VoIP and Text for iPhone?

August 17, 2009 at 4:51 pm

I love the iPhone and just got the latest 3Gs. Heaven! Almost…

When traveling I paid $60/month just to keep my number with AT&T and rarely used the number. As long as you can get connected with wifi, you should be able to use:

VoIP
Text

What are some of the services that exist? Let’s take a look:

VoIP –
Skype
> Does not offer service for 3G, this is disturbing to me, I hope they have a release announcement soon!
TruPhone
Fring

Text –
TextFree
> Costs $5.99 for full version and sends texts to/from email
Google Voice
> Not an app and not yet listed in Google Apps for iPhone but promising from-web texting

So, in the hopefully near future, the iPhone will be able to be used strictly with wifi connections – no more expensive phone plans and international calling plans!

Skype versus Google Voice International Calling

June 30, 2009 at 2:25 am

One of the benefits, to me – now living back in the US, is Google Voice. US numbers only, I can call from my cell phone or landline and get low international rates:
http://www.google.com/support/voice/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=141925

If I’m international, I can call my Skype using my Skype to Go number, then dial my Google Voice for 2 cents/minute and make international calls also for as low as 2 cents/minute. So calling London might now cost 4 cents/min versus 20-40 cents/min.

I haven’t tried this yet and I’m guessing the VoIP quality is not great, but in theory, it works!

Google Voice also announces the cost of the call before it makes it, sweet!

Intentional Slavery

May 8, 2009 at 8:58 am

I often refer to the Corporate World as intentional self slavery.

We are taught to go to school and to get a “good job”.  Little boxes on the hillside full of ticky tacky.  What does that mean?  We shrug our shoulders and don’t think of the next step.  Unless someone tells us to do something, we sit still.  One of my favorite movies is Idiocracy.  On the surface, it’s an absurd comedy.  Looking deeper shows a devolved society. The further we ‘advance’ the less we think for ourselves.  Consider the smartphone, which many affectionately call the dumbphone.  When is the last time you asked for directions? How many times have you asked Siri where a dead body is hidden?

Do you wait to cross the street until the little guy turns from red to white, and even animates walking, until you step your foot off the curb?

Never dumb down your dreams, question everything that is around you and why it exists.

One day, one of my last days before freeing myself from the office (to pursue Beer2Buds), I saw a girl’s cubicle.  She had some plants, some decorations, and a huge lamp.  I said “wow, that’s a lot of stuff” to which she replied “yeah, isn’t it great, I got the lamp from my living room.  I figured since I spend so much time here, I might as well make it comfortable.”  Decorated office cubicle - say no to corporate slavery - Anywhere Entrepreneur

No, it’s not great.  It’s sad.  It’s one thing if you were there because you wanted to be there.  But, unbeknownst to you, you’ve become a victim of willed corporate slavery.  Do you ever get tired of rush hour?  Do you ever ponder why you are intentionally part of the flock of sheep that jams up the freeway or subway at 8 am and 6 pm?

And if you have all of this time to decorate your office, why in the world are  you not creating a LIFE for yourself.  Don’t settle for what is in front of you!  A pet rock is still a rock.  You can decorate a jungle gym and pretend it’s a castle but at the end of the day it’s still a cage.  I’m not saying don’t make the best with what you have.  I’m saying don’t limit yourself because someone else defined you.  YOU define you.  You have the ability to create your life, why choose to decorate your cubicle?  There are pictures of your kids on your cubicle walls because you can’t spend enough time with your family.  You have plants and a giant lamp because you want to feel like you’re in your living room.  We even have casual Fridays so that you can wear jeans.  Feel like you’re at home yet?  It’s a trick!  Humans were not meant to be in cages.  We are free insomuch as we give up all of our freedoms.  Our freedom is an illusion.

We are given the carrot or the stick from which to choose.  It used to be that, as free human beings, we were ruled by the stick.  We were forced into slavery, to serve others, by violent means.  Now, all someone has to do is say – Hey, I’ll give you some money, we’ll give you a health plan for all your stress, we’ll even offer daycare, give you a ping pong table and free soft drinks.  Voila!  That’s not such a bad deal to trade for your daily sacrifice from 8-6, including your long commute, to be away from family, friends, your creativity, your routine – all to fill someone else’s pockets and to help them buy time.  Do you take candy from strangers?  NO.  Slap your hand.

Beehive of cubicals

Don't let this be you

These things are put in place not so that you have a work-life balance but so that you can stay longer at work.  You can even have a sleeping pod and take a nap.  I hear many people say things like “well, we’re meat eaters, that’s just the way we evolved, so we eat meat” in a Brawndo-style voice “it’s got electrolytes” (Idiocracy reference).  Applying that to freedom – we once used to be free to roam the earth, to find and make our own food, to create businesses, to play when we decided we needed a break.  Have we evolved into cubicleville?

There’s never been a better time to reach deep inside and pull out your creativity.  Look past the cubed wall, question what exists around you, don’t listen to others who are trying to pull you into their world because it’s safe and comfortable, and reach into your knowing soul.  Free yourself from the corporate grind.  What does that mean?  What will you do now?   You were taught to fear so you wouldn’t think for yourself; so that you’d stay.  It will all work out so long as you choose to break out of slavery.  Life is too short to spend in a corporate jail cell.

Global Traveler Essential Packing List 1

April 6, 2009 at 10:33 pm

Note: This is an outdated this, check out the updated Global Traveler Essential Packing List 2

Trying to pack can be one of the hardest things to plan, especially if you’ll be gone for several months and through changing seasons!

But, I’ve found here are some of the basic necessities, below.  If you need anything else, make sure to bring some extra cash just in case (like if your luggage gets lost like mine did).  Or, just learn to be very very creative and rely on your instincts.

Here’s my list:

MUST HAVES:

Passport ID Visa card Backup visa card (this came in very handy when my first card was cut off unexpectedly)

Cash – $120-$150
—— The above are a necessity —- with these you can get anywhere or do anything.  I would pack all these in a money pack, like Eagle Creek money belts from REI, so nothing is lost.
Tip:  I would also carry an extra set of clothes in your CARRY ON if you have room.  Even just something light, like underwear and a t-shirt.  Don’t forget toothbrush and deodorant too.

CLOTHES:

  1. Underwear – enough for 1-2 weeks
  2. Socks – 2 pair
  3. Flip flops – 1 pair (optional shower pair also)
  4. Tennies / walking shoes – 1 pair Dress shoes – 1 pair (optional)
  5. Jeans – 1 pair Pants – 1 pairShorts/Capris – 2 pair
  6. Tshirts – 2 Tanktop – 2 Long tops – 2 (best if these can go over the tanktops, good to pack layers to put on and undo)

Tip: Cut out anything you can.  Study the season(s) beforehand.  Is it cold at night?  How do they dress?  Will you be doing hiking? If you are in a very hot climate, shed shed shed.  If it is temperate during the day but chilly at night, pack smart layers.

TECHNOLOGY:

1. Travel laptop > see blog for reviews, I carry an Acer Aspire One laptop.
Tip: If you’re working, I would recommend a travel laptop.  If you want to save weight/space and travel free of worry, I would rely on trusty, cheap internet cafes.

2. Pocket-sized camera + camera card

Tip:  Again, if you aren’t working on a photo or film project, why not just get the practical, cheap camera that you wouldn’t cry over losing.  I sold my two nice Canon cameras and bought a Canon SD-110.  I don’t have to worry if it’s lost or stolen and I back my pictures up regularly online.

TOILETRIES / OTHER:

  1. 1 bar soap in container
  2. Shampoo/conditioner combo in small bottle
  3. Toothbrush with cap, small toothpaste tube
  4. Cheap razor Makeup – only necessities Towel – lite dry – from REI

Remember: You can always buy more when you run out.  Travelers are also great at helping out if you are in a pinch.  It’s more fun to go to the store to find what you need and you’ll be happy you’re carrying less!

Working Remotely in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua with my Netbook

April 6, 2009 at 10:14 pm

Ever experience times when the wind blows or there’s a smell in the air and it instantly takes youWorking remotely San Juan del Sur Nicaragua 2008 back into time?

I recall this experience like it was last week.  There were light gusts of wind blowing dustings of sand on my netbook as I sat at the ‘El Globo’ restaurant in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua.  Right on the beach, steps from the water, enjoying a lemon iced tea. I signed El Globo as well as a remote client, all before the ice melted in my tea.

This was one of the first times I felt accomplished from running Beer2Buds virtually, knowing that digital travel was becoming a reality and I was doing it.

Downsizing to 4 Boxes – An Experiment in Minimalism

March 26, 2009 at 12:00 am

I spent the past 10 years wanting to travel. I spent the last 10 years accumulating stuff. Finally, I drew a line in the sand. I was going no matter what. Not an easy decision and something in need of planning but well worth the effort.

I decided to reduce my life down to FOUR BOXES. I had two houses, a car, a cat, a relationship, tenants, a business, a job, a car, a social life, photos, cd’s, DVDs, furniture, paperwork – you name it!

What I decided to do was make a list of the things that were most important to me and what I couldn’t do without. Then, I decided to get rid of everything else. It’s unbelievable how much ‘stuff’ we can build up! After simplifying my life and liberating myself and reflecting, I really don’t know how or why we do it. Of course there’s the old “keeping up with the Jones’s” or simply adding more things for the space we have available. Either way, it’s not fulfilling and somewhat narrow minded. To release yourself of the ‘ties’ we have, whether real or imagined, is quite the freeing experience.

My list:

  • Picture albums (with a backup digital copy)
  • Legal paperwork for house / business / etc
  • Precious items that were gifts or could not be replaced

Really that was about it. I had two houses at the time and I made a plan to sell the first one. It took 3 and 1/2 months but finally after cleaning, prepping, and marketing it sold. Huge check off the list!

What next?

My job. My car was easy, I got in a small bumper crash and it decided no longer to run. So, I invested in the city bus. I had a heart to heart with myself. In another post I talk about the loathe I have for the corporate world, and although a great opportunity for me (there are many if you are a glass-half-full person), I released the chains and gave my notice.

Everything else was easy. Several trips to Goodwill, many posts on Craigslist, happy and willing friends to offload stuff onto, digitizing all music and movies, and online storage for everything that was important to me (with backup).

I’ll go through little by little what I use for tools to help me be mobile and work virtually.

I wasn’t able to sell my other house since, as we all know, the market went South. But it still feels good to have a place to call home and go back to. For several months I tried to find the right tenant to occupy my home. Giving them a few deposit slips and contacts in case something goes wrong or needs fixing and voila! Off to Central America to prove that living and working abroad can not only cost you less in stress and also in the dollars you spend.