Commentary

On Technology

By Phil Baker

A look at some new accessories

Accessory companies live or die according to the products Apple introduces. So with the recent introduction of the iPhone 6, 6 Plus, and Air 2 tablet, lots of innovative accessories have been hitting store shelves. Here are some of my favorites.

Inbox: A step forward in email organization

I signed up for Gmail in 2004 when it was first announced and have been using it ever since. I’ve stuck with it in spite of it not being particularly intuitive, and with an interface only a techie could love. But because of its inexpensive storage and excellent search capabilities, it’s possible to find emails I wrote years ago in just a few minutes.

Annual holiday tech gift guide

Now that Thanksgiving is a recent memory (and a few added pounds ago), it’s that time of the year to offer some recommendations for holiday gifts.

What the S+ has to say

Here are sample messages that the S+ delivered:

A sleep tracker that lives up to its name

ResMed is a well-regarded San Diego company that makes medical devices to help those with sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea. When I learned the company had developed a sleep monitor for consumer use, it piqued my interest. After all, ResMed probably knows more about sleep disorders than any other products company.

HP Sprout: A new kind of computer

When you think of innovation in personal computers, it’s usually Apple that comes to mind. But you might be surprised to learn that one of the most innovative computers in recent years has come from Hewlett-Packard’s printer division in San Diego. In fact, Apple’s innovations can’t compare, as the company is mostly focusing on increasing display resolution, using faster processors and making thinner housings.

Coravin: A brilliant invention for wine lovers

Imagine being able to enjoy a glass of wine from a bottle without opening it and without affecting the aging of the remaining contents. That’s the premise of an ingenious product developed by an MIT graduate with a career in nuclear science and medical implants.

Dreamforce conference built on a cloud

This month I attended Dreamforce, the world’s largest software conference, put on by the $5.5 billion company Salesforce, founded in 1999 by Mark Benioff.

Small gadgets that work well

Here’s an assortment of small gadgets, some so small they rarely get noticed, but useful in their own special way.

The mystery of the ‘recycled’ iPhones

Ever wonder what happens to the used iPhones being bought by companies such as Gazelle or San Diego’s EcoATM? When I met with the CEO of EcoATM in June, she was reluctant to answer the question, saying it was confidential.

Creating your own surveys

Surveying both customers and prospective customers can be an important element of the product development process. Companies use surveys to assess opinions about current products and services as well as to figure out what new products or features should be added. While I would never use opinions from surveys or focus groups to design a product, each are useful ways of comparing and prioritizing features, likes and dislikes.

When you need to scan on the go

Wireless connectivity has come to portable scanners. I’ve been traveling with the recently introduced Fujitsu ScanSnap iX100, the company’s newest portable scanner. It’s a remarkable little package that lets me turn paper documents into digital documents wherever I am, and do it completely wirelessly. There’s no need for a USB connection or power cord. That means it can connect to smartphones and tablets wirelessly, as well as to a computer both wirelessly or with the USB connector supplied.

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