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.


Best cable ties for travel and tech

Traveling or not, how do you stash your cords, cables, and wired earpieces? Here’s my favorite solution of all time — the Cord Taco by This Is Ground.

I have four great ones to recommend.
For many cables, Cord Tacos by This is Ground.
For larger cables such as one to plug in your laptop, Gear Ties by NiteIze
For larger items and hanging items, Pixi by Blue Lounge or perhaps Bongo Ties.

Meet the Cord Taco, a durable, remains-beautiful, premium leather cable wrap that keeps your cables untangled better than anything else I have ever tried, and I have tried pretty much all cable organizers. This is on of the original Cord Tacos. I have been using it since January 2014, almost 3.5 years. This size is approximately 3.25 inches in diameter. And meet Gear Ties, a new and very welcome addition to my travels.

Untied and tied cables

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.

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.


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

The cellular package I bought in Lithuania.

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, anytime rather than 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 shot […]


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?


WordCamp Austin 2014 logo

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 […]


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 […]

Mac Deb repaired

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.