Browsing Digital Nomadism

My First External Office Since 2006!

January6

Today is my first day working in an external office since 2005/2006 when I had my own little office in the Dublin Enterprise Center in Dublin Ireland.

I rented an empty storefront near where we live. It is about 60m2, so a bit big, but that means I can keep my bike here and plenty of room to work on it in the dark back. Because of Covid, I wanted something that wasn’t in a shared hallway and this makes it really easy to get my back in and out. Plus I don’t have to worry about noise and I can setup my bike on a bike trainer to do some indoor rides here.

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My digital nomad review of Project FI.

July7

As a digital nomad, the first thing I would do when I got off the plane was to find a SIM card so I could get my phone working, and my little 3g/4g modem as well (the modem was harder as you had to be able to find specific tech settings for the gateway etc). This was always a bit of a pain, especially with language differences. That is why I was really excited about trying Project FI as it is a Google-driven cell phone plan that promises your SIM works around the world the minute you land and with a low rate on data of $10 dollars per 1GB (plus if you are over a certain amount it freezes).

Why is this awesome?

I can land somewhere and not have to worry about it knowing that my iPhone works fine with fast 4G. And, for free Google will give you a data SIM for your modem that will also work. So it is super easy to get my laptop connected even if the place I am staying has internet problems.

I have been very happy with the results. I did a trip to Spain/Portugal with my wife and our phones worked flawlessly as we drove through both locations. We even got a quick stomach bug, and with internet broken at our AirBNB, I watched about 8 hours of Amazon Prime while in bed and it worked fantastically. Back home in Colorado, the service has been great too. Usually, we have problems in our house with our old AT&T plan and a bad signal, but no problems so far and wifi calling works great inside our house.

I REALLY hope to see them drive down the cost per GB soon, as that price per GB has been stuck for some time. Oh, and their iPhone support doesn’t allow you to pair with your laptop, but I just grabbed a cheapish 4G modem and their free data SIM as that is faster anyway. Otherwise, I am very happy with the service :)

If you decide to sign up for Project FI please use this link as I get a little off my monthly bill if you sign up :).

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Freiburg Germany, Trails, Mountain Biking, and Culture Shock

September5

I spent August in Freiburg Germany exploring the Black Forest. Some pictures below:

German Trail System…
The German trail system is the most amazing I’ve ever seen! I biked over 120 miles and ran 100+ miles and I barely touched what was available. Beautiful dirt/gravel trails with off shoots everywhere for smaller harder climbs. I really hope more cities in the USA start expanding their trail networks through nearby national parks, rail lines, and canals. The closest thing I’ve seen in the USA is the DC canal path that goes up to Maryland. IMO, the most important part is that the trails are away from cars, you get so relaxed and meditative when running in the quiet of the forest.

Mountain Biking…
I really enjoyed Mountain Biking and it was a nice switch up as you can only run so many days before you need a break. Freiburg has some steep climbs though, sometimes I would be climbing thousands of feet for an hour or more. It sucks when you look at the odometer and realize you can run faster than you are going up the hill. Of course when you are going 30mph down the other side you realize you can’t run 30mph… Near the end I figured out it was a lot more fun to find small difficult tracks and go up those for a 30 min climb and then back down as fast as possible without injuring myself too badly. I’m looking forward to doing a lot more moutain biking back home and hopefully coming back to Freiburg since I docked my bike there for a year.

I didn’t get in as many rides as I wanted, but I forgot how sore your ass gets from a bike seat when you haven’t ridden one in over a year :).

Culture Shock…
Funny enough Germany was the first place in many many years I exp some culture shock. How? In Freiburg no stores are open on Sunday, and they close really early during the week. Quite a few times I was left eating almonds for dinner because I didn’t plan out groceries and nothing was open. And since I do a lot of phone calls in American hours it usually was too late by the time I finished to grab something. The only thing open in the entire town was a Turkish pizza place (luckily really really good just not very healthy)… Every other place I’ve visited in the last 5+ years has grocery stores or at least corner stores where I can buy some eggs and bread near 24/7. Or at least a sandwich. Germany/Freiburg is definitely more protective of their workforce but also somewhat annoying to an American not used to planning out his grocery shopping times…

I also spent an absurd amount of time trying to find Clean & Clear face wash with these little micro beads, I have developed a serious addiction to the stuff and its about the only thing I require when traveling… Germany doesn’t seem to have it available and I’m guessing it is illegal due to the micro beds (they stupidly make them with plastic instead of sand which is causing problems in lakes with fish)? Regardless it was quite weird given that I’ve been able to buy them in Peru, Panama, Argentina, Chile, Hong Kong, Australia, South Africa, Romania, etc etc.

All these things might sound ridiculous but when you are someplace new its a bit of a weird feeling when something so routine is so different. Plus, IMO Germany is one of the few places that has defended itself against the rise of the new “global culture”. Places like Croatia, Australia, and South America have such a strong immigrant population or tourist focus or global business outlook that large swaths of society have tapped into the new global culture. And when traveling to those places it is much easier to feel at home if you don’t deep dive under that layer. Freiburg is a smaller town and feels a lot more “German” than Berlin or Frankfurt or Munich too.

I Love AngelList: A Story Of Why It’s Awesome

July15

About 8 months ago I was browsing AngelList looking for startups that were trying to solve interesting problems. And I came across one called CodeAnywhere that was working to create a online code editor and even better they were doing a freemium/premium business model which made it accessible to the world. This meshes perfectly with our goal of making it easier to build online. I left this comment and then contacted them through AngelList:

Screen Shot 2013-07-15 at 3.44.43 PM

And now 8 months later I’m happy to announce that one of our companies did a big investment in CodeAnywhere to help them do even more. News on TechCrunch (and TNW).

I love solving problems and that is the entire purpose of startups, find a problem and solve it! The process is challenging, difficult, sometimes frustrating, and usually attracts people who have an interesting temperament. AngelList is like the google of the startup eco-system and I love it!

And I’ve spent the last 3 weeks in Split and they certainly choose a great place to start a global startup :)

IMG_2713

PS, anyone interested in the Croatian startup scene should come next year to the Shift Conference here in Split, it won’t disappoint!

Bali Trip In February!

March2

I’ve always wanted to go to Bali and I found an awesome house on AirBNB. I love the style of Bali/Thai houses where the walls open up on all sides. I stayed in Ubud the entire time.

It was a really nice vacation, and much needed after a trip to Vegas for a management meetup and all the jet lag that induces. I spent half my time catching up on big picture work projects and the other half reading. I made it about half way through the Wheel of Time series as I wait for the last one to make its way to ebook… If you haven’t read the wot series yet please do!

The best 3 parts of this trip?

#1 – The house included someone making breakfast each morning which was awesome. Nyomen was very nice and cooked a massive breakfast each morning with black rice pudding (delicious), local fruit salad, yogurt, and delicious bread from the local bakery. I had at least 4 fruits I’ve never had before, drank my way through 12+ coconuts, and one bottle of homemade rice wine (the pink drink). And delicious coffee each morning that was grown only a few miles away (pic below).

#2 – The quiet. Living in downtime Melbourne I forgot how nice it is to open your window and there is just silience and bug noises (like Arkansas). Plus at night the terrifying screams from the lizards sitting on the roof ease you into slumber (amazingly loud). It’s been a long time since I slept so soundly and woke up with the sun.

#3 – Rice hike. I went for a few hour hike with Nyomen all over the area which was fun. Bali is beautiful, especially when you stay out of the typical south-asian touristy towns.

Busy Last 3 Months!

February27

Last 3 months basically, or however google breaks them up into periods. Been really busy but good! Especially considering there were at least 5 weeks of traveling in there too.

1,455 Emails Sent
11,856 Emails Received

1,162 Emails Sent
12,367 Emails Received

1,270 Emails Sent
13,055 Emails Received

51 meetings on my calendar.
71 meetings.
77 meetings.

Me and Nick @ The Hub BBQ In Melbourne

August18

3G Modem + Digicel Panama + OSX Lion

December25

I grabbed a $40 3g Huawei E173 modem from Digicel here in Panama and I’ve been super impresed with the service. It’s fast and really nice to be able to go anywhere and have internet. I decided to unlock the 3g modem so that I could use the same one on other providers as I travel through Argentina, Peru, Brazil, Australia, and so on.

I haven’t unlocked it yet, I’ll post as I finish that project. But I knew that would wipe out the profile so I had to dig up the APN and other settings for Digicel Panama. Below are the settings to use for your 3g huawei modem to connect to Digicel Panama:

In OSX Lion for the number put “*99#”, and for the APN put “web.digicelpanama.com”. Screenshots below:

Thoughts From January 2010

January21

I feel this is going to be an interesting year. Vegas.

Dual Screen Netbook

December8

Kohjinsha’s-Dual-Screen-Netbook_2Check out this cool new netbook from Japan, it has two screens and it expands out! I’m going to try it out and see how well it works.

The Kohjinsha’s Dual Screen Netbook features two 10.1 inch, 1024 x 600 resolution displays, when used together give you a total resolution of 2048 x 600. The Kohjinsha’s Dual Screen Netbook is powered by a 1.6GHz AMD

Cheers For The Dublin Enterprise Center

October22

I’ve been meaning to make this post for a while, I just wanted to say thanks to the Guinness Enterprise Center in Dublin Ireland. I was working remotely in Ireland a long time ago and they helped me get a small office, setup high speed internet for VOIP, and a lot more! They were absolutely fantastic and in particular I wanted to thank Dolores Dempsey for her help.

This is a really great center that helps Irish people start companies and they do fantastic work!

Fuck Republicans… Health Care!

August17

Man I am so tired of hearing this bullshit, it sounds like Obama is being forced to drop the government health care plan and that fucking sucks. Health care is a right not something to make a profit off of. If there is any reason why our country is entering a decline and eventual demise it is because of the right wing’s ability to spread disinformation and not to enter any debate with facts. Who the hell wants to kill old people? Nobody, but if you can extend someone’s life by a week yet that procedure and similar are costing everyone in the country 40% than fuck old people, they can pay for that out of their pockets. I’m all for denying reality (friends will attest) but death is not something to be afraid of, and I’m tired of the right / christian right thinking you have to keep people alive no matter what. It is such a deeply ethical and personal question but as a society its going to come down to cost, insurance companies right now screw you so how the hell can the government do once. Not a glowing endorsement but I trust our government a lot more than private insurance companies who screw everyone I know over pricing and options.

As a small business owner whose team works remote it is ridiculous to think American can compete with the Aussies/NZ/UK/Rest of the world if we don’t provide health care to our citizens, espicially when our health care industry is 100% profit driven. I can hire quality people in Aussie and Europe and don’t have to worry about paying for their health care because it’s bundled into taxes. America still has the biggest pool of quality labor but that is going to change as salaries have to compensate for health care that is going through the roof. Eventually it will make more sense for us to higher a full time doctor than buy health care (half kidding).

On a personal level I see my dad screwed by the lack of affordable health care in that he can’t retire until he can get on a government plan at X age. And I personally have been at the hospital, asked how much something was by someone who does that procedure 20x times a day, and been told he has no idea as they outsource pricing. Crazy? Yes that is crazy. If you hook up someone to check their heart you should know what it costs for everyone. Instead some other agency checks your background and insurance and makes up some price.

Augmented Reality Part 2

June16

My earlier post went over some possibilities with Augmented Reality, now look what the Netherlands are doing with cell phones to take the first step in creating this new reality!

I Need iTunes For My Kindle Books

June11

I realized today as I tried to sort out my Kindle books that there is no software application to do this with. Amazon or someone needs to make this as it would be nice to have something that can sort and show me my digital books (as well as load them on my Kindle) and allow me to load my actual books so I can see my library.

It can’t be too hard to make something that does this for the Kindle, I know there is stuff out there to scan in my books and handle all that.

The Kindle Is Revolutionary – My Review

September7

Picture of Kindle I love to read and I feel the Kindle is one of the most amazing products of the last century. You have a device the size of one book that you can store your entire library on. And if that is not amazing enough you can buy books from anywhere in the world with an internet connection and save a few trees while you are doing so. Right now it costs $360 dollars but the books are all cheaper so you are slowly getting that money back as you buy books.

One of the hardest parts about being outside the United States is that books are incredibly expensive and Amazon.com is out of reach. The Kindle solves this problem as you can download books to an internet cafe computer and then transfer them to the Kindle. Plus my pack is that much lighter now that I only carry one book around. I had an ebook reader before this but the battery life was not great and the book selection wasn’t there. The amount of books Amazon has available for the Kindle is one of the most amazing parts and they have used their leverage to really push this format. Plus the books are cheaper as they are all digital. It makes sense as you are taking all the costs and risk out of the publishing system. If all book publishers had to do was to help find and develop good authors, or if all authors had to do was upload their book to Amazon and do marketing we are going to have some really amazing reading opportunities over the next decade.

I give the Kindle a 100% recommendation and I’ve already saved enough money on books to pay for the initial cost of the Kindle. There is a rumor a textbook version is coming which would be great for students!

This is bwb’s personal blog so he can share his thoughts with the world, however scary or silly they might be. Plus family and friends can track what I am up too, and where I am in the world.

I am pretty simple. I love Mangos. I love the ocean, although mostly at sunset as I’m a ginger. I love to travel, eat exotic food, read, and use my imagination. I love creating and developing ideas into businesses, understanding how all businesses work, and building cool stuff. I am a globalist and see the entire world as my responsibility and playground. And, I am married to an amazing woman who makes life even more fun :)! And, we are now the proud parents of Calico Jack :).


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