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18 Dec 2012

Maintaining a physical mailing address presence in the USA

Useful links:

SBI is a company based in Florida focusing on sailing Yacht cruisers who need a postal address. They will scan and make your post available online for >$12/month.

Very useful.

You can tie this in with other remote services such as:
 - a phone number that takes messages and makes them available online (i.e. Google Answerphone); some will also transcribe to email - you can then access this over SailMail with a Pactor or cheaper alternative modem and SSB band
- a virtual mobile phone number accessible online
- callforwarding. A word of caution here, usually if you do this the number you are forwardinf FROM will be charged (probably your mobile phone), not the caller. Bear that in mind if forwarding to a satellite phone
- VoIP can be useful but you will probably want an answerphone service to go with that for when you fly or cross borders like "Hullomail" (spelt with a U). The phrase you are searching for incoming numbers is "SiP DiD"
- also look into "Virtual Office" providers

Skype vs VoIP:

Skype is great for ease of use AT THE MOMENT. To be clear, the way it works is a blackbox. That means that you and your network of contacts are at the mercy of the company. The encryption is enough to stop the casual hostel wifi logger without any skills but given a bit of effort they can crack it. This is plenty enough for most cases but it's not great so a VPN might be useful for you. You could also have your own virtual computer to connect into that way. Obviously the webcam is very nice too, especially on a phone but who knows, perhaps they will withdraw support for your phone one day when you are abroad like they did to me.

Encrypted VoIP is a lot better but tends to be harder to setup.
If you use VoIP without encryption (SIP is a type of VoIP) then all it takes is for someone to run a log command somewhere in between your VoIP provider and you to log the call. It really is as easy in some cases to download and run a command to log your call. Fortunately I don't think this is common. But I wouldn't risk it and as such in this case Skype is better for booking flights with a credit card etc.

Look into getting access to a VPN for your phone if you're using hotel WiFi for calls.

Alternatively, get a local simcard and start a phone-to-phone call. This is more expensive since you are making 2 calls. There are a number of ways of starting the call. The most common is to visit a website. VoIPCheap offer this. Another, better way is to register your phone number with VoIPduniya and call them, the call fails and they will call you back. This is unreliable - sometimes because your local callerID number changes but I've also notice that sometimes seems to fail for no reason but when it works it's brilliant.
The other way to start a call is using SMS. International SMS isn't too expensive but it also isn't cheap so take your pick and let me know how you get on.

I will now look into maintaining a presence in other countries with similar services. Do you know of any?

28 Nov 2012

Hitchhiking Inspiration from Aaron Bell

Evolution Of Hitchhiking from aaronbell

This presentation on Hitchhikng is gold. I've never tried - shame!

28 Sep 2012

The real social network

I see the people around me as a valuable resource. Everyone has something of interest and everyone has something to give but more than that you have means of helping them which can cost you nothing.

Think back on the major points of progress you've had in your life, for me, many of them are due to the people I've known and met. Jobs came through word of mouth rather than search and apply. A lot of the best, unexpected yet useful knowledge gained has been through direct contact with people.

Standing in line saying nothing I feel there is this great resource, under utilised.

Someone who can utilise this and find a way to break the social barriers will increase chances for serendipity. It seems like there is a network between people that is operating whether you interact or not. The people who actually interact ake greater advantage of this. The network is interesting with this effect in different ways if you're staying in the same place or traveling.

So how do we do break the ice?

Well if you're British you mention the weather or get drunk, but is it going to go any further than that? Likewise, how do you get the subject onto something more interesting, avoid the awkward silences and so on?
I'm no expert in this but I know the only way to learn is by doing taking any mistakes on the way as valuable lessons.

What are your ways of breaking the ice?

7 Apr 2012

Algae for preventing disease in travellers

Previously I wrote about preventing infections when travelling using Kefir.

This is not the only big hitting defense you have. Try algae. In fact, Chorella to be exact.

The lipid profile is exactly what the immune system needs. If you combine this with other things the immune system needs at that point where you think you're going down with something, take a lot and this usually prevents it or cuts down the fever by a day or 2.

Marine sourced oils are usually what is missing in most people's diets these days. I expect this is due to our marine ape source. That is, early humans came from the sea, lived by the coast and in fact we are descended from fish and have more in common with whales than say, a cow.

This could change you're life.

Algae is the most compact bundle of nutrients I know. Very relevant for the traveller with weight limits. Spirulina is good 2. The 2 overlap in what they provide a bit but Chorella packs a little for for the wieght. This is the only thing I'll take now regularly. It's also nice fresh but of course, not really possible when travelling.


Preventing travelers deli belly diarrhea, stop getting sick when flying

As a traveller you are exposed to many more different germs.

Hygiene is paramount of course. But if you aren't washing and preparing your own food, trying the local food from restaurants, then you're taking a risk.

What can be done?

One thing I've found that works fantastically well is Kefir, if you can get it.

This drink has so much good bacteria in it that if you eat enough it can out-compete any bacteria that could cause you a problem. This is why it was such a well kept secret for years and wars fought over it in ancient history. Some say it was a gift from god.

The only thing is that it's unwieldly when travelling. The first problem is that practically every country restricts bacteria, but then that's ridiculous because bacteria is in and on your body and in a sense humans are about 1-2kg of bacteria...
the second problem is that you need to keep Kefir aerated or it will turn bad and at a minimum give you gas and worse would make you ill.

The only solution I have so far is to dry the grains for travelling.

I am trying to develop a vessel for holding water that allows aeration but it seems difficult to do without a risk of spillage. If you have any ideas please get in touch.