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  • Subpoena Trump, even if he threatens to not show up

  • Happy Hour Roundup

  • Why won't Republicans finally demand Trump release his tax returns?

  • Citizenship shouldn?t be a birthright

    The Constitution?s guarantee of citizen status simply for being born here is a deliberate misreading.

  • Democratic socialism?s time has come around

    Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her comrades are shaking up politics in constructive and promising ways.

  • Forget the two-state solution. Let?s try six.

    We need to think creatively about the future of the Middle East. How about federalism?

  • How the right wing got it so wrong on the ?Pakistani mystery man?

    Conspiracy theorists pounced on the story of fired congressional IT staffer Imran Awan. All because of his name.

  • Trump?s worst moment since Charlottesville

    His retraction of his retraction on Russia is his presidency in a nutshell.

  • State-run retirement plans are the wrong way to protect the poor

    If we?re going to automatically enroll people in savings plans, we need to do it right.

  • The stench from Trump?s execrable performance grows ever more putrid

    Republicans have gone from denouncing useful idiots to becoming useful idiots.

  • Show more…

Entries

  • Hackers Account For 90 Percent of Login Attempts At Online Retailers (1521 characters)

    Wed, 18 Jul 2018 18:50:00 -0400Hackers Account For 90 Percent of Login Attempts At Online RetailersSlashdot

    Hackers account for 90% of of e-commerce sites' global login traffic, according to a report by cyber security firm Shape Security. They reportedly use programs to apply stolen data acquired on the dark web -- all in an effort to login to websites and grab something of value like cash, airline points, or merchandise. Quartz reports: These attacks are successful as often as 3% of the time, and the costs quickly add up for businesses, Shape says. This type of fraud costs the e-commerce sector about $6 billion a year, while the consumer banking industry loses out on about $1.7 billion annually. The hotel and airline businesses are also major targets -- the theft of loyalty points is a thing -- costing a combined $700 million every year. The process starts when hackers break into databases and steal login information. Some of the best known "data spills" took place at Equifax and Yahoo, but they happen fairly regularly -- there were 51 reported breaches last year, compromising 2.3 billion credentials, according to Shape. Taking over bank accounts is one way to monetize stolen login information -- in the US, community banks are attacked far more than any other industry group. According to Shape's data, that sector is attacked more than 200 million times each day. Shape says the number of reported credential breaches was roughly stable at 51 last year, compared with 52 in 2016. The best way consumers can minimize these attacks is by changing their passwords.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Zuckerberg: If Someone Gets Fired For Data Abuse 'It Should Be Me' (1416 characters)

    Wed, 18 Jul 2018 18:10:00 -0400Zuckerberg: If Someone Gets Fired For Data Abuse 'It Should Be Me'Slashdot

    Mark Zuckerberg isn't planning to fire himself. At least, not at the moment. From a report: During an interview with Recode's Kara Swisher published Wednesday, the Facebook CEO touched on Russians interfering with US elections, misinformation, data breaches, the company's business model and more. When asked by Swisher who's to blame for the Cambridge Analytica scandal and related data misuse, Zuckerberg said he "designed the platform, so if someone's going to get fired for this, it should be me." Swisher followed up by asking if he was going to fire himself. "Not on this podcast right now," he said. Zuckerberg also defended the social media platform's decision not to kick off conspiracy theory-peddling websites like the far-right InfoWars. From a report: Zuckerberg said that instead of banning websites outright, the company removes individual posts that violate Facebook's terms of service. Posts promoting violence are particularly likely to be taken down, he added. Zuckerberg, who is Jewish, said even Holocaust deniers have a place on the platform as long as they genuinely believe the content they share. "I find that deeply offensive," he said. "But at the end of the day, I don't believe that our platform should take that down because I think there are things that different people get wrong. I don't think that they're intentionally getting it wrong."

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Cathay Pacific Business Class Awards Are Back To Normal (2343 characters)

    Wed, 18 Jul 2018 18:01:00 -0400Cathay Pacific Business Class Awards Are Back To NormalOne Mile at a Time

    Several days ago I wrote about a strange trend with Cathay Pacific business class award availability. Historically Cathay Pacific has been pretty good about making business class award seats available, both far in advance and also close to departure. However, over the past several weeks that has changed.

    Some significant changes were made to the Cathay Pacific Asia Miles program as of June 22, 2018, so based on the timing I had wondered if there was any connection between the lack of award availability and the new program. It’s one thing if the airline stopped releasing as many award seats in advance, but I found it especially strange that even last minute they weren’t releasing award seats when there were lots of unsold seats.

    What’s also strange is that they started using married segment logic for awards. In other words, awards were available if you wanted to book a seat from Taipei to Hong Kong to New York, but not if booking the same flight just from Hong Kong to New York. They use this type of logic for revenue tickets (as do many airlines), though I was surprised to see Cathay Pacific implement this for award tickets as well.

    I reached out to Cathay Pacific to see if they could investigate and they said they were looking into it, though as of now I haven’t heard back. There’s some good news on that front.

    It looks like Cathay Pacific is once again releasing business class award seats as usual (without married segment logic), which is fantastic news. Cathay Pacific isn’t limiting this award space to members of their own program, but partner airline members should have access to it as well, so you can use miles from Alaska Mileage Plan, American AAdvantage, British Airways Executive Club, etc.

    Cathay Pacific isn’t quite as generous as they were back in the day, when they’d typically release five business class seats per flight when the schedule opened, but overall I’d say availability is once again solid.

    Yay!

    (Tip of the hat to View from the Wing)

  • Two firefighters hurt battling fierce Yosemite blaze (254 characters)

    Wed, 18 Jul 2018 17:38:00 -0400Two firefighters hurt battling fierce Yosemite blazeReuters: U.S.

    A wildfire burning at the western edge of Yosemite National Park that has already killed one firefighter has injured two more, officials said on Wednesday, as crews sought to gain a measure of control over the flames ahead of dangerous thunderstorms.

  • Google Warns Android Might Not Remain Free Because of EU Decision (1803 characters)

    Wed, 18 Jul 2018 17:30:00 -0400Google Warns Android Might Not Remain Free Because of EU DecisionSlashdot

    An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: The EU's decision to force Google to unbundle its Chrome and search apps from Android may have some implications for the future of Android's free business model. In a blog post defending Google's decision to bundle search and Chrome apps on Android, Google CEO Sundar Pichai outlines the company's response to the EU's $5 billion fine. Pichai highlights the fact a typical Android user will "install around 50 apps themselves" and can easily remove preinstalled apps. But if Google is prevented from bundling its own apps, that will upset the Android ecosystem. "If phone makers and mobile network operators couldn't include our apps on their wide range of devices, it would upset the balance of the Android ecosystem," explains Pichai, carefully avoiding the fact that phone makers will no longer be forced to bundle these apps but can still choose to do so. Pichai then hints that the free Android business model has relied on this app bundling. "So far, the Android business model has meant that we haven't had to charge phone makers for our technology, or depend on a tightly controlled distribution model," says Pichai. "But we are concerned that today's decision will upset the careful balance that we have struck with Android, and that it sends a troubling signal in favor of proprietary systems over open platforms." While it may be a bluff to court popular opinion, Google is threatening to license Android to phone makers. "[I]f phone makers can bundle their own browsers instead of Chrome and point search queries toward rivals, then that could have implications for Google's mobile ad revenue, which constitutes more than 50 percent of the company's net digital ad revenue," reports The Verge.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Mere gun lover, or Siberian spy? Maria Butina?s curious path (274 characters)

    Wed, 18 Jul 2018 17:20:03 -0400Mere gun lover, or Siberian spy? Maria Butina?s curious pathWorld: World News, International News, Foreign Reporting - The Washington Post

    Maria Butina seemed destined for bigger things than her Siberian outpost of a hometown. In her early 20s, she built a budding political career, a mini furniture empire and a Russian gun rights movement ? and she?s now in jail on suspicion of spying on the United States.

  • Deal Alert: NYC to Europe From $299 Round-Trip ? Carry-On Bags Included (3226 characters)

    Wed, 18 Jul 2018 17:00:00 -0400Deal Alert: NYC to Europe From $299 Round-Trip ? Carry-On Bags IncludedThe Points Guy

    Want to see the latest flight deals as soon as they?re published? Follow The Points Guy on Facebook and Twitter, and subscribe to text message alerts from our deals feed, @tpg_alerts.

    Airfare deals are typically only available on limited dates. We recommend you use Google Flights to find dates to fly, then book through an online travel agency such as Orbitz or Expedia, which allows you to cancel flights without penalty by 11pm Eastern Time within one day of booking. However, if you?re using The Platinum Card® from American Express, you?ll need to book directly with the airline or through the Amex Travel portal to get 5x MR points. Remember: Fares may disappear quickly, so book right away and take advantage of Orbitz or Expedia?s courtesy cancellation if you?re unable to get the time away from work or family.

    The fare war for flights to Europe never fails to amaze. Just yesterday we came across a deal for Primera Air flights to Paris (CDG) from $99 one-way ? which is still available. Today we’re seeing cheap flights to other European destinations like Amsterdam (AMS), Copenhagen (CPH), Stockholm (ARN) and Helsinki (HEL) from $299 round-trip. The discounted fares are being offered by Icelandair and are valid for travel this fall. Icelandair isn?t a low-cost carrier, so even its cheapest fares include things like carry-ons, seat assignments and free drinks. TPG Associate Editor Brendan Dorsey flew to Reykjavik on Icelandair’s 767 last year and enjoyed the experience.

    To book, head to Google Flights and plug in your desired departure city. After finding dates that work best for you, book with Icelandair directly or with an OTA such as Expedia or Priceline. Remember, Icelandair partners with Alaska Airlines meaning you can earn valuable Alaska miles for these paid fares.

    Airline: Icelandair
    Routes: EWR/JFK to AMS/ARN/CPH/HEL
    Cost: $299+ round-trip in economy
    Dates: September ? December 2018
    Booking Link: OrbitzExpedia or directly with the airline
    Pay With: The Platinum Card® from American Express (5x on airfare), Chase Sapphire Reserve, Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express, Citi Prestige (3x on airfare plus excellent trip delay insurance) or Chase Sapphire Preferred (2x on travel)

    Here are a few examples of what you can book:

    Newark (EWR) to Helsinki (HEL) in December for $299 round-trip on Icelandair via Expedia:

    Newark (EWR) to Amsterdam (AMS) in November for $308 round-trip on Icelandair via Expedia:

    Newark (EWR) to Copenhagen (CPH) in December for $309 round-trip on Icelandair via Expedia:

    New York (JFK) to Stockholm (ARN) in October for $328 round-trip on Icelandair via Expedia:

    Maximize Your Purchase

    Don?t forget to use a credit card that earns additional points on airfare purchases, such as The Platinum Card® from American Express (5x on flights booked directly with airlines or American Express Travel), Chase Sapphire Reserve, American Express Premier Rewards Gold or Citi Prestige (3x on airfare) or the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (2x on all travel purchases). Check out this post for more on maximizing airfare purchases.

    Featured image of Katajanokka Island, Helsinki by Lingxiao Xie / Getty Images.

    Related
    Deal Alert: West Coast to Hawaii From $344 Round-Trip [The Points Guy]
    Amazing Deal Alert: LA to Beijing in China Eastern Business Class From $1,137 Round-Trip [The Points Guy]
    Deal Alert: US Cities to Cancun From $173 Round-Trip [The Points Guy]
    Deal Alert: Flights to Several Caribbean Destinations From $201 Round-Trip [The Points Guy]
    Deal Alert: US Cities to Amsterdam From $411 Round-Trip [The Points Guy]
    Deal Alert: US Cities to the Caribbean for $178 [The Points Guy]
    Deal Alert: Nonstop Flights From New York to Europe for $340 [The Points Guy]
    Deal Alert: New York to Europe for 28,000 SkyMiles Round-Trip [The Points Guy]
    Deal Alert: Nonstop to Europe From $99 One-Way or $265 Round-Trip on Low-Cost Carriers [The Points Guy]
  • Pharmacy tech charged in case tied to U.S. meningitis outbreak (254 characters)

    Wed, 18 Jul 2018 16:51:00 -0400Pharmacy tech charged in case tied to U.S. meningitis outbreakReuters: Health News

    Federal prosecutors on Wednesday charged a pharmacy technician who worked at a hospital with making false statements during an investigation related to a Massachusetts compounding pharmacy at the center of a deadly fungal meningitis outbreak in 2012.

  • Robocall Firm Exposes Hundreds of Thousands of US Voters' Records (635 characters)

    Wed, 18 Jul 2018 16:50:00 -0400Robocall Firm Exposes Hundreds of Thousands of US Voters' RecordsSlashdot

    An anonymous reader shares a report: RoboCent, a Virginia Beach-based political robocall firm, has exposed the personal details of hundreds of thousands of US voters, according to the findings of a security researcher who stumbled upon the company's database online. The researcher, Bob Diachenko of Kromtech Security, says he discovered the data using a recently launched online service called GrayhatWarfare that allows users to search publicly exposed Amazon Web Services data storage buckets. Such buckets should never be left exposed to public access, as they could hold sensitive data.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • States sue U.S. over policy tying funds to immigration compliance (252 characters)

    Wed, 18 Jul 2018 16:49:00 -0400States sue U.S. over policy tying funds to immigration complianceReuters: U.S.

    New York and five other states filed a lawsuit on Wednesday seeking to block the Trump administration from making cooperation with federal immigration authorities a condition for receiving millions of dollars in federal funding for law enforcement.

    Related
    Giuliani works for foreign clients while serving as Trump’s attorney [Campaigns: Campaign and Election News & Analysis - The Washington Post]
    Giuliani works for foreign clients while serving as Trump’s attorney [Congress: Congressional News, Schedule, Votes & More - The Washington Post]
    States sue U.S. over policy tying funds to immigration compliance [Reuters: Politics]
  • States sue U.S. over policy tying funds to immigration compliance (252 characters)

    Wed, 18 Jul 2018 16:49:00 -0400States sue U.S. over policy tying funds to immigration complianceReuters: Politics

    New York and five other states filed a lawsuit on Wednesday seeking to block the Trump administration from making cooperation with federal immigration authorities a condition for receiving millions of dollars in federal funding for law enforcement.

    Related
    Giuliani works for foreign clients while serving as Trump’s attorney [Campaigns: Campaign and Election News & Analysis - The Washington Post]
    Giuliani works for foreign clients while serving as Trump’s attorney [Congress: Congressional News, Schedule, Votes & More - The Washington Post]
    States sue U.S. over policy tying funds to immigration compliance [Reuters: U.S.]
  • Review: A Whopping $18,000 in Business Class Flights for 4 on Japan Airlines and Cathay Pacific With American Airlines Miles! (17711 characters)

    Wed, 18 Jul 2018 16:42:00 -0400Review: A Whopping $18,000 in Business Class Flights for 4 on Japan Airlines and Cathay Pacific With American Airlines Miles!Million Mile Secrets

    Earlier this year I redeemed American Airlines miles for my family’s most epic journey yet.  We flew Japan Airlines from Manila to Tokyo, and then to Vancouver after an overnight stay.  And after that, we traveled on Cathay Pacific from Vancouver to New York (JFK) – all in Business Class.

    This was the biggest miles and points splurge I’d ever made, and the kids’ first experience flying in Business Class.  And although it cost a lot of miles compared to flying coach, I’d do it again in a heartbeat just to see the smiles on the kids’ faces!

    I’ll share a quick rundown of how our flights went, what the kids thought, and how you can do the same thing.

    Business Class Flights From Asia for 4 With American Airlines Miles

    Persistence Pays Off:  Business Class Award Flights for a Family of 4 (Worth $18,000) From Asia to the US

    Returning from our trip to the Philippines, I really wanted to treat the kids to an incredible experience by flying Business Class on 2 airlines we’d never flown – Japan Airlines and Cathay Pacific.

    Both airlines are well known for their fantastic Business Class seats, food, and service.  And the kids are old enough now to appreciate the extra-special touches like lounge access, lie-flat seats, and premium amenities.  Leading up to our flights, I think they watched just about every YouTube video and review of the airlines we’d be flying with great excitement!

    I’d been hoarding a ton of American Airlines miles earned from credit card welcome bonuses, spending, and actual flights.  In general, we always advise that you NOT stockpile miles, because programs can devalue and award charts can change at any time.  But in this case I needed a pretty substantial chunk of miles to make the trip happen.

    In total, I spent 280,000 American Airlines miles and ~$205 for the 4 of us.  But because I had the Barclays AAdvantage® Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard®, I also got a rebate of 10,000 American Airlines miles.  With this card, you get 10% of your redeemed miles back, up to a maximum of 10,000 miles per year.

    You can read more about how I booked this award here.

    Here’s How to Earn American Airlines Miles for a Similar Trip

    Thanks to hefty welcome bonuses on several credit cards, I was able to earn the miles required for these flights over a couple of years.  It takes a while as a single parent to earn enough miles for a trip like this for a family of 4, but if you have a partner and can both apply for cards, it’ll take a lot less time.

    I earned American Airlines miles from these cards:

    Keep in mind, the sign-up bonuses on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® and CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard® are increased for a limited time.

    Japan Airlines Business Class Manila to Tokyo

    1.   Sakura Lounge – Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport

    After checking in at Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport (quick and easy) and passing through security, we headed down to the Japan Airlines Sakura Lounge to grab snacks and drinks before the flight.

    The Sakura Lounge is fairly compact but very clean and comfortable with friendly staff and a modest selection of hot and cold food.  At first, the lounge was nearly empty, but closer to flight time it filled up with mostly Japanese passengers.

    The kids and I enjoyed a light meal and drinks.  But honestly the most appealing part of the lounge for the kids was getting access to fast Wi-Fi!  After having spent a couple weeks in the Philippine provinces (where Wi-Fi is often excruciatingly slow), they were eager to get caught up on chatting with friends and watching their favorite videos.

    The hot food selection consisted of a curry dish, a chicken dish (both quite tasty), and rice.  Plus a few different types of pastries, cookies, and nibbles.

    There were plenty of free soft drinks, beer, and pour-your-own wine and liquor available.  The kids were actually a little miffed when we left the lounge early to check out 2 Priority Pass lounges in the Manila airport because they were so comfortable and happy at the Sakura Lounge!

    2.   Boeing 767 Flight to Tokyo

    We headed to the gate ~40 minutes before departure.  The kids were tickled with getting to board first in the Business Class lane, and not having to wait and wait like they’re used to when we fly coach.  “Mom, we feel like VIPs!”

    Our flight from Manila to Tokyo was operated by an older Japan Airlines Boeing 767, and we were seated in the middle section of Business Class, which has a 1-2-1 seating configuration.  It was a daytime flight and just over 4 hours, so we spent most of our time enjoying the food and inflight entertainment.

    I still remember how big the kids’ eyes got when we first walked into the cabin, and how thrilled they were with the seats!

    By far the highlight of the flight was trying out all the gadgets and pockets and seat functions.  Here’s my daughter enthusiastically giving a tour of her lie-flat seat (I probably should have briefed her a little better on the miles we used).  ?

    Shortly after take-off, the flight attendants handed out the menus for dinner and did a beverage service.  Japan Airlines offers a choice of a Japanese menu or a Western menu, and on this flight the entree options were miso black cod and chicken hamburg steak (Japanese), and beef steak or Spanish-style roast chicken (Western).

    We discovered later that meals on Japan Airlines Business Class within Asia aren’t as fancy as what they offer on trans-Pacific flights.

    Despite the relatively short flight, the service was super attentive and the flight attendants positively doted on the kids.  They each received a stuffed Japan Airlines plane and a model airplane to take home (plus an amenity kit and slippers which are still in heavy use around our house today!).

    At top of descent into Tokyo, where we spent an amazing night at the Conrad Tokyo, the kids remarked that the flight was way too short.  Color me shocked!  I don’t think I’ve ever heard them complain about getting somewhere too soon – ever!  I told them not to worry because we had plenty of flight hours to go before we got home …

    Japan Airlines Business Class Tokyo to Vancouver

    1.   Sakura Lounge – Tokyo Narita

    After spending a night and day in Tokyo, we returned to Narita airport for our overnight flight to Vancouver, also on Japan Airlines Business Class.

    We made a point of arriving to the airport early so we’d have lots of time to enjoy the Sakura Lounge, which is very highly reviewed.

    We got there mid-afternoon and were all famished because we’d skipped lunch in favor of packing in as much touring around Tokyo as possible.  So the kids (well, me too) went straight to the buffet!

    The food selection here was much more varied than the Sakura Lounge in Manila.  There were plenty of hot dishes, including dim sum …

    … miso soup and udon noodles with all kinds of toppings …

    … and hearty comfort food like mabo tofu.  Perfect to warm up with after a chilly day of wandering around Tokyo!

    There were also several stations where you could pour your own champagne, sake, wine, or liquor …

    … and if you’re an aviation geek like me, the up-close views of the tarmac are sweet!

    After eating a ton, fatigue started to creep up on the kids.  I took the opportunity to quietly get some work done, while my son decided to, um, make himself at home.  (Yes, his shoes are off, and no, the lounge wasn’t busy).

    Soon enough, it was time to board our flight to Vancouver.

    2.   Boeing 787 Dreamliner Flight to Vancouver

    Our flight to Vancouver was on the Boeing 787-800 Dreamliner.  This particular aircraft’s Business Class cabin was in a 2-2-2 configuration, but the seats were different.  These “shell flat neo” seats don’t quite go all the way flat, but it honestly didn’t make much difference to us.  They’re only very slightly angled.

    Each seat came with a blanket, small pillow, and amenity kit.   Because we’d had a long day in Tokyo, we were relieved when the crew started the food and beverage service very shortly after take-off.  Again, there were options for Western and Japanese style menus.  This time, the Japanese meal included sashimi (tuna and octopus), braised sukiyaki beef, and yuzu salmon.

    I’ll be honest, one of the pain points for me booking this flight is that my son is a very picky eater.  So spending all those miles and getting all of these fancy dishes is a bit like casting pearls before swine where he’s concerned.

    That said, there was always something he could eat.

    Shortly after the meal service it was time to get some shut-eye.  All told, we got nearly 6 hours of solid sleep on this ~9 hour flight, despite the seats being slightly angled.

    Unfortunately, this was also the flight when my oldest daughter got sick.  But we managed!

    Cathay Pacific Business Class Vancouver to New York (JFK)

    1.   Cathay Pacific Business Class Lounge – Vancouver

    We landed in Vancouver ~10:00 am and spent the day with my dad, who’d taken the ferry from Victoria to meet us.  So by evening, when it was time for our ~10:00 pm departure on Cathay Pacific to New York, we were all beat.

    I didn’t realize it at the time, but our flight to New York was mostly empty.  So the Cathay Pacific Business Class lounge was nearly deserted.

    I was a little regretful that we’d eaten a big meal with my dad before heading to the airport.  There was an impressive noodle bar with all kinds of customized options.  The poor chef was probably bored silly.

    There were also options to order small plates and snacks, plus the usual nibbles like salads, cookies, and nuts.  I did my Canadian patriotic duty and split an order of poutine (very good) with the kids.

    Owing to fatigue and the dimly-lit lounge, we were all just ready to get on the plane and sleep.

    Our flight was slightly delayed but pretty soon it was time to board for the last leg of our Business Class adventure!

    2.   Boeing 777 Flight to New York (JFK)

    I had actually been looking forward to this flight the most, because Cathay Pacific Business Class is one of the top rated in the world.  But to be honest, we were so pooped from traveling that it was mostly a relief to sit down and stop moving for a while.

    That said, the kids had built this flight up too after seeing so many reviews online.  So they were still all smiles as we boarded the aircraft.

    The flight from Vancouver to New York was mostly empty, and the Business Class cabin only had a handful of other passengers.

    Like our other flights, the highlight for the kids was the spaciousness and cool seat features.  Here’s my son not using his inside voice just after being seated:

    And here’s my oldest daughter inspecting the amenity kit:

    Quite honestly, watching the kids get such a kick out of things that might seem mundane or everyday to miles and points enthusiasts was really the highlight of this journey.  The smile on my son’s face says it all.

    Owing to the late hour (and short ~4.5 hour flight to New York), the cabin crew got down to business serving drinks and a light supper shortly after take-off.

    None of us really wanted food, but my daughter and I took a meal (and shared the garlic bread with my son, because that’s one of the few things he’ll eat!) just to try it out.  I chose the potato crusted salmon because I figured it’d be excellent coming from coastal British Columbia, and it was tasty.

    I liked that the flight attendants noticed my son’s penchant for garlic bread and came around again to offer him as much as he wanted.  He was very pleased!

    That said (and maybe it was due to the short length of the flight), the kids remarked that they thought the flight attendants on Japan Airlines were a lot nicer.  Not that the Cathay Pacific flight attendants weren’t attentive – they were just very business-like and didn’t have as warm or personal of a touch as we experienced on the previous 2 flights.

    With only ~3 hours left in the flight, we went straight to sleep after supper.  My daughter conked out even before reclining her seat to the lie-flat position, she was so tuckered out!

    We arrived in New York moderately refreshed after being awoken by the flight attendants during the descent.  So I didn’t get any daytime snapshots of the cabin unfortunately!

    Bottom Line

    I’m usually super frugal and try to stretch my miles and points for the most coach flights or hotel stays.  But for once, I wanted to treat the kids to an incredible experience using American Airlines miles to fly Business Class on Japan Airlines and Cathay Pacific from Asia back to the US.

    It was just as we’d hoped – amazing seats, food, and service on our flights between Manila, Tokyo, Vancouver, and New York.  The kids felt like VIPs and got such joy out of the journey, despite being totally exhausted by the end of it.  It’s funny the things that really made an impression on them, like how the seats worked or where the tray table was hidden.

    Yes, it cost a lot of miles.  But even as a single parent, I was able to accumulate enough for this trip by earning welcome bonuses and spending on credit cards, and also actually flying American Airlines.  You can collect miles for a similar trip with cards like:

    The kids are already asking when we can do this again.  I said maybe when they turn 18 and can sign-up for their own cards!  ?

    What about you?  Have you ever taken your kids on a Business Class flight?  What did they think?  Please share your experiences in the comments.

  • 10 Best Credit Card Offers For July 2018 (8806 characters)

    Wed, 18 Jul 2018 16:33:00 -040010 Best Credit Card Offers For July 2018One Mile at a Time

    Every month I make a post with what I consider to be the best credit card bonuses of the month.

    While there are several excellent long standing credit card offers, the specifics of the best offers are constantly changing (be it the annual fee, minimum spend requirement, or even amount of the welcome bonus).

    If you read my blog on a daily basis then by all means skip this post, but for me it?s a useful, ?current? place to refer people who ask about which cards they should sign-up for, a question I get on a daily basis.

    This has been a great year for new credit cards being introduced, and many of them have hot welcome bonuses. With that in mind, below are what I consider to be the 10 best right now:

    1. Ink Business Preferred? Credit Card

    Current offer: 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $5,000 within three months from account opening
    Annual fee: $95

    Why it?s a great offer: The Ink cards have extremely generous category bonuses that help sole proprietorships and small businesses maximize points on everyday credit card spend. This card offers 3x points on the first $150,000 spent annually in combined purchases on travel, shipping, internet, cable and phone services, advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines each account anniversary year.

    So this is a card that?s good for both for the welcome bonus and for everyday spend. I value Ultimate Rewards points at ~1.7 cents each, so to me the welcome bonus is worth $1,265 after subtracting the annual fee.


    Redeem Ultimate Rewards points for travel in Korean Air first class

    2. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

    Current offer: 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 within three months, plus an additional 5,000 Ultimate Rewards points when you add an authorized user to the card that makes a purchase within three months
    Annual fee: $95, waived the first year

    Why it?s a great offer: Ultimate Rewards points can be transferred at a 1:1 ratio to Korean Air, United, Hyatt, and many other programs. The card is also great for everyday spend given that it offers double points on dining and travel. I value the welcome bonus on this card at $935.


    Redeem Ultimate Rewards points for the Park Hyatt Maldives

    3. CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®

    Current offer: Earn 70,000 American AAdvantage miles after spending $4,000 within the first four months
    Annual fee: $95 (waived the first year)

    Why you should consider applying: We?ve never seen bigger publicly available welcome bonuses on this card, and it?s only available for a limited time. I value American miles at ~1.3 cents each, so to me the welcome bonus is worth $910.

    Furthermore, the card comes with several perks that could make it worth holding onto, including free checked bags, priority boarding, etc.


    R
    edeem American AAdvantage miles for travel in the Etihad A380 Apartment

    4. Ink Business Cash? Credit Card

    Current offer: 50,000 points after spending $3,000 within three months
    Annual fee: no annual fee

    Why it?s a great offer: This welcome bonus was recently introduced, and is a big improvement over the previous one. Not only is the welcome bonus great, but the card also offers 5x points in useful categories, and points can be pooled with the Ultimate Rewards points earned on cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve® CardChase Sapphire Preferred® Card, and Ink Business Preferred? Credit Card. Assuming you have this card in conjunction with one accruing premium Ultimate Rewards points, I value the welcome bonus on this card at $850.


    Redeem Ultimate Rewards points for travel in Singapore Airlines Suites

    5. Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card

    Current offer: 50,000 points after spending $3,000 within three months
    Annual fee: no annual fee

    Why it?s a great offer: This card was introduced last month, and offers a fantastic return on everyday spend and a great welcome bonus. Points earned on this card can be pooled with the Ultimate Rewards points earned on cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve® CardChase Sapphire Preferred® Card, and Ink Business Preferred? Credit Card. Assuming you have this card in conjunction with one accruing premium Ultimate Rewards points, I value the welcome bonus on this card at $850.


    Redeem Ultimate Rewards points for stays at the Park Hyatt Sydney

    6. The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN 

    Current offer: Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 within the first three months
    Annual fee: $175, waived the first year

    Why you should consider applying: This is one of the best small business cards out there in terms of the bonus points it offers, given that you earn bonus points in the following five categories:

    • Airfare purchased directly from airlines
    • U.S. purchases for advertising in select media
    • U.S. purchases at gas stations
    • U.S. purchases for shipping
    • U.S. computer hardware, software, and cloud computing purchases made directly from select providers

    You can pick in which category you want to earn 3x points, and then in the other four categories you earn 2x points.

    On top of that, this is a fantastic welcome bonus for a card that doesn?t have an annual fee the first year. I value Membership Rewards points at ~1.7 cents each, so to me the welcome bonus is worth $850.


    Redeem Amex points for travel in ANA first class

    7. The World of Hyatt Credit Card

    Current offer: Earn 40,000 World of Hyatt points after spending $3,000 within the first three months, plus a further 20,000 points after spending a total of $6,000 within the first six months
    Annual fee: $95

    Why you should consider applying: This credit card was just recently introduced, and is fantastic. It offers an anniversary free night certificate, a further free night certificate when you spend $15,000 on the card in a calendar year, five elite qualifying nights just for having the card, a further two elite nights for every $5,000 spent on the card, and some unique bonus categories.

    Redeem your anniversary free night certificate at the Park Hyatt Saigon

    8. Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® 

    Current offer: Earn 60,000 American AAdvantage miles after spending $3,000 within the first three months
    Annual fee: $99 (waived the first year)

    Why you should consider applying: This is a limited time bonus that?s huge. I value American miles at ~1.3 cents each, so to me the welcome bonus is worth $780.

    Furthermore, the card comes with several perks that could make it worth holding onto, including free checked bags, priority boarding, a 10% rebate on award tickets (up to 10,000 refunded miles per year), etc.


    R
    edeem American AAdvantage miles for travel in Qatar Airways Qsuites

    9. Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card

    Current offer: Earn 60,000 bonus Rapid Rewards points after spending $3,000 within three months
    Annual fee: $99

    Why it?s a great offer: A 60,000 point welcome bonus is as good as it gets on Southwest credit cards. Rapid Rewards points can be redeemed for ~1.3 cents each towards the cost of a ticket. That means that 60,000 points can potentially get you up to $780 towards airfare on Southwest. Furthermore, these cards are great in helping you earn points towards Companion Pass, which is one of the most valuable perks in domestic travel.


    60,000 points will get you a lot of travel on Southwest

    10. Citi ThankYou® Premier Card

    Current offer: Earn 50,000 ThankYou points after spending $4,000 within the first three months
    Annual fee: $95 (waived the first year)

    Why you should consider applying: The points earned on this card can be redeemed for 1.25 cents each towards the cost of an airline ticket, making the welcome bonus worth a minimum of $625. Alternatively points can be transferred to any of the ThankYou airline and hotel partners, potentially allowing you to get even more value out of the points.

    The card also offers a great return on spend, as it offers triple points on travel and gas, and double points on dining and entertainment. That makes it one of the most well rounded mid-range credit cards.

    I value ThankYou points at ~1.5 cents each, so to me the welcome bonus is worth $750.


    Redeem Citi ThankYou points for travel in Singapore Airlines business class

    If you have any questions or other cards you think have great welcome bonuses, let me know in the comments section!

    Related
    My Firm Always Flies for Free — Business Success Story [The Points Guy]
  • U.S. intelligence documents on Nelson Mandela made public (304 characters)

    Wed, 18 Jul 2018 16:31:00 -0400U.S. intelligence documents on Nelson Mandela made publicReuters: U.S.

    Thousands of pages of U.S. intelligence documents on Nelson Mandela were made public on Wednesday, revealing that Washington continued to monitor the South African anti-apartheid hero as a potential Communist menace even after he was released from prison, a group that sued to obtain the papers said.

  • How Airplanes Get to Farnborough, the Biggest Aviation Show (7043 characters)

    Wed, 18 Jul 2018 16:30:00 -0400How Airplanes Get to Farnborough, the Biggest Aviation ShowThe Points Guy

    There a lot of big jets at the Farnborough International Airshow, the largest trade show of its kind. So many that even a marquee airplane like the Airbus A350-1000 has to be stationed on a ramp away from the main flight display. Enormous freighters are even further down, and aircraft are wedged in all along.

    In the middle of it all, aircraft manufacturers like Textron, Mitsubishi and Pilatus sharpen their elbows and carve out their own space for jets and single-engine aircraft that aren?t quite as imposing. But they’re still fast and cool to see. If you like airplanes, this is heaven ? and the aircraft are really jumbled up close to one another.

    This is where the aviation world converges every two years. Everybody is here: Airlines, planemakers both commercial and military, companies that make all manner of things that go on airplanes, analysts, the media, and the British Prime Minister.

    With airplanes coming in from all over the world, half the battle seems to be getting all manner of aircraft to Farnborough in the first place. This is also a working airport, so it gets a three-letter code, although there are no scheduled commercial flights into it. To aviation people, Farnborough is known by that code: FAB.

    Three FABulous Stops to Cross the Atlantic 

    Bombardier chief safety pilot Donald McNicoll had a mission: Get the Delta-branded CRJ900 (with a new cabin) to the show. The Canadian planemaker wanted to exhibit a new, roomy interior meant to make small regional jets less of a pain to fly on. Problem: regional jets don’t fly very far. The CRJ900 has a maximum range of around 2,000 miles, and from Bombardier’s plant outside of Montreal to FAB, it’s  3,250 miles, mostly of open ocean. Solution: stop in Greenland and Iceland, like airliners did in the 1950s before the jet era.

    So he left Mirabel (YMX) destined for sunny Iqaluit in Nunavut, Canada, a straight shot north of Montreal. That’s not the obvious route. This is due to Transport Canada restrictions on the test aircraft, requiring it to stay within 60 minutes of the nearest airfield. That doesn’t quite work on the standard route which would take it over Goose Bay in Newfoundland and then to Keflavik, Iceland (KEF). Instead, he flew Montreal – Iqaluit – Narsarsuaq, Greenland – Keflavik – Farnborough. That is a lot of legs.

    It’s Even Tougher in Small Planes

    If three stops to cross the pond seems like a lot, consider the turboprop from Textron Aviation that had to make four.  The US planemaker owns a variety of famous brands and has a variety of aircraft at the show, including helicopters from Bell and Cessna Caravans (the floatplane that New Yorkers can fly to Montauk on Blade.) One pilot flew a particularly long route to get his Beechcraft T6 ?a military trainer?to the show. This single-engine turboprop aircraft is certainly fun to fly, but it wouldn’t be particularly comfortable for long periods of travel. As you can see in the image above, it had to be fitted with external fuel tanks to make the ocean crossing.

    “I left Des Moines and flew a leg to Ottawa. I stayed the night, then continued to Goose Bay, popped over to Narsarsuaq in Greenland, then KEF and onwards to [a Scandinavian country for a demonstration],” said the pilot.

    All the Way From Ethiopia via Rome

    Yacov Aynom is a captain with Ethiopian, the largest airline by fleet size in Africa. He’s flown in the right seat as first officer on the Boeing 737, 777 and 787, and has two years under his belt as a captain on the Bombardier Q400. In Ethiopia, the twin-engine regional turboprops fly a lot from “hot and high” airports, which are hard on airplanes. (Higher temperatures and thinner air degrade takeoff performance.) Just consider the airline’s home base, Addis Ababa, at 7,600 feet above sea level. Ethiopian brought the Q400 on a marathon journey from Addis to Cairo for the night, then to Rome and onward to FAB. Each leg was about four hours of flight time, with the legs out of Africa flown at night for performance reasons ? it’s hot during the day.

    The Japanese Came From Washington State

    Steve Long is the chief test pilot for Mitsubishi, which is debuting in the commercial jet market with the MRJ90 aircraft. How did they get the plane from Japan to FAB?

    They didn’t.

    Flight testing for the Japanese-designed regional jet is being performed in Moses Lake, Washington, because of the test-aviation friendly airspace in the US as well as long runways and good weather at the airfield, which has plenty of very empty airspace around it. Long flew the plane from Moses Lake to Bangor, Maine, and then popped over the pond. Why Bangor?

    “To eat lobster,” he joked.

    The Big Boys

    In addition to the smaller manufacturers, Airbus and Boeing pack the ramp with wide-bodies, sometimes courtesy of the airlines that just bought them. At Farnborough, Biman Bangladesh Airlines has a Boeing 787 on display and Qatar has both a Boeing 777 and an Airbus A350. Airbus showcased a TAP Portugal A330-900 awaiting certification. For the big boys, getting there is easy. An A350 can go 8,000 miles easily, even more with no passengers on board, and getting to FAB is an absolute piece of cake from pretty much anywhere.

    This brand-new 787 rolled off the line in Everett last week, complete with new car smell. It has not entered service and will return to Everett for a delivery ceremony after the show. The Dreamliner jumped over to Farnborough in a quick eight-hour jaunt from Everett.

    The Boeing team also brought over the 737 MAX 7 aircraft, which spent the night in KEF before continuing to FAB. The new 737 MAX series is noted for its long range, but from Seattle to England is a long way and a fuel stop in Iceland was needed.

    “It’s a complicated dance,” said a Boeing representative. “Some of the airlines like having a big presence at the show with their aircraft, and so that Venn diagram between us needing to showcase aircraft and the airlines wanting to participate intersects,” he said.

    One element in common for all of these aircraft? Not a single pilot complained. From the smallest Cessna to the big jets, each was quite pleased to be paid to fly.

    Featured image of a Qatar Airways Airbus A350 in Farnborough by the author.

     

  • British Airways Says Computer Problems Affecting Operations at Heathrow (505 characters)

    Wed, 18 Jul 2018 16:25:00 -0400British Airways Says Computer Problems Affecting Operations at HeathrowSlashdot

    British Airways said on Wednesday that its operations at London's Heathrow, Europe's biggest airport, were disrupted because of an issue with a supplier's IT systems. From a report: "We are working with our supplier to resolve the matter and are sorry for the disruption to our customers' travel plans," the company said in a statement. Further reading: The Telegraph, which reports that several flights have been delayed or cancelled because of the IT failure.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

    Related
    British Airways says Heathrow flights hit by computer problems [Reuters: Technology News]
  • CANADA STOCKS - TSX falls 0.25 percent as energy weighs (473 characters)

    Wed, 18 Jul 2018 16:11:00 -0400CANADA STOCKS - TSX falls 0.25 percent as energy weighsReuters: Company News

    * The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX fell 41.84 points, or 0.25 percent, to 16,477.40. * The biggest contributor to the TSX loss was Enbridge, weighing on the index by 5.78 points. Following suit, energy was the top sector drag to the downside, with 54.97 net points. * Leading the index were Detour Gold Corp, up 11.8 percent, Aphria Inc, up 8 percent, and Guyana Goldfields Inc, higher by 6.4 percent. * Lagging shares were Norbord Inc, down 6.7 percent, Bombardier

  • U.S. court blocks EPA decision not to enforce 'glider truck' limits (253 characters)

    Wed, 18 Jul 2018 16:10:00 -0400U.S. court blocks EPA decision not to enforce 'glider truck' limitsReuters: U.S.

    A federal appeals court on Wednesday temporarily blocked a decision by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that would have lifted strict limits on the number of remanufactured heavy duty vehicles known as ?glider trucks? that could be sold.

    Related
    U.S. court blocks EPA decision not to enforce 'glider truck' limits [Reuters: Environment]
  • U.S. court blocks EPA decision not to enforce 'glider truck' limits (253 characters)

    Wed, 18 Jul 2018 16:10:00 -0400U.S. court blocks EPA decision not to enforce 'glider truck' limitsReuters: Environment

    A federal appeals court on Wednesday temporarily blocked a decision by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that would have lifted strict limits on the number of remanufactured heavy duty vehicles known as ?glider trucks? that could be sold.

    Related
    U.S. court blocks EPA decision not to enforce 'glider truck' limits [Reuters: U.S.]
  • Windows 10 and Windows Server 2019 To Support True UTC-Compliant Leap Second (1064 characters)

    Wed, 18 Jul 2018 16:03:00 -0400Windows 10 and Windows Server 2019 To Support True UTC-Compliant Leap SecondSlashdot

    Mehedi Hassan, writing for Thurrott: Microsoft is bringing support for leap seconds -- yes, that one extra second -- to Windows, starting with Windows 10 Redstone 5 and Windows Server 2019. With the upcoming updates for Windows 10, Microsoft's operating system now deals with leap seconds in a way that is incredibly accurate, UTC-compliant, and traceable. Leap seconds typically occur every 18 months, resulting in one extra second. The extra leap second occurs to adjust with the earth's slowed down rotation, and an extra second is added to UTC in order to keep it in-sync with mean solar time. To deal with the extra second more appropriately, Windows 10 will now display that extra second, instead of directly jumping to the next one. H/T Perfycat who adds: The new move makes Windows Server the first OS to have full support of the rare but valid timestamp of: 23:59:60. Linus Torvalds has long maintained that users needs to chill out about leap seconds. Further reading: Microsoft's blog post 1, and blog post 2.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Show more…

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  • Panasonic PIR and Thermopile Sensor Presentation

    Panasonic publishes a video presenting its PIR and Thermopile sensor lineup:

  • TI Unveils AFE for ToF Proximity Sensor

    TI ToF proximity sensor AFE OPT3101 integrates most of the ToF system on a single chip:

  • ST FlightSense Presentation

    ST publishes its presentation on ToF proximity sensor products:

  • Nvidia AI-Enhanced Noise Removal

    DPReview quotes Nvidia blog presenting a joint research with MIT and Aalto University on AI-enhanced noise removal with pretty impressive results:


  • Espros on ToF FaceID Calibration Challenges

  • Yole Webcast on Autonomous Driving

  • Peter Noble to Publish a Book

    Peter Noble, the inventor of active pixel sensor in 1966, is about to publish his autobiography book:

  • Omnivision Publishes its Patent Statistics

    Omnivision adds Intellectual Property page to its web site. The big jump between 2010 and 2011 is probably a purchase of Kodak CMOS sensor patent portfolio:

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