Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Roaming vs. Local SIM for Indians visiting the Bay area

So either you get roaming activated for 10 or 30 days on your Indian phone number like so (for post paid users):



Or you walk into a 7-Eleven and get prepaid SIM cards like one of these:

This actually cost $53.85

Had activation instructions on it
The box had multiple SIM Cards (from 2 different operators - T-mobile and AT&T)
One of those would definitely suit any handset you may have.
You have to pick one


To sign up, you follow the instructions provided on paper attached to the SIM Card you chose




  • I choose T-mobile Nano SIM (Number 4 above) for my MOTO G5s plus.
  • Worked without any issue.
  • No ID Card or Passport was required to be submitted when purchasing or activating the SIM
  • The sign up process involves you:
    • visiting a website
    • selecting the current option (Bring your own phone)
    • punching in the SIM card number of the SIM you chose
    • selecting if you need a new phone number or reuse an existing one (I am guessing its for the times when you want to resuse a number you had gotten assigned from the last time you used the same card) - I chose "Assign a new number" - it asked me for the PIN Code of the area I would spent most of my time in
    • Finally - email address, DOB and password for setting up an account - you could sign in via facebook as well
    • Then you just restart the phone and make a call to your friends phone to get your own phone number
If you notice, the Airtel 30 day scheme gives you 5GB which is a lot more than the 1.5GB that you get with Net10 - but with postpaid connection you always have a risk of overrunning your consumption and running into expensive bills. The talktime that airtel gives you (500 mins local) is more than what you can possibly use in 2 weeks to a month here.

Besides, if you are going to be using lyft or uber, its always better to hve a local number so that you can get in touch with drivers.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Podcasts for the TFI classrooms (July 2018)


  1. Hunting the ghost fleet
    1. Author: Reveal
    2. Category: Investigative Journalism
    3. Notes: Talks about over fishing in oceans off coasts of South American Countries, and bonded laborers onboard fishing vessels. Simple language, non pop culture references, hard hitting
    4. Listening Comprehension Levels: Easy enough for Indian teenage students studying in 8/9/10 grade English medium schools. No American pop culture references.
    5. Values and driving questions: Can relate to Sustainable living. Would you eat an animal which is on the brink of extinction?
    6. Access and Exposure: Human Rights
  2. The Red Line
    1. Author: NPR Embedded
    2. Category: Book Review / Politics
    3. Notes: Why didn't USA intervene in Syria
    4. Listening Comprehension Levels: Well read adults, too esoteric for students. But can be used for guided listening for 9th/10th graders
    5. Values and driving questions: Does a powerful country have the right to interfere in issues of another country undergoing civil war? Should they?
    6. Access & Exposure: War in Syria
  3. Chris Hadfield: Ground Control To Major Trivia
    1. Author: NPR Ask Me Another
    2. Category: Quiz Show
    3. Notes: Chris Hadfield Interview
    4. Listening Comprehension Levels: Quiz section is 100% full of pop culture references so chuck that, but the interview section with Chris Hadfield should be played in classroom. The song he sings (Daughter of my sins) has deep meaning as well and the lyrics can be used to teach some important values as well.
    5. Values:
      1. Use the interview with Chris Hadfield to teach perseverance. Use this zen pencils comic to go with it.
      2. Use "daughter of my sins" to teach about living in the present and consequences of your action
      3. Chris Hadfield live can also be a starting point point of discussion on survivor bias - he tried his best to develop skills and discipline to be an astronaut knowing very well that USA is the one which had the space program (not Canada) - he did not have control over the opportunity, only his life, yet he stayed on the path, even if he would have failed (which is is what should have happened with 99.999% probability), he would have achieved all the other things in his life like skiing, singing etc. 
    6. Access & Exposure: What skills does one need to be an astronaut? What is it like living in space? Supplement with these videos:
      1. Chris Hadfield Brushes his Teeth in Space
      2. Wringing out Water on the ISS
      3. Sleeping in Space
      4. Getting Sick in space
      5. Space Oddity Music Video
      6. What I learned from going blind in space TED Talk
  4. We need to Talk about Yemen
    1. Author: Vox Today Explained
    2. Category: World Issues
    3. Notes: Chris Hadfield Interview
    4. Listening Comprehension Levels: Easy enough for Indian teenage students studying in 8/9/10 grade English medium schools. No American pop culture references.
    5. Values: Broad spectrum, doesn't focus on one
    6. Access & Exposure: History of the crisis in Yemen.
  5. Freeing the Hostages
    1. Author: Sam Harris's Waking Up
    2. Category: Expert Interview (What it is like to be in that profession?)
    3. Notes: Interview of Chris Voss - FBI negotiator who know teaches professionals to negotiate.
    4. Listening Comprehension Levels: Easy enough for Indian teenage students studying in 8/9/10 grade English medium schools. American references may need teacher guidance.
    5. Values: Being aggressive/hostile may yield short term gains but it always bad in the long term. 
    6. Access & Exposure: Skills required to deal with other people. Excepts from Chris Voss' book (Easy English) can be used to supplement. Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as if Your Life Depended on It