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21 May, 2010

Good morning

First of all, some exciting news (mainly for me, but possibly for you too).  To my appreciative delight, the high end (and high value) cruise line, Yachts of Seabourn, has chosen to support The Travel Insider in the form of running two advertisements.  Accordingly, you will be receiving a second email shortly after this one, featuring this fine company and their current cruising deals.

Please understand that I have not 'sold your e-mail address' to them or to anyone else.  I am sending out this extra mailing myself, and no one else can or will see your e-mail address.  Your privacy remains uncompromised, and if the ad is of no interest to you, please simply delete it.

Further to my explanation last week, I am continuing to migrate the weekly newsletter from this now nine-year-old format to a new format built on top of blog-based articles.  I am completing a method to allow you seven different ways of receiving it, and you can choose any (or many or even all) of them, and for those of you who don't like blogs, that won't be a problem because you can choose one of the regular newsletter formats and never need to think any blog thoughts at all.

These options will include

  • A weekly newsletter, much the same as always, being a collection of the previous week's daily newsletters

  • A weekly newsletter, with summaries of the stories from the previous week; you can then click to visit each full story if any of them catch your interest

  • A daily newsletter

  • A daily newsletter, with summaries of the stories written that day; you can then click to visit each full story if any of them catch your interest

  • Real-time mailings of all articles as they are published

  • An RSS feed to use in the RSS reader of your choice

  • Tweets of each new article as and when it is published

I think that covers just about every imaginable variation of how and when and where to receive the newsletter!  If there is another way of distributing it to you that is not included above, please let me know and I'll see if that can be added too.

Some of you have already started receiving my blog articles, and amongst other news, reviews, articles, advice and commentary in the last week, blog readers were advised of an opportunity to get an excellent Windows utility program, normally priced at $30, that was being given away for free for three days only.

I can't promise similar offers all the time, but deals like this - and the amazing JetBlue sale offered to blog readers the previous week - are interesting examples of how promotions are becoming much more short notice and short duration.  It makes little sense for me or for you to send out a full formal newsletter just to promote a Windows utility, but it does make a great measure of sense to add a brief mention of deals like this to my blog.  This new medium, and the ability to get information to you sooner, is in line with the general tightening of timelines for promotions as reported on here.  I'm still not sure what I will choose to blog about and what I won't, but I'm sure that over the next nine years, I'll settle into some sort of a groove - just in time for whatever newer method of communication takes over, requiring yet another change.

I'm continuing to experiment with the blog layout, and this week I'm presenting the feature article in the form of two blog entries rather than a traditional web page.  And so :

This Week's Feature Column :  A Tale of Two Chargers :  I look at two new chargers.  In some ways they are very similar (they are both 'brick' type wall chargers, and both have a USB port outlet to connect devices to) but in other ways they are very different.  One boasts of being 'green', the other includes an emergency battery to top up any devices you have if you're away from a mains power point.  Which is better and why?  Should you go green?  You decide - here's the review of the green charger and here's the review of the battery-included charger.

I'm also again packaging up the balance of this newsletter in the form of blog entries.  You can either go direct to the blog and start reading down to recreate the newsletter experience, or you can click the links to the sections listed here.

If you go direct to the blog, the most recent blog entry comes first, then successively older ones follow down from that.  So while at the time of posting this newsletter, the most recent blog entry is the one about dinosaur watching, as the day passes on Friday and subsequently, it will move further down the article list, and possibly onto the second or subsequent page of the listing.

In addition to the links to the newsletter parts of the blog, do please read on to the other entries that have been added to the blog during the week.

And if you can't wait until next Friday for an update, click the 'Email Subscribe' link at the top of the blog to get a daily email or the 'RSS Subscribe' link for the RSS feed (if you know what that is).  Or follow me (Davidrowell) on Twitter.

And now for the rest of the newsletter.

Click this link to start the blog from the top.

Click this link to go directly and only to Dinosaur Watching

Dinosaur Watching Summary

In this week's roundup of airline shenanigans, get updated on what happened to BA's on again/off again - and now again on - strike.  Strike action is also getting closer with AirTran's pilots and AA's flight attendants, while ATA files suit against the National Mediation Board's decision to reverse the previous method of interpreting the preference of people who don't vote in unionization votes.

Sacré Bleu!  Read about the world's deadliest airline (not a huge surprise) and the second deadliest airline - which will have a certain Gallic race saying merde!

Which US airline was shown to have a 99.3% availability for redeeming frequent flier awards in a recent survey?  And which US airline was shown to have a 10.7% availability? 

Although no other airline started to charge for carry-on baggage, do you know which major US carrier is now vaguely hinting at fines of potentially as much as $25,000 being levied on passengers with oversized carry on bags?

Click this link to go directly and only to Other News

Movie buffs are offered two different lists of hotels made famous in movies, an ignominious end to a lovely old boat, and cell phones may be dangerous to your (marital) health.

Click this link to go directly and only to Security Horror Stories

This week's security horror story is about the new whole body imaging scanners.  Not only do they probably not work, but a new study is suggesting they may expose us to dangerous levels of radiation.  Full details here.

Also, read about the $8 million waste - yes, I know that's nothing compared to $1.6 trillion deficits, but let's not lose our sense of proportion.  $8 million would certainly transform my life and probably yours too, and we could do a huge amount with it.  But the federal government?

There is yet another nominee to head up the TSA - John Pistole (what a wonderful name), currently Deputy Director of the FBI.  Seems like a good choice.

Do the railroads hate passengers every bit as much as airlines do?  And, last but not least, what about the airport that taped a piece of paper with the gate access code next to the locked gate that opens out onto the runway?

And to Finish -

Rally car racing is a demanding sport, and if you're distracted from the driving, bad things can happen.  As was apparently the case in this NZ rally, with a decidedly unusual distraction suddenly presenting itself on the side of the road.  Strange people, my fellow NZers....

Lastly - look for the Seabourn ad arriving shortly too.  My thanks again to them for their support.

Until next week (or much sooner if you join me on the blog), please enjoy safe travels

David M Rowell aka The Travel Insider

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