Sunday, March 28, 2010

Downloading My Second Childhood

As my 56th Birthday rapidly approaches, I find myself drifting back to memories of my my youth. Having been born in 1954, I am of a generation who doesn't remember a time when there wasn't Television.

Today, with 500 channels of News, Entertainment, Music , Sports and Information at my fingertips, I find myself longing for a simpler time when there was only three choices and the world was (almost always) in Black & While.

Fortunately, the Internet can help me relive my youth.

http://www.archive.org/browse.php?field=subject&mediatype=movies&collection=classic_tv


By clicking on the above link, you'll be taken to Archive.Org, a video repository of Classic TV that is now in the public Domain. You'll find Ozzie & Harriet, Richard Diamond, My Little Margie, Our Miss Brooks, The Lucy Show, Roy Rogers, Pinky Lee, Bonanza,Howdy Doody, Life Of Riley, I Married Joan, Space Patrol, Studio One, Thriller, This Is Your Life, Medic, Dragnet and the list goes on and on...

You can watch them online or download them to your computer for later viewing.


But, because Man cannot live by TV alone, there is also a Feature Film Vault as well containing 100's of films. I especially enjoy the Sci-Fi from the 1950's that were a staple of my youth. Sure, they were low budget and quite often corny but who could resist The Giant Gila Monster, The Brain From Planet Arous or Earth Vs Flying Saucers!


http://www.archive.org/browse.php?field=subject&mediatype=movies&collection=feature_films

So far I have about 100 Gig of Old TV & Movies. Using 512K MPEG4, That's about 500 Hours of viewing!

For the story behind the story, I heartily recommend the blog, Masters of My Public Domain written by my brother Mike Coston.

Now excuse me but Annie Oakley is coming on....

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Seven Days In March

Once again, Thailand holds it's breath as political divisions brings the country to the brink.

The "Red Shirts" have vowed a million man march in Bangkok starting this weekend to bring down the current government in 7 days.

Police have been mobilized and the ISA (Internal Security Act) has been invoked to give special powers to the government in times of crisis.

Many foreign governments have issued travel warnings to their citizens to avoid areas where demonstrations are likely.

So far, there are no outward signs of government preparation in my area (Jomtien Beach) and life goes on as normal.

As a foreigner living in Thailand, it would be inappropriate for me to comment on which side should prevail. That is a decision for Thais only.

As an American, I wouldn't want someone from Thailand (or any other country) telling me how America should run their government either!

Regardless of how this turns out, my prayers are with Thailand. I truly love this country and it's people and regard Thailand as my home.

Let's hope cooler heads prevail and Thailand returns to being "the Land Of Smiles"

A Lightweight Road Warrior solution

Yesterday, I went out and bought a new Samsung N150 Netbook. At only 11,500 baht (approx $350), it was the cheapest portable computer I could find.

My computing needs are twofold. At home, I need the power and fexibilty a desktop computer supplies.

On the road, I need mainly email ability and basic computer functions in a small, lightweight footprint. Of course, it’s nice to be able to listen to music, watch movies and play a few games too.

For a road machine, the Samsung fit’s the bill for me. My travel requires constant internet access with my agents, extended battery life for trans-national flights and a machine that is light on the shoulder.

An ample 220 gig HD, I gig of ram onboard, built in webcam, Wifi & bluetooth enabled, screen resolution of up to 1152x864 , Windows 7 installed, an eight hour + battery life and all under 3lbs in weight!

It has three USB ports, video out, mic input, audio output , Wired LAN port, and a multi-card slot and utilizes the Atom Intel processor.

Sure, the keyboard is a little cramped and it’s not the speediest machine on the market but it certainly does the job.

Flying the Friendly Skies of Vietnam Airlines

I flew back to Bangkok from Saigon last Friday.

It was my first flight on Vietnam Airlines and I must say I was quite impressed!

First off all, the airport in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) is clean, modern and easily traversed. From Check-in to immigration to my Gate took less than 15 minutes.

Boarding the plane, it was obviously fairly new and had been pre-cooled before boarding

The flight from Saigon to Bangkok clocks in at about 1 hour & 5 minutes. Basically, once you are at altitude, you start your descent.

With such a short flight time, I expected only minimal service.

WRONG!!

First, pillow & blankets were distributed to those who requested them (no charge, unlike in the USA). Then, as soon as we cleared 10,000 feet, food carts emerged and everyone was served a hot meal (braised beef, rice, veggies and a fruit plate). Wine & Beer was offered (free) with the service and as we descended hot coffee & tea was offered.

All this in economy on a short hop flight!

Somehow, I don’t see this kind of service ever returning to the western carriers.