Kempinski Vier Jahreszeiten Munich

by Jonathan Spira
Kempinski Vier Jahreszeiten Munich

Walking into the Kempinski Vier Jahreszeiten from the bustling Maximilianstraße is like stepping into a time capsule, but one that places you inside one of the grand old hotels of Europe.
Whether royalty [former guests include Empress Elisabeth of Austria (“Sissi”), the King of Siam, and Winston Churchill] or business traveler, the salon-style lobby of the 1858-built hotel, which features a mosaic glass roof portraying the four seasons, beckons.
WHERE IS IT?
Built …

Sony Philharmonic Orchestra

by Jonathan Spira
Sony Philharmonic Orchestra

Technology companies such as Sony usually make technology.  In some cases, they even make music players (Walkman, iPod).  But it’s rare that the employees of such companies make music.
At Sony, however, it’s the norm.  Founded in 1995 by then CEO Norio Ohga, a former opera singer who had conducted professional orchestras, the Sony Philharmonic is made up of Sony employees from different parts of the company (Sony Corporation, Sony Computer …

Joby Gorillapod

by David Goldes
Joby Gorillapod

Many photographs that appear to be out of focus are actually blurred due to camera shake.  Holding the camera steady is the key to taking sharp photographs.  Too many people hold a camera at arm’s length and look at the display; in low-light conditions, even the steadiest photographers may not have a steady hand.
For the past few months, I’ve been travelling with the lightweight (smallest is 9.7 oz.) Gorillapod SLR, …

Ford Sync Powered by Microsoft

by Jonathan Spira
Ford Sync Powered by Microsoft

Sync, available in Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury cars, is without question the most advanced in-car infotainment technology I’ve ever used.  Developed by Microsoft, Sync provides hands-free voice-activated control over phone (via Bluetooth) and music (via Bluetooth or a USB cable).
Sync is Microsoft’s second major automotive product: the first, Blue&Me, is similar to Sync and is offered in Fiat and Alfa vehicles.
Vehicle owners can download updates and new features via the …

Avoiding a $5000 Phone Bill on Your Trip

by Jonathan Spira
Avoiding a $5000 Phone Bill on Your Trip

Whether you know it or not, your smartphone may be surfing the Net – and running up your bill – during trips abroad.  Discussion forums are full of reports from business travelers with high phone bills due to unintended data access: comments such as “one day, $768,” “one trip, $4800″ abound.
This can happen even if you don’t think you are using any data services.  For example, users of SimulSays, a …

Samsung Instinct

by David Goldes
Samsung Instinct

The Samsung Instinct and the iPhone have a similar look and feel but the similarities end there.  The iPhone is a not only a smartphone but a software platform; the Instinct is a smartphone with some features not found on the iPhone.
The Instinct’s interface (with some exceptions) is reasonably well thought out; visual voicemail allows one to see and listen to individual messages (the iPhone lacks this feature); and the …

Safe Computing for Business Travelers

by Jonathan Spira
Safe Computing for Business Travelers

Recently, we looked at the problem of “evil twins,” hot spots that seem legitimate but are operated by a hacker that are increasingly popping up in public and semi-public spaces including hotels, airports, and conference venues.
This month we look at other risks.
Hotels are a prime target for laptop thieves; look at any unoccupied meeting room, replete with laptops, and you’ll understand why.  But the loss of a $2000 laptop may …