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The fun runabout: 2016 Kia Soul

Call them mini-crossovers. Call them tall wagons. Call them increasingly common, members of a vehicle segment that’s exploding with new arrivals. Among all the flashy new segment entries competing for market share, older models like the 2016 Kia Soul are raising their game. Kia leant me a red/black two-tone Special Edition-Sport for a week, and I’m happy to report this sporty […]

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Troubleshooting a Mac: Beware of Third-Party Utilities

In early June, I gave a one-hour workshop at the Vancouver Editors Canada conference. I spoke about Inbox Zero, the lack of which can be a drag on productivity. Two things happened at this conference that triggered my dreaming up a series of blog posts, the first of which you’re now reading. Sometime after the halfway point of this session, […]

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2016 Ford Focus Titanium

Upgrades to economical runabouts appeal to many car buyers, and that’s the field Ford plays in with the 2016 Ford Focus Titanium. First impressions Ford’s current design language includes its take on the trendy but handsome vertical grill that makes me think of the gaping mouth of a whale. Headlights seem to want to move to the sides of the vehicle, […]

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Improving automakers’ owner manuals

Do you know anybody who reads auto manuals? If you know me, you do. Why do I do this? I review cars (one review appears on this blog every second week) and I like to get my own answers to questions on the technology I’m using. I’m a longtime technical writer. I both produce documentation and scan […]

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The 2016 Volkswagen Jetta 1.4T TSI

Over the last ten years, automakers have disposed not just of models but entire nameplates (thank you, Great Recession). That’s why it was a pleasure to drive a model that carries the same name as a car I owned more than two decades ago: the 2016 Jetta 1.4 TSI Trendline+. (Well, mine wasn’t a Trendline, but it was a […]

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Why writers should use mind maps

I don’t experience writer’s block. That isn’t a boast. I’ve developed tactics that enable me to write a decent first draft without much difficulty. The main tactic: I use a mind map. About mind maps Rather than discuss the method, I’d rather explain why I use it. (There’s an example towards the end of this blog post, if […]

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Fuel economy as a game: the 2016 Ford C-MAX Energi

Ask any teacher how best to help people learn, and they’ll often recommend you turn learning into a game. Makers of hybrid vehicles have taken note. All things being equal, hybrid vehicles reduce fuel consumption over equivalent internal combustion engine- (ICE-) only vehicles. Drivers who want to achieve even better fuel economy need to learn how to drive […]

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My relationship with Getting Things Done

The David Allen Company is taking its Getting Things Done show to Toronto (my hometown) in a few weeks. That, plus a recent reminder about the system, got me thinking more deeply about how I use it in my own life. Warning: this post ended up being quite long. I wouldn’t call it TL;DR, but […]

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Hitting the hockey highway in the 2016 Ford Flex AWD

Bad weather seemed to be the watchword for my week with the 2016 Ford Flex AWD Limited. Just look at it the day after I picked it up for this review. Fortunately, weather didn’t put a damper on anybody’s spirits. The Flex was going to prove an able teammate on that quintessential journey, the weekend hockey tournament. […]

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What a phone scam sounds like

Hearing messages like the one in this post annoys me. Before I go into my bullet-pointed rant, click the link below to listen to a 40-second recording I made of a voice mail message early this spring (my apologies for the rough audio quality, but it is all understandable): 613-927-9672 The phone number is  quoted twice in […]

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