Raise your hand if you know about the Department of Transportation's reservation rule. Well, huh.
Somehow I missed the memo (cough, cough) four years ago. But how very considerate of the DOT people to make a federal rule that airlines must give you two 24-hour options when you book a ticket seven days in advance of the departure date: 1) a 24-hour hold guaranteeing a fare before purchase, or 2) a full refund if you choose to cancel a ticket purchased in the US (even on a foreign airline) within 24 hours of booking.
When this rule was established, American Airlines chose the 24-hour hold option. But they made news this month when they announced that they were joining all the other major airlines in opting for the 24-hour cancellation policy.
Notice the rule applies to carriers, not necessarily third-party travel sites.
2. On the Nightshift
As a habitual bedtime iPad reader, Your Personal Assistant sighed relief upon seeing the Night Shift mode option introduced in the recent iOS 9.3 iPad and iPhone update.
When enabled, the screen emanates a warm, yellow tint absent of the blue that affects the body's production of melatonin, a.k.a. the hormone that helps you fall asleep.
Try it from the Settings app by selecting Display & Brightness, then Night Shift. You can Manually Enable Until Tomorrow or Schedule the activation. You can also adjust the color temperature.
Android users, read here to find that apps that can provide the same functionality.
3. Digital Money, Money, Money
Venmo is "a free digital wallet that allows you to pay and request money from your friends" who also have the app. You can link your credit card to pay/send money (and be charged a small transaction fee by your credit card company), but to pay/send and receive money, you need to link your bank information.
Your Personal Assistant loves herself some efficient convenience, so when a friend wanted to send over a reimbursement using Venmo, I was raring to go -- until (gasping) I was prompted to provide the online user name and password to my checking account.
I contacted my bank (Suntrust), and while the rep wouldn't give me an opinion on Venmo, she confirmed that they fully protect against fraud.
So I took my paranoia and opened another smaller checking account, expressly for the purpose of linking Venmo, and any other payment system that may come my way.
Huge numbers of people are out there using the app without any issue (or second checking accounts), but again, Venmo strongly recommends that you avoid Stranger Danger by only using the app to exchange money with friends. I've used it numerous times between friends and my kids; you can't beat the convenience.
4a. Saving First-Class Pennies
Did you hear that the USPS dropped the price of the first-class stamp from 49 cents to 47 cents? The reduction was the result of an expiring surcharge that had been put in place in January 2014 to help the USPS recoup from losses dating back to the recession.
4b. Uber Helpful
Uber now has a Help option in their app that will allow you to report an issue with a trip, submit a question about a receipt, or report an item left behind during a ride. To locate Help, go to your Menu and see the third option.
4c. Heading to Europe?
Following the horror in Brussels, The New York Times offered these helpful tips for travelers heading to Europe.
6. Gift Alert
The next time you need a housewarming or sympathy gift, remember New Growth. They sell living trees and rose gift boxes. Their prices are super reasonable and they ship within 48 hours of the order.