TripIt Pro – No longer included with AMEX Platinum & A review after a year or so of use.

TripIt Pro will no longer be included with AMEX Platinum Cards any longer. This is unfortunate as I really like TripIt Pro and don’t like paying the $49 a year (I think this is a bit steep).

The AMEX Travel App also has great TripIt synchronization and I prefer it over the traditional TripIt App because it condenses previous flights and such, so if your on the 10th flight of a 15 flight trip, you don’t have to scroll past all the others first (which is incredibly annoying in the normal TripIt application, especially if your on a really long trip).

This is actually one of my biggest problems with the normal TripIt application is that it shows all your previous travels on your trip as well, which can be alot more information than is needed or wanted, and takes forever to scroll past. I wish by default it would scroll to where the next flight or whatever is as opposed to just starting at the beginning.

The points tracking feature of TripIt Pro is alright, though I prefer AwardWallet Plus, which lets met track not only my accounts but also all those of my family (and really anyone else if wanted).

TripIt is great software though, it recognizes 99% of the travel plans that I forward to [email protected], the iCal feed works great, putting all my travel plans on my blackberry as well as desktop/laptop and icloud.com.

http://www.tripit.com

iPhone4S Trial

So i’ve been trying out the iPhone4S from sprint for the past couple of weeks. Within the USA it was extremely slow on Sprint’s network, though since i’ve gotten back to Europe this hasn’t been an issue (even though I’m still using a Sprint SIM Card).

The phone itself is almost identical in performance, look, and feel, to the iPhone4. The Camera is a little better, but so far as it being dual processor, I don’t know that its any faster nor uses any less power than the prior model.

iCloud on the other hand is a mess. The email doesn’t push through imediately (which is strange seeing as my Microsoft Exchange Servers have no problem pushing instantly to the Apple device). So hopefully they will work on that some.

I haven’t yet found any use for Siri, but once I have played around with it a bit more, i’ll report back on that.

Using personal hotpot is very finicky and doesn’t work well at all. I can’t seem to get it to stay connected nor go very fast. After a little research it looks like I may have to completely reformat and re-setup my phone to prevent any OS Upgrade fragments. However I don’t want to do this while i’m abroad incase it is not possible to re-activate while overseas (i don’t know if it will work when i’m not on sprint’s towers).

I also managed to lose the micro-sim card that came with the iphone, the one that’s needed when i’m in the USA (i’m not sure if it will function with no sim card in it at all).

 

 

 

Ashanti Lodge – Green Point

I’ve been staying in the Ashanti Lodge in green point for a few days now, and find it quiet but very nice. The entire place is very clean, staff extremely friendly and helpful, and there are a few other guests around as well.

Do note that this is a very small lodge, it is not nearly as large as the Ashanti Gardens, which much bigger.

The location is good though, very close to the beach as well as the “Waterfront” shopping area.

 

There is no bar nor smoking room at this hostel.

Second segment of AA OneWorld RTW Award: HKG-AMS on Cathay Pacific First.

So a few days ago I took one of the longest flights of my life, over 12 hours in the air, from HKG to AMS (not to mention sitting on the ground an extra hour or so).

Cathay’s ground service is acceptable definately not one of my favorites. The staff itself are friendly and responsive, but the lounges seemed very crowded and understaffed. It also seemed that there were way too many pax for it being a First Class Lounge. I can understang all sorts of people to enter the biz lounge, but f lounges should be limited to primarily f pax, and I didn’t feel that to be the case at either “The Pier” nor “The Wing.”

The food offerings at the lounges is also very limited.

My flights was hours delayed, both before and after boarding. This is when the experience started to change.

Unlike on the ground, the quality of beverages offered in the air was much better. Krug was their champagne of Choice, and wasn’t bad. They also offered Johnny Walker Blue label.

The caviar was not too impressive at all, but the rest of the meal was very good.

The bed itself was quite large but not especially comfortable. The IFE included a good sized screen.

hostelz.com

I’ve been trying it out for a few bookings i’ve recently made and it seems alot better than the competition. Its mainly a review site, but can also do an aggregated availability and pricing search of multiple other sites.

I highly recommend giving it a try!

http://www.hostelz.com

Shangri La

I’ve spent a few days at the Shangri La in Pokhara during my 2 stays there.

The first stay went most excellent, though there were a couple hiccups. First the rooms ac didn’t work, and for a hotel at this price point in Nepal it should. After an hour or so I switched rooms. Both rooms were on the second floor, and seemed pretty fresh (nothing broken, rusty, old, dusty, etc).

There is a full bathroom with bath tub, toilet, sink, and shower. Even a phone.

The pool area is small but very relaxing, and has lots of different atmospheres to sit and relax in.

The bed was comfortable, and tv got all the channels. However a big problem at this property is internet. There is a charge of $20 per day, and even for that price it is very very slow (less than 1mbit download). I found my 3g connection to be much faster.

I ended up payin $100 a night with free breakfest. At the end of my first stay, I decided I wanted to check out at around 3pm on the 3rd day, and they allowed me to do this without any penalty, in fact they seemed to care less.

another problem with a different room than the one where the ac didn’t weork was that the toilet ran the entire time. I have a feeling this isn’t the norm here though.

Food was pretty good. Of all the meals I had they all were tasty and well presented. I especially recommend the chicken momo, its really some of the best I’ve ever had.

ibooks and ipad

I’ve had a chance now to read about a dozen books on the ipad, and I’ve noticed a few large problems:

1) battery life. For a tablet as full featured and powrful as it is, it gets great battery life. However when used as a book, the approximately 10 hour battery seems to drain quickly. It would be a lot better if it lasted days. I have a hard time keeping it charged all the time. Also it doesn’t seem to charge quickly.

2) formatting. Why u can change from portrate to landscape mode, there are not many other layout options. For example I would like to see a landscapr option like stanza’s, and I also would like to be able to adjust the margins and the spacing between lines. there should be some ability to adjust the layout.

3) pdfs. Not sure what’s going on with the pdf feature, but not beiong able to natively view pdfs is a major pain. I use calibre to conert them but often this isn’t very accurate.

4) glare/brightness. The glare off the screen is horrible, any light source seems to annoyingly reflect. Reading in the sun is nearly impossible.

Yeti äirlines

Welcome. Today our flight level will be 3500 feet, duration 20 minutes.

Yeti is an interesting airline.

We are flying in a Jetstream 41. The inside is actually quite nice, with recently refurbished seats, and even what feels like air conditioning (though it doesn’t work well on the ground).

Though above the mountains, we are seeming very low, when I look out the window I almost feel as though I’m atop a very tall building (usually on a large jet, the ground doesn’t even seem real as its soo distant).

To be perfectly honest though, this experience is as close to flying private as I’ve ever received. Security took less than 1 minute. No line. My liquids were not a problem. I wasn’t asked to remove shoes, liquids, laptops, nor my belt. Just inside security I was able to purchase a cheap can of cold beer.

When it was time to board, a wonderfully helpful young woman came over and got me and told me to follow her to the plane (no English announcements).

After a 30 second bus ride, everyone quickly boarded. The plane is less than half full, leaving plenty of room for large carryons. There are 2 flight attendants, whom even though turbulence was very rough, still managed to offer every passenger water during the rough flight (I can’t believe she was able to stand at all none the less pour little cups or water). Prior to takeoff we were given some sweets, cotton balls for the ears.
I was never asked to shut off my phone, and it works lovely at 3000 feet.

The flight was around a halr hour long, and cost around $80. I bought the ticket around an hour and a half before departure.

Comparing OS X Desktop Blog Editors (for WordPress)

Using a cell connection has a few disadvantages, such as latency. Even when I have nice solid 3G coverage, doing things like organizing a blog become difficult. For email I use entourage, which solves this problem completely, but currently i’m editing WordPress via http, and thats just a pain sometimes.

Here’s my quick 5 minute review of a couple of the blog editors out there:

Ecto

  • Doesn’t show sub-categories properly. Thus its no good for me.
  • Was able to easily add my blog.

 

MarsEdit 

  • Easily added my blog.
  • Doesn’t support sub-categories, thus no good.
Blogo
  • Able to easily add blog.
  • Doesn’t support sub-categories.
All in all I tried 3, i’m going to try paperless as well, but at this point i’m pretty unhopefull about anything supporting sub-categories (which is an important thing to me).