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Bringing Your Laptop Aboard? Here’s the Rules

Nine Simple Rules for Web Use on Planes: from PC World

1. Regarding video downloads: Viewers of gory video clips or viral videos that primarily appeal to frat boys must sit in a special section. Other passengers may not want to watch sociopaths and beer chugging — at least not during meal service.

2. Access to kids’ Websites such as Noggin, Hannah Montana, and Teletubbies are just as disturbing and twice as loud. Toddlers with laptops will have to move to the special section as well.

3. Downloading Porn? Don’t even think about it. (See section #1 about meal service.)

4. When it comes to streaming audio, headphones, earphones, or earbuds are required. Your digital device, be it a laptop, smart phone, or PDA, must be silent at all times. If it makes a sound, a flight attendant will confiscate it. An air marshal will then dismantle the device and jettison the remains.

5. Internet phone calls via Skype or another VoIP service should be allowed, as long as they’re short. A two-minute maximum will be strictly enforced. An air marshal will time your calls with a stopwatch. (Note: American Airlines and other carriers currently prohibit VoIP calls. How else can they get you to use their ripoff in-flight phone service?)

6. No BitTorrent users or other bandwidth hogs. Save the bandwidth for everyone else.

7. Please don’t pirate digital content. The RIAA may track your IP address to airplane and consider your seatmate an accomplice and sue him. Save the criminal activity for terra firma.

8. Don’t share spammy chain-letter e-mail jokes with other passengers. And even if the jokes aren’t stupid, you still can’t share them.

9. No gigantic laptops. Netbooks are ideal for coach, but those 17-inch or larger monstrosities start to invade your fellow passengers’ personal space. (Okay, so that one isn’t about Wi-Fi, but please, no desktop replacements in coach. Please?)

Help Out Haiti by Dining Out!

When it comes to restaurant reviews and listings, nobody does it better than Zagat. Here they suggest many different ways we travelers can help out the people of  Haiti by simply dining out.

“Looking for a way to help out in Haiti beyond donating to groups like Action Against Hunger, the Red Cross and the like? Next Wednesday, January 20, New York’s Knife + Fork is donating 20% of each bill (including tip) to aid the relief efforts in the devastated country. We expect this is not the last of these sorts of deals you’ll see in the coming weeks – Chicago’s Mesón Sabika and Tapas Valencia have already pledged to donate 100% of their sales on January 19 and 26 to the Red Cross. We’ll be updating this post as new way to help are announced.

The New York Times has posted a list of restaurants and bars running relief programs.

¡Cuba! in Chestnut Hill, PA, is donating 20% of all non-discounted food proceeds through Feb 10 to aide the victims of the earthquake.

Pop Shop in Collingswood, NJ, will hold a fundraiser on Thursday, January 21, from 8 AM–9 PM, donating 10% of the day’s total sales to UNICEF’s efforts in Haiti. In addition, there will be a craft table for making cards to send to children affected by the earthquake.

Both locations of Boqueria in NYC have pledged $2,000 to Doctors Without Borders and are raising more by having customers add an amount to their check.

Eater reports Hearth in NYC will be donating 50% of proceeds on January 19th.

Chicago Reader has a list of restaurants that are giving diners the option to add $1 to their checks January 18–24.

Grub Street has started compiling a list of fund-raising efforts in New York.

For every $8 burger bought between Tuesday, January 19 and Sunday, January 24, Chicago’s DMK Burger Bar will forward 25% to the American Red Cross Haitian Relief Fund or Share Our Strength. There will also be a Haitian Relief Fund donation raffle for $20 per ticket; the winner will receive a month of free burgers. The drawing will take place on Saturday night, January 30, at midnight.

What Do People Steal from Hotels? Here is a List

  1. Towels.  Do you really need more towels at home or do you just want to have something that says the name of the place you stayed.  Most times these items are available for sale in the gift shop.
  2. Bathrobes.  Who has enough room in their suitcase to steal a bathrobe?  I say bring a smaller bag and you won’t be able to steal.
  3. Ashtrays.  Really?  Ashtrays are not that expensive, just go buy one.  Better yet, quit smoking.  It’s bad for your health.
  4. Light bulbs.  Now this is just silly.  Do you really want broken glass in your suitcase if someone smashes it?
  5. Batteries out of the TV remote.  Batteries are very expensive so I guess I could see this, but how would you like to be the next guy and not have a remote that works?
  6. Bed linens.  Gross.  Do you have any idea what people do on those sheets?  I’m pretty sure housekeeping will notice and you’ll get billed.
  7. Shampoo and lotion bottles.  While some hotels may consider taking these as stealing I have to say that these are put there for the guest’s use and if you don’t use them there, why can’t you take them home?
  8. Blow dryers.  Do you really want that blow dryer?  In my experience they are never that good anyway.  Go buy your own.
  9. Sewing kits.  These are meant to be used in an emergency and really aren’t meant to take home.
  10. Bottle openers.  Now I don’t see these very often, probably because someone before me stole it!

Thanks to Roger at Hospitality Management Schools for the list!

“They Look You Right in the Eyes” Israel Knows How to Do It

A goal of the TSA should be to begin to “Israelification” of the screening process. That’s what Maj. General Paul E. Vallely recently wrote on Family Security Matters.

He’s traveled to Israel five times in the past decade and thinks if the US could only move in the same direction as the only democracy in the Middle East, we’d all be less hassled and safer.

Despite threats every day, security at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport has only been breached once…when a traveler mistakenly brought a gun. But it’s all about identifying the real bad guys, and not taking it out on the entire traveling public.

It starts way outside of the airport. Security agents ask each passenger in each car the following two questions: How are you and where are you coming from?

It’s not the answers that are important, it’s how they react say the experts. Signs of distress, give the clue.  Then after this passengers go through the second and third perimeters. All the while gun-toting soldiers are watching to see people’s faces.

“The whole time, they are looking into your eyes – which is very embarrassing. But this is one of the ways they figure out if you are suspicious or not. It takes 20, 25 seconds,” said Rafi Sela, the president of AR Challenges, a global transportation security consultancy. Lines are staggered. People are not allowed to bunch up into inviting targets for a bomber who has gotten this far.

At the check-in desk, your luggage is scanned immediately in a purpose-built area.

If you’re planning a trip to Israel in 2010, don’t forget to find airport parking at your local airport.

“Wow, That’s Invasive!” The TSA Gropes Passengers

“Wow, that’s invasive!” said a tall man in tan slacks, after a TSA agent demonstrated the manner in which passengers will be getting patted down in US airports.We have the idiot-islamic would be terrorist Abdul whatever his name is to thank for this new rule.

Travelers to the US from Cuba, Iran,Syria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria will all get this special TSA massage, which has either the male or the female agent groping way, way up the legs feeling around for bombs and other bad stuff that may be hidden from them.

It’s going to cause a lot of friction and a lot of bad feelings. Imagine a Saudi sheik, flying into Kennedy in his private 747, and still having to undergo the indignity of having an infidel reach up under those white robes and feel around his groin. Oh boy, I can’t wait to see what happens then.

Or how about an opera singer, a diva, flying into New York for a show at the Met. She’s Nigerian and now a grubby looking TSA woman has her fingers right up near her privates. Oh boy, this is going to cause lawsuits and more. Stay tuned.