United Airlines is the latest carrier to offer GoGo inflight Wi-Fi services -- I tried it out for free yesterday.
Wi-Fi's spread and convenience bring threats, so be prepared. A helpful article in today's Wall Street Journal offers these tips to minimize the dangerous machinations of hackers. It's good info for general Wi-Fi use in your hotel room, home or office, and especially for Wi-Fi hotspots. The person nearby in the hotel lobby or airport waiting area may be a hacker lurking to steal information from your laptop -- or even take it over: Keep all computer software and computer protection software current. Name your Wi-Fi network. Conduct all financial transactions -- such as banking, stock market trades and purchases requiring a credit card -- at home over a wired connection or wireless firewall. Close down your computer when you're not using the Internet. Use a wired connection wherever possible.
After a stressful summer of all work, no travel, I am aghast at the latest news that spas -- where we go to relax and get away from it all -- are now featuring wireless ya-ya-yahs. The eucalyptus is clearing my sinuses and calming my senses in the steam room when, in all her dripping nudeness, the woman next to me Blackberries? Oh, spa me the wired spa, puh-leeze!
The iPod Shuffle my son gave me for Christmas has saved my sanity on airplanes ever since. I can block out those mismanaged kids whose parents seem to sleep through the chaos and the loudmouth guys who think everyone else cares about what they have to say. Now comes even better news -- an iPod powerStick recharger that can recharge iPods from three to four times. I can wrap myself in music forever! With this rechargeable trick and cell phones off the docket on airplanes for the near future, I might be able to get a little work done again while flying.
It's easier and easier to shop by mobile phone or PDA while you're on the road. Here's a roundup of the most popular Web shopping sites with their special slimmed-down interfaces for small screens -- and links to a few lesser-known sites.
It's easier and simpler to take along an international cell phone on trips out of the US, especially if you want one for emergencies and minimal use. This is especially important for the womantraveler who wants to stay connected -- to children, sitters and aging parents -- because, alas, alack, it makes us feel more secure. But the choices for purchase and rental are wildly different, and you need to think ahead and have a sharp pencil to do the math for what suits you best.
Asian cities are taking the lead in innovative uses of PDAs to assist foreign visitors. Offering free travel maps and brochures via PDAs versus traditional free print brochures is taking off in the part of the world that typically leads us headlong into the technology revolution. Macau, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Japan are among the leaders in experimentation and implementation of digital travel guides.
Here's a great tip from the Blog for Business -- travel agents now have software they can give you to integrate your travel plans into your Outlook calendar. Direct connections and integrating travel web services into desktop applications will speed your travel planning -- and more is to come.
After experiencing regular error messages when I shut down my laptop, I entered the dark and lonely world of online "help desks" by Dell, McAfee, Microsoft, and Palm. Not that there weren't pleasant moments -- these services are largely customer-focused and easily accessible, in most cases 24x7. But the bad news is that the customer is still required to be the integrator of the information. My lessons learned cost me much of 5 days of work or aggravatioin and extra $$ for fee-based support.
As a business womantraveler, I've added yoga to my travel workout menu. I've found a reliable online resource for simple travel yoga practice. With a laptop, I can view yoga poses on the Web, as well as listen to meditation music on a CD and play exercise videos, including pilates, in my room.