Sunday, April 20, 2014

Mapquest Making A Comeback

At one point, Mapquest was one of the most important tools we had when it came to travel. These days, Mapquest has almost become 100% irrelevant in the modern world. In most cases, it would make you mad if you actually had to use Mapquest instead of your phone.

The mappers at Mapquest know that their product has fallen off, but they have not stopped developing their business. They have continued working and building on their product to make a big return to relevance in the mobile technology world.

Mapquest was intended to help you navigate your travels, but these days most people only use it to get a general idea of how much gas money they are going to spend ahead of time and figure out how long their trips will take. Even if it isn't being used as it was intended, it has still maintained its ranking as one of the top 200 websites in the United States. Recently, they added local discovery and sharing along with a brand new mobile mapping product. They have also gained a lot of partners to enhance the quality of all the listings on its map product.

They have teamed up with MLB and Hampton Inn. Now users can see all of the Hampton Inns near them on one tab and will also be able to book hotel rooms.

Partnering with MLB has helped them out in several ways. It's nice for users to be able to explore the stadiums on Mapquest and have the ability to download specific team kits. It also benefits Mapquest because now they are the sole mapping partner within the official MLB app.

Now Mapquest results also include all of the listings and information for GrubHub online ordering, SinglePlatform, Booker's schedule for spas, SeatGeek results for event tickets, FAA airport delays, and in the coming months will also include Foursquare's venue tips.

Mapquest is trying to fight to become what they once were. They used to be the go to tool for anyone's travel needs. Now, it's going to take a lot more for them to rise to the top, especially with Google and Apple having their own built in travel tools and fighting every day to overcome each other. The competition is insane, and Mapquest thinks they have what it takes to move beyond simple road mapping and transform into a full-service utility for every day use.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Managing Your Money On The Go With Manilla

When you choose to manage your bills online, it's not always as simple as it sounds. There are different options that banks offer for bill paying, but more times than not, you'll end up more confused than when you started. Manilla is a free service which launched back in 2011, and they are making bill paying and money management easier than ever before.

When you sign up to start using Manilla, you can add any bank account, credit card, utility, health, travel, and subscription accounts to it. Once you get everything situated, you will be automatically updated at all times so that you can stay up to date on your bills and account balances. You will even get alerts automatically whenever a bill is due, so you'll never miss anything. As if that wasn't convenient enough, you can access Manilla through its website, or by using the app for Android or iOS. Perfect for managing all of your money while you're traveling, or if you just live a super busy life.

Another useful feature that Manilla has to offer is its ability to share bills with friends, co-workers, family members, or anyone that you may have to or want to share with. If you are sharing a bill with someone, like a roommate or a business partner, instead of giving them all of your account information, you can simply invite them to Manilla and share it that way.

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There are lots of reasons to use this type of service. It eliminates lots of headaches that you would come across when trying to juggle multiple accounts and having different bills due on different days. What also makes this particular service a little bit better than the others is the fact that Manilla doesn't really have any ads. No one wants to be distracted while managing their money. It also comes off as being a little more professional and lets you know that they take their service seriously.

Managing your money from one place is priceless when you are busy or traveling. It lets you focus on the important things in life and frees up a lot of time that you could spend being productive. Not only that, but once you have everything added to it, you never have to remember any of the passwords to multiple accounts ever again. It's already right there and stored permanently. It removes all the hassle and puts you in control of everything from your smartphone, tablet, pc or laptop.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Artemis Makes A Breakthrough In Wireless Connectivity

Last week, entrepreneur Steve Perlman announced his new company named Artemis, and showed off its new pCell technology. This new technology is designed to deliver consistent, full-speed mobile data to every single mobile device at the same time no matter how many users are connected at the same time in any spot at the time.

The idea behind the technology is pretty amazing, but some people would say that it wouldn't work exactly as planned. Some arguments that have popped up are saying that it would be impossible to run the network at full capacity to an unlimited about of users because the signals would become too complicated. But, that is exactly what Artemis intends on doing.

The way it works is pretty interesting. pCell does not try to suppress any interference, but instead combines radio signals transmitted from different stations. In doing so, it creates a personalized wireless network for each individual mobile device.

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Distributed Input-Output (a.k.a. DIDO) is another technology that Artemis is using. It's capacity has been proven to reach 10 times the limits given by Shannon-Hartley calculations, and has the potential to reach up too 1000 times the capacity. This is because instead of users sharing the same access point, they all get their own personal channel.

DIDO is a cloud-bases technology, and has been tested at every frequency between 1MHz to 1GHz. Indoor DIDO APs have a transmission range of up to a mile, and outdoor DIDO APs use Near-Vertical Incidence Skywave and have a coverage of up to 500 miles.

pCell works in all mobile bands and unlicensed spectrums like 900 MHz in the USA.

There are some huge benefits to pCell. It is compatible with every LTE device like the iPhone or the Samsung Galaxy, or any other LTE smartphone. Throughout all pCell coverage areas, these devices will be able to run at their full speed no matter what. Wireless carriers can set up pCell for way lower costs than traditional cellular, using base stations called pWave radios as opposed to building cell towers. It is currently being tested in San Francisco and will be ready for commercial deployment at the end of this year.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Lost Your Room Key? It's Ok, Just Use Your Smartphone!

Traveling of any kind can bring its own set of comforts and worries. Whether you are traveling for business or pleasure, we can all agree that our homes away from home carry their own stresses. More so for business traveling-- keeping up with all of your belongings can be an issue that you don't really anticipate. Your laptop is in check, you made sure to tip the waiter on your way out of the diner, but when you look for your room key, it's gone. Again, this is a common occurrence for anyone traveling, no matter what the reason may be. But once again, technology comes through for humanity. Don't have your room key on you? Don't worry. There's an app for that.

The new Starwood app for Starwood Hotels & Resorts is now offering an added new feature. Its added functionality of a "virtual room key" has given their customers the opportunity for less headaches when checking in and gaining access to their rooms. The app is set up to have a payment method and check in access directly involved with it. Now, when you book at the hotel, you don't necessarily have to wait in line or ring the bell for service at the front desk. When you arrive, check in and pay on your app, head to your room, and even enter your room via the app!

The access to your room is completely based on the app, should you choose to do it that way. It all works via Bluetooth technology. However, you need to have at least an iPhone 4S or newer for it to work. An Android device using the Android 4.3 OS or newer OS will also work. The locks on the door contain sensors which become active as soon as the Bluetooth connection is detected. One other good note is that the locks are completely battery powered. That means that although the batteries will need to be changed regularly, you will still have complete access to your room should the hotel's systems go down.

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This all seems very well and good, but could it be seen as just another gimmick to attract more customers? The CEO of the Starwood Hotels, Frits van Paasschen, actually addressed that very question. He admitted to seeing how the idea of it could seem to be a bit of a "novelty" when it first comes into use, but also said that he could see it actually being the new standard for checking into your hotel and your hotel room.

So far the only drawback is that this feature will only be available at the Starwood Aloft hotels in Cupertino, CA and Harlem, NY. Since they are the ones piloting the program, they do plan to see how well this new app works for their customers. Should the app and its uses see success, then Starwood plans to move it to all of their hotels by the end of 2015. But should you still want to keep things old school, you can always gain access through the front desk. You are not limited to the app. Just remember that having your key card and your phone become the same thing, essentially, can make life just a little bit easier for your travels.