Tech savvy timeout is here

It's that time again:  scouring  online travel sites for a good deal in fares and room tariffs; dusting  the old parka or windcheater,  hauling out the  backpack  or wheeler luggage.....  for your annual summer holiday.  Here are some technology tools to ensure a safe and satisfied   vacation.
 Safe surfing on public WiFi: Make sure VPN is installed on your phone
These days you can find free WiFi in airports, railway stations, malls and hotel lobbies. But don’t assume that a public Wi-Fi network is secure simply because it has a password. If your laptop  or tablet  is open in a  public area, make sure no “shoulder surfers” are watching what you type. Don't  visit sites that require  a log-in with username and password. Save visiting such sites until you’re on a secure, private network.
And always use a Virtual Private Network.  VPNs create a network-within-a-network  to keep everything you do on public Wi-Fi, private. It creates a a secure tunnel for your device instead of relaying all of your traffic to a public router. These days VPN  can be had for free. Last week, Opera launched  a new version of its mobile browser, Opera for Android 51,  with  a built-in  VPN service. When enabled, the VPN will hide  users' physical location and will make it hard to track their behavior on the Web. The browser VPN is also a no-log service, which means that the VPN servers do not log any activity data. Opera for Android is a free download  on Google Play.
 Jumbo power source: Turbo 20000 is a power bank to keep you going for days
Smartphones are power-hungry creatures. Few come with batteries that last  a working day -- what with all the heavy YouTubing and Whatsapping  we do. This can be a problem if you are  are one of those off-grid guys whose holiday  is away from the beaten  track.  Thankfully  power banks are rising to meet the new demands.
I have been trying out  the Turbo 20000, the first such device from Indian consumer electronics brand, Tagg  and as the name suggests, it stores 20,000 mAh (taking some 10 hours to charge),  which should power your phone for days . There are two outputs, each of 2.4 amp. A self-lit indicator shows how much  backup remains -- useful at night in the outdoors. In other ways too -- like its rugged metallic shell,  the Tag 20000 will appeal to backpackers and outdoor types.  Not the lightest at 370 grams -- but worth its weight at the asking price of Rs 2499.
Talk to your earphones! Zeb Journey, lets you connect to your Android or iOS phone, via voice
I'm guessing when Zebronics  named their  recent  wireless earphones, 'Zeb Journey', they had in mind a typical user, trekking the wild side,  the device slung around the neck, listening to music, reaching an unfamiliar  pathway,   speaking to Siri or Google  to ask  for fresh map guidance, then proceeding  confidently up the next  hill.   The Voice Assistant support alone will make Zeb Journey a 'must have'  on your next outdoors holiday. A choice of silicon ear buds means at least one will fit snugly in your ears. The multipurpose button on the neckband is convenient for  one-handed operation. And a built-in rechargeable battery ensures you can keep talking or listening at least for 12 hours. Lightweight( 36 grams) and splash proof, it costs Rs 1259 and  has young -n-restless written all over it.
ANAND PARTHASARATHY  in Bangalore, March 25 2019
( for Images of these products, please see Image of the Day)