On Technology

By Phil Baker

Uber’s mysterious app

When I wrote two weeks ago about a frightening experience that a friend experienced on an Uber ride, I was contacted by a second Uber customer who also experienced a scary incident a few days later. I learned something very surprising when I spoke with her: The Uber app has a major flaw that adds more risk to an Uber trip.

Apple changes the cellphone rules

The cellular companies are losing some of their hold on our cellular services and that's a good thing.

Another side of Uber

Several months back I reviewed Uber and described how much I liked using it. In fact, I compared it to having a driver at your disposal, being able to call for a ride whenever needed.

Another look at Chevy Volt, Apple Watch

Here are updates on products I’ve reviewed before: the Chevy Volt and Apple Watch.

Pros and cons of new technology

We’ve seen some astounding developments in consumer technology since I began writing this column 12½ years ago, but also have had to put up with many of the issues that are associated with these advancements. As we near the final print edition of The Daily Transcript, I take a look at some of the important developments in consumer tech, both good and bad.

Two clever gadgets advance the Internet of Things

I’ve been trying out two products that perform completely different functions yet have many similar elements. They represent the new wave of products called the Internet of Things, devices that use a wireless connection to the cloud to provide services in the home.

Two outstanding printers for home-office use

Printers can produce a love-hate relationship. We love the utility they provide and their low cost. But we hate the high cost of ink cartridges, sometimes priced at more than the printer itself.

Android for your car: A work in progress

The auto industry has strived to build technology into its cars to manage navigation, the phone and entertainment. Most in-car systems in use now are designed in-house or by large original equipment manufacturer suppliers to the industry, such as Denso.

A cellphone signal booster that really works

I’ve been trying out a product that’s designed to improve cell service, both data and voice, in the home. It’s called the Cel-Fi Duo Signal Booster from Nextivity, a San Diego-based technology company.

The merits of cellphones as travel cameras

I consider myself to be a good photographer, although sometimes I become more focused on the equipment than the results. Before vacations I obsess about which camera to take along. Should it be my prized Leica digital rangefinder, a pocket-sized Canon or Sony, or something in between, such as a Leica D-Lux 109, slightly larger than a compact camera?

Don’t leave home with only an Amex card

American Express positions their card as the one never to leave home without, and that they are wherever you are around the world. But on a recent trip, they let me down just when I needed them the most.

TSA is failing us

Homeland Security personnel ran a test a few weeks ago to determine how effective the screening is at U.S. airports. The results were dismal. The Transportation Security Administration failed to detect fake guns, bomb parts, and explosives in 67 out of the 70 attempts, failing 95 percent of the time.

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Phil Baker

Phil Baker is an expert in new product development and market development for large and small companies. He has held senior product development and marketing positions with Apple, Polaroid, Seiko, Proxima, ...

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