Posts tagged travel

New suitcase with tracking system promises to never get lost

Top-392x279-biTravelling by plane is already stressful: You have to check in hours before the flight, security will probably leave you feeling violated, and bad weather can push back your departure time.

Oh – and your baggage could quite possibly get lost. Apparently 11 bags for every 1,000 passengers go missing, every day.

To combat this, a group of European companies are coming out with a “smart” suitcase that can be tracked by the owner using their iPhone.

Bag2Go is a suitcase system that uses GPS tracking and other features to make sure you never lose a suitcase – and should you lose it, they can locate the baggage and deliver it to you before it’s time to fly back.

 It’s the brainchild of German suitcase company Rimowa, Aircract manufacturer Airbus and telecom T-Systems.

The suitcase has a little computer inside of it. This powers the handle, which doubles as a weight scale to tell you if your bag is too heavy for the airline’s (usually) ridiculous weight limits.

There’s a tiny screen that shows you relevant information – and can display a barcode that you scan with your phone.

The barcode syncs the bag to the Bag2Go app, transferring your travel information so that the bag can be sent to the proper destination – or provide information about where it should go if it gets lost.

There’s also a GPS transmitter and a cellular data transmitter inside, so that the bag’s owner can see if the suitcase was placed on their flight while they wait to take off – or if the bag is even in the same city at the destination.

This is just the basics. In a press release, the team behind Bag2Go says they can see a world where bags are picked up at your home and delivered to your destination – saving you the trouble of lugging around heavy suitcases.

With air travel, passengers spend a fair chunk of time waiting at the airport before their trip because they had to check in early enough to get their bags checked.

And upon arrival, they spend more time waiting around a carousel for bags to arrive, staring aimlessly into a conveyer belt that rolls without rolling out baggage until an hour after the plane lands.

Would you get a Bag2Go suitcase? Do you think tracking suitcases this way will become the future?

The further you travel, the happier your tweets?

twitter_logoSick of seeing your friends’ happy, optimistic tweets when they’re away from home? Or can’t stand that co-worker who gleefully gloats about their vacation on Twitter?

You can’t blame them, a new study suggests.

According to researchers at the University of Vermont, people’s tweets are happier the further away they are from home.

The group analyzed roughly four billion tweets, sent from the year 2011 to now.

They compared tweets sent from a user’s geographical home location to messages sent out of town.

Using the exact latitude and longitude of tweets (to within 10 metres), researchers classified tweets based on whether they were sent near where a user lived, or from somewhere different.

You might be wondering – how did they know where a user lived? Well, it was simply a matter of knowing where most tweets were sent from, over and over, on a consistent basis.

Figuring out a tweet’s happiness was a little more complicated. To solve that problem, they came up with hedonometer.

Taking into account the number of words in a tweet, such as “great”, “new” – helped classify a tweet as being happy.

Meanwhile, a tweet with “hate” or “bored” would symbolize a negative tweet.

What they found was that the happiness of tweets goes up the further away they are from home, especially when they’re thousands of kilometres away from home.

Tweets about 1 km from home are typically less happy.

Users on Twitter who usually have a wider variation in distances also tended to use the happier words more often those who didn’t always tweet from such a selection of different places, away from home.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that jet-setters are happier, but it just means that they’re tweeting happier thoughts.

Do you get sick of seeing really happy or sad tweets on Twitter?

Tech I travel with – what’s in my bag?

Laptop, tablet, headphones and smartphones for travel.

Laptop, tablet, headphones and smartphones that are good for travel.

As a big gadget guy, it’s tough for me to leave home without my toys. So what do I bring with me when I travel? And how do I pack light?

Laptop:

You’ll see I pack my Ferrari-red Lenovo Thinkpad x100e. With an 11-inch screen, it’s not the biggest of laptops. But with a keyboard and a 64-bit processor under the hood, it’s a smart laptop that works for me. Other than the awesome colour, the keypad features the classic IBM eraser head-style mouse in the middle of a well-sized keyboard – making it great to type and navigate windows with.

The battery charge is enough to get me across Canada. When it’s not on, I use it’s active power USB port to charge up my next gadget.

Note: The Thinkpad has since been replaced with a Microsoft Windows 8 based Lenovo Yoga, which is yet to make its maiden voyage. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Tablet:

I love reading magazines on long flights for two reasons: it’s usually the only time I’ll read, and reading sometimes puts me to sleep (I can’t nap while travelling). The full-size Apple iPad gets the job done for all the right reasons.

It also doubles as a handy device to get caught up on news and email when I’m away from home – and I can find good places to go see (and eat) without having to wait for my laptop to boot up.

I recently took the smaller iPad mini with me on a trip. While the smaller size meant I could break it out while waiting in lines and stash it in a small carry-on bag, the non-Retina display didn’t make it very comfortable for reading.

Headphones:

I used to bring my biggest headphones and blast the music to drown out the drone of jet engines. Then I discovered noise-cancelling headphones.

The sound from my Sennheiser cans sound great – and the noise-cancelling function dramatically cuts down the steady racket of air travel. When it’s time to land, they fold up into a small and stashable carrying case that keeps them protected.

Sunglasses:

It’s important to see the world in all it’s glory -whether you’re out on a patio or carving down the slopes. They’re not the most stylish sunglasses, but my Adidas sport sunglasses do the trick. The polarized lenses also help cut out glare and pump up the colours.

What else?

You might see there’s an LG phone in there. I’m often testing out gadgets, so there’s a good chance I’ll put one to the ultimate test when I’m away from home. Did I mention I really love the LG Optimus G? Ok, there you go. Quad-core power is awesome.

 

Hitting the slopes? New Google feature lets you scope out resorts in 360

When picking a vacation to a snowy, winter getaway, it’s important to know what you’re going to encounter.

From the type of terrain to the selection of chutes – wouldn’t it be great to know what to expect before you hit the slopes?

Well, thanks to Google  Maps, you can check out the slopes using Streetview – although they should really call it Slopeview.

Google announced on its blog that the world’s top ski resorts are now mapped in all their snow-covered glory.

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Seatguru is the app for all your flight needs

Seat Guru can help you find the best place to sit on the plane.

If you’re a frequent traveller, you likely have an arsenal of apps to help you navigate foreign cities and decipher unknown lands. But I’ve found one app that takes care of all my air travel needs, really simply.

No stranger to the web world, the Seatguru app does three main things.

Obviously, it lets you find out the best seat on the plane you should sit. Just enter in your flight code and departure day, and the app will bring up the specified plane’s seating plan along with symbols to tell you which are the best – and least desirable seats.

If you’re looking to book a flight, the app’s flight booking component  offers a basic fare finder. It easily sorts flights by price and stops, comparing costs across most major airlines.

Lastly – there’s a feature to tell how early (or usually, late) your flight is.

Granted, other apps have fancier features and more advanced functionality, but they can really bog you down when all you need to know is that your flight is an hour late.

For its simplicity and ease of use, I take flight with Seatguru.

FAA to review in-flight gadget use

The U.S. authority that regulates all aspects of air travel is going to re-examine the use of tech gadgets aboard commercial aircraft.

According to TechCrunch, the Federal Aviation Authority, better known to flight enthusiasts as the FAA, is going to put together a group to study the issue of using your phone or laptop in the midst of a flight.

While it’s not immediately clear who is going to be in said “group,” it’s fair to say it’ll include everyone from pilots who have to fly the multi-million dollar birds to Internet pundits and scientists in lab coats with instruments that beep and bop.

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