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The best way to share your location with friends or family

GeneralEdward KiledjianComment
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Let's say you are meeting friends at a large outdoor concert, how do you provide your location? A street address may get them to the entrance gate, then what? What3words has proposed a solution that solves the issue of finding exact locations on a map?

What3words has divided the entire planet into 57 trillion 3mx3m grids and assigned each grid a unique three-word "address".  

If I want to meet friends at the entrance of Union Station in Toronto, I can search for "Union Station" in Google maps, and it will take me to the building but not necessarily the front entrance:

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Or I can give my friends the What3Words address for the main entrance 3mx3m square which is: tens.listed.surviving

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The What3Words address takes them directly to the entrance where I want to meet them. No ambiguity and no confusion.

In most western countries, we have mailing addresses but these aren't always easy to find. The most accurate mechanism has been latitude and longitude (which would look like this 43°38'43.3"N 79°22'51.9"W). Obviously, the three-word descriptor is easier to communicate and remember than the latitude/longitude. 

The entire world is mapped using about 40,000 words (it is available in multiple languages including French, Spanish, Arabic and more). Obviously, great care has gone into choosing the words to ensure there is nothing offending and no double meanings.  They have assigned more common words to locations in major centers. 

What3Words claims their tech is being used in over 170 countries by dozens of organizations from delivery companies (Aramex) to disaster relief coordination in the Philipines by the Red Cross. 

The entire mapping can be downloaded for use offline and consumes about 10MB of space. They are partnering with companies to build this tech into third-party apps. 

I really think this is a wonderfully unique approach to a problem everyone experiences and I hope more companies start using the What3Words technology. In the meantime, you can download their free Android and IOS app to get started. You can find the What3Words location address or navigate to any What3Words address (using your favorite Nav app installed on your IOS or Android phone (Google Maps, Apple Maps, Waze).

Android App showing the entrance of Union Station

Android App showing the entrance of Union Station

Once you enter a three-word address, you can click on the navigate app and it will send the exact GPS coordinates to the location to any GPS app installed on your device.

Once you enter a three-word address, you can click on the navigate app and it will send the exact GPS coordinates to the location to any GPS app installed on your device.

Once you enter a three-word adress, you can share the exact location using any messaging app installed on your smartphone (Google Messages, Facebook, Whatsapp, etc). 

Once you enter a three-word adress, you can share the exact location using any messaging app installed on your smartphone (Google Messages, Facebook, Whatsapp, etc). 

7 airport lounge access secret you need to know

GeneralEdward KiledjianComment

1 - Buy day-passes online

Most airlines will allow passengers to buy a lounge access day-pass online.

Toronto Air Canada Airport Lounge

Toronto Air Canada Airport Lounge

As an example, you can buy a day-pass from Air Canada for access to their own lounge for $25 if you are travelling on a Latitude fare. 

United Airlines offers airport lounge access day-pass for $50 here.

2 - Buy day-passes at the airport

Check directly with your airline. If if your airline doesn't own its own named lounge at the airport, they often have deals with private lounges offering them at competitive prices. As an example, Canadian airline Westjet has partnered with private lounge operators in the various regions it travels (Canada, Europe, Caribbean) to. Westjet offers airport lounge access at very competitive prices.

3 hour access to the Plaza Premium lounge costs $40 - 20% (Westjet discount) = $32. 

3 hour access to the Plaza Premium lounge costs $40 - 20% (Westjet discount) = $32. 

Some vacation package wholesalers also offer (add-on) lounge access to their customers. As an example, Signature vacations (in Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton & Winnipeg) sells lounge access to all vacation pass holders. 

3 - Buy access to an independent airport lounge

Some airlines do not offer any type of (direct or indirect) lounge access. Other times companies buy the cheapest ticket they can find which means you may fly 10 different airlines and therefore not gain priority privilege access on any one particular airline. These are the times you may need to buy access to one of the independent lounges. 

If you travel to different airports, you may want to join one of the independent airport lounge access networks like:

As an example, Priority Pass offers access to 1000 airport lounges worldwide. Priority Pass (sold in Canada) offers 3 levels of membership:

  1. Standard($99 a year). Every access will cost $27 for the member or guests.
  2. Standard Plus ($249 a year). Member receives 10 annual visits. Additional visits or guests cost $27 each.
  3. Prestige ($399 a year). Member receives unlimited lounge access and guests can buy access for $27. 

Some credit cards have standing agreements with these lounge access  wholesalers and allow you to buy access without having to pay an annual membership fee. As an example, Diners Club Canada offers members access to worldwide lounges at affordable prices.

Here is an example of their Canadian airport lounges you can buy access to. Access to a lounge in Toronto is about $US30.

4 - Get a credit card with lounge access

If you travel a lot, it may make sense to use a travel credit card that includes access to airport lounge (either free or a pay per use without requiring an annual membership to a lounge network).

Credit Walk (Canada) has published an interesting article comparing various credit card lounge access programs.

Sleeping in Airports (USA) also has an article about credit cards offering lounge access.

5 - Buy a refundable business class ticket

Some travel forums (e.g. maphappy, boarding area, view from the wing ) recommend that you buy a full price refundable business class ticket for travel the same day as your regular discounted ticket, use the lounge and then refund the ticket. 

I have never used this technique and you should make sure the ticket is still refundable if you use the lounge. I know airlines like United have started implementing lounge access software that will help curb this type of abuse but I know this still works on some airlines. 

6 - Buy lounge access from other passengers

You can sometimes buy lounge access from other travelers on classified type sites at discounted rates (eBay, Craigslist, etc). Make sure you check any restrictions that may apply.

Someone selling 4 Air Canada Maple Leaf lounge access on eBay.

Someone selling 4 Air Canada Maple Leaf lounge access on eBay.

7 - Use a Smartphone App for lounge access

There are travel smartphone apps like Loungebuddy (IOS & Android) . 

Loungebuddy offers on the spot lounge access purchased on your smartphone without requiring an annual subscription.

Afterlight photo editing app for iPhone & iPad free

GeneralEdward KiledjianComment

After light is a wee designed and easy to use photo editing application that offers 74 filters, 78 textures and 128 frames. Overall a well stocked application that any iPhone photographer should have. 

Now you can download this app for free (normal $US1) courtesy of Apple's Apple Store iPhone or iPad app. 

You can download the Apple Store App from the iTunes store (link)

Open the application

Scroll down until you see the free app offer

Click on the offer.

You will be presented with the description.

Click on download now.

You will be given a unique iTunes offer code. Just redeem it and the app will download.

That's all folks.

Enjoy

 

Apple offers free iTunes gift today

technologyEdward KiledjianComment
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Apple has an app on the iTunes AppStore called 12 days of gifts (link). Every day (starting December  26th) Apple will offer a free iTunes gift to its customers (for 12 days). These gifts can be songs, TV shows, movie rentals and iBooks content.

Apple seems to be in a giving mood and has already opened up a mini album from Lorde featuring her new song No Better and her music video for Royals. The content can only be downloaded via the special app (not directly from iTunes).