30 August 2008

Travel Planning & Natural Disasters

Web: www.thetravelstrategist.com -- E-Mail: fish@flyingwithfish.com

30/08/2008 – Travel Planning & Natural Disasters

As many people in North America watch the weather on the television they cannot help but notice Hurricane Gustav taking aim at New Orleans just three years after Hurricane Katrina ravaged the city.

As this potential repeat natural disaster potentially plays out I'd like to address travel planning in regions as they face immediate natural disasters. When I covered Hurricane Katrina back in 2005, flying into New Orleans was almost as challenging as flying out of New Orleans. The challenges in finding a flight, a rental car and lodging were significant.

First off, when looking at planning travel to a potentially affected area you need to asses the importance of your trip. If you are traveling for pleasure or routine business, reschedule your trip. If you have an 'essential role' or you are a journalist you need to look at your options and your resources. As you plan your flights, you may need to fly a hundred miles, or more, away, to find in-bound flights. Airlines start canceling flight and shifting schedules to make sure they have no aircraft caught in the wake of a hurricane.

Outside of flights, rental cars can be hard to find in a city about to be hit by a storm. If you need to be in a city, such as New Orleans, you may need to fly into Baton Rouge or Dallas to get a rental car, as rental car companies often try and move their fleets prior to a potential catastrophic event to reduce their loss of their assets.

If you are in, or around, an area about to be affected by a major natural disaster and you need to leave, you need to know airfares will be rising. Airfares rise due to all the seats being sold out and airlines minimizing capacity just before a hurricane. It is not uncommon for airlines to stop servicing a city at least 48 hours before the expected storm to affect the area. This allows an airline to not only move their aircraft, but also move their staff out of the potential disaster zone.

Once a storm, or natural disaster has occurred, travel to a specific area can be a serious challenge. With New Orleans for example, flying into New Orleans may not only be a challenge, but flying into an airport such as Dallas-Ft Worth or Houston's Intercontinental Airports may be difficult. While these airports are 300 miles and 450 miles from New Orleans, they will play major roles in staging, relief and evacuation from the potential disaster zone. With aircraft flying additional aircraft to surrounding areas the airspace and ground space gets congested. While many flyers only factor in passenger flights, you need to also keep in mind that freight and cargo airlines must continue to fly, and at times fly additional aircraft into a region to keep business and relief efforts going. Outside of these additional aircraft, military aircraft may also use nearby regional airports as potential staging points.

If you have critical business in an area within approximately 400 miles from a potential disaster zone, you may need to adjust your travel plans. While seats may be available on flights, rental cars may not be available and you need to account for potential delays in flight schedules.

I know this is over simplified, but with a potential major disaster about to happen to a city that has already been nearly washed away once before in the past three years, I wanted to put this basic information up for as a reference point for journalists who will potentially find themselves in the region in the coming days.

Remember this. If you choose to travel to an affected region and you decide it is time to go home, you may find yourself at the end of the line for evacuation.

Happy Flying!

29 August 2008

29/08/2008- The Weekly Round Up : Fees Wipeout Surfers : Experimenting With Flying With Fish Video : iPhone App Of The Week

Web: www.fishfotoworldwide.com -- E-Mail: fish@flyingwithfish.com

29/08/2008- The Weekly Round Up : Fees Wipeout Surfers : Experimenting With Flying With Fish Video : iPhone App Of The Week

This week was a 'short week' for me, as I spent most of this week in the hospital having surgery and recovering from surgery. My posts this week were posted in my absence by others, thanks! I'll be on my back a few more days, unable to move my head up-down or side-to-side, but with a project on the calendar for Sunday I had better heal quickly!

This week was primarily filled up with experimenting with Flying With Fish Video. For a few days this past weekend I had access to a Flip Video Camera so I decided to see what I could do. Having never really shot video in the past, and never put together a video piece in the past; I figured "what the heck" and shot a few quick segments. Some people find video very easy, I found there to be a steep learning curve with video, however I may play with this medium again and see what I can do with a little more time, and possibly a camera with better audio.

This weeks' three Flying With Fish Videos may be viewed in these three entries
25/08/2008 - Shooting Long Lenses With No Tripod At Slower Exposures While On The Road

26/08/2008 - Choosing Your Cameras For Traveling

28/08/2008 - Choosing Your Lenses When Traveling : Your Shoulders Will Thank You

Aside from these three experimental videos, this week I kicked off Flying With Fish discussing baggage fees that affect surfers. While surfers make up a minority of the flying public, the fees they are being saddled with are out of line and should be redirected at other flyers who's baggage weighs more, using more fuel and who could bring in a more consistent revenue stream. You can read up on the fees affecting flying surfers here:
23/08/2008 - Airline Fees For Surfboards Wipeout Traveling Surfers?

This week's iPhone 'App of the Week' is "Currency.' Looking for a simple foreign currency exchange rate converter for travel or quick currency conversion during business discussions? This may be the 'App' for you. You can check out 'Currency' in this post:
28/08/2008 – iPhone 'App' Of The Week : Currency

Interested in discussing travel planning, tips, ideas and anecdotes with other travelers? Join Flying With Fish's "Travel_Planning" community on Live Journal. The community is free and easy to join and is open to first time travelers and seasons road warriors. The best information is shared information, which is the goal of the online Travel_Planning community.

That's it for this week...........Happy Flying!

28 August 2008

iPhone 'App' Of The Week : Currency

Web: www.fishfoto.com -- E-Mail: fish@flyingwithfish.com

28/08/2008 – iPhone 'App' Of The Week : Currency

Not all useful iPhone 'Apps' have whiz-bang features and tons of options. Some very useful iPhone 'Apps' are straightforward, simple and singular in purpose, which is why this week I'll be discussing the simplistic nature of 'Currency.'

'Currency' is an exchange rate tool ideal for anyone who travels, or who needs to quickly review foreign currencies. The set-up of the Currency 'app' allows you to add and delete currencies and set a 'Master Currency' (mine is obviously set to US$)

The one function the iPhone Currency 'App' is missing is that of a rate calculator. I'd like to quickly be able to figure out a total cost, so I am still looking at other currency converter 'apps,' but for the total cost of FREE from the iTunes App Store, I'm quite happy with the Currency 'App.'

Below are two images of the Currency 'App' on my iPhone

Happy Flying!

--Click Images To Enlarge--

Choosing Your Lenses When Traveling : Your Shoulders Will Thank

Web: www.thetravelstrategist.com -- E-Mail: fish@flyingwithfish.com

28/08/2008 - Choosing Your Lenses When Traveling : Your Shoulders Will
Thank You

This post is being posted for me, as I am no where near an internet
connection, but I've been having fun playing with the Flip Video Camera I
figured I'd get someone to post this entry for me in advance.

In this third installment of Flying With Fish Video I discuss choosing
your lens selection to cut down on space and weight. I know photographers
are always tempted to pack everything. I know when I have packed for
shoots in far away places I have looked at my bag and wonder 'how will I
knock 10 lenses down to four?'

It can be hard to make the tough choices in lens selection, but when you
assess your actual needs, whether packing for business or pleasure, you'll
find that not only will your back and shoulder thank you, but you'll be
able to work quicker and more effectively.

Happy Flying!

--Click Image Below To Play Video--

26 August 2008

Choosing Your Cameras For Traveling

Web: www.fishfotoworldwide.com -- E-Mail: fish@flyingwithfish.com

26/08/2008 - Choosing Your Cameras For Traveling

This week should be a 'light week' for posting on Flying With Fish and somehow this is my third post for the week. This post is also the second installment of Flying With Fish Video.

In this installment of Flying With Fish Video I discuss choosing your camera body selection for traveling. Many photographers purchase mismatched, or incompatible, camera bodies which forces them to pack excess weight and use valuable space in their bags, while traveling. In this video I'll go through choosing 'matched cameras' to add to save you space and weight while also making your experience in the field with your cameras easier.

Happy Flying!

--Click Image Below To Play Video--

25 August 2008

Shooting Long Lenses With No Tripod At Slower Exposures While On The Road

Web: www.fishfoto.com -- E-Mail: fish@flyingwithfish.com

25/08/2008 - Shooting Long Lenses With No Tripod At Slower Exposures While On The Road

With this coming week being a short week here on Flying With Fish, I decided to use the two days I'll be posting to try something totally new.........Flying With Fish Video.

While I have appeared on national television in the past, and been in front of TV cameras a few times, I had never actually tried shooting my own video. In fact, I have never really even used a video camera until two nights ago! Two nights ago a Flip Video camera appeared in my kitchen, and much like in the movie "Field of Dreams" I heard a quiet voice whisper, "if you shoot it they will come."

Now I have no idea what the voices meant, or who will be coming where, however I may have just been craving a chocolate bar and a can of ginger ale, so the voices may have just been my stomach grumbling, however I set out to go shoot a segment on Saturday night along the Connecticut Shoreline just after sunset, and Sunday afternoon in Long Island City, in Queens, New York, in the afternoon.

I learned two important things in these two brief attempts
1) The audio on a Flip Video leaves a lot to be desired.
2) I cannot talk while my face is pressed against a camera, no one will hear me!

So, I have learned from these two attempts, and promise that when I get out of the hospital and get back to shooting in about 10 days, I will work on better audio and never speak while my face is pressed against a camera (unless I am wearing a mic, but I don't see how I could attach a wireless mic to the Flip Video camera).

......... enough with my rambling, welcome to the first installment of Flying With Fish Video. This segment is a quick introduction to shooting longer lenses, at slower shutter speeds, without a tripod or monopod.

Happy Flying!

--Click Image Below To Begin The Video--

23 August 2008

Airline Fees For Surfboards Wipeout Surfers?

Web: www.thetravelstrategist.com -- E-Mail: fish@flyingwithfish.com

23/08/2008 - Airline Fees For Surfboards Wipeout Traveling Surfers?

Yesterday evening I would an interesting article in the Los Angles Times that cited exorbitant fees for flying with surfboards.

While I have not surfed in years (and I do miss it, I grew up spending 7 days a week at the beach all summer long) I have been an avid snowboarder for two decades and see these fees as completely out of line for my fellow 'boarders.'

Surfboards are being singled out for excess fees while many airlines have no fees for golf clubs or skis & snowboards. Delta Airlines, for example, allows a set of golf clubs, or a single ski/snowboard bag to fly for free if they are under 50lbs, while they now charge a fee of US$175 each way for a surfboard to fly on their US domestic routes and US$300 each way on international routes. Additionally, Delta now charges a US$20 fee, each way. For surfboards to fly on Honolulu and Maui routes.

Continental charges US$100 each way for a quiver bag of up to two boards and United is US$85 each way for boards under 109"(277cm) and US$170 for boards longer than 109"(277cm). I see the $170 fee as more of a special handing fee for over-sized items.

Surfboards while longer and wider than golf clubs and skis/snowboards generally weight less than skis/snowboards when packed with boots and they certainly weigh less than flying with golf clubs.

British Airways has actually banned flying with surfboards on their airline since the Fall-of-2007. British Airways has also banned Kayaks, yet it remains a premier sponsor the British Olympic Team and the 2012 Olympics in London where they are of course the Olympic Sport of Kayaking.......of course no Olympic Kayaker will be able to travel on British Airways.

Airlines are citing 'higher costs of fuel' for transporting surfboards. I can see a potential 'handing fee' for surfboards due to the size, but the actual weight of a surfboard vs that of a set of golf clubs would indicate a significantly higher baggage fee for golf clubs than a surfboard.

If the airlines are going to cite ‘fuel fees’ they really need to be consistent and not single out a single group of travelers. If airlines want a more consistent source of revenue, single out the golfers. Golfers fly with more weight, fly more consistently for ‘business golf outings’ and are more likely to ‘expense’ the cost when traveling on business.

Are you a surfer looking to enjoy good waves, good weather and no fee to fly with your board? Check out Australia and New Zealand, as neither Qantas nor Air New Zealand is charging to fly with your boards, even when traveling with your quiver.

Happy Flying!

22 August 2008

22/08/2008- The Weekly Round Up : What Open Skies Doesn't Allow : Locly iPhone App : Crunchie Bars & Violet Crumble : Toiletry Kits

Web: www.fishfotoworldwide.com -- E-Mail: fish@flyingwithfish.com

22/08/2008- The Weekly Round Up : What Open Skies Doesn't Allow : Locly iPhone App : Crunchie Bars & Violet Crumble : Toiletry Kits

This week's Weekly Round Up does not kick off with the week in review, but a moment to reflect on the crash of Spanair (JK) Flight 5022 this past Wednesday as it lifted off from Barajas Airport (MAD) in Madrid, Spain. A faulty air-intake is believed to be what caused the Boeing MD-82 aircraft to crash, killing 153 people on board the plane.

Before we move on, please take a moment to stop and have a silent moment in memory of those 153 people who died in this airline disaster.

This week Flying With Fish began by tackling the complex, and common question, of what the 'Open Skies Agreement' allows and does not allow. Will we see foreign carriers being allowed to fly certain US Domestic routes? It is not likely. Find out why here: 18/08/2008 - Will 'Open Skies' Allow Foreign Airlines To Fly U.S. Domestic Routes?

Tuesday saw the latest installed me in the iPhone 'App' Of the Week series. This week I reviewed the 'Locly' App and detailed why anyone who travels should have this ‘App.’ Find out more about Locly in this post: 19/08/2008 – iPhone 'App' Of The Week : Locly

Many international travelers discuss the gourmet delights they encounter in their travels. This week I discussed my 'gourmet' indulgences on the road, the Crunchie bar from the UK and the Violet Crumble bar from Australia. This post received not only quite a few comments, but more than a dozen e-mails from Canadian readers informing me that the Crunchie bar is readily available in the Great White North......nice to know Crunchie has a more loyal following that I thought up in Canada! Read up on my candy bar addiction here: 20/08/2008 – Trivial Travel : Honeycomb Chocolate Bars From Two Hemispheres

This week wrapped up with a write up of a simple and inexpensive toiletry kit that is airport security approved. While I don't foresee myself giving up the 1-quart Ziploc bag with my toiletries, this might be a good option for someone a tad more organized than I am. Find out if this is what you've been seeking by clicking here: 21/08/2008 – A Compact Toiletry Kit Bag That Is Inexpensive & Meets Airport Security Requirements

Interested in discussing travel planning, tips, ideas and anecdotes with other travelers? Join Flying With Fish's "Travel_Planning" community on Live Journal. The community is free and easy to join and is open to first time travelers and seasons road warriors. The best information is shared information, which is the goal of the online Travel_Planning community.

Next week Flying With Fish will most likely be off-line. I am scheduled for a fairly significant surgery on Tuesday and do not expect to be released until Friday morning. I'd like to have 2 or 3 posts next week, but I am not planning on having them written and published. The hospital I'll be admitted to has no internet access and chances are I'll be heavily sedated until Thursday at some point.

Maybe I'll be get lucky and have the opportunity to write a few entries this weekend and have someone post them for me, but I think I'd rather take this weekend to hang out with my kids and forget that Tuesday morning is just around the corner.

......so until possibly 10 days from now (I know I probably can't stay away that long) Happy Flying!

21 August 2008

A Compact Toiletry Kit Bag That Is Inexpensive & Meets Airport Security Requirements

Web: www.fishfoto.com -- E-Mail: fish@flyingwithfish.com

21/08/2008 – A Compact Toiletry Kit Bag That Is Inexpensive & Meets Airport Security Requirements

For the past few years......OK for the last who knows how many years (at least a decade) I have used a 1-quart Ziploc bag as my toiletry bag on the road. I like the Ziploc bags, they last about a year, they are easy to replace and they can hold quite a lot.

In the past few months It has come to attention that most travelers don't generally pack their toiletry bags with random soaps and shampoos they have taken from hotels and toothbrushes and combs they have liberated from airline lounges.

In an effort to 'see how the other side travels' I set out to find a simple, compact and low cost toiletry bag for those seeking an organized all-in-one kit. The majority of the toiletry kits I looked into would pose a problem under the current carry on restrictions, limiting these kits to checked baggage only. Many toiletry kits I looked at were not see through, as required by not on the US Transportation Security Administration, but also by airport security authorities around the world.

This week while wandering through a bookstore I found what I had been looking for. A simple, clear plastic, all-in-one travel toiletry kit for under US$5.00!

Paperchase Stationary, a British stationary manufacturer, produced a simple and inexpensive toiletry kit. This kit comes with two liquid soap/shampoo bottles, a perfume/cologne sprayer and two cosmetics 'dishes.' All of these are clear making them ideal for dealing with airport security. When I loaded my Paperchase Travel Accessories kit the first thing I did was remove the perfume spray bottle and two cosmetics 'dishes.' I loaded the two liquid soap bottles with some Mrs. Meyers hand soap and Aussie shampoo. From there I added a Toothbrush (courtesy of Air Canada), a comb (which was freed from a Korean Air lounge), some travel deodorant (thank you Lufthansa) a bar of soap (borrowed from a cart at the Vagabond Inn at SFO) and some travel toothpaste, which I seem to have a pile of for some reason.

All the basic toiletry accessories fit nicely into the case and for under US$5.00 how can you go wrong?

You can find the Paperchase Travel Accessories kit on Amazon.com, in some Borders Bookstores (in the US) and on Paperchases' online store (for sales in the UK only).

Do you have a favourite airport security approved toiletry kit? Let me know!

Below is a photo of the Paperchase Accessories kit and its original components .

Happy Flying!

--Click Image To Enlarge--

20 August 2008

Trivial Travel : Honeycomb Chocolate Bars From Two Hemispheres

Web: www.thetravelstrategist.com -- E-Mail: fish@flyingwithfish.com

20/08/2008 – Trivial Travel : Honeycomb Chocolate Bars From Two Hemispheres

Some travelers like to lament about the gourmet foods they find during their travels. I on the other hand plan to use this post to lament about two of my favourite candy bars, one from England the other from Australia.

Back in 1992 I 'discovered' the Cadbury Crunchie bar while briefly living in London. I recall landing at London's Heathrow Airport and picking one up.......then being hooked for the following 16 years (and counting).

The problem with having a Crunchie Bar addiction? They are not distributed in the United States. For years I have come home on flights from the UK with a backpack full of Crunchie Bars, or found ways to have others send me these delectable delights.

More recently I found myself craving a Crunchie bar with none to be found, and this lead me to find the Australian Violet Crumble bar. Upon first bite I was equally hooked on the Violet Crumble bars. The problem with this new, and equally as powerful addiction, is that the Violet Crumble bar is primarily sold in Australia (although it can be found in Hawaii, as well as in the international aisle in some supermarkets).

What do these two candy bars have in common? They are both chocolate covered honeycomb bars.

The Crunchie bar is a honeycomb toffee that is quite literally crunches as you bite through it, while the Violet Crumble bar more subtly melts in your mouth as the honeycomb touches your tongue. I find the Crunchie bar to be a slightly chewier bar while the Violet Crumble is crisper, which causes it 'crumble.'

So next time you're traveling to distant lands seeking out new things to try, pick up a new candy bar. You might just find yourself needing to return just to satisfy your sweet tooth!

Happy Flying!

--Click Image To Enlarge It--

19 August 2008

iPhone 'App' Of The Week : Locly

Web: www.fishfotoworldwide.com -- E-Mail: fish@flyingwithfish.com

19/08/2008 – iPhone 'App' Of The Week : Locly

Whenever I travel one of the challenges I find most difficult to resolve at times is where things are. I don't know a single person who has gotten off a plane; gone to work then suddenly thought, "What is there around here to eat?"

Locly has the answer to "What is there to eat" as well as different categories for this question (such as restaurants, cafes, pubs, and super markets), and other common questions on the road. How Locly works is by figuring out your position from the GSM mobile phone towers. I have had Locly have an accuracy of my location far off as 3,000 meter (1.85 miles) and as close as 450 meters (0.25 miles)

While 3,000 meter can be a great distance if you are standing in the middle of a city, it is extremely helpful when you find yourself in metro-area or suburban area rather than in the middle of the city. I have however used Locly in city center environments and be very happy with its results as the results for 450 meters of accuracy is quite convenient to wherever you may be.

I have used Locly to find dinner on the road as well as locate movie theaters, banks and gas stations. To find interesting tid-bits I have used Locly's "Wikipedia" feature and have heard of others using the iPhone 'App's' Twitter feature to meet up with others.

For you international travelers, fear not! Locly works in many countries throughout the world! Being able to look up a restaurant for dinner in Paris or Shenzhen has never been easier (OK, I haven't tried Locly out in Shenzhen yet, but I'm sure I'll use it in the region at some point in the coming months)

Locly is certainly an iPhone 'App' I will continue to update as they become available and use on a regular basis both on the road and at home.

Below are four photos of Locly on the iPhone

Happy Flying!

--Click Images To Enlarge Them--

18 August 2008

Will 'Open Skies' Allow Foreign Airlines To Fly U.S. Domestic Routes?

Web: www.fishfoto.com -- E-Mail: fish@flyingwithfish.com

18/08/2008 - Will 'Open Skies' Allow Foreign Airlines To Fly U.S. Domestic Routes?

A frequently asked question in the past year has been "will the Open Skies Agreement' allow foreign airlines to operate domestic flights in the United States.?" In shot 'Open Skies' does not allow for the non-U.S. airlines to operate 'domestic flights' in the U.S.

What Open Skies does covers is the the Eighth Freedom of the Air, as agreed upon during the 1944 Convention on International Civil Aviation in Chicago. The Eighth Freedom,which is also referred to as 'True Cabotoge,' allows for an airline to operate routes that are completely independent of that airline making stop in, or connecting through, its home country.

There are very few airlines operating with the route authority of the Eighth Freedom. Northwest Airlines operates a limited number of flights that are 'domestic' inside Japan,such as Tokyo-Nagoya and Tokyo-Saipan. NWA has been afforded this unique route authority due to their original relationship with the Japanese Government and their role in helping establish Japan Airlines (JAL).

Pan Am, the former global airline giant, previously operated flights domestically in Germany under the Eighth Freedom of Air. Pan Am flew regularly scheduled flights between West Berlin and their European hub in Frankfurt.

Qantas operates a daily flight between New York's JFK and LAX, however they may not sell a ticket for this flight only. Passengers on the flight must connect onward to a Qantas flights to Sydney, Brisbane or Melbourne. Stop-overs are no longer allowed as they once were, such as when BOAC operated service from London to Los Angeles (LAX) and Honolulu (HNL) via New York's JFK (and HNL was also via LAX).

Northwest is also one of only two US airlines that operates under the Fifth Freedom. The Fifth Freedom allows NWA and United to fly to points in Asia using Japan as a 'Hub.' Both airlines have Asia hubs in Tokyo and can sell passengers tickets to fly from Tokyo/NRT to a further 3rd country, without requiring those passengers to first stop in the United States.

Airlines such as Air New Zealand (NZ) and Singapore Airlines (SQ) operate daily flights in the United States under the Seventh Freedom. The Seven Freedom is the ability to service two international routes, without a stop in the airlines home country. This would be NZ's daily service from LAX to London Heathrow and Singapore's abilty to fly from JFK to Frankfurt, Houston to Moscow, San Francisco to Seoul & Hong Kong and LAX to Taipei and Tokyo.

Keep in mind that when Virgin America (VX) was forming it was barred from flying because Richard Branson, who is not a U.S. citizen, owned the controlling stock in the airline. In the US. United States airlines that operate in the US must not be controlled by a foreign person or entity. Under the U.S. regulations had Richard Branson been the control stock holder in Virgin American, it would have been considered a "foreign airline." As a 'foreign airline' Virgin American would have needed to operate under 'stand alone cabotoge,' and this Freedom of the Air will certainly not be granted permission in the United States in the near future.

The interesting twist in this may that airlines such as "Open Skies" (Open Skies is the name of the airline, not to be confused with the actual commercial aviation agreement) that are not registered to a single country. Open Skies aircraft fly under both the EU and US flags, despite the British Airways (BA) tail and UK registration. To make the ownership of the airline more confusing, the airline is not considered British. This leave a lot of room for some interesting grey areas in the Freedoms of the Air in the future.

As for me? I'd welcome Lufthansa (LH) and Air France-KLM (AF-KL)coming to the US and operating flights. I'd love it if Air Canada (AC) could service some US routes as well (as I have flown them at times on U.S. 'domestic' transcontinental flights using Toronto simply as a layover and really enjoy their service.)

Happy Flying!

15 August 2008

15/08/2008-The Weekly Round Up: Is "Clear" Secure? : Proper Jetiquette : Duct Tape : Carry-on Bag Sizing : Lonely Planet iPhone App : Fish On The Move

Web: www.thetravelstrategist.com -- E-Mail: fish@flyingwithfish.com

15/08/2008-The Weekly Round Up : Is "Clear" Secure? : Proper Jetiquette : Duct Tape : Carry-on Bag Sizing : Lonely Planet iPhone App : Fish On The Move

This week ends with Flying With Fish swimming into new waters. If you surf over to www.flyingwithfish.com between 5:00pm EST/10:00pm GMT today and sometime on Sunday and don't see the site DO NOT PANIC! Flying With Fish is simply changing web-hosts. If you e-mail me this weekend chances are I won't see it until Monday on my Blackberry. You can still view the site at : http://flyingwithfish.blogspot.com

To read more about Fish on the move, both online and off-line (not only am I getting a new online home, but I am getting a new home for my family this weekend as well!) feel free to check out: 15/08/2008 – Flying With Fish Is Moving!

This week started off with Verified Identity Pass (VIP) finding its missing laptop containing more the personal information of more than 30,000 'Clear Card' patron enrolled in the Registered Traveler Program. The loss and 'miraculous' recovery of this laptop with non-encrypted data puts the overall security and trust we place in this system at critical risk. Find out why I question VIP's security of secure data as it related to the Registered Traveler program here: 9/08/2008 - Stolen 'Registered Traveler' Laptop Found, But Is The Data Safe?

I have discussed passenger etiquette multiple times on Flying With Fish. I am a firm believer in being courteous and practicing basic etiquette while flying which is why I love the "Jetiquette Card." You can check out the Jetiquette Card, as brought to you by The Sky Steward (www.skysteward.com), and print one our for yourself by clicking on this link: 11/08/2008 - The "Jetiquette" Card : Passenger Etiquette Revisited

Looking for a simple solution to quickly identifying your bags? I have discussed baggage identification and labeling quite a few times to quickly spot your bags and deter airport thieves.........now read up on the extremely simple tools to label my bags by reading this post: 12/08/2008 - Baggage Identification With Duct Tape : A Simple Solution

With more than 10,000 laptops being lost at airports each week in the United States learn a simple technique to significantly increase your chances of being reunited with your laptop in this entry: 13/08/2008 - Don't Lose Your Laptop In The Airport (and if you do get it back again)

Is your roll-aboard bag legal for carry-on while flying on international flights? You might be surprised. Learn how to measure your bags for international carry-on specifications here: 14/08/2008 - Is Your Carry-On Bag Legal For 'International' Carry-On? Maybe Not

This week's iPhone 'App' of the Week is ideal for travelers who want a powerful tool to help them communicate in a foreign land. Lonely Planet's Audio Phrasebooks are top notch! Navigate the Lonely Planet Mandarin Audio Phrasebook here: 14/08/2008 – iPhone 'App' Of The Week : Lonely Planet Mandarin Audio Phrasebook

I'm off to finish packing up, wake up in one house to go photograph a wedding and return to an entirely different house to go to sleep when I'm done!

I'll have regular access to internet again in a week when it is all set up in the new house................so please bare with me if there are gaps in my posts next week.

Happy Flying!

Flying With Fish Is Moving!

Web: www.fishfotoworldwide.com -- E-Mail: fish@flyingwithfish.com

15/08/2008 – Flying With Fish Is Moving!

I'm flapping my wings and moving to a new fish bowl!

My move this weekend happens both physically and online. My online move begins today as I change web hosts. After years of happily swimming around with S2F, the hosting business is closing up shop. The creators of S2F founded PhotoShelter (www.photoshelter.com) a few years ago and have chosen to focus entirely on that business. For you photographers looking for an outstanding and professional place to host and control your archive, for both clients or stock sales you should check into PhotoShelter.

In the land of linear time and space my house is being packed and we're taking the show on the road! After four years of living in a cramped house (in all fairness when I moved into this house I only had one kid and one large dog and now I have three kids and two large dogs) we're moving from a fishbowl to a full-sized aquarium. While the move is physically less than one mile the new place will let my kids spread their wings out and swim around with more space and freedom (and I'll get my own office.....woohoo!)

So, for those of you who check Flying With Fish daily,the web address www.flyingwithfish.com will be off-line for 24-to-48 hours, however you can pop in and visit Flying With Fish at: http://flyingwithfish.blogspot.com . During this transition my e-mail may be delayed for up to two days as well.

Posts on Flying With Fish next week may be sporadic as we get settled in and I will have no internet installed in my house until at least Thursday.

Happy Flying.

14 August 2008

iPhone 'App' Of The Week : Lonely Planet Mandarin Audio Phrasebook

Web: www.fishfoto.com -- E-Mail: fish@flyingwithfish.com

14/08/2008 – iPhone 'App' Of The Week : Lonely Planet Mandarin Audio Phrasebook

When traveling many people find quickly communicating in a foreign language difficult. Personally, I am terrible at learning new languages, so when I found Lonely Planet's Audio Phrasebook I was intrigued.

Lonely Planet's Audio Phrasebooks are easy to use and eliminate much confusion when asking simple questions (other than being completely embarrassed to be allowing an iPhone to speak for you). The categories of phrases are broken down into easy to find sections and subsections, such as Tools, Transport, Communications & Banking, Sightseeing, Shopping, and Greeting People.

Inside the sections are easy follow sub-sections. Inside of Communications & Banking for example the subsections are: the Internet, mobile/cell phone, telephone, post office, bank.

Inside each of these subsections are common phrases you may need to use to find the answer you are seeking.

The best feature included in Lonely Planet's Mandarin Audio Phrasebook is that once you find the phrase or question you'd like to ask an automatic voice says the question or phrase for you. This eliminates fumbling through an awkward attempt to incorrectly pronounce the phrase or question. Additionally this iPhone 'App' also displays the text in both 'Roman' and 'Chinese' characters so it may be easily read.

Having played with Lonely Planet's Mandarin Audio Phrasebook for use in practical applications I can safely say I will be downloading other languages available through Lonely Planet's iPhone 'Apps.'

Below are seven photos that walk you through the steps of using Lonely Planet's Mandarin Audio Phrasebook on your iPhone.

Happy Flying!

--Click Images To Enlarge Them--

Is Your Carry-On Bag Legal For 'International' Carry-On? Maybe Not

Web: www.thetravelstrategist.com -- E-Mail: fish@flyingwithfish.com

14/08/2008 - Is Your Carry-On Bag Legal For 'International' Carry-On? Maybe Not

Have you ever looked the dimensions of your roll-aboard bag and wondered exactly what was included in the bags dimensions?

This seems like a redundant question doesn't it? The company measured the 'whole bag' right? Well the answer is 'not really.'

Many bag manufactures measure the body of the bag, and exclude the wheels from the dimensions. While the overall actual size may be negligible for bags that have 'inset' wheels, the linear size difference between 'bag size' and 'bag size + wheels' for bags that have exterior wheels is quite significant. Often the difference in 'bag size’ and 'bag size + wheels' for bags with exterior wheels more than 1inch (2.54cm).

While 1"(2.54cm) may not seem like a big difference, it can easily be the difference between having your roll-aboard bag be allowed onto the plane with you and a gate agent telling you that you must check it at the gate.

In the U.S. and Canada we have experienced a fairly relaxed carry-on guidelines for our carry-on bags. Airlines in the US and Canada have traditionally measured a bag's dimensions by the size of the bag, excluding the wheels. This has allowed travelers to bring bags that technically exceed the maximum allowed carry-on sized bag onto their flights. With a change in carry on policies for some US airlines, the most notable being American Airlines, the dimension allowances for carry-on bags is becoming closer to those allowed in many airports in Europe and Asia (as well as Australia/New Zealand).

Outside of the US and Canada carry-on bags are measured by the total linear dimension of a bag, including the wheels. In fact many airlines have rigid baggage templates at not only the check-in counter but also at the departure gate. With a rigid baggage template there is no way to 'squeeze' your bag to fit. You can't fudge or fiddle with the tape measure to show that your bag 'fits.' With a template either your bag fits or it does not.

When shopping for a bag you should always measure your bag including the wheels. If you are not purchasing your bag in person you should find out if the bag is not only 'legal for carry-on’ but also legal for 'international carry-on' (that is if you're buying your bag in the US/Canada). If you have any questions about the bag size you should try and contact the manufacturer to find out if the dimensions of the bag include the wheels.

A great carry-on bag does you no good if you cannot bring it with you on all your flights...and there are few things as frustrating while in transit than being told your carry-on bag must be checked before you board the flight.

Happy Flying!

13 August 2008

Don't Lose Your Laptop In The Airport (and if you do get it back again)

Web: www.fishfotoworldwide.com -- E-Mail: fish@flyingwithfish.com

13/08/2008 - Don't Lose Your Laptop In The Airport (and if you do get it back again)

Every week an average of more than 10,000 laptops are lost at airports in the United States. Approximately 40% of these laptops are left at the security checkpoints with another 23% being left at the boarding gate.

Surprisingly most laptops found at have no owner identification easily found on them. The lack of easily locatable owner information results in most laptops not being returned to their owners.

I know, you're reading this thinking "I'd never leave my laptop behind," but accidents happen, especially when you're late and in a hurry. I have witnessed multiple people over the past few years pick up their laptop from the X-Ray bin, set it down next to their bag, repack their bag and walk away without placing the laptop into the bag. On quite a few occasions I have watched business travelers in an airport lounge get up and walk out while leaving their laptop on the table they were sitting at (more often than not they come running back in a few minutes later to claim their laptop).

What can you do to make your contact information easily found on your laptop?

The easiest solution is to make a simple label with your name, phone number and e-mail address (if you can access your e-mail without your laptop).

My 15" Apple PowerBook has two labels side-by-side on the keyboard. These labels have my name, web address, e-mail and phone numbers for me on three continents. My 13" Apple MacBook has a label on the top left of the screen casing, this label has my name and phone numbers in both the US & UK (I am switching it over to the two side-by-side labels before my next international trip).

Should you become separated from your laptop make sure anyone who finds it can easily contact you and return it to you.

Below are two photos so each of my travel laptops depicting where my labels are placed and information available to get the laptop returned to me.

Happy Flying!

--Click Images To Enlarge Them--

12 August 2008

Baggage Identification With Duct Tape : A Simple Solution

Web: www.fishfoto.com -- E-Mail: fish@flyingwithfish.com

12/08/2008 - Baggage Identification With Duct Tape : A Simple Solution

Over the past two years I have received countless e-mails asking me various solutions for labeling baggage so it is easily identifiable. I have written on the topic many times, each time detailing various ways. These topics range from how I colour code my bags to be easily spotted, to making sure my name and contact info is clearly found inside and outside of the bags.

Overall the quick and easy visual identification of my bags is carried out by the simple use of brightly coloured duct tape.

Duct tape, as everyone knows, has thousands of uses. Duct tape is used to fix heating ducts (its original purpose) to NASA's use of duct tape to keep astronauts alive on Apollo 13 (it was used to help modify the carbon dioxide filters....and again on Apollo 17 to repair a damaged fender on a lunar rover on the moon).

If duct tape can keep astronauts alive why overlook it as a simple solution to baggage identification? I generally use one colour tape on my bags so I can quickly spot my bags and to keep them all uniform. The colour I have chosen is "Flamingo Pink."

Duct tape will adhere to almost any surface and remain in place until removed, which makes it ideal for bags that will go from hot on the ramp to frozen in the baggage hold, to pouring rain waiting for your rental car.

My bags get wrapped with 1.88in (4.77cm) tape on the top and side handles, then additional tape on the front, back and remaining untaped side. By placing florescent coloured tape on all four sides of my bag not only can I identify my bag quickly, but also airport and baggage thieves are deterred from approaching my bag.

As I have also discussed many times in the past airport thieves want an easy target and a piece of luggage wrapped clearly in multiple places in extremely bright (and in some cases bordering on obnoxious) tape is not a bag they want to try and blend into the crowd with.

While I also use coloured electrical tape and gaffers tape on my equipment and personal items, my bags are primarily taped in duct tape. In the United States the easiest tape to find (in my experience) is Duck brand duct tape, however for ease of purchase when buying 'matching' duct tape, vinyl tape, electrical tape and gaffers tape I have not found any place that equals the quality and selection offered by TapeBrothers.com

Below is a photo of three rolls of duct tape I have on my shelf for labeling various pieces of travel gear. These three rolls of 'Duck Tape' are coloured Blaze Orange, Island Lime and Funky Flamingo (which is on my bags).

Happy Flying!

--Click Image To Enlarge--

11 August 2008

The "Jetiquette" Card : Passenger Etiquette Revisited

Web: www.thetravelstrategist.com -- E-Mail: fish@flyingwithfish.com

11/08/2008 - The "Jetiquette" Card : Passenger Etiquette Revisited

A frequently discussed topic on Flying With Fish is that of passenger etiquette. Etiquette seems simple enough, etiquette for travelers is straightforward and not terribly formal, yet many flyers seem to disregard it.

A few days ago while reading Jetiquette Blog (blog.jetiquette.org) by The Sky Steward (www.skysteward.com), I spotted the "Jetiquette Card." The "Jetiquette Card" is much like the aircraft safety instructions found your seat back pocket, except it has the top 10 rules for good traveling "Jetiquette.”

These rules are simple and easy to follow

1) No shouting on your cell phone. Speak softly into your cell phone.

2) Please control your children. Do not allow kids to kick the seat in front of them.

3) Do not irritate your neighbour with idle chatter. Know when to shut up.

4) Do not put trash in the seat back pockets or leave your tray table dirty. Please give all trash to the flight attendant or take it with you

5) Do not invade the space of your neighbour. Do not cross the imaginary armrest line.

6) Do not pull on the seat in front of you to get out of your seat. Use your armrests for support.

7) Don't hot the overhead bin space. Use the least amount of overhead space.

8) Don't change your baby on the tray table. Use the changing table in the bathroom.

9) Do not walk around bare foot. Please go into the lavatory with shoes on.

10) Do not leave a mess in the bathroom. Clean up after yourself (aim correctly).

I have considered printing up some of these "Jetiquette" cards and carrying them with me for when I encounter an exceptionally rude passenger. I know handing these cards out may be bad "Jetiquette" but it might help get the point across.

Happy Flying!

--Click Image Below For A High Resolution Image Of The Jetiquette Card--

09 August 2008

Stolen 'Registered Traveler' Laptop Found...But Is The Data Safe?

Web: www.fishfotoworldwide.com -- E-Mail: fish@flyingwithfish.com

9/08/2008 - Stolen 'Registered Traveler' Laptop Found, But Is The Data Safe?

Earlier this week I had written about a laptop being stolen containing the data of more than 30,000 'Clear' card users from a Verified Identity Pass (VIP) office at San Francisco International Airport (SFO). Verified Identity Pass operated the 'Clear' card program at 17 airports throughout the United States under the Registered Traveler Program.

I have received multiple e-mails asking why I had not written about the stolen laptop being found this past Tuesday, the day I wrote this entry: 5/08/2008 - 'Clear' Registered Traveler User Information Stolen

I had not written about the laptop being 'found' in the very office it was reported missing from 10 days earlier for a simple reason. This reason is that no one from VIP has been able to explain why VIP was delayed in reporting the theft to the US Department of Homeland Security (US DHS) and they are unable to explain where the laptop was for 10 days.

Authorities searched the office and it was clearly not in the office it went missing from. Ten days later the laptop 'magically' reappears in plain site in the very office it was stolen from. The laptop was clearly not 'found', it was not 'recovered,' it was returned.

Steve Brill, CEO of VIP states "We don't believe the security or privacy of these would-be members will be compromised in any way." Considering the laptop, containing sensitive information regarding more than 30,000 people, was unaccounted for and outside of a secure environment, for more than 10 days with completely unencrypted data how can this statement be made?

It is possible that no harm was done directly to the laptop. After speaking with a few computer security experts they all have a similar scenario suggestion that the laptop's hard drive was simply cloned. Cloning a hard drive appears to be fairly simple according these computer experts. These experts almost all universally agree that accessing a hard drive only protected by two passwords, rather than encrypted data, would be fairly simple to crack for an experienced hacker.

So, while I am happy to hear that the laptop has been returned to VIP, I do not believe the data related to "Clear's" Registered Traveler Program is secure. The information contained on the stolen laptop could very easily be used to steal the identity of those who had their information stored on the hard drive by VIP.

At this time the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is continuing the suspension of enrollment for new 'Clear' users.

Happy Flying!

08 August 2008

8/08/2008-The Weekly Round Up : Clear's Failed Security; Quick Hygiene; UK Seeks PNR Access; iPhone App Of The Week; Cost Of Airline Deregulation

Web: www.fishfoto.com -- E-Mail: fish@flyingwithfish.com

8/08/2008-The Weekly Round Up : "Clear" Security Compromised; Simply Hygiene On The Road; UK Gov't Seeks More PNR Access; iPhone App Of The Week ; Cost Of Airline Deregulation; Fish On The Radio

This week has been spent planning some future trips, making detailed notes for the book I'm writing, starting to pack my house to move (I'm only moving a few minute walk away from my current house) and wondering what would positive affect would take place to the United States airline industry should airport security tactics be changed to be more 'user friendly,' rather than hostile.

This week on Flying With Fish was kicked off with an audio of clip of me appearing as a guest on the Charles Adler Show, a national talk show in Canada, discussing airport and passenger security. You can listen to my interview here: 2/08/2008 - Audio Clip Of Flying With Fish On the Charles Adler Radio Show Now Available

No one expects their airplane seat, hotel room phone or airport security bin to be clean. The more I travel the more I become a sanitary 'germaphobe.' Fine out why I find Purell to be an invaluable part of my travel kit, no matter where I am headed, here:
4/08/2008 - Killing Germs On The Road : Purell's 1oz 2-Go Carrier

Verified Identity Pass is a private company that oversees the United States 'Registered Traveler' program by administering the Clear Card......and it also turns out they keep the private information of Clear Card users on non-encrypted laptops sometimes. Can we trust the Registered Traveler program? Find out what happened by clicking here: 5/08/2008 - 'Clear' Registered Traveler User Information Stolen

With the current state of the airline industry, and rising airline fares , is flying still more affordable than it was before Airline Deregulation in the United States? Read AeroChannel.com's excellent feature story on this here: 6/08/2008 - The Price Of Airline Deregulation Explained By AeroChannel

Technology has a trade off. The more we have technology the more we can be 'tracked' in our day-to-day activities. With this ability to track our movements the British Government is seeking access to airline PNR records to track travel throughout the UK. As the British Government is seeking access to passenger PNR records they are also defending the 'hack' of their 'fake proof ePassport. Learn more about these important issues in this post: 6/08/2008 – British Government Seeks To Access Airline PNRs As Its New Passport Fails Security Tests

Traveling? Don't want to pay for an expensive plug adapter? I have a cheap simple solution to Type B to Type A plugs here: 7/08/2008 – Simple International Plug Adapter Solution For Some Travel Scenarios

In my second iPhone 'App' Of The Week I introduce the perfect 'App' for anyone who is prone to losing their mobile phone. Fine out what "If Found" can for you in this post: 7/08/2008 – iPhone 'App' Of The Week : If Found

That's it for this week!

Happy Flying!

07 August 2008

iPhone 'App' Of The Week : If Found

Web: www.thetravelstrategist.com -- E-Mail: fish@flyingwithfish.com

7/08/2008 – iPhone 'App' Of The Week : If Found

Anyone who has lost their mobile phone knows the frustration of wondering if someone will find their phone, and then will they be able to find out who owns the phone to return it. We increasingly keep our lives on our phones, the numbers we call, the schedules we keep and with the iPhone the music we listen to and some movies we watch.

The iTunes 'App Store' has a great free 'App' appropriately named "If Found." "If Found" is now my screen saver because quite simply this 'App' tells anyone who finds your phone who the phone belongs to and how to return it to them.

“If Found” allows you to list your general contact information, as well as a specific phone number to call and e-mail address to contact if you have alternate contact information. You can even list a reward for the return of your iPhone (my reward is set at US$250)

There is no flashy gimmick to "If Found.” This ‘App’ can't tell you today's baseball scores, it can't give you the latest stocks, it can't find you the nearest Starbucks, it won't even tell you if your flight is delayed...........but it will very clearly let anyone who may find your phone (should you lose it) know who the phone belongs to and how to return it.

Below are three images of the iPhone with "If Found."

Happy Flying!

--Click Images To Enlarge Them--

Simple International Plug Adapter Solution For Some Travel Scenarios

Web: www.fishfotoworldwide.com -- E-Mail: fish@flyingwithfish.com

7/08/2008 – Simple International Plug Adapter Solution For Some Travel Scenarios

The other day I received an e-mail from a photographer headed over to Taiwan to photograph a project wanted to know who made reliable international plug adapters.

I emailed him back and told him that coming from North America (as he is Canadian) he didn't need any adapter. The reply I got back was that the travel information he was sent stated he needed a "Type A to Type B" plug adapter, and his local travel shop had a generic adapter in stock for CAN$14.99.

Once I read this I found myself laughing quietly to myself in my room, as anyone in North America can find a simple Type A to Type B international plug adapter at any hardware store for less than US$2.00. How is this possible you ask? Simple. A 'Type B' plug is a standard three-prong electrical outlet used in North America and a 'Type A' plug is a simple two-prong electrical outlet used throughout the world (two vertical and flat prongs).

While the United States, Mexico and Canada use both Type B and Type A outlets, Type A outlets can be found at least more than 45 countries around the globe.

From Brazil to Japan to Saudi Arabia, Type A plugs are possibly the most used outlet type throughout the world (except maybe for Type C the European 'two-pin' outlet type, which is also compatible with Type E and Type F plugs).

So, if you're traveling from the North America and you see that the country you are traveling to uses the 'flat-two-prong' plug you do not need some expensive adapter. Keep in mind that some countries may use multiple plug types, but most countries are fairly straight forward and universal in their plug types.

For a quick reference, below is a list of countries I know of that use Type A plugs:
Aruba; American Samoa; Anguilla; Bahamas; Bermuda; Bangladesh; Brazil; Bolivia; Barbados; Canada; China, PRC; Cambodia; Cayman Islands; Colombia, Cuba; Costa Rica; El Salvador; Ecuador; Guatemala; Guam; Guyana; Haiti; Honduras; Jamaica; Japan; Laos; Liberia; Lebanon; Mexico; Monserrat; Maldives; Netherlands Antilles; Nicaragua; Niger; Panama; Puerto Rico; Peru; Philippines; Palmyra Atoll; Saudi Arabia; Taiwan; Tahiti; Trinidad & Tobago; United States; Venezuela; Virgin Islands; Yemen

For a detailed list of countries and their electrical outlet styles visit Steve Kropla's site "Help for World Travelers" here: www.kropla.com/electric2.htm

Below is a photo of my simple solution to taking your 3-prong plug and using it in standard 2-prong plugs around the world. No need for an 'international travel adapter.'

Happy Flying!

--Click Image To Enlarge--

06 August 2008

British Government Seeks To Access Airline PNRs As Its New Passport Fails Security Tests

Web: www.fishfoto.com -- E-Mail: fish@flyingwithfish.com

6/08/2008 – British Government Seeks To Access Airline PNRs As Its New Passport Fails Security Tests

As security tightens around the world the British government is now seeking to gain access to airline Passenger-Name-Records (PNRs) as a method of tracking criminals.

Under the current European Union (EU) law, governments may only use PNRs when actively investigating terrorist threats or for the investigation of organized crime. The British Government, while a member of the EU is not a "Schengen Country" (referring to the Schengen Agreement among European nations) which may end up playing a factor in their argument with the EU over their desire to use PNR numbers to track passengers.

To further track those traveling, passengers the British Government is also considering seeking access to PNR information related to domestic passengers as well. As photo identification is not required at all British airports for domestic travel, the British Government may want to try improving some basic security measures before leaping into complex security measures for the identification of those flying within the United Kingdom.

The British Government's request to access PNR information comes at the same time The Times of London reported that the UK's new "fake proof" ePassport could be cloned in minutes. The cloning of the ePassports RFID chips is being reported just a few days after it was reported that 3,000 blank British passports were stolen.

For more information on the cloning of the British ePassport check out today's story at the TimesOnline here:

Happy Flying

The Price Of Airline Deregulation Explained By AeroChannel

Web: www.thetravelstrategist.com.com -- E-Mail: fish@flyingwithfish.com

6/08/2008 - The Price Of Airline Deregulation Explained By AeroChannel

Over the past few weeks I have been putting together information related to the costs of airline travel, the intricate nature of why airlines can and can't fly certain routes and the state of the US airline industry. I had been planning on continuing to research the relative costs of airline travel; however this afternoon AeroChannel.com posted a feature story that saved me a lot of legwork and a lot of research.

Quite frankly, I think AeroChannel.com's "The Price of Deregulation" as written by Cindy Hernandez is a far better and more detailed than anything I would have written. So rather than try and create an inferior article, I'd rather you all go and read her feature story instead.

You can find "The Price of Deregulation" at this direct link:

.....now back to researching other topics, since AeroChannel.com has this one covered.

Happy Flying!

05 August 2008

'Clear' Registered Traveler User Information Stolen

Web: www.fishfotoworldwide.com -- E-Mail: fish@flyingwithfish.com

5/08/2008 - 'Clear' Registered Traveler User Information Stolen

For the past few days I have been reading rumours and reports of a laptop being stolen from the Verified Identity Pass company office on the 26th of July, at San Francisco International Airport (SFO).

What is the big deal with a company laptop being stolen from a company office? Normally it is not such a big deal, unless that company operates the "Clear" card scheme and is in charge of maintaining and operating the "Registered Traveler" program in the United States.

When a laptop was stolen from the Verified Identity Pass office the security of the Registered Traveler program was compromised. The laptop contained the personal information of more than 33,000 Clear applicants and users. To make matters worse, none of this information was encrypted. The Clear-users file had only a double password to gain access. The files are far from secure as a skilled hacker can get past two passwords and enter a non-encrypted file with some finesse.

What kind of information does this laptop contain in regard to more than 33,000 Clear card users? All the information you would need to steal someone's identity. These files include names, date of birth, address, social security numbers and in many files a Clear Card users drivers license and/or passport number of Clear users.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has suspended any new applicants from seeking to sign up for the Clear card. While the TSA has suspended this application process at this time it does mean that the overall security of Registered Traveler program has been compromised. The TSA is charged with the security of the traveling public and Verified Identity Pass is a private company that oversees the security of the Registered Traveler program. How can these two entities place the very sensitive information of 33,000 Clear users into a file that is not encrypted?

Shouldn't the actual use of the Clear lane be suspended at this time? With all this stolen data can we trust the true identity of those who will be applying for a Clear card in the future? Is it possible that an identity thief can use the stolen date of those who are in the Clear system without a passport to request all the required documents to illegally get a passport? With this valuable piece of identification can the identity thief now apply for Clear to be a "Registered Traveler" and provide their person biometrics with a false identity gained through Verified Identity Pass' inability to keep secure and sensitive data secure?

I very recently was reconsidering looking into the Clear system again to speed up travel through certain airports. I had decided against Clear in the past and now in-light of Verified Identity Pass' blatant inability to keep data secure I have to question the overall use of the system to keep the flying public secure as well.

Happy Flying!

04 August 2008

Killing Germs On The Road : Purell's 1oz 2-Go Carrier

Web: www.fishfoto.com -- E-Mail: fish@flyingwithfish.com

4/08/2008 - Killing Germs On The Road : Purell's 1oz 2-Go Carrier

Let's face it nearly everything you touch on the road is dirty. The check-in kiosk is dirty, the security lane bins are filthy, your arms rests on the plane are disgusting, and the tray table could probably be a science experiment. We go through the airport and get on the planes without a second thought to our health and the sanitary conditions surrounding us. If we thought about this as we went through our time in transit we'd probably lose our minds.

Years ago I found my solution to trying to stay as sanitary as possible on the road. One night while cruising through my local Target I picked up the Purell 2-Go Carrier pack. The pack (priced at under US$3.00) comes with two 1oz Purell containers and a flexible rubber carry strap that is reusable. Everywhere I go I simply hang a 1oz container from my bag. When I touch something I immediately squirt some Purell on my hands, briskly rub my hands together and move along.

For those of you who do not know what Purell is, it is a liquid instant hand sanitizer (my kids call it 'Magic Soap'). Purell is reported to kill 99.99% of surface germs, which you’d pick up in the course of your normal day, such as touching doors, holding the railing on the train, or nearly anything else you'd touch. This liquid instant sanitizer does not replace washing your hands, or aid in getting dirt off, but it does kill the germs on your hands.

My 'Purell 2-Go' is usually on the outside of my bag even as I pass my bag through the security x-ray machine. If I am questioned about it (which is extremely rare) I slip it into a 1-quart Ziploc bag (3-1-1 bag) and send it back through security (except for one incident at PHL that I won't go into).

Since surface germs are the cause of many of us getting ill this is an indispensable item to carry with you whether you're traveling to the grocery story or around the world.

Below are a few photos of package of Purell 2-Go, the 1oz container with strap and the Purell 2-Go hanging off my Mountainsmith Parallax backpack which is packed and ready to head out on a photo shoot.

Happy Flying!

--Click Images To Enlarge Them--

02 August 2008

Audio Clip Of Flying With Fish On the Charles Adler Radio Show Now Available

Web: www.thetravelstrategist.com -- E-Mail: fish@flyingwithfish.com

2/08/2008 - Audio Clip Of Flying With Fish On the Charles Adler Radio Show Now Available

This past Thursday I was a guest on the Charles Adler Show, a talk radio who that is broadcast throughout Canada.

Yesterday an audio clip from the show was sent to me, and Scott Sheppard, the host of Inside Digital Photo Radio cleaned up the audio and spliced the two audio files together for me.......Thanks Scott!

For those of you who were unable to tune into the radio show on Thursday, you can listen to my segment discussing airport theft at this link:

Happy Flying!

01 August 2008

1/08/2008-The Weekly Round Up : Travel Sized Essentials; Check-In Kiosk Theft; iPhone App Of The Week; Emirates Goes Off Line; Your Laptop & US Custom

Web: www.fishfotoworldwide.com -- E-Mail: fish@flyingwithfish.com

1/08/2008-The Weekly Round Up : Travel Sized Essentials; Check-In Kiosk Theft; Flying With Fish Community; iPhone App Of The Week; Flying With Fish On The Air; Emirates Goes Off Line; US Customs Policy On Searching Your Data

What a seemingly long week it has been. The airline industry stocks have risen slightly with the minor drop in oil prices, yet airlines such as Northwest Airlines have announced increased in airfares. This week I've written about thieves stealing from passengers while never setting foot in the airport and a major international airline making a major marketing mistake in the middle of their most important marketing campaign.

Diversity in stories makes what I do a little more fun sometimes

This week began with a trivial topic of being able to find travel sized 'creature comforts,' at an online shop that only sells travel sized essentials.....and not so essentials. To find out more on where to find your travel sized essentials and creature comforts check out: 28/07/2008 - One Stop Shopping For Travel Sized Essentials

When many travelers check-in at the airport they think nothing of using their credit card in the machine to verify their identity. Recently a security breach has been found in some check-in kiosks at Toronto's Pearson Airport (YYZ) that might make travelers rethink their choice in using a credit card to check in. Find out more about this here:
29/07/2008 – Are Thieves Using Self Check-in Kiosks?

This past week I started thinking about creating a community where readers of Flying With Fish could share information among themselves. The world is a small community, and shared information is a valuable asset to those heading out on the road. Interested in joining a free community of like-minded travelers? Find out how to join the 'Travel_Planning' community on LiveJournal in this post: 30/07/2008 – Flying With Fish Community For LiveJournal Users

I was recently given an iPhone (original iPhone) to start using as an effective travel tool. This week was my first entry of "iPhone 'App' Of The Week." This will hopefully become a regular series on Flying With Fish. This new series kicked off with the Travelocity App. Find out why I like the Travelocity App for life on the road here: 30/07/2008 – iPhone 'App' Of The Week : iPhone Tools For Road Warriors

On Thursday I was contacted by the Charles Adler Show, a popular talk radio show that is broadcast through Canada to be a guest on the show. The topic is one I have discussed often on Flying With Fish, airport thefts and how to protect yourself. I should have an audio clip of the show shortly and will post in when I receive it. To learn more about the how visit this entry: 31/07/2008 – Flying With Fish Featured On A Canadian National Radio Show Today......Tune In!

I ended July with a post that should remind anyone to go check their domain expiration dates! This past week while Emirates was in the midst of their largest marketing campaign ever to publicize the launch of their Airbus A380 service between Dubai (DXB) and New York (JFK) they failed to renew their domain name. When potential passengers logged onto the airline's website they were briefly met by a generic domain host placeholder page. To read more on this subject, and see screen shots of both the 'place holder' page and the current web page click on: 31/07/2008 – Emirates 'Goes Off Line' (no, they didn't go out of business......just off line)

Since a 2006 ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, US Customs and Boarder Protection (US CBP) Agents have the authority to search all electronic materials entering the United States without probably cause. This has been an on going concern that for some reason finally made the cover of The Washington Post today. While many have been following the potential problems this authorization by the US CBP may have for travelers it seems that now it is now finally come into the view of the 'mainstream media.' To find out some options you may have to safe guard your data check here:
1/08/2008 – US Customs Has The Right To Search Your Laptop Without Cause : What You Can Do

For those of you looking for topics not covered this week, why not check out two cool 'how to' articles on Popular Photography's web site (one is really a 'how not to' article)? Check out the two articles by clicking the links below
- Six Vacation Photos That Can Kill You
- Five Out Of The Ordinary Photo Trips

......and remember to check out Come Fly With Fish for information on two up coming hands on, feet on the ground, fast paced, photo workshops. Sitting around wondering if you could tackle five great cities in Europe in five days? Day dreaming around shooting on four continents, a sub-continent and in nearly a dozen world-class cities in less than two week? Visit www.comeflywithfish.com

Happy Flying!

US Customs Has The Right To Search Your Laptop Without Cause : What You Can Do

Web: www.fishfoto.com -- E-Mail: fish@flyingwithfish.com

1/08/2008 – US Customs Has The Right To Search Your Laptop Without Cause : What You Can Do

Over the past few weeks there have been many discussions between business travelers related to the U.S Customs & Boarder Protection's (US CBP) announcement that have the absolute right to detain laptops and all other digital storage devices for the review of the data upon entry into the United States. This full disclosure from US CBP was released on the 16th of July 2008 and was previously supported by ruling dating back to 2006 by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (9th Circuit Court).

I am discussing this today because of a flurry of e-mail received this morning regarding an article in the Washington Post today regarding this subject. I'm not sure why the Washington Post decided to place this on page A1 this morning, as it is not breaking news, but a long standing US CBP policy that is not new.

So what does this mean for travelers entering the United States when crossing through a US CBP screening area? It means that anything you have with you, from a Post-It note in your pocket to your Blackberry is subject to being detained and reviewed. The US CBP is able to review anything they'd like without any probably cause or suspicion and this can happen to anyone, both foreigners entering the United States and United States Citizens.

While the policy is alarming to many it has been in place for years, even prior to the 2006 ruling by the 9th Circuit Court. When you enter the United States (or most any other country) the area between your gate the terminal you are not technically admitted to the country yet. Even once your passport has been stamped you may still be stopped by Customs and have your bags checked at their discretion and without cause, because you are not in the country yet. Once you cross through the exit into the public space in the terminal THEN you are in the country and then you can argue your liberties (depending on the country).

I am not going to go into the details what the reasoning behind the policy established by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (US DHS) and the US CBP, but I will give some business travelers options on how to avoid these problems should you get stopped.

Clearly the biggest issue is for those that work in professions that require confidentiality, such as lawyers, doctors, government contractors, technology, etc. Having anyone review your documents can technically be illegal, and this is especially true of those in the medical field. This US CBP policy directly conflicts with doctor-patient laws in the United States.

If you worry about your data being reviewed you can use software that fully backs up your computer, then you can wipe the hard drive and enter the United States with a clean computer. One way some business are doing this is by using software, such as TrueCrypt, to back up the computer in it's entirely, uploading the file created by TrueCrypt to an FTP site, then wiping the computer clean. Upon entry into the United States not only is the data protected by an encrypted password, but also the computer is essentially clean. If you choose to unlock the computer for the US CBP they can see nothing by a clean machine.

Some business travelers who use Mac have been backing up their entire system via Apple's TimeMachine, then FedExing that drive home, overnight while uploading the last un-backed up files to an FTP then wiping the machine. Again, working this way allows you to cross US CBP with a totally clean machine; there is no data for US CBP to review. When you get home you hook the external drive to the laptop and fully restore the laptop (including software) to how it was before you wiped the drive.

I know these are extreme measures, and there is nothing on my laptop that could be used against me by the US CBP, however since they give no indication of what they are looking for or what is determined to be data that could link me to a 'terrorist cell' I do worry about them searching my computer.

For years I documented homeland security as a news photographer. During this time I made thousands of images of the TSA, Airport Police, US Coast Guard operation, US Immigrations, US Customs and other 'national security' agencies. What happens when they comb my computer and find some images in portfolios and subfolder on the subject that show detailed images of airport security that are really no threat at all? Would I be subject to detainment? What happens when they pull up a photo of me standing on the roof of Basrah International Airport (BSR) in Iraq where you can clearly read the airport name in both English and Arabic behind me?

I have not found a good solution to backing up and wiping a Blackberry so if any of you have suggestions for this feel free to let me know.

I leave you with these wise words from a Founding Father of the United States, Benjamin Franklin - "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."

Happy Flying!