Blog - foXnoMad

New Balance Made A Waist Pack For Runners That Actually Carries Your Stuff

Finding a waist pack that’s comfortable while running is one thing but most are ultra slim, making it hard to pack in a modern smartphone with anything else. The New Balance Performance Waist Pack… uh, balances both concerns surprisingly well as you can see in the video review above.

For those of you looking for a waist pack that can comfortably hold a wallet, keys, and large smartphone, with pockets to separate them to avoid scratching, take a close look at the Performance Waist Pack.

Best Way To Get A Taxi In Istanbul, Turkey

Finding a taxi in Istanbul, Turkey, isn’t difficult but just hailing any cab off the street is a risky move if you don’t want to get ripped off. Istanbul taxi drivers don’t have the best reputation and since Uber is virtually non-existent in the city, here’s how to make sure you get where you need to go without overpaying.

Use The Right App For The City

Free for Android and iOS, BiTaksi works similar to ride sharing apps you may be familiar with but is exclusive to registered taxis. You’ll want to set up BiTaksi before arriving in Turkey because the app requires a phone number for verification. (Probably easier to deal with in your home country.) After setup, you can then use BiTaksi to call a cab in Istanbul or Ankara, like you would using Lyft or Uber. You can see you driver’s rating and license plate to make sure you hop in the right car.

Once you call a cab, you’ll be shown a few different route options through BiTaksi, so you can watch to make sure your driver is taking the right route. You can also, through the app, specify the route you want the driver to take. Additionally, BiTaksi let’s you send your ride information to a friend or family, so they can watch your progress and know when you’ve arrived safely at a destination.

You can see the entire setup of BiTaksi in the video above and if you happen to be headed to Serbia, here’s the best way to order a cab in Belgrade.

Jabra’s Elite 45h May Be The Smartest Headphones Under $100

Jabra’s Elite 45h aren’t the best on the market – there are much more impressive and expensive headphones – but rather than water down premium features, the 45h have come up with their own. At less than $100, Jabra’s 45h are carving out a niche in the mid-tier headphone space for anyone shopping in this price range.

You can watch the full review in the video above or read on.

On The Surface

The Jabra Elite 45h come with a USB charging cable and carry case, neatly fitting inside since the ear cups can be turned 90 degrees. (Though oddly to only one side; when worn the ear cups face away from your body. Still, and improvement over the Jabra Move.) Those ear cups are comfortable, resting on your ears but softened with memory foam. In my use I was able to wear the 45h for about an hour before needing to readjust, though your use may vary if you’re already accustomed to on-ear headphones.

The ear cups provide “passive noise cancellation” which is essentially very good noise isolation (not to be compared to active-noise cancellation). The speakers in the Elite 45h are 40mm, largest in this class and the battery life is a very impressive 50 hours. A quick charge of 15 minutes will give you 10 hours of use; otherwise a full charge requires 90 minutes.

Jabra’s Clever Features

Out of the box, the Elite 45h have slightly above average sound quality, leaning toward being a bit bass heavy. They’re solid for this price but the real magic happens when you run MySound. Buried in Jabra’s Sound+ app, also very feature rich with a manual equalizer and custom sound presets, MySound is takes customization to a new level. Bringing in Jabra’s experience with microphones and hearing aides, MySound runs a series of hearing tests to turn the 45h’s sound to your ears.

jabra elite 45h

It works by entering your gender, age, and then plays a series of tones to your left and right ear. When you hear a tone, you tap the screen. The entire test takes about 2 minutes and once it’s over, the change in what you hear is dramatic. Music sounds louder (it’s not) and richer. You can make out more nuance from what you’re hearing, it’s like having a different pair of headphones.

On Ear At This Price

The Elite 45h aren’t perfect, for example the microphones often produce some mild feedback during phone calls, but they excel in new ways with features not seen thus far on sub-$100 headphones. New to the headphone space Jabra keeps innovating and the Elite 45h are a big step forward.

What It’s Like To Travel Through Istanbul Airport Right Now

Traveling is well, weird right now. Sputtering amid a pandemic major international hub Istanbul is open and Turkish Airlines has resumed flights (still no refunds) meaning a larger portion of air traffic is flowing through the world’s largest airport these days. Having recently made such a journey, here’s what you can expect if you’re flying through Istanbul Airport.

Packing

For those of you flying out of Istanbul Airport be aware there are new packing restrictions mainly around carry-on luggage. The weight is restricted to 4 kilograms (8.8lbs) for carry-on luggage; so for those of you who travel with electronics, camera gear, or other heavy equipment, it will have to packed into your checked luggage. Carry-on bags weren’t routinely weighed so you may be able to get away with a heavier backpack but there are no guarantees.

Getting There

For starters, you’ll need to wear a mask during your entire time in the airport. All the airlines operating out of Istanbul Airport recommend arriving 3 hours before international and domestic flights. You’ll notice long lines at check in starting 4 hours before most flights and keep in mind there’s security to get into Istanbul Airport. The domestic terminal was operating at what seemed like normal capacity but there was clearly less activity in international departures.

istanbul airport gate

Passport Control And Security

Going through passport control hasn’t changed due to COVID-19, there was already a plastic barrier between passengers and customs officials. Once past there the security lines enforce (to vary degrees) social distance in the line but take one person through every 10-15 seconds. Tray tables are individually cleaned by staff after each use – nice touch – and overall the process carefully considers sanitary concerns.

In Istanbul Airport

Once you’re past security you’ve got a few options. Since the gates aren’t all full, you can find a quiet place to sit with a bit of searching. Oh, there’s no free wifi but WiFox can help you get online. Every other seat has a sign on it to enforce social distancing and the lounges are open as an alternative. No matter where you sit though, keep your mask on and wear it properly. Staff zip around on Segways to enforce the rules.

bathroom occupancy

Some of the shops and cafes are open, though I wouldn’t hang around them too long as they tend to get crowded.

On The Airplane

Once you’re in the air your flight may be empty or full, depending on sales not enforced distancing. I’ve seen it both ways but in either case you’ll need to wear your mask for the entire flight. Turkish Airlines will supply extras in hygiene kits along with hand sanitizer and wipes.

One thing that is different, is how often the bathrooms are cleaned. Flight attendants were sanitizing the bathrooms and doors, leaving them spotless at least once an hour. Unfortunately, on the flip side, the food was limited to lunch boxes without any beverage service. I’d recommend bringing your own snacks from the airport unless you want to be stuck with stale sandwiches and juice.

Should You Fly Right Now?

Upon arrival, procedures will vary based on the destination. In some ways flying now is more comfortable, with extra sanitation measures reminding you how dirty planes have been in general. Still though given the added hassle, potential for canceled flights, and ever-changing pandemic situation unless you really have to fly somewhere, it’s best to wait for less turbulent times.

The Science Of Star Trek Aliens: Interview With Professor Mohamed Noor

This post is part of Geek Takeover Week 2020.

Professor Mohamed Noor bridges the best of both worlds in science and fiction – a resume that includes being the Dean of Natural Sciences at Duke University as well as a science consultant for Star Trek. In a Geek Takeover Week special episode of the foXnoMad Podcast, I spoke with Dr. Noor about aliens both real and imagined.

We talk about what Star Trek has gotten right as well as very, very wrong while clearing up a number of misconceptions about evolution, genetics, and DNA.

Those of you who travel to seek out new life and new civilizations will have a lot of fun listening to this episode. For a peek at Dr. Noor’s class at Duke, pick up a copy of his book Live Long and Evolve. You can also find him on YouTube at BioTrekkie Explains!

6 Science And Sci-Fi Podcasts For Travel

6 Science And Sci-Fi Podcasts For Travel

This post is part of Geek Takeover Week 2020.

Podcasts are an ideal medium to deep dive into a topic and with so many these days (there’s even a foXnoMad Podcast ; ) you can find one for any nerdy subject. Whether you’re into sci-fi, television, or science these are podcasts sure to entertain you on your next trip.

1. The Delta Flyers

Star Trek Voyager fans will enjoy (still, probably) Ensign Harry Kim actor Garrett Wang and Tom Paris (Robert Duncan McNeill) going through each episode of the series one by one. The Delta Flyers has improved a lot over its first 10 episodes and the behind the scenes stories will amuse any Trek fan. McNeill’s directing insights are also interesting, particularly for anyone interested in cinematography.

2. The 7th Rule

Sticking with a Star Trek theme, The 7th Rule is a Deep Space Nine series re-watch. Originally started by Aron Eisenberg (Nog), Cirroc Lofton (Jake Sisko), and hosted by Ryan T. Husk, the podcast has continued and evolved into a tribute of Eisenberg’s life since he passed away in 2019. Lofton and Husk are still going through DS9 episodes weekly, often with guests, plus put on the first ever Virtual Trek Con last month. The 7th Rule also has active weekly live sessions on YouTube open to everyone.

3. StarTalk Radio

Hosted by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and one of several comedian co-hosts, they cover all things science. StarTalk Radio also features guests like Captain Kirk – I mean William Shatner – but the most fun segments are the Q&A cosmic queries.

4. The Vergecast

A great podcast to catch up on the week’s top tech news, The Vergecast breaks it down for technology enthusiasts as well as most casual listeners as well.

5. Talking Sopranos

Having a blend of actors, directors, and writers on the show all about the show Sopranos makes listening to each episode about an episode fascinating. Honestly, Talking Sopranos sounds like it would be a dull concept but it’s very entertaining and has only improved with time.

6. Battlestar Galacticast

Bru, if you love science fiction but haven’t seen Battlestar Galactica, get on that now. Actor Tricia Helfer and TV writer/journalist Marc Bernardin breakdown each episode in order – but warning – it’s best to watch the series first. Battlestar Galacticast is not a spoiler-free zone and trust me, BSG is one you don’t want preemptively ruined.

Honorable Mention: Alone Together

DS9 fans desperate for new material, well Doctor Bashir, Garak, and a few others from the show are putting out a video series of fan fiction. Yes, Alexander Siddig and Andrew Robinson reprise their roles in Alone Together – it’s all on YouTube but acts more as listening material. Perfect for a road trip to the Gamma Quadrant or visit to the Fire Caves on Bajor.

There’s a lot of content here for any trip long or short, to varying degrees of nerdiness. What are some of your favorite podcasts to load up before you hit the road, take to the subway, or head to the airport?

About Anil Polat

foxnomad aboutHi, I'm Anil. foXnoMad is where I combine travel and tech to help you travel smarter. I'm on a journey to every country in the world and you're invited to join the adventure! Read More

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