Thailand Camera – Nikon D7000 – Available in Stores

Nikon D7000 DSLR camera, available in Thailand for under $2K
57,000 THB at Big Camera, Thailand. Worth it if you can't find it anywhere else?

Though you can’t find this Nikon camera at Amazon or anywhere else in the USA that I looked because they are sold-out, you CAN find the Nikon D7000 in “Big Camera” Shops here in Thailand, just sitting there on display.

Of course the price is jacked WAY up, but still – you could buy one if you wanted to. Last price I saw for the Nikon d7000 DSLR with the 18-105 VR kit lens was 57,000 THB. That equates to about $1,900 USD. But, there’s not usually any tax charged – it’s built into the price.

Buying the latest digital camera, phone, or computer technology in Thailand is sometimes difficult, sometimes impossible. Bangkok often has tech gadgets almost as soon as they are released in the USA, Tokyo, Singapore, or wherever they start out… and yet the smaller cities in Thailand don’t get good tech for a long time after that. Recently I saw iPads and Macbook Airs – new and old – in computer shops, and phone shops in smaller Thailand towns.

Big Camera doesn’t carry all the Nikons – just some of them. I haven’t, for instance, seen the D5100 at all yet. The D3100 – they have. The D3 – they have – in their catalog, but not on display.

Big Camera isn’t flexible (from my experience in trying) about selling just the camera body – without the kit lens. If it comes with a kit lens, that’s all they will sell you.

Anybody else find a Nikon d7000 in Thailand for a better price?

Speeding Up Thai Pulse

Over the past 10 years I’ve used mostly shared hosting for my websites. It’s cheap, easy to configure, and virtually crash proof. I’ve used Godaddy for my hosting for all these years.

ThaiPulse.com and my Thailand blog – ThaiPulse.com/blog/ have become rather large sites – a couple of thousand pages, with over 20 million page views over these few years.

I don’t know if it’s that, or the large databases that are being created from the 2 WordPress installations on the site – but the site slowed down to a crawl about 2 years ago. I did everything I could at Godaddy to increase the speed of the site -but I’ve never got it to download faster than about 6 seconds. Seconds per Kilobyte speeds were between .1 and .2 usually. That’s slooooooow. They say most US internet surfers will click away if a site takes longer than 3 seconds to load. Short attention span, right? Well, since ThaiPulse.com for 2+ years hasn’t loaded faster than 6 seconds and was usually about 8-9, but often higher. I must have been losing a lot of people. I had a high bounce rate… and well, etc., etc. I’m boring even me with the details.

I switched to another host – a virtual server for my other sites – they were, for the most part – easier to migrate over because they were all smaller. TP was a bear though. I tried last April and failed over the course of a few days. I enlisted the help of the new host – and they weren’t able to do it quickly either. Rather than have the site remain down – I switched back to Godaddy and suffered another year.

Yesterday, after another 2 days of downloading and uploading the content and databases, matching databases and stuff – I finally got it to work! I’m pretty psyched about it. Download speeds for the site are not slower than 2 seconds, and sometimes much faster. I’ve seen .01 and .02 seconds per KB – which is a 10 to 20 times improvement over some of my other times.

Anyway – feels good. If you’re on a slow server like Godaddy – you really should migrate your stuff to a decent host.

Going MAC and Not Looking Back?

Hoping to find someone – you can email – Thaipulse [{at]} gmail.com, that has switched over from IBM PC to MAC and not looked back. A web developer would be ideal, as that’s what I do primarily.

Windows based computers have been a thorn in my nether region ever since I bought my first IBM notebook computer about 1993.

I cuss this thing daily – and I’m wondering (again) – if I would find more peace of mind dealing only with MAC.

The problems with PC:

1. I break hard drives like people break points on a pencil. I don’t know whether this is the state of the industry at the moment, or whether HP notebooks have become absolute junk. I’ve lost 4 hard drives in Thailand and this one is on the way out – failing hardware tests now. Will attempt to backup all my stuff after I post this article. I’d love to have a 128 SSD and not deal with spinning hard drives ever again in my life.

2. Viruses – Thailand’s computers at internet cafes, businesses, personal computers, etc… are nearly all infected by something. Everytime I put someone’s USB into my computer – bam – virus alerts. If I have MAC – does this ALWAYS happen too? Are Thailand’s MACs LESS virus prone? Less infected overall? Does the Apple computer come with free virus protection – or no?

3. Bad copies of Windows. Where can I even find one anymore that I trust? I’ve no idea. I’m currently using Windows 7 Ultimate. It’s the ultimate in SUCK. This thing is stable, and yet I can’t do what I used to do on Windows XP Pro. The operating system eats up heaps of resources. I’d rather go back to XP Pro. What is the MAC OS like? Stable I imagine… I think they probably don’t make major changes in the menus like Windows does. Where the F is “Add remove programs” in Win 7 Ultimate? You have to type in the search in control panel – Add remove programs to find a link for it. Otherwise you’re guessing where the hell it will be found.

4. Video. Nikon uses .mov format with h.264 compression codec – or whatever it is. WMV (Windows Media Video) is out… MOV is in. I need programs that work with MOV files. Windows sucks at it. I can’t even get the full QuickTime for Windows through the Apple store because they don’t take PayPal.

5. A backlit keyboard. That would be a REAL nice option. The Macbook Pro and the Macbook Air both have this. Where can I get it on IBM PC? I found it on HP’s ENVY system which is way overpriced – just like an Apple computer.

6. Battery. Why can’t HP or anyone else but Apple get it right in the battery department? I need 8 hours of battery – minimum. Not 6. I don’t want to buy 2-3 batteries to make 8. I want one battery that goes 8. Apple seems to have the formula down. What is this Lithium-Polymer battery that Apple has? Why doesn’t HP have those? Or, if they do – what systems are they on?

7. Speed. Another major source of frustration with Windows systems is that they are TOO SLOW. I work fast, but with a 2.2GHZ processor with 4GB of RAM it should be able to handle WHATEVER I’m doing in Word – right? No. It starts lagging, then will lock up for a while until it processes everything.

8. Hardware Malfucktions. The USB ports I have in my notebook are USB 2.0. Everytime I stick an external gadget into the port – I get a message that inserting the gadget into a USB 2.0 port – will make everything run much faster. WTF? I’m IN the USB 2.0 – that’s all I have on this stupid system. How did it revert to USB 1?

9. Desktop. The Desktop view on Windows 7 Ultimate is the most fucked up thing about the whole operating system. Forget trying to keep icons spread across your desktop in a place you’ll remember where to find them. They move. I have moved my “video” folder about 28 times back to where I want it to stay – and it still moves to the left somewhere. I don’t have auto arrange icons on, nor sort the desktop icons. My icons move wherever the fuck they want anyway. That’s really a wonderful system! POS.

I’m getting more angry as I go on and on about how F’ed up Windows is. I’d better stop here or I’ll heave this farker right out the front door to the street.

Windows doesn’t work for me. You think MAC will? What are the drawbacks to MAC besides not being able to replace your own battery and other stupid shit they’re doing?

Update: Here’s a guy that bought a new iMac and found it to be JUNK – not being able to read the emails because the font was too small, then cranking up the font size to 16 – and forgetting he needed to shrink it again to make it normal size for those receiving the email. Great…

Thailand 3G Auction Blocked by Court

Well Thailand takes another flying leap – backward into the 1990’s.

Don’t Thais get upset with this shit? They just keep on mai pen rai’ing shit, and nothing moves forward… GTD quickly turns into GTF’ed in this country – if you give it an inch.

Mai pen rai is great for many situations, but here’s where it doesn’t work:

  • The southernmost 3 provinces
  • 3G debacle
  • Airports under seige
  • ADSL and electrical grid going down when there is rain or the wind blows

Mai pen rai everyfuckingthingelse, just let the country get some decent 3G wireless internet before humanity in this country starts growing tails. Soon we’ll all be reverting to monkeys banging out morse code on rocks to communicate.

Thailand Last Country in Asia to Get 3G?

This is my 500th post here at ThaiPulse… fitting that it should be about something that means a lot to me – and anyone else who uses the internet on a daily basis in Thailand. The 3g fiasco has become legend among expats and Thais that need it. Will we get it in 2010? That remains to be seen… personally I’m betting Thaksin has a better chance of coming back and ruling as prime minister again. 3G is at least 2 years away in my estimation…

Here’s an article about it at Bahtsold – one of my favorite sites:

Thailand 3G Debacle >

Happy New Year 1 Out of 3

Thailand has 3 New Years, this one that just occurred is celebrated the least. Still there were some fireworks and drunkenness to usher in 2009.

I actually stayed up until 12:30am on the 1st, a rarity for me. Chalk it up to an amazing Batman Dark Knight. I was not expecting to be entertained in the least as I thought all the Batmans sucked up to this point. This one was directed by Christopher Nolan. Isn’t that the guy that did MEMENTO and FOLLOWING?

I think so – if not, no worries. Whoever did this did a great job. I rarely get into fantasy type stuff – and this one was good.

I’ve got good things in store for my online projects for the new year. At last count I have 19 websites/blogs. Recently there was a Google Pagerank update and I have many sites with Pagerank 3’s and a 4, a 5 and even a 6 at my blogs – more about that at a later post.

I’ve been focusing a lot on my Youtube Thailand Travel Channel lately. I think producing tons of videos people can watch is interesting – more so than writing, and I’m already writing more places than I’d care to. As luck has it – my PR 4-6 blogs are going to see the most attention.

If you have a blog focused on Thailand that is well made (wordpress or other high-level format) and you aren’t blanketing your site in advertisements I may link to your site from my Thailand PR 6 and PR 5 sites. Just send me an email and tell me about your site.

I wish everyone a great new year… If you blog – put up lots of great content.

Buying a Notebook Computer in Thailand…

A friend asked about buying a notebook computer in Thailand and I’d been meaning to write something up. I got inspired and wrote this.

Dear J,

Glad you asked about notebooks. You wouldn’t believe how much there is to consider when buying a notebook here in Thailand. WHICH one to buy?


1st consideration- Brand.

In the USA I loved Toshiba. Never had a bad one. I’ve owned about 15 notebooks over the years, starting with an IBM 25/4. 4 Megs of RAM! hahah No joke. It cost $1000 usd back in 1993 I think it was. It had a 1200 bahd modem. I would connect to a local bulletin board and download porn jpgs and show friends who were absolutely amazed. So was I!

I’ve owned Toshiba, HP, IBM, Sony, Compaq (before bought by HP) and after. I liked them all.


Anyway- these are the brands I consider “good to great”.
Toshiba, IBM, Lenovo was bought by IBM – yes?, Compaq, Hewlett Packard, Sony. I feel like I’m missing one or two – drawing a blank after these. IBMs/Lenovos are usually very solid. I love that. I don’t care how heavy they are, I want solid. I’ve dropped my backpack I carry my notebook in about 20 times off my motorbike. I’m clumsy like that. Getting a solid notebook helps me. You may not need it.

Acer notebooks in Thailand – are built like a house of cards. They have a very weak chassis. I have had many store owners themselves tell me THEY steer away from them. I know they wanted me to buy a higher priced Toshiba or Sony in most cases, but I have a friend that sells notebooks – he says Acer’s “no good”. I did feel the nice newly designed units and they feel better – but still, nothing like this Compaq I have now – like a tank.

Buy something STRONG. It shouldn’t feel like plastic – though it will be. Compaq V3000 series makes some nice notebooks – I have one. I bought it because it is very solid and it has a humidity tolerance higher than my last notebook. In Thailand that number is very important since it’s basically like the inside of a boiling pot of water here, super hot. Super high humidity – all the time. Add to that the fact that you’ll be taking it from air con to hot -and the probability of condensation happening is high (100%).

So, this notebook has a humidity operating range that maxes out at 95% which made it a better choice than other notebooks I saw with 90% humidity max. My last Compaq had a 90% humidity rating and worked for over 2 years, though maybe it died on the guy that bought it from me? No idea. I always sell notebooks (any electronics) after 1-2 years as I get to thinking something is about to break. Better it breaks on someone else – not me. I sell.

For this reason – don’t buy used electronics in Thailand, you don’t have any idea what environment it’s suffered through.


2nd consideration – Color, believe it or not.

3 yrs ago I got a Compaq 2630TS I think it was. Silver one – all silver, widescreen, Centrino mobile technology. Nice as hell. In 2 years it looked JUST like hell. Why? The silver collects the sweat and salt and discolors where your palms rest. I bought for 39,000 baht with 1GB RAM. Wasn’t worth it because i had to sell for 14,000b I think.

Lesson learned – buy nothing other than black in Thailand if you’re going to be using in non-airconditioned environments.

The Acers have NICE design. I was almost fooled into getting one – but that tan color killed it for me. Just can’t get one since I’m almost never in Air Con and my hands sweat without me even feeling it much.


3rd consideration – Condensation.

Going from air con to the hot humid air of Thailand is hell on the computer. Here’s how to solve it.

Buy an Ocean Pack 10 waterproof diving/snorkeling bag by Karana at the local sports chain. I forget the name there in Ubon – but it’s the huge sports store that has all fake stuff from China. Apparently these Karana bags are made in Thailand – and mine has lasted 3 years now and only starting to develop a leak. They are about 400 baht maybe – can’t remember.

In the bottom of that bag place 5 (or more) of the dessicant bags that soak up humidity in the air. Then, put a rolled up shirt over top of it. When you place your notebook computer in this bag – to go into your backpack presumeably put the computer in carefully. Don’t put the DVD ROM drive on the bottom, keep it at the top – they’re very sensitive and the dumb things will break quick…

Going from hot air to air conditioning – is not a problem, just open your bag, fire it up and go. But, upon leaving and going from air con to the outside environment you’ve gotta put your notebook in the waterproof bag with the dessicant or you’ll get droplets of water form inside your computer. That’s no good. Even putting it in the bag – you’ll STILL get some, but much less.

Now – the key is – once you go from air con environment to outside heat… you CAN’T take your notebook outside of the waterproof bag UNTIL the temperature of your notebook has equalized with the outside temperature you’re going to use it in… Or, you’ll get lots of water in your notebook. You won’t SEE it. It will be there, trust me. Do that a few times – and you’ll be using 7th consideration. Never do it – and your notebook will last much longer than everyone else that doesn’t do it.


4th consideration – Notebook bag.

I have an amazing backpack from “DaKine” in Maui, Hawaii. It has more padding than any bag I’ve ever seen anywhere. It was $140 back in 2002, but it’s made it 6 years and will go another 3 it appears.

Don’t skimp on bag. Make sure it’s padded not only on the sides, but most importantly – on the bottom! Very few bags are. I even roll up 2 more shirts and put in the bottom of my bag to keep it safe. I put my bag on the foot area of the Yamaha MIO and it gets a lot of vibration. Make sure you cushion your baby or you might rattle something loose. I doubt it – but, possible in theory maybe.

You should find some bags with a pocket for your notebook that will hold the notebook in the waterproof bag and keep it up off the bottom of the bag – like an envelope pocket type deal. That is fine – since you may not find anything with padding in the bottom here in Thailand.


5th consideration – Price.

I bought my amazing Compaq V3000 series at Tesco. It has everything I want – a Gig of RAM, 1.7MHZ processor, WIFI, Stereo speakers built in, DVD/RW, Modem, RJ-45 connector (for LAN – local area network), mic and headphone jacks, 3-USB 2.0 ports, firewire connector and other stuff. The battery lasts over 2 hours which is all I expected. The DVD holder is weak – and if I apply too much pressure – my DVD goes away from “My Computer” until I push it in and restart computer. A bummer, but I’m living with it since everything else is great. Note: I did need to install WIN XP Pro myself – and it was a nightmare – the computer is made for Windows VISTA but I love XP so I forced it. Took 3 days and 8 headaches – but, works wonderfully now. DON’T ask me how – it was much too much work. Please just install Vista instead.

Price? 16,900b

I would definitely not spend more than 20,000 baht for any computer in Thailand unless you’re getting a Panasonic TOUGHBOOK which can handle the humidity here much better than other notebooks. But, you’ll spend about 60,000 baht for a late model unit. In the USA you can buy decent notebook computers now for $400 USD. 18,000 baht is about $600 USD. So, already we’re paying a premium. No reason to pay 30,000+ baht.


6th consideration – Where to buy?
I felt safe buying my notebook in Tesco. It’s UK owned and they had a huge number of them, the boxes were all opened – as they put in their own drivers disc and they upgraded the RAM from 500MB to 1 Gig. I still felt safe… why? Because they had over 100 units I could swap from if mine turned out to be hosed. And guess what? The first one was hosed. I returned it – showed them it powered up sometimes, sometimes not – and they found me another one. That’s the one I have now. Buy from a small shop – that might be the ONLY one they have – and they might not want to swap it out. Tesco gives 7 days to exchange. No refund – as there are NO refunds in Thailand basically. You probably know that.

I wouldn’t buy in Pornthip plaza or some electronics warehouse in BKK or anywhere else. I probably wouldn’t buy off any mom and pop store – though I did with my first Compaq. I wouldn’t again. Small stores can do anything they like. The sellers in BKK have a history of removing brand name components from the new systems and replacing them with JUNK – and you haven’t a clue since it’s all on the inside.

I think much better to go with Tesco, Big C, or that electronics store with the big yellow sign – man, can’t remember the name. They have many notebooks though. Not Sony – another huge building usually – and separate from a mall – they are a standalone building. Blue and yellow sign. Darn – will update this post when I remember the name of the place.


7th consideration – Warranty work.

I’ve never needed to use this – but someday will I’m sure. I think ALL computers get sent to BKK for repairs. This Compaq has a 1 yr warranty, that’s standard. If you do send your computer to be fixed – use your girlfriend’s name, friend, whoever – so they think it’s coming from a Thai. Of course be VERY careful about what info you leave on your computer’s hard drive when you send it in. Credit card numbers have a way of spreading around the world once your computer goes to get fixed somewhere.

Send computer with EMS at Post Office – and get extra insurance as there is a limit to what EMS covers by default.

Hope that helps. I feel like I”m forgetting something – but probably because I just banged this out in 10 minutes and need to run – so I’ll post it right away. If there’s something I missed – someone will email me I know.

Good luck buying your computer in Thailand – let me know which one you choose and why if you get the chance.

Nokia e70 Business Phone Review (from a blogger in Thailand’s perspective)

Nokia e70 Business Phone review
(Strictly from a Blogger in Thailand's perspective)

I am not going to go over every function of this phone. It has so many that an entire manual STILL doesn't cover everything. It has more things going for it than I've ever imagined a phone could have. It really rocks, and yet, for the $400 dollar price tag in US dollars, it should do everything and MORE considering my notebook I have right now is only worth about $450 and it does a LOT of stuff.  This phone can do EVERYTHING my notebook can do – except offer me a nice sized keyboard to type LONG blog posts on, and it doesn't offer me the software possibilities that the notebook does or memory storage options.  Other than those things I can use this phone for everything I need to use a notebook for.

The first thing I noticed when I picked it up was that it was thicker than my Motorola e680i touchscreen phone. It was smaller in length and width, but thickness matters… as some will tell you. I've come to appreciate using my girlfriend's slim Motorola L7 in the back pocket sometimes as I don't feel it until I need to (when it's ringing and vibrating).

I looked at 16 other phones then – not even wanting to think about something with this phone's thickness.

I looked at the Dopods, the O2's, the Samsung 900 something with a micro button keyboard under a flip pad. I looked at the e65 – and actually BOUGHT it – but returned it for having no touchscreen or QWERTY which I decided I must have – one or the other. That phone was suave though… very sexy and did everything. It's UI (user interface) – or, what you see – the menus and everything were VERY clear, sharp, bright, and tweaked out to look faaaabuluous and I was very impressed. Until I tried to write some blog posts with it and my excitement wained, then died abruptly. I went back to the Telewiz store and told them I like it  – but I need something else. They said I had 7 days to return for defect, but no problem to return for a trade-in.  That was a good feeling – because if you try to return ANYTHING in Thailand – you'll find that the tiny BIG C phone schlepper just isn't taking that phone back regardless WHAT doesn't work with it.

I looked at the LG, the whole Sony line, the whole motorola line, the Nokia N series and E series. The e61i wasn't out yet, and didn't have one option I know I must have – EDGE or WIFI – can't remember which – so I couldn't test that one, but it was on the list as a top possibility.  

When I brought back the e65 I was at my wits end. They would not give me a cash refund – which I understood. But, which phone to get?  The DOPOD they had that I did like had a screen that had been deep-scratched and I wasn't going to accept it. Otherwise, I may have – finding out only later that it didn't have the high-speed EDGE capability either…

I picked up the e70 again and thought more about it. I tried to overlook how ugly and stupid the thickness of the display area looked to me. It is hideously large when compared with other phones on the market in this slim mobile phone era we are all living in.

I had read about 9 reviews on the phone before I came too – and EVERYONE was singing halleluja's over it.  I put the battery in, fired it up and wow – the display was JUST like the e65, but it could also turn horizontal since the phone keypad flipped out, clamshell like and became a QWERTY keyboard that I've finally become pretty used to – and it's a lifesaver for responding to emails when I have to write a paragraph or even two. Writing a whole page would tax my patience and my hands, but for short notes – it's great. The keys are responsive and large enough that I don't mistype much, maybe once in every 100 keystrokes. Acceptable to me considering if I had bought the Sony Erricson 990i I'd be misstyping every 5 strokes or so. NOT acceptable!  

I wanted a phone that would help me blog in Thailand.  When you're blogging a lot – or thinking about blogging a lot… and things that you're doing during the day might just turn into the next blog post there are some things a phone can help with.

This phone helps me by freeing me up to carry just my phone instead of toting a digital camera, digital camcorder and computer around. It keeps me from having to edit the files I take on the digital camera because I can choose the correct size for the blog before I take the photo. The quality from the phone for smaller pictures seems same as digital camera.  For larger photos – no contest, but the phone is so much more convenient than camera/computer setup.

The digital camcorder I've used for clips in the past has it's advantages, and yet, the weight of it was a HUGE drawback and one that I wanted to eliminate. I also wanted to eliminate the TIME it takes to edit the raw footage and upload it to the servers by FTP program (internet).  I no longer get GREAT video – but, with the 2 megapixel phone video camera I get acceptable for web video that I'm going to call a good tradeoff.

To shoot video with the camcorder, upload it to the computer… open it in moviemaker or some other editing program, edit the clips, add titles and credits – which I'm not doing for the future, all take a LOT OF TIME. It's SO MUCH EASIER to shoot so-so video using the mobile phone cam and either upload it from there to Youtube or to my web hosting server so I can provide links to it in the blog posts.

Blogging in Thailand is all about being ready. Blogging anywhere when it's not your full-time gig is about saving time doing things and producing a half decent blog.  With this e70 Nokia I've eliminated a lot of steps to being able to create a decent blog post. And some more bonuses came with the phone too…

The phone takes the movie file in mp4 format which is already formatted for itunes or youtube. If I wanted to do podcasts I could do them easily from the phone and upload them to the internet directly – assuming I was careful about filming the video and made it useable to start – without needing editing.
The phone has EDGE, GPRS, WIFI LAN, Voice over IP (free voice calls to other computers, like computer to computer voice chat you may have done on MSN or Yahoo! or Google or Skype).

Thailand's EDGE service is slowly catching on. EDGE is supposed to be faster internet than the regular GPRS connections that everyone enjoys on their mobile phone all over Thailand on DTAC, AIS, and TRUE (ORANGE) networks.  I've had EDGE connections (10-12 kB per second internet speeds) in Bangkok, Suratthani, and Khon Kaen.  I've heard that it worked in Pattaya and I couldn't imagine it not working in Chiang Mai. I was in Ubon Ratchathani and found that while I wasn't getting an EDGE connection, I was getting EDGE speeds just over regular GPRS!  I was getting 10 and sometimes 12 kilo Bits per second speeds on web browsing.

So, the infrastructure for being able to shoot and post large videos to the web quickly and painlessly is getting there. I have posted a 20 mB video to youtube using the phone only – no broadband internet connection. I did have EDGE and at times I think I was getting 20 kB per second on the upload.  In an hour and something I had completely uploaded the file which is AMAZING.  

The time involved to send anything over a few megabytes makes the video option one that is used infrequently, but at least it's an option.  1 minute of .mp4 video creates a file about 4 megabytes in 352×288 resolution which is the maximum for this camera. One can also take smaller videos that take up much less space and then one could post more frequently – but, the size is very small and maybe for the web not any good for anything but a headshot (ala maxheadroom) video where you're just trying to say something, not show something. But then you could use audio – but then it's boring.  So, maybe there's a place for these smaller videos. I've not tried the size out yet. I'll try today.

The other size options for the video are: 

176×144 pixels which gives a file size of about 1 MB for a minute of video

128×96 which creates a file size of about 900 kB.  Strange because one might as well shoot the 176×144 pixel and forget totally about the smaller size since it's a difference of only 100 kB per minute.

I'll post one of each below and you can decide at what point it's too small for your viewing pleasure.  The two files below are original and are posted on my server. Compare these originals with the others that I posted to YouTube and see how Youtube destroys them!  Unfortunately it's much easier just to shoot them to Youtube and live with the file they create.

Smallest sized e70 video

Medium sized e70 video

I just found something out… the phone creates .3gp files for the videos for the smaller sizes, not the mp4 that comes with the larger video… hmmm.  I've not noticed because usually I just upload to YouTube directly from the phone and Youtube, as it grabs the file, changes it to a readable format for it's viewers.  Hmmmm….

Video files with the .3gp extension are what Nokia uses. I'm not sure that Windows Media Player reads them but WINAMP, and some other programs do. Try one of the links above to see if you can view the movie. I don't really want to convert them to .wmv or .mp4 because they will lose some quality in the conversion for sure.  

Ok, I'll upload them at Youtube… and give you links here.  Boy this is turning into a major effort blog post.

Smallest size e70 video uploaded to Youtube >  This one took a long time for youtube to render. It came out basically USELESS since it's trying to make the video larger. That never works well. Throw out this size as an option unless you want to shoot, upload to your computer and use a program like SUPER to convert it to wmv or something else usable, and then upload it to your own server. Don't upload a converted file to Youtube because when they convert it again – it will be a total loss.

Medium size e70 video uploaded to Youtube >  YIKES. The compression algorithm at Youtube totally farked this video up good. It tried to make it bigger size – and really wrecked it. I'm not sure this size video will be good for anything at all except bright sunshine, close up shots. With other scenes fuzziness is too prolific.  Bummer.

Large size e70 video uploaded to Youtube >    Now that I'm looking at it having seen the other smaller videos, this video is actually quite large – probably bigger than it needs to be for most blogging purposes.  Unfortunately Youtube farks this one up the LEAST as it's originally an mp4 file and large enough that they don't have to change the viewing size.

So, if you're going to shoot the medium sized videos like the sample you'll do well to post them at Youtube since they convert them FOR you. (At YouTube edit your mobile posting settings and they'll give you an email address to send your video files to. They'll post them and then you can see in your account the URL for the video and put that URL into your blog pages.)

Thing is – once I shoot at a small size – I cannot make it bigger – EVER.  If I shoot it big to start with – I can always edit it down later to one of the smaller sizes.  Everything is a tradeoff.

Just from viewing the different sized videos compared I think I can get away with the medium sized video for most things in bright sunlight and where the camera isn't moving much at all… Still shots only. If something is far away I'd want the large video but otherwise I think the medium will serve it's purpose for blogging – AND be a much smaller and easier to upload file.  AND I'll post more video since it's quicker…  Don't get me wrong, in general, the medium size video on Youtube SUCKS since they change the whole resolution into a larger size.  The video is horrible looking at medium setting, but as I said, it's a tradeoff… and one that I have to live with for a while.

Some other pluses for the phone… it has push email service – so I could get a chirp whenever I have a new email – no matter what account it came from. I can setup any pop3 email account (I use gmail since it's free) and be alerted if I have new mail.  Knowing I have new mail is important because I like to publish comments visitors leave as soon as possible. The sooner they see their own comment, the happier they are and the more comments they leave. The more interactive the blog, the better.  Yes, it's far short of chat or a forum, but interactive enough to mean something.
By the way, if you need a google mail (gmail) referral – I can shoot you one, just email me, I have 96 to "give away".  I'm not sure if the only way you can get a gmail account is by referral still or not, but I think so since I still have these 96 in queue.

The phone has a voice recorder – but it's only good for a minute.  It's good for when you just need a short clip of something. A howling monkey for instance.

The battery does VERY well when uploading files or when connected to the internet and acting as a modem for your notebook computer – as mine is doing now. You could be online for 3 hours like this or more. I've tested only 2 hours and I barely had a drop in battery levels. It's almost like it's not using battery to function as a modem. This contrasts STARKLY with my previous phone – Motorola's e680i which drained a full battery dry within an hour of using it as a modem to connect the notebook.

Oh, the best part…  the QWERTY keyboard.  The reason I'm even able to care about email on my phone is that I can actually RESPOND to it and type out a couple paragraphs of thoughts fairly quickly with the keyboard.  The phone flips out clamshell like, but opens fully. It makes the phone appear like a little gameboy or something. The keyboard keys are responsive and nicely spaced and as I said previously I make few errors using it. That's SAYING something since most of the keyboards on these phones really suck.  

Add to the QWERTY the little joystick for navigation which is complimented by two buttons that are close-by for the usual responses and it becomes a phone that is quite well put together.

The SYMBIAN operating system is very fast and does not have delays. It has not locked up in a few weeks of owning it.  It comes with Nokia's Suite software which facilitates transferring files to either the phone's internal 50MB of memory or the swappable memory card – I only have 64 MB as I'm not an mp3 addict.

One gripe is the cable – which is proprietary and that they call a USB cable. The connectors SUCKSOHARD on this cable that if I spent 10 minutes writing about it I'd not cover how bad it really sucks. The good news is that as time goes on it sucks less because the plastic starts to fit better – at least the plug goes into the phone easier. But, that could lead to failure in connection later too. WHY do modern companies make these ridiculous cables just for a few extra dollars (baht)?

So that's about it. There's more, but if you really want one you'll go read a real review at asia.cnet.com or one of the other mobile phone review places.  I'm using this phone until the Motorola Q q9 or gsm phones are released. I think they're going to be even more of what I think I need in a blogging phone.

If you need any help with anything about mobile blogging in Thailand just ask. I'm not an expert but if I help you do something then I'll probably learn something more myself which is a fair trade.

Thailand Howling Monkey Ringtone

Ok, I edited the howling monkey audio with Windows movie maker and made a shorter clip JUST of the howling…

I turned it into a ringtone for my phone… feel free to grab it for that purpose if you wish…  It will be annoying as ALL hell, but just what I need in a crowded teachers' staff room where everyone has the strangest ringtones. This MUST be the most annoying one… we'll see…

Thailand Howling Monkey Ringtone >
.wma format – good for Nokia phones and motorola, not sure everyone else.

If you really want the tone and the format doesn't work for you – zap me an email and I'll convert it to whatever format you need.

Vern