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4 June, 2010

Good morning

I hope your Memorial Day weekend experienced less rain than did mine in the Seattle area.

The short week is going to equate to a shortish newsletter tonight, and next week I will be in Britain, preparatory to the start of our Scotland tour, so I'm not exactly sure what you should expect for next week.

Talking about touring, it is a while since I last mentioned our wonderful Christmas Markets Cruise this year.  For a change, this year we will be featuring a cruise along the Rhine River ( the last five or six years have all been along the Danube), so if you have traveled on this lovely experience with me before on the Danube, why not now come with me on the Rhine this year.

And if you have not yet enjoyed what is the perennially most popular of all the tours I offer, why not take advantage of the plunging Euro and enjoy a lovely pre-Christmas experience through Switzerland, France, Germany and HollandFull details here.

Those of us with iPhones received some apparently good news this week.  AT&T announced changes to the mandatory data plans that we all have to sign up for when we buy an iPhone.  Instead of their former $50 a month 'unlimited' (it isn't really unlimited, but they liked to pretend it was) data plan, we must now choose between a 200 MB per month plan for $15, or a 2 GB plan for $25.  Of course, extra charges apply if we go over these amounts.

AT&T says this change in rates will save 98% of us money.  On the face of it, that seems to be true.

But when read in conjunction with another announcement they made this week, again apparently offering something to our advantage, it seems that many more than 2% of us will switch from paying $30 a month to paying either $45 or $50 a month, and some of us may end up paying a great deal more.

Oh - and the truly unlimited data plans they offered with iPads?  Although the iPad is less than two months old, the $30 unlimited data iPad plan has quickly been junked too, also replaced with a $25 2 GB plan.

So what does this all really mean, and why?  I'm glad you asked that question, and for the answer, please click to :

This Week's Feature Column :  AT&T's New Data Plans -- Better or Worse? :  Has AT&T really truly (and voluntarily) lowered its data plans for 98% of all iPhone users?  Or is there some fine print that their press release is glossing over, and might we actually expect to spend more money?

If you are already a current blog reader, you would have received several articles during the week, including an offer for a half price tour that was very quickly snapped up.  If you are not yet a blog reader, you can still read these articles now of course (but the half price tour as long since gone).

For the balance of this week's 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 be invited to read more about peanuts then you probably expected, you'll learn about proposed new consumer rights regulations by the DOT and what you can do to support them, and you'll find out why Continental's executives are probably feeling very pleased with themselves, even though (unlike some low-cost carriers) their passenger traffic was down in May.

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

In a classic good news/bad news scenario, early this week we learned the good news - a new cheaper way of making phone calls, particularly internationally, on iPhones.  And then, later this week, the other shoe dropped, when AT&T discontinued its unlimited data plans.

You'll also be offered advice on how to tell if there are bedbugs in your hotel room bed, and what to do if your credit card is not accepted internationally.

There is also good news if you are the resident of a tiny Pacific island nation.

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

Do only guilty people need to fear the implications of facial recognition technology integrated in with Australia's national video surveillance camera network so that the government can know where everyone is, all the time?  Read this week's security horror story for some thoughts on Big Brother, Downunder.

Lastly this week, please remember that I'll be in London this time next week, and the newsletter may come out at a slightly different hour than normal.

Until next week, please enjoy safe travels

David M Rowell aka The Travel Insider

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