An App For Apps Makes Travel Easier, Maybe Too Easy

In the world of travel apps, we’ve seen geo-based, crowd-sourced and sharing technology that has opened up a lot of possibilities for travelers. We can automatically create a travel log with one, find a hotel on the fly with another and map our way through unknown lands with ease. The result? A home screen full of apps that demand to be sorted, modified and updated to be useful. But now, in a new generation that leverages a bit of artificial intelligence, app developers have a plan to make that easier. Gaining a mind of its own, your smartphone can do much more than we ask of it.

Tempo is a calendar app that uses learning algorithms to figure out what information you’re looking for, if not anticipate your needs. It’s a first generation of artificial intelligence applied to smartphones that considers all information sources available to present relevant information.

“After you grant Tempo access to your email and calendars, the app searches for all the tidbits of schedule-related information you have stored in your accounts, gathering it together and presenting it cleanly inside individual calendar events,” notes a Wired article.Going to a meeting across town? Given authorization, Tempo will take that calendar note to “meet client for lunch” and add access to recent email, relevant documents for the meeting, provide parking information at the location, information about the restaurant and check you in on Facebook or Foursquare, automatically.

Right now, we would need to open multiple apps to make that happen. In the future, we may just be along for the ride.

Airbus Will Introduce Self-Tracking Baggage Line

Airplane manufacturer Airbus has been cooking up another innovation: a “smart bag” that allows travelers to check in and track their luggage from their phone.

The tech-infused piece of luggage, Bag2Go, contains sensors and an RFID chip that communicates with airlines systems – including check-in and security – and relays the information to an iPhone app. For packing and check-in purposes, the luggage will be able to automatically weigh the contents of suitcases, and users will be able to track their bag as it makes its way onto the plane. It will also alert travelers if their baggage has been opened, saving travelers the trouble of getting caught in a baggage theft scam, like the one in Italy earlier this year that ended in nearly 50 arrests.

The bag is still in the development stages, but in a promotional video Airbus is saying travelers will either be able to buy a Bag2Go suitcase or rent them trip-by-trip. Although the baggage doesn’t seem to help solve the mystery of what to do if your luggage accidentally gets sent to Timbuktu, we’re glad it’ll save us from milling around baggage carousels as we impatiently wait for our suitcase to materialize.

[via Wired]

Gadlinks for Wednesday 10.28.09

Here’s a travel tidbit for you guys: Did you know that it was 95 years ago that the first rapid transit subway, the IRT, opened in New York City?

We have certainly come a long way in a century, and 95 years from now we’ll be just as astound at how travel times have changed. But let’s get to the travel stories circulating the Web right now, shall we? Here are some good reads to tie you over.

‘Til tomorrow, have a great evening!

More Gadlinks HERE.

Could Twitter and technology make you a target for criminals when you travel?

Canceling mail service, stopping the newspaper, and putting house lights on timers are ways to make it look to a potential burglars as if you’re still home.

Twitter, though, could undo all your careful planning if you agree with Israel Hyman that his Tweets about his travels tipped off a burglar that he was long gone. When Hyman returned home after his vacation, he discovered valuable electronic equipment was missing. His wife thinks it was most probably a random, coincidental act. Hyman leans towards with his theory.

After reading the CNET News article that recounts Hyman’s story and tells about how technology and cyberspace are interacting in a way that makes us more vulnerable to people taking advantage of us when we travel, I’m not so sorry that I have simple little cell phone and that I haven’t hopped on the high tech gadgetry bandwagon.

The details about how Mathew Honan was able to track down a woman he saw taking a photo at the Golden Gate Bridge using her iPhone 3G is a bit alarming. He wrote about how he did traced her on Flickr and Facebook in this article in WIRED. Honan isn’t a creep, just someone checking out the power of the equipment and a person with sleuthing know how.

Still, even with the technology that might tip off strangers to ones whereabouts, stopping the mail, the paper, and hooking up the timer makes sense. Being careful about what you Twitter couldn’t hurt either. On the other hand, why be paranoid?

I was broken into when I was gone on vacation and I’m convinced it was a guy who was a friend of the friend of mine taking care of my apartment. He knew where the key was. Maybe Hyman should think about who he knows who knew he was out of town.

View air traffic like nothing you’ve ever seen before

This photo is not a closeup of your DNA, nor is it the latest work of art at the local gallery. It is in fact, a representation of every single flight in the domestic US airspace over a 24 hour period.

The picture is part of a map built by Aaron Koblin, on display at The portion you see above is of air traffic into Chicago’s 2 airports, and if you look closely, you’ll clearly see planes headed for O’Hare, and those going to Midway.

The map is zoomable and scrollable, and can be sorted by make, model and altitude of the plane. The real time flight data was provided by FlightView. I can highly recommend wasting a couple of minutes of your busy day to play around with the map!