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.
“You’ll design itineraries visually, using images as building blocks.
I’m seeing it all over: Peek, a site for finding interesting activities and half-day tours, invites you to create your Perfect Day at the destination you’re headed to by dragging photos of the things you want to do onto a timeline. Mygola has you click on photos of sites, activities, restaurants, and shops, then arranges them on a multi-day timeline, claiming to factor in opening times and best routes. Four Seasons offers Pin.Pack.Go, where you can create a Pinterest board to plan an upcoming trip and a destination expert at the property you’re headed to collaborates with you, pinning insider recommendations to your board.”
Travel guru Peter Greenberg roams the globe for his Public Television series The Travel Detective and CBS News, looking for the best deals and places to visit. With the Thanksgiving holiday approaching, we got to wondering—what tech tools does he pack before he heads out? What apps does he use (or not use) to book flights and hotel rooms?
“The other major change in guestroom design—the bathroom—hasn't been troublesome, either. Unless they are a super-luxury property, hotels continue to purge bathrooms of bathtubs. The death of the traditional "four-fixture" hotel bathroom—shower, tub, sink and toilet—couldn't come fast enough for most business travelers. Most prefer to shower and bigger, more elaborate stalls can be installed when bathtubs are jettisoned. Besides, many travelers who prefer to bathe won't do it in a hotel anyway because they are wary about the cleanliness of a guestroom tub. The one sticking point continues to be family travelers, who want tubs for the kiddies. But "families have figured it out," one hotel manager recently explained. "If they want a room with a tub, they call ahead and make sure we reserve one for them."”
Photo Credit of a room at Hyatt Place, a relatively new concept with flatscreen TVs and many other space “expansion” innovations.