Commentary

On Technology

By Phil Baker

Harmony One Universal Remote: Simpler, but not simple

While many companies make universal remote controls designed to combine all your separate remotes into one, few are both easy to set up and simple to use. Many of them are so complex that you need an audio-video specialist to program in the settings.

Microsoft in the news

Microsoft vs. Google

Pleo, a personal companion

We've grown up reading magazines such as Popular Science that predicted robots would cook us dinner, fetch our newspapers and vacuum our homes.

A survey of some of the latest accessories

At both MacWorld and CES, scores of companies were showing all sorts of accessories for the home, office and car. They were striving to create products that you never knew you needed, but once you buy, you can't do without.

MacBook Air's showcases sleek, gorgeous design with few faults

Even after an exhausting week at CES, I was looking forward to attending MacWorld in San Francisco to see what new products Steve Jobs would announce. An ultra-compact notebook was rumored and I had a personal interest in it.

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.

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