Commentary

On Technology

By Phil Baker

Tracking smartphone users to reduce credit card fraud

Visa just announced a new technology it will be using to reduce credit card fraud when we make purchases. It’s called geolocation, developed by Finsphere of Belleview, Wash.

Thoughts on the new Apple Watch

I’ll wait to review the new Apple Watch once I get one to try, but here are some first impressions based on its introduction last week.

FCC ruling is a victory for Internet freedom

The vast majority of the public has welcomed the decision by the Federal Communications Commission last month to support net neutrality.

The ideal travel camera

Each year or two there’s one new camera that stands out as special, particularly in the compact-to-pocket-size category. In 2012 it was the Sony RX100 that created a big sensation for packaging a large sensor into a tiny pocketable camera. At $699, it was considerably more expensive than other pocket cameras, but because its image quality set a new standard for pocket cameras, it became a huge success. Now there’s a new camera that’s even better.

16-month update on my Chevrolet Volt

It’s now been 16 months since I leased my Chevy Volt. I’ve driven just less than 10,000 miles. This is the third report since I acquired a 2014 model in October 2013. Previous reviews were written in January 2014 after 60 days and in June 2014 after eight months.

Case studies in cellphone accessories

I’ve been poring over some of the new products I saw last month at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Here’s a selection among those that stand out and add to the use of your cellphone.

Donít mess with my Internet

If there’s one thing that U.S. companies should have learned by now it’s not to tamper with anyone’s ability to go online. The FCC’s proposal of considering a fast lane and slow lane, proposed by Comcast, resulted in 6 million email and phone complaints.

What the cellular carriers wonít tell you

If you are considering buying a new iPhone for use on Verizon or AT&T, you might want to select the T-Mobile version instead, or a special new model that Apple has just introduced. I’ll explain why.

What to expect from the Internet of Things

One of the major themes at the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas was the Internet of Things or IoT. Many of the speakers — including CEOs of major corporations, industry analysts and investors — discussed the topic.

Improving your odds for picking the right wine

I’ve tried and even paid for wine apps that promised to help me select a great bottle or glass of wine, yet have been consistently disappointed. The Wine Spectator app, for example, charges $5 per month to access its wine ratings, but more often than not a search for a particular wine brings up a not-found message. Other apps let you take a picture of the label to access a review, but the results are much the same: wine not found.

What I saw at CES 2015

I spent last week in Las Vegas at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) along with 170,000 others, making this the biggest show ever. Tens of thousands of new products were displayed by 3,600 exhibitors spread over 2.2 million square feet of exhibit space, primarily at two huge convention centers, Las Vegas Convention Center and the Sands.

The year of the smartwatch

Prepare yourself for the onslaught of smartwatches. Not since the introduction of the tablet has there been so much excitement and promise of a new product category.

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