Thoughts and Experiments on Cloud Encryption

[ Dies ist ein Auszug aus meinem Artikel “Wolkentresor” im dotnetpro Magazin 9.2015 mit einigen ergänzenden Abbildungen ]

Private files should only be stored in the cloud being encrypted via a key controlled and known by the user solely (= end-to-end encryption). Transport encryption and encryption in the cloud provided by storage providers are not sufficient here.

Attack Surface

Attack Surface

The safety of encryption depends on good passwords. Passwords are good if they are not only strong but also easy to use. For an interesting discussion about better passwords see Toward Better Master Passwords.

Some cloud storage providers like Tresorit support automatic end-to-end encryption out of the box. Many widely used services like DropBox and the deeply in Windows integrated OneDrive are sadly lacking this support. For these one can use additional encryption tools like:

boxcryptor: Good commercial tool.
CryptSync: Free open source tool based on 7-zip encryption.
Allows decrypting files even without CrypSync using 7-zip apps.

Continue reading

Posted in Computers and Internet | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Good Gear and Tools for Digital Nomads (with DE shopping links)

[ April 11, 2016: created ]
Für einige Überlegungen zum digitalen Nomadetum siehe meinem Artikel “.NET unter Palmen” im dotnetpro Magazin 3.2016.

Digital nomads need robust and flexible gear to perform their work duties. Because I frequently get asked for good traveling stuff this post recommends hardware and software for the the Windows ecosystem and other things helpful for working while traveling.

If you’d like to support this blog you can do so by using the Amazon links:
– US flag Amazon US links
– UK flag Amazon UK links
– DE flag Amazon DE links (current)

If a product is available in the US only you can shop and ship with MyUS:
SHOP your favorite US Retailers and SHIP with MyUS!

For some items redundancy is mandatory because the whole business of a digital nomad relies on uninterrupted availability of computer and telecommunications gear:

  • 2 notebooks.
  • 2 power supplies: To reduce the risk of forgetting the power supply: One power supply always stays at home the 2nd one always is in the carry-on bag. Only buy original power supplies, don’t get tempted by way cheaper copies!
  • 2 cloud storage providers.
  • 2+ ways to connect to the internet.
  • 2+ credit cards.

Computers and Accessories

ThinkPad T450s (2015!) or T460s + 2nd Travel AC Adapter

Flexible, sturdy and expandable work horse. Sadly only available with the dreadful 16×9 (1920×1080) display aspect ratio. I5 CPUs are generally powerful enough. Consider upgrading RAM and SSD with 3rd party components to reduce cost (not as easy as with older ThinkPad models though). Make sure you get a 2015+ model with dedicated TrackPoint buttons. The 2014 model severely crippled the usefulness of the TrackPoint with buttons in the TrackPad only. If you want something more portable and fancy at the cost of flexibility go for the X1 Carbon (2015+).

Surface Pro 4 + Type Cover + Protective Sleeve + 2nd Power Supply

Screen has a nice 3×2 aspect ratio for usage as tablet in portrait mode. Can replace the ThinkPad as a notebook if need arises.

Alternatively: Surface Pro 3 + Surface Pro 4(!) Type Cover
A Surface Pro 3 is good enough. If you can get one for a good price, add a Surface Pro 4(!) Type cover. The version 4 type cover key spacing and general typing feeling is much better than with version 3 and it does not hide TaskBar buttons when connected.

The Microsoft Surface Book might be a viable alternative as primary notebook but it is extremely expensive. While it is really nice machine I prefer the ThinkPad/Surface combination especially because I like the ThinkPad TrackPoint better than any touch pad.

Microsoft Lumia 640 Dual-SIM LTE
Install Win10 via the Windows Insider app. Good enough phone. Good size. So cheap that it is not a real problem if stolen or lost. Get the dual SIM version to conveniently use local SIMs. Get LTE for using it as mobile hotspot (backup for internet connectivity).

Kindle Voyage + Origami Stand + BUILT Neoprene cover

Cheaper than the Oasis version but with the same quality screen. Better than the Paperwhite because of separate paging buttons. The Origami cover is very good for reading at a table. No need for the 3G version: one can easily download via the phone hotspot. The additional neoprene cover protects against drops.

Casio Solar Watch GW-M5610-1ER

I don’t really fancy the G-Shock look but this watch is not bulky, still sturdy and very practical. Features world time, alarms that are loud enough for me, solar charging, auto light via turning wrist, auto time sync, water resistant to 200m, displays day of week, …
Pimp it with the way more comfortable resin band (Casio Part No 10323536) of the expensive GW-5000 version. I bought a couple from PacParts shipped to Germany via MyUs.com.

Microsoft Band 2

BandPages

Surprisingly good and practical smart-watch. I bought it only to test custom tiles for my Travel Currencies app but found that I really like it.

Because it was not available in Germany yet I bought mine from Amazon.com, shipped to Germany via MyUs.com. Total cost 186€: Band 2: 174.99$, MyUscharges: 34.78$, customs: 6.63€, VAT: 33.22€, FedEx charges: 12.50€.

World power adapter

I get along without such an adapter: The power cords of ThinkPad and Surface power supplies are replaceable. On-site I buy local power cords. The Surface power supply has a USB charging socket.

Microsoft Miracast Adapter V2

Make your hotel TV a computer Monitor or watch a movie streamed from your notebook.

Portable 3-port USB Hub with RJ45 Ethernet

To add more ports to the Surface. Relatively small and flat adapter.

Bose Quiet comfort 25 over-ear Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones

Very expensive but better than the rest. Good for long flights. Don’t expect too much: high frequencies are not filtered out as good as low frequencies.

Bose QuietComfort 20 in-ear Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones

Way smaller than over-ear version but not as good.

Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse

Folds flat so it does not crash the notebook or surface screen when carried in a pocket on top. Ergonomically acceptable – for extended usage a “real” mouse is healthier.

SIM & Micro SD Case

A little large but flexible and better than loosing the tiny SIMs and SD cards.

Samsung Portable external SSD

SanDisk Cruzer Blade USB 2.0 Stick
Slow – but small and reliable with very good handling.

Luggage

Jack Wolfskin Waist Bag

I use the larger Business version.

Eagle Creek Packing Cubes

Indispensable to keep stuff organized and for quick packing and unpacking. The Amazon basic version might be good too.

Stratic soft-shell Trolley (2 wheels)

stratic trolley Very light, expandable with many pockets for easy packing. I prefer 2 wheeled ones because they are more sturdy, 4 wheeled ones are easier to handle in narrow trains etc.

Samsonite Termo Young hard-shell Trolley (2 wheels)

Not having zippers makes this hard-shell suitcase little more tamper proof then soft-shell ones with zippers. Lacks pockets and separators for easier packing. Nice bright colors for easy spotting on luggage belts.

Tom Bihn Tri-Star carry-on bag

Tri-Star-Navy-Ballistic_compactMaybe the best carry-on bag existing. Extremely expensive. Only sold from US. Get the Freudian Slip add-in to organize pens, paper etc.

Freudian-Slip-Tri-Star-Empire-Builder-Black-Parapack_1ab6667c-6a27-4f48-9c18-150e0a3528cb_compact

Consider getting the lighter Halcyon material – I have the sturdier (and heavier) 050 denier ballistic nylon version which I find sturdier than needed.

Deuter Trans Alpine Backpack 30/35L

A good alternative to the Tri-Star. Cheaper, lighter and more comfortable but no as business-like.

Sleeping, Sitting, Clothing

Therm-a-Rest inflatable Seat

Makes airplane seats way more comfortable.

Embrace Sleep Collar

81QRJsS2mcL._SX522_To support your neck while traveling in planes, buses and trains. This one I like best: small, comfortable, warm and light.

Cocoon Silk TravelSheet
To sleep cool in hot countries while keeping fan and air-con draft away

Fjallraven Karl MT Trousers
Might look to expedition-like for some. But very practical and a Kindle in its neoprene sleeve fits nicely into the large side pocket.

SW Tools

LeanWork Travel Currenies App

PhoneOverview

Ninite

Install and update multiple commonly used tools (like FileZialla and Notepad++) at once. Nice clean unobtrusive UI. Get the pro version for automatic updates and to support the developers. Shame on Adobe for no longer allowing them to update Acrobat reader!

ZoomIt

For presentations.
Zoom, paint and write on screen.

BoxCryptor or Crypt Sync

Private files should only be stored in the cloud being encrypted via a key controlled and known by the user solely (= end-to-end encryption). See Thoughts and Experiments on Cloud Encryption.

To manually encrypt files one can use 7-zip passwords.

TrueCrypt 7.1a

To manually encrypt files, folders and drives
7.1a is that last usable TrueCrypt version. I have not experience with the alternatives.

DropBox in addition to OneDrive

Use DropBox in addition to OneDrive for redundancy and because OneDrive, while nicely integrated into Windows, currently is way slower and less reliable than DropBox.

1Password

Password safe. Includes Win 10 mobile version. They have an informative post about good passwords.

Microsoft file-based Backup “Windows 7 Backup and Restore

Fortunately Microsoft reintroduced the Windows 7 file-based(!) backup with Windows 10 (they had discarded it with Windows 8x). It may not have the nicest UI but works way better and more reliable than all commercial alternatives (especially Acronis True Image) I tried. It still is difficult to find: search for “Windows 7 Backup and Restore”. I am not talking about the Image Backup which is available for Win7, 8+ and 10!

Private Internet Access

VPN for safety in hotel and other public WLANs and to access geo-blocked sites.

TripIt

To plan and monitor trips. You can simply forward many booking confirmation emails (e.g. from Agoda) to plans@tripit.com and they get parsed and automatically added to your trip. The 3rd party MyTrips Windows Phone app is way better than the app from TripIt.

Skype online number

Local telephone number that reachesyou via Skype. For example I have a German Skype number that my parents (who don’t have internet) can dial from their telephone to reach me worldwide in Skype on all my devices.

Dropscan

German surface mail scanning and digitizing service. Worked flawlessly for my last travels.

Posted in Computers and Internet, Leisure | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Good Gear and Tools for Digital Nomads (with UK shopping links)

[ April 11, 2016: created ]
Für einige Überlegungen zum digitalen Nomadetum siehe meinem Artikel “.NET unter Palmen” im dotnetpro Magazin 3.2016.

Digital nomads need robust and flexible gear to perform their work duties. Because I frequently get asked for good traveling stuff this post recommends hardware and software for the the Windows ecosystem and other things helpful for working while traveling.

If you’d like to support this blog you can do so by using the Amazon links:
US flag Amazon US links
UK flag Amazon UK links (current)
DE flag Amazon DE links

If a product is available in the US only you can shop and ship with MyUS.com:
SHOP your favorite US Retailers and SHIP with MyUS!

For some items redundancy is mandatory because the whole business of a digital nomad relies on uninterrupted availability of computer and telecommunications gear:

  • 2 notebooks.
  • 2 power supplies: To reduce the risk of forgetting the power supply: One power supply always stays at home the 2nd one always is in the carry-on bag. Only buy original power supplies, don’t get tempted by way cheaper copies!
  • 2 cloud storage providers.
  • 2+ ways to connect to the internet.
  • 2+ credit cards.

Computers and Accessories

ThinkPad T450s (2015!) or T460s + 2nd Travel AC Adapter

Flexible, sturdy and expandable work horse. Sadly only available with the dreadful 16×9 (1920×1080) display aspect ratio. I5 CPUs are generally powerful enough. Consider upgrading RAM and SSD with 3rd party components to reduce cost (not as easy as with older ThinkPad models though). Make sure you get a 2015+ model with dedicated TrackPoint buttons. The 2014 model severely crippled the usefulness of the TrackPoint with buttons in the TrackPad only. If you want something more portable and fancy at the cost of flexibility go for the X1 Carbon (2015+).

Surface Pro 4 + Type Cover + Protective Sleeve + 2nd Power Supply

Screen has a nice 3×2 aspect ratio for usage as tablet in portrait mode. Can replace the ThinkPad as a notebook if need arises.

Alternatively: Surface Pro 3 + Surface Pro 4(!) Type Cover
A Surface Pro 3 is good enough. If you can get one for a good price, add a Surface Pro 4(!) Type cover. The version 4 type cover key spacing and general typing feeling is much better than with version 3 and it does not hide TaskBar buttons when connected.

The Microsoft Surface Book might be a viable alternative as primary notebook but it is extremely expensive. While it is really nice machine I prefer the ThinkPad/Surface combination especially because I like the ThinkPad TrackPoint better than any touch pad.

Microsoft Lumia 640 Dual-SIM LTE

Install Win10 via the Windows Insider app. Good enough phone. Good size. So cheap that it is not a real problem if stolen or lost. Get the dual SIM version to conveniently use local SIMs. Get LTE for using it as mobile hotspot (backup for internet connectivity).

Kindle Voyage + Origami Stand + BUILT Neoprene cover

Cheaper than the Oasis version but with the same quality screen. Better than the Paperwhite because of separate paging buttons. No need for the 3G version: one can easily download via the phone hotspot. The Origami cover is very good for reading at a table. The additional neoprene cover protects against drops.

Casio Solar Watch GW-M5610-1ER

I don’t really fancy the G-Shock look but this watch is not bulky, still sturdy and very practical. Features world time, alarms that are loud enough for me, solar charging, auto light via turning wrist, auto time sync, water resistant to 200m, displays day of week, …
Pimp it with the way more comfortable resin band (Casio Part No 10323536) of the expensive GW-5000 version. I bought a couple from PacParts shipped to Germany via MyUs.com.

Microsoft Band 2

BandPages

Surprisingly good and practical smart-watch. I bought it only to test custom tiles for my Travel Currencies app but found that I really like it.

Because it was not available in Germany yet I bought mine from Amazon.com, shipped to Germany via MyUs.com. Total cost 186€: Band 2: 174.99$, MyUscharges: 34.78$, customs: 6.63€, VAT: 33.22€, FedEx charges: 12.50€.

World power adapter

I get along without such an adapter: The power cords of ThinkPad and Surface power supplies are replaceable. On-site I buy local power cords. The Surface power supply has a USB charging socket.

Microsoft Miracast Adapter V2

Make your hotel TV a computer Monitor or watch a movie streamed from your notebook.

Portable 3-port USB Hub with RJ45 Ethernet

To add more ports to the Surface. Relatively small and flat device.

Bose Quiet comfort 25 over-ear Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones

Bose25Very expensive but better than the rest. Good for long flights. Don’t expect too much: high frequencies are not filtered out as good as low frequencies.

Bose QuietComfort 20 in-ear Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones

Way smaller than over-ear version but not as good.

Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse

Folds flat so it does not crash the notebook or surface screen when carried in a pocket on top. Ergonomically acceptable – for extended usage a “real” mouse is healthier.

SIM & Micro SD Case

A little large but flexible and better than loosing the tiny SIMs and SD cards.

Samsung Portable external SSD

SanDisk Cruzer Blade USB 2.0 Stick

Slow – but small and reliable with very good handling.

Luggage

Jack Wolfskin Waist Bag

I use the larger Business version.

Eagle Creek Packing Cubes

Indispensable to keep stuff organized and for quick packing and unpacking. The Amazon basic version might be good too.

Stratic soft-shell Trolley (2 wheels)


Very light, expandable with many pockets for easy packing. I prefer 2 wheeled ones because they are more sturdy, 4 wheeled ones are easier to handle in narrow trains etc.

Samsonite Termo Young hard-shell Trolley (2 wheels)

Not having zippers makes this hard-shell suitcase little more tamper proof then soft-shell ones with zippers. Lacks pockets and separators for easier packing. Nice bright colors for easy spotting on luggage belts.

Tom Bihn Tri-Star carry-on bag

Tri-Star-Navy-Ballistic_compactMaybe the best carry-on bag existing. Extremely expensive. Only sold from US. Get the Freudian Slip add-in to organize pens, paper etc.

Freudian-Slip-Tri-Star-Empire-Builder-Black-Parapack_1ab6667c-6a27-4f48-9c18-150e0a3528cb_compact

Consider getting the lighter Halcyon material – I have the sturdier (and heavier) 050 denier ballistic nylon version which I find sturdier than needed.

Deuter Trans Alpine Backpack 30/35L

A good alternative to the Tri-Star. Cheaper, lighter and more comfortable but no as business-like.

Sleeping, Sitting, Clothing

Therm-a-Rest inflatable Seat


Makes airplane seats way more comfortable.

Embrace Sleep Collar

81QRJsS2mcL._SX522_To support your neck while traveling in planes, buses and trains. This one I like best: small, comfortable, warm and light.

Cocoon Silk TravelSheet

To sleep cool in hot countries while keeping fan and air-con draft away.

Fjallraven Karl MT Trousers
Might look to expedition-like for some. But very practical and a Kindle in its neoprene sleeve fits nicely into the large side pocket.

SW Tools

LeanWork Travel Currenies App

PhoneOverview

Ninite

Install and update multiple commonly used tools (like FileZialla and Notepad++) at once. Nice clean unobtrusive UI. Get the pro version for automatic updates and to support the developers. Shame on Adobe for no longer allowing them to update Acrobat reader!

ZoomIt

For presentations.
Zoom, paint and write on screen.

BoxCryptor or Crypt Sync

Private files should only be stored in the cloud being encrypted via a key controlled and known by the user solely (= end-to-end encryption). See Thoughts and Experiments on Cloud Encryption.

To manually encrypt files one can use 7-zip passwords.

TrueCrypt 7.1a

To manually encrypt files, folders and drives
7.1a is that last usable TrueCrypt version. I have not experience with the alternatives.

DropBox in addition to OneDrive

Use DropBox in addition to OneDrive for redundancy and because OneDrive, while nicely integrated into Windows, currently is way slower and less reliable than DropBox.

1Password

Password safe. Includes Win 10 mobile version. They have an informative post about good passwords.

Microsoft file-based Backup “Windows 7 Backup and Restore

Fortunately Microsoft reintroduced the Windows 7 file-based(!) backup with Windows 10 (they had discarded it with Windows 8x). It may not have the nicest UI but works way better and more reliable than all commercial alternatives (especially Acronis True Image) I tried. It still is difficult to find: search for “Windows 7 Backup and Restore”. I am not talking about the Image Backup which is available for Win7, 8+ and 10!

Private Internet Access

VPN for safety in hotel and other public WLANs and to access geo-blocked sites.

TripIt

To plan and monitor trips. You can simply forward many booking confirmation emails (e.g. from Agoda) to plans@tripit.com and they get parsed and automatically added to your trip. The 3rd party MyTrips Windows Phone app is way better than the app from TripIt.

Skype online number

Local telephone number that reachesyou via Skype. For example I have a German Skype number that my parents (who don’t have internet) can dial from their telephone to reach me worldwide in Skype on all my devices.

Dropscan

German surface mail scanning and digitizing service. Worked flawlessly for my last travels.

Posted in Computers and Internet, Leisure | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Good Gear and Tools for Digital Nomads (with US shopping links)

[ April 11, 2016: created ]
Für einige Überlegungen zum  digitalen Nomadetum siehe meinem Artikel “.NET unter Palmen” im dotnetpro Magazin 3.2016.

Digital nomads need robust and flexible gear to perform their work duties. Because I frequently get asked for good traveling stuff this post recommends hardware and software for the the Windows ecosystem and other things helpful for working while traveling.

If you’d like to support this blog you can do so by using the Amazon links:
US flag Amazon US links (current)
UK flag Amazon UK links
DE flag Amazon DE links 

If a product is available in the US only you can shop and ship with MyUS:
SHOP your favorite US Retailers and SHIP with MyUS!

For some items redundancy is mandatory because the whole business of a digital nomad relies on uninterrupted availability of computer and telecommunications gear:

  • 2 notebooks.
  • 2 power supplies: To reduce the risk of forgetting the power supply: One power supply always stays at home the 2nd one always is in the carry-on bag. Only buy original power supplies, don’t get tempted by way cheaper copies!
  • 2 cloud storage providers.
  • 2+ ways to connect to the internet.
  • 2+ credit cards.

Computers and Accessories

ThinkPad T450s (2015!) or T460s + 2nd Travel AC Adapter

Flexible, sturdy and expandable work horse. Sadly only available with the dreadful 16×9 (1920×1080) display aspect ratio. I5 CPUs are generally powerful enough. Consider upgrading RAM and SSD with 3rd party components to reduce cost (not as easy as with older ThinkPad models though). Make sure you get a 2015+ model with dedicated TrackPoint buttons. The 2014 model severely crippled the usefulness of the TrackPoint with buttons in the TrackPad only. If you want something more portable and fancy at the cost of flexibility go for the X1 Carbon (2015+).

Surface Pro 4 + Type Cover + Protective Sleeve + 2nd Power Supply

Screen has a nice 3×2 aspect ratio for usage as tablet in portrait mode. Can replace the ThinkPad as a notebook if need arises.

Alternatively: Surface Pro 3 + Surface Pro 4(!) Type Cover
A Surface Pro 3 is good enough. If you can get one for a good price, add a Surface Pro 4(!) Type cover. The version 4 type cover key spacing and general typing feeling is much better than with version 3 and it does not hide TaskBar buttons when connected.

The Microsoft Surface Book might be a viable alternative as primary notebook but it is extremely expensive. While it is really nice machine I prefer the ThinkPad/Surface combination especially because I like the ThinkPad TrackPoint better than any touch pad.

Microsoft Lumia 640 Dual-SIM LTE
Install Win10 via the Windows Insider app. Good enough phone. Good size. So cheap that it is not a real problem if stolen or lost. Get the dual SIM version to conveniently use local SIMs. Get LTE for using it as mobile hotspot (backup for internet connectivity).

Kindle Voyage + Origami Stand + BUILT Neoprene cover

Cheaper than the Oasis version but with the same quality screen. Better than the Paperwhite because of separate paging buttons. No need for the 3G version: one can easily download via the phone hotspot. The Origami cover is very good for reading at a table. The additional neoprene cover protects against drops.

Casio Solar Watch GW-M5610-1ER

I don’t really fancy the G-Shock look but this watch is not bulky, still sturdy and very practical. Features world time, alarms that are loud enough for me, solar charging, auto light via turning wrist, auto time sync, water resistant to 200m, displays day of week, …
Pimp it with the way more comfortable resin band (Casio Part No 10323536) of the expensive GW-5000 version. I bought a couple from PacParts shipped to Germany via MyUs.com.

Microsoft Band 2

BandPages

Surprisingly good and practical smart-watch. I bought it only to test custom tiles for my Travel Currencies app but found that I really like it.

Because it was not available in Germany yet I bought mine from Amazon.com, shipped to Germany via MyUs.com. Total cost 186€: Band 2: 174.99$, MyUscharges: 34.78$, customs: 6.63€, VAT: 33.22€, FedEx charges: 12.50€.

World power adapter

I get along without such an adapter: The power cords of ThinkPad and Surface power supplies are replaceable. On-site I buy local power cords. The Surface power supply has a USB charging socket.

Microsoft Miracast Adapter V2

Make your hotel TV a computer Monitor or watch a movie streamed from your notebook.

Portable 3-port USB Hub with RJ45 Ethernet

To add more ports to the Surface. Relatively small and flat adapter.

Bose Quiet comfort 25 over-ear Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones

Very expensive but better than the rest. Good for long flights. Don’t expect too much: high frequencies are not filtered out as good as low frequencies.

Bose QuietComfort 20 in-ear Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones

Way smaller than over-ear version but not as good.

Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse

Folds flat so it does not crash the notebook or surface screen when carried in a pocket on top. Ergonomically acceptable – for extended usage a “real” mouse is healthier.

SIM & Micro SD Case

A little large but flexible and better than loosing the tiny SIMs and SD cards.

Samsung Portable external SSD

SanDisk Cruzer Blade USB 2.0 Stick
Slow  – but small and reliable with very good handling.

Luggage

Jack Wolfskin Waist Bag

I use the larger Business version.

Eagle Creek Packing Cubes

  Indispensable to keep stuff organized and for quick packing and unpacking. The Amazon basic version might be good too.

Stratic soft-shell  Trolley (2 wheels)

stratic trolley Very light, expandable with many pockets for easy packing. I prefer 2 wheeled ones because they are more sturdy, 4 wheeled ones are easier to handle in narrow trains etc.

Samsonite Termo Young hard-shell Trolley (2 wheels)

  Not having zippers makes this hard-shell suitcase little more tamper proof then soft-shell ones with zippers. Lacks pockets and separators for easier packing. Nice bright colors for easy spotting on luggage belts.

Tom Bihn Tri-Star carry-on bag

Tri-Star-Navy-Ballistic_compactMaybe the best carry-on bag existing. Extremely expensive. Only sold from US. Get the Freudian Slip add-in to organize pens, paper etc.

Freudian-Slip-Tri-Star-Empire-Builder-Black-Parapack_1ab6667c-6a27-4f48-9c18-150e0a3528cb_compact

Consider getting the lighter Halcyon material – I have the sturdier (and heavier) 050 denier ballistic nylon version which I find sturdier than needed.

Deuter Trans Alpine Backpack 30/35L

A good alternative to the Tri-Star. Cheaper, lighter and more comfortable but no as business-like.

Sleeping, Sitting, Clothing

Therm-a-Rest inflatable Seat

Makes airplane seats way more comfortable.

Embrace Sleep Collar

81QRJsS2mcL._SX522_To support your neck while traveling in planes, buses and trains. This one I like best: small, comfortable, warm and light.

Cocoon Silk TravelSheet
To sleep cool in hot countries while keeping fan and air-con draft away

Fjallraven Karl MT Trousers
Might look to expedition-like for some. But very practical and a Kindle in its neoprene sleeve fits nicely into the large side pocket.

SW Tools

LeanWork Travel Currenies App

PhoneOverview

Ninite

Install and update multiple commonly used tools (like FileZialla and Notepad++) at once. Nice clean unobtrusive UI. Get the pro version for automatic updates and to support the developers. Shame on Adobe for no longer allowing them to update Acrobat reader!

ZoomIt

For presentations.
Zoom, paint and write on screen.

BoxCryptor or Crypt Sync

Private files should only be stored in the cloud being encrypted via a key controlled and known by the user solely (= end-to-end encryption). See Thoughts and Experiments on Cloud Encryption.

To manually encrypt files one can use 7-zip passwords.

TrueCrypt 7.1a

To manually encrypt files, folders and drives
7.1a is that last usable TrueCrypt version. I have not experience with the alternatives.

DropBox in addition to OneDrive

Use DropBox in addition to OneDrive for redundancy and because OneDrive, while nicely integrated into Windows, currently is way slower and less reliable than DropBox.

1Password

Password safe. Includes Win 10 mobile version. They have an informative post about good passwords.

Microsoft file-based Backup “Windows 7 Backup and Restore

Fortunately Microsoft reintroduced the Windows 7  file-based(!) backup with Windows 10 (they had discarded it with Windows 8x). It may not have the nicest UI but works way better and more reliable than all commercial alternatives (especially Acronis True Image) I tried. It still is difficult to find: search for “Windows 7 Backup and Restore”. I am not talking about the Image Backup which is available for Win7, 8+ and 10!

Private Internet Access

VPN for safety in hotel and other public WLANs and to access geo-blocked sites.

TripIt

To plan and monitor trips. You can simply forward many booking confirmation emails (e.g. from Agoda) to plans@tripit.com and they get parsed and automatically added to your trip. The 3rd party MyTrips Windows Phone app is way better than the app from TripIt.

Skype online number

Local telephone number that reachesyou via Skype. For example I have a German Skype number that my parents (who don’t have internet) can dial from their telephone to reach me worldwide in Skype on all my devices.

Dropscan

German surface mail scanning and digitizing service. Worked flawlessly for my last travels.

Posted in Computers and Internet, Leisure | Tagged , | Leave a comment

How to completely clean install Windows 10 on a UEFI PC

With Windows 10 I generally do recommend to simply upgrade which preserves your apps (modern and desktop), data and settings. In contrast to previous Windows versions the Win 10 upgrade is robust and has worked fine for me on several machines, so I consider a clean install not being worth the time needed.

With my Surface Pro 3 (SP3) however I wanted to do a clean install, including removing Windows 8.1 partitions no longer needed. A Win 10 upgrade from Win 8.1 left my Surface with the partitions shown in the picture below. I could not find any reliable information on which partitions are safe to delete.

PartitionsAfterWin10Upgrade

Partitions after upgrading from Win 8.1 to Win 10

A clean install as described below removed 2 unneeded partitions and freed 5+ GB SSD space:

PartitionsAfterWin10Clean

Partitions after Win 10 clean install

Continue reading

Posted in Computers and Internet | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Windows Service Worker Options

[Für Details siehe meinen kommenden Artikel “Windows-Services leicht gemacht” im dotnetpro Magazin.]

Implementation patterns used for Windows Services can seriously influence performance, reactivity, computing resource consumption, stability and energy consumption of our systems. This post shares alternative patterns for creating Windows Services. Download complete code.

Design Aspects

When designing Windows Services consider the following aspects:

  • How and when should the service be started?
  • If OnStart() takes > 30 sec the SCM will abort the service.
  • Choose a suitable pattern to implement processing. Ex: Event-driven, polling loops, poll-timers.
  • Maintain thread hygiene.
  • If OnStop() takes >~90 sec the SCM will abort the service. Exact time limit is undocumented and Windows version specific.
  • Implement graceful shutdown.
  • Windows Services must not have a direct UI. You can however create a UI and control the service via its OnCustomCommand method or implement a custom WCF-Interface, see Simple WCF-Services.
  • Robust error handling.
  • Sufficient tracing and logging.
  • Windows Services must be installed.
  • Windows Services cannot be started directly in the IDE. See test console app below.

Continue reading

Posted in Computers and Internet | Tagged | 1 Comment

Simple WCF

[Für Details siehe meinen kommenden Artikel “WCF-Services leicht gemacht” im dotnetpro Magazin.]

Choosing WCF options and configuring them can be quite cumbersome and demanding. This post shares a very simple approach for using WCF services. Download complete code. My simple approach uses:

  • Shared Interface-DLL
  • Self-hosting in a Windows Service.
    See Windows Service Worker Options.
  • Channel proxies instead of ClientBase proxies.
  • Simplified WCF configuration.
  • Custom method CreateChannel().
    Caching ChannelFactories.
  • Custom method CloseChannel().
    Handling Channel failures.

I am using a new Channel instance for each WCF call. This improves robustness against communication problems and against “The socket connection was aborted” exceptions after a client idle time > 10 min (= default ReceiveTimeout) with netTcpBinding even when using InstanceContextMode=PerCall. Continue reading

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