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Tech Tips for the Thanksgiving Road Tripper

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If you, like me, are one of the crazy people hitting the road the day before Thanksgiving, and at least have the good fortune of not having to be behind the wheel—let’s hear it for bus travel!—there are a few ways my good friend ‘technology’ can help you pass the time while you’re (inevitably) sitting in traffic, without completely losing your mind.

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Battle of the Smart-Phone Keyboards

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Whether you’re dashing off a quick text before the airplane door closes or typing a business report on the go, the accuracy and comfort of your smart-phone keyboard are important. Contrary to popular belief, touch screens haven’t entirely taken over. New BlackBerry-style handsets with physical keyboards are still coming out at a consistent clip, while innovative on-screen keyboard technologies such as the Android-compatible Swype, which allows you to drag your finger across the “keys,” connect-the-dots-style, are supplying revolutionary ways to make touch screens more accurate and simpler to use.

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3 Great "Techcessories" for the Music Lover

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If you're like me, you can't be without your beloved iPod-or other MP3 player when traveling. Whether it's passing time on a long bus commute (my primary mode of transportation) or soaking up the rays at the beach, the perfect tunes enhance the travel experience. And so, in turn, do the perfect tech accessories.

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Jean-Marie Hullot’s New Photo Encyclopedia

Innovator Jean-Marie Hullot

Innovator Jean-Marie Hullot

Who He Is: “I am a passionate traveler, a passionate photographer, and a passionate technologist,” says Hullot, a former Apple apps CTO who created software for the first Macintosh computer. After leaving Apple in 2005, he spent two years taking inspiring trips.

His Big Idea: Hullot conceived Fotopedia, which includes an image-driven encyclopedia made from user-submitted photos with minimal text—a visual Wikipedia of sorts. Lately, Fotopedia apps for iPad focused on UNESCO World Heritage sites, Paris, and (most compellingly) North Korea have given the traditional coffee-table book a digital spin. “In most magazines and books, pictures are used to illustrate a story,” Hullot says. On this app, it’s the image that tells the story.

Photo by Françoise Brenckmann

Gogobot Launches iPhone App



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At T+L, we’ve long been covering the travel app space, and admittedly take a special shine to products that make our trips (and yours!) a little easier—and more fun.

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Enter Gogobot’s spanking-new mobile app for the iPhone. Out today, the free iOS app replicates the Gogobot experience, a social travel network that seamlessly integrates with Facebook, Foursquare, and Twitter allowing friends to share travel advice and information on the go. Layer on easy access to personalized trip plans created on Gogobot.com, a GPS-enabled “what’s nearby” geo-search feature for restaurants, bars, shops, etc., plus nifty digital postcard capabilities, and you have a pretty powerful travel resource in the palm of your hands.

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Apple Co-Founder Steve Jobs Dies

Yesterday, the world lost a true visionary. At the age of just 56, Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple and innovator of some of the most groundbreaking technologies of our time, died after a long bout with pancreatic cancer. His amazing creations changed the way we all live our day-to-day lives.

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Four Seasons LA Debuts iPads in All Guestrooms

201109-b-fourseasons-lajpgDo you have iPad envy? Book your next trip at the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills and you can pretend like you own one during your stay. Each of its 285 rooms and suites will be stocked with iPad2s for guests to use throughout their stay starting October 3.

Each iPad comes with an innovative program called ICE (Interactive Customer Experience™) from Intelity that will make you feel like you're staying at the Jetson's. How does it work? Instead of picking up the phone to order room service, just press a few buttons and food arrives at your door. You can also make restaurant reservations, request valet parking, airport transportation, spa treatments, and housekeeping. So far, the Four Seasons LA is only hotel on the West Coast and the first Four Seasons property to offer this cool and convenient amenity.

Lyndsey Matthews in an online editorial assistant at Travel + Leisure.

Photo Courtesy of Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills

Amazon Introduces Three New Cutting-Edge Kindles

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Amazon today announced some big news in the world of portable devices, with the release of three new, crazy affordable products that are expected to really shake things up in the marketplace.

Amazon Kindle Fire
Finally, Amazon enters into the über competitive world of tablets. And from what I can tell, they did it well and will be a force to be reckoned with. While the Fire doesn’t have all the assets you’ll get with an iPad and other tablets—there’s no camera, mic, and it’s not 3G/4G-compatible—it is the perfect (and affordable) happy medium for folks who want a mobile, web-ready device, but really have no use for all the fancy bells and whistles that come with other tablets. Initial public testing shows that it’s lightning-fast, visually crisp (the pixels-per-inch ratio actually exceeds the iPad, meaning the display is noticeably better), and at just 14.6 ounces, it’s super lightweight. Oh, and did I mention? It might only have 8GB storage, but it utilizes Amazon’s amazingly efficient cloud technology, which means there’s no need for files to be downloaded onto the tablet in order for you to access them. And the best part? The Fire will be introduced to the market at the astoundingly low cost of just $199.

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Vail Resorts Gets Even More Epic

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Bringing social media to the skiing experience is just one of the ways Vail Resorts has stayed ahead of the curve. And they did it in dramatic fashion, with EpicMix, their app that tracks vertical feet and awards digital pins based on RF-enabled ski passes. Up to now, though, the all-important photography aspect has been missing from EpicMix. No longer.

Sure, you can snap smartphone pics, upload them to your account, and share them on Facebook and Twitter. But Vail Resorts has given the photo experience a couple unique twists.

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Digital Travel News: Street Food App, Mini Luggage Scale, More

Bullguard

BullGuard Mobile Security 10 ($29.95; Android; BlackBerry; Symbian; Windows Mobile) provides antivirus protection for your phone and can wipe data from a lost device.

Fan of street food? The Eat St. app (free; iPhone, iPod Touch) plots food carts—many with profiles that include their Twitter feed, menu, and hours—in 318 cities in the U.S.

Worried your checked bag might be over the airline’s weight limit? Balanzza’s Mini Luggage Scale ($24.95) is compact, handheld, and can weigh objects of up to 100 pounds.

Keep track of the flight departures and arrivals of 1,400 airlines at more than 4,000 airports around the world with Mobiata’s Flightboard app ($3.99; Android; iPhone, iPad).

Image courtesy of BullGuard

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