Commentary

On Technology

By Phil Baker

Travel assistance on your Smartphone

I've been testing two new applications for smartphones designed to assist frequent travelers while on the road. WorldMate Professional from MobiMate (mobimate.com) and Pocket Express Travel Edition from Handmark(pocketexpress.com) each provide a set of utilities that enables you to check schedules and flight status as well as perform a variety of other travel-related tasks.

Lenovo T61 ThinkPad: The ultimate notebook?

When Lenovo bought IBM's computer division, there was concern that its Thinkpads might lose their edge for performance and reliability. Never the lowest cost choice, they were nevertheless standard issue in many companies for their dependability and good technical support.

Syncing your smartphone with your computer: what you need to know before you buy

Sync software is becoming more important as we use multiple devices such as computers, smartphones and Web sites to maintain our calendar and contacts.

Manage your information visually

The computer is a wondrous invention, but sometimes it forces us to do things the way its programmed to, rather than in a way that's more natural to us.

Don't overlook the BlackBerry in mobile market frenzy

With all the attention being paid to Apple's iPhone, it's easy to overlook other new mobile phones. One company, Research In Motion, has been on a tear, introducing numerous new BlackBerrys during the past few months. The phones are some of RIM's best new products ever. They're slimmer, have gorgeous high-resolution screens, excellent keyboards, memory-card slots and use the new trackball, a feature first seen on the Pearl. Each of these new models is available for about $200, with a new two-year contract.

The technology behind Miniland isn't child's play

Even technology correspondents need a vacation day. Over Fourth of July, I visited Legoland California with my family.

iPhone: The follow up

I bet you thought the iPhone stories were over! Not just yet. As units get into the hands of tens of thousands this week, expect to see a lot more feedback on how the iPhone works now that it's under the scrutiny of the masses.

Creating business charts in minutes

Have you ever had to create an organizational chart, flow chart or timeline with only minutes to spare before a big presentation? Do a Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) search for flow or organizational charts and SmartDraw software is likely to pop up at the top of the page, offering a free download that lets you make your chart on the spot.

Input: The next frontier

One of the most exciting areas of innovation in computers and personal electronics is the way we interact with them. There's still a lot of inventive territory remaining for designers to explore, whether it's new ways to enter data or improvements to existing technology such as keyboards and touch screens. It's an area that's becoming particularly important as devices become smaller and filled with features that are difficult to access.

Ideas for Father's Day

When my wife, Jane, asked me what I wanted for Father's Day this year, I looked back at some of the products I've reviewed and others I've been eyeing and then assembled this list. You'll notice I picked pairs of products, one with its price being no object and the other an alternative budget choice. And Jane, if you read this column, my hint is "Fuego."

D5 conference brings technology leaders to San Diego

The D5 conference held last week at the Four Seasons Aviara in Carlsbad was by all accounts one of the most exciting technology conferences in years. While the highlight of the conference was Steve Jobs and Bill Gates on stage together for the first time in decades, other guests included many top executives from technology and the media: John Chambers (CEO, Cisco); Les Moonves (CEO, CBS); Steve Ballmer (CEO, Microsoft); Jeff Hawkins (CTO, Palm); Steve Case (founder, AOL); Ann Moore (CEO, Time) and Eric Schmidt (Google). The youngest guests were the founders of YouTube, Chad Hurley and Steve Chen, who recently sold their company to Google for $1.7 billion.

The blogging revolution

Blogs have become a phenomenon of the Internet age, with millions of people creating their own and millions more reading them.

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