Stories by Mike Elgan

How tech is changing banks

It wasn't long ago that bank customers judged the quality of their local financial institutions by the sturdiness of their columns and vault doors. That idea is a throwback to an era when money was physical, and so was security.

Is digital nomad living going mainstream?

Sell the house and the car. Put up all your possessions on eBay. Pack your bags and buy a one-way ticket to some exotic location. The plan? "Telecommute" from wherever you happen to be. Earn an American salary, but pay Third-World prices for food and shelter.

Haptics: The feel-good technology of the year

The touch screen is taking over cell phones, and soon mobile computing and even desktop computing. Both Apple and Microsoft are working on a transition to touch-enabled versions of OS X and Windows. Touch screens are coming in, and keyboards and mice are on their way out.

Elgan: How to become an iPhone Vulcan

Star Trek's Mr. Spock is one of the most compelling characters in all of science fiction. The attributes that made him indispensible to the captain and crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise (not to mention to the lucrative Star Trek franchise) -- his stoic attitude, mastery of logic, accelerated education and physical fitness -- also happen to be key ingredients of success right here on Earth.

Why Dell should buy Palm

Palm Inc. needs money to survive. Dell Inc. needs a handset business to compete. I think Dell should acquire Palm immediately. The union would benefit both companies, as well as investors, the industry and, most of all, users.

Bashing Bing, whacking Wave

Industry titans Microsoft Corp. and Google Inc. are getting rave reviews this week about innovative new approaches to Internet search and communications, respectively.

Paperless office? Ha! How about a paperless life?

The invention of the PC was supposed to usher in the "paperless office," a completely digital workplace without paper memos, forms, files or records. But that vision was ruined by another invention -- the printer. Now offices have more paper than ever.

Legalise mobile phone jammers?

Jamming a mobile phone is illegal in the US. Very illegal. And not just by ordinary citizens. It's illegal for theatre and restaurant owners to jam calls, and even state and local police or prison officials. The US, in fact, has the strictest laws in the world against jamming mobile calls.

Don't be fooled by Google's phony 'beta' label

A typical release cycle for software development includes something called the beta-testing phase. The idea is to improve the product by enabling users, rather than developers or professional testers, to provide feedback.

Elgan: 'Getting Things Done' to go

I'll admit it. I'm one of those annoying "Getting Things Done" fanboys. I love David Allen's productivity system, which he lays out in three books: Getting Things Done, Ready For Anything and the brand-new Making It All Work.

Why products fail

Why do some people prefer Windows XP and Mac OS X over Windows Vista? After all, Vista is pretty and sleek and much more advanced than XP, and, in many areas, Mac OS X. Why is there so much love for Xbox, but none for Windows Mobile?

10 things that won't survive the recession

The government says we've been in a recession for the past year. Experts say it'll be at least another year before it's over. And everybody says it's the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.

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