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Subscribe to the Travel Notes Blog Travel Notes: Travel Notes Blog: January 2009

Using Google Earth to Find Drugs in Switzerland

Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Official Travel Notes Blog

Thanks to satellite images from Google Earth, Swiss police were alerted to a cannabis plantation outside of a small village in Eastern Switzerland.

In part of a larger police operation last year - that resulted in the arrest of 16 people and seizure of over a ton marijuana - Zurich police narcotics specialist, Norbert Klossner claims this was an 'interesting chance discovery'.

How long would it take you to find the field?

Click on the picture to reveal the cannabis field's location

Click on the picture to reveal the cannabis field's location.

TravelTweet on Twitter.

Twittering, Twits and Tweets - The TravelTweet Directory is Taking Shape

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Official Travel Notes Blog

When I first looked around Twitter, I was a little overwhelmed by all the noise.

Searching for tweets about travel, or users with travel in their name on their profile, was easy enough; especially once I added the search to the TravelNotes Toolbar.

Searching for 'a term used in tweets' or 'name on user profiles' are two separate processes and meant going to different pages on Twitter to perform the search.

As a power user, I can now highlight a word on the page, and quickly switch the toolbar search - to get to my destination faster.

Try it!

Why The TravelTweet Directory

I'm sure there are already plenty of blog posts and lists around devoted to certain Twitter interests and 'top people' to follow; even software and websites specifically set up to try and help you choose who to follow - mostly based on 'popularity': MrTweet, Twitterholic, and Twitter Grader, for example.

If you just want to follow people that thousands of other people follow, it's easy enough to do (by following the 'followers'); but I didn't really see anything helpful that looked at travel and sorted the Twitter users into meaningful categories; to assist those looking for the 'right people' for them!

That's why I decided to try and make some of the travel twitter listings more meaningful, by sorting the Travel Companies and Travel Tweeters - by category.

The list is by no means complete; but as I continue adding to the TravelTweet Directory, I hope you find it useful.

Travel Companies on Twitter

Travel Companies are sorted according to the field they work in, to make it easier to find them.

As well as a direct link to their Twitter page, there's an @Link; where you can automatically tweet them (if you have a Twitter account and are logged-in).

Travel Tweeters

Travel Tweeters are individuals, listed by location.

Hopefully, if you need travel advice about a certain location, they'll answer your call for help.

You can tweet them by clicking on their photo or go to their profile by clicking on the link.

Getting Listed on the TravelTweet Directory

To stand a chance of being listed, the travel tweeters will need to have a photo on their profile, along with name, location and bio revealed.

After all, it helps to know who's doing the twittering; from where.

Listings are not subject to a TravelTweet following in any way (although you might get listed quicker if you do follow me), nor is having a Twitter presence a guarantee of a listing.

It's what you're doing with your Twitter account and your twittering coverage related to travel in general (or your location) that counts.

You can Send a Tweet to me on Twitter, whether you're following me or not; but you will need a Twitter account.

Tweet about the TravelTweet Directory on Twitter

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A Twittering Must Have

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Official Travel Notes Blog

Useful Twitter Tools on The TravelNotes Toolbar:

As tweets need to be under 140 characters in length, it makes sense to use an URL shortening service when posting links to something worth tweeting about.

We have added tinyurl and bit.ly to the Travel Notes toolbar; so that users can create a short URL when they are visiting a page they want to Twitter about.

The bit.ly service even lets you track clicks (just put a + after the link).

These are located in the drop-down Travel menu - then Web Tools.

Long URL Please is also in there; handy for revealing all those shortened URLs - posted by others - when you're on a Twitter page.

And just to complete the experience; with 'Twitter' selected from the search box choices, you can easily search tweets when you're on another website.

You may also choose to search for 'Twitter Users'; and even select to 'Tweet From Toolbar' when a thought occurs to you (or highlight text on a webpage and press go).

You could even leave the 'Tweet From Toolbar' search field blank and press go, to tweet that you're tweeting from the toolbar.

To get to your own Twitter page from the toolbar, clear the toolbar search box and - with Twitter selected - just press go.

Toolbar users can also search bit.ly, Blinkx, Brightcove, Clip Syndicate, Daily Motion, Delicious, Digg, Facebook, Flickr, Gmail, MySpace, Technorati, Travelistic, TurnHere, WhosTalkin? and You Tube - as well as a host of travel-related sources.

Not to mention listen to Live Streaming Internet Radio and watch popular tv programs for free.

Just message me on Twitter (or through the toolbar) if you'd like to see anything else added.

Download The TravelNotes Toolbar.

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Inauguration Day Live

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Official Travel Notes Blog

As the sun rises over America and sets in the Far East, millions - if not billions - of people who can't make it to Washington, D.C. will be glued to their television sets or sitting on the edge of their chair; close to a computer screen with an Internet connection.

If you're one of the latter, and overloaded servers don't start crashing under the strain, then here are some suggested online resources to keep an eye on.

Live Inauguration Day Coverage

Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies
As THE official source from the United States Government, this should probably be the first place to click to.

If you arrive at the senate early, you could get yourself into the inaugural atmosphere with some historical background on inaugurations past; maybe with a briefing on the chronological order of previously sworn-in Presidents.

The Live Show starts at 9.30am EST for video coverage and 11-11.30 am for audio of the swearing-in ceremony.

CBS Inauguration 09:
The all-day simulcast will be followed by an exclusive Inaugural webcast at 10pm EST; hosted by Katie Couric, who will look back at the historic day with a host of CBS reporters, political experts, pundits and special guests.

C-SPAN's Inauguration Hub:
Watch the 'control room' live video feeds from key events surrounding the 2009 Presidential Inauguration. Direct your own programming by clicking on the streaming thumbnails that look the most interesting for that moment.

CNN on Capitol Hill:
Watch live streaming video with your Facebook friends right beside you.

Fox News:
Their Hulu coverage is not a lot of good for viewers outside of the United States, but you can catch up with the Inauguration Blog.

MSNBC Inauguration Dashboard:
Latest coverage from Washington, D.C.; with video, slideshows and blogs.

Follow TravelTweet on Twitter Twitter and Current TV:
Starting at 11.30am EST, real-time Twitter messages - or 'tweets' - will be added to the live broadcast of Barack Obama's Inauguration. You'll need to add #current to your 140 character tweet.

Before the event, you can keep up with what others are saying on Twitter by visiting #inaug09 or #inauguration.

You can even follow TravelTweet on Twitter - Tweet Tweet.

Inauguration 2009 Video Collection

Other places you might like to visit are the Associated Press, BBC, New York Times, and Online NewsHour.

Latest Obama Videos.

Inauguration 2009

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Official Travel Notes Blog

Some two to three million people are expected to crowd into Washington D.C. tomorrow, for the inauguration of Barack Obama; as the 44th President of the United States of America.

Unless you get there very early, it's going to be extremely hard to get a good viewing spot along the parade route from the U.S. Capitol to the White House.

Washington hotels have never had it so good and DC restaurants began taking reservations right after the election day results were confirmed.

And today, on Martin Luther King Day, all roads to the nation's capital will be filled with coaches taking Americans wishing to be a part of the dream.

Washinton DC Weather Video.

If you're in Washington D.C for the 2009 Inauguration, you can submit your videos to the Travel Notes collection.

Metro Plans for Inauguration Day:
Washington Metro is running on a rush-hour schedule from 4 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Inauguration Day. Stations closest to the festivities will be closed for security reasons Tuesday until after the parade. Others close to inaugural balls will close early.

The formal inaugural program - to take place on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol - begins at 11.30am on January 20th, but the musical prelude will begin much earlier (at around 10am).

Security checkpoints for ticket holders will open at 8am and ticket holders are encouraged to arrive by 9am at the latest, to allow ample time for security screening.

Inauguration Celebrations:
Along with the ten official balls, there are dozens of unofficial celebrations at venues throughout the region.

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Win a Trip to Western Australia

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Official Travel Notes Blog

You and a friend will fly with Emirates to Perth, via Dubai and stay for 3 nights at The Richardson hotel, Perth (4* superior), before flying north to the coastal town of Broome for 3 nights at the Cable Beach Club (4* superior).

Relaxed and refreshed, you'll begin a six-day, 4-wheel-drive overland adventure along the Gibb River Road through the stunning Kimberly region.

You'll spend two nights at Imintji Wilderness Camp, one night at Marunbabidi Wilderness Camp and two nights at Ungolan Wilderness Lodge (luxury tented camps, including all meals) and discover the beauty of Windjana Gorge, swim in cooling pools above outback waterfalls, marvel at Aboriginal rock art and then explore Mitchell Plateau.

The adventure concludes with a helicopter flight over the Mitchell Falls. After this, you'll take a scenic charter flight back to Broome, then return to Perth for your flight home.

All transfers are included and accommodaton is based on two people sharing and is room only (unless otherwise stated).

Terms and Conditions

Open to any resident of the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, aged 18 years or over.

Entrants must locate places on a map of Australia in the fastest possible time and complete a tie-breaker.

The winner will be the person who correctly locates all the (five) places in the fastest possible time.

Closing date is 31st January, 2009.

Valid for travel Apr 16-Jun 30 and Aug 11-Oct 31 and must be booked by the winner at least two weeks prior to the departure date - and no later than 30th September, 2009.

Valid for flights departing from Heathrow, London Gatwick, Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle and Glasgow.

Note: Even if you're not eligible to win the competition, you could have fun testing your knowledge of Australia by placing the five pins in the right places - then plan your own Western Australia Tours.

Play The Game!


New Requirements For Entering The United States

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Official Travel Notes Blog

As from today - 12th January, 2009 - all nationals and citizens of Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries - including the UK - will be required by law to obtain a travel authorisation prior to travelling to the United States under the VWP.

We used to be able to fill in this form on the plane but now travellers to the United States will be required to fill out the Electronic System for Travel Authorization online, before they travel.

Before attempting to register under the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), it is advisable to first check your eligibility to travel under the Visa Waiver Program.

Visa Waiver Program travellers should also be aware that unauthorised third-parties have established Web sites, which charge visitors seeking to travel to the United States under the VWP, for information about ESTA and for submitting ESTA applications on behalf of the traveller.

These Web sites are not endorsed by, or affiliated in any way with, the United States government. The U.S. government does not charge a fee for ESTA.

You can submit your application for free at ESTA.

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