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Using your phone when traveling internationally

When I travel out of the country, one of the first things I think of is how to use my phone without it costing a small fortune. It’s hard to forget those surprise bills of hundreds of dollars when traveling internationally in the early days of cellphones. One of the best options has been to […]

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A travel charger deal for Apple users

When Apple introduced MagSafe, their version of wireless charging using a magnetic ring to position the phone, they also brought out a clever folding charger for a iPhone and an Apple watch. Called the Apple Duo Charger, it sold for about $129. As shown below, it folds in half to provide charging surfaces for the […]

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Using the Apple Vision Pro

For the past 10 days I’ve been using an Apple Vision Pro (AVP) headset. Thanks to a loan from a friend, I was able to put it through its paces and try pretty much everything that’s available for it. The product is very well designed, from its aesthetics to its functionality. It’s solid, beautifully finished, […]

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Southwest under attack

I just thumbed through this fifty-page presentation from Elliot Investment Management that calls for a makeover of Southwest Airlines. Elliott recently took a $1.9 billion stake in the airline, and is looking to use that investment as leverage to replace the current CEO and board of directors. Essentially, they want to remake Southwest into a […]

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A clever camera for video calls

Want to improve your image – literally – on your Zoom calls? This may just be the perfect solution. Most of us are resigned to using our computer’s built-in camera for video calls. It’s simple, automatic and requires no effort. But I’ve noticed the mediocre image quality on my 2-year old Macbook Pro, much like […]

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License to steal

If you live in California, Arizona, or Michigan, you may have spotted some cars with black and white license plates. They’re no ordinary plates; they’re digital, consisting of a monochrome display, a battery and a cellular radio. Pioneered by the California company Reviver, they’re promoted as the modern successor to the metal plates that have […]

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Why is buying a refrigerator so hard?

Why is it more difficult to buy a refrigerator than a computer? A computer has become a pretty simple purchase. You choose a Windows or Mac operating system, compare the specs of the various models and brands, read the reviews and make your selection. Most of the reviews tend to agree with one another, the […]

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Giving us half-baked products

When a new product is released, it’s usually tested to insure it works before it comes to market, but that convention is not followed when it comes to the AI software from OpenAI, Google, Microsoft, and others. Instead these companies that should know better are trying to one-up each other by introducing and overly hyping […]

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The desperation of the referral fee

Have you noticed wherever you go on the web, you encounter articles that recommend products and offer product reviews with titles such as “The best deals on Amazon” or “The 75 best gifts for men that we know he’ll love”? Today I opened up the Wall Street Journal and came across this feature article, “Your […]

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The puzzling new iPads

This week Apple introduced a line of new iPads. I found the offering to be somewhat odd and puzzling. For a product category that’s been around so long, we should be seeing new models that do more and cost less. Instead we’re seeing iPads that cost more with few improvements to their functionality. The new […]

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Travel charging is easy as 1 – 2 -3

There’s good news for travelers when it comes to keeping their phone and other devices charged while on the road. On my recent trip to Argentina, I carried just three products, totaling just over $100, that kept my devices charged all the time: A UGREEN Power Bank, an Anker wall charger, and a portable battery […]

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The folly of virtual assistants

When I went online to track a UPS package, a virtual assistant popped up with this message, “Hello, I’m the UPS Virtual Assistant. I see you tracked a package. Let me know how I can help. By chatting, you consent to the chats being recorded, used, and shared by us and our service providers according […]

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The value of a great travel planner

As one who’s traveled internationally for business over many decades, I’ve always taken control of my trips and managed the details. But recently when planning a vacation trip to Argentina, I tried an entirely different approach – I used a local Argentinian travel company, MacDermott’s Argentina, to do most everything. I took that approach for […]

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Biting the hand that feeds you

In a high tech version of biting the hand that feeds you, an investigation by New York Times technology reporter Kashmir Hill, uncovered that General Motors is secretly tracking the driving habits of their customers and sharing that data to insurance companies, leading in some cases to higher insurance rates. GM sells the data to […]

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The Ai Pin is worse than most imagined

The Ai Pin device that created so much buzz last year when its company, Humane, previewed it at a TED conference, has now reached the hands of tech reviewers and the their verdict is universally a thumbs down. As I wrote in my column at the time, the product was destined to be a failure, […]

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The state of sound quality in 2024

(Note: This article about the state of sound quality was co-written with Neil Young and originally appeared at NeilYoungArchives.com.) There’s a lot of happening in the world of music that bodes well for better audio quality. We’ve come a long way from the days of MP3 files and low quality streaming as we enter 2024. […]

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Loyalty programs off the rails

I received an email from a local celebrity chef who operates four restaurants in the San Diego area. They’re pricey, have generally good food, although not the best in the area. At first I had thought the email was an April Fools joke, but it was only March 27. Hi Phil BakerWhile many of you […]

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What’s happening with electric cars? It’s not what you think.

If you read some of the press you’d might think the interest in electric cars has waned. Some of the press, especially from the right (Wall St. Journal, The Hill), are already predicting the failure of EVs. But that’s all mostly political opinion and is more wishful thinking than factual. It’s fostered by their opposition […]

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Apple sued by DOJ on antitrust charges

The world loves Apple products. They’re some of the best designed consumer devices ever produced. They look great, work great, and are easier to use than the alternatives. Their customers also love Apple’s support system that makes it easy to get help by phone or in one of their stores, and get products quickly serviced. […]

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A cautionary tale for travelers

I received an email from my brother Andrew this week from Cape Town, South Africa, his first stop of a two-week vacation, telling me his iPhone was stolen. He was pickpocketed in downtown Cape Town. It was the second day of his visit to the city, so he was accustomed to people coming up to […]