eXtensions - Thursday 22 December 2016

Cassandra: Cables or Dongles; Adapters and a new Store for Apple Users in Siam

apple and chopsticks


By Graham K. Rogers


Over the last couple of days, I have spent some time transferring data from the new 13" MacBook Pro to external disks at work and home, as well as backing up with Time Machine and duplicating some files on other disks - a belt and braces (suspenders) approach. You never know what you want until it is lost.

One of the disks I am playing with is an older WD My Book Studio. I also have a gorgeous LaCie, Poulson-designed disk. Both of these use Firewire 800 and we moved on from that a while back, although I bought an adapter so they worked with the 2013 MacBook Pro. With the latest Mac, I now have to add and adapter to the adapter. It occurs to me that the problem with USB-C is not the dongles (as everyone seems to insist) but the lack of cables.

LaCie USB 3.0 Micro B

I have several disks that use the horrible design of the USB 3.0 Micro B connector, so every time I want to access data on one of these disks, out comes one of the adapters I carry with me.

USB-C Adapter

A couple of news reports told me that Apple was extending the reduced rate for USB-C connectors from the end of the year until the end of March 2017, and it seemed like a good idea to pick up another one. The US price is $9 for the basic USB-C to USB adapter. It is 390 baht on the Apple Store for Thailand.

In Siam Paragon, I checked in IT City but there were only connectors for the iPhone there, although the same USB-C flash drives I bought a couple of weeks ago were there. Downstairs in iStudio the staff were attentive, unlike the last time I went in, but I had forgotten I was wearing the AirPods (they fit so nicely) and I am not sure if all the staff had seen these. I made straight for the section with Apple adapters and checked the price of the USB-C to USB device (390 baht) so I bought one and headed for the door.

An hour or so later, I went to the new Siam Discovery Center and entered through the bridge from Siam Center on the 3rd floor. I had come in this way at the weekend and spent some time looking for Withings health products - these work with Apple's HealthKit on the iPhone - but they were nowhere to be found. A little further in, I spent time looking at the Lomo cameras.

As someone who uses film, I am tempted to experiment, although the last time I bought film from Lomo (a couple of years back) it showed evidence of having gone through an airport scanner somewhere. In will stick to the Kodak film I buy in Thaniya Plaza.

A1 Apple Distributor

As I walked across the bridge today, I noticed a store I had not seen before and this was full of new toys, including lots of Apple devices. The store name is Ai and is the replacement for the iStudio store that was in Siam Discovery before the latest refurbishment. It is run by Copperwired like the previous two stores there, and is close to the original location. The first store was to the right as we walked across the bridge. This latest iteration is more airy than the last shop and also seems to have a wider range of third party items on display.

Siam Siam

There are a number of devices for home use, including locks (3590 baht) and internet-controlled pots for flowers for almost 6,000. The beautifully-named Parrot Pot is shown as $99.99 online, so the price here seems to be seriously overpriced. Nice idea and all that. I would love something like this, but not at that price. Some of my students are working on similar projects. I will wait

One of the staff was keen to show me the app they had set up on a Mac mini, which shows temperature, humidity and other data. When I asked if it worked with Apple's HomeKit, there was a deer-in-headlights look. I showed him the HomeKit app with the device I have set up and he was none the wiser. HealthKit, HomeKit? Any mention I make of these major investments by Apple is met by a blank stare.

There was a good section dedicated to Apple accessories, with the adapters, Apple Watch bands, keyboards and other useful items. This is fairly close to the door. The USB-C adapters were down at the bottom, so I had to kneel down to see: barcodes only. A member of staff pulled them all out. The one at the back of the rack has the price (390 baht).

This store is well-placed to catch a lot of those who visit the new shopping center, and also a lot of through traffic, walking from Paragon, Siam Center and on to BACC and Mahboonkrong.

See Also:

Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs. He is now continuing that in the Bangkok Post supplement, Life. He can be followed on Twitter (@extensions_th)



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