USING YOUR CAMERA TO SCAN DOCUMENTS

turboscan“Turboscan” was suggested by a doctor who reads our column. He said it’s good for scanning a document with your camera phone and it worked well in our tests. It’s $3 for Android or iPhone.

It lets you take multi-page scans. Crop the results and you can combine three similar shots to get better resolution. When satisfied, tap the app to email the document as a PDF.

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A DECENT KEYBOARD FOR YOUR PHONE

the jorno keyboardIf you’re like us, you make lots of mistakes typing on your phone. The new “Jorno” may be the best Bluetooth keyboard yet. It connects wirelessly to your phone and comes in a handy carrying case with a microfiber lining to grab onto any dust. The case folds up to become a stand. Rest your phone on it, unfold the keyboard and you’re ready to type.

The keyboard isn’t full-sized, but it’s roomy compared to any iPhone or Android keyboard. When folded up and inside its case, it’s only six inches by four inches. Before needing a recharge, the battery will last through 82 hours of continuous typing or 220 days on standby. This might make a good gift for a student going off to college, or for people who answer all their email on their phones. It’s $99 at JornoStore.com.

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DOWN PERISCOPE: HOT NEW APP LEAVES US COLD

brushing teethNot every new thing is worth following. For example, we’ve been reading for weeks about Periscope, a hot new app for watching live video from anyone who cares to post it. As you might guess, the village videot strikes, and strikes again.

The best post we saw was a close-up of someone practicing the piano (with lots of mistakes) and an inaudible routine at a New York City comedy club. (Hey, those were the highlights.) The other stuff was along the order of: “I’m brushing my teeth now.”

Periscope is owned by Twitter, and they had much better stuff initially, but unfortunately it was illegal. Users started posting TV broadcasts like “Game of Thrones.” The company took down 66 illegal shows, including the Mayweather-Pacquiao championship boxing match that people paid thousands of dollars to see in person. (Top price we came across was $350,000 for a ringside seat.)

If you want to try it for yourself, go to Periscope.TV, and click on the link for iPhone/iPad or Android. Alternatively, iPad users may be in the habit of tapping on the App store icon on their tablets. But when we tried that on our iPad Mini, the only Periscope listed was the $3 version, not the free one. We’ve often noticed that a popular app isn’t always at the app store. But magically, when you Google its name, it’s suddenly there. Who knows?

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AVOIDING GERMS

SlivverWhenever a retail clerk hands Bob a pen to sign with, he says, “Do you know where that pen has been?” and whips out his own pen. He’s only partially kidding. If cell phones are as dirty as public restrooms, according to a recent study, we wonder about the pens stores hand you to sign credit card receipts?

A techie solution is gaining ground on the crowd-funding website, Indiegogo.com. You can pre-order a “Slivver” stylus for $10. It looks like a credit card sleeve but you can sign your name with one corner of it on those little screens you see at stores. It doesn’t take up any extra room in your wallet and it’s anti-bacterial.

By the way, it seems it doesn’t matter what you sign to one of those receipts. After the card number has been approved, the receipt they want you to sign is a dead document. Bob usually signs them “Elvis,” or sometimes “James Bond.” None has ever been rejected.

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FREE SCIENCE BOOKS

Science_books_in_Senate_HouseList of Free Science Books” from physicsdatabase.com. This site has hundreds of free books in chemistry, physics, astronomy, math, physiology, etc., all online. Click on a title and the online version pops right up. We’re intrigued by “The Wonder Book of Knowledge.” The table of contents lists topics like “Why do we Smile when we are pleased?” “How did the Dollar Sign originate?” “Why do some of us have freckles?”

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NUTRITION FACTS

foodpyramid-fullNutritionFacts.org has the best videos we’ve ever seen on health topics, including heart disease and cancer. Today we learned that while pesticides are found almost universally in the blood of people eating conventional foods from grocery stores, it’s not clear whether this causes health problems. Surveys are difficult, because there are so many variables. Fruit flies are easier to study, for example, but not surprisingly, insects eating insecticides fare poorly. We also learned the most effective way to remove surface pesticides from fruit and veggies: put a little salt in the water when you wash them.

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THIS WEBSITE GUESSES YOUR AGE

how-old-beatles-according to how-old dot netHow-Old.net is a Microsoft site for guessing your age. It’s quite the rage. We just saw a post of the Mona Lisa which the site pegged as a woman of 23. Joy was fit to be tied when she uploaded a photo of herself and it said she was 87! (She’s one of those sensitive types.) The next time she took a new photo on the spot, and it guessed her age as 32. It got Barack Obama’s age exactly right.

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WINDOWS 10 NEWS

windows 10Windows 10, due out in July, has at least two things we like, besides an improved start button. It’s going to take up 6.6 gigabytes less space. That doesn’t sound like a lot, and isn’t, if you buy a computer with a typical hard drive today; they often have close to a thousand gigabytes. But the new faster computers have solid state drives, also called flash drives. The response is almost instantaneous. It’s a trend that will take over the market and the prices are reasonable. We found a refurbished Dell Latitude E6410, for $500 on Amazon, and if you go to Dell’s own web site, Dell.com/outlet, you’ll find lots of deals.

Windows 10 will also make it easier to get rid of “crapware.” It’s annoying to have your computer junked up with stuff you don’t need and Windows 10  will get rid of it all by simply clicking “reset and refresh.” As with Windows 8, Microsoft’s free cloud storage, “OneDrive” will be built in. When you save a document, you’ll see OneDrive as one of your folder choices.

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BUYING A NEW COMPUTER

slow computerUntil the other day, we thought there were only two things to remember when buying a new computer: Get one with an Intel Core i5 or i7 processor and get at least eight gigabytes of RAM. Here’s a third tip: Get one that’s easy to restore to its original factory settings. We learned this lesson after attempting to replace Bob’s nine-year old HP machine with a Lenovo. Read more »

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PLAY IT ONLINE

60 MINUYRDPlay.it is online radio. The CBS program “60 Minutes” has all their programs there, so if you missed it on TV, you can listen to the audio tracks.

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