Your Fingerprint Might Be Your Boarding Pass, So No More Cheetos

In more travel technology news straight out of science fiction, the TSA is testing finger print identification that can used as your boarding pass. This is good news for those who are constantly searching for which pocket you put your boarding pass in, which I am guilt of constantly. Bad news for those who eat crummy snacks or munching on a Cinnabon with your bare hands at the airport. Hope they don’t mind frosting on their scanner.

Currently, smartphones use your fingerprint as a password or to unlike your phone. The people who still use patterns baffles me. In any event, the purpose is to speed up processing because handing over your boarding pass to a ticket agent, having them scan it and then handing it back to you is waaaaaayyyyy too much time.

“TSA looks at technologies and intelligence capabilities that allow us to analyze and secure the travel environment, passengers and their property,” said Steve Karoly, TSA acting assistant administrator for requirements and capabilities analysis. “Through these and other technology demonstrations, we are looking to reinvent and enhance security effectiveness to meet the evolving threat and ensure that passengers get to their destinations safely.”

Yet, the process of searching your genitals for contraband will continue.

Delta is testing face recognition technology as well, which I’m sure won’t find any flaws in the process. That big zit on my forehead will probably deny me boarding.


Language Translating Ear Buds? The Future Is Now!

Normally, I would file this under, “You don’t need this”, but I am intrigued because it’s science fiction come to life. The concept is simple, stick these things in your ear and it will translate the language via your mobile app. The ear buds acts as microphones, which transmits the audio to your phone to translate, then comes back into your ear.

The device is developed by Waverly Labs and pre-orders will set you back $249. Like the new iPhone bluetooth earbuds, you loose one and you’re screwed.

My curiosity is how well it works in public like a crowded restaurant or the street. If you ever used the Shazam app, you know your mobile phone picks up all sorts of background noise. I’m always tempted to scream out at a bar, “Can everybody be quiet for a second, I need to find out what song this is?”

As for use as a travel gadget, hmmmmmm, maybe. The hardest language barrier I came across was in Beijing and I doubt these ear buds would have made a difference. I would get frustrated after a few go arounds. I can imagine a conversation going like:

Me: “Hello, I would like to go the airport”
Driver: “Hello, you would to go to the passport?”
Me: “Airport”
Driver: “Airplants?”

While I’m sure this is the first steps in this technology, I can see it working well in business meeting situations in quiet rooms between two peoples. When everyone talks at the same time, then you have a problem.

In the meantime, Google translate works just as well if you don’t mine sticking your phone into someone’s face to get a clear voice recognition.

Please Don’t Manspread in Madrid, or In Any City Anywhere

Not to be confused with mansplaining or manscaping, manspreading is the act of an “adult” male spreading his legs wide, usually on public transportation. This scourge on society causes discomforted to other passengers with the leg-on-leg contact. It prompted New York City to create subway advisory posters to alert dudes, bros and douchebags to keep their damn legs shut. The ads give you something to ponder during delays or to divert your attention away from the masturbating pervert in the car.

Now, cities like Madrid, Toronto and Tokyo are getting in on the act with their own cutsy advisories.  In Madrid, “Por favor, no el manspreading” with the hashtag #MadridSinManspreading was instituted because of a public outcry.

In Tokyo, their subway advertisement is free of strange costumed mascots or crazy-eyed Japanimation characters, but does has an Ewok-looking thing. That goes dude does have an impressive spread, though

One has to think about why we need something like this to begin with when it’s painfully obvious that spreading your legs is universally seen as rude. We do live in a dumbed down society where we like fun new terminology that combines two words like “glamping” or “cronut.”

On the other hand, it gives a creative coprwriter and ad agency a sweet campaign to work on. I would like to see an ad where a woman punches a guy in the crouch who manspreads. That will get guys to close their legs real quick.


The Museum of Ice Cream is Now in Los Angeles and Sold Out

To be filed under, “We CAN have nice things!” The Museum of Ice Cream, which was a pop-up in New York last summer, has found a new home in downtown Los Angeles. Dreams of ice cream do come true in the city that manufactures dreams.

While it’s unclear that the new location is permanent, tickets are completely sold out until August 15 unless you’re a celebrity. At $29 a pop, all that new ice cream money can be used to pay more rent. The location is in the gentrified area of downtown, about a 30-minute walk from the Bradbury Building and 20 minutes from Geffen Contemporary at MOCA. There’s also a sweet location of Blue Bottle Coffee a few doors down.

The museum is more of a pop art installation ready-made for selfies. The brightly hued rooms will probably give you a sugar rush more than anything. There’s a sprinkles room (or jimmies if you’re from Jersey) alongside a the banana split room with 10,000 bananas. When you enter, you get a Dove bar, which is corporate sponsorship at it’s finest.  Along the way, you get samples from local creameries Salt & Straw and Coolhaus, who sells seriously amazing ice cream. Your ticket gets you an hour in the museum, so plan accordingly.

You all can have a museum, I’ll keep my Ice Cream City in Tokyo.

Here’s actor Remi Malek taking a tour:

Chase Sapphire Reserve — What Gets You Triple Miles

In the continuing adventures of the cult-like status of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, I’ve done a deep dive into my account to see what can you 3x miles and what will you land you one mile. The results surprised me in what constitutes as “dining.”

What struck is that breweries, wineries and distilleries that serve food or sell their booze on site have various categories. Some count as “dining” and will get you the 3x miles, others not so much.

Let’s look at it in detail…

Levante Brewing in Pennsylvania, they serve beer — 3x
Westtown Brewworks, Hudson Ale Works, Arrowood Farms in New York, they serve beer and small plates of food — 1x
Manayunk Brewery in Pennsylvania, brewery with full-service restaurants — 3x
Manayunk Brewery gift shop to get bottles to go and merch– 3x
Village Idiot Brewery in New Jersey, they serve beer and sell merch — 3x
Spellbound Brewery in New Jersey, they serve beer and sell merch — 1x
Dark City Brewery in New Jersey, they serve beer and sell merch — 3x

As you can see, there are various mile allotments that you would consider a dining or drinking experience.  Why does one brewery in Jersey get you 3x while another five miles away get you only one?

I contacted Chase and they explained that it depends on the merchant themselves and how they categorize themselves when they set-up their payment system. To note, all three NJ breweries use the Square system. If they say their are liquor/beverage store, then it’s 1x. If they categorize themselves as bar, tap room or dining establishment, then it’s 3x. Chase also stated that there’s no way to determine beforehand what merchant will get you the triple miles.

This is good to know, so if you really want to maximize the card, just whip it out on the safe side.

Then the other way to get triple miles is to order food via Seamless or Eat24 no matter what you order.

There’s also the Dunkin’ Donuts app. If you use your card  to add value to the app, you’ll get 3x.

On the other hand, for those who are part of the Wawa cult, you’ll only get 1 miles for every dollar if you upload to the app. It’s considered a convenience store/supermarket, so that will get you the single mile for every dollar.

As for the “travel” area that get you the triple miles, I mentioned before that tolls and public transportation count as travel. That will also count towards the $300 credit.

And here’s my super-special, do this right now if you can, I explained that I use to pay my rent and to guarantee I spend $4,000 in the first three months.

Guess what? That counts as accommodation which is part of travel. Thus, I’m earning triple miles paying my rent with the Chase Sapphire Reserve via Plastic — almost 5,000 miles per rent paid.

It’s a balancing acts between the two cards I use the most,  Chase Sapphire Reserve and Virgin Atlantic Mastercard. While CSR pays out the 3x miles for dining and travel and 1x for everything else, VA gets me 3x for travel of Virgin Atlantic, but 1.5x miles for everything else. So for my bills and shopping, I stick with VA.

Because of my use of CSR for five months, I’ve earned 25,122 miles on top of the 100,000 bonus. The question remains, how to use it?


Got a New 4K Smart TV? Watch 4K Travel Videos

It’s time to replace your 1080 widescreen TV with a big pimping 4k TV. You can buy a decent-sized one for $500 depending on your space.

As for myself, I upgraded to the 4K and binge-watching new TV shows takes some adjustment because of the clarity. With old movies, you can actually downgrade the picture to make it look more like how it was attended.

The displays in stores are usually set with sporting events and nature videos, but if you really want to get your mind blown, go to the video apps for some city travel.

Pretty much every city has dozens of 4K clips shot on high-def cameras on drones from sweeping overhead views or tracking shots on the ground. Just search on the YouTube app for a city and the term 4k and you’ll unleash the clarity of your TV.

The best ones I prefer are the fly-on-wall, watching life go by set to modern music. Even the silent ones with ambient noises are somewhat soothing. I avoid the ones shows by amateurs that chronicles their exploits with the partner or with their mates.

Take for examples this YouTube channel called Nippon Wandering. It’s all 30-minute videos of city scenes in Japan shot walking through the streets. The camera glides smoothly through the lights and alleys ways. It’s so relaxing and comforting. Most of all, inspirational … makes you want to be there!

Check out this one video of Akihabara at night.

Dubai Has a Robotic Police Officer, Just Don’t Call It Robocop

You’re about to feel a little but more safer walking the malls of Dubai thanks to your friendly neighborhood robot police officer. Images of Robocop or even ED-209 don’t apply here when you check out what this thing actually does.

It’s not going to carry a gun, won’t handcuff you or eat donuts. Basically, it’s a kiosk on wheels. The touchscreen on its chest is where you’ll able to pay fines, report a crime or get local information.

I don’t know much about emergency service in Dubai or if they have a 911 system, but wouldn’t it be easier just to call somebody or get a human if you see something bad happen?

“We are not going to replace our police officers with this tool,” said Brig Khalid Al Razooqi, director general of smart services at Dubai Police. “But with the number of people in Dubai increasing, we want to relocate police officers so they work in the right areas and can concentrate on providing a safe city.

I’m sorry Dubai, this is not a cop. This is not going to protect me if I’m getting mugged, which is rare in Dubai. If I need to know the nearest Jamba Juice at The Dubai Mall, I might ask this machine as a novelty.

Let me know when they start packing a taser or yells at me when I have 15 seconds to comply.