Commentary

On Technology

By Phil Baker

Best products of the year

With 2006 drawing to a close, it's time again to look at some of the year's best products.

The tale of 2 phones: the simple and complex

I've been trying out two new mobile phones that are worlds apart in functionality, each targeting a totally different audience. What do they have in common? They both do an excellent job in satisfying their respective markets.

Tech toys for preschoolers

There are plenty of electronic gadgets for adults and older kids. In this column I look at several products geared to preschoolers that are intended to emulate what their parents and older siblings are using. How well do they do? Read on.

One number for all your phones

When I leave a callback number for a client or friend, it requires thinking ahead to where I'll be and when, or leaving multiple numbers. That's the result of having so many phone numbers. Most of us have at least three, and some many more than that. Each number also has its own voicemail that requires checking.

Holiday gift guide

With the holiday season approaching, it's time for my annual suggestions and recommendations for gifts for the gadget lovers on your holiday list. All of these selections are based on first-hand experience.$1,000 to $3,000

Products with a twist

This week I've assembled a collection of products, each with a twist. Some have a hidden feature or something that just sets the product apart. Often it's the result of out-of-the-box thinking.

What to buy? A Mac or a PC?

One of the most frequent questions I get is whether to buy a Mac or a PC. Here's an analysis based on the 10 features I consider important. 1. Starting up: Turn on a Macintosh from sleep and the screen lights up instantly, networks are quickly found and the computer is ready to use a few seconds later. PCs take much longer. This means you're more likely to use the Mac like a radio, turning it on and off to retrieve information without giving it a second thought. Advantage: Mac

Unlock your cell phone for big savings

If you travel internationally, you're likely aware that only GSM phones from Cingular and T-Mobile will work in the rest of the world, while CDMA phones from Verizon and Sprint are limited to use primarily in the United States. GSM phones contain a tiny removable SIM card (subscriber information module) that contains information about the carrier. To change to another carrier, simply switch the card.

DEMO Fall in San Diego

San Diego played host to DEMO Fall, the semi-annual conference where companies introduce their new products for the first time before an audience of the technology press, analysts and investors. Each of the 67 companies had a few minutes for a demo and then the opportunity to showcase its products in an exhibit area for the two-day event.

Traveling without your laptop

With the increased restrictions on traveling with your computer, maybe it's just time to leave your notebook at home. Consider the benefits: Your carry-ons will be lighter and you won't be distracted by all the hassles of keeping the computer charged, getting online and keeping your data secure. As a bonus you'll get through airport security faster.

Phone Phantasy

The CTIA wireless show held in Los Angeles this past week was all about new phones. I've rarely seen a collection of so many "gotta-have" new products. There was a wonderful assortment of new smartphones of all sizes, as well as tiny pocket-sized phones with finishes more like jewelry than technology devices.

An assortment of ingenious products

If you thought ingenuity was dead, these products tell a different story. Here's a roundup of a variety of new products that I have tried in recent weeks.

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