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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 […]

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Kara Swisher’s Burn Book

Kara Swisher has covered consumer technology as a journalist for decades and has developed a reputation of being tough but fair, and usually smarter than the tech executives she covers. I’ve followed and admired her work for a few decades, ever since she reported on consumer tech for the Wall St. Journal, along with her […]

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Apple kills their EV

This week Apple killed their Titan electric car project. It was effort that began ten years ago and became the biggest development project in the history of the company, measured both by the investment and size of the organization: billions of dollars spent and two thousand employees hired. When they began, the EV market was […]

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Phones can’t go to POT(s) anymore!

With the outage of AT&T’s cellular service across a sizeable part of the country, we may reminisce about our old landline service, often called POTS (plain old telephone service). But it’s gone and will never come back. POTS was based on a pair of low voltage copper wires coming into our homes. When we experienced […]

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First impressions of the Apple Vision Pro

I just tried out the new Apple Vision Pro. It’s easy for anyone to do – just sign up for a demo at your Apple Store on apple.com. The demo lasts about 30 minutes, including time to customize to your eyesight and head size. I sat at a table with an Apple employee at my […]

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The future of search

Google search has become a real pain to use. What was once a stellar product is now a polluted mess. It takes too long to get your answers, requires too many clicks, makes us sort through ads and misleading results, and often leads us to a dead end. It’s the singular fault of Google and […]

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Medicine gets a tech boost

The quality of medical care in this country has many faults, but it’s finally taking advantage of technology to bring some new benefits to us. But it’s been a long time coming. While email has been around for almost thirty years, trying to reach a doctor often required calling and anxiously waiting for a call […]

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Should you buy an EV or PHEV?

The debate about which EV to buy has become a simplistic discussion just about range. Most reviewers seem to focus only on how many miles you can drive between charging, as if that’s all that matters or is more important than anything else. What’s missing in all of these reviews is that we don’t all […]

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Thank technology for making travel a bit better

While airline service has deteriorated over the years with tighter seats, new fees, lost bags, higher prices, and unexpected cancelations, technology has helped make traveling a bit better or at least a little less bad. There’s an array of electronic gadgets and products that we now take for granted, but help offset the pains of […]