Air Canada SmartPhone Charger and Other Cool Travel Technologies

From Milwaukee, I drove to Chicago, planning to attend any .NET developer events that might be going on in the area on a Sunday afternoon or evening in late April. None did, so I spent the night in a noisy but adequate Red Roof Inn near Microsoft's offices, in Downer's Grove. The next morning, I departed early for O'Hare International Airport, handed in my rental car, boarded a plane to Toronto, and arrived in Canada midday Monday for VSLive! Toronto. En route, I came upon many examples of computers being used in new and novel ways to make my life as a traveler more efficient and enjoyable. Here are a few of the coolest travel gadgets I discovered.

Aboard the Avis airport shuttle at O'Hare, my attention was immediately drawn to these two nifty devices: an Intermec PocketPC (closeup) that my driver used to collect passenger information and a Motorola touchscreen PC. The PocketPC, which also has a barcode reader, wirelessly transmits its data to the Motorola MW800, seen here, which then transfers the information, wirelessly, to the Avis booking system.

 Aboard an Embraer-built, Air Canada aircraft (deployed in 2005), I enjoyed a great touchscreen entertainment system, which offers on demand music, movies, games, and other content. To the left of the monitor, curiously, I noticed a USB port. Halfway through the flight, my curiosity got the better of me. I plugged in 5 different USB devices attempting to figure out how I could use it to hack the system. Finally, I plugged in my Audiovox SmartPhone, which to my great glee, began to recharge. An flight phone recarger! Glory be.

Upon arriving at my destination, the Radisson, in Toronto, a decent place, I came across this nifty device, which routes print jobs from my laptop (in my room), wirelessly, through the PrintMe device, to the laser printer downstairs, at the main desk. The best part is that these devices are free to use, for hotel guests. Brian Randel, who travels a great deal more than me, informs me that he's seen them before. Look for them in your travels.

Finally, I encountered this Internet kiosk in the lobby of my hotel. You won't ever find me reading my email in such a public place but it is interesting nonetheless so I figured I'd take a picture of it.

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