Markontech trebuchet

When $10 Internet is free at Radisson

The folks over at USA Today Travel are breathlessly reporting that the Radisson hotel chain, which has been one of the rare hotel chains to offer free Internet access across the board in its properties, will soon start charging $10 per day for the service. But Radisson is making this change as part of a revamp of its loyalty program, and says all members of their (free) loyalty program will get the $10 Internet access for free.

If all you have to do to get free Internet access is sign ...

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Does your phone have a "locate me" feature? Is it turned on?

Cell phones have had location-sensing capabilities for years, first by noting which cell towers they could "see" (the towers' locations is well established) and eventually with actual GPS chips. These days, every cell phone has a pretty good idea where it is anytime it's on, and some have started to include "locate me" tools so you can recover a lost or stolen phone. Those services only work if you set them up before the phone vanishes, though.

Just last week, a ...

Is the Verizon Wireless iPhone the right choice for travelers?

Few technology announcements have been as eagerly anticipated or breathlessly covered as this week's revelation from Verizon Wireless that they'll be offering a version of Apple's popular iPhone. Let's take a look at whether this phone is a good choice for travelers.

It may be your only choice. You may be tied to Verizon Wireless because it's the only carrier that works well in your area or areas you visit often, because you're on a family plan with VZW subscribers who don't want to ...

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Recharge your phone as you rush to your connecting gate?

We've all had those short connections that don't allow even ten minutes to plug in an AC adapter, even if we could find a (working) electric outlet. We're too busy rushing from one end of the airport to another! Imagine if we could harness some of that kinetic energy as we race through the terminal, just like a Prius storing away a few joules as you coast down a hill.

Turns out someone with an engineering background imagined that, too, and has brought a product to market! Thanks to ...

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Mobile TV choices shrinking as much as they're growing

My friend Dave Zatz wrote in his incredibly informative ZatzNotFunny tech blog that the ambitious FLO TV hardware and service combo is shutting down in March. The handheld "personal TV" product, developed by Qualcomm, was designed to offer a variety of programming straight to your handheld via their paid service; different models included one designed for mounting in cars.

Not only is the service shutting down on March 27th, 2011, the company is offering a generous rebate ...

Making do without free GoGo holiday Wi-Fi

The free GoGo Inflight Internet for the holidays we talked about last month ends in just a few more days; Google's generosity expires on January 2nd. After you've had a taste of free Wi-Fi in the sky, will you continue to fly offline to save money, or will you spring for the full-price service so you can keep using it?

Of course, many friends who've taken advantage of the on-board Wi-Fi have reported back -- as I speculated last month -- that it's been saturated to the point of ...

How Boingo saved me a cool hundred bucks

Remember when getting online in airports and hotel rooms meant having a laptop with a built-in modem, paying for a nationwide dialup service, and finding a phone jack to plug into? There were a couple of pay phones with data jacks in many airports, and for a while the gem of the travel industry was the US Airways Shuttle lounge at LaGuardia, with plenty of power outlets and phone jacks galore. Once you made it to the hotel, you might have to crawl around a bit to find a data jack -- or unplug ...

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How does the Gawker password compromise affect travelers?

At first glance, this topic seems a bit of a stretch for a travel technology blog, but I've decided I can live with that. You see, the popular Gawker web site network, which actually includes not just Gawker, but also Gizmodo, Jalopnik, Jezebel, Kotaku, Lifehacker, Deadspin, io9, and Fleshbot, has had its user account database hacked. That means the usernames and passwords of countless web site visitors are in the hands of miscreants.

I wouldn't consider this a huge problem, except ...

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It's the Tech Trebuchet holiday gift guide!

There are lots of places you can read tech-oriented holiday gift guides, and I'm not going to try to be complete. I'm just going to offer a few suggestions for your travel-minded gift recipients.

CarMD -- For those on your gift list who drive a lot, and like to be a bit independent, check out CarMD, a handheld gadget that plugs into your car's computer data port and, in most cases, deciphers the opaque error code behind that "check engine" light or other dashboard message. ...

Fly online for the holidays with free Gogo Inflight

Google has subsidized the cost of Wi-Fi Internet access in airport terminals in the past, and we're pleased to see this year they're sponsoring free inflight Wi-Fi for the holiday season. As Matthew also reported, the company has announced that the Google Chrome web browser will offer free Gogo Inflight Internet service on domestic AirTran, Delta, and Virgin America flights from November 20th through January 2nd.

You've seen that I love Gogo Inflight Internet when it's ...

Charging up your gadgets on the road

Photo by Eelke Dekker, www.eelkedekker.nl.

If you've traveled with your gadgets, you know that you need to plan ahead and bring all sorts of cords and chargers along for the ride. No matter how cautious you are, sometimes you'll find yourself out and about with a dwindling battery but without the necessary cord, or with no outlet to plug it into.

That's where these new Chargebox charging stations come in. These devices, and others like them, offer a place to quickly recharge your phone or other device while you're out and ...

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Getting your (smaller) gadgets like iPad and Kindle aboard the plane

Remember those carefree days when the only thing you had to worry about boarding the plane with was a small laptop bag, a magazine, and your cell phone? No problem getting all that through security. But as more and more people slow things down by bringing all their luggage through security instead of checking it, and the number of gadgets per capita keeps climbing, it's important to have a strategy for boarding with all your gear.

My initial strategy is to get everything off my belt ...

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Do you use Marriott's digital TV hook-ups?

I'm a techie, so more often than not, I'm traveling with my own entertainment. From my first video iPod a few years back, to my iPhone, now my iPad, and of course the laptop that's always with me on trips, I'm never short of video to watch when I'm on the road. When I turn on the hotel TV, it's usually been to watch something live and important. The Olympics. Hockey playoffs. A political convention. Even Nixon's funeral. 

Hotel television sets have traditionally been locked down, ...

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Wherever my smartphone may roam

When I first started using cell phones, roaming was a pretty easy concept. If you were in your cellular provider's local service area, near home, you weren't roaming. If you were out of town, sometimes even in your own state, you probably were roaming, often with a daily or monthly charge plus a per-minute charge, typically 99 cents per minute. 

Roaming across the United States got simpler fast with the advent of national calling plans from the major cellular carriers, so these ...

How to guarantee no sleep on your next red-eye with GoGo

Dedicated road warrior can\'t even close the laptop while boarding!

So far, I haven't been very lucky in finding myself on aircraft with in-flight Internet access. Even if I were, I admit I'm a little put off by the price of entry, almost always north of $10 for a flight, unless you're willing to commit to buying several flights' worth of Internet access up front.

When I found myself on a US Airways plane equipped with Gogo Inflight Internet on the way home from California, recently, I briefly considered ponying up their $12.95 fee, then decided ...