Posted in FYI, technology

Getting Ready for Holiday Tech Gifts

It is that time of year again when we are able to acquire computer tech deals before the holiday is upon us.  And, we can get our shopping done on-line.  I looked around for some ideas at a few websites I count on go give me suggestions.  Take a look at the some of the deals and see whether you find something that will work for your shopping list.

  1. The Roku Streaming Stick. ( $49.00). The tiny Roku Streaming Stick brings us still further into the future of streaming entertainment onto our big-screens. It is a small device, not much larger than the typical thumb drive, that plugs directly into a port on your TV and allows you to stream television shows, movies, music, games and other content from the Internet, in some cases without extra cables or remote controls. Source: https://electronics.howstuffworks.com/gadgets/other-gadgets/roku-streaming-stick.htm
  2. Kindle Paperwhite. If you’re tired of lugging around those heavy hardcover books, you should consider buying a Kindle. After testing all the Kindle models for 2017—including the new Kindle Oasis—our recommendation for most people is the Kindle Paperwhite. (available at Amazon) Not only does a Kindle give you thousands of books at your disposal, the convenience factor is just plain hard to beat. Source: https://www.reviewed.com/laptops/best-right-now/the-best-kindles
  3. Google Home Mini Smart Speaker  ($49.00) – Looks like a real winner to me and less expensive than some gadgets. Source: https://www.pcmag.com/feature/339156/24-must-have-tech-gifts-under-50/6
  4. Amazon Smart Plug  ($24.00) We will not have to turn on our coffee makers and lights.  This little gadget will do it for us.  And, it may fit into your budget. Source:  https://www.pcmag.com/feature/339156/24-must-have-tech-gifts-under-50/10
  5. iHome Motion Sensor iSBO1 – ($29.27) A WiFi Motion sensor. This gadget will let you know about movement in your home.  Nicely priced too. Source: https://www.pcmag.com/feature/339156/24-must-have-tech-gifts-under-50/12
  6. Tile Pro and Tile Mate ($25.00)  – A real winner for help finding your keys and other items you have misplaced.
    Source: https://www.pcmag.com/feature/339156/24-must-have-tech-gifts-under-50/12

Once you get started, with these deals, you will be so happy you did.

Click below for more deals 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted in FYI, technology

No Cords Smartphone Charging?

I have friends who recently purchased wireless charging gadgets and they are very pleased with them.  I’m still holding onto my cords and plugs, and I am wondering if I am causing myself unnecessary work in the process.  I often go to read what Brian X. Chen in the New York Times Tech Fix column has to say about technology.  Below is a summary of what I learned about these gadgets.
♦ Newest smartphones are composed of glass. This fact allows the phone to charge wirelessly.  However, according to the article I read, wireless charging isn’t truly wireless!  That’s because the accessories that allow you wireless charging (mats; stands;), that is to say, you put your phones on to charge, have to be plugged in to a power outlet.

♦ Wireless charging is not as efficient. Therefore, it is slower in refilling the battery. As much as 15 percent slower. Even with that fact, there are smartphone users who say that wireless is more convenient.

♦ After reading the pros and cons, I think for me personally, it’s not worth the costs involved.  I have so many plugs already.  What would I do with them??

♦ One gadget did seem to be worth investigating:  Mophie’s rectangular battery packs with built-in inductive charging. This gadget does not have to be plugged into a power source (cost listed at $99.00).

♦ Another suggestion I liked was having a wireless charging pad for your guests when they come to visit your home, which is aesthetic and hospitable.  No need for them to be under your table looking for an outlet ;).

  • Take a look at the pros and cons for yourself by reading the source document by Mr. Chen.  Just click the picture below.

 

 

Posted in FYI

Best Phone Plans for International Travel

 

Although I’ve used At&T as my cell phone carrier for years, I recently read that it is not one of the best services for traveling internationally.  However, I do not travel internationally enough for it to make a difference in my budget.  For those who do travel often, or just want a better deal to accommodate their travel budget, this article is worth reading, especially if you’re technically savvy.

Geoffrey Morrison reports in WireCutter that T-Mobile has the best deal for traveling internationally and using your cell phone without difficultly and high roaming charges. https://thewirecutter.com

Below are some of the highlights I think are worth considering.

T-Mobile – One of the best!

Has coverage in 210 countries and no international data roaming fees. The one drawback: the data is slow.

Dependable data in more than 210“countries and destinations,” that data is very slow: 2G speeds, or 128 Kbps.

$5 a day you can get a Global Pass, which gets you 512 MB of 4G data.

There’s an explanation about using a SIM card if you need more speed. I will not go into detail here – you can use this link to find out more.

Google Project Fi – Next best!

  • Better than T-Mobile for international travel for one big reason: 4G data. Your phone will work the same. The speed will be as good as the country’s mobile phone support.
  • Project Fi –  it works on only a handful of phones. Specifically, Google’s own Pixel, Nexus, Moto One X4s, and now a triumvirate of LG phones.
  • Fi is technically available in only 170 countries. Keep in mind that the speeds are better than T-Mobile.

 
UNLOCKING YOUR PHONE

  • If you do not want to get a new phone you can unlock it, which will let you switch providers (T-Mobile). You also have the choice to use a local SIM card. The article details what each carrier requires.

Continue reading “Best Phone Plans for International Travel”

Posted in FYI, technology

Last Minute Back to School 2018 Deals & Advice

If you’re still looking for last-minute back to school deals for your school supplies and laptops,  I’ve searched around and found one or two suggestions, which may help you.

I’ve always gone to Wirecutter for their observant and expert advice on all sorts of products.  Whether you are in college, grade school, or going back to school yourself, it’s a good place to start. Scroll down through the menu screen to find the products you’re looking for.  Then, select the filter option. And while you’re at it, sign up for their Newsletter to stay on top of good purchases. https://thewirecutter.com/deals/

You will also want to look at https://Inkgrabber.com, and https://www.inkjets.com, to find the best deals on toner for your printers.

  • As soon as you start to get the “jitters”, as you send your young college students off to fend for themselves, you may want to take a look at this set of suggestions, published by US News. It is an article about wellness for Parents no less! Click this link, and “breathe” US News for Parents
Posted in FYI

Browser Safety & Privacy: Is it possible?

I often look to Brian X. Chen’s, New York Times articles for Tech Fix when I really want to know about a product.  And,  I must say, his articles are very helpful.  In a recent personal search for information using Internet Explorer, I once again found my computer attacked by Spyware.  I have some experience with this, as some of you who follow my blog, already know.  Remember when I was held hostage in October 2017?
I wrote about it on this blog post: Malware-safety-requirements/

It’s very scary, time-consuming and costly.  Just a few days ago, the same thing happened again! Yes!  As Brian X. Chen says, “the web has reached a new low…annoying, often toxic and occasionally unsafe place to hang out.”  I managed to catch myself before I panicked and made a mistake.  I turned off my computer; logged back on, and deleted the Internet shortcut I had on my taskbar to the browser.  I then looked at the tools on my Internet Browser toolbar, which allowed me to go into my Internet options, and delete the history.  Once again I was saved! Whew!

Do you always know how to protect yourself from Spyware?   In this instance, I switched to my Google Chrome browser to check if my computer had been compromised. I had no problem, and continued my work.

 Just in case, however, there are other Browser options.  Does anyone remember Firefox??  Or, you may know it by the name Mozilla.  Mark Mayo, Mozilla’s chief product officer resumed his thinking about different tools and architectures and different approaches. Now there is a new Mozilla version.  The code-name is Quantum.  Here are the changes according to Chen:  sleekly designed, fast; consumes less memory than the competition.  This allows you to have lots of tabs. But, the real attraction are the privacy tools: built-in feature for blocking ad trackers…. tools to prevent Facebook from monitoring activities to name just a few.  There is much more covered in the article all about the normal Firefox browser, and Firefox Focus.  You can read all of the reasons for considering this new version of Firefox.  Apparently, the privacy features are substantial.  Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/20/technology/personaltech/firefox-chrome-browser-privacy.html

 One more thing, learn about Firefox Quantum at this link: https://blog.mozilla.org/blog/2017/11/14/introducing-firefox-quantum/

Be careful out there!

Posted in FYI

No such thing as FREE APPS

Ok Folks, let’s review this again for ourselves:  We all know now that information is always being collected about us when we use apps on computers and phones, as well as, the free online services. For example, tax preparation software. This is not a secret. We are being watched, and information is collected about us if we are using internet connected audio speakers, thermostats etc.

  • The regulation of these services and how these services are using our personal digital information are not regulated as in the food industry.
  • An article I read suggests that we still should take extra steps to be careful with ‘obscure’ tech brands.  Don’t sign up for every app that is available, or take every quiz if you’re a Facebook user.
  • None of these APPs are free, and they often give you the details of what their collecting in their privacy policy.

Continue reading “No such thing as FREE APPS”

Posted in FYI, technology

Virtual HELP Wanted?

I don’t know about you, but the idea of an assistant to help me keep my projects on track or, moreover, get them done, seems rather attractive these days. Well, it turns out that those virtual assistants are out there, and they are available 24 hours a day!  Yep!

According to a recent article in the New York Times, these services are for people who want help managing their lives, but don’t need a full-time assistant.  Does this sound like you?  Well, read on to find out what’s out there. And whether you can fit this type of help into your budget.  The article suggests a price range of $81 for an app, to as low as  $20 an hour.  So, what do the various services do?

The first website I visited is Fin https://www.fin.com/,
Some of the claims are as follows: email; text; schedule; research.  24 hour service, 7 days a week. They are more flexible, highly educated, and you only pay for what you use.  That’s pretty impressive.  According to the article I read about this service, the experience with the company was a little confusing: the charges they accrued; how those charges were accrued; and the service was not what was expected. Although they eventually worked it all out.  My suggestion is to be perfectly clear what services you are asking for, and make sure to use those services one request at a time, instead of mixing them.  Use this link to review how the pricing works – https://www.fin.com/pricing

Continue reading “Virtual HELP Wanted?”