Stories by James A. Martin

Can Apple's Pencil breathe new life into the stylus?

Apple's new Pencil is the first stylus from a company whose former CEO, the infamous Steve Jobs, boldly stated that styli were a sign of poor product design. Was Jobs right? Or is the stylus just what professionals need to get the most from today's tablets and smartphones?

Written by James A. Martin10 Sept. 15 15:31

Automatic dongle turns your vehicle in a 'smart car'

Automatic's connected dongle and mobile apps give your 'dumb' car some digital smarts. The device is easy to install and the mobile app is intuitive, but there are a number of reasons to hit the brakes before you buy.

Written by James A. Martin09 Sept. 15 15:54

LugLoc luggage locator eases bag separation anxiety

'Smart luggage' equipped with GPS and other technologies are on the horizon, but you don't have to wait to track your bags, thanks to LugLoc, a $70 gadget that slips into a suitcase and shows its location on map in an iOS or Android app.

Written by James A. Martin03 Sept. 15 15:38

Why you might want to use Apple Watch AND a Fitbit mobile tech reviewer James A. Martin explains his choice is to wear both an Apple Watch and a Fitbit. Hint: It has a lot to do with the Watch's addictive three-circle Activity monitor and Fitbit's competitive leaderboard.

Written by James A. Martin20 Aug. 15 14:49

Tile Bluetooth tag helps locate misplaced keys, smartphones

The new Tile app and Bluetooth tracker offers several improvements over the first-generation product, including the ability to locate a missing smartphone and higher location-notification volume.

Written by James A. Martin19 Aug. 15 07:01

Why the TripIt Pro plan is worth $49 a year

When it was time for my annual TripIt Pro renewal, I wondered if it was worth the $49 a year. After all, at least some of its travel organizing tools are available at no cost, either with a free TripIt plan or from other sources.

Written by James A. Martin03 Aug. 15 23:44

3 reasons you need SanDisk's Connect Wireless Stick

SanDisk's Connect Wireless Stick ($100 for 128GB) and accompanying mobile app solve at least three problems you might have -- especially during vacation.

Written by James A. Martin03 Aug. 15 23:43

Talkler iOS app reads email aloud so you can be (nearly) hands-free

The freemium iOS app Talkler bills itself as "email for your ears." By reading messages aloud, the app enables you to catch up on email while exercising, driving, cooking, or otherwise busy. The app works as promised, though I ran into issues with setup and voice commands.

Written by James A. Martin30 July 15 04:09's mobile app not quite ready to take on Amazon blasted off last week with much fanfare and bold ambitions to take on Amazon. Judging from my initial experience with the ecommerce contender's iOS app and website, Jeff Bezos shouldn't be too worried -- at least for now.

Written by James A. Martin29 July 15 23:10

Traction Watch: Chef cooks up recipe for DevOps success

Seattle-based Chef provides a DevOps automation model that turns infrastructure into code. Chef’s goal is to enable businesses of all types to stay competitive and agile by transitioning them into software-driven companies.

Written by James A. Martin24 July 15 05:50

2 experimental apps from Microsoft Garage you need to test drive

Microsoft Garage is a division of the software maker that lets its interns, employees and groups of staffers experiment with ideas and tinker with apps -- some of which don't even run on Windows devices. Send (iOS only) and InstaNote (Windows Phone only) are two recent, and free, Garage apps that are worth a look.

Written by James A. Martin23 July 15 23:34