Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

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Oct 24, 08 - 9:57 am

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Toys & Gadgets

Comments Off on Google Founders Buy Fighter Jet

Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page and Google CEO Eric Schmidt must have new plans to attack the competition, or they just like to fly really, really fast. Whatever the reason, they recently bought a fighter jet.

Today, The New York Times is reporting that a company controlled by the top three Googlers recently bought a Dornier Alpha Fighter Jet. The company, H211 LLC, is controlled by Sergey Brin, Larry Page, and Eric Schmidt, and it is responsible for managing a fleet of private aircraft for the three men.

The company already manages a Boeing 757, a Boeing 767, and two Gulfstream V’s. These four aircraft, plus the new fighter jet, all have landing rights at Moffett Field, which is a located near Google’s main offices.

According to a Google spokesperson, the Alpha Jet is being outfitted with scientific instruments for NASA missions, including instruments that the other planes could not carry.

The Times says that Google CEO Eric Schmidt is “an avid pilot.”

The Dornier Alpha Fighter Jet is made by Dornier in Germany and Dassault-Breguet of France.

There was something in the air in the early years of commercial aviation. Perhaps more excitement, perhaps more glamorous stewardesses… in any case, it’s worth savoring once again:

Vintage Commercial Aviation Promotions(image credit: Avi Abrams)

Vintage Commercial Aviation Promotions(image credit: Avi Abrams)

Vintage Commercial Aviation Promotions(image credit: Fethi Karaduman)

Vintage Commercial Aviation Promotions. You gotta love them.

The pie-in-the-sky dream of having Internet access while on a plane just moved one step closer to reality. Delta Airlines announced that by mid-2009, it will offer Wi-Fi-based Internet access on all of its domestic U.S. flights. I bet flight attendants never imagined they’d need IT training.

First, the facts and figures. By next summer, Delta says all of its U.S. flights will provide Wi-Fi Internet access to passengers. The Internet will come via AirCell’s ground-to-air technology, which beams wireless signals up to planes and receives whatever the planes send back.

This means anyone on the plane with a Wi-Fi radio-equipped device will be able to use it to access the Internet. That includes smartphones, PDAs, MIDs, and laptops. For flights less than three hours, the cost will be $10.00 USD. For flights over three hours, the cost will be $13.00 USD.

Worth it? That’s up to you. Speaking from experience, however, I can say that no fee is too large when something really important and timely needs to be passed through the Internet. In general, however, I can last a plane ride without Wi-Fi.

That’s one issue, but what about on-plane support when the system encounters turbulence?

I can picture it already. You have a flight full of business people shuttling from New York City to Chicago on Delta Flight 80211. They’re all very busy, very important people who have much work to accomplish. They pay the $10.00 USD to access the Internet while en route. They don’t want to be behind when they land in the Windy City.

Halfway through the flight, the Internet cuts out for one reason or another. Not only will flight attendants have to deal with surly suits who were working on very important stuff, but they will probably be the ones in charge of troubleshooting the system and getting it in working condition. That is, unless Delta plans to have an Internet tech on board each flight, which I highly doubt.

Flight attendants are, of course, extremely hard working people that put up with a lot of crap from passengers. Adding in-flight Wi-Fi is just one more system that they will likely be in charge of. They won’t necessarily need a Cisco Certification to troubleshoot the problems, but they will need at least some level of additional training.

Fair to flight attendants or not, it will be a nice perk for those passengers who really need it.

Source: Yahoo! News

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Aug 1, 08 - 5:23 am

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Comments Off on U.S. Agents Can Seize Travelers’ Laptops

U.S. federal agents have been given new powers to seize travelers’ laptops and other electronic devices at the border and hold them for unspecified periods, the Washington Post reported this morning.

Under recently disclosed Department of Homeland Security policies, such seizures may be carried out without suspicion of wrongdoing, the newspaper said, quoting policies issued on July 16 by two DHS agencies.

Agents are empowered to share the contents of seized computers with other agencies and private entities for data decryption and other reasons.

Full story and source: Reuters

Belkin’s latest power-strip adds a very smart feature for travelers: USB ports. The strip has a couple of charge-only sockets along with the three-way mains AC extenders and even comes with a mini-USB cable, obviating the need to carry chargers for most gadgets.

Belkin USB Charger

The $25 box also squeezes in a surge-protector for those untrustworthy hotel power outlets. Taken from the product page:

Hotel rooms and airport terminals never seem to have enough power outlets to charge all the devices today’s traveler brings along. Now you can add outlets and peace of mind on business trips and vacations with the Belkin Mini Surge Protector.

This new design features three AC outlets and two powered USB outlets – perfect for MP3 players and mobile phones.

Something to note, the USB outlets cannot be used as a USB hub and does not transmit data. The powered USB outlets on this unit are intended solely for charging devices that can be charged via a USB interface.

Check out the product page for more information. I’ve already ordered two :)

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Mar 7, 07 - 10:21 am

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Comments Off on Portable Pub by Amber Iris

Ever since that trip to England, things just haven’t been the same. I mean you just can’t get any decent fish and chips around here.

No problem. Get your own inflatable Port-a-Pub. It’s constructed to an “Olde Worlde” English pub design with “superb attention to detail.”

Portable Pub

The inflatable boasts a pan tiled roof effect, chimney pots on the exterior, an Inglenook fireplace and a stone-wall effect in the interior.

Billed as “the world’s first inflatable pub”, this pub in a box holds up to 50 guests (or 200 college students), fits in the back of a van and assembles in under an hour:

People with Portable Pub

Why add an extension to your house when you can buy a portable pub that travels with you?

All pub-like features are painted directly onto the anti-fungal and flame retardant PVC walls so there’s no need to worry about unruly guests breaking paintings or windows.

You might want to watch out for guests trying to carve their names on the “wood” beams:

Wood Beams inside Portable Pub

I’ll have a pint of Guinness and an order of fish and chips please:

Inside the Portable Pub

All you need now is a bouncy castle attached.

Your kids birthday parties would suddenly draw quite the crowd… bouncy castle for the kids, portable pub for the adults.

If you’d like to find out more, check out the Portable Pub website.