Surfer hotel in a modded truck

The Truck Surf Hotel is a modded Mercedes Actros outfitted with a hydraulically-expanding two-story inn. Inside is a living room, kitchen, four double rooms with bunk bed, one double room with a single larger bed, bathroom, and shower. Over the course of a week vacation package, the hotel travels to surf destinations in Portugal and Morocco. The trip is around $700-$900 depending on the destination and season; airfare not included.

Truck Surf Hotel (via Uncrate)

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Security researchers demonstrate inexpensive one-minute method to clone master hotel key cards

Finnish security researchers Tomi Tuominen and Timo Hirvonen can clone many master hotel keys very quickly using their clever cryptography, an expired keycard from the hotel trash, and a $300 Proxmark RFID card reading and writing device. It takes them about one minute to create a master hotel key. Video demo below. From Wired:

The two researchers say that their attack works only on Vingcard's previous-generation Vision locks, not the company's newer Visionline product. But they estimate that it nonetheless affects 140,000 hotels in more than 160 countries around the world; the researchers say that Vingcard's Swedish parent company, Assa Abloy, admitted to them that the problem affects millions of locks in total. When WIRED reached out to Assa Abloy, however, the company put the total number of vulnerable locks somewhat lower, between 500,000 and a million. They note, though, that the total number is tough to measure, since they can't closely track how many of the older locks have been replaced. Tuominen and Hirvonen say that they've collected more than a thousand hotel keycards from their friends over the last 10 years, and found that roughly 30 percent were Vingcard Vision locks that would have been vulnerable to their attack.

Tuominen and Hirvonen quietly alerted Assa Abloy to their findings a year ago, and the company responded in February with a software security update that has since been available on its website. But since Vingcard's locks don't have internet connections, that software has to be installed manually by a technician, lock by lock.

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No more hotel room meetings for Screen Actors Guild members

In an effort to save its members from being exploited, sexually assaulted or be otherwise forced to spend time with human turds in a private setting, the Screen Actors Guild has put the kibosh on holding meetings in "high-risk" locations.

According to The Guardian, the Screen Actor's Guild, which functions as a labor union for actors who appear on TV and in movies, has laid down the law, declaring that it's no longer cool for movie executives to set up meetings with actors in private locales such as hotel rooms or at someone's home address. Moving forward, if you want to yap with a member of SAG, it's gotta be in a workplace setting. The new measure comes as a result of handsy pricks like Harvey Weinstein and other high-powered executives in the entertainment business taking advantage of their position and the protection that Hollywood's elite formerly afforded them when it came to their sexual transgressions.

According to The Guardian, since accusations were first leveled against Weinstein this past October, SAG representatives have been hearing an average of five reports of sexual misconduct from its members, per day.

As a tech journalist, I'm sometimes brought to a hotel room by PR types from small to mid-sized firms to see a new product that they're representing. It usually happens during a trade show as the larger meeting rooms at convention centers and hotels are typically spoken for by large companies. I can't recall a single time that I've ever entered a hotel room, for work, where there weren't at least three or four people in the room with me. Read the rest

Some hotel room doors can easily be unlocked with a piece of paper

"Using only the paper pizza menus that were pushed under our door during the day, I can shim open our hotel room door defeating both the striker and the top swing arm latch in under 30 seconds," writes MM Developer. "Faster times can be achieved if you aren't trying to video."

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Japanese inn with "self-driving" robotic slippers and other autonomous amenities

Nissan, to show off its autonomous parking tech, outfitted an inn in Hakone, Japan with "self-parking slippers," autonomous floor cushions that tidy themselves, and a TV remote control that straightens itself on the coffee table. While obviously a marketing gimmick, self-knolling anything is quite appealing to me. ProPILOT Park Ryokan (Nissan)

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Russia planning to build boutique hotel on the International Space Station

Russia's Roscosmos State Corporation for Space Activities is considering plans to add a space tourism module to the International Space Station. From Popular Mechanics:

The amenities will include a luxury orbital suite parked at the International Space Station (ISS) offering private cabins with big windows, personal hygiene facilities, exercise equipment and even Wi-Fi. In addition gazing at our tiny blue orb from a dizzying altitude of 250 miles, space tourists will have an opportunity for space walks accompanied by a professional cosmonaut.

The entire trip, lasting from one to two weeks will cost $40 million per person and going with the spacewalk option and an extended month-long stay will set the traveler back an additional $20 million....

To minimize the initial cost, (space station contractor) RKK Energia wants to book at least 12 passengers who would agree to make payments of around $4 million up front so that the company could begin the development of the orbital hotel module. It's a similar method that Virgin Galactic used at the beginning of its space tourism ambitions. The same clients will then pay two 12.6 million bills in the two years leading up to the flight, then paying the final $10.8 million payment at the time of the flight.

They better get to work though because the ISS is scheduled for retirement in 2028. Then again, maybe the whole thing can be converted into a boutique hotel.

"Russia's Plan To Build a Luxury Hotel on the ISS" (Popular Mechanics) Read the rest

Crane converted into a hotel room

TheKrane on Copenhagen's Nordhavn harbor is a coal crane converted into a two-person hotel suite. It's €2,500 per night. For that price, they should at least allow you to operate the crane. From the hotel site:

Your stay will include:

- A concierge who picks you up at the airport and who is constantly ready to meet your needs

- Daily breakfast that can be enjoyed in the room while looking out the horizon

- TheKrane BMW that can take you around Copenhagen

- TheKrane bikes

- A personally picked selection of wines and bubbles that tops off the perfect night

- Staying in the meeting point of the historical industrial harbour of Copenhagen and the vibrant new parts of Nordhavn in constant change.

TheKrane (via Uncrate)

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Hotel room in a helicopter

This converted Sea King helicopter on a camp site in Stirling, Scotland is available for overnight stays at the rate of ~$200/night. Unfortunately (or fortunately), the helicopter doesn't fly. From Helicopter Glamping:

We snapped up the decommissioned Sea King in an online MOD auction for £7,000 in March 2016. The giant helicopter was then transported 320 miles by road before being craned into position on our picturesque Thornhill campsite a month later.

Over the summer months, we have lovingly restored her exterior to its former glory. We sourced some original rotor blades and replaced her tail rotors with some we discovered on Ebay, as we wanted her to still look like a helicopter from the outside. Her once peeling paintwork is a thing of the past after several days spent sanding her down and completely repainting her, whilst making sure we kept all her original signage. We thought we might have trouble finding the right shade of grey, but it turns out farm oxide paint – normally used for farm buildings or fencing – is a perfect match for her military colour.

We’ve kept and restored all of her original lighting, so when you see her lit up a night she looks as if she is ready to take off. Meanwhile, we’ve transformed her spacious interior into a remarkable holiday home that sleeps a family of five (2 adults and 3 children) with a double and a triple bed as well as single bed in the tail.

(via Uncrate)

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This hotel really does launder your money

Starting in 1938, San Francisco's Westin St. Francis Hotel began washing all of the change that flowed through the business. Hotelier Dan London initiated the process to prevent grimy coins from dirtying the fancy white gloves worn by women visiting the establishment. These days, the responsibility belongs to one Rob Holsen. From a 2010 SFGATE article:

The process begins when the general cashier sends racks of rolled coins to Holsen, who empties the change into a repurposed silver burnisher.

Along with the coins, the burnisher is filled with water, bird shot to knock the dirt off, and a healthy pour of 20 Mule Team Borax soap. After three hours of swishing the coins around, Holsen uses a metal ice scoop to pour the loot into a perforated roast pan that sifts out the bird shot.

The wet coins are then spread out on a table beneath heat lamps.

This is where once-rusted copper pennies turn into shimmering bronze coins. Quarters look like sparkling silver bits. It's also where Holsen gives the money a quick quality inspection...

Once he's satisfied, he feeds the polished money into a counter, which shoots the change into paper rolls to be distributed to the hotel's cash registers.

(via Neatorama)

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Review Skeptic reviews hotel reviews

Online hotel reviews are oftentimes fake. How do you tell? Review Skeptic claims to detect bullshit hotel reviews based upon research from Cornell University into the language of fakery.

It's been around for years, as this 2011 article in the New York Times attests.

Determining the number of fake reviews on the Web is difficult. But it is enough of a problem to attract a team of Cornell researchers, who recently published a paper about creating a computer algorithm for detecting fake reviewers. They were instantly approached by a dozen companies, including Amazon, Hilton, TripAdvisor and several specialist travel sites, all of which have a strong interest in limiting the spread of bogus reviews.

“The whole system falls apart if made-up reviews are given the same weight as honest ones,” said one of the researchers, Myle Ott. Among those seeking out Mr. Ott, a 22-year-old Ph.D. candidate in computer science, after the study was published was Google, which asked for his résumé, he said.

I wonder if it's still good, with 5 years of bullshit evolution to account for. One thing in its favor: it seems to "know" that top reviewers tend to affect a style imitative of travel writing in an effort to sound credible, and doesn't trigger on their innocuous but very ad-like use of language. Read the rest

A Pod To Call Your Own

HOME is a member of the Boing Boing Podcast Network

The quest for the well-labeled inn

I have a first-world problem: I stay in a lot of hotels.

Notepads from imaginary hotels like The Overlook

From Herb Lester Associates, clever hotel notepads from fictional movie and television hotels! For £12.00, you get six pads:

• Bertram’s Hotel (At Bertram’s Hotel, Agatha Christie) • The Great Northern Hotel (Twin Peaks) • The Overlook Hotel (The Shining) • Royal Imperial Windsor Arms Hotel (National Lampoon’s European Vacation) • The Green Man Inn (The Wicker Man) • The Taft Hotel (The Graduate)

Hotel notepads (Herb Lester) Read the rest

This game about a lazy crow running a seedy hotel is really delightful

In the charming platform game Crowtel, you're a crow running a seedy hotel, and you're not very good at it. Well, really you're just lazy—not living up to your potential, as your crow teachers doubtless used to say—and as a result your not-so-fine establishment is looking pretty crusty indeed when the feline health inspectors show up.

Unless you want to get shut down, it's time to get your crow butt in gear and run through six levels of rapid cleanup, contending with giant balls of garbage, deadly bugs and broken toilets you can fix with your melodious birdsong. Also maybe there are ghosts?

Developed by Sink with a soundtrack by Captain Beard, Crowtel is pay-what-you-what over on Itch.io, so technically you can get it for free if you want. But after you see how delightful it is, chances are you'll wish you'd dropped a few dollars in the jar.

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Photos of 1970s cheap motels

In the 1973, subversive street artist Mike Mandel would take snapshots of the cheap motels where he stayed while traveling the country. He's posted the series on Flickr.

Working on the Baseball Photographer Trading Cards, traveling throughout the country, my girlfriend at the time, Alison Woolpert, and I would stay at some, shall we say, "economy" motels. We pulled into one in Texas on a wintry night and upon waking in the morning we realized that the sheets had not been changed after the visit of the previous motel guest. When we indignantly complained to the owner he shot us back a dirty look, "What do you expect for five dollars?" What we did expect was that no matter how shabby, beaten down or forgotten a motel might have become, there was always a motel postcard to be had: a memento of a one night stop, a promotional calling card, a free mailable note card to report back on the progress of a vacation to those back home. We would often take the back roads, sometimes follow old Route 66, and we would find those sad, forsaken motels that had been sucked almost out of existence by the newer corporate chains situated just off an exit ramp on the newer highways. We bypassed Motel 6, Travelodge and Howard Johnson's. After all, their postcards were usually just the same design with a different address. But we'd go out of our way to stop at every independent motel we could find in hopes of finding a postcard that would be even more banal than the one we had just found down the road.

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Transparent hotel room hanging from side of mountain

For around $300/night, you can sleep in a transparent bedroom hanging off the side of a mountain above Peru's Sacred Valley of the Incas. Read the rest

Marriott plans to block personal wifi hotspots

The hotel chain petitioned the FCC for changes that could let venues shut down personal networks. Microsoft, Google, and the cell industry are opposed.

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