Android/iOS: Hopper is a great app for all kinds of personalized flight details and today it’s getting an update that breaks down all the airlines confusing additional fees so you aren’t surprised by anything when you actually get on a flight.
Hopper’s main appeal is in finding the cheapest ticket, but one big caveat with those cheap tickets is fees. Some airlines charge for checked bags, other even charge you for a carry-on, so the price you get when you look for tickets isn’t always reflective of the actual cost to fly. So, now Hopper will help you figure that out with its new “Fair Bear.” When you go to book a ticket, it shows you all the extra fees, from cancellation costs to carry-on fees to help you can pick a flight that works for you. The update is available on Android right now, with iOS following later this week.
Hopper (Free) | Google Play Hopper (Free) | iTunes App Store
Hopper,which tells you when to book your flight to
maximize savings, has rolled out a new feature to help you avoid
getting smacked with hidden fees.
The basic premise of Hopper is that you set up what days
you want to fly, and then Hopper sends you push notifications
telling you how prices are changing, and recommending when you
should buy. Then you can buy your flight directly in the
It’s been my
go-to travel app for over a year, and I recently used it to
book a one-way flight from San Francisco to New York for only
$131.60 — cheap!
But my main gripe with Hopper has been that it’s not always
clear which tickets are going to have potential fees associated
with them. Now Hopper is trying to change that with a new
feature, which will give you “an overview of
all the restrictions and fees related to cancellations, changes,
carry-on baggage, checked baggage, and seat selection.”
And as airlines continue to cut the base fares on flights
by adding in sneaky fees, this will likely become more useful
In conjunction with the new feature, Hopper also released a
new report on the state of fees in the airline industry. Here’s a
few of the things Hopper found:
Big re-booking fees. “Cancellations
are almost never allowed (99%) for domestic trips, but tickets
can almost always (98.8%) be changed for a fee, which will cost
you $287 on average.”
You’ll pay extra for bags. “Bags are no longer
included and it’ll cost an average of $25 to bring one piece of
luggage, or $59 for two pieces. As more airlines roll out basic
fares, you’ll be expected to pay for your carry-on too.
Frontier and Spirit both charge an average of $35 for
International is a bit less crazy. “About
two-thirds of international flights included at least one free
bag, so that a trip with one piece of luggage adds only $9 with
two pieces coming it at $55.”
But still. “About 10% of [international]
itineraries offering cancellation for a fee which will cost you
about $300. And, almost all (97.5%) international itineraries
offer changes for about $250.”
Ableton Link has become the de facto, configuration-free, seamless sync and jamming protocol for software – with or without Ableton Live itself. (Even VJ app CoGe just joined the party.) Now, it’s time for hardware to get in on the fun.
Vincenzo Pacella has been in touch for a while as he hacks away at a solution to connect Ableton Link to analog hardware and Eurorack. Now, it’s ready for prime time, as an inexpensive, easy-to-build, open source project based on Raspberry Pi.
Jamming with Ableton Link is as easy as this:
And then, all your analog gear can groove along, like so:
What Vincenzo has done is to produce a custom shield for the crazy-tiny Raspberry Pi. Pop his custom board on top, add his software/scripts, and you’ve got plug-and-play Ableton Link support for all your hardware. That connects both clock and reset signals to your Eurorack (or other compatible) analog gear, so they can jam along with Ableton Live, Reason, Maschine, Reaktor, Max, Pd, iOS apps, and everything else that’s been adding Link support.
There’s even a cute display and controls.
It works with WiFi wireless networks. It works with Ethernet (via adapter). It even works without anything connected at all – then it’s just a clever little clock gadget.
I imagine this could also be a great starter project for learning a bit about the state of what’s possible with Raspberry Pi (I found some of those links useful).
You could also adapt this to MIDI – I might have to try that. Vincenzo notes that the Raspberry Pi Zero features a “UART (pin #8 and #10) which could be used for MIDI I/O.” Handy. (I would also have been inclined to go the Teensy route, but this may have changed my mind. Anyone interested in exploring, do get in touch – shout out via Twitter!)
Here’s the dilemma with hydrogen: fueling your car with the stuff is faster than charging an EV, but making and distributing it is inefficient and polluting. A team from the Georgia Institute of Technology has created a four-stroke "engine" that converts natural gas (methane) into hydrogen from just about anywhere, while capturing the CO2. It could one day hook up to your natural gas line, letting you fuel your car from home in a non-polluting way like you can with an EV — pleasing both green tech boosters and oil companies.
The Georgia Tech team’s device is called the CO2/H2 active membrane piston (CHAMP) reactor. Much like with a four-stroke engine, methane and steam are drawn into a cylinder when the piston goes down, as shown in the diagram below. It then rises and compresses the mixture to a temperature of around 400 degrees Celcius (752 F).
That causes a catalytic reaction, with no spark or explosion needed, that forms hydrogen gas (H2) and carbon dioxide (CO2). The H2 is absorbed by a membrane and exits the reaction chamber, while the CO2 is "adsorbed" in a so-called sorbent bed, where it combines with a catayst. A further cycle pulls the CO2 gas back into the cylinder and expels it in a concentrated form, where it can more easily be captured and stored.
The device uses just two molecules of water for every methane molecule, making it less wasteful than current processes. Furthermore, it operates at relatively low temperatures compared to the 1,800 degree F needed for industrial reforming, so it can be scaled up or down for household or commercial operations. "The reactor is scalable and modular, so you could have one module or a hundred modules depending on how much hydrogen you needed," said Georgia Tech professor Andrei Fedorov.
Hydrogen infrastructure is complex and expensive (it’s a highly explosive gas), but such a device could take advantage of the natural gas lines many homes have already. You’d just hook it up and it would produce hydrogen as needed, powering your fuel-cell car or a backup home fuel-cell battery. In other words, it would be the equivalent of Tesla’s Powerwall and home charger, but in a hydrogen gas form. (Honda has already built such a device, but it was large, complex and expensive.)
As with much research, it’s not perfect yet. Capturing CO2 is one thing, but there’s no commercial tech yet for storing it permanently. And the researchers didn’t mention how efficient their system is, thermodynamically speaking, at converting methane to hydrogen.
Even if were available today, EV tech already beats it in terms of efficiency and pollution. And by the time the CHAMP devices are commercially developed, we’ll likely have cheaper, faster-charging and higher-capacity batteries. Nevertheless, hydrogen technology is not going away, because the oil and gas industry really, really needs it to work — with electric cars renewable energy becoming cheaper and better, we’ll soon run out of reasons for oil and gas.
As the most technologically advanced production cars on the road, Tesla’s vehicles collect a lot of potentially useful data. Unfortunately for Tesla’s diehard fanclub of early adopters, the company’s in-house app doesn’t offer a simple way to get at much of that data. So two obsessive Tesla owners took it upon themselves to build a their own, much more robust companion app called Teslab.
Teslab connects your smartphone to your Tesla Model S or Model X and starts combing through all of the available data to like speed, braking, etc to build a complete picture of your overall driving efficiency. The app will show those efficiency stats overlaid on a map so you can see when your vehicle was efficiently sipping power and when you were just burning through battery range with a leadfoot. The app can show your efficiency for a single trip as well as actual miles vs. battery miles and the amount of money you saved by not using internal combustion, and it will even show how "phantom drain" affected your range while the car was sitting idle.
On the surface, the app aims to at least alleviate range anxiety with a clear picture of the factors affecting that range in the first place. But the co-creators from development studio HappyFunCorp hope that by handing over vehicle data (which includes potentially sensitive location information pulled from the phone) Tesla drivers will eventually help make all connected cars a little smarter. Teslab hopes to use all that information to analyze how things like weather and road conditions affect battery range and eventually make your Tesla talk to your connected home.
"We thought, what if we could build a framework for what the connected car could be," Teslab co-creater Ben Schippers told TechCrunch. "What if Tesla gave us enough access to our individual cars that we could build a community around what we envision the connected car of the future could be, across all connected cars?"
While the app is still in beta, Schippers says they already have "a huge percentage of the Model X and Model S owners" signed up, and the flood of new Tesla owners expected to come with the release of the Model 3 later this year will add another huge source of data. But the real goal for Schippers and company will be to get all the other big automakers on with a similarly powerful platform.
Heart attacks are scary to think about, but arming yourself with a little knowledge can bring comfort and preparedness. Here’s what actually happens during a heart attack and what the treatment options are.
Not everyone exhibits the same signs of a heart attack, such as pain in their chest or left arm, but inside their body, they’re going through a similar experience. Usually, a blockage, like plaque buildup or a blood clot, prevents oxygenated blood from getting to the heart which causes heart muscle cell death. The heart may not be able to pump blood as well or have an irregular beat as a result. If the person having the heart attacks survives long enough to get treatment, here are their main options.
Take medication, like aspirin (to thin the blood) and nitroglycerin (to open the artery) to help blood flow resume.
Locate blockages so doctors can reopen blocked arteries with a balloon, a method known as an angioplasty.
Insert a stent to keep the artery open and blood flowing.
Undergo bypass surgery, where a doctor diverts blood flow from a badly blocked artery through an artery or vein taken from another part of the body.
The annual President’s Day holiday had a distinct Donald Trump touch in 2017 thanks to a series of protests around the country where participants transformed the anti-Trump #NotMyPresident hashtag into a #NotMyPresidentsDay rallying call.
Trump himself got the holiday off to a rousing start with an all-caps declaration to — what else? — “Make America great again.”