Hedy Lamarr and how a “rabbit picture” of me got in the book…

By | June 25, 2018
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Last week I mentioned I’d been on holiday to Cyprus… well today I’ve got a tip from someone who’s gone one better – he lives there.

I’d mentioned that if you use booking.com you might sometimes find hotel rooms or cottages or whatever where it’s cheaper if you book it from their own website.

Well, here’s another tip – in fact, let me just copy what he said:

Dear Tim – I have to reply!
Glad you loved Cyprus… we live here, up in the mountains.
We agree totally re the internet for flight bookings… but a minefield and evidence that if you ask [about a flight on the website] but do not book then a cookie is created and the price goes UP next time you look at that flight!
Look on booking.com at Mesana and you will find two places we offer. So not only Hotels etc but accommodation too with lots of different places.
With Best Wishes

(by the way, it’s not the Mike who works here – he doesn’t live in Cyprus – it would be a bit of a commute…)

He’s right – I’ve heard about this, where if you look at a flight on booking.com (and maybe other sites) you get one price. Then you leave it to think about it and the next day when you go back to the website it’s gone up… so you book it, quickly, before it goes up more. It’s not just that the price has changed, it’s that they know you’re looking at it again, so they change the price for you.

What can you do? Well, the simplest thing if you think this is happening, when the price is higher the second time, try using a different web browser and see if you get the original, lower price this time. Or if you have a different device, try that (eg book it on your tablet rather than a PC).

It could be that the price has simply gone up… prices do change and you might happen to look at it just before and just after the price change. But it’s worth checking!

Hedy Lamarr and bluetooth

I have to be careful as Julie often reads these emails, but the big star actresses of Hollywood’s “golden age” had something about them, I think. I always thought Lana Turner had “it”… but on the other hand, looks aren’t everything.

But what would you think if I told you Hedy Lamarr had a hand in inventing Bluetooth – the technology used to link phones, speakers, keyboards and so on?

Obviously she didn’t invent it herself – it was too recent.

Here’s what happened. Back in the early days of World War 2, America was really worried about the way the Germans could foil American guided torpedoes. The Germans could find what frequency the guidance used and block it.

So in between appearing in huge Hollywood films, Hedy Lamarr started wondering about ways around it… and came up with a system of “frequency hopping” where the device doesn’t use only one frequency, it hops from one to another. Block one and it doesn’t make much difference, so the guidance system wouldn’t be affected by the German blocking devices.

She worked with someone else to build a prototype (using the mechanism from an old player piano to make it work), successfully patented it and sent it to the US military…

…who ignored it at the time apparently because they weren’t interested in ideas from civilians.

Decades later, the idea was dug out and did get used in guidance systems… and later still, the people making ways for devices to connect wirelessly were worried about the signal accidentally getting blocked by another signal… and so they started using the same basic idea as in guidance systems… which was in turn based on Hedy Lamarr’s work.

So there you go – next time you see someone using a wireless keyboard with a tablet or listening to music on a speaker that’s not plugged into their phone… or using wireless headphones or whatever, you can smile to yourself and give Ms Lamarr the credit.

Why there’s a rabbit picture of me in Survive and Thrive in the Digital Age

Well, I’m certainly no Hollywood star (though Julie is, of course, far more attractive than even Lana Turner) (I hope that’s me out of the doghouse…) but the new book we’ve just published (Survive and Thrive in the Digital Age) is proving hugely popular… in fact I think it’s probably our most popular ever.

As ever, it’s available on a free trial, so you don’t have to pay anything for it until you’ve got it. It means you can order it online without even using your card details and there’s no risk because if you aren’t happy with the book when you get it you can simply send it back.

Find out more (including how a “rabbit picture” of me got into the book) and if you like, order a free trial copy here.

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