Thursday, 16 February 2012

Data Abroad? Why Do I Need a Satellite Phone?

Data is expensive when you use your phone abroad. I usually disable my email before I leave and just use instant messaging to stay in touch. Personal satellite communication has become more affordable. For $1 per minute you can connect your iPhone to the Iridium satellite communication network and get data to your phone.

You can also buy a phone, antenna and a data package from several satellite providers, which you
can use to make phone calls, e-mail and video conferences with anyone from anywhere.

Can You Hear Me Now?

Coverage is the main concern for terrestrial service providers who use land-based, line-of-sight transmitters. The coverage depends on the number of transmitters your phone can connect with. A Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) beams data to and from satellites instead of using a network of land-based transmitters so you can connect to the Internet (and send data) from anywhere in the world.

What Does An International Plan Cover?

International plans are contracts between two terrestrial phone networks and your coverage abroad depends on the infrastructure provided in the host nation. Check the national coverage of the international company that is partnering with your service provider before you go abroad. 

You must also check that your phone can be used abroad because different regions use different frequencies.

How Does Satellite Work?

It works like terrestrial television used to with an
antenna that you need to move around to get the best signal. But unlike terrestrial television, you can attach an antenna to your car so you can connect to the Internet while moving.

When Do I Need a Satellite Phone?

If you're exploring a country or living in a rural area, a satellite phone will help you feel safe and stay in touch with colleagues, friends and family.

And, if you are living in a war zone or a politically unstable country a satellite phone will help you connect to emergency services, your government and the people at home if the national communication network is disabled.

You should also check that the country that you are travelling in allows satellite phones. You need permission in India and they are banned in North Korea and Burma.

Monday, 6 February 2012

February #globalhub: Sports

Giants 21 - Patriots 17
Go Giants! Yesterday was the 46th Super Bowl. My team won in the last few minutes. Exciting and well worth the baseball cap I purchased to show my support.

The Giants were the first NFL team I saw live. 

This month’s globalhub conversation is about sports. What sports you like from your home country and the sports that you follow where you live. Join in the conversation and share your favourite sports teams, players, and why you chose them. 

How Can I Connect With Nature Abroad?

Our modern lives mean that we spend more time inside. Cities make our lives about inside spaces - apartments, roads, subways, cars, restaurants and bars. We connect with technology and spend time inside at our computers. But we have forgotten that being outside nourishes us.

Getting a nature fix in the city
Nature deficit disorder has become more main stream and has been linked to diseases like ADD in children. When you move abroad try to make sure that you and your family get enough time outside.

- Don't be afraid to experience nature when you are living abroad. Do some research into the local environment and know what you need to be concerned about.
- Research the location of the local parks and pick accommodation near one.
- Volunteer at a park.
- Think about the night sky too. It doesn't have to be a sense of wonder for plants, it can be for stars.
- Indoor herb gardens provide fresh herbs for cooking and help children connect food and nature.
- Pick a home or apartment with lots of light, good for you but also good for your pets too. 
- Encourage green living and green spaces in cities.
- Find out if there are hidden spaces and rooftop gardens in the city that you can go to; some private gardens have opening hours.
- Arrange to pick your own fruit at a local farm.
- Go fishing and cook the fish you catch.
- Grow plants in your home and teach your kids to nurture by giving them their own plants.
- Sponsor an animal in its natural habitat. Discover the endangered species in your host country.

    Thursday, 2 February 2012

    The Day of the Marmot!

    In America's only (as far as we know) rodent-oriented holiday, every Feb. 2 people wake up early for some weather divination from the animal kingdom. If a certain groundhog sees his shadow and retreats, it means six more weeks of winter.

    Frozen in time!
    This year, groundhog opinion was divided. Punxsutawney Phil was predicting more cold, but Staten Island Chuck expected an early spring.

    But if you ask across the world what people think the holiday is about, they're more likely to tell you it's about a life quest, a struggle in a repetitive eternity on existential day of reflection or even a time loop.

    For many years the rest of the world was oblivious to what is even a parochial event in the U.S. But in 1993 pop culture changed all that. When "Groundhog Day" with Bill Murray hit theaters it was an instant success domestically. The romantic comedy about a misanthropic man living the same day over and over took in about $70 million at the box office and ended up the No. 3 movie of the year.

    Internationally is also struck a chord with moviegoers, being either dubbed or subtitled into more than a dozen languages over the next couple of years.

    And soon the movie became bigger than the holiday it celebrated.

    In London, when people talked about Groundhog Day they meant a day that just repeated.

    That's borne out in some of the direct translations of the movie's title.
    In France, it's "Un Jour Sans Fin," or "A Day Without End." In Italy it's "Ricomincio da Capo" or "Starting from the Top."

    In Japan, they went with "Koi Wa Deja Bu," translated as "Love is Déjà vu."
    And in Greece they were more literal with "I Mera Tis Marmotas," which is "The Day of the Marmot."

    Pop culture opportunities like these should be embraced by ex-pats. While discussing this, an American could hear about the French philosophers' thought on a day without end. And then explain why groundhogs make the best weathermen.

    Happy Groundhog Day!