Feeling Appy…

Sorry. I know I haven’t written a blog article in quite some time. The thing is; I seem to live a few different lives, and not all of them are worth writing about. Yes, I travel a lot, and that generates article material, but sadly I can’t travel as much as I’d like. I’m a long ways from running out of places to visit, but at times, other things take priority.

I did head out early today. I needed to go to a few locations in Surat Thani, about an hour northwest of here. So I decided to go further north to find a couple of tourist attractions I’ve been wanting to visit. Tourism info is very sketchy, in fact even TripAdvisor has one of the places in the wrong province. Anyways, long story short, I never found one thing I was looking for, and by the time I found the second, I was running out of time to do the tasks I really needed to do.

One of the must-do tasks was to go shout at the nice car rental lady at Surat Thani Airport. Well, no, I wouldn’t really do that. She’s kind-of cute, and very helpful, but she’s not solving my problem. You see, I still haven’t received a refund of the deposit on a car I returned last October. That’s a long time ago. And in those five months, I’ve asked many times, without achieving very much other than an assurance it will be sorted out.

Today’s story is that the refund was made in October, but for reasons unknown, my bank hasn’t credited my account. I don’t believe it, and I’m sure my bank is not going to be amused, but I’ll contact them and see. I always get the impression that if everytime I go there they tell me a different story, I’ll eventually give up. They may be right, but not yet.

At one point, in what seemed like a genuine apology, the lady grabbed hold of my hands. No nice young lady has done that in a while! On second thoughts, maybe she was just making sure I couldn’t slap her. Perhaps irate clients do that.

Anyways; changing the subject, one of the things I do is develop apps. You know, those things you download onto your iPad, or whatever device you have. We used to call it “programming” – now in le mot du jour it’s called “coding”. Same thing, different name.

My apps are for the motorsport industry, so they don’t sell in the gozillions (I wish!) but sales are healthy, and I like to keep customers happy. Several send me e-mails suggesting improvements. Sometimes I politely disagree, or I don’t feel the feature is justified by the selling price of the app; but whenever possible, I try to add whatever it is they’ve asked for.

Sometimes I feel that people write just to piss me off. In an e-mail last week one “user” blamed me for draining his iPad battery even when his charger was connected. I wasted a day or so trying to prove him wrong. But when I suggested maybe his charger was not functioning, his battery may be faulty, or perhaps he had a whole bunch more apps running in the background, he went quiet. Now, Apple doesn’t tell me who has purchased, but it does tell me the locations of the purchasers, by country. When I discovered this particular guy was writing from a country where I hadn’t sold that app, I put him down as a time waster. Why they do this I can’t imagine. Maybe he was going to suggest he rewrite it for me, for a fee of course.

A couple of my apps are for use inside rally cars. They measure time, distance and a whole lot more. I’m sure one day someone will suggest they could make coffee. Often, when evaluating suggested features, I ask myself “would I use it?” If the answer is “yes” it goes to the top of the to-do list.

I do use my own apps. Partly to test them, but also I find it useful on a long journey to monitor distance and average speed. That gives me a idea how long to my destination. Ms. Chuckles, my GPS lady, is useless at that. Probably because there’s no feature that asks “Enter weight of right foot.” But I find the apps essential if I’m doing something like a rally route survey, as I have been doing recently.

So, I found a couple of suggestions to make good sense, and I realized I would use them. Briefly; to operate the tripmeter/distance function, you can tap the screen to start the meter, tap to pause, tap to restart, and swipe to stop/reset. One user pointed out that if you are following a road book, at every junction, you have to reset and then restart, so he asked if that could be done in one action. Yes. Good idea. Now implemented as an option. In fact I used it yesterday when hunting down some supposed tourist attraction.

And another user noted that if for some reason you leave the road book route, you need to match the trimeter reading to the road book reading. I implemented that via a double-tap on the screen, plus an ability to swipe the digits up/down to change them. Another happy customer, and definitely something I will use in the future.

rally tripmeter
Rally Apps. Keeping Rally Crews appy since 2013.

Now, the thing is, I could code, and travel. Not at the same time of course. But if you’ve ever tried coding, you’ll know that you keep several hundred lines in your head, and almost any kind of distraction will knock them out of there. Then you have to start over, by trying to put that code back into your brain.

The point of which is to say, I need a few more days to finish everything, get the apps submitted to Apple and Google – which often can be more complicated than the coding – write a couple of user manuals, and then return to travelling and blogging.

Please bear with me. I haven’t had an argument with Ms.Chukles, slapped her round the ears, and been fired from further blogging. This isn’t Top Gear!

And by way of a post script … the rental car company mentioned above has just sent me “proof” that their bank, the Bangkok Bank, did indeed issue a refund last October … and showing very clearly that they sent it to someone in Russia!

I just had another of those “why me?” moments. The saga continues…


...has been travelling the world for more than sixty years; having lived and worked in five countries and travelled to many many more.

He likes to write about his travels - present and past - along with his other main interests of Drones, Information Technology and Motorsport, and he adds a few general twitterings along the way.

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