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28 May, 2010

Good morning

Memorial Day weekend, the traditional start of summer, is upon us.  Here in the Seattle area, the forecast is for more rain, but hopefully you will have better weather wherever it is that you are and will be.

I'm having a slight challenge with the new provider of e-mail newsletter services that is delaying the handover from this current newsletter format to the new augmented blog format.  The blog is all up and running, and you can subscribe to the blog for daily e-mails or RSS feeds already, but I do not yet have the full panoply of e-mail options ready to offer you and so am not making the cut-over to blog based emails.  Hopefully next week.

Current blog readers have received nine articles during the week, including this article about a series of free travel books - they are still on offer, so click the link yourself, too.

For the last two years, my favorite Bluetooth headset has been an unassuming little unit that is generally for sale on Amazon for about $15, but which consistently has outperformed other headsets sometimes costing 10 times as much.

Probably like you, I have always instinctively felt that a name brand headset costing $100 or more must surely be better than a less well known headset costing only $15.  But my ears don't lie, and even if they might, I have posted sound files on my reviews to enable you to form your own opinions, and clearly this $15 headset has been as good as any other headsets, and better than most.

Finally, it has now been deposed, and by a headset from, of all unusual places, Australia (well, of course, it is made in China, but it has been designed by an Australian company).  To find out more about this excellent new headset :

This Week's Feature Column :  BlueAnt Q1 Bluetooth HeadsetThis is the 17th in my series of Bluetooth headset reviews.  I like the Q1's voice recognition capabilities, its sound quality and its fair price.  Overall, it is now the new best value best-performing headset.  Perhaps it would be a good choice for you, too.

An interesting thing happened last week.  As you may recall, I wrote about two new battery chargers, one of which in particular I liked.  At the time of writing the review I checked and found the price of it to be $28 at Amazon.  By 6:24am on Friday morning, the price had increased to $35, and Amazon only had two remaining in stock.  By Thursday this week, Amazon was hiding the price, but if you added it to your shopping cart, it was revealed to be $37.

This is a vivid example of Amazon's 'dynamic pricing' at work.  Clearly, a lot of readers visited the Amazon site, and many of them purchased the charger.  And so Amazon responded by increasing the price.

I can't help wondering if Amazon outsmarted itself -- I got e-mails from several of you, who were surprised and disappointed at the price increase, and my sense is that those of you who were unexpectedly confronted with this leap in cost probably chose not to then proceed and buy the charger.

I will be preparing a table of many different types of chargers with integrated backup batteries in the next week or two.  There are lots of different ones out there, including some with enormous backup battery capacity.

But whether you actually need all the enormous capacity or not is a different matter, and part of this new article will discuss exactly how much backup battery you really need to take with you.  There is no point in paying for extra battery that you do not need, and extra weight that you do not want, at an extra price you cannot justify.

For the balance of this weeks newsletter, either click here to start reading on the blog, or follow the links to read only the sections that interest you.

Click this link to go directly and only to Dinosaur Watching

This week you'll read some thoughts on the CO/UA merger, thoughts on a proposed US/AA merger, VS might want to merge with someone too - has the entire world gone merger crazy?  Quite possibly so.

CO announces the first 787 route - to operate between Houston and Auckland.

Another passenger is left on a plane, alone and asleep, for 4 hours after the plane has finished its flight.

A Canadian attorney is suing 13 airlines for falsely referring to their own fees as 'taxes'.  The Iceland volcano is calming down.

Thoughts on two different airline crashes, and it seems that 'everyone's a winner' at the 2010 'World's Best Airline' awards.

Click this link to go directly and only to the Miscellaneous Weekly Roundup

Read how river cruising is booming in Europe again, with many new ships about to be launched, and most of them with bigger and more luxurious cabins than ever before.

A strange story about an unlucky phone number, plus using your phone to order hotel room service and possibly even to unlock your hotel room door.

Ten reasons to love an iPad, and - ooops - more than ten reasons to hate it.

One group of scientists say the earth is cooling, another group say it is warming, and the UN says it no longer cares.

And last in this section, 15% of people have apparently done it in a car while driving.  Done what, you might ask?  Well, you'll have to click on over to find out about that.

Click this link to go directly and only to This Week's Security Horror Stories

Have you ever noticed how most legislation that is introduced to protect us against terrorists seems to end up doing little or nothing to help us 'win the war against terrorism', while adding another layer of inconvenience and restriction on ordinary people for no apparent good purpose?

Many of these new measures are na´vely introduced by politicians with good intentions but bad understandings; by people who can legislate more quickly than they can think.  This week's security horror story is the latest example of legislation that does nothing to fight terrorism.

Plus a secret TSA database that might be storing biased onesided nasty accusations against you that could possibly cause you to lose (or not get) a job.

Lastly this week, as we enter June, we will be in the month that is generally considered to be the most popular month to get married.  If you are considering taking this step yourself, a word of caution - be careful in the choice of your partner, and depending on who you may marry, think carefully if you should choose to adopt a double barreled surname or not subsequent to your marriage.

Until next week (or much sooner if you join me on the blog), please enjoy safe travels and have a great Memorial Day weekend.

David M Rowell aka The Travel Insider

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