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This is The Savvy Traveler. I'm Rudy Maxa.

Usually, I like doing more than one thing at a time, but even as an avid multi-tasker, I'm not too sure about a new feature being tested in New York City taxi cabs. A few are now equipped with Palm Seven hand-held computers, letting you relax and surf the net while your driver dodges traffic. Now, that may seem like a good idea, but what happens if I'm surfing a retail site when the cab hits a pothole and "click!..." I've accidentally bought a new sweater I don't really want? Or what if my frustration with a rush hour backup gets me cranky and I fire off an angry e-mail to a friend or business associate who doesn't deserve it? On the other hand, this is the perfect time to tap out, "Help, I'm being held captive in bumper-to-bumper traffic!"

What this really means of course, is that more than ever, you'll no longer have an excuse to be out of touch. That's a luxury I'll miss. Back when I was a reporter for the Washington Post in the '70s, if I wanted to go home early, I'd just say I'd be "up on the Hill" and no one could prove I wasn't up on Capitol Hill working on a story. There were no cell phones or even sophisticated pagers to track me, let alone e-mail all the time. So, soon you may not be able to blame a cab stuck in traffic for your lack of productivity.


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