Commuting sucks, and its costs go beyond public-transit fares and gas-tank refills. The labor of getting to and from work robs you of productivity, and consumes time that you?d rather spend doing things you enjoy. It?s also hazardous to your health: Commuting can contribute to obesity, stress, and loneliness, and a commute longer than 45 minutes can even increase the likelihood that a couple will divorce.
Only you can decide whether your commute is worth the costs. In the meantime these apps can help you save money, stay sane, and reclaim some time from the road.Automatic
iOS and Android (limited), free; hardware, $100
Are you aware of how the way you drive affects fuel consumption? According to San Francisco?based Automatic, you can save up to a third of what you spend on gas just by accelerating and braking gradually, and minding the speed limit.
The rush is on to offer tablet PCs with ever stronger laptop alter egos, and Sony makes a splash with its new VAIO Tap 11. It?s a full Windows 8 tablet PC, impossibly thin and light, with a gorgeous screen and an even thinner keyboard cover at no additional charge.
And, wait?is that a fourth-generation Intel Core i5-4210Y processor? Yes, and it comes with 4GB of DDR3/1600 memory and a 128GB SSD, too, conferring some serious Ultrabook cred to this 1.7-pound panel. The Tap 11 is almost as skinny as Apple?s iPad Air, and it makes Microsoft?s Surface Pro 2 look chunky.The VAIO Tap 11 is not the carefree experience one hopes for from a tablet. It?s surprisingly fiddly and awkward as an on-the-go PC.
Now for a dose of reality. In spite of the Tap 11?s great looks and high-octane silicon, Sony made too many compromises in its pursuit of marketing superlatives: It?s the thinnest, lightest 2-in-1 Ultrabook you can buy. But it?s merely an okay tablet and, at best, it?s a short-term stand-in for a notebook. You can find much better choices at the Tap 11?s $1100 price level?notably the Surface Pro 2 ($999 for the 4GB RAM/128GB storage model plus $130 for its keyboard cover).
The VAIO Tap 11 is sexy enough to earn a look at its high points first. As I?ve already mentioned, Sony managed to stuff an impressive amount of computing prowess into this small frame, which is similar in size to letter paper and only four-tenths of an inch thick. Its 11.6-inch screen, with its resolution of 1920 by 1080 pixels, looks great and is very responsive to the touch. It has an 8MP camera on the back and a 2MP webcam above the display.
If you have a reason, it?s definitely the season?for a PC upgrade, that is. Perhaps ye merry olde desktop is struggling to keep up with the demands of modern, high-resolution games and media. Or maybe someone on your holiday gift list has a computer that needs rejuvenating. Rejoice! We have a PC upgrade to fit every budget.
We set an upper limit of $300, but we did so just to cover some of our pricier recommendations. Most of these upgrades cost far less. Presented in order of the performance boost they provide, here are our twelve favorites. One for each day of?nah, I won?t say it.1. A solid-state drive
Toshiba Q Series Pro 256GB
An SSD is our number one upgrade recommendation for the second year in a row, and it?s likely to remain so for the foreseeable future. Why? No upgrade provides a more noticeable, practical increase in performance than a fast SSD. Getting one is like buying a new PC without buying a new PC.
Spain?s data protection authority has fined Google ?900,000 (US$1.2 million) and ordered the company to fall in line with the country?s data protection rules without delay.
The Agencia Española de Protección de Datos (AEPD), said Thursday that Google does not provide users enough information about the personal information it collects, and the purposes it uses it for. It also objects to Google combining data gathered from its various services in violation of local laws.
The Internet company does not, for example, inform Gmail users that the content of mails and attached files are filtered to insert tailored advertising, AEPD said.
Google is also said to keep the data for periods longer than permitted under local data laws. The company was fined ?300,000 for each of three violations, AEPD said.
The U.S. International Trade Commission has ruled against InterDigital in a complaint that alleged Huawei, Nokia, ZTE had infringed the company?s patents.
On Thursday, the ITC upheld a previous ruling in June that found Huawei, Nokia and ZTE had not infringed on the seven InterDigital patents named in the complaint.
Filed in 2011, the InterDigital case had sought an import ban by the U.S. on older 3G phones from the three handset makers.
InterDigital said it was disappointed with the ITC decision, and would appeal it. It has another petition pending with the ITC that is targeting 3G and 4G products from Huawei, Nokia, ZTE and Samsung.