IBM has created what they're benignly calling "cognitive semiconductors," which are computers that can actually learn, think, and creatively process information. So, that sounds like a good idea, right? I mean, seriously, great work, IBM, but when one of your big backers is DARPA, you can't fool us. We know Skynet is upon us. Also, don't get caught with your patents down!Subscribe: iTunes (MP3) | iTunes (320x180) | iTunes (640x360) | RSS (MP3) | RSS (320x180) | RSS (640x360)… Read more
It's always possible to find a room for the night when you're traveling, but if it's last-minute, it'll cost you. Luckily, there are two apps that help you dig up deals for the right price.
Hotel Tonight (for iPhone and Android) focuses its search on the swankier side of accommodations, finding you deals on unsold rooms in hip, stylish, or boutique hotels.
You may have heard of my second choice, too: Airbnb, a peer-to-peer service that facilitates an owner's short-term rental of a space to guests (that's you). Unfortunately, Airbnb has recently been at … Read more
Google has been ramping up its transportation search features for desktop and mobile, but now it is shifting into full on travel mode with its Hotel Finder experiment.
The Next Web reports that the utility is "designed to help users find the perfect hotel." Easier said than done, of course, but maybe something that Google creates is just crazy enough to work.
Google's Hotel Finder (not to be confused with HotelFinder.com) can find the ideal accommodation for a particular user based on a few different priorities, such as location and budget. For example, when searching for … Read more
There are a great number of travel Web sites on the Internet that let you search flights, hotel listings, and car rentals, but if you want a quick way to get that info while on the go, check out the Kayak for Android app. This latest version includes a sleek interface and fast search results making it a breeze to get your travel plans in order quickly.
Instead of the older tile-like interface, Kayak has instead gone with a list view in this version that makes it easy to browse flights, hotels, and car rentals. Once you choose the type … Read more
What do Virgin America and New York's Ace Hotel have in common? They are frequented by the digerati, the beautiful, and the in-the-know.
So it's a shrewd marketing move by Google to announce today that some Virgin America flights this summer and the Ace will be testbeds for the brand new Chromebook.
Chromebooks were a concept initially introduced two years ago, but are just now making their way to retailers.
Jet-setting BlackBerry addicts now have a few more convenient travel tools at their disposal, thanks to today's update of the BlackBerry Travel app to version 1.1. After releasing the first iteration of BlackBerry Travel back in February, it appears the folks at RIM have listened to user feedback and rolled some of the louder suggestions into this newest release.
One of the splashiest new features users will find in 1.1 is Mobile Rental Car Booking. According to RIM, the updated app can now help you "book a rental car from almost any rental car agency anywhere … Read more
Not so keen on schlepping your suitcases through the streets of New York City after checking out of your hotel? Hand them over to Yobot, the luggage-handling robot.
The 15-foot bot will await visitors in the lobby of Yotel, which opens June 1 in Times Square and calls itself the "iPod of the hotel industry" for such sleek techno flourishes as touch-screen check-in, flat-panel TVs, purple mood lighting--and, of course, Yobot.
The robotic arm can pick up luggage and put it in one of 133 storage lockers in the hotel lobby in case you want to walk around unencumbered before or after checking in. You get a bar-coded ticket, which you then put into the system when you're ready for Yobot to fetch your stash.
Yobot's luggage lugging costs $2 a bag, so presumably you don't have to tip (although Yobot would probably offer a steely wave of appreciation if you did). You can, of course, store your luggage in most hotels for free, but then you get one less cool photo to show your friends back home in Minnetonka. … Read more
Wilson mysteriously disappears on this beautiful Wednesday, but Natali's pulling a twofer this week and filling in to help us with today's rundown. To her delight, a new augmented reality app is bringing future tech from the Harry Potter series alive, a PhillieBot will chuck the first patch at tonight's game, and a new iPhone case protects more than just the device inside.The 404 Digest for Episode 803 Robot to throw first pitch at today's Phillies game How did that RFID chip end up in my suitcase? On a related note, Natali brings this delightful Jamaican tale to our attention. The JustinCase prototype fights for safe sex. Thanks to Attariq for drawing this picture of The 404! Episode 803 Subscribe in iTunes (audio) | Subscribe in iTunes (video) | Subscribe in RSS Audio | Subscribe in RSS Video… Read more
How many times has this happened to you? You check into your hotel, only to find it doesn't have Wi-Fi. Or charges extra for it. Or the signal in your room is too weak to be of any use.
What you need is a travel router, a portable gizmo you can connect to the room's Ethernet cable to create your own speedy, potentially free Wi-Fi hot spot. (Some hotels charge for Internet access regardless of how you connect, but others offer the Ethernet variety free.)
Newegg has the TrendNet TEW-654TR Wireless N Travel Router Kit for $19.99 shipped. … Read more
When checking in to a hotel, the old advice goes, see the room before you accept it. Don't like it? Sniff dismissively at the bellhop, and talk your way into a better room.
In a nutshell, the company is building a database of individual hotel rooms, including for each information like distance from elevators, what floor they're on, subjective ratings from people who have stayed in them, and--the sexy feature--a Google Maps image, with 3D buildings, of the view out the window.
If you get the upcoming Room 77 smartphone app, when you're checking in to a hotel you'll be able see if the room you're offered matches what you like, and also check out the view. Bad-for-you rooms will come back red-tagged. You can request another before you leave the desk. … Read more