This gets our vote for the coolest gizmo to come down the high-tech highway in a while. Biscotti transforms your TV into a high-definition video phone — yep, think James Bond talking to M, or Austin Powers chatting with Basil. Simply connect Biscotti to your TV and start making calls to family and friends on their TVs, computers, tablets and smartphones (they’ll need a Biscotti to connect via TV, but they can use Google Talk on their computers or smartphones). You can connect with anyone, anywhere, and it sets up in minutes. Biscotti’s high-definition camera and microphone capture the entire room — no head-and-shoulders-only view — so you and yours can move about freely. And like your voice phone, Biscotti is always on — you can even receive calls while watching TV. No computer or phone line is required; just a WiFi connection and an HDTV. Best of all, it’s a one-time price, no monthly fees. $199. www.biscotti.com
Here’s a very plugged-in idea, quite literally: a “limitless” secure USB device that lets you access, edit and share files and media between any two online computers anywhere in the world. An entirely plug-and play solution, it works like this: Plug one half into an online computer, plug the other half into any other online computer and — voila! — the two computers are connected, allowing you to securely access your entire hard drive. And unlike USB drives, iTwin lets your data stay safely at home (or in the office). When you’re on the road, you can use it to move copies of files from your laptop to your home or office computer, or you can work on a presentation with a colleague half a world away without having to email multiple versions back and forth. If you’re traveling and taking lots of pictures, you can free up your SD card by moving files onto your laptop and transferring them back home. Upload files to the office from wherever you are — no configuration or login required. It’s as secure and simple as data transfer gets. There’s even a remote-disable feature, so you can rest assured that your data is safe, even if you lose youriTwin device. $99.
Bose SoundLink Wireless Speaker
The audio aficionados at Bose have debuted this sleek portable speaker that connects wirelessly to any Bluetooth-enabled device. You can stream music from a smartphone or tablet with the touch of a button. The SoundLink speaker’s audio impact defies its size. Four low-profile neodymium transducers for clear high- and mid-range frequencies combine with new dual-opposing passive radiators — designed with a patented waffle-shaped surround — for rich, deep, low notes. Vibration is eliminated, turning the energy into acoustic power. At less than 2 inches thick and no bigger than an average book, it’s super-portable. For instant setup, its integrated cover unfolds into a stand: Open the cover, and the system is ready to be played; close it, and the system shuts off. A rechargeable lithium-ion battery supplies power for more than eight hours at typical listening levels. Designed to resist sand, wind and moisture, it’s crafted from automotive-grade chrome, so it will survive repeated drops. $299.95. www.bose.com
Kensington AbsolutePower Charger
It’s often said that absolute power corrupts absolutely . . . but in this case, it’s a very good thing indeed. Kensington’s AbsolutePower Laptop, Phone, Tablet Charger is the first compact charger of its kind with simultaneous triple charging ability, providing 100 watts of power to charge your laptop and two USB devices simultaneously. The smallest, lightest, most powerful charger in its class, this industrial-strength charger is compatible with top-selling Windows-based laptops; smartphones like the iPhone, BlackBerry Torch, Sony Experia and more; and iPad, iPad 2, BlackBerry Playbook and Samsung Galaxy tablets. Now you can leave that big tangle of multiple chargers behind. $119.99. www.kensington.com
Expansion plans involving a new 14-gate concourse at Mineta San Jose International Airport in California must clear environmental review before moving forward.
United Airlines’ environmentally friendly efforts lessen the impact on local U.S. communities.
Hyatt Regency Barcelona Tower opened following full renovations to its 280 guestrooms and public spaces. The property is the second Hyatt Regency in Spain. The hotel sits in a Barcelona skyline landmark, a 29-story tower topped with a glass dome that provides travelers with 360-degree views and an unparalleled dining experience.
Opened this past November, Osaka Excel Tokyu Hotel rethinks the classic Japanese business hotel format in a delightful way. While the basic design concept is rooted in generations-old Japanese aesthetics, its wow factor comes from the interior designers’ approach of filtering them through a kaleidoscope. This effect is accomplished with ornate hexagonal lamps, carpeting with geometric shape motifs and pops of happy gold and blue hues. The lobby adds to that with a whimsical, but sophisticated mix of artwork and decorative ornaments, with a color palette and ornamentation that extends to 364 private rooms and suites throughout 17 floors.
The city took its name from Athena, goddess of wisdom, strategy and war, and protector of the city. The financial, political and administrative center of the country and an all-powerful city-state in antiquity, Athens is a major center of culture. A visit to the first-ever museum dedicated to Byzantium, a stroll around the National Garden and a trip to the Olympeion archaeological site will take you back through time.
In an age where airlines continually look for new ways to increase connectivity and offer passengers more options, a new agreement gives United Airlines passengers the ability to book spots on 68 Vistara-operated flights to 26 destinations in India. The agreement goes into effect Feb. 28.
Reconnect with nature and step outside your comfort zone at Palmaïa, The House of AïA. The new Riviera Maya resort focuses on inner exploration and a respect for nature, offering visitors an array of experiences promoting self-discovery and spiritual wellness.
oneworld is an alliance of 13 world-leading airlines committed to providing the highest level of service and connecting you to more than 1,100 destinations around the world.
Qatar Airways is expanding this year, adding eight new destinations to its network. The list includes: