3-in-1 50 mm lens hack, jiggling ATM skimmers, and Bluetooth headsets in retreat

The Rapid Traveler has resolutely avoided the addiction to photography that leads to giant gear packs. Those who juggle lenses may enjoy PC World’s Get Two More Lenses Out of Your 50 mm Lens for Cheap. There are some caveats, but a macro lens hack can be as simple  flipping a 50 mm lens and there are even cheap reverse ring adapters to help. Moving into the $50-$100 range there are extension tubes with circuitry to allow full use of camera controls. And $50 is enough for a telephoto lens adapter, and there you have three lenses and less shoulder pain.

PC World also has a fun article, Anatomy of an ATM Skimmer Scam, with practical suggestions, like:

Be suspicious if something looks like it’s sticking out too far or if it doesn’t match with the rest of the machine’s design. Many skimmers are fairly shoddy pieces of equipment that are weakly tacked onto to the card reader. Kevin Haley, director of Symantec’s Security Technology & Response Team, says you shouldn’t be afraid to get physical. “I wouldn’t hesitate to pull on something if it looks like it doesn’t belong,” he told PCWorld. Before you insert or swipe your card, give the reader a good tug, or jostle your card around the slot to see if anything is loosely attached.

The Rapid Traveler will now tug and jiggle each ATM he uses.

The same issue of PC World includes Bluetooth Phone Accessories Improve, highlighting several headsets (link withheld to limit contagion). These are only acceptable for use at home by people who live alone.  Several years ago, while still living in China, The Rapid Traveler, on occasional visits to the US, noticed a disconcerting epic of pod people with these things sprouting from their ears. Fortunately the contagion is in full retreat.

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  • For a bit further reading on ATM skims and how to avoid, I can recommend a peice that Brian Krebs wrote: http://krebsonsecurity.com/all-about-skimmers/

    Sadly, I know how heavy my camera kit bag is. And that’s before I travel with a studio. Or put it like this: I swear I’ve heard moans from the United check-in reps when I wheel up with the rucksack and skibag 😉

  • kyunbit

    the macro obtained by reversing 50mm is extremely difficult to focus. So that is out of the question. In general 50mm is not long enough focal length for macro, extension rings also are difficult to focus with. Keep in mind using both these tricks you can focus manually (atleast with the cheap rings). If you use a telephoto adapter, the quality suffers a lot! So, while it looks good on paper, I would rather carry a telephoto lens and a macro lens if I know I would be taking macro shots

  • I always worry about image quality on these hack things, but definitely something fun to look into. I cant say how much I want a macro lens while traveling, but the 2x teleconverter is an awesome tool!

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