150+ WordPress Plugins to Take Your Blog to the Next Level

If you use WordPress, you are undoubtedly aware of the idea of plugins and are probably using some already, but perhaps you are missing out on some others that can raise your blogging skills considerably. That’s understandable since there are so many thousands to choose from and since there are some great plugins that do things you didn’t even know you might want to … [ Read more ]

What Every Traveler and Digital Nomad Needs to Know about Passwords

Though this blog—and thus this article—is focused on travel and location independence, the advice I will offer regarding passwords should be useful for anyone trying to protect a computer or online activity.
How Do Our Password Protections Fail?
It might seem a bit negative to start with the weaknesses of passwords, but the fact is that passwords are a security measure, not a guarantee. … [ Read more ]

Online (Cloud) Syncing

Cloud syncing services are all the rage—and for good reason. They are especially useful for keeping important files synced across multiple computers and for securely backing up and storing your files online. Many of them also offer the ability to share files and collaborate with others.

You could call me an early adopter, as I was using a service called FolderShare many years … [ Read more ]

Online (Cloud) Backup

These days, online or “cloud” services are everywhere. Most of the attention is given to the syncing services, but there are a number of backup-only solutions as well. There is nothing inherently better or worse about cloud backup compared to local backup options, though naturally, there are advantages and disadvantages. One advantage is that a cloud service provides … [ Read more ]

Local and Network Syncing and Backup Options

Cloud syncing services are great, but there are some legitimate reasons to seek out alternatives for local and network backup and syncing, including:

  • To sync files you aren’t comfortable keeping in the cloud (for security or other reasons)
  • To sync files that are too large for individual upload limits or that would put you over your account storage limits.
  • To avoid bandwidth related

[ Read more ]

Staying Connected in Japan: Phone and Internet Options for Your Trip to the Land of the Rising Sun

Are you planning a trip to Japan and hoping to use a phone, tablet or laptop while there? There’s some good news and bad news.
Japan, I Love You But…
I’ve lived a year in Japan and visited multiple times since then. I really love the country, its people and the culture. But, while Japan has long been considered an example of high-tech progress and advanced mobile … [ Read more ]

Windows Live Writer: A Great Tool for Blogging


Windows Live Writer, part of the free Windows Essentials (formerly Live Essentials) suite, is a visual blog editor for Windows. It is also widely considered one of the best offline blog editors available. With Live Writer, you can create an optimized blog post offline and then upload it to your blog when finished, either publishing it directly or adding it as a draft … [ Read more ]

Powering and Charging Your Electronic Devices on the Road

[toc]
Travel Adapters, Converters and USB Chargers
Some countries have different electrical outlet standards than your home country, both in the type of plug used and the amount of AC voltage and frequency. Most operate either at 110V or 220V (plus or minus) and have one standard plug, but occasionally this can vary inside the country as well. Wikipedia has a page detailing the values and … [ Read more ]

The Best Digital Camera: A Buying Guide

Buying a camera is one of the toughest purchase decisions to make due to incredible competition and an overwhelming number of features to consider. One way to approach buying a new camera is to consider six broad criteria:

  1. Size and type of camera
    Are you looking for a subcompact, compact, ultra-zoom compact, waterproof, bridge, DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) or some hybrid (alternatively known as

[ Read more ]

Protecting Files and USB Drives with VeraCrypt (formerly TrueCrypt)

VeraCrypt

UPDATE – June 06, 2015: This is an older article discussing TrueCrypt, which has unfortunately been abandoned. Fortunately, some developers have revived it, calling the new product VeraCrypt. It is essentially the same software and even keeps the same look and feel. Likewise, the operation is identical to TrueCrypt. So, download VeraCrypt but feel free to use these TrueCrypt instructions as they are … [ Read more ]

Buying a Prepaid SIM Card While Traveling: What You Need to Know

It’s fairly common advice to travel with an unlocked mobile phone (quad-band GSM to be the most compatible worldwide) so that you can purchase an inexpensive prepaid Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) card and pay much better local prices. Choosing a service provider is not usually a terribly important decision if you are only going to be in a country for a short duration … [ Read more ]

Using Your Kindle or Digital Camera to View Travel Maps

I travel with a netbook and own the Lonely Planet in PDF version (yes, a legal copy). Until recently I would print out the pages with maps and just read the rest on my computer, but that is inconvenient, environmentally wasteful, and occasionally expensive. After trying to think of useful alternatives, I have two to share with you.
Using Your Digital Camera
Occasionally when I visit a … [ Read more ]

Speeding Up Your WordPress Blog with W3 Total Cache (W3TC)

Introduction
Most of us mortals, you know the kind that aren’t making six figures from our humble little blog, are using a shared server that is cheap. Well, it’s cheap for a reason. Lots of other sites are crammed on the same server and share the resources. When your site isn’t very popular that’s rarely a problem, but as you start to grow your traffic, performance … [ Read more ]

The Ultimate Guide to Electronic Book Readers (E-Readers)

Introduction
Electronic book readers (eBook readers, e-book readers, e-readers, eReaders)[1] haven’t been around that long but are quickly gathering market momentum[2] and are quite naturally a great fit for the extended traveler. Spend a bit of time searching the Web for reviews and you will rarely come across a less-than-glowing opinion, and most of the negative writing you will encounter comes from … [ Read more ]

Super Useful Windows Shortcuts

Being occasionally geeky, and always attached to a PC running some form of MS Windows, I have come to rely heavily on a handful of super useful shortcuts to make my computing easier and faster. Interestingly, I rarely encounter friends or fellow travelers who seem familiar with these. So, below I will list them for you and hopefully some of you will point out … [ Read more ]

Laptop vs. Netbook

My current computer of choice for extended travel is an ASUS 10.2” netbook, which replaced the Acer Aspire One netbook that I used for a year traveling in Central America. In case you don’t know already, a netbook is basically a stripped down, much smaller version of a laptop (typically with an 8-10 inch screen and weighing a couple of pounds or 1 kilogram). … [ Read more ]