Archive for Random


Chiang Mai Co-working Spaces, December 2016

A thousand blogs have already put together vastly superior lists of coworking spaces in Chiang Mai. Things either close or move location very quick in this town, so the below list serves to be a more up-to date list (at time of press; December 2016). If you read this months later, then your mileage may vary.

  • The Brick Space: proper coworking space, backed by the Government, so I understand. Nor far from PunSpace and still very quiet. More Thai’s than foreigners, which is refreshing.
  • Punspace: the most well known space. Two locations; Nimman and Thai Pae Gate.
  • StarWork: more formal space with daily/monthly membership options.
  • CAMP: busy space on the top floor of Maya mall. Sponsored by AIS telcom. Fast internet.
  • MANA: mini coworking space in Nimman.
  • Addicted to work: medium-sized space hidden away at the back of Nimman.
  • Elephant Cafe & Coworking: Thai-student focused coffee shop. No membership requirement.
  • TCDC Library: gallery/library space. Nice environment. Requires (cheap) membership.
  • Chiang Mai University Library: never went myself.
  • Co-working Cafe: Really just a cafe using the buzzword; no membership required. Far out out town. Very quiet.
  • Wake-up Cafe: one location on Nimman, another near the University. Really just a 24-hour Starbucks with more desks. Many Thai students.
  • Wide-Awake 24hours: a Thai student coffee shop.
  • Startup Cafe: yet another coffee shop borrowing a buzzword.

+1,000 work-friendly cafes. Some popular hot spots so popular with nomads, that they might as well be coworking spaces: Overstand9th Street Cafe, Ombra, and Librarista.

Following spaces are now CLOSED:

  • Bibie
  • Coffee Monster
  • Kawah Cafe
 Tags: Random   Published: 18th December '16

Where is Keith?

FindKeith.com has the answer. I ping a hidden URL to proactively update the location on demand using the browser’s determination of my GPS (seemingly very accurate indeed). An upgrade on this would be to have a native Android app that would prompt me to update my location when I’m somewhere new.

findkeith

 Tags: Random   Published: 5th October '15

Uber wishlist

Some relatively obvious ways Uber could be better:

  • In-app messaging. Useful to communicate your location via a message. But switching to SMS creates friction in the process and messages can get ignored. Inline messaging would be unavoidable. Phone calls could also be facilitated over IP.
  • Display toll charges. Email receipts break down the charges, but neglect to have transparency on the amount paid for tolls.
  • En-route fare approximation. Avoid any surprise with a live estimation of the total fare.
  • Hail light. Press a button and the phone turns into a strobing light to help the driver find you in the final metres.
  • Tipping. Post-rating, have the option to surprise the driver with a wee tip. In some markets, Uber is too cheap.
  • Opt-in to surge price. Jump the queue and by opting-into higher pricing.
  • D.N.D. request. Press a button before you ride to suggest your preference for some peace and quiet.
  • Pre-order. The most frequent user request. Too much of a gamble to rely on availability the morning of an urgent trip.
  • “Shift-end” discount. Drivers could state that they’re heading home and an algo could attempt to match them to a user who wants to head in that general direction with a discount to boot; win-win.
  • Deflect sting operations. There are markets where private/taxi drivers are conducting sting operations; requesting cars to find out license plates/drivers on their turf and then intimidating them. Systematic measures could be put in place to curb this.
 Tags: Random   Published: 24th September '15

Under the (scooter)hood

I like to be prepared as much as I like lists. Here’s a rundown of items that could be stored in a scooter compartment:

  • Poncho
  • Plastic shopping bags
  • Phone ‘Powerbank’ + cable
  • Sarong for impromptu temple visits
  • Glasses (clear for night anti-bug driving + UV for sunlight)
  • Pollution mask
  • Rag for wiping the seat/cleaning mirrors
  • Old fashioned road map
  • Jumper for cold rides
  • Some water
  • Pen & paper
  • Torch
  • Tiny bit of extra petrol
  • Shirt, pants + toothbrush for unexpected overnight stays
  • Bug spray + post-bite herbal oil
  • Copy of your passport
  • Bike papers
  • Secret money stash
  • Betadine + bandage + plasters
  • Toilet paper
  • Bungee cord

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 Tags: Random   Published: 24th June '14

Coworking spaces in Bali

Thanks to improving internet speeds, Bali is becoming a growing destination for digital nomads. With that, there’s a growing number of coworking spaces to shelter these folk:

June 2017: New additions.

 Tags: Random   Published: 13th June '14

The perils of rain

Driving a scooter is dangerous. Driving a scooter in the rain; a thousand times more so. Let’s examine the plethora of reasons why:

  • The waterproof jacket flaps around in the rain and creates a blind spot in the mirrors.
  • You’re inclined to drive in the middle of the road. Not everyone can fit there.
  • Breaking speeds are significantly lengthened, obviously.
  • If, on the rare chance, it gets a bit chilly, then fog can build up on the visor.
  • It’s necessary to use the visor or your eyes get a battering. The curvature of the visor trends to bend the light from oncoming traffic, or something like that.
  • You can be tempted to sway out into the road to avoid a large puddle. Not helpful with overtaking cars.
  • Mirrors are all but useless with raindrops blurring the vision.
  • Many locals drive with one hand in the air as a makeshift visor. Cue slower braking speeds and less driving control.
  • It’s far trickier to make out road markings. It can even be hard to make out the curb.
  • Overflowing drains brings up all sorts. All sorts of sanitary issues.
  • Probably not impossible for the long rain jacket to get stuck in a moving part or melted from the engine’s heat.
  • You can’t see (and anticipate for) potholes (and there are many).
  • Most people have resided to the fact that they’re going to get wet and drive slower. But there’s still people who think that going faster will help then avoid raindrops.
  • You can aqua plane across large puddles and lose grip on the road.
  • Splashes from cars on the other side of the road isn’t fun and could be dangerous.
  • I’ve seen roads closed from landslides and fallen trees. I’d not like to be on the road when this happens.
  • You sometimes spot some real clowns who drive with an umbrella in one hand.

The conclusion is that when it’s raining, it’s better to pull in, sit it out and enjoy a cup of tea.

 Tags: Random   Published: 5th November '13

Definitive List of Co-working/living events & spaces

It’s amazing to see the explosion of co-working spaces popping up in every corner of the globe. Co-living and co-working events and spaces, often in rather exotic locations, are also springing up quickly.

Here’s a roundup of all the events that I’m aware of. I’ve featured a mixture of events (often running once annually) and permanent fixtures where you can potentially just drop-in whenever.

  • Project Getaway: The one that started it all. Originally just held in Bali, it’s now spreading globally with events occurring throughout the year. Typically for 1-month and open to around 20 folk. Packages are all inclusive, even including a weekly massage. Luxurious, fun, and inspiring. It’s great to now see the concept now spread.
  • Startup Getaway: The PG spin-off, if you like, where you can live in a villa in a quiet spot in Bali. Available year-round, with rates being fully inclusive (food, laundry etc). Great networking opportunities with international and local minds.
  • deceler8 me: A bit of a different event; a 5-day retreat geared towards taking things slow and reflecting. The inaugural event occurs this October on the sleepy Indonesian island of Gilli Air. Open to around a dozen entrepreneurs.
  • Change Ventures: 20 person event occurring for the first time this September, also in Bali. B&B package in a luxury villa setup. Small team of business mentors makes this a bit more unique.
  • Coworking Camp: An all inclusive event (even including flights!) kicking off at the end of this year in Egypt. Open to a massive 75 participants.
  • 47Ronin: A permanent co-living/working space in Kyoto. Pretty rad opportunity to live and work in a very cool city. Accommodation is shared, but quite affordable.
  • Startup Abroad: A 2-week event for 10 entrepreneurs that happened last year in Ubud, Bali (a super town). This year it’s in southern Italy!
  • Sunny Office: A German-lead event that occurs in various spots in Spain, with the next even happening in Barcelona in September 2013.
  • The Surf Office: A permanent fixture in Gran Canaria. A lovely island with perfect year-round weather. A large house with office space. Offers just bed, desk space, and encouragement to hit the waves. Now expanded to Santa Cruz as well.
  • Coco Vivo: An isolated villa in Panama where you can escape to live and work with solar power and snail paced Wifi.
  • Cork Screw – Spark: A one-month event occuring throughout the year in a few global spots, including good old England. All inclusive package with a very focused schedule of activities.
  • The Ignition Lab: 4-day event in Nicaragua. Only available to a small group, with lots of time spent with the founding partners. Quite expensive, but aimed at those with a good track record looking to develop ideas amongst a private group.
  • Nest Copenhagen: A co-living space being created in downtown Copenhagen. Made up of 4 apartments, it’ll house 17. Kicks off in January 2014.
  • Hus24: Same as the above, but in central Stockholm.
  • BlackBox Mansion: Communal living and working in the heart of Silicon Valley (in FB’s hood). As covered by the BBC. A way of entering into the right networks for the next big thing. Was bookable with Airbnb, but seems to be no longer available.
  • Startup Abroad: is going ahead again this year. This time it 2-weeks in Italy.
  • Exosphere: A couple of months in Chile.
  • Campus: A bunch of co-living/working houses in SF/Silicon Valley, geared towards creative folk and not just nerds.
  • Hacker Paradise: 3-month event in Costa Rice. Starts early September 2014. Aimed at programmers. Transforms intro a travelling hacker circus in 2015.
  • Snowcode: A twist from all the tropical weather spirited events above. 2015 will be their 5th event.
  • Sun Desk: New space in Morocco.
  • Mansion in Valle de Bravo: New permanent drop-in space in Mexico.
  • Blue House: Another space in Morocco. Month long program to selected startups.
  • Remote Year: 100 people travelling for 1-year to 12 locations.
  • Nomadic Hub: Aiming to have 4 events in 2015, each 1-month in duration.
  • Working Retreat: permanent location in Pattaya, Thailand.
  • Nomad Pad, Austin: permanent shared house in Austin.
  • Sende: 3 weeks in Northern Spain (July 2015).
  • Bedndesk: permanent location in Mallorca, Spain.
  • Work from Curacao: a month in Curacao, The Dutch Antilles. Late 2015.
  • Heroic Escape Matermind Retreat: 10-day retreat in Krabi, Thailand with some wicked entrepreneurs.
  • CoWork Paradise: 1-month in Canggu, Bali. January 2016.
  • Coworkation: 1-month in Columbia.
  • Refuga: a number of events across the word, typically for a week or two.
  • Thrive Collective: event in Ubud, Bali and then later elsewhere.
  • Sea Office: permanent space in Lisbon.
  • RemoteTrotters: 12-month trip to 12-countries, departing March 2016.
  • CoWorkTheWorld: Ongoing trip, starting May 2016.
  • Outside: Spaces in the US. Outdoors/nature oriented.
  • Sun & Co: Space on the Spanish coast.
  • AngkorHub: Low-cost co-living/working space very close to Angkor Wat.

I’m keeping this list updated all the time.

 Tags: Random   Published: 20th July '13

Paradise: Mashup of Bali & Thailand?

I seem to spend a good chunk of my time split between Thailand and Bali. It’s a bit boring, perhaps, but they are cracking spots. Still, it’d be even better if we there was a third place that blended the best of both. Here’s a go of what our paradise shall contain:

  • Thai design, fashion and architectural aesthetics and sensibilities.
  • Thai prices, except for petrol.
  • Colours and smells of Hinduism.
  • Relative simplicity and pleasant tone of the Indonesian language.
  • Thai food, with some extra additions.
  • Ready access to cheap, fresh fruits on every corner in Thailand.
  • Clean water sidewalk dispensers in Thailand.
  • The mixed crowd of Thai nightlife.
  • Walking markets of Thailand.
  • Less obsession with sugar in Bali.
  • Beaches of Thailand.
  • Vivid greens of Bali rice fields and foliage.
  • Roads and infrastructure of Thailand.
  • Beauty of Balinese people.
  • Reliable, fast and affordable Internet speeds in Thailand.
  • Way less dumping of trash in Thailand.
  • Less traffic and crop-burning pollution in Bali (relatively!).
  • Less stinky drains in Bali.
  • Much less evident sex tourism in Bali.
  • Balinese use of natural building materials.

I think I’ve said this a dozen times with like-minded folk; Thailand is a far more rational choice as a location to do what it is that I do (cheaper and better Internet being two important factors), yet Bali has a rather special charm that wins over the heart vs. the brain.

I fully know this is written with an extremely narrow vision; there is much I have yet to see in these respective locations and across the world.

Any omissions dear readers?

 Tags: Random   Published: 2nd June '13

AdSense Checker w/ Twilio Call, SMS & Email Alerts

Many moons ago I posted a little script that I had made. It scraped the AdSense UI, extracted some top line figures (revenue so far today, yesterday’s revenue amount) and printed it out in simple HTML. The main purpose was to allow me to check my AdSense revenue on-the-go without utilising a 3rd party service (which is a security no-no). After some further hacking, the script also made a prediction for the day’s income (using an understanding of the intraday trending of revenue during a typical day) which was handy for knowing how your revenue was shaping out for that day.

Anyway, all that broke some months ago (scraping data puts you at the mercy of updates that can instantly self-destruct everything). I’ve now had it re-made using the official AdSense API, thus making it full-proof for the indefinite future. I’ve been flexing my own development skills recently, so managed to also tack on the Twilio API. So now I have the script execute once daily (shortly after the stroke of midnight PST time when Adsense starts a new day), and it sends me an SMS and makes a phone call (using text-to-voice) to let me know how things are going. I also added an email alert if yesterday’s revenue was below an accepted threshold. Now the whole script has a real use-case – it let’s you know when things are going amiss, letting you take immediate action to rectify issues. You can hack it to make it work how you want it – so you only get a SMS if the revenue is below a threshold, and maybe a phone call just on super good days.

Download the script here. I was going to get fancy and put it on Github as an open source thing. Let’s see if anyone finds it useful first. Warning: the code is a mess. But it works, just. You’ll need to go through the code and make a bunch of changes for your setup, replacing “XXXXXXXXXXXXXX” with your API keys and what-not. Feel free to make improvements and share them back :)

 Tags: Random   Published: 21st May '13

Ubud Top Picks

Ubud is full of superb spots to eat, and after a ~4-month stint here, I’ve tried quite a few places. Here are some standout locations (in no particular order):

  • Locavore: best resto in town, for sure. Fine dining.
  • Elephant: Great location and all round veggie food.
  • Who’s Who: consistently great.
  • Kafe: The original hangout.
  • Soma: Proper Ubudian. Raw/vegetarian/whatever.
  • Seniman Coffee Studio: Funky coffee place.
  • Melting Wok: Well deserving of it’s uber high TripAdvisor ranking. Attentive service and cheap, good eats.
  • Warung Saya: One man show. Great food, but be expecting a bit of a wait.
  • Cafe Pomegranate: Amazing location in the rice fields. Great food too. A must see.
  • Gaya Gelato: Top notch gelato.
  • Palau Kelapa: Located next door to the $100+/head Mosaic. Wooden chalet building. Pan-Indo. Cheap and rather great.
  • Kebun: Good wholesome grub.
  • Five Elements: 20-mins outside of Ubud, but deserving a mention. Beautiful resort. Only vegan/raw. Pricey.
  • Taksu Spa: A spa with a restaurant. Set in the jungle, comfy, fast-wifi, free Tea refills and the best value breakfast.

Some other really rather great, but not outstanding places:

  • Ibu Oka: Famously suckling pig, favoured by bus loads of tourists and locals alike. Of by Anythony Bourdain fame.
  • Clear Cafe: A firm favourite. Only vegetarian, but so good you quickly forget.
  • Dayu’s Warung: Same road as Sopa – great organic fare.
  • Alchemy: Kinda expensive, but delightful salad bar. Vegan, so salad options is a bit lacking.
  • Warung Sopa: Just vegetarian. But also great.
  • Bali Buddha: An old favourite with a great dessert menu.
  • Fair Warung Bale: Charity outfit claiming the #1 spot on TripAdvisor. Good food with profits going to charity. Fair enough.
  • Mojo’s Flying Burritos: Best burrito in town.
  • Bernadette’s: Known for its Rendang; my favourite Indo dish.
  • Warung Schnitzel: A great schnitizel and killer deserts.
  • Cafe des Artist: Best steak I’ve had in Ubud.
  • Four Seasons: Incredible souffle!
  • Bettlenut: An event location. Good food, I thought.
  • Sari Organik: Great setting just beyond Cafe Pomegranate. Overrated, I think.
  • Putu’s Wild Ginger: Nice fare.
  • Il Giardino: Probably the best Italian in town.
  • Lamak: Souffles! Upmarket joint.

Popular places that don’t really float my boat:

  • Fly Cafe: Frequented by older ex-pats.
  • Biah-Biah: Balinese food, tapas-style, and cheap.
  • Ibu Rai: Nice setting, but only so-s0.
  • Bebek Bengil: Famous duck that just isn’s so special.
  • Taco Casa: Good Mexican, probably the best in town, but best restaurant in Ubud? Nah.Naughty
  • Nuri’s: Also popularised by Anthony Bourdain. Probably the best ribs in town.

For spa’s, I’d recommend these:

  • Putri Spa, Jalan Sanggingan
  • Restu, Jalan Goutama
  • Taksu Spa, Jalan Goutama

Many more places to check-out. I’ll give this another update sometime.

Edit: This needs a proper update; many new places in Ubud and some recommendations made that are almost embarrassing.

 Tags: Random   Published: 26th December '12