Island Pacific Hotel, Hong Kong

We are booked for three nights at the Island Pacific Hotel in Hong Kong and I’m looking forward to enjoying what looks like a great hotel very near the waterfront along Hong Kong’s spectacular Victoria Harbor. 

We appear to be about two miles to the west of downtown Hong Kong, though only about a mile from the metro which can take us all over the city, and I think we are easy walking distance from the Macau Ferry Terminal where we can catch ferries to other parts of the Hong Kong island empire.   There are several huge ferry terminal complexes along the harbor and I’m not sure how this works yet.   The site of all those ships in the harbor must be amazing.

Yelp’s new funding round.

TechCrunch has a nice summary of several travel review sites and notes that Yelp has now had 31MM in funding and is rumored to be worth about 200MM.   For a company that makes under 10MM per year this seems pretty high, but the Yelp model has been fairly strong in Silicon Valley and Yelp appears to be extending the model to other areas successfully.        

I do think Yelp will have a lot of challenges as they move out of their Silicon Valley travel sweet spot.   Yelp has done a nice job of connecting people offline who meet online by hosting Yelp parties at Bay Area venues.   This probably won’t work as well outside of Silicon Valley where hip young net users are …. not as concentrated, even in the large urban areas.

Kayak about to buy Sidestep, raises about 200 million as part of the deal.

Kayak is a great travel site and as I’ve noted before several times I think it is the best place to start your comparisons on flight and hotel prices, though it won’t necessarily deliver the cheapest results every time.    In fact my China flight results seem to be much better at other consolidator sights that specialize in Asia travel.

But never mind that – Kayak is about to buy Sidestep and will become an even bigger fish in the travel site sea.

TechCrunch Reports

Setup Flickr to Blog in 30 seconds or less

Flickr remains my favorite “Web 2.0” thingie and I think it is one of the best applications ever done for a computer.   I’m always thrilled with the simplicity of making simple changes to bring dramatic results.  

For example you can post your flickr pictures to your blog, which is great.    Also great is that the setup routine for doing this is as simple as you can get.    I just added photo capabilities to the new blog I’m writing for the big Travel and History site we are creating from two previous efforts at Online Highways and US History: 

This took me about 30 seconds as follows:

1) Log in to Flickr Account

2) Go to “Extend Flickr” section on your Flickr Accounts page
3) Add blog
4) Pick from the list they’ll have of your blogger blogs if you’ve already signed one up.   


If you are signing up a blog for the first time you’ll need to give some access permission, but that is not very complicated.

The cool think is that then you can go to flickr and click “blog this” and post pictures at the blog quickly and easily.

And, just like the song says:   If a picture paints a thousand words, then why bother writing 1000 words, which takes a lot more time!

Oregon Retirement

Wow, I’m doing some research for an Oregon retirement website and just learned that according to  recent survey  the   2004 book called “Retirement Places Rated” out of hundreds of retirement areas in the USA two of the top ten places to retire in the USA are right in my back yard – one of them actually includes my back yard because it’s the Medford / Ashland area here in Southern Oregon. The other is Florence, Oregon – number one in the survey of over 300 places. I travel there often and personally prefer this area due to much better weather and our abundant big-city amenities in a small city, but Florence Oregon is a really nice place too and it’s the home of Oregon Coast Magazine and our Online Highways websites including this great Oregon Travel section in case you are planning a trip to Oregon. Our Travel Blog is here and I’ve posted a few good Oregon travel references as a warmup to the big blog I’m starting this month that will cover the entire state of Oregon. More on that later.

Locals call this the “Rogue Valley” and historically our wonderful region does very well in national “best places to retire” and “best places to live” surveys. I’ve lived in the East, Midwest, several California cities, and here in the Rogue Valley and it’s hard to imagine a better place to raise a family or retire. The houses are relatively expensive and the economics for a wage earner are the most challenging aspect here which may be why the population remains modest, though growth in some of our areas has been dramatic.

.travel domains – beware your expirations!

Attention .Travel domain owners!   

If you own a .travel domain you’ll want to make sure you renew it.   Many are coming up for renewal about now due to the auction format that was used to distribute the .travels two years ago.    

It’s still not clear to me if this format is worth the usurous $99 annual registration fee  (compared to about $8 per year for .com, .net, .org, .info, .biz).   However as things shake out one of the ways search engines may determine site legitimacy will be using new barriers to cheap spammy entries, and one of these could be specialized domain names for special niches.  

In any case, if you have a .travel I’d recommend you contact your registrar ASAP.   I use Stargate for my only .travel domain:   “”, and their system is making it very hard to renew the .travel even after emails and phone calls and account logins that show no activity pending.