Emailed photos become instant postcards with Postcardly

postcardsIf you’re anything like me, perhaps you’re a bit too…lazy to send postcards when you’re on vacation trip. Like most of us, I got sucked into the convenience of email, and it was a good excuse to not deal with looking for a post office in a foreign country. On the other hand, I love sharing vacation photos. Which, understandably, tests the patience of those who failed to receive a postcard from me while I was on said trip.

If you possess similar habits, I suggest you check out Postcardly. This recently-launched company allows you to email photo attachments from your laptop, an Internet cafe, or your Smartphone. Postcardly will then turn that photo into a real postcard (you provide the text, and they print it up on the back of the card), and mail it to as many people as you want (delivery takes between one day and a week). Postcardly isn’t the first company to come up with this concept, but it differs in that their postcards are the real deal; they’re not a phone app (i.e. no need for roaming capability or a global phone), pop-out cards, or printed on flimsy stock. They’re keepsakes, if you will.

Pretty nifty, especially for kids or people like my dad, who can’t fathom computers (or really, anyone; who doesn’t love receiving a postcard?). Postcardly costs $4.99 a month for five postcards, $9.99 a month for 15 postcards, or a one-time charge of $19.99 for 20 prepaid postcards. Currently, they only mail cards mailed domestically; international service coming soon. Go here for a free trial of three postcards. And don’t forget to write!

Hotel Madness Final Four: Voting ends today!

gadling hotel madness final four

Have you voted in the semifinal match-ups of Gadling’s Hotel Madness tournament yet? It’s a short week of voting for this round since we’ll be opening the polls for the championship beginning tomorrow. The Final Four pits #1 seed No free Wi-Fi versus #4 Resort fees and #3 seed Expensive parking against #7 Bad water pressure.

There’s still times for you to make your voices heard. Which of these hotel pet peeves stick in your craw the most? Vote now and help decide which two nuisances advance to the finals.

It’s easy to vote. Simply click here.

Top ten ways to deal with a slow Internet connection while travelling

Internet, internet
Adventure travel has its downsides. One of them is that out-of-the-way places tend to have slow Internet connections. Usually this isn’t a problem. You aren’t going to the ends of the Earth to tweet about it, are you? Sometimes, though, we need to keep in touch. While writing my Harar travel series, I’ve been having serious problems trying to do this broadband blogging job on a dialup connection. Not only is it always slow, but it died completely for a week. Today the Internet came back as mysteriously as it disappeared. Assuming you can get a connection, here are some time-saving tips I’ve come up with, along with others that fellow Gadlingers suggested to keep me from pulling my hair out at the local Internet café.

1: Compose on Word or Notepad while your email is loading.

2: Don’t try to open more than one tab at a time, but while you’re reading one you can open another.

3: Turn off “automatically load images.” In Firefox you do this by clicking Tools-Options-Content-then unchecking “Load images automatically”. In Internet Explorer click on Tools-Internet Options-Advanced-scroll down to Multimedia and uncheck “Show pictures”.

4: Some email accounts like Gmail have a Basic HTML option that will make your email load more quickly.

5: If you have your own computer, NoScript is a useful program from cutting out a lot of the high-bandwidth crap that clutters up the Internet.
6: Scott Carmichael says, “Find mobile versions of sites. Always make sure background apps like Dropbox are disabled.”

7: Meg Nesterov says, “Can never be said enough: save early and often. Load text-heavy or videos that buffer first while you’re active on other pages, then read/watch them last. Some sites will load faster in Mobile view.”

8: Stephen Greenwood says, “When I was in Arusha, Tanzania, I would go to the fanciest hotel in town (they had the fastest WiFi) and pretend I was staying there so I could upload photos / blog posts from the lobby.”

9: Once you’ve logged out, wait a moment and then close the tab. The command has already been sent and you will be logged out. Yes, I’ve checked this and it really works.

10: You’ll probably have to do without high-bandwidth sites like Twitter.

. . .if all else fails, send a postcard!

Do you have any time-saving tips you use when struggling with a bad connection? Tell me about them in the comments section. I need all the help I can get over here!

[Photo courtesy user cfarivar via Gadling’s flickr pool]