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Travel startup sends you to mystery locations if you’ve got the guts

(TECH NEWS) Keep as much or as little as you want a surprise til the end – for those of us who want to experience adventure as a part of the magic of travel, Jubel might design just the trip we’ve been waiting for.

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For a real adventure

When I was a kid, I thought one of the most dashing and romantic things in the world would be to go to a crowded airport, a duffel bag slung over one shoulder, and breathlessly announce to the ticket agent, “I want one ticket on the next plane out of here,” and then go wherever the path took me. As an adult in a pre-9/11 world, I still thought the same thing.

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In a world grown smaller and smaller through countless online travel sites, each with detailed reviews of locales and the best options for everything once there, the sense of adventure feels a little lost.

Until now, maybe.

Jubel is a startup travel site that offers what its competitors do not: the ability to create a true bespoke adventure travel experience, where as much or as little as you desire is kept as a surprise.

How it works

When planning your trip with Jubel, one begins by telling the site a little bit about what you have in mind. Jubel focuses on alternative travel experiences, ones off the beaten and over-traveled path.

Jubel’s research team has done extensive research on these out-of-the way locations to prevent the traveler from being dependent upon second-rate or incomplete information.

Their local networks of trusted locations allow you to have a rich experience that’s uniquely yours, as they tailor the trip to your specific survey responses. The site advertises that travelers can start with a trip idea “vague as ‘a completely blind journey somewhere in the world,’ or they can be more specific, for those travelers who know what might be of more interest to them, for example, again from Jubel’s website,  “a culturally rich Indonesian experience.”

Users select the theme for their adventure (called a path on Jubel’s site), and identify destinations (along with a preferred budget for travel) along the way that would be of potential interest through a detailed, yet uncumbersome, survey.

For those who get analysis paralysis of all of the great places to go and see on a trip, Jubel provides an inspirations page with more information about preferred sites. They also allow users to contact agents directly for support in finding that perfect destination or activity before the trip is completely planned, as well as at any point during the trip to address questions or unanticipated needs that may arise during the trip.

Fully comprehensive price points

Once you’ve provided Jubel with the necessary information about what places and types of experiences you’re interested in, they do the rest! They design a trip, totally custom-made for you, without any prior commitment.

For some other sites, who promise low fares to surprise destinations, you’re taking a bit of a gamble. You pay upfront and only then are told of the dates, times, or destinations. Not so with Jubal. You only proceed with payment and finalization of trip plans once you’re satisfied with the destination and the price point. The pricing is comprehensive to boot: you’re quoted a proposal that takes into account flights, hotel, and any additional transportation needs once you’re there.

Keep it a surprise (or not)

Once you’re on the road, you can keep your next stops a secret from yourself, or cheat ahead by peeking early, whatever suits your comfort level. Jubel takes care of both ends of the traveler spectrum by sending the Jubel Pack to you after payment. These sealed envelopes provide you with the next local destination for your adventure, along with recommendations handpicked for you based on the survey information you provided and their deep knowledge of what’s worth seeing. You’re completely in charge here; the pace of your trip is (somewhat) up to you and how quickly you wish to proceed through the Jubal Pack.

Adventure and magic

The site advertises that being surprised along the path is an inherently valuable part of the journey. For some travelers, who prefer to have complete charge of their destinations and itineraries in advance, planning with Jubel, even with the ability to open all of the envelopes directly on receipt of the Jubel Pack, may seem a bit overwhelming. For those of us who want to experience adventure as a part of the magic of travel, it might be just the trip we’ve been waiting for. Take their survey to see what kind of adventure they can plan for you.

#Jubel

Roger is a Staff Writer at The American Genius and holds two Master's degrees, one in Education Leadership and another in Leadership Studies. In his spare time away from researching leadership retention and communication styles, he loves to watch baseball, especially the Red Sox!

Tech News

Hardware tokens are what folks serious about avoiding hackers use

(TECH) Hardware tokens have been around for a while, but people most serious about avoiding hackers swear by them.

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How many passwords do you have? How many sites do you use each of your passwords for? Information Today research estimates over half of all adults have five or more unique passwords, while one in three adults have 10 or more unique passwords that have to be remembered.

This particular study was from 2012. I’d wager that most of us use many more passwords today than we did just six years ago. With the risk of your accounts being hacked increasing, you might be wary – you might not even trust an online password manager.

If you struggle with remembering all of your passwords and want to make sure you are managing passwords and protecting your accounts, you might want to consider a hardware token.

What is a hardware token?

This piece of hardware is a physical device, similar to a USB drive, that lets you gain access to an electronically restricted resource. It’s actually a simple two-factor authentication source.

Once your account is set up to accept the hardware token, you log in to the account with your user ID and password. You’ll be asked to insert the hardware token into the device, which gives you access to your account. It’s another layer of protection and authentication.

Hardware tokens have been on the market since 2002. Although many use the USB port on your device, Bluetooth tokens and smart cards are other types of hardware tokens. Setting up a hardware token is fairly easy. You can use your hardware token with most websites that have two-factor authorization.

The challenges with hardware tokens is that they are very easy to lose and can easily be stolen. That’s a pretty significant downside.

The YubiKey, one of the current offerings on the market, costs about $50. It could be expensive to have a hardware token for everyone in your organization. Google Titan, another brand of hardware key, costs about the same.

Some argue that not everyone needs this much security, but those people probably have never been hacked. If it protects your accounts, it might be worth taking a look.

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Tech News

Amazingly fun tech toys that are secretly educational

(TECHNOLOGY) STEM toys for children are fun *and* educational – here are some that have caught our eye.

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STEM tech toys for kids

There’s a new trend amongst startups – and amongst kids’ toys: educational playthings that teach your little ones STEM skills like programming and coding.

Toys that double as learning tools are nothing new, but digital, connected technology still is, and so is the idea that your toddler can get a leg up in the tech industry by getting an early start.

Parents, universities, and economists seem concerned that acquiring STEM skills will soon be the only way to guarantee a good job, despite reports from the U.S. Census Bureau that 3 out of 4 STEM majors end up in non-STEM fields anyway.

So if your kid is more into, say, baseball or dancing than computers, you might be wasting the pretty pennies these high-powered educational toys will cost you.

Kids, with their alarmingly short attention spans, are as likely to toss these toys back into the toybox as any other. But if your wee one seems to have a knack for all things technical – or if you’d just rather see them learn how to build a device than passively stare at one all day – then check out TC’s guide to STEM toys.

Even though these toys are marketed towards the younger set, I found myself a little envious, wishing I could take a few for a test drive – especially since many of them are modern, high-tech reboots on old standbys from my childhood.

Lego’s Boost Creative Toolbox uses the same classic Lego blocks, but allows you to animate and program your creations.

Several products cross-market with some of my childhood favorites; Dash Robotics has teamed up with Mattel to make Jurassic World robots, and Kano makes a Harry Potter Coding Kit that teaches kids to program a wand that can interact with digital content. There’s even Electro Dough which is basically electrically-conductive Play-Doh that can light up and make sounds. I want!

In fact, a lot of the toys combine arts ‘n’ crafts with STEM lessons. Adafruits makes a marker with electronically conductive ink that can light up circuits and interact with computer programs, and an electronic pencil that synthesizes music. Root Robotic’s little bot can draw pictures and compose songs.

For the more straightforward tech nerds, Makeblock, Evo, Robo Wunderkind, and Wonder Workshop all make programmable robots – a big step up from the “artificially intelligent” Furby’s of my childhood. Sphero’s Bolt is a ball-shaped robot, while Airblock makes a programmable hovercraft.

There’s the Pi-top Modular Laptop that teaching kids coding, and there are even opportunities for kids to build their own electronics; Kano offers a build-it-yourself computer.

The holidays are just around the corner – but whether STEM educational toys will be the next Tickle Me Elmo remains to be seen.

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Tech News

This AI program wants to be your graphic designer

(TECH NEWS) If you’re a small business looking for branding or to re-brand but don’t have the time nor budget, this tool can help you get it done!

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AI is growing, now it can even be your own personal graphic designer.

The new company Brandmark uses AI to create custom brand identities in minutes. All you need to do is describe your business and leave the designing up to them.

Brandmark describes their system as “more than just a logo,” as they aid people in developing an entire brand identity. This includes a complete style guide, color scheme and even a WordPress compatible website template.

It is the perfect tool for small businesses and entrepreneurs who may not have the budget to hire an in-house designer to join their team.

The creators of Brandmark have attempted to give the platform personal elements as well, so that you can understand the design decisions and even have the chance to make it your own.

The process is as simple as it can get. All that Brandmark requires is for you to type in a few keywords that best describe your business. For example, a coffee shop might type in “coffee, hot, lounge, mocha, books, relaxation.” These keywords are anything that can be associated with your brand so it is important to include adjectives as well. Consider how you want customers to feel when they see your product or walk into your shop for the first time.

All of these details will help Brandmark create a unique and personal identity for you.

The creators of the tool wanted it to feel like a true designer. That is why they have developed a system that understands design principles. After creating a look, Brandmark will explain the design choice and how it relates to your brand. In addition, you have access to features that allow you to customize the design.

Just like any professional service, Brandmark provides a style guide that can be used to apply your brand - including logo, color scheme and font - to various type of products. Click To Tweet

For instance, the same coffee shop would know how to apply their logo to coffee cups, bags, mugs and menus by following the guide. In addition, website layouts are offered to get your online business started. It’s an all-in-one package to get your business up and running with a professional look.

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