I was thinking about canceling one of my mileage credit cards. Before doing that however, I have to transfer the miles to some travel partner or spend it. As I was considering which travel partner to use, I came across Avianca from several travel sites, so I figured I would shop around and take a look.
It looks like for almost all of the places I want to go, Avianca is lowest in terms of miles and fees! You can take a look at the chart below for reference. I just picked a few airlines to compare and entered the points. I didn’t enter the American airlines because I’m already familiar with them and use them regularly.
That said, Chase Ultimate rewards don’t transfer to Avianca. It’s okay though. Capital One Spark and Citi both do at 1:1.
If you’re interested in getting a Capital One card, right now, they have various cards with different bonus levels, but the best one to probably get is with a 50,000 mile bonus after a $4500 spend in the first 3 months. They’ll give you 2 miles per $ on anything that you spend it on. There’s a $95 annual fee after the first year, but you can get $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓. Please use my referral link here: https://capital.one/3jgk5CB
If you don’t have a Chase Sapphire Preferred, you should get it NOW. It’s like the Reserve deal they had a few years ago, but better. 100k bonus is worth almost a couple of plane tickets or $1250. Only $95 annual fee, but you can get $50 back if you book a hotel through Chase travel. https://www.referyourchasecard.com/6c/3ISV1VU99F
There are a number of reasons why I like Bing over Google, but the main reason is because Bing pays me for each search I make and Google doesn’t. It’s worth just under a penny per search, but it’s not nothing consider I do a number of searches daily and also use it as a decent news source. The Bing rewards pays for all of my Skype usage, which is probably about $5/month and once in a while, I grab $5 Amazon or Target gift cards.
I find the quality of the content to be similar *most* of the time. I do searching on Google probably less than 5% of the time – mostly for doing reverse lookup of phone numbers that call me.
I recently downloaded an img file online where a lot of people claimed the image was too large for their SD cards. For that reason, I got a bit curious to know which card he used, which cards were larger/smaller, etc.
These were the partitions on that image.
Device Boot Start End Sectors Size Id Type image.img1 32768 262143 229376 112M c W95 FAT32 (LBA) image.img2 262144 14598143 14336000 6.8G 83 Linux image.img3 14598144 250347519 235749376 112.4G 7 HPFS/NTFS/exFAT
The last sector is marked in bold. The person that shared the image claimed that the card he used was the same Samsung 128gb EVO select card. I guess he was lucky. I have 2 of those cards and this image didn’t fit on either of them.
I went through all of my SD cards to check their sizes hoping to find one that fit. Here are the sizes in order from smallest to largest.
Team 128GB Elite microSDXC UHS-I U3, V30, A1, 4K UHD Memory Card with SD Adapter, Speed Up to 90MB/s (TEAUSDX128GIV30A103)
Disk /dev/sde: 117.75 GiB, 126437294080 bytes, 246947840 sectors Disk model: MassStorageClass Units: sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes Disklabel type: dos Disk identifier: 0xc9f931c9
Device Boot Start End Sectors Size Id Type /dev/sde1 32768 262143 229376 112M c W95 FAT32 (LBA) /dev/sde2 262144 14598143 14336000 6.8G 83 Linux /dev/sde3 14598144 246947839 232349696 110.8G 7 HPFS/NTFS/exFAT
This was the smallest of the cards. The difference in size is only a couple of gigabytes, but if you tried to load the image on this card by the byte, you would not be successful.
I love Raise. I used to buy gift cards from Raise.com all the time. It used to give me the opportunity to earn an additional 5% in airline mileage. It’s not so much anymore, but it’s not nothing and was always worth it for me, until now.
Actually, I would say go ahead and keep doing it, but be careful.
I wanted a laptop from Walmart, so I went to Raise and bought some Walmart gift cards to acquire the laptop. It worked great and I was expecting something like 4-5 points per dollar (3 points for the Walmart shopping portal and 1-2 points for Raise.
This would’ve been great, but the nightmare began after I returned the laptop. Walmart refunded my credit card and one of the gift cards, but not both. I went on chat with Walmart.com multiple times and the answers varied between they would investigate, they would credit it, and they would need to escalate. Every time, they had me waiting 24 hours in the meanwhile. Finally, I called and they told me the gift card was used for several returns and was blacklisted or something like that. They said I needed to provide a picture of the original gift card along with the receipt of purchase of the card to get the credit. Fine.
I sent them the Raise receipt along with a screenshot of the digital gift card. Did they accept it? Of course not. Response:
We have researched your Gift Card concern and determined that this Walmart Gift Card was bought from a third party. Please contact the third party seller for assistance on the gift card.
Thank you for contacting Walmart, where we are always happy to help!
– Walmart Gift Card
Are they really happy to help? I doubt it. The woman on the phone didn’t sound happy. They wouldn’t pass me over to anyone else. The only thing they could offer me say they’re sending the message in and wait for 24 hours.
What did I do then? Well, the only logical thing to do is go to Raise. I went to Raise and gave them the story. They told me that if I was able to redeem the card the first time, that’s all that they were responsible for. I think that’s the right thing, actually. If the card worked, it’s Walmart’s fault that they’re not returning my credit. I then asked if they could help me with the receipt. Of course not. Raise could not provide it.
So here I am, stuck. What would you do?
As much as I hope to get some good advice here, perhaps I can offer some advice so that you don’t run into the same problem.
When buying gift cards, unless you’re sure you’re not returning the item, avoid any gift card that doesn’t end in .00 or standard number. For example, buy a card that’s $10, not $10.34. Don’t buy an $18 gift card, buy a $20 gift card.
Use your gift cards asap. Don’t even buy the gift card unless you’re getting a really good discount or you are planning to use it immediately. There are hackers out there, script kiddies actually, that will run numbers randomly to try to hit the right combinations. I’ve fallen victim to it a couple of times. I hope that you do not.
I’m doing this only because I’ve done this multiple times and never documented it and had to go through and do multiple google searches each time. Hopefully this is the last time.
First off, install the OpenLDAP server and clients. I’ll install the client on the server too so that I could easily troubleshoot. If you’re using IPtables, you’ll need to open up ports 389 and 636 as well.
yum -y install openldap-clients openldap-servers
Next, I want to do some logging so that I could get messages if I need to troubleshoot. Here’s how to enable the syslog side of logging. Configuring the details of logging from the LDAP server side comes from the cn=config information.
Configuring TLS for openldap. This just edits the /etc/sysconfig/slapd file and adds ldaps to it so that it will listen on that port.
sed -i "s,ldap:///,ldap:/// ldaps:///," /etc/sysconfig/slapd
Restart the LDAP server for ldaps to take effect.
systemctl start slapd systemctl enable slapd
Extending schema of openldap so that it accepts a bunch of the common attributes that typical directory servers have. The adschema attached is to support the MemberOf attribute, commonly used by AD servers. You can put the file anywhere you want. I happened to do this in Vagrant, so my file was in /vagrant.
I’m also extending the schema using some of the schema files provided by OpenLDAP itself.
Now it’s time to configuring rootdn. This is basically the top of the LDAP tree. You should download the file and edit it. Change your directory manager password and the rootdn to whatever you like. You can use dc=xxx or o=xxx.
SV-LT-1361:Downloads altonyu$ openssl s_client -connect 192.168.0.117:636
depth=0 C = US, ST = CA, L = San Francisco, O = ShocKNetworK, CN = ldap.poc.segmentationpov.com, emailAddress = [email protected]
verify error:num=20:unable to get local issuer certificate
depth=0 C = US, ST = CA, L = San Francisco, O = ShocKNetworK, CN = ldap.poc.segmentationpov.com, emailAddress = [email protected]
verify error:num=21:unable to verify the first certificate
0 s:/C=US/ST=CA/L=San Francisco/O=ShocKNetworK/CN=ldap.poc.segmentationpov.com/[email protected]
I’m not one of those crazy fear mongers that like to talk about the end of the world, etc. I am an pessimist most of the time though. There’s been tons of blog posts and even the media has told people to do this. It used to cost money to freeze your credit file. Because of security breaches, the government made this free. You should take advantage of this. The reason I’m posting this is because there are still many people I know that haven’t done this and very few people that I talk to have. You’ll hear about a new data breach once every few months or so and sometimes it’s big, sometimes it’s not. Regardless, your information is probably out there for purchase on the dark web. Back when Scott McNealy was CEO of Sun Microsystems, he said “You have zero privacy anyway … Get over it.” I think it’s truer today than ever.
That said, even if you data isn’t out there, you should protect yourself. One important way is to freeze your credit report. The links are below, but they can change at any time.
Note: You can unfreeze anytime for free and it’s instantaneous, but if you’re looking to get a bank loan, mortgage, credit card or something else that will require your credit to be checked, you might want to do that before freezing your credit files. If you have already frozen your credit files and need credit cards, etc, just ask them which credit bureau they’ll be running. Most banks will tell you. When they do, you can do temporary lifts and it’s a pretty simple process.
All credit bureaus have been breached at some point. They will be hit again. Please, freeze your credit files.
Some additional things to do are to keep an eye on your finances and monitor your personal credit report and financial activity. Nearly every bank now will also do credit monitoring for free. Sign up if you need to. If your bank doesn’t do it, find one that does.
Install the travel apps. I use TripIt, Hopper, and a bunch of different airline apps. I’ve been told that Synchronize, Currency, and Speak&Translate are also quite useful. I also have Uber and Lyft. Different places will have other taxi apps e.g. Grab Taxi is Singapore’s best taxi app. Just check and install them before you go. I can tell you that Uber works in France and Australia.
Download streaming content into your phone or tablet. Many places in the world now, including planes have wifi, but you’ll be surprised how many places don’t have them. I recommend if you’re using Netflix or whatever you’re using, download whatever your entertainment is just in case so you’re not too bored on a plane or airport or somewhere else.
Download offline maps. Google maps allows you to download offline maps of wherever you’re going onto your phone. Just in case you don’t have good service where you go, I recommend downloading the maps.
Find a good phone carrier. I think T-Mobile is probably the best carrier for travel considering the unlimited (slow) data in almost any country you go to. I also never need to change my number when visiting other countries. One trick my wife and I use is that we tether our phones to each other so that we can make regular phone calls for free while moving.
Carry a travel adapter. This is redundant with my travel packing list. Most plugs on airplanes are universal and European adapters tend to stay in much better than U.S prongs.
Drink lots of liquids on the airplane. It’s very easy to get dehydrated on planes. It’s tempting to drink alcohol when it’s free, but I don’t drink alcohol often on planes and wouldn’t suggest it. Staying hydrated might help get over jet lag as well.
Be careful with the local water. Talking about you staying hydrated, find out if the local water is drinkable. Even if the local water is drinkable, it may not taste good or it might be safe enough for locals, but not you. You might consider buying bottled water. You might also consider boiling the local water if you have a kettle in your hotel room. Sometimes, I drink boiled water when I run out of bottled water and the room’s mini bar is out.
Take down your hotel address. I love Google maps. Put your hotel address in your locations or favorites. Also take down the room number and put it in notes or something.
Beware of Free Public WIFI. You’re not sure who’s snooping on wifi. You might want to avoid using it or just using it for unimportant things like directions and stuff. You don’t know how safe it is. Consider using a VPN for surfing. It’ll slow you down, but might be more secure. I have lifetime subscriptions with VPNSecure.me and KeepSolid.
Subscribe to a VPN service. That’s one way to be able to view some of the content you’re used to watching at home, be it YouTube TV or something else.
Alert Your Bank and Credit Card Company of Your Travel Plans. This can help you avoid some embarrassment in some places. You don’t want to be on hold with your bank while far away.
Withdraw money from ATMs – Do not exchange currency at counters. Exchange currency counters, especially at airports are a total ripoff! I use ATMs at airports all the time though. First Republic bank reimburses all of my ATM fees and seems to give me the best rates.
Get a credit card without exchange / foreign transaction fees. Those exchange/foreign transaction fees could be quite expensive! There are plenty of credit cards out there now without the fees and that also give you some great travel rewards. Consider those. There might be an annual fee, but some annual fees are worth it. Some banks will waive or credit annual fees if you just spend some more money.
Spend money in their currency if your credit card does not have exchange fees. If they ask what currency you want to pay in, always pay in their currency if you have one of those no-fee credit cards. The rates are always better.
Use the hotel safe if possible. Prior to doing so though, check if the administrative code has been changed on the safe. You can find some videos on how to do that on YouTube, like in the one below.
Use the “Do Not Disturb”door hanger if there’s a physical one. Some now have a button for you to press so it may not make a difference. The reason I do is because first off, I don’t want to be disturbed when I’m in the room. Secondly, it’s easier for someone to think the room is there’s if all doors look alike. If yours has the door hanger, they’ll know the room isn’t there’s unless they used it also. The downside of this is that you will need to remove it if you want the room cleaned. Some hotels will give you more points if you don’t have the room cleaned. I don’t want people seeing my things so I often will leave the door hanger on the door and skip the cleaning service regardless of whether or not I get the additional points.
Have a backup! Keep some cash, identification (or copy of it), and a credit card with your luggage. Of course, keep some with you also.
Keep medication/contacts/toiletries on you! If you take any regular medication, always keep some in your carry-on, backpack, purse, or whatever you carry with you in case your luggage is lost. A set of extra contact lenses would help as well. A comb, toothpaste and toothbrush can come in handy in airport/airplane bathrooms. Some airlines are nice enough to provide you these things. Others may only do it in first class. I also like to have earplugs that I sometimes put under my headset.
Bring Clothes, just in case – Hopefully, you’ll never have to deal with lost luggage, but it never hurts to be prepared. I usually keep a shirt, pair of socks, and underwear in a ziplock bag in my backpack just in case.
Use your downtime. You can check into your hotel room well in advance nowadays with most hotels. I usually have Uber open immediately after landing. If you’re traveling for business, you can do your expense reports while waiting for a flight or in an Uber back to the hotel. It beats having to look for all of your receipts. I usually snap a photo immediately after getting it and just throw it away.
Carry a water filter bottle. I often bring my Brita bottle. If you’re not drinking bottled water, you can boil water and drink it as is. I like to use the Brita bottle because I always feel it makes my water taste a little better. Also with a straw, I drink way more water for some reason.
Keep some hand sanitizer with you! Considering that there are germs everywhere and that there’s a nasty Coronavirus around, carry a small bottle of hand sanitizer and spray it or rub some regularly. I dry out my hands every once in a while, but I fear getting sick on a trip more than anything!
Steal hotel laundry bags – for division of clean and dirty clothes, they come pretty handy. If I didn’t use some clothes, I just leave them in the bottom of the suitcase and then just use the bag on top of it and throw the dirty clothes on top of that. That way, when you get home, you could just throw the dirty clothes right into the washer and put the clean clothes away.
Steal the hotel shampoo, conditioner, lotion, etc, but only if it’s good quality and you’re going to multiple cities. You never know if the hotel in the next city will have comparable ones unless you’re staying at the same hotels all the time.
What are your tips? Please share in the comments below! Thanks for reading!
It took me a little effort to find this, so I figured that I would do a blog post on it. It’s pretty easy to do. Just follow the instructions on installing Google Play Store. You can find plenty of them. Here are a couple:
I wrote this list mainly for myself, but thought maybe others could benefit from this. No matter how much experience you have traveling, I think you’ll always run into something you forget. Hopefully this list can help you minimize those things and allow you to enjoy your trip more rather than you needing to get out and get something because of an emergency.
Medicine – obvious #1 on my list. It’s not always easy to get medications, especially in foreign countries. Bring the ones you need – anything that you’re prescribed. For me, luckily, I don’t take any prescription medicines except for Montelukast (Singulair) if I have an allergy. I guess you can’t predict allergies. For that reason, I carry Loratadine (Claritin) as well. At my last doctor’s visit, he asked me to try Zyrtec instead of the combination of the two, so I will do that next time. Aside from the allergy medications, I would recommend some of the common ones. These include Tylenol or Ibuprofen, NyQuil, etc. If you need pills for motion sickness, sleep aid, caffeine, etc., you probably want to bring some of those as well. Don’t assume that you’ll be able to buy medications abroad. Some over the counter medications in the US are not sold over the counter in other countries. I was shocked to hear that Ibuprofen was considered a strong medication in another country. I also carry stomach medication just in case I eat something bad. I use the Japanese one pictured below. If you have asthma, even if you haven’t had an attack in a long time, be sure to keep an inhaler and if you use a nasal rinse, you might want to bring a bottle and some salt packets. I usually just mix mine with cold bottled water, but most hotels have water kettles to boil water.
Glasses/contacts – I recommend having an extra set of each just in case. What can you do if you can’t see?
Toiletries – toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, maybe a small bottle of mouthwash. Unless you’re staying in Asia, your hotel will not likely have these available for you. They may have some available for sale, but I like to carry my own.
Charging cables – you don’t want to be desperate without a cable. Do whatever you can to avoid paying the tourist price for a crappy cable. In Las Vegas, they were trying to sell generic iPhone cables for $40! Bring your own cable. I like Anker cables, but will carry super cheap cables I get off Amazon as spares as I lose cables pretty often. I also have couple of cables that charge both, my watch and phone.
Nail clipper – I cut my nails almost every week and I’ve bought countless nail clippers abroad. I think it’s good to keep one with you just in case.
Shaving Razors – I’ve also bought many of these abroad. If you’re staying in Asia, most hotels will probably provide you some disposable ones. I would recommend that you have at least one set with you.
Noise-cancelling Headphones – Bose QC35II – I don’t travel without them. I turn them on while I’m on a plane even if I’m not listening to anything just to cancel out the noise. Like a friend said, “They’re expensive, but they’re worth it.”
Humidifier – I keep a little mini humidifier with me when I travel because hotels don’t usually have them. This one works great for me.
Travel power adapter – I keep one of these even if I’m traveling domestically. I recommend you get one of those that has usb charging. I use mine for a night light and usb charging. Additionally, most plugs on airplanes are universal and they tend to stay in much better than standard U.S prongs. The one I use is this one.
Shoes/Slippers – If I’m traveling for work, I always keep a pair of sneakers in the luggage or the dress shoes in the luggage if I’m not heading for business the same day. Always have a set of sneakers or slippers just to be comfortable. I might also bring a pair of flip flops if I plan on swimming.
Extra underwear/socks – I always bring a couple of extra just in case there’s a flight delay or you get dirty for some reason, etc.
Workout clothes/Bathing suit – if you know that where you’re going will have a gym/pool, you should bring a set even if you don’t think you’ll have time to use the facilities. Many times, I’ve gone and been up at 5 am wondering what I should do. The gym is a great way to help you get over jet-lag.
WiFi hotspot – I have one of these so that I can share WiFi among my multiple devices – laptop/iPhone/iPad, but it’s becoming less and less necessary. United airplanes allow you to switch devices as you wish.
First aid kit – if you’re going to be outdoors and not staying at a nice hotel, bringing a first-aid kid with you. Your first aid kit should have things like alcohol, Neosporin, itch cream, bandages, etc.
Portable battery – I don’t usually need/use it, but I carry a portable battery with me most of the time just in case. If you get one, get one that can charge with multiple interfaces – micro-USB and iPhone if you can find it. I use this one. It’s a bit heavy, but it has a high capacity and it charges very quickly.
Laundry detergent – I’m pretty cheap, so I almost never use the hotel laundry service. If I’m staying for more than a week or so, I would look for a laundromat and do the laundry myself if laundry machines are not available in the hotel. If they are, all the better. For this reason, I usually keep a couple of detergent pods in my suitcase as well.
Hope this helps! Please tell me about some of the things you pack in the comments. 🙂
I hate seeing the RPMDB altered message when doing yum updates!
Install 1 Package
Upgrade 1 Package
Total size: 309 M
Is this ok [y/d/N]: y
Running transaction check
Running transaction test
Transaction test succeeded
Warning: RPMDB altered outside of yum.
For that reason, I tell sysadmins when installing or upgrading rpms to use: