USA Today is known to many as a traveler newspaper, since it is often provided to business travelers on many airlines, and available at many hotels throughout the country. So it is not surprising that the Gannett-owned paper has released a new iPhone application aimed at that very same market.
AutoPilot, which is a free app now available from the Apple Apps Store, is being sponsored by Hampton Hotels, and it allows users to receive trip and flight itineraries; with information from 16,000 airports, and 1,400 airlines; and it also lets users find and contact travel service providers including rental cars, restaurants and hotels (and not just Hampton Hotels). It includes a GPS-enabled location tracker, plus offers updates on weather conditions and of course gives users a chance to read USA Today travel-related blogs. Sounds like a good option for anyone who likes the paper and travels a lot.
Will Solar Power Bring Mobile Phones to Africa?
The Times of Johannesburg ran a story this week that highlights the problem with bringing the third screen to remote parts of the developing world, namely that while mobile towers maybe in place, getting power to handsets is still a hurdle.
The Times reports that this remains a problem for mobile phone penetration in parts of developing Africa, such as Uganda, where there is simply a lack of electricity. But this is a worldwide problem as well. According to the paper, some 1.6 billion people in the world have no access to electricity at all, while another 1 billon have no electricity for a greater part of the day. This might be hard for us to imagine of course, but it makes using even simple devices extremely difficult.
The paper highlights one user in particular and notes that in Uganda just 8 percent of the country’s 32 million people have access to the nation’s electric grid. But the solution from Uganda Telecom is actually quite simple and yet inventive. The carrier provides phones with built-in solar chargers. The irony of much of the developing world is that it is in very sunny climates and could use solar powered mobile phones that get the world connected. These people with the handsets are going green, not out of desire to save the planet, but of simple necessity.
Staying Connected at 30,000 Feet
Most airline carriers ask (nay, demand) that you turn off your mobile phone prior to taking off. But now those following you on Facebook or Twitter can track your status, at least if you’re flying Lufthansa. You’ll still have to switch off your phone, but when preparing to fly on the German carrier you can use the online service, MySkyStatus.com, to keep your followers updated on where you are. The service works by letting users input details about any flight, which is then matched to real-time global air traffic data.
Information can be updated as regular posts about departures, arrival and even interesting facts such as what country you are flying over – the irony here is that users reading your updates might know where you are even if you’re not entirely sure at the time!