Yup, even the rich and famous have their own bucket lists.
If you read the gossip magazines and tabloids, you can be forgiven for thinking that all the shiny people in those pages have been everywhere. But they haven’t, and that should make all of us who have a list of destinations we’re dreamed of someday visiting feel a little better.
Here’s the thing about bucket lists: They don’t have to include exotic destinations. They could be the state, city, or national park a quick drive or flight away from where you live. Sometimes it’s places close to home that we put off seeing because, well, they’re always there.
Recently the Wall Street Journal canvassed a wide range of achievers to ask about their bucket lists. I was surprised to learn that über-chef Eric Ripert of New York’s Le Bernardin had never sampled the street food of Thailand, Burma, and Nepal. OK, he’s been to Bhutan, but, Eric, make time for the food stahls of Bangkok!
Have you ever noticed that US Presidents get a lot of guff for taking vacations? In a country where
none of us take enough vacations, you wouldn’t think we’d begrudge our President a little R&R. After all, it’s sort of a tough job.
Of course, a presidential vacation isn’t usually much of one—a president can’t turn off his phone and ignore his—or her—job. And it’s the folks who voted against that president who take shots—Democrats thought Gerald Ford played too much golf and the Bushes spent too much time at their Maine compound. Republicans accuse President Obama of fiddling while Rome burns when he takes his family to Hawaii in the winter, to Martha’s Vineyard in the summer.
Given 24-hour media, there’s never a time when the world is quiet, but here’s where other world leaders go to vacay. German’s Angela Merkel favors the island of Ishia near Naples. Vladimir Putin likes the Black Sea and Siberia for manly, outdoor action. North Korea’s Kim Jong-un goes to Masik Pass Ski Resort, the country’s showpiece resort. No word on whether the great leader skis or just poses on a slope for PR photos.
But I say let world leaders take a breather without criticism.
I owe thanks to Wall Street Journal tech columnist Geoffrey Fowler for bringing this to our attention. It’s a small device that you attach easily to an iPhone called DxO One.
The device has an incredibly sophisticated image sensor—six-and-a-half times larger than the iPhone 6 boasts. That allows you to adjust for depth of field so a photo of a person can stand out from a slightly blurred background, giving your photos a dimension impossible with any camera phone.
The DxO One also shines in low-light situations. It brings much more light into the lens for night shots, and Fowler says the different is dramatic.
Now, this puppy ain’t cheap. It costs $600. But if you need to take photos that can be blown up and retain their sharpness or if you want to out-class most everyone using camera phones on Instagram, this is the baby you want to own. I’m saving my pennies. Write down its name: DxO One.
I recently discussed the inevitability of the growth of the sharing economy, focusing mainly on Airbnb and, to a lesser extent, Uber, the car sharing service. But Uber is locked in serious combat in China.
First, let’s put China in perspective. Uber may dominate the US, but China is the prize with the world’s largest concentration of city commuters—750 million of them. China offers Uber a potential market twice the size of America’s. After all, what other country has more than 80 cities with a population of more than five million?
You heard me right—80-plus cities with more than five million people—it’s not just all about Beijing and Shanghai in China.
And the problem is that Uber has formidable competition from two homegrown companies that just merged. The firm is called Didi Kuaidi, and it’s huge with cars in more than 80 Chinese cities; Uber has cars in 16.
This is a major face off. Uber is trying to raise a billion to quickly grow Uber China; Didi raised $2 billion in July from, among others, a New York hedge fund.
Yes, China is having its economic difficulties, but it’s mano a mano in the car sharing biz.
Now there’s an app that lets you do a selfie as many times as you want until you get it right.
The app is called ItsEasy, and it’s free to download. Instructions walk you through the steps to get the perfect, two-inch-by-two-inch passport shot. You’ll align your face with the lines that delineate your head size and eye placement. You can preview your photo to make sure the measurements are just right.
Then, when you have the perfect portrait, submit your photo to the ItsEasy folks who will print it for you and mail it to you in as little as one day. Better yet, an ItsEasy staffer will check your photo to make sure it conforms to US passport rules–the passport office is picky about such things.
If you need a passport or one very quickly, check out ItsEasy.com on the Internet. The photo service, however, is only available as a phone app.