‘The notion of building a flexibility engine, which is essentially the software that runs this thing, is applicable in a broad range of industries. Any industry where the complexity of the purchase relates to the customer's flexibility ultimately will use these kinds of flexibility engines. I believe we're really the first of an entirely new category of software here. I'll give you an example. In health care, if you say to me, "If you'll be flexible and drive an extra five minutes to get this X-ray, your health care provider will give you $50 in incentives to do it." Of course you're willing to make tradeoffs and be flexible as long as you have confidence in the product quality you're buying. The same is true with us. As long as we put you on a major airline and you get to see the airline in advance before you buy the package, your flexibility is something you're willing to modify. Show me what my flexibility is worth. It's true in health care, it's going be true in business travel. I suspect it's gonna be true in a fair number of places where people have flexibility. Nobody has ever been able to show them what it's worth. I'm willing to trade off comfort and convenience often for other benefits I want more. Right now those things are all invisible in the data set. But what big data software allows you to do is make invisible things visible.”
In the geopolitical sphere, the recently signed nuclear deal between Iran (in photo) and the UN security council has opened up opportunities for Americans to more readily visit the cosmopolitan capital of Tehran and the mosques of Kashan. And while Cuba was onlast year’s list, a spate of new cruises that dock in Havana—all thanks to eased travel restrictions for Americans—mean the destination is continuing to blossom. Cruise ships are also heading to Batumi, in Georgia, with its gorgeous botanical garden. It’s a Black Sea port that’s gaining attention from the big cruise brands given the safety concerns in Ukraine.
The mobile home 2.0 from a design firm in Bratislava, Slovakia.
“Ecocapsule is powered by a built-in wind turbine complemented with an array of solar cells. Dual power system and a high-capacity battery ensures that you will have enough power during periods of reduced solar or wind activity.
Spherical shape is optimized for the collection of rainwater and dew and the built-in water filters allow you to utilize any water source.”
“Ecocapsule fits into a standard shipping container and no special preparations and precautions are necessary to transport Ecocapsule worldwide. It can be shipped, airlifted, towed or even pulled by a pack animal.”
Quieter, greener supersonic travel is the focus of eight studies selected by NASA's Commercial Supersonic Technology Project to receive more than $2.3 million in funding for research that may help overcome the remaining barriers to commercial supersonic flight.
The research, which will be conducted by universities and industry, will address sonic booms and high-altitude emissions from supersonic jets.
Yet it’s equally hard to overstate how dramatically the hyperloop could change the world. The first four modes of modern transportation–boats, trains, motor vehicles and airplanes–brought progress and prosperity. They also brought pollution, congestion, delay and death. The hyperloop, which Musk dubs “the fifth mode,” would be as fast as a plane, cheaper than a train and continuously available in any weather while emitting no carbon from the tailpipe. If people could get from Los Angeles to Las Vegas in 20 minutes, or New York to Philly in 10, cities become metro stops and borders evaporate, along with housing price imbalances and overcrowding.
The only thing this geek fantasy is missing: Musk. With his hands full simultaneously running Tesla Motors and SpaceX, he’s left it to others to make his theory a reality. He declined to comment for this story. But his fingerprints are on each of the groups vying to build the hyperloop, even though they couldn’t be more different.
In my office are three fat binders. They contain a few hundred sheet protectors each of which has back and front color printed sheets. They catalog family trips starting in October 1998 and ending in August 2010. Lots of good memories – photos, addresses, scrapbook items, trip write ups are documented there and also in a digital archive. The kids periodically go through them as they plan their trips now.
Last few years we have not done many family trips. I tend to fly in and out of cities. The kids make their own plans. Our dog, Peanuts was aging and one of us stayed with him. All that changed after he passed in December and Margaret has joined me on several trips this year. We add 2-3 days to a business trip and given her curiosity and energy manage to find all kinds of interesting detours. So, this weekend I decided to do my old style trip report on 3 of our trips and I was impressed how technology has made that easier.
Content – My iPhone is allowing me to take many more pictures and videos. The Facebook private synching of photos makes for an easy archive of every day of a trip. Cloud storage is making data easier to access on the road. There are way more sites with photos and factoids to harvest as I write a report. Example – we ran into a Gypsy Jazz quartet at a bistro in California. A quick query and a few keystrokes took us to the Haute Flash page and into my trip report below.
Mobile apps – Google Maps, FlightAware, DBahn, Delta, Marriott, Weather.com, Expensify and more are making travel easier and also documenting trips better
Digital pays – More taxis accept credit cards, Starbucks barista tips via their mobile app, online credit card statements help double check on names of restaurants and other places we visit.
The weekend project resulted in 120 new printed pages. If that sounds quaint in this digital age, so is the history of the stained glass of the 800 year old Dreikoenigskirche church or the migration trends of birds in New York’s Central Park that I have learned on these trips.
Time for another binder and for more space on the Google Drive.
The Four Seasons Philadelphia and three Loews properties — two in Orlando and one in Nashville — have pilot programs that let guests make any request through text messages. The hotels have partnered with a personal texting service called Zingle, which has worked with companies such as McDonald's and Subway.
It works like this: Once you check in, the hotel will register your phone number to your personal "service on demand" profile. You will then be able to text any request, whether you are inside or outside the hotel, for your entire stay. The hotel guarantees that your text will be answered within four minutes.