I haven’t posted in a while. I’ve been struggling with a few challenges that have kept me off the road. Then I realized that it was all part of the digital nomad experience and that I should fill you folks in. So here is today’s challenge.
A few months ago I sat down with a sales consultant for T-Mobile. I told him that I would be doing a lot of travel and that 24/7 access to my network and client sites was critical. I let him know that mostly I would be in Denmark, Norway and Sweden. He set me up with a plan that would handle that. Then I said that I wanted the absolute best cell phone and tablet for the job. Something like $1700 later I had a Samsung Galaxy Note9 and Galaxy Tab S4 and was ready to roll.
I tested the coverage and hotspot feature while traveling around the US. Everything looked good. I have spent months getting all of my multi-factor authentication clients set up and working. I now have a ticket for my next flight to Copenhagen in hand.
Guess what I found out today during a last minute ‘confirm everything’ checkup? My phone and tablet will not work in any of the countries that I am traveling to this year. But don’t worry, T-Mobile is willing to sell me another phone and tablet that will work and add them to my account. Are you freaking kidding me? Sure, I’d love to give them more money since they’ve been so good to me up until now.
I purchased a new router last year and left it at a friends apartment outside of Copenhagen. I will have that available while working. So that is covered. I do still need a phone for the trip since my transportation application for bus and train rides will need to be on it. Guess I’m buying a prepaid when I arrive. Can’t let something like this stop me now.
Anybody have a suggestion for a short-term phone carrier in that region? T-Mobile said that I can’t replace my sim card and get coverage. I need a new device. How awesome is that?
Have you seen the new refrigerators out now? Some sport a 21-inch touchscreen and most are now connected to the internet. I’ve seen them going for $2,000 to over $8,000. Here’s some of what Samsung says about this new $2200 fridge.
Enhanced by a 21.5-inch LCD touchscreen which serves as the refrigerator’s digital command center, and seamlessly connects to your smartphone, the Family Hub™ is a significant advancement in home appliance functionality and design. Whether sharing family calendars, photos and notes; viewing the inside of the fridge with your smartphone while grocery shopping; or accessing your favorite music or television content, Family Hub™ enriches family life in practical and empowering ways.
I’ve even seen that some of the new refrigerators can order your food if you are running out of something. Great. Way to enable me to keep eating that moose tracks ice cream I’ve been promising to give up. Next, it’ll probably order that cute dishwasher I know it’s been checking out.
The question I have is this. Do we really need a refrigerator to be our network server and home entertainment system? That’s an expensive piece of equipment that should have one simple job.
Here’s a suggestion. How about having it do something actually useful? If it absolutely needs to be cruising the internet all day, then have it send me a notification when something in the fridge has been put on recall. Like if metal shavings have been found in the sausage I buy. I would find that more helpful than giving me…weather alerts. Really? Just my thought for the day.
There was a bit of good news this week. As some of you know, I wrote for information on those houses in Italy that a town is selling for one euro. You have three years to have it restored. You also have to pay a deposit of 5,000 euros to the town. They hold it until you get your new home all fixed up. Then you will get that back.
This week I received a response from the mayor of Sambuca along with a link to a web site that listed the properties that are available. That was pretty awesome. However, there were a couple of gotchas. First up, most of the links on the page would not open for me. I would receive DNS errors. I tried pointing at Google’s DNS servers but still continued to get the error. This was finally resolved by firing up TunnelBear and using a VPN connection to Italy.
The next challenge is that the information provided on the site is pretty thin. Some of the ‘property descriptions’ appear to literally be pencil drawings on the back of a napkin. And not ‘oh wow, you sure have talent’ drawings either. The other listings simply have one very unhelpful photo that tells you next to nothing. This will not deter me. I have already begun looking for a flight over and a place to stay in town. I can get a flight from Chicago to Rome and then it’s a short hop over to Palermo. After that it’s about a one hour drive to Sambuca. That sure sounds like an awesome adventure to me. I’ll be sure to write all about that adventure here and over on my main site.
Below is a copy of the email that I received from the mayor. Just in case you want to check it out for yourself. Right now I guess that I had better get back to work on my Italian language course!
Thank you for showing interest in the "1 euro case" project promoted by the Municipality of Sambuca di Sicilia.
Our town was founded by the emir Al-Zabut around the year 830 AD. and today's urban planning still preserves the original layout. It has a population of 5,800 inhabitants and is located in the province of Agrigento. In 2016 we received the title of "the most beautiful village in Italy". Our town has an important territorial position, just a few kilometers from the sea and from the archaeological parks of Agrigento and Selinunte. We are located around 90 km from the airports of Palermo and Trapani.
Approximately the middle of February 2019, "case 1 euro" project will publish a public announcement on the Municipality of Sambuca di Sicilia's website www.comune.sambucadisicilia.ag.it
The buildings owned by the municipality can be viewed on the following link:
and will be sold to those who offer a sum starting from 1 euro. The property will be awarded to the largest offer. The bidder at the time of the award must pay a deposit of 5,000 euros which will be returned on condition that the property is restored within 3 years from the award.
Our "mission", as well as that of restoring the historic houses of Sambuca, is to attain economic development that make people the protagonists, enhances our culture and encourages the repopulation of our town. We provide the beauty of the place, the delicious food and the unique flavours of our wines, as well as the proximity to the sea and the Sicilian sun.
Recently the real estate and private agricultural land markets are developing in parallel.
We recommend a visit to our village to view the properties and admire the beauty of our territory.
Getting our hotel room in Crystal River ready for work
With the polar vortex bringing extreme cold and a foot of snow to Grand Rapids, it’s time to put on the flannels and stoke the fire. Oh wait, the whole digital nomad thing is a thing for a reason. I’m out.
Greetings from Crystal River, Florida. My oldest and I drove on down over the week end. I’ll work from the hotel and he’s off to visit with his grandparents. Above is just a small sampling of the tech at our disposal this week. I’ll do a full write-up and maybe a video on our load-out this week over on my site. As usual the hotel internet sucks so luckily, I have multiple devices with 4G set up as hotspots. T-Mobile has it nailed at this location. I’m good.
Hello again everybody. Well things are already going pretty much as I said they would. Number one on my ‘will learn more about’ list this year was Linux. I installed Linux and got right to work. I even started an online class through Edx..
While exploring the packages that came installed on my Ubuntu Linux, I found PHP. I’ve used that a bit in the past. So, I immediately installed a good text editor in case I wanted to do some PHP work. At that point I came across a video about how WordPress sites use a lot of PHP for customization. Long story short, at the end of the day I didn’t know any more about Linux, but I did register a new domain and created a WordPress website.
In my defense, I was left unsupervised. Here’s a link to my site. I will most likely not get back to finishing it for a while as I will be completely dedicated to learning Linux. No, really.
Every year I like to set some goals for myself. This gets me to focus just a little bit. Generally, I dart from project to project. Often leaving most of them unfinished. I find nearly everything interesting and go off on tangents. I have two sets of goals. I try to set five in each category. One list is of things to learn about. One for things to do. Today I bring you my list of things I plan to learn more about in 2019.
Linux – I used Linux quite a bit when it first hit the scene. It was new and interesting. At some point in the later 90’s I dropped it completely. In the past few years I’ve mostly used it for projects on my Raspberry Pi devices. I see more and more places where Linux is now being used including the devices that I support for my job. Time for a deep dive.
Python – I haven’t worked as a programmer in years. I have done some programming on the side for small projects using everything from Visual Basic to Ruby. However, most of my experience is in the form of COBOL and Assembler. On punched cards even. Time for something serious and I just don’t like Java. I have settled on Python.
Italian – I am a world traveler and would love to end up in Italy after all. Still fingers crossed on a house in Sicily. I do believe that even in the age of translation software all of us should know at least two languages. It shows a certain amount of respect for the culture you are visiting. I don’t know almost anybody personally that can speak more than one language. Then I go to Denmark and find many that speak at least three. We have some catching up to do here.
Filmmaking – I feel that everybody has at least one good story in them. I believe that I have a few rolling around. I don’t think a book is the way for me to express them. I plan to work hard on learning all I can about film, sound and everything else related to documentary type films. I did just finish the Ken Burns Masterclass!
Music production – I love music. I always have. However, I really don’t care for almost anything here in America. Sure, I love the new Shinedown, Halestorm and Disturbed albums. But not much else. For the last year I’ve searched every corner of the world listening to music. I even installed a VPN just to listen to stuff not ‘available in my region’. Take that region lock. Right now, it’s mostly Japan, Taiwan, Italy and the Scandinavian countries that I’m listening to. The last 6 months has been a constant search through dozens of genres that mostly end with the word step. But I still just can’t find exactly what I want. Time to learn how to make it my own damn self.
Now even with these stated goals I can tell you that I will frequently wander down other paths. But I will do my best to see these five topics covered in depth and report on my progress occasionally. Just to keep myself honest.
What about you folks? What are you planning to learn this year and why?
In keeping with the theme of my last post I present to you a little less exotic location to settle down for a while. Tulsa, Oklahoma has launched its own program to lure in the digital nomad or simply folks looking for a change of scenery.
If you meet the requirements, they will compensate you with some nice benefits. First up is $10,000 paid out over the first year. You get space at the 36 Degrees North coworking location. You also get a housing stipend for the first year. I didn’t see anything about how much that was.
Here are the requirements as listed on their site: You can move to Tulsa within 6 months. You have full-time remote employment or are self-employed outside of Tulsa county. You are 18+ years old. You are eligible to work in the United States.
This all actually sounds pretty good to me. I may even see if I can head down to Tulsa for a week or two and check it all out. I’ll let you all know what I learn and what I think about this interesting offer. But I am still shooting for Italy. No word back on that just yet.