This year the Africa Internet Summit was held in Kampala, Uganda. I could not be physically present as I had to fly urgently to Johannesburg for both personal and business reasons. For those, who are not aware of the Africa Internet Summit AIS’19, it is an event initiated by the ISOC and Afrinic organizations to discuss policy and tech happening in the big Africa continent. There were also few presentations about networking and tech by ISOC, ICANN, Dot Africa TLD, etc. Jeremy Daniel (Cyberstorm.mu) and Loganaden Velvindron (AfriNIC) were present there to lead the hackathon on NTP, and well as a presentation by Loganaden Velvindron who spoken on, QUIC (Quick UDP Internet Connections) which is a new encrypted-by-default Internet transport protocol, that provides a number of improvements designed to accelerate HTTP traffic as well as make it more secure, with the intended goal of eventually replacing TCP and TLS on the web.
As I could not be physically present, I registered myself to attend remotely. The streaming was amazing and worked pretty fine for me with really little major networking issues. The hackathon was lead by the cyberstorm.mu team. I remember last year during the Africa Internet Summit 2018, I was there leading for the NTP hackathon.
Champions: Loganaden Velvindron (AFRINIC) & Jeremie Daniel (University of Mauritius and cyberstorm.mu)
NTS measures are to enable NTP entities to cryptographically identify their communication partner, to ensure authenticity and integrity of exchanged time synchronization packets, and to provide replay protection.
There were also one of the most interesting parts that are policy discussion in the Africa region. The online streaming was very good with little connectivity problems noted. I’m glad about the NTP hackathon which was led by the cyberstorm.mu team. There were also other tracks such as IPwave, IPv6, DNS, etc. More information is also available on the official AIS wiki page. There is also another French article on ict.io as well as an English article from the Internet Society which covers the AIS hackathon.
Traveling abroad demands a lot of planning and preparation including budgeting. In this blog post, I will share some of my experience and tips whilst traveling abroad especially for holidays or business purposes from Mauritius. Mauritius is an island nation in the Indian Ocean. The strategic location in the Indian Ocean makes it very easy to travel to Europe, Africa, and Asia continents. But it all depends on the number of airlines available. I have been traveling to the United States, South Africa, Tunisia, Reunion island and several other countries. You can check out this link – My Travel which I usually update each time I travel abroad. The first thing before I started planning anything is to know the number of days you want to stay out of Mauritius.
Mauritians are exempted from VISA from many countries. Though there is an exemption, you need to carefully check the number of days you are exempted. Otherwise, if you are staying for more than the allocated number of days, you might need to ask for an extension of the visa once you have reached a particular country. The process which you need to go through when extending the visa can be very time-consuming. This is why planning is important where you can easily apply for the visa before leaving Mauritius territory.
For countries where VISA is needed you need to apply the same before leaving. However, some countries issue a visa upon arrival. But common, no one wants to waste time to apply for a visa upon arrival of a particular country unless you do not have any choice. For instance, it is better to apply for a visa in Mauritius itself before going to Bangkok, Thailand.
Some of the countries where Mauritians can travel freely without a visa are Senegal, Botswana, South Africa, etc.
An interesting source of information is at Visalist.io/mauritius/visa-policies website which provides clear information by country. However, this should not be a definite decision to check if it is a visa free country. Any country can alter its visa requirement and it is important to verify the information on the official website of the embassy.
Health-related issues and vaccinations
So, now that you are aware of the visa requirements, it is now to question yourself about the vaccines you have received. It is always important to keep records and document all vaccines received. Some months back, the Ministry of health in Mauritius was giving free MMR ( Measles Mump Rubella ) vaccines in Mauritius. They came to the office where I was working and everyone was receiving the MMR booster. Many was not documenting it which I believe is not good. Always keep a vaccination card handy and document it.
There are several recommendations by the ministry of health about the vaccines that one should be given when traveling to other countries. For example, I had to get the Yellow vaccines and malaria prevention pills when traveling to Senegal.
One of the interesting online resources for health-related issues that I would recommend is the CDC – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. One vaccination center in Mauritius is situated at Mutual aid building in Port Louis. There is another private vaccination center in Mauritius too such as Darnee Medical Clinic located at Forest-side Curepipe. Make sure that the vaccinations are available and also if one particular vaccine needs to be administered in two or more shots at different days, make sure that the vaccination is not out of stock. Otherwise, you might end up repeating the whole process again.
Sometimes, border control officers will not allow a passenger to enter its territory if you don’t have the vaccination cards with you. A few months back at the airport of South Africa, I noticed a passenger who was not in possession of the vaccination card. Usually, there is no vaccination required. But it happens that the passenger had traveled during the past weeks to a country where yellow fever vaccine was needed. They wanted to check if the passenger was properly vaccinated. This might, therefore, raise an issue. Always carry your vaccination cards with you when traveling abroad.
Booking a ticket
When it comes to reservation of tickets, I have never been to any agency for ticket booking which can be very expensive and time-consuming. The best to check on the official website of the airline company first. Now, you might question yourself, say you want to go to Bangkok and which airline will you choose. Here is the catch: The ATOL website might be very useful. On the ‘Airline section‘, you will have a list of all airlines that travel to Mauritius. Once, you have spotted the airline company you can compare prices. Another interesting place to purchase ticket more easily is on lastminute.com which makes it fast to choose between the cheapest price to direct flight.
Once a ticket has been booked, make sure you download the mobile app of the airline company so that online checking can be very easy and fast at the same time. Also, if there is any change in the airline time scheduled, it will be updated on the app itself. Choosing your seat to become much faster and you will have a clear map of the plane seats. You might want to consider whether the plane is an Airbus or Boeing at your convenience.
Some people try to delete their cookies and cache from there browser when booking online. Airline companies feed themselves from cookies on your web browser to understand the date you want to travel and might consequently increase the price. You might consider deleting cookies each time you search for a ticket price. Also try to sign out and change the location using proxies as a ticket might be a different price from a different browsing destination.
Some Airline companies provide special meals which might be interesting in case you are allergic or vegetarian. On British Airways, a veggie meal is composed of eggs and other vegetables. Some Vegetarians do not want eggs which you might consider.
Travel and Health Insurance
Some countries insist that people visiting their country are medically insured such as Reunion island and Germany. Always verify this information before traveling abroad. Alternately, there are some credit cards issued by banks that provide free health and travel insurance. You might want to verify with your provider and gather the document to show at the customs when reaching abroad. Some travel agency such as lastminute.com can provide free travel insurance in case your luggage has been damaged or lost during transit.
Choosing a Hotel
If you are a solo traveler, a 5-star hotel can be very expensive. You might probably look for the cheapest place such as Agoda, AirBnB or booking.com. It is always a plus to read the reviews on Trip Advisor or on booking.com itself as you never know what is awaiting you ahead. Several times, I booked with booking.com and most of the time it went well as expected. If you want a 10% discount with booking.com, click on the picture below and register yourself.
Make sure you check for the basic amenities, including showers, heaters, air conditioning, towels, Internet and/or Wifi access etc.. Sometimes, prices can be very cheap and the pictures shown can be very deceptive. It is always important to read reviews. Also for Mauritians who might want to stay in a cold place, make sure there is a heater. You can always contact the hotel directly via booking.com to clarify anything before paying.
Weather Forecast and Risks related issues
Always check the temperature at day and night before traveling. Weather.com provides good information about that. If you are traveling to China, you might want to check the level of Air pollution. Aqicn.com is a good source of information as air density is also important before booking a hotel. Some mobile app also provides air density information. Another tip and risk related issues can be checked on the US embassy website of that particular country you are visiting. In case, there is no embassy make sure to check local media of that country to be informed of any eventual attacks.
Losing network can be an issue when traveling abroad. I would recommend using maps.me mobile app and download offline maps in case there is an emergency. Also always share your location with a trusted contact.
My handbag checklist items when traveling:
Laptops and chargers
A bag containing all basic electronic items such as universal chargers, cables, Pendrives, etc..
One spare clothing in case my check-in luggage gets lost
Earpods / Earpiece
Passport / Printed travel documents and other documents if needed.
Electronic backups of all documents on my mobile phone.
Online booking will surely cost you cheaper and the online agency will surely take a certain commission for the transaction. Always print your receipt and be careful that the hotel does not double charge you on arrival.
Scammers are everywhere whether online or onsite, usually in front of hotels, where some fake tourist guide trying to scam tourist.
Make sure you always consume boiled or bottle water to reduce the risks of getting contaminated. A hand sanitizer becomes very important as the level of bacteria is very high in airports, planes, and hotels.
An Airplane pillow might also be helpful especially if you are traveling in economy.
Always establish a friendly approach with the security personnel, reception staffs, etc.
Always pack smartly your luggage.
Here is an interesting link on my-anasa.com as a travel guide for dummies.
Always inform your bank and Network and Internet service provider that you are outside the country so that you can use your bank debit cards and roaming service without any hassle.
Shuttle arrangement when reaching the country. Uber can be very useful in some countries.
I hope you find this blog post interesting and helpful. I will try my best to update it as soon as I come across interesting tips in the future.
Day-0 for the IETF 103 hackathon was really fun. We had two first-timers who worked pretty hard. It was really an intense moment on Day 1. Everyone was busy with their projects. I should admit it was pretty intense. Our first pull request was already merged by Muzaffar from the TLS 1.3 whereas kheshav had the testing part to complete for HTTP 451. I already send a pull request for SSH for the NetSSH Ruby library. We discussed a lot on implementation and testing part. Nathan, Jeremy, and Rahul also worked heavily on the TLS 1.3 implementation. For the IETF 103, we decide to skip the interoperability testing and focus more on implementation.
When it comes to goodies, WolfSSL congratulated us for a good job and sent us several goodies and other stuff.
However, on the SSH side, we have to deprecate RC4 in several projects such as NetSSH and JSCH, a JAVA library. On TLS 1.3, SNI added to Httperf, a TLS 1.3 library is still on progress on CSharp and LUA. We also have one module for Drupal and Django for HTTP 451.
We are for free and opensource software. We are presenting Mauritius worldwide in the IT sector. We are a Linux and Open source group which is going further and beyond. We believe in collaborative work and team spirit. We believed in running codes. We strived for excellence. We have contributed codes in several popular applications. We have worked on Internet-Drafts. We participate heavily in Hackathons.
The next step of cyberstorm.mu is championing several tracks for the IETF 103 hackathon remotely at Bangkok, Thailand. We have been welcomed by many people both from Mauritius and overseas, even from Silicon Valley, USA. No wonder, our past achievements is now a new step to reach today’s objectives – To focus heavily on research and development. Loganaden Velvindron from cyberstorm.mu mentioned on his Medium blog about the change cyberstorm.mu want to achieve: “The namecyberstorm.mu is an interesting one. It’s about change coming. Don’t get me wrong: I still love hacking. For me, hacking is about finding clever solutions to problems.” The youngest guy from the team is also going to participate in the IETF 103 hackathon.
I thank the guys of the National Computer Board who welcomed me, Logan and Codarren on their stand at the Infotech 2018. For those who are not acquainted with the Infotech event in Mauritius – “INFOTECH is the major annual Information and Communication Technology (ICT) event organized in Mauritius by the National Computer Board (NCB) in collaboration with the Ministry of Technology, Communication and Innovation. The aim is to create awareness on emerging technologies and provide business opportunities in the ICT sector.”
On reaching there, we met with Mr. Ismael and Mr. Riyaad and other staffs of the NCB, who provided us with a huge screen for our presentation and showcase of Linux, TLS1.3, DNS Security, IETF, Google Code-In and Google Summer of code events. I had the opportunity to meet several people including businessmen, students, and other geeks in the Mauritius IT industry.
Next, to the NCB stand, we had the CSE robotics club where I met with Chromiko who gave me some of his stickers. I still have some to share. Who wants one?
I also had the opportunity to shed some lights about Google search methodology and Computer networking with some students.
The Robotics club
Myself with the students
Codarren talking with some students
Logan and Aniket
They are Anup Kumar Khadoo, Shamutally Shahabudeen Mohammad Arfhaan, and Gowardun Madhav who are Computer Networking students at MITD. The following example was illustrated: Imagine you want to look for PDF books on Computer Networking. One of the technique to search more rapidly is by typing:
index of: computer networking (pdf|doc)
In case you want to ignore certain results; assume the word ‘wireless’, we can try this as search techniques on google search engine by typing:
index of: computer networking (pdf|doc) -wireless
We also had the opportunity to talk about computer networking topics such as Wireless Security, Subnetting, and others. Whilst returning home, I seized the opportunity to shoot this beautiful view.