Hotel Review: Tacoma Sheraton

by Jonathan Spira
Hotel Review: Tacoma Sheraton

Built in 1986, the Tacoma Sheraton appeared not to have been vacuumed since opening day.  I had an uneasy feeling about this hotel from the moment I walked into the lobby and I was not disappointed. As I checked in (I was a speaker at a conference, and my room was to be part of the master bill), I verified the billing arrangements only to be told I was to …

Beijing Journal Part II

by Ellen Pearlman

As I am settling in Beijing, I am adjusting to some of the quirks and inconveniences of being a non-Chinese-speaking/reading visitor.  For example, when someone tries to text message me, the phone naturally displays it in Chinese characters.  Or when I try to pay for Skype through a credit card instead of PayPal, it takes over 48 hours to get card approval.  Though minor inconveniences, these setbacks could be annoying …

Beijing Journal

by Ellen Pearlman

Three days before I am to fly to China, I encounter a problem with my ThinkPad.  With the help of Lenovo tech support in Atlanta, Georgia I find out that my ThinkPad’s wireless card has gone POOF.  The day before I am to leave I receive a replacement card.  I call tech support again, and am told to watch the instructional videos on line that show how to remove the …

Global Road Warrior: Phone Home

by Jonathan Spira
Global Road Warrior: Phone Home

It’s been said that the telephone is one of the most important business tools ever invented.  Today, given the popularity of the mobile phone, that statement is more true than ever.
Why is it then that many business travelers fall off the communications grid when they travel internationally?
Perhaps the greatest reason is the fact that the United States has multiple mobile telephone standards (the two most popular are CDMA and GSM, …

Four World Phones

by Jonathan Spira
Four World Phones

RESEARCH IN MOTION BLACKBERRY PEARL
Both T-Mobile and Cingular offer the BlackBerry Pearl by Research in Motion, although only T-Mobile has the new white Pearl.  The Pearl is an 88 gram quad-band device with a 240×260 color display.  It supports GSM/GPRS and EDGE (Enhanced Data for GSM Evolution) and includes a memory expansion slot for a MicroSD card.  It supports BlackBerry e-mail, public instant messaging via AOL, ICQ, MSN, and Yahoo, …

American Airlines New York-JFK to Paris-CDG

by Jonathan Spira
American Airlines New York-JFK to Paris-CDG

Check-in at JFK Terminal 8 was a breeze since American Airlines now allows international travelers to use self-service kiosks. The machine scans your passport and issues a boarding pass after a roving agent verifies your credentials.. This was probably my last Terminal 8 departure as that terminal will soon close. And I will certainly be sad to see it go in some respects, Terminal 8, built in the early 1960s, …

St. Martin’s Lane Hotel, London Review

by Jonathan Spira
St. Martin’s Lane Hotel, London Review

Is it worth staying in a hotel where you truly need a user’s manual for the hotel?  In the case of the St. Martin’s Lane hotel in London, the answer is decidedly yes.  It is also a visual delight with dramatic color and shape throughout the property including the guest rooms.  If you make the effort to learn how certain aspects of the hotel operate, you will find it very …