How To Sext Securely When Traveling

September 9, 2014 by  
Filed under Security, Tech

lock bridge vilnius

I’m not going to judge how you like to keep in digital touch with your partner(s? oh, heey playa!) but whether or not you’re sending private parts electronically, you might want to keep some bits private. Not turning your phone into a peepshow is the most secure solution but since half of you are already sexting, here’s what you can do to prevent unintended leakage.

ios passcode screenBasic Phone Security

First of all enable a lock screen passcode for your phone (here’s how on Android and iOS). Because lock screen passcodes are a dubious protection measure at best and given that most countries can legally require you to give up passwords at customs, you’ll need to go deeper. Both free apps Private Photo Vault (iOS) and Gallery Lock (Android) have stealth modes that can hide evidence of secure picture folders when you enter in a decoy password. (Laptop users can enable the same protection using Truecrypt hidden folders.)

Don’t Get Sunk By Syncing

There are a lot of famous boobs online because of iCloud, Apple’s service which syncs photos taken on an iPhone to its servers. Android devices have a similar feature, which in theory is supposed to be hassle-free way to backup pictures you take. The Internet is not a good place to store anything you hope to keep remotely private so with a few clicks disable photo syncing.

area 51 groom lake back gate

Digital clouds aren’t inherently risky, in fact there’s a good way cloud services can be used to protect your privacy, particularly if you lose physical contact with your hardware.

  • Remote Wipe Your Phone – Setting up the iOS built-in feature Find My Phone lets you wipe your Apple devices if they’re lost or stolen (here’s how) using iCloud and Google has a similar capability for Android.

Also, keep in mind although we’re talking phones here, almost all of the advice in this post applies to tablets as well.

wickr appThe Internet Is Big, Here’s How To Use It

Don’t get kinky with social media. Seriously, don’t. Not with Facebook’s new Messenger app you might be freaking out about, Twitter, Instagram… you get it.

Still, any service you use to send digital content requires a degree of trust with the provider. (Not to mention the person who’s on the receiving end of your sexiness.) In any case travelers especially should take some basic precautions to protect communications from the NSA and lock down your laptop as all of your digital property is vulnerable when crossing international borders – cloud or no cloud.

Is Hurghada Safe?

September 4, 2014 by  
Filed under Air, Lodging, Security, Travel

hurghada marina

In many ways Egypt hasn’t changed much since its 2011 revolution – politically the military is back in power, media reports it’s more dangerous than Yemen (based on a truly bizarre conclusion by the World Economic Forum), and life in Hurghada sails along peacefully for tourists and kite surfers.

Terrorism, Protests Out Of The Way

There are a lot of good reasons to visit Hurghada and one why you’re probably hesitant to – it’s in Egypt. Although our brains are wired to generalize bad news, like most places, national borders are too broad to define boundaries of safety. Egypt has more land area than Germany, Malaysia, and New Zealand combined. Hurghada, where there hasn’t been an incidence of terrorism since 1994, is isolated from Egypt’s main population centers by 450 kilometers (250 miles) of land and physically separated from the Sinai Peninsula by 30 km of sea.

hurghada kempinski soma bay

There is a single road leading to Hurghada which is strictly controlled by an Egyptian military who is well aware that tourism brings over 10 billion dollars into the economy each year. Even the U.S. State Department, generally the most cautious western power with its travel warnings, advises that travel to Hurghada is safe.

Protests in Hurghada are something of a local running joke – there was one on August 16, 2013during the height of unrest that year in Egypt. Political revolutions don’t begin in resort towns and everyone, demonstrators included, knows it.

Low Crime Rate By High Common Sense

According to a 2014 Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) report on Egypt, crime in the country as a whole remains low despite increasing over the past 4 years. The biggest worries for tourists are pickpocketing but women in particular should take specific advice from my related live chat and this Solo Friendly article.

hurghada fish market

Roads in and around Hurghada are fairly well paved concrete running straight through flat desert terrain which is probably why most the traffic accidents happen to and from the city – not in it. Egypt’s roads are about as safe as India’s, so buckle up whether you’re in a car or bus.

Paradise Oasis

Recent news might have you wondering if you should cancel your travel plans but as others do, it’s the best time for you to make some if you haven’t. Prices at resorts like the Kempinski and The Breakers in Soma Bay are relative bargains as Turkish Airlines adds more weekly flights direct from Istanbul. As it was 4 months after Egypt’s 2011 revolution, there is now a rare travel window of opportunity you can take advantage of along the shores of the Rea Sea.

6 Reasons You Should Visit Hurghada, Egypt And One Why You’re Not

hurghada egypt marina

Hurghada, Egypt was something of a blank canvas for me where I kept asking how I could travel the world yet mentally miss such an attractive travel destination. I was last in Egypt right after the 2011 revolution, a memorable event in world history which continues to keep on average 100,000 tourists from visiting the country annually. The recovery of Egyptian tourism isn’t starting near the lonely Pyramids of Giza but rather along the Red Sea coast over 450 kilometers (~280 miles) away in places like Hurghada.

1. Hurghada Is Safe

Let’s get this issue out of the way first, Hurghada is far from the busy streets of Cairo physically and politically. It has a small population of around 60,000; roughly .00075% of the Egyptian total population of 80 million. Whereas thousands of protestors took to the streets to demonstrate against then president Mohamed Morsi in 2013, only a handful showed up in Hurghada to be readily ignored by residents making their way to work. Cultural revolutions don’t usually begin in resort towns unless the fuss is something related to beach chairs.

Mahmya Island

2. Direct Flights

Travelers are generally reluctant to opt for flights with layovers to smaller destinations or ones they might be less familiar with like Hurghada. Fortunately, there are a number of direct flights to Hurghada from places like Istanbul (round-trip flights on Turkish Airlines can be found for less than $350) as well as cities across Europe. Currently there aren’t any direct flights from the United States but you could take the opportunity to use multi-city flights to see more for less or get up to 70% off your ticket using MagicFare.

turkish airlines lounge istanbul simit

3. One Of The Best Places To Snorkel…

The Red Sea is home to one of the world’s 10 largest coral reefs and top three longest, over 2,000 kilometers (~1,240 miles). This reef system is home to over 1,400 endemic species of marine life where it was recently discovered that part of the coral is itself a new species. I’ve snorkeled in many waters, including off Socotra Island in Yemen, but 500 meters off the shores of The Breakers in Hurghada is the best I’ve experienced anywhere.

the breakers hurghada egypt

4. Scuba Dive…

Not surprisingly, Hurghada is Egypt’s second most popular (but much less crowded than Sharm el-Sheikh) place to scuba dive, rated by CNN as one of the top 50 worldwide. Whale sharks, scary sharks, a number of sea turtles to name a few, plus you can find Nemo here too.

hurghada egypt fish market

5. …And Kite Surf

On any given day there’s a 65% chance of winds over 14 knots (16 mph) blowing across the warm Red Sea waters in Hurghada. If you like the combination of water with wind while exploiting drag, Hurghada will welcome your kites. Most of the hotels in Soma Bay will store any water sporting equipment you bring so you don’t have to lug it every trip to Egypt. Those of you who want to get into the sport – usually after watching surfers for about 10 seconds – can take lessons and be on the water on your own in about 5 days. Flips and tricks optional.

kite surfing hurghada egypt

6. Now’s The Time To Enjoy Bargains On Pretty Much Everything

Nobody in Hurghada will argue with you that tourism there is hurting, leaving many of the hotels there operating at far less than maximum capacity. Fewer arrivals has resulted in noticeably reduced rates at fancier places like the Kempinski in Soma Bay. Apartment rentals are going up but right now seems to be the beginning of a tourism rebound you’ll need to take advantage of sooner rather than later.

hurghada egypt food salad

Why You’re Not Going: It’s In Egypt

Egypt is a country with such an abundance of worthy tourism destinations that many not-called-the-Sphinx are taken for granted. The Pyramids everyone is confused about, the sole backup of the entire Internet in Alexandria, and haunted palaces of devil worship obscure 760 km of Red Sea coastline. Media coverage and security concerns also pixelate the entire country. Bad news north in the Sinai Peninsula’s Sharm el Sheik resorts bleeds down to the calmer shores of Hurghada a 750 km (470 mile) drive away.

Known fairly well to Russian and other Eastern European tourists, plus nationals from German-speaking nations, the most surprisng thing about Hurghada is not that people are still visiting, it’s that they mostly aren’t.

How To Visit The Klingon Empire With Honor (And Without Getting Killed)

August 13, 2014 by  
Filed under Security, Travel

This post is part of Geek Takeover Week 2014.

klingon female with batleth

tlhIngan wo’ yajbe’ wa’ ‘ej Qo’noS DIvI’ nep vo’ moj yor galactic ghoch Hov trek wa’. Human nuqneH maH juH Dachegh yuQmey Hem nugh, qatlh qach SuvwI’ tlhIngan SIQpu’bogh. pagh wej maHvaD nIS, tIgh, conform pIH pagh nIS comfort ma’. wo’ ngeD wej nov HochHom ‘ach wej jegh laH SuyItHa’ moj maHvaD motlhjaj ghu’vam Huj lurDech je mIw vaj tlhIngan tIq.

Ha’, ‘ach not naQ lutDaj, ghogh Huv

“Klingons don’t embrace other cultures, we conquer them.”
-General Martok Deep Space

Nineincessant malja’ mu’ “please” ‘ej “thank you'” wej chergh SuvwI’ law’ wej qaSpu’bogh nIv’e’, chaH qaStaHvIS tlhIngan Hol. jatlh tlhIngan, manajtaHvIS qaStaHvIS HoS jachpu’DI’, confident ghogh. latlh vuv ‘ach wej qI’ weakness pagh cha’ pagh decisions ‘oH defer. laH Dev vIq tIch botlhDaq pa”e’ surely wej taH SoH. wej DanoHmeH tlhInganpu’ nov vaj qaSmoHlu’ chaHvaD waH vuDmey’e’ HoS. reH yIQam ‘ach not naQ lutDaj, poStaHvIS petaQ mIn contact leH, wuv yInlIj ‘oH.

tlhIngan qub jablu’DI’ yIn

Ha’ Hutlh sustenance wutlh yoHbogh outside of tlhIngan wo’ qo’ pIj qaq Heghpu’ flesh, lo’ law’ qaStaHvIS DIvI’ replicated, Sop. Soj vaj alive HeghDI’ QIchlIj Hot ‘oH until Ho’Du’ jej yIHoH.

‘op potlhmeyDaq nay’ qaSnISbej ‘e’ nID SoH HeghDI’ jIghIQ:

  • GaghtlhIngan Soj, ghargh Durgh le vIraknIl ghargh je.
  • RaktijinotlhIngan qa’vIn HoS law’ Human ‘ejDo’ nIn HoS.
  • Blood Wine (‘Iw HIq) – rogh targh (a Klingon hog) ‘Iw HoS law’ raktijino HoS.
  • Rachtnagh gagh ‘ach Huch law’ weghbogh ghargh.

roD ‘ach mach wIv, naQ leng ghung slop rep SoH offers ‘ach vaj roD, pagh burgh SoH qub, nuq tlhIngan Soj jach SoH juHqo’.

qeq ‘e’ tlhop

qaSchoH latlh HochHom cultures infinitely pagh tun law’ tun tlhIngan culture, HochHom vIrurqu’law’ ‘ut ‘emvo’ wo’ Qu’ bImejnIS. wej yIt streets Qo’noS Hutlh qaSlaH d’k tahg – a warriors knife. wa’ qeng proudly wej neH wIqelDI’, maHeDnIS tlhIngan nugh tob ‘ach chaq SoH pol vo’ qaDta’bogh pong latlhpu’ qogh. naH jajmeymaj HochHom tlhInganpu’ ghob chaH ‘emvo’ ngoq batlh ‘ej QuQ roj poQ vaj nI’ law’ leH batlh ‘e’ SuvwI’.

Finally, it’s important you learn some of the local language before heading anywhere in the Klingon Empire. Pick up a Klingon dictionary, Rosetta Stone for Klingon, and use Bing’s Klingon translator for this page (though Kronos gets converted into “Denmark“), which you can use to decipher this post. Qa’plah!

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