve got a lot out of his books over the years but it’s alway a tenuous thing. There’s these little nuggets of insight but other bits where he goes way off and always a lack of practical explanation. I always get to the end of reading these short books and think I know I’m going to have to read that again to get the most out of it. He’s a jungian guy and these are Jungian ideas with the shadow being the parts of your self that you hide from the conscious world. There’s a lot there and I’m not going to try to re-explain it but for me the practical, positive upshot of it is that I’ve started writing a series of short stories (that won’t be pasted here) about giving people involuntary enemas.
So anyway, not much to report from Melbourne. I must’ve done everything there is to do last time around. God it’s boring. And expensive. I can’t imagine what those French and loud-speaking chinese tourists that keep following me around must be thinking. They’d be thinking that with the Aussie dollar at one to one they could’ve gone to Pittsburg and been involved in a real life mugging.
Here’s two things I can do without: newspapers and tv news. All the news readers have developed this annoying habit of stepping the pitch in their voices every few words. They’ll be talking like this then all of a sudden it’s like that. I guess they think people can’t listen to a normal sentence without getting bored. Maybe they should try not repeating the same rubbish every 15minutes.
Newspapers are like being at one of those functions or parties with a bunch of loud over-opinionated people and you just wish you could leave. And they can’t write a simple informative headline anymore either, it’s all got to be some clever play on words that come off like its been done by a 15 year old. The same journalists are in the same positions and it’s looking very tired. Charles wright was writing about a freaking remote controlled helicopter in the green guide last week, for goodness sake. There’s nothing more interesting in technology going down than that???
I’ve just been keeping my head down and reading. I read a couple of Joseph Conrad stories- Typhoon, a sea of china story about a typhoon, and The Secret Agent, which is the first of his I’ve read that doesn’t involved boats and water. I like the way that he describes characters but sometimes I get to thinking the only difference between a short story and a novel is that there’s a whole lot more description on the side and the same amount of plot. That’s not just about Conrad, but in general.
I’m reading a book about Portland Oregon by chuck palahnuik, whose name I’d always misread as chuck pallinchuck. He should change his name to that or maybe chuck palindrome. Anyway he must be a talented writer because he can make Portland sound like an interesting place full of interesting things to see. Someone should see if that’s possible with Melbourne.