Commentary

On Technology

By Phil Baker

SYNC brings technology to the car

I attended a Saab driving school a few years ago where the instructor stressed the importance of driving with two hands properly positioned on the steering wheel, eyes concentrated on the road occasionally scanning left and right. He emphasized the need to be prepared to make a sudden maneuver to avoid an accident. If that's considered safe driving, then what are we to make of those, myself included, who with a phone in one hand and the other hand on the wheel try to maneuver the car around a corner?

Fixing your computer the easy way

If you have a PC that's running slower and slower, what can you do? Conventional thinking says back up your data, wipe your hard drive clean and re-install Windows and your applications. Or if your computer is three or four years old, it might be better to buy a new computer.

First look at CES from Las Vegas

I'm at CES in Las Vegas along with other Daily Transcript reporters, bringing you the latest news from the world's greatest gadget show. There's an estimated 150,000 people wandering over 1.7 million square feet of space, spread among two different convention centers and a half-dozen hotels. Here are some of the trends and examples I'm seeing as CES gets under way.

Putting our wallets on a diet

Over the years, I've looked for a wallet capable of carrying the nearly 20 credit, bank and membership cards I have, along with some currency. But I've never been able to find one with that large of a capacity. In fact, it seems like the basic wallet hasn't changed in decades and rarely fits more than a half dozen or so cards and bills, even though we use more cards than ever.

Espresso machines -- old and new tech

With the popularity of espresso, automatic machines, ranging in price from $400 to more than $2,000, have been all the rage. Add whole beans or a sealed coffee capsule, fill the reservoir with water and push a button to get fresh espresso.

Predictions for 2008

In this annual column, I make some predictions about what to expect in 2008.

Top 10 mobile phones for the holidays

Here are my recommendations for some of the best mobile phones for giving or receiving this holiday season. Each is new this year and offers something special. Prices quoted are with a new 2-year service commitment, unless noted.

Holiday gift guide

Welcome to the annual holiday technology gift guide. I've assembled a variety of products that are novel, useful and perform well based on my own use.

Kindle: Amazon's amazing new electronic book

When Amazon's Kindle e-book reader first surfaced last week, reviews on Amazon's own site were mostly negative. What was amazing was that the product had not yet even shipped. The reviewers were simply making a judgment based on looking at pictures and critiquing the specs.

Dynamic duo of digital photography

With the holiday season approaching and digital photography one of the biggest categories for gift giving (to others and to oneself), I've been trying out two products that would make wonderful choices for serious photographers: Canon's newest prosumer digital SLR, the EOS 40D and Epson's large format printer R1800 that produces color prints up to 13 inches by 44 inches.

Companies crowd PCs with third-party software

You've just bought a $2,000 computer and are eager to load it with your favorite programs, move over your data files and give it a spin. You'd think the computer company that worked for your business would want to make that experience as pleasant as possible.

Three useful tools for business

The Edirol R-09 is a product I learned about from a journalist friend who used it for recording interviews. I discovered it's become popular among people who record high-quality audio because of its very high performance and portability.

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