Travel App: Rome For Foodies By Food Blogger Katie Parla

travel app Rome for FoodiesIf you are planning a trip to Rome this year and want to be sure to eat well, download food blogger Katie Parla’s Rome for Foodies app for iPhone and iPad. The Rome travel app features short and sweet reviews of everything delicious, from best bakeries for breakfast to wine bars. All of the app’s maps and features can be accessed offline, and you can filter by budget, category and distance. What sets Rome for Foodies apart from other travel apps is an insider’s guide to the city with thoughtfully chosen recommendations personally vetted by a food lover and city expert. You can also get an up-to-date stream of Katie’s latest blog posts about Rome if you are connected to the Internet, and see her favorites in Katie’s Picks.

If you are in New York City this weekend for the New York Times Travel Show, be sure to see Katie speak about Italian craft beer on the Europe stage, and participate in a seminar on the latest apps for travel, along with signing copies of her National Geographic book on walking in Rome.

Buy “Rome for Foodies” on iTunes or via ParlaFood.com.

[Photo credit: Katie Parla]

Apple’s Passbook Gives Us A Glimpse Of The Future Of Air Travel

Passbook for iPhone promises to change airline tickets foreverA few weeks back, to much fanfare, Apple released a new version of their popular iPhone and an updated version of iOS, the operating system that powers the device. Dubbed iOS 6, the latest edition of the software as been a bit of a mixed bag for most iPhone users, who now enjoy improved social networking integration, better messaging and a smarter Siri, but have been cursed with Apple’s new sub-par maps app.

Lost in the hype of the shiny new device and the kerfuffle that has been the maps fiasco, was the inclusion of a new app called Passbook. The app promises to be an electronic wallet for all of your digital coupons, membership and gift cards, movie tickets and boarding passes. Passbook collects those items from other apps, emails or direct download through the Safari browser and conveniently keeps them all well organized in a single place. When it comes time to use one of your coupons or tickets, you simply have the cashier scan a bar code on the screen of your phone and you’re on your way.

That’s not all Passbook can do, however, as it is also time and location aware. That means that it will automatically display relevant passes on your phone’s lock screen based on where you are. So if you walk into a Starbucks it will automatically display any active gift cards and as you arrive at the airport, the app is already placing the relevant boarding pass on your screen. It will even alert you of any changes to your flight time or departure gate, helping to ensure you don’t miss it.Digital boarding passes are not really all that new or innovative, as a number of airlines have been using them for a few years now. But Passbook makes it a breeze to collect and keep track of those passes and its inclusion as a pre-installed app on all iPhones means that more people will start using it on a regular basis. We all know that once a technology gains more mass market appeal, more companies will support it, which means Apple’s Passbook will probably be a gateway to better paperless options when traveling in the future.

The app is already supported by United and American Airlines, and we’re told that Delta will jump on the bandwagon soon too. But airlines aren’t the only ones that are quickly adding support for the new system. Major League Baseball now offers Passbook-based tickets for games and online movie ticketing service Fandango sends its passes to the app as well. The best part is, most businesses are already equipped to scan Passbook entries, which isn’t the case with similar services on other phones that employ Near-Field Communications technology for their approach to the digital wallet.

As technology evolves, there may soon come a day when you won’t need to leave home with anything other than your smartphone. That day probably isn’t as far off as we think either.

Google Invites Us On A Field Trip With New App

Google Field Trip for AndroidEarlier this week, tech giant Google released an interesting new Android app called Field Trip that cleverly combines Internet search and GPS services to deliver location specific information to users. The app, which runs in the background on compatible devices, uses alerts to suggest things to see and do in the immediate vicinity around the person using it. Those suggestions can include such things as places to eat or drink, where to catch a show or event, special deals and a whole lot more.

Field Trip taps into databases maintained by companies such as Thrillist, Zagat, Curbed and Yesterland to help make suggestions that may be of interest to the user. Those suggestions can come as frequently or as seldom as you’d like and appear on the screen in the form of a card that presents relevant information about the location or event.

The potential for this app while wandering around our home cities is great of course, as it is always fun to discover new locations and hidden gems that aren’t far from home. But Field Trip sounds like it could be a fantastic option for travelers who enjoy strolling around a new destination while organically discovering unique venues and other points of interest. While the early version of this app is a bit rough around the edges, it does hold a lot of potential for becoming a virtual tour guide in the future.

Field Trip is absolutely free and available now on Google Play store. An iPhone version is in the works and should be available soon.


Police Urge Hikers To Learn Orienteering Instead Of Relying On Smartphones

orienteeringPolice in northern Scotland have issued a call for hikers to learn orienteering rather than relying on their smartphones for navigation, the BBC reports.

Grampian Police have had to lead four separate groups to safety in the past week. The latest rescue included the use of mountain rescue teams and a Royal Navy helicopter to retrieve 14 hikers. The hikers were in the Cairngorms, a rugged mountain range with some of the UK’s tallest peaks.

Police said that the growing use of smartphone apps for navigation can lead to trouble. People are relying too much on technology without actually understanding the world around them. Police then have to rescue them at taxpayer expense.

Hiking with an app sounds to me like the antithesis of hiking. Basic orienteering with a map and compass is not difficult to learn. I’ve been teaching my 6-year-old and his brain hasn’t melted. Not only do a map and compass not have to rely on getting a signal, but they help you understand the land better and give you a feel for your natural surroundings.

So please folks, if you’re going out into nature, actually interact with it!

Using Google Maps To Launch A Zombie Invasion

Zombie, Zombies
It was only a matter of time.

The zombie craze has now infected Google Maps. A horde of living dead is coming to your street. A new app called Home Sweet Zombie from Confused.com allows you to type in the surname and address of someone you hate, then sit back and watch as zombies descend on their house. It’s a great way to get back at your former boss or the significant other who dumped you. If you’re filled with self-loathing you can even send them to your own house.

This app was designed by Jamie Gibbs, who writes about all things geeky on his blog. There, he reveals that he has more zombie stuff in the pipeline.

I tried it out on a few addresses in different countries and most worked. The only time the program came up blank was when I typed in Obama and the White House, proving once again the liberal bias among zombies. This also raises the question of whether they’re really as dead as they claim. I mean, has anyone actually seen their death certificates?

[Photo courtesy Confused.com]