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For the most part traveling from the US. to the U.S. Virgin Islands is just like traveling from New York to California with a few exceptions including, in some cases, cell phone coverage.
According to the USVI's official website, "Sprint and AT&T are cellular phone providers in the Virgin Islands. Some other cellular services work in the Virgin Islands however roaming charges are likely as they operate off the networks of the locally established cellular phone providers."
It's not too early to start a holiday wish list, right?
We've been flying a lot lately (duh) and though it's a mix of business and economy class seats, we find that space on an airplane is still never enough to get some work done in peace, with privacy. Another big duh.
And then we saw a commercial for a new product from 3M that solves at least some of this problem; their Privacy Patrol Screen Protectors shield laptop, smartphone and tablet screens from all sides except for straight-on. In their words, "anyone viewing your screen from a side angle will see a dark, blank screen while you still see a clear image."
This means no one but the direct user can read over your shoulder or sneak a peek at your email. We're thinking they'd be handy for when we're editing images (or tweeting about annoying people on our flight) and all the cabin lights are off and basically anyone within three rows of us can easily spy.
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There are times when we think of QR codes the same way we think of particularly stupid social media projects. Which is to say, not highly. This isn't just a standup punchline any more. There really are tourist attractions, museums especially, that plaster QR codes inside subway and metro cars. What species of idiocy is that?
Other times we can't help but smile a little at the sheer earnestness of towns trying to attract tourists with shiny things. The Welsh town of Monmouth, for instance, is according to Wikipedia not only thousands of years old but has also "been established as a tourist centre for some 200 years." So you can already tell they're innovators.
Lovers of interactive restaurant menus (a geeky group we do admit belonging to) need to know about a wine bar in New York that's got the geek thing going: Clo, on the fourth floor of the Time Warner Center.
Whether you know heaps about wine or only care whether it's red or white on a given night, you will probably have a lot of fun choosing your wine using Clo's "motion-activated" touch screen list. Not only that, you can pay by credit card and thenthe ultimate geek touchthe wine is automatically dispensed into your glass, in 2oz or 4oz measures. No waiters required. And they have some special preservation system in place so all those open bottles of wine don't go bad.
While in some places, interactive touchscreen menus are there to stop customers from dithering around while they make their menu choice, at other restaurants they're just there to look trendy. At the new-ish Philippe Chow Express in Greenwich Village, New York City, it's the latter, as far as we can tell.
Opening about a year ago, Philippe Chow Expressyes, a spin-off from Philippeis full of semi-authentic Chinese food that you can eat in (the restaurant is "atmospherically noisy", we hear) or take away. In both cases you can order via a touchscreen menu if you want, although in comparison to some more high-tech restaurants, the Express touchscreen seems a little bit bland. You can find the full menu, but it's not full of pictures or super-helpful explanations, and you can't flirt with someone using another touchscreen.
High-Tech Restaurants / Technology Travel / Chicago Restaurants / Interactive Menus / Food Travel / Chicago Travel / → All Tags
The Madpoison lounge and restaurant in Chicago doesn't hide its geek tendencies. Its motto is to "blend Mixology, Technology, Sociology and Foodology," and any place with so many "ologies" is clearly a touch on the nerdy side. But at the same time, it's really very cool.
Madpoison uses interactive touchscreen menus for ordering, including a big one for all us regular customers and tabletop screens at its VIP booths. They encourage you to build your own pizza on-screen, selecting exactly the toppings you wantsaki stir-fried vegetables, sesame seeds or feta cheese being among the options.
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Give us more interactive menus, and give them to us now! No more waiters for us, since we've found a restaurant in Sydney that lets the touchscreen do even more than the average waiter. We're talking about Wagaya in the Haymarket area of town, a Japanese restaurant where you can make your reservation by SMS, which gives you a good hint of the high-tech stuff to come.
Once you're at your table (you might have to wait, it's pretty popular), you'll find a big touchscreen embedded in the wall at your table. It does everything: you can place your order, get bigger pictures and more details about any dish you're interested in, and check how far along the preparation of your order is. When you've finished eating, use the same screen to see the bill and ask the staff to bring it to your table.
High-Tech Restaurants / Technology Travel / Drinking Travel / Interactive Menus / Wine Travel / → All Tags
Ordering a meal off a geeky interactive menus absolutely makes our day, and we just realized that at Adour in the New York St Regis Hotel they've taken the geek factor to a really nerdy extreme by making their wine menu interactive.
It's nowhere near as flashy or game-like as other high-tech menus we've been ogling recently, but neither should it be: choosing a wine is a serious business. Adour itself has this to say about their interactive wine screens:
The wine list is organized in an entertaining format, color-coded and classified by origins, one specific appellation within each region ... an innovative way for guests to discover wine producing areas.
High-tech but refined, as you can see. Nothing wrong with thatwe just like being able to push a few buttons instead of having to ask the staff all our dumb questions.
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It might not be quite as spooky hi-tech as the interactive touch screen tables of Inamo restaurant in London, but the uWink restaurant in the touristy Hollywood and Highland Center of Los Angeles is still very geek-friendly.
When we first heard the name and knew there was a high-tech menu involved, we have to admit we were hoping that we just had to "wink" at the screen and our order would appear … you know, "you wink?" Unfortunately, winking interactive menus are still a thing of the future, and instead uWink has screens sticking out of your tables that you can use for a whole variety of purposes.
Don't want to talk to a waitress anymore? Then the Inamo restaurant in the SoHo area of London might be your thing – you can order your meal directly from the touch screen in your table.
Inamo is an Asian fusion place with Japanese, Thai and Chinese influences and a whole bunch of tasty dishes – they make it easier to choose what you want by projecting large images of each meal onto your table as part of the interactive menu. When you've made your choices you can send your order through to the kitchen with one touch.
While you wait for your meal (brought by real people, not by technology), you can amuse yourself by changing the theme of your tabletop, playing games on the table or even surfing the internet. Of course, we also recommend having a chat with your dinner companions, but maybe we're just old-fashioned.
Long gone are the days when being called a geek was a bad thing. Millinials celebrate, almost worship geekdom. Ashton Kutcher produces Beauty and the Geek, Woz is on Dancing With The Stars, and Biz Stone is on Steven Colbert talking about the virtues of tweeting up. Thus, it should come as no surprise that we have decided to give a small nod to geek travel, which in our world means their very own listicle.
What does it mean to travel geek? Well we found plenty of hot spots catering to this zeitgeist. However, after talking with the Twitterati, engineers, and plenty of web heads, it seems the old adage of "its not the destination it is the journey" rang particularly true with these folks. From artificial intelligence, to high end gadgetry and geek service to the latest in transportation innovation, on this list you *still* have to have a nice dose of je ne sais quoi de geek.
Off we go.
Dan Gould, Mark Johnson and Juliana Shallcross also contributed to this report.
Ever notice how the waiting areas at car rental offices almost never have seats? See, they'd prefer you fall asleep on your feet so you'll be more apt to sign your life away in case someone accidentally breathes on your car in the parking lot. Well, fear us, rental-car agencies of the world!
Or rather, fear scientists at MIT who have been working on a car you can check out as easily as an airport luggage cart.
The electric City Car, a two-seater just slightly smaller than a Smart Car, folds in half for parking and is easily rechargable. The team's even contemplating installing a joystick that would allow users to steer the car. A joystick! All that and it "promotes a socially responsible and more effective means of urban mobility."
[Photo: Smart Cities project]