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Tech Thursday: Must-Have Apps For the 2012 London Olympics

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If you’re one of the lucky ones to be attending the Olympics this year in London, but are a little nervous about navigating a foreign city—particularly during what will very likely become a rather chaotic time with the huge influx of travelers and athletes—there are a few apps out there that can help you out. (And most of them will still be useful outside of London, after the Games are long over.)

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Tech Thursday: Three New Technologies to Make Travel Easier

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I love to travel. Obviously. I wouldn’t work here if I didn’t. And I love when I hear about advances in technology that can help make traveling easier. So you can imagine how excited I was when I saw our friends over at sister mag Executive Travel reported three new improvements that are underway that’ll help speed things up while you get to your destination, so you have more time to enjoy that beachside mojito.

The first will help you speed through the baggage check a little faster. How? By printing out your baggage tag at home, while you’re checking into your flight online. The technology was created by Unisys Corporation, and is currently being tested at Billund Airport in Denmark. When passengers show up at the airport, they simply drop their bags off at a special counter and head on over to security.

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Free Restaurant Recs on the Go from Google+ Local and Zagat

Google+ Local

Don't you hate it when you get to a new city and have no idea where to find a great restaurant? More often than not, unfortunately, a lack of knowledge leads to mediocre meals and a poor understanding of local cuisine. Google is out to fix that.

Google has added a new feature to their Google+ social network: Local. Like its competitor, Yelp, Google+ Local will show you recommended businesses, museums, and even—yes—restaurants that are nearby.

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Best New Food Apps

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Restaurant guidebooks have been around since Grimod de la Reynière’s Almanach des Gourmands was published in Paris in 1803. The 21st-century version: pioneering mobile-phone apps that intuitively lead travelers to restaurants via user-generated feedback. Foodspotting launched two years ago as a way to share epicurean snapshots and search for geo-tagged dining options, but it has since evolved into a Pandora-for-food that uses previous likes and dislikes to suggest what you might want to try next. In addition, Foodspotting has beefed up its editorial content, including redesigned “picture menus” for every restaurant and a new series of Travel + Leisure guides that highlight can’t-miss items in destinations from Las Vegas to Paris.

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App Lets Kids Explore the Globe with a Flick of the Finger

Barefoot World Atlas App

What's the perfect gift for young, inquisitive, would-be travelers? The Barefoot World Atlas App, available for iPad. The result of a collaboration between Barefoot Books and Touch Press, a popular app developer, the app lets your little one explore the globe with a flick of the finger.

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Tech Thursday: Custom-Made Foursquare Jewelry

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For anyone with an addiction to social media (which, naturally, includes yours truly), you know there are tons of benefits that come with taking the time to check-in to the various restaurants, shops, hotels, parks, and…well, anywhere and everywhere you might go. From perks like discounts or freebies, to the satisfaction of becoming the “mayor” of your favorite coffee shop a la Foursquare, to even, in some cases, winning a free trip…the possibilities are seemingly endless.

One companyhas taken the concept of checking in to whole different level: they’re letting people log into Foursquare through their website and create custom jewelry using their previous check-ins—think: connect the dots. (Fret not: if you’re not on Foursquare, you can use their custom map to create your design, or you could just shop from their pre-existing collection.)

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Tech Thursday: Ryanair Considering Introducing X-Rated In-Flight Entertainment...Seriously

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You know how annoying it is when the person sitting next to you on a flight is listening to their music so loud you can hear it? Now imagine that same scenario, but instead of loud music, it’s the sound of two people getting their freak on?

Yes, you read that right. And yes, I’m going somewhere with this.

Ryanair announced that it is planning on developing a custom app, which you could download onto your smartphone or tablet; with this app, you’ll be able to connect to the airline’s selection of in-flight entertainment. It’ll allow you to do lots of fun things, like gamble, play games, or kick back and watch some porn.

Once again, I have to confirm: yes, you read that right.

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Tech Thursday: Virgin Atlantic to Debut In-Flight Cell Phone Use

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You know how when you take a bus, and there happens to be that one person who opts to spend the entire ride on their cell phone, and it’s always a really loud conversation, and the whole time you sit there gritting your teeth and trying not to have a meltdown? (Okay, maybe that’s a little dramatic.) Well this same pleasure is making its way onto a different kind of bus. An Airbus. Virgin Atlantic’s Airbus A330, to be exact.

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Two Cool New iPhone Cases

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If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: I find it entirely impossible to completely unplug myself when I’m on vacation. The idea of not having the option to check my e-mail, hop onto Facebook, or shoot off a tweet is enough to make my heart palpitate. So it’s no surprise that, despite being on a recent weeklong beachy retreat to Miami, I set aside some time to pop by the offices of Max Borges, purveyor of all things gadgets. And during this brief visit, they showed me a few new products that are just so much fun, I feel the need to share.

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The Best New Accessories for Your iPad

For my last round-up, I shared a collection of my favorite new cell phone accessories. This week I want to showcase a my fave iPad accessories. So let’s just cut to the chase and dive right on in, shall we?

201204-b-techsafe-casejpgNot everyone likes to bring their iPads with them when they’re walking around a strange city. For starters, showing off your flashy, expensive toy can turn you into a target for a mugging. Second, you kind of look like a jerk using an iPad as a camera. I’m sorry, but it had to be said. However, it can be understandably nerve-wracking leaving it behind in your hotel room, especially when there is no personal safe. For peace of mind, pick up the TechSafe Case ($80; griffintechnology.com), which connects to a steel cable that can be tethered to just about anything (like the heavy hotel desk, perhaps).

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