Daily deal – Microsoft Bluetooth Notebook mouse for $30

My daily deal for today is for the Microsoft Bluetooth Notebook Mouse 5000 (seriously, who comes up with these names?).

This battery powered cordless mouse communicates with your PC using Bluetooth technology, so your laptop or desktop will need to have built in Bluetooth, or a Bluetooth USB adapter in order to use it.

The mouse is a tad smaller than a regular desktop mouse, but still features a scroll wheel, back button and a high resolution laser for tracking your movements.

The mouse even includes a carrying bag to prevent damage when you throw it in your laptop bag. The Notebook mouse 5000 works on Windows and Mac machines, and normally retails for $49.99, but is currently on sale for just $29.99 through Amazon.com. Since it is over $25, you’ll even get free shipping.

Microsoft and Travelport Make Travel Services Dream Team

Microsoft has collaborated with the travel technology company Travelport before. The two giants of their respective industries teamed up to create the pricing system that was first used on Expedia and is now used by all of Travelport’s clients. Think Microsoft’s profit power has been impressive for the past couple of decades? What about Travelport? The company flies below the radar in terms of brand recognition, but their searching and processing services are used by more than 63,000 travel agencies per day.

A new deal inked by Microsoft and Travelport would expand the alliance. The two giants would work on a comprehensive set of tools and services for travelers, travel agencies and internet ticket booking sites. Theoretically, at this point anyway, the development of better price searching technology could lead to lower travel costs for travelers and more chances for profit from travel agencies.

Microsoft exec Geoff Cairns had big things to sat about the relationship with Travelport:
“In bringing together Microsoft’s rich, interactive technologies with Travelport’s deep marketplace of travel content and informed choice, we are creating a completely innovative solution for the travel industry. This will improve the traveller experience with a new level of personalization and change how suppliers, TMCs, and OTAs reach travellers.” Too good to be true? Time will tell.

Space Tourist to Blog From Final Frontier

Just when you thought your exoctic travel destinations were exciting, consider the latest endeavour by Microsoft billionaire, Charles Simonyi: he’s headin’ for space. While he’s up there, Simonyi plans to — amongst other things — blog about his adventure.

It all starts this Saturday, when the Microsoft Word developer will blast off with a pair of Russians on a two-day journey to the International Space Station. He’ll be there for 11 days, taking samples of the microbes living on the station, trying to fix a couple broken ham radios, and writing.

Simyoni hopes his trip will promote future space travel for civilians. Although, at the moment, it’s a little cost prohibitive. The upcoming trip will set him back more than $20 million.

Photo Tourism with Microsoft Photosynth

Let’s talk about your vacation photos for a second. Sure, you have a few snaps of your significant other standing by the Fountain of the Four Rivers in Rome’s Piazza Navona, but that’s just one sight from the large city square. What if you could extend the borders of your photograph to see what the lens missed?

Computer scientists from Microsoft and the University of Washington have been working on a way to perform such a feat. It’s called Photo Tourism, and it’s a technique that auto-magically organizes related photographs to build a complete model of a scene. We’ve seen this idea before with stitched panoramas, but Photo Tourism brings the experience to a new level since its environments are three-dimensional and interactive.

Also, it isn’t meant to showcase a single person’s images. For example, imagine combining every image on Flickr tagged with “Las Vegas Strip.” Thousands of tourists photograph every inch of the boulevard every day, and all of these photos could be stitched together to form one seamless virtual environment. You could navigate through these joined images as if you were walking to the MGM Grand with the electric dreams of being a Vegas showgirl! Now, that just wouldn’t be possible with traditional photo stitching.

It’s a fascinating concept, and it could be the future of armchair tourism. The product isn’t yet finished, but you can try out Microsoft’s Photosynth Technology Preview. There are a few environments you can explore: Piazza San Marco, Venice (pictured); Grassi Lakes, Canadian Rockies; and Piazza San Pietro, Rome.