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March 20, 2015

Star Trek TNG 7
All good things must come to an end eventually. more...

Hercules tries hard to be a fantastic cinematic spectacle. more...

White Christmas 60th
It doesn't appear to sport a new set of remastered and restored clothes, but it's still a darn fine presentation. more...

Transformers: Age of Extinction
One doesn't go into a Transformers movie expecting high art; and with that in mind, this movie delivers in spades.. more...

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Acura RLX Sport Hybrid

Acura flagship sedan causes rethink for hybrid denier

Gobsmacked, I tell you. That was my reaction after a week driving Acura's RLX Sport Hybrid, the top version of the company's luxury sedan line. That's because I came away from the experience actually preferring the hybrid to the gas-only version of the car.

Better not stand too close lest you become collateral damage from the pending lightning strike!

Honda's flagship division's biggest sedan is a really nice car in whichever livery you dress it, with good performance, lots of technology and the type of creature comforts you'd expect from a nearly $70,000 vehicle. And it doesn't seem overpriced considering its competition. more...

Toyota gives Camry a refresh that gives one pause

Talk about a mid-cycle refresh! The 2015 Toyota Camry looks and very nearly feels like a brand new generation, even though a new generation is still over the horizon.

And you know what? It's great!

There are good reasons the Camry sells so well, including the fact that it's a Toyota – which means it's built well – and it's a car that people who aren't car nuts can buy and then pretty well forget about other than regular maintenance. As a bit of a car nut, however, I've often referred to the Camry as being vanilla – highly popular and used many places, but not exactly exciting to a fan of butterscotch. more...

Tech guys advise steps for sleeping better with your smart device

Are you addicted to your smart phone and/or tablet? Do you find yourself tossing and turning at night because you're still wired from spending time with your wireless device? In other words, are you completely hung up on your iPhone or iPad or its other OS'd cousin?

Well, friend, if these scenarios describe you, you may be interested in these five tips on how to live better with your wireless virtual little friend. I got these tips from a Beverly Hills, California, PR company on behalf of Shane Broesky and Steven Devries, co-founders of the Canadian-based company Färbe Technik, which they bill as "the leading global manufacturer of mobile accessories for Apple, Blackberry and Samsung."

I have no idea who died and made these guys the sleep gurus, but their advice does have some merit. more...

Time Sagas

VW Golf re-in-car-nated for its new generation

Volkswagen has knocked its next generation Golf out of the park, with an evolutionary new design that's clean and modern – just like its new base engine.

The new Golf is the first Volkswagen to be built on the company's, "extremely advanced" MQB platform that's lighter and stronger than previous generations, which means better handling and less fuel consumption. VW says the MQB also gives the Golf more passenger room and cargo space, though you certainly won't mistake it for a VW microbus. VW also says the new platform is less complex than previous ones, which  (according to their media materials) means they can build it for less - and sell it for less.  I'd still advise you to dicker, though… more...

Acer Chromebook lets you live in the Clouds

Acer's new Chromebook 13 is a good way to be productive away from the desk, as long as you don't mind your data living in cyberspace, where it could be vulnerable to bad people.

Chromebooks are basically small, light and inexpensive notebook computers, kind of the spiritual successor to the Netbooks of years past. They look like a laptop and act like one, too, but instead of coming with a big hard drive and bloated Windows operating system, the run Google's Chrome operating system and are designed for online connectivity and storage. more... 

Ford gives its innovative F-150 an icy reception in Quebec

What do you do for an encore when your F-150 pickup has been the best-selling vehicle in Canada for nearly 50 years, especially when it faces absolutely furious competition?

It appears you up the ante by lowering the weight, then sweeten the deal by cramming the truck full of modern amenities, from LED lighting to handy steps to the box – and a lot more.

Ford of Canada invited me to join a gaggle of auto journalists as it put on a wintery demonstration of the new model that started in Quebec City and ended in a rock quarry in the Charlevoix area a couple of hours away. It was very cold and humid, and snowy as heck – a real shock to a guy whose home town of Calgary experienced record-breaking high temperatures about a week before. more...

Lexus RC 350 'F-spires' to sportiness

Lexus appears to be going after the BMW 4 series coupe with its new two door model, the RC. But has it  hit the target?

In some ways, yes – easily. In others, however, meh. It excels in the livability department, but it falls down where it really shouldn't if it's to be taken seriously: as a driving machine, it's nowhere near the "ultimate" mantle that BMW claims. And that's a darn shame because this is otherwise a very nice set of wheels. more...

BMW 4 series Gran Coupe: a five door two door?

BMW has created a very nice driving machine in their new for 2015 4 series Gran Coupe. Alas, despite being one of the "ultimate driving machines," the car still leaves something to be desired as a vehicle to live with. And what's with the model designation?

Until recently the 4 series was just a two door 3 series, but BMW split the series in two, with the 3 referring to the four door sedan version and the 4 being the two door coupe. Yet the 4 series Gran Coupe is not only a four door model, it's also a hatchback, sometimes called "five door." So why wouldn't it be the 3 series Gran Coupe? Beats me. What's in a name, eh?

Maybe they want their model names to be as confusing as their interfaces… more...

Enhancing your love's life through technology this Valentine's Day

Do you know how you're going to honor your Valentine this year? Sure, flowers are generally considered a good fallback position, but it's hardly an innovative way to tell your special person that you love him/her/it.

Since it's supposedly the thought that counts, your sweetie may be happy with something small and inexpensive. In that vein, I've been poring over press releases and surfing around to see what tech trinkets are out there that could make your sweetie swoon. Your mileage, like your sweetie, may vary. more...

Lexus NX a terrific entry level luxury ute

Lexus' newest SUV, the NX 200, is sized like the RAV4 but since it's a Lexus it ups the luxury ante substantially over the popular Toyota ute. But that hasn't turned the NX into a softie; rather, it has even introduced Lexus' first turbocharger to the mix and the result is a really nice vehicle that will probably sell really well.

The NX is available in two models, the turbo gas engine and a gas/electric hybrid that's probably very nice but probably not particularly compelling to drive. Fortunately, Lexus Canada sent the turbo model, in its up market F Sport livery, and I loved it. more...

Ford Focuses on performance and winter driving skills

How's your winter driving? Naturally, the answer will be affected by where you live and whether or not they have any snow removal – you probably don't need a lot of it if you're reading this from Florida, for example – but here in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains we get snow, and ice.

Ford invited me out to their "Winter Driving School" held on a snowy open area at Canada Olympic Park. They set out a course of cones designed so you'd have to brake and/or steer (exploiting their ABS), use their torque vectoring through a slalom, and learn to use their traction control to keep the wheels from spinning uselessly. more...

Mercedes-Benz creates a nice new 'cute ute'  

The small SUV niche is a crowded and popular market these days, with entries from just about every major automotive brand. So if a new kid on the block wants a piece of this luxuriant landscape of lucre, they'd better offer something pretty compelling.

And that's exactly what Mercedes-Benz has done with its new GLA 250 4MATIC, a handsome and capable vehicle that's not only a nice entry into this niche but is also a way for new customers to discover the joys of owning a Mercedes-Benz.

It's funny to think of one of the world's oldest surviving automaker as being a new kid on the block, but the closest the company has come to making an "entry level" (for a premium car company, anyway) SUV before was the GLK – which is also a very nice vehicle but a tad bigger and more up market than the new GLA. more...

Acer monitor brings 4K UHD performance to the desktop

There might not be a lot of commercial Ultra High Definition material on the market to make purchasing a 4K TV feasible fiscally, yet, but Acer is making a compelling argument that it's already time to embrace the technology when it comes to your computer.

Well, once again that would only be if you need it – or if you just want a really big, really cool monitor.

I've been trying their new, $1100 B326HK display for the past month or so and while a 32 inch monitor on my home office desk is more than a little intimidating, I'm sure hooked on it. And that's without spending a lot of time watching actual 4K UHD content on it! I just love it as a monitor, and the 4K resolution makes for a great desktop! more...

Porsche Macan and Boxster GTS – two new ways to love the marque

There's a new Porsche SUV and an upgraded version of the Boxster roadster in town, and both of them are about as great a value as one could hope for from the German maker of premium vehicles.

The Macan is everything it should be: a small SUV that's all Porsche. Call it a Cayenne Junior if you like, or maybe abbreviate it to something like, well, "Cajun" which, not coincidentally, was the name Porsche floated while the world awaited the new vehicle.

The Boxster GTS, meanwhile, is more of a trim level than a whole new model of Boxster and that's okay because the garden variety Boxster is a heckuva car. more...

Chrysler 200 a nice step forward

The Chrysler 200 has taken a major step forward for 2015, from the relatively bland and uninteresting previous model. The new one is handsome, with an attractive and comfortable interior, and it's also pretty nice to drive.

Oh, it isn't perfect, of course. more...

CES 2015 points toward the future of our gadgets

The annual Consumer Electronics show in Las Vegas has wrapped up again, a huge undertaking that seems to get bigger each year. Heck, since the first time I went the show has expanded with the Las Vegas convention center, from one main show floor and assorted other rooms to an entire second building with two display floors -- and of course various hotel conference centers and suites. It's quite intimidating to see all this stuff packed together!

I couldn't make this year's CES thanks to scheduling issues, but it's hard for a tech writer not to get inundated with press releases and pitches whether you're on site or not. So, with the caveat that I'm doing this from press releases, pictures and other hype, here are some of the products I wish most that I'd seen at this year's CES. .more..

Land Rover LR4 offers great views; sound; utility

The Land Rover seems to be the go to vehicles for those out in the wilds of places like Africa, and you can see the vehicles on display in many documentaries filmed in such far off locales. Serious off roaders, indeed, these vehicles have also gone upmarket in recent years, at least as far as the creature comforts are concerned.

So it is that the Land Rover LR4 enters the 2015 model year with mostly cosmetic changes, and that’s okay because, as mentioned, the Land Rover's substance has been the stuff of legend for years.

This is also a tall vehicle and if you're altitudinally challenged it can be interesting climbing aboard. Once you're in, however, you'll be treated to a modern, comfortable and reasonably easy to fathom interior. more...

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