New York Diaries

New York Diaries

In my job in the medical profession, it is thought to be good practice to attend international conferences to see how others in the world practice medicine. Recently i had the opportunity to go to New York for just such a conference.

Now I had never been to the states (or north america in general) before. From a travel perspective i was a bit nervous. How exactly would Trumps America treat a bearded brown guy with a muslim name?

From a tech standpoint, I felt I had heard a lot about the smartphone and computing landscape over there from various podcasts and videos,. But id never actually experienced it. Was there going to be a tangible difference?

Well first off, from the travel perspective i found it a bit annoying that checked baggage was seen as a luxury not a requirement. Had to pay extra for it, something I’ve never had to do in other long haul flights. Secondly, we had a bit of problem when our connecting flight from paris was cancelled. It was a bit manic, but Air France did get us a flight later that day…and a €30 voucher for food while we were waiting (result!). I had bought plug adapters for the us, but not for Europe, so my Powerbank again saved the day for keeping my mobile juiced up.

I have a dual sim device, but since i was going to countries which are part of Three’s “Feel At Home” plan, i had no intention of getting any local sims. Even so, i was shocked as to how good the service was, 4g and H+ data speeds even in Manhattan were great. WiFi was everywhere as well, so no problems at conference venues , hotels, restaurants etc..

iPhones really are ubiqitous. Everybody has them, everyone also seemed to have the Apple Airpods. I once or twice played the “spot a phone that isnt an iPhone” game (ok I’m sad I know). But it was genuinely difficult to find other devices out there. If I DID see something, it’d invariably be a Samsung.

Even though I was at a conference, I did get a chance to do some sight-seeing, and my OnePlus 6 camera really didnt disappoint. I was very impressed with the camera in both daylight and low-light. Selfie shots were prone to a bit of motion blur though.

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I went to some of the carrier places theres, and to be fair, they werent much different to the ones we see in the UK. However there was a greater variety of phones then here, especially in the lower price range segments.

Speaking of pirce, it seems that the Americans dont want to tell you about tax. You go into a shop to buy anything (for example a dessert place). You look at the price, it says $3.99. You buy, you’re told “That’ll be $4.66 please”. I’m like “eh?” and look at the reciept and see some kind of sales tax added on.

I dont mind paying the extra, but be honest with the pricing info. It was the same everywhere, there is only a tangential relationship between the price advertised, and what you actually pay.

Tech is (allegedly) cheaper in the US compared to the UK. to me it seems an insignificant difference with exchange rates between £ and $ being what they are.

Speaking of money, I decided to try out some of these mobile services such as Revolut and Starling. I would highly reccomend using them as give much better exchange rates then the traditional banks and money-exchanges. They both use Mastercard, and give inter-bank currency rates. The plan was to use them for contactless payments there too, but I was surprised that most outlets where still on the old MST (Magnetic stripe) swiping. Not even chip-and-pin! I can see now why Samsung made such abig deal about their Smasung Pay being MST-compatible.

Finally, when I got home, I got the following message from Three. GO THREE!

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We were on the back of the ferry to Kowloon. It was like a ferry-tail...

We were on the back of the ferry to Kowloon. It was like a ferry-tail...