Traveling with Technology

These days many people travel with their laptops, iPad, iPhone, cameras, and other electronics. Sometimes this is great to have. Other times it complicates. There are all sorts of insights, discussions, puzzles, and tips here or coming to this section.


iPhone sound lost — until Bheestie Bag returned it!

A strange thing happened to my iPhone about a month ago. As I’d use my iPhone for anything other than calls — to play Bookworm, listen to Hebrew lessons, etc, the sound would cut out. This became more and more frequent until one day I had no sound for any of my apps. I also lost the alert sounds that would tell me I had a text message or email. I couldn’t even know someone was phoning me or had texted me using any text app.

Thankfully, although games, language apps, the Music app were all mute, I still had perfect sound for phone calls and even more oddly, I had sound for calls via the Vonage app. However, I had to keep the phone close to my body or in my sight to know I was receiving a call or text.


Can you still call it camping if you’re getting 3G?

My friend Aaron, an endearing traveler whom I met traveling of course, posted this to facebook: “Hello from Khao Yai, one of Thailand’s national parks. Can you still call it camping if you’re getting 3G? …” The first comment came quickly from a female friend of his: “Yes, 3G is roughing it.” I don’t know her, but I love her! (This is published here with Aaron’s permission.)

park

Vonage mobile app saves the day for travel & work

I just gave a good shoutout to Vonage for the Vonage Mobile app on Twitter … @Vonage Fab! #VonageMobileApp just maintained a 66 minute call to terrific #JustHost from mountains of N Israel to US as a storm headed in. and I’m doing the same here. — Deborah Shadovitz (@DebShadovitz) February 10, 2015 …and I’m doing the same here. Vonage Mobile app maintained a 66 minute call – during a storm! For months I have slowly been redesigning this website and was finally ready to take it live. Just as I wanted to talk to one of the great support guys at my blog’s host, JustHost, the impending storm headed into these Northern Israel mountains right on schedule. The Wi-Fi is always shaky where I am working under a hard working heater — and with a storm coming in, there was a good chance I’d lose the signal — thus losing my support call. The signal did […]


Save water-damaged electronics as you travel

As the near-frozen rain comes down in the strong stormy blowing air here in Tzfat, Israel, I am reminded to share an important tip about keeping your electronics dry. I never told you about a moisture episode I had back in Croatia. It rained the day I arrived in Croatia and parts of many days to follow. Happily on that first wet evening I’d met these two nice guys who had rented a car, and let me join them so I got to enjoy a warn, dry car, good company, and the flexibility of seeing much more than trains and busses permit. Anyway… An oddly acting Android As we enjoyed the drive to Plitvice National Park, my travel companion was not enjoying trying to navigate. His Android tablet was acting oddly. As my go-to dry-out solution, my Bheestie (bee stee) Bag, is just iPhone-sized, I created the next best solution for him. I placed some of the packets of silica gel I’m in the habit of […]


Cell phone & data SIM card in Lithuania

I arrived in Vilnius, Lithuania on a Thursday afternoon at 3pm. I’d needed to text my friend Pedro on Friday afternoon but was able to use the roaming feature on my Polish SIM card. (I’m pretty sure that data would have expired by the time I got back to Poland anyway.) When Pedro came with me to get a SIM the next afternoon, the nearest shop was closed. So I didn’t get a SIM unil my 3rd day in Vilnius.

However, it never occurred to me that a bus or train station was actually THE place to buy a SIM card and I had not learned that at this point in my travels. (It turns out that was the case, at least in the major cities, through the entire area.) Having known, I might have purchased my SIM and plan at the Vilnius Coach Station, which is right across from the train station.

For $1.35 I got:
150 phone minutes
1,000 text messages
100mb data


Cell phone SIM for travel in Poland

I got a Polish SIM card for my iPhone today. I went with Play at the recommendation of a Polish friend. The Starter Kit was 19 zl ($6.50).

The man at the Play store popped it in for me and it worked. It simply worked. Phone, data, done. Not like the configuration needed in Central America.

But is that a result of the Polish system or being on iOS7 instead of iOS6 or having an iPhone 4s instead of 3gs? I guess I have to return to Central America to find out.


Reflections on map tech

June 27, 2014 Today as I was updating one of my safe cloud backups from before my 2011 travels—  when I had a huge hard drive and everything was on it —  I came upon a folder called Travel. In it were PDFs of MapQuest maps, a couple of bus routes,  etc. I remember making those PDFs 10+ years earlier. I’d added my own text to the map image and was quite impressed by how great the technology was and how easy it was to simply email that map to anyone, any time rather then phoning them and making them write down turn-by-turn instructions and landmarks. They’re gone now; deleted. We don’t use those things anymore, now that the iPhone came along and ushered the era of the smartphone with built-in GPS. Need a map now? Use Apple or Google maps, and in case you’ll be off-line, capture a screen […]


Best Travel Spirit Songs

[updated Feb 13, 2015] Every now and then I come across a song that exudes the sprit of travel, puts words to the song of the travelers soul, or just fits a traveling mood.  Last night, May 17, 2014, in a house concert in Austin, Texas, USA, I heard another song like that and realized I wanted to start sharing these songs. So here’s my ongoing blog entry of best travel spirit songs. I’ll add to it from time to time. And if you meet me on the road, you’ll know these are on my iPod. I am opting, for the time-being, to not embed performances on this page as I don’t want to slow the page down.


Protect yourself from phishing & email cons

As you travel, you’re going to be relying on email and online services more than ever.  So you need to be more careful than ever.  When you’re home on your home computer, you might be careful about checking for fraud. BUT…it’s harder when you’re on a new computer, new computer system, etc each day, so be sure to put this into practice: You’re going to get emails that say: log into your bank account to verify your info log into your bank account to because someone tried to log in as you click this link because we’ve been trying to reach you etc And now that you’re traveling, these things seem more viable. Maybe you did leave your password in a browser somewhere? Maybe you did get seen entering info?  You can’t afford to just ignore those questionable emails. So what should you do?


Furthering my WordPress abilities

You never know where your travels will take you — or what you’ll learn on the way. I still think it’s odd that as part of traveling the world, I landed up living in Austin for a few months. Yep, Austin – Texas – USA. Not some remote place like Austin like when I was in Australia and got to waterski under the Brooklyn Bridge.  As it happened, WordCamp Austin 2014 is taking place during my stay. And since I started getting into WordPress heavily as I traveled — due both to starting this blog and being robbed of my Mac and thus, my license to use Dreamweaver and Photoshop — I was thrilled by the timing! So my very first WordPress volunteering is here in Austin. I manned the camera and helped the speakers in the Themes & Design track all day today, and return for more tomorrow. The stuff in […]

WordCamp Austin 2014 logo

Mac Deb repaired

Traveling Mac Maven strikes in Prescott, AZ

Day 1 in Prescott, Arizona — February 18, 2014: I arrived in Prescott to clean up and repair a MacBook Air, having already saved it from daily Kernel Panics via phone. How did I end up in Prescott? A client from Beverly Hills has moved here. Day 9 in Prescott, Arizona — February 26, 2014: The woman who’s Mac I just resurrected told Apple techs that her Macintosh was about to be “the most expensive frisbee ever made” because she was ready to throw it against the wall. She’s had an ongoing love-hate relationship with all things Mac (and she’s had 5 of them) and now she’s l-o-v-i-n-g her Mac again! She has give me the title of “Residential Macintosh Intervention Maven.” After I dealt with the software-caused issues and ran diagnostics to assure her that her hardware was not the issue, I embarked on a massive file clean up. As […]


Before cellphones, before answering machines…

I write these insightful, only somewhat travel-related words as I am watch The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet (Nelson), a show that was on  American TV from 1952-1966. (It’s on retroTV and I’m seeing it at a friend’s home near Fairfax/Hollywood in Los Angeles.) Those of us who travel have often done without telephones and technology, thus re-learning how great it is to have a cell phone. But for those living a daily life in “developed” areas, lest we forget the convenience cell phones have brought to our lives, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet is a great reminder.


Website editing via CodeAnywhere

While I was in Central America, although lacking my Macintosh, I still needed to keep my clients websites up to date. My solution was a actually another website — CodeAnywhere.net. Today I have a new client for whom I am editing a website. I am “home” now, and have a MacBook Pro at my disposal. It’s running Dreamweaver CS6 — a perfectly capable program that I know extremely well. I enjoy using Dreamweaver.* But rather than launch Dreamweaver to edit my client’s site today, I turned to my web browser and headed to CodeAnywhere.net — an amazing, highly convenient,  HTML/PHP editor that’s ONLINE. Because CodeAnywhere.net is online, you don’t need to have your own computer or application. You can log in from any computer. In fact, you don’t even need a computer. It works on iPad or iPhone. Truth is, I did much of my clients’ work in 2012 on an iPhone […]


1Password support with a flair

As I was setting up my MacBook Air to leave LA and travel in 2011, I sent a query to 1Password support. I promptly received a clear, full, excellent answer and my passwords and notes remained safely with me. Tonight I happened upon that support reply and noticed the closing words, perhaps for the first time. I’m sharing them here because they were both fun and indicative of the company. I wish you the very best for a safe and enjoyable trip abroad, and please know that you may reach us whenever you have a problem.  All it takes is a little bandwidth to send the Bat Signal! Cheers! Brandt — Brandt Swindell AgileBits Customer Care http://agilebits.com/support http://twitter.com/1Password


Tweakker app for international Android setup

If you’re traveling with an unlocked Android cell phone, you’ll need to know how to set your phone up to work with the local phone services. Word on the street is that the easiest way to do so, is to use a free app called  Tweakker. I have not used Tweakker myself but here is the link to it at the Google play store, along with the start of the description the developer lists there. App name: Tweakker APN INTERNET MMS App location: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tweakker  App description lead: Worldwide Internet and MMS APN settings – Now with ICS support – Tweakker is the best APN manager tool that helps you set up your APN settings – Access Point Name – for Internet and MMS connection.


Travel Router & Adapter for use in many countries

I try to only post items I have used and can recommend, but today I got this press release so I am simply sharing it here — without my own conclusion or additional information. (You know I always care about size and weight an drop-ability  for travel, and as a tech person I care about surge protection.) I hope to obtain one and try it in my next travels and amend this post when I do. I’ve also added a link to it at Amazon in case you consider it. Satechi Smart Travel Router & Adapter Today, October 8, 2013, Satechi released a new “Smart Travel Router & Adapter” with a “sale price” of $44.99, $5 off of the suggested retail price of $49.99. The following is their press release:


Carrying cables & small tech stuff

As you travel, you’ll find you need a pouch to carry your cables and smaller computer or cellphone accessories. I used a soft zippered ditty bag to keep weight down, but STM Bags just came out with STM Cable Wrap Portable Organizer — which looks promising as a way to keep your cables and chargers organized and tangle-free.

STM Cable Wrap folded

iPhone/iPad/iPod case for extended viewing

In November 2011 I saw, tried, and fell in love with the ZeroChroma “Theater-Stand 360°” case — an iPhone and iPad case that was also a brilliant stand. My first reaction was, why didn’t someone think of this before. My second was that this is incredibly well done. The easel mechanism is perfectly flat in the rear of the case. It then pulls out to provide many flexible viewing angles. The iPhone case provides 11 viewing angles and comes in two models — slim and more protective. Some of the cases provide slightly different viewing angle options, but there are always plenty. This is, I believe, a great travel case. About 6 weeks ago, I gave one of these ZeroChroma cases to a young man that impressed me. As he was writing to me recently, he included this paragraph. In addition I would like to express my gratitude for the new iPhone 5 […]