Tagged: travel

After more than 26,000 miles around the world, an update on OneSimCard in 2014

globe-plus-onesimcard-2014Since 2012, I’ve had the pleasure of traveling to a bunch of other destinations over the years, and the OneSimCard has been a faithful companion during that time! Fans of my original post (A Field Review of the OneSimCard) will recognize that I had high hopes for this little SIM card. This card’s strong suit is in helping European travelers by balancing convenience and affordability of service.
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All hail the humble automated baggage tag

Picture of an ABT, courtesy of Samantha Brown

I just read a great article that dives into a fairly pedestrian kind of product: the automated baggage tag (a.k.a. the “ABT”) that almost anyone who’s travelled has probably gotten one wrapped around the handle of their luggage. Through the perspective of a product manger, I found it to be a great example of product design that touches upon so many areas. There’s plenty of good stuff about human factors, systems design/resilience, and iterating upon requirements. And despite the thought and design that’s gone into it, it’s such a simple product at first sight.

As a quick synopsis of the requirements that the teams developed for (eventually!):

  1. The tag label itself has to have the right, individualized information to guide the bag handlers and systems appropriately.
  2. The label has to hold up to temperature, moisture, oil, and light, to name a few elements.
  3. The label has to be useful in both modern and modest airports alike.
  4. The tag has to resist tearing, yet be easily removable by a traveller.
  5. The tag has to be cheap to produce, and disposable too.
  6. The tag adhesive needs to be weather and moisture resistant too.

That’s no easy order to fill. And the interesting thing is that the article notes early snafus such as “Old[er] tags were fastened with a string through a hole, but mechanized baggage systems eat these for breakfast.” and “early adhesives couldn’t cope with extreme cold, so snowy tarmacs would end up littered with detached tags”. Iteration and thoughtful design are illustrated very well here.

For more, Slate hosts the full article, and the accompanying slide show too!

A Field Review of the OneSimCard

Note: There’s an update to this post. More information for 2014 is here!

I recently traveled to Europe for business, and wanted to stay connected with my family and friends in the US while I was over there. And since I have a smartphone, I also wanted to have affordable data access at good speeds. After a little research, I stumbled upon the OneSimCard as a possible solution. It’s a SIM card solution that gives you a Estonian phone number and utilizes roaming arrangements to keep costs down in a lot of different countries (according to their site, they cover more than 200!). It was a great solution to my needs, but watch that meter closely!
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A consultant always packs light and travels right!

This is the first of a new series I’m starting where I remember my old consulting days at Big Technology Consulting Company LLC wistfully. Being a business consultant was interesting work that required a lot of travel. Although my mileage wasn’t as high as some of my peers, I still managed to pick up a few tips along the way. When you’ve got printed presentations, a notebook studded with loose sheets and reminders, a laptop designed for weightlifters, and all the associated accessories that make work work, it’s a lot of stuff to lug. To top it off with the clothes and cruft that you need to live on the road, and that’s even more. After the jump, I’ve got a handy list of travel-tested stuff for you to consider.

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I heart my Joemo XL!

Very few products inspire me to <3, but I have to say that I really really do love my travel mug. The day’s weather struck me as a particularly nasty example of lousy New York rain.  As the fall ushers out the summer, the temperature bounces up and down, and the flu starts to go around, I always make it a point to lug great coffee or tea with me.  Thus, enter the Joemo XL!
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