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Walking around The Best City To Visit 2012 Sarajevo, moments before capturing this video I was convinced there was a large brawl taking place. Though this group of men may have quieted somewhat for my benefit, these chess games between streets Ferhadija and Zelenih beretki in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina resemble many modern democracies around the world – lots of people shouting opinions but only the one guy with power making decisions.
Many scholars believe chess’s rise in popularity around the Balkans during Communism is in large part because it provided one of the few socially acceptible creative outlets. The average age of these players gathered near Hostel City Center seems to further suggest this might be the case and if so, they’ve picked the ultimate game. Mathematician Claude Shannon estimated there are around 100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (1050) possible outcomes in any given game of chess – based on the number of opinions being shouted per game, I may have heard close to all of them.
Despite your best efforts, sometimes you can’t find wireless passwords at airports that don’t have free wifi or simply have to accept the inevitable hotel room that charges for Internet. (Come join us in 2014, you know who you are.) When facing your credit card, it might be enough to hold back your tears knowing it’s possible to share one paid Internet connection through a laptop to other devices or with friends who might split the travel cost with you.
Breaking Down Connections
Let’s begin with a few fundamentals, the first being things depend on how you’re getting the paid Internet connection (i.e. through Ethernet or wirelessly). Sharing a wireless connection over wireless using the same network card is nearly impossible with a Mac whereas a few Windows apps make it a snap. Also, the process is a bit different between Windows and Mac OS X (I’m omitting Linux flavors) but in general, when given options these are the most straightforward configurations:
- Ethernet To Wireless: Mac OS X
- Wireless To Wireless: Windows 7 or 8
- Wireless To Ethernet: Take your pick
You can also share an Ethernet or wireless Internet connection to other devices over Bluetooth as well and it’s pretty simply for both operating systems as you’ll see below. Additionally, if you’re only traveling with a tablet or mobile you can share their Internet connection in most cases using Bluetooth.
Share A Cabled Ethernet Connection Over Wireless (Mac OS X)
Most recent versions of Mac OS X make turning your laptop’s Ethernet connection into a wireless hotspot fairly easy.
- Open System Preferences > Click Sharing
- If you want to protect the wireless connection using a password, select Wi-Fi Options. In the window that opens up, name the new wireless network anything you want or stick with the default (your Macbook’s name), choose WPA2 Personal from the Security drop-down, pick a password, confirm it and click OK.
- In the box labeled “To computers using:“, check “Wi-Fi“
- Finally, check “Internet Sharing” on the left hand side
You should now be seeing the wireless network you just created from other devices and be able to connect; unless you’ve already forgotten the password because you’re blessed with terrible traveler’s memory.
Ethernet To Wireless (Windows 8)
There are two ways to go about sharing an Ethernet Internet connection using Windows 8. The first – much easier – way is to download the free program Virtual Router Plus. Though if you’re ready for a bit of command prompt jiu-jitsu, here’s how to configure a Windows 8 hotspot yourself.
- From the Start screen > All Apps > Windows System > Command Prompt
- In the command prompt that opens up, type the following, with the SSID being a network name you choose along with any password: netsh wlan set hostednetwork mode=allow ssid=NetworkName key=Password
- Hit Enter
- Type > netsh wlan start hostednetwork > Enter
When you’re done sharing, be sure to enter this in the command prompt: netsh wlan stop hostednetwork. Now, if you’re gotten this far, you’re probably wishing you had just downloaded Virtual Router Plus. Also, although Microsoft has announced it’s going to end support for Windows 7 in early 2015, sharing Internet connections on Windows 7 is so simple, you might be tempted not to upgrade just yet.
Wireless To Wireless (Windows 7 and 8)
Sharing a wireless connection using one wireless card requires a bit of software magic that Connectify Pro ($40) provides for both Windows 7 and 8. Manual configuration is possible but you’ll have to get your hands digitally dirtier than you might want.
Wireless To Wireless (Mac OS X)
Sharing a wireless connection over wifi isn’t something Mac OS X supports natively, potentially skewing a decision over whether you should buy a Mac or Windows laptop for your travels. (Unfortunately Connectify mentioned above is Windows-only.) Rather, in addition to extending your wireless range, purchase one of these USB wireless antennas which will run you about $30. Connect the antenna, then follow the Ethernet To Wireless (Mac OS X) instructions above, with the following modifications:
- Open System Preferences > Click Sharing
- In the box labeled “To computers using:“, check “Wireless_LAN_Adapter” (or some very close variation)
- Check “Internet Sharing” on the left hand side
Share A Wireless Connection Between Laptops Using An Ethernet Cable
There’s a reason I always travel with an Ethernet cable in my backpack and being able to share a paid wireless connection with a traveling companion is one of its many benefits. Turning one Internet connection into two is an easy process for both Windows or Mac which I cover on Tech Guide For Travel.
Sharing Wifi Over Bluetooth (Windows 7, 8, And OS X)
Due to the Bluetooth’s limited range and the extra configuration required, you’re probably only going to need this when you want to share Internet from a mobile device or are having trouble turning your Macbook into a wireless to wireless hotspot. Here are a few guides on possible setups:
- How To Share A Wireless Connection Over Bluetooth With An iPad (OS X Only)
- How To Share WiFi Over Bluetooth On Windows 7
- How To Share Internet Over Bluetooth With Windows, iOS, And Android Devices
Drawbacks Of Sharing
Of course, sharing an Internet connection means sharing (or splitting) the total amount of bandwidth available to all of the connected devices, meaning it’s not the ideal time to stream your favorite TV shows. Turn off bandwidth hogs (at least it will help extend battery life) and remember that most shared connections won’t work if the host is connected to a virtual private network. It is best to book cheaper airfare using a VPN before your digital generosity begins, though if anyone has a complaint, remind them who can pull the plug on their Internetz.
Finding destination specific information online is pretty easy for general queries like is it safe to travel to Kiev but gets increasingly more difficult as your searches narrow, especially to lesser-traveled places like Socotra. The process of finding the right webpage often feels like you’re looking for a one-sided conversation with a stranger who may or may not be able to help you. Newly launched Plansify aims to bride the communication gap by putting you in direct touch with travel experts from all over the world.
How Plansify Works
The Plansify website is a portal where you directly contact experts on various countries around the world for advice. Communication takes place through Skype or Plansify’s internal messaging system after setting up an agreed upon time with a Plansify expert (called advisors). Each advisor has a profile listing their specific expertise as well as hourly rates for their time, which mostly vary between $15-40 an hour. Signing up and searching Plansify is all free, it’s only once you set up a conversation time with an expert that you’re charged.
From Beta To Bling, Plansify’s Benefits Over Free Googling
Advisors can be sorted by region (e.g. East Africa) or specialty such as career break. Developed by my friends slash occasional let’s-travel-somewhere-not-so-safe-buddy Wandering Earl and Erinc Mullaoglu, the first set of advisors – myself included - were personally sought out to cover all of Earth as well as niches such as solo travel, volunteering and more.
One common problem with searching for specific travel questions such as how to get a long-term visa for say, Bosnia, is that what scant information available online can often be contradictory. Although I can modestly say there are wonderful travel blogs like this one, not everyone has written what you’re looking for with the personal anecdotes that can put a traveler’s mind at ease. So for example with Plansify, you could give resident and Bosnia and Herzegovina expert Mirha Masala a call to find out how to spend a summer or longer in 2012′s best city to visit.
Open to the public, anyone can sign up to become an advisor to potentially earn some money – another good way to save more for travel if you don’t live on a first-world income. Travel advisors are are sorted by rank plus customer review – though it would be nice to see some kind of peer review or featured expert highlighting as Plansify gets off the ground to better pull the best experts to the top of searches. As Plansify is currently in beta and actively seeking user feedback it’s likely to polish off any rough edges with your help, as you get the advice you need to plan you next trip to one of the world’s less traveled destinations.
I had a lot in mind to write for this blog birthday post – from a renewed inspiration I’ve recently found to my upcoming plans and projects. Perhaps about the question I still can’t completely answer – how long will I keep traveling?
Or reflections on a journey that’s brought me to protests in Donestsk, Ukraine and gotten me detained in Ankara, Turkey. The places I visit so I can share a bit of what I experience with the over 2 million eyeballs that read my words on foXnoMad monthly. (Occasionally I’m assuming, while unlocking free wifi at airports with restrictions.)
But what I really want to say, is thank you. All of any of this (the big “this”) is made possible because of your support. I don’t forget it when I’m climbing volcanoes in Ecuador or end up in places that are OK to hate. Thank you again. Tonight I’ll drink raki like a Turk and cheers to you one by one. Well, actually, make that collectively, I’m still trying to recover from boozing in Moldova.