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Comment Re:You're doing it wrong... (Score 1) 137

GGGP here :-)

First of all I'm surprised nothing more fried, especially from whatever other appliances the locals surely have.
To prevent damage from a simple overload yes a replaceable fuse and some MOVs would be the ticket; the only thing is that MOVs can absorb only so much energy and they get damaged at every hit (possibly the very first one). I don't know if anybody makes a commercial light (for travel) surge protector with replaceable fuses (maybe even MOVs). Probably it would be a nice project to make one yourself, the parts are quite cheap (and you can chose precisely what you want); the only problem would be the enclosure itself (maybe you can re-purpose one of the larger travel socket adapters). What works well in your advantage is the low power you need (for laptop and such), many surge protectors are rated for a lot of amps so they need a beefy fuse so it doesn't trip when you use your hairdryer for example...

However, I still wouldn't want to increase the complexity of my setup with some protection box, something that doesn't add any other features beside protection. As you mention India you might have noticed in any populated place they have people repairing everything, from laptops to mobile phones - they are sometimes doing complicated soldering jobs literally by the side of the road. Also "universal" laptop power supplies are usually available and they do work fine usually unless you have a particularly fancy laptop (I wouldn't let them plugged at home for sure but in a pinch they're better than nothing).

As for the USBs that don't charge things that are supposed to be charged by USB - I haven't seen for many years things that really don't work at all (I'm referring to things like phones, tablets, etc - stuff that needs to charge, not hard drives, that's another story). The laptops/desktops got better and better and giving power over USB and the devices themselves got better at accepting well under 5V inputs without stopping charging completely. If you want some insurance on this side I'd recommend a USB power bank, not a big one (unless you really want a big one), even one with only one 18650 battery would do (be sure to read some tests, many "numbers" are pure marketing).

If you get a good power bank you can recharge it from anything and power any of your finicky devices. You can also use it for more things than just the obvious, for example you can use it to firewall your device from strange USB charging ports (in the airport/planes/etc) - be aware not all power banks support charging and discharging at the same time, you can use it to "get some juice" without having the phone tied to the wall, etc.

Of course I didn't mean to drop your original charger. In fact my setup is the following:

- man purse - phone, small (but 2+A) USB charger, short cable, small powerbank

- laptop bag - laptop, laptop PS, long USB cable

Comment You're doing it wrong... (Score 2) 137

Modern good laptop power supplies aren't that easy to kill; probably many mains appliances the locals use are more sensitive to troubles on the line (not only spike but also short drops), from fridges or air-condition units (anything that's compressor-based), washing machines, etc. Sure, PSes can die out of the blue, like mostly everything else but you might not be able to prevent this with a surge protector.

If it is critical to have the laptop available then you need to carry (at least) two power supplies AND TWO LAPTOPS! Frankly the power supply can be replaced almost everywhere for less than the cost of 2-4 beers from minibar, is just a 12-20V DC power supply (it can be also jury-rigged from basic parts - YES I know about the laptops with data pins, etc but still a basic supply will work). In fact it is more likely the laptop will die (not only from electrical problems!).

If you don't really need a backup laptop you can plan to use the phone for most of the communication, basic browsing, etc. You can have a memory stick with the important files, bitlocker encrypted if you want, even a fully encrypted bootable linux distribution if you so desire. Heck, you can borrow a machine if absolutely needed at Everest Base Camp, I'm sure you'll be fine anywhere else.

And why, WHY, WHY, WHY would you have in 2016 a phone "that requires the original power supply (can't be charged from a notebook USB port)" ?!?!?!?!!??! YES, we all knows somebody who still has a Nokia from 2008 with the round connector and a battery that goes for three weeks when new and even now from Monday to Friday without any sweat. But I haven't seen anybody on an intercontinental flight with something like that for a while. Even if I do see somebody I'll just assume it is a second phone, to use with a local SIM...

Comment How it actually works (Score 1) 94

First of all this assumes the VPN incoming and outgoing IP is the same. This would be expected if you're using your home router as your VPN as you have only one IP but I don't think it should be for larger commercial providers, especially if you're using them to "hide you".

Then it assumes the attacker can open ports on that IP (as a feature offered by the provider). If you connect to that IP:port you'll be doing it over your normal non-encrypted interface because of the way the routing table is configured on your machine.

This is easy to prevent and if you are using the VPN to "hide" you should already have such mechanisms in place (mostly to make sure you aren't leaking packets over your normal interface once your VPN and the network interface/route associated with it is down). One way is to personal-firewall-limit your "problem" apps (like browser or torrent client) to the VPN interface so they can never talk over your normal network. This can still leak via more advanced attacks (is flash spawned as separated process?) so probably the only safe way would be to block in your (external to VPN machine) firewall EVERYTHING except vpn_ip:port.

Comment Re:Prepaid phone SIM (Score 1) 275

They certainly are cracking down on prepaid phone SIMs, where the owner of the phone isn't identified. Apparently Belgium and Luxembourg were the only EU countries left which still had them

That is certainly false. A lot of "eastern block" countries still have them like Romania, Czech Republic, I think Bulgaria. If you think they aren't "EU enough" there's also the UK (and probably Ireland) - where you don't even have mandatory ID card.

And even with registration go on german ebay (Germany has mandatory registration since before 9/11!) and you can buy preregistered cards by 10-pack, 100, sometimes 500 and 1000.

Comment What about old Pocket extension?! (Score 1) 199

From what I gather I'm not in majority but for sure I'm not alone in actually WANTING Pocket and MORE, I want back the FUNCTIONALITY from that extension which is way beyond the stupid FF button. I still have it (thanks to some obscure thread on some other site) but it won't be updated and supported anymore.

Comment abuse from the people with 15GB space (Score 4, Informative) 330

They are citing abuse over 1TB but are cutting those having 15GB. Go figure...

Remember when Skydrive had 25GB free?

Half the space of Gdrive for the 1.99 plan ... that will go well.

Users will have up to a year to get under the new caps? Like how, once January 2016 comes you will only be able to delete stuff. Sure, they won't nuke your whopping 15GB of data but still you won't be able store/share/change anything once you are over the top...

Comment Cyanogen OS is NOT CyanogenMod !!! (Score 4, Informative) 87

Yes, very confusing I know.

Cyanogen OS is some kind of bastard commercial branch for OnePlus (and possibly for a few more phones).
The updates are a complete disaster, not only that you can't just get to OnePlus and easily see what to install and what's the latest version.

On the other hand the "normal" CyanogenMod you can get for your S5 or many other hundreds of phones is (usually) absolutely fine.

Comment Re:BBC / other state broadcasters? (Score 5, Insightful) 132

State broadcast means little to nothing. You're paying for it - let other people see it.

THAT.

From the moment they started all the bullshit with DRM (and I think spending hundreds of millions on this nonsense) I've been thinking "what a nonsesne". You already have people collecting the money, very often by force (yes, people with guns put people in jail for not paying the fee). About 10% of all CRIMINAL prosecutions in the UK are for this bloody fee. It's already all paid. Just make it available!

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