May 13, 2020

Given the times we live in, running outside far away from people has become essential for many of us--no matter what the weather. While shoes may matter the most, the one critical piece of running gear for me has become Black Diamond's Distance Wind Shell ($129).

Initially part of a testing trip in the Swiss Alps, it turns out the Distance Wind Shell is great for running, too. Its gossamer nylon material is imbued with an envi...

May 7, 2020

The trouble with standard photos is that they fail to capture the magnificent expanse of exotic locales and natural vistas. Ricoh's Theta Z1 360 Degree Camera ($1,000) is intended to get around the problem, literally. On a trip to Zermatt in the Alps last fall, it did an excellent job capturing the stunning views without a lot of fuss. You can hold it aloft to take a shot or put it on a tripod and control it remotely using you...

April 28, 2020

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 7, starting at $1,400

Being  mobile these days is critical and one the essential tools for any digital nomad is a laptop. Lenovo's lightweight 14-inch ThinkPad X1 Carbon is one of the best. In my testing, it has endured tens of thousands of miles of travel without a hiccup. It's also fast but light at 2.4 pounds and is just over a half-inch thick. The Windows 10 machine comes with a 256 GB sol...

April 21, 2020

Having trouble getting some shuteye at altitude? The Liberty 2 Pro earbuds ($130) will lull you to sleep and include a handy charging case so you get up to 32 hours of listening on a single charge. For superior sound, they support the aptX wireless format, and there's an app to tailor the music to match your personal hearing profile. Moreover, you don't have to be traveling to appreciate the Liberty 2 earphones. They pair just...

April 14, 2020

When you're weary and a little oxygen deprived, trekking poles are an invaluable aid along perilous trails (at least I find them comforting). But you don't need to be traipsing along at 10,000 feet in the Alps to find sticks useful. You'll see plenty of experienced young backpackers and hikers using trekking poles because the poles can not only give you extra confidence on narrow mountain trails but also save your knees from e...

March 3, 2020

After years of promise, electric vehicles (EVs) seem to be finally gaining some traction--even though they still face challenges. The supporting infrastructure has a long way to go and charging times need to improve, for example, which is why EVs still only account for less than 2 percent of all new vehicle sales.

Nevertheless, most electric models now deliver reasonable range--over 200 miles--on a single charge and offer attra...

February 6, 2020

Boasting curved OLED screens, air suspension, night vision, and augmented reality navigation, the technology-packed new 2021 Cadillac Escalade will give GM's Super Cruise a big boost later this year.

Super Cruise, the optional semi-autonomous driving system is the most advanced such technology available to consumers. It is the only available system designed to be used hands-free (and feet free), for example, and the only one th...

January 15, 2020

This year's CES 2020 tech show was a much more muted affair than in (many) years past. There was no single killer product, and there was a lot of waiting for future technologies--microLED, a smart home standard, quantum computers. On the automotive side, CES was still very much a car tech show, but many companies were treading more cautiously or not offering rides in autonomous cars at all.

Nevertheless, out of the 4,000-plus c...

October 25, 2019

In a year when the autonomous vehicle business has hit a big reset button, consensus is growing among designers that self-driving cars just aren’t perceptive enough to make them sufficiently safe. So now engineers are considering using more sophisticated sensors and technology — tech that can see through rain and even look underground.

“There are still deficiencies in the sensor suite,” said Bobby Hambrick, chief exec...

July 31, 2019

Last week's announcement that Bosch and Mercedes-Benz would begin the first government approved deployment of a fully-autonomous driving function--valet parking--was no doubt a milestone. But more important, hidden within the news were 4 interesting lessons for automakers and those working on self-driving cars.

The initial debut of the "automated valet parking" will take place at the Mercedes-Benz Museum parking garage in Stutt...

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AAA Memorial Day Traffic Forecast: Suspended Due to Coronavirus

May 21, 2020

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CES 2019: Self-Driving Cars Dominate

January 14, 2019

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2011 Ford Edge Sport:

Tussling With New Technology

Should the driver adapt to the car or should the car adapt to the driver?

One might think that advances in technology would favor the driver, but not everyone would agree after spending time with Ford’s technologically tricked-out 2011 Edge Sport. Certainly the virtue of its MyFord Touch, one of the most advanced in-car computer control systems, is that it offers owners plenty of options. But that is also its vice: there are too many options.

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© 2023 by John R. Quain

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