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 Travel Tech 101 by Phil Baker

March 29, 2007: BUYING TIPS FOR THE YEAR OF THE SMART PHONE
This looks to be the year that the smart phone goes mainstream and sales really take off. But choosing which smart phone to buy is nearly as confusing as selecting a computer. Here are five factors to consider before you take the plunge--or replace your existing unit.

March 15, 2007: A CORNUCOPIA OF ON-THE-ROAD MULTIMEDIA
The advances in multimedia and high-speed access really gelled for me while I was on a week-long business trip to Taipei. Throughout the transpacific trek, I used a wide variety of software and services to entertain myself, educate myself and stay in touch with my home and office. Needless to say, this kind of connectivity and productivity is a far cry from life on the road in the past.

March 1, 2007: MORE CHOICES IN THE BLUETOOTH SWEEPSTAKES
Two new Bluetooth cell phone headsets claim big improvements in making it easier to conduct clear conversations. But neither product is perfect and you'll need to make a decision about your priorities when choosing a headset for your mobile phone.

February 15, 2007: VISTA'S GOOD, BUT WAIT BEFORE YOU UPGRADE
By now you've been subjected to more than two weeks of a huge promotional campaign aimed at convincing you to purchase Microsoft's new Windows Vista, the operating system that's replacing the ubiquitous Windows XP. But is that good advice? Phil Baker likes Vista just fine, but he advises that you wait a while before switching.

February 1, 2007: HIGH-TECH HELP FOR BETTER BUSINESS TRAVEL
Here's an assortment of new products and software designed for the business traveler. They all attempt to make traveling just a little more convenient and--Dare I say it?--enjoyable. You'd be surprised what's available now for very reasonable prices.

January 25, 2007: APPLE iPHONE'S SMASH DEBUT
After years of rumors, Apple finally introduced its much-anticipated mobile phone. Rarely does a new product create as much excitement as the iPhone. It's a terrific product. But is it for everyone? No.

January 18, 2007: WHEN PCS 'BREAK,' A SANE WAY TO FIX THEM
Our personal computers routinely perform wondrous tasks, but, when something goes wrong, most of us are ill-equipped to fix the problem. Few of us even know where to begin when a problem occurs. We restart the computer or reinstall the software and hope for the best. But now there may be a better way thanks to a company called Your Tech Online.

January 4, 2007: YOUR TV ON YOUR PC, ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD
Until now, there have been numerous products that let us select when we watch our favorite TV programs. But now there's a product, Slingbox, that lets us decide where we watch. The Slingbox lets you watch your home television on your computer or your smartphone. You can use Slingbox to view your television from most anywhere in the world: an airport, a hotel room or your office.

These columns originally appeared at joesentme.com.

These columns are Copyright 2007 by San Diego Daily Transcript. Reprinted with permission.