I don’t travel all that much, just 3-4 weeks out of the country every year, usually for pleasure, not work. Below are the Android apps that consistently work well for me.
- without a data plan
- using wifi-only access
The few times that I’ve looked for a data plan overseas to add to a smartphone, the costs were simply 10x more than I was willing to pay. For 10 days in Turkey, would you pay US$100 for a data capable GSM-SIM? Further, after 7 day, my friend’s SIM stopped working. Seems the Turkish government wants to know about all the cell phone users in their country. Moving the SIM to a different device did make it work again.
If you have a data plan, then translation tools work easier, but we’ll assume no data or wifi connection when you are away from the hotel.
I just returned from central and south east Asia, so the apps that worked are fresh in my mind.
Using FreeNAV on Android is mostly good, but it lacks a few capabilities that would be really nice for any GPS user.
- Add POI data
- Import POI files
- Export Favorites
- Transfer Favorites
The POI DB is definitely missing many, many, many POIs. Looking for a specific pizza place found 6, but none of them are the two within 3 miles of home that have been there longer than I’ve lived here. It seems to list places 100+ miles away.
Looking for free audiobooks?
Both sites also have links to free eBooks too.
These are well-known authors with well-known books. Many are classics, certainly a few books that you’ve always meant to read, but just never got around to reading. Very few new books there.
Have you read Asimov’s Foundation Trilogy? Now is your chance!
When traveling, we probably are not paranoid enough.
Here’s an article about your smartphone and/or laptop being hacked when overseas.
I’m fairly paranoid, but it had me wondering if I am paranoid enough when traveling overseas.
Are you? What steps do you take to be more secure than the next person? Do you believe that is enough?
By now most people that I know are using Anki techniques to learn things with memorization. Anki quizzes on facts and tracks whether we get them correct or not.
Anki learning gets a little tedious to me. Boring. There is at least one less boring option.
A few readers might be interested in this article about eReader privacy from the EFF.
Sadly, the privacy ratings for the eReader that many people are considering or already have is not included in the chart or article. If you have an eReader device and use the most popular reading softwares on it, chances are that what you read is being tracked and shared more than you'd like. I haven't seen any tinfoil hats available to block the eReaders from reporting back to the home office that don't also break the features. If you care about personal privacy, the 1 pg article is definitely worth your time.
This week we’ve all read how General Petraeus was forced out of his position because the FBI was able to read his emails. I’ll leave the moral question about affairs for you to determine on your own, however, from a technology perspective, he did many things wrong.
I’ve added an update below, since new technical information has become known.
Where is Curiosity?
When you lose a smartphone, all sorts of personal and proprietary data may become available to the finder/thief. Recently, a friend had a smartphone that I’d given to him stolen, so some of my personal and proprietary data may have been on that device still. Below I’ll attempt to outline what we should have done. This is very much a work in progress, but my quick searches for best practices smartphone loss returned nothing current or useful to an average person.
There was lots of best practice information for corporate devices on the internet. Buy this add-on for policy management, password complexity mandates, whole device encryption. None of this will help a soccer mom or a small business traveler overseas. We’ll try to work through what normal people can do to protect their devices, their data and make a lost or stolen device nearly useless to a thief.
A smartphone today is more powerful than a desktop computer from 10 years ago. This means these are extremely well-connected and valuable devices for you, me and thieves.
Let’s get started. I can’t ensure that any of these features or techniques will be available on your device or in the operating system that you phone runs. I’m only familiar with GSM phones, not what Verizon or Sprint use. Apple devices are a complete mystery to me. Do your own research for your device’s capabilities.