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As of today, this site is now proudly serving HTTPS. I was dragged kicking and screaming into the new world though, by a Google policy to penalize sites serving only unencrypted data. This isn't the WWW I signed up for.

Over this crypographically-secure connection, now no one will know you are reading my mediocre missives. Yay us: it's akin to having a secret code ring for a club with no members.

In the spirit of anarchy, gopher connections over port 70 remain totally, ridiculously insecure. Enjoy.

Movember 2.0

So it's November again – I mean Movember – and as this is potentially my last time participating in the drive to raise awareness and funds for prostate cancer, I plan on going out in style. [No I don't have prostate cancer, just planning on doing something else next year].

So here we go! The rules state that on day one of November, you start clean and then grow a moustache over the course of the year. But that's boring! I played by the rules last year, and it took me all month just to get back to the amount of facial hair I usually sport. What's the fun in that?

This year it's going to be different. Read on! Continue reading "Movember 2.0"

It's Movember!

movember stache

It's Movember, folks, the month when we draw attention to prostate and testicular cancer. I'm joining a fundraiser campaign this year, and during the month of November will be raising funds to contribute to the scientific effort to find a remedy.

Interested in participating? Start growing that 'stache, gentlemen. Otherwise, check me out at my Movember Senegal Stache Team page and watch that '70s goodness grow! And kindly kick in a buck or two — our 21-person team is trying to raise a thousand bucks through the power of facial hair. Continue reading "It's Movember!"

Contributing to OSNews

OSNews logo

It's the first of January, time to make resolutions that lead you to a new lifestyle, open new doors, and challenge you to leave the rut in which you're languishing. I resolved to get more involved in the Open Source community in more meaningful ways, and here we go.

I was talking to Thom Holwerda over at OSNews who was lamenting the dearth of interesting articles submitted to the site for publication, and I volunteered to help out. My first couple of pieces have already gone live, and I've got a lot more ideas. This is fun! Continue reading "Contributing to OSNews"

Announcing: the Dictator's Handbook

After three solid years of writing and research, I'm thrilled to announce my latest book: The Dictator's Handbook: a practical manual for the aspiring tyrant. It's available for purchase at Amazon, Barnes&Noble, and on the iPad and iPhone through the iBookstore. The paper version (soft cover) is reasonably priced and looks stellar, if I may say so myself.

What a journey it's been, and what a thrill it is to have seen this project from its genesis to its conclusion. Continue reading "Announcing: the Dictator's Handbook"

New Editions

Moon Nicaragua, 4th ed. Living Abroad in Nicaragua, 2nd edition

I'm very pleased to announce an update to both books I co-author, Moon Nicaragua (now in its 4th edition) and Living Abroad in Nicaragua (now in its 2nd edition). As you can imagine, this was the product of a lot of field work, many late nights writing and editing, and a whole lotta blood, sweat, and tears. But I think these are the best editions ever! Read on for details. Continue reading "New Editions"

The Art of Travel Writing

I'm pleased to report my website has been recommended among several other top travel writing sites in an article describing how to break into the travel writing business. There's an awful lot of travel writing out there, and not a whole lot of work, and the number of qualified writers can seem innumerable at times. So it's nice to be recognized alongside masters like Joe Cummings and Bill Bryson in this article, entitled "The Art of Travel Writing: 100 Tips, Tools, and Resources to Get Paid and Published." Have a look here.

Moon Nicaragua, 3rd edition Now Available

I am extremely proud to announce the 3rd edition of Moon Handbook Nicaragua is already available for pre-order, and will be on the shelves of book stores everywhere shortly. When co-author Joshua Berman and I set out to write a guidebook to Nicaragua, we resolved to make it the book we’d have wanted to use ourselves when we first arrived in Nicaragua in 1998. To our great pleasure, our book has become just that - the authoritative voice on travel in Nicaragua and the best and most concise resource for planning trips throughout this increasingly popular travel destination. Continue reading "Moon Nicaragua, 3rd edition Now Available" Listed at

I'm happy to announce my website has been selected on the basis of its travel prose as one of a dozen hand-picked content sources for It's a site that aggregates the Internet's best narrative travel narratives together into one place, and links to the authors' sites for reading.

I'm happy that my writing has been noticed and hope it's appreciated by those who visit TravelBlogs. Have a look at my interview. Excerpt:

If you've spent time travelling around Nicaragua in the past few years, you may already know of Randall Wood.

Randy co-authored the Moon Handbook Nicaragua after living there for several years, part of which was spent working with the Peace Corps. He also wrote a companion guide for expats living in Nicaragua.

TravelBlogs got in touch with him to find out about more about his experiences with the Peace Corps, Nicaragua and his current home, Benin.

The National Geographic 2007 Survey of Island Destinations

The National Geographic Society asked me to participate in their 2007 Survey of Island Destinations, rating islands around the world on the basis of their attraction to tourism, sustainability, and more. Says National Geographic,

Tourism is a phenomenon that can cook your food or burn your house down. In other words, we all risk destroying the very places that we love the most.

Nowhere more so than on islands. Islands symbolize vacation. Escape! Their very insularity makes them more attractive than a comparable piece of real estate on the mainland. They are worlds unto themselves—their own traditions, ecosystems, cultures, landscapes. That's what attracts us. But as micro-worlds, islands are also more vulnerable to population pressure, climate change, storm damage, invasive species, and now, tourism overkill.

Continue reading "The National Geographic 2007 Survey of Island Destinations"

Living in Nica Wins Best Book Award

I'm happy to announce that Living Abroad in Nicaragua has been selected Best Place-Based Guidebook of 2006 over at Says Planeta:

With essential information and practical advice on obtaining a visa, renting or buying a home, learning the language, and navigating daily life in Nicaragua, this book gives those dreaming of moving abroad the tools they need to actually make the move. This book is the ultimate ex-pat survival guide!

Thanks to all those who voted. And come join us on line at