10 Travel Hacks that Will Save You Time and Money

With summer vacation on the horizon, now seems like the perfect time to share with you some of the best travel hacks we’ve come across.  Here are some hacks worth incorporating into your vacation routine:

  1. Use private browsing when visiting hotel and airfare websites.  Travel sites will often track your visits, raising prices after your first visit.

  2. If you travel often, TSA PreCheck is a no-brainer.  PreCheck allows you to experience an expedited screening process in the airport, meaning that you won’t have to wait in long lines or remove shoes, laptops, belts, or jackets.  The cost of PreCheck is $85 for 5 years of expedited screening.

  3. Use a smartphone app—like Scannable—to scan your passport and driver’s license before traveling, then send the scans to your email address.  Hopefully, you won’t need to display the scans but they could be helpful in a worst-case scenario.

  4. Want to travel at a substantial discount?  Volunteer to be bumped.  Airlines typically overbook flights and if you’re traveling alone, not checking luggage, and approach the gate agents early on to volunteer, there’s a good chance that you can earn a travel voucher toward your next vacation.

  5. Avoid baggage fees by gate-checking your bag.  While we can’t guarantee this works every time, former airline employees report that if you have a bag of carry-on size, you can bring it to your departure gate and check it there.  The gate agents will send it to your final destination for free!

  6. Put a dryer sheet in your luggage to keep your clothes smelling fresh while traveling.

  7. Don’t pay for car rental insurance.  Instead, call your credit card company and find out if car rental insurance is covered.  Typically, it is.

  8. Going out of the country?  Call credit and debit card companies before you go.  You don’t want to be flagged for suspicious charges while you’re away and not have access to your money.

  9. If you’re on a flight with dinner service, consider ordering a special meal—vegetarian or kosher, for example.  Typically, you’ll get served before everyone else and you can then fall asleep right away, without having to wait for the full dinner service.

  10. Roll clothes rather than folding them.  This technique will not only save space, but it will also prevent wrinkles.

C++ Programming: Multiple Inheritance

We have talked a lot about inheritance before - it's a key concept in object-oriented programming and specifically, in the C++ programming language.  What C++ supports and some other widely used object-oriented languages don't (like C#) is multiple inheritance - inheritance from multiple classes.

It's widely believed that this concept complicates the design and that debuggers can have a hard time with it.  Multiple inheritance can be a controversial topic.  However, multiple inheritance is an important feature in C++ and it can be a good structuring tool.  Situations in which multiple inheritance can be used are those in which some objects have features of two or more classes.  Sometimes, it can be tricky to determine whether we really need multiple inheritance.  For example, one could argue that multiple inheritance can be used in the case of the following classes:

class Teacher: public Person, public Employee
{
  ...
};

 

Determining whether multiple inheritance will be used is a decision a programmer makes based on experience.  And even though it isn't often used, it's still important to know how it works, what are the problems and how to avoid them.

Generally, some of the problems with multiple inheritance are:

class A
{
public:
  int x;
};

class B
{
public:
  int x;
};

class C: public A, public B
{
  ...
};
Here, we can see that both superclasses have a member of the same name: x.  This is not an error and it compiles, but it can be a source of errors.  Also, if we would want to access c.x where c is an object of class C, we would have to fully qualify it like this: c.A::x or c.B::x.

 

Another infamous scenario of multiple inheritance is the so-called diamond problem: two superclasses of a class have a common base class.  In that case, the child class gets two copies of all attributes of the top level base class, which causes ambiguities.  The attributes are accessible only via qualifiers like in our example.  A solution to the diamond problem is a concept called virtual inheritance.  In virtual inheritance, a particular base class in an inheritance hierarchy is declared to share its member data instances with any other inclusions of that same base in further derived classes.  So, an example would look like this:

class Base
{
public:
	virtual void foo(){}
};

class A : public virtual Base
{
  ...
};

class B : public virtual Base
{
  ...
};

class Derived : public A, public B
{
  ...
};

int main()
{
	Derived d;
	d.foo(); //no problem!
	_getch();
	return 0;
}

 

Are You Too Serious? 5 Laughter Facts that Will Make You Want to Lighten Up

If sometimes your life seems like “all work, no play,” your serious approach may be hampering your ability to enjoy yourself.  As encouragement for you to lighten up and have some fun, check out these 5 surprising facts about laughter:

  1. Laughter Improves Our Physical Health.  Can’t get to the gym?  Perhaps you should listen to a funny podcast instead.  Laughter has been shown to improve the function of blood vessels, increase blood flow, and help in the prevention of cardiovascular problems.

  2. Laughter Burns Calories.  Yet another excuse for skipping the gym!  Not only does laughter improve cardiovascular health, but it also burns calories.  Laughing for 10-15 minutes will help you burn about 10-40 calories.

  3. Laughter Is Attractive.  According to ScienceDaily, “Research has found that when two strangers meet, the more times a man tries to be funny and the more a woman laughs at those attempts, the more likely the woman is interested in the man.  When both laugh together, it’s an even better indication of a romantic connection.”

  4. Laughter Reduces Cortisol, the “Stress Hormone.”  Elevated cortisol levels have been shown to lower life expectancy, increase the risk of depression, interfere with learning and memory, lower immune function, and increase blood pressure and cholesterol.  Fortunately, psychiatrist Dr. William Fry discovered a link between laughter and lower cortisol levels.  So if you’re stressed out, it may be a good idea to schedule a lunch date with your funniest friend.

  5. Laughter Reduces Pain.  Have a boring company-wide meeting coming up?  Maybe you should watch a comedy before you attend.  Research shows that people who spent 15 minutes watching comedy videos were able to withstand 10% more pain than they were able to withstand prior to watching the videos.

Thought For The Day

“The reward of the young scientist is the emotional thrill of being the first person in the history of the world to see something or to understand something. Nothing can compare with that experience… The reward of the old scientist is the sense of having seen a vague sketch grow into a masterly landscape.”

Cecilia Payne

 

5 Ideas for Sneaking More Exercise Into Your Day

If you read our previous article, 5 Surprising Benefits of Exercise, then you’re already aware that exercise seems to have miraculous abilities—it reduces stress, increases productivity, boosts creativity, improves sleep, and seems to lessen the impact of aging.  Yet as amazing as exercise is, many people find that it can be difficult to make the time for it.  Below we’ve got some suggestions to help you subtly sneak exercise in.

  1. Wear a Pedometer.  Naturally, a pedometer isn’t going to force you to exercise.  However, most people find that just by wearing one, they start to increase the number of daily steps they take.

  2. Join a Team Sport.  An adult kickball team or dodgeball class sounds more like fun than exercise.  Consider joining a team sport to make new friends, play, stretch those muscles, and get your heart going!

  3. Get Creative.  There are a number of ways that you can subtly introduce more exercise into your life.  For instance, you can park farther away from work, use the staircase to get to your office, do calf raises when blow drying your hair, count out 10 squats while you’re brushing your teeth, etc.  All of these activities will help you boost your health and none of them require a lot of time.

  4. Try Something New.  Have you always been interested in hip-hop dancing, scuba, yoga, or Tai Chi?  If so, don’t put it off any longer.  While technically signing up for a class doesn’t seem like you’re “sneaking” in exercise, the sneaky part is that doing something that you really enjoy is going to make it seem less like work (i.e. exercise) and more like fun!

  5. Become a TV Warrior.  While many people find it hard to make time to exercise, they often don’t have that problem when it comes to catching up on a favorite TV show.  The next time you turn the tube on, accompany your television watching with crunches, push-ups, and some jogging.