GOOGLE ASSISTANT KEEPS ASSISTING

Google Assistant is now inside our Android phone. She says little but hears all. You’ll get yours soon enough. Google Assistant will do your bidding when you speak to it, even when the phone is dark and locked. We could be lying on the couch half dead and say, “OK Google, call the Doc.” The next step: it will bill us too. Most Android phones don’t have the Assistant yet. You can find out when yours will have it by Googling the question. (Yes, Google has become a verb.)  Last month, we read that the Assistant would be on both the “Nougat” and the “Marshmallow” operating systems at the end of February. That’s 30 percent of all Android phones. We […]

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WORLD’S EASIEST TABLET

A reader asked us for our recommendation on the easiest tablet to use – the iPad, the Kindle Fire or something else? The easiest tablet is nearly always the one your friend has, because they’ll help you out. We always regretted getting an iPad for our aunt, because she never learned to use it. All her friends had computers, but they were thumb-dumb when it came to the iPad. If we’d thought of it, we would have told her to watch YouTube videos. There are good ones on every kind of tablet. So, go to YouTube.com and search on “how to use an iPad” or “how to use the Kindle Fire.” What could go wrong? Basically, all tablets are similar: […]

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MAKING MUSIC

Topics: Free music app, refurbished computers, geography game, Netflix Releases,security for Android phones, Dropbox tip.

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WET MACS

Joy converted to using a Mac a couple months ago, after her Windows 10 machine became so slow she almost tossed it out the window. Then Bob spilled tea on the Mac (It was an accident! Really!) and the rest is history.

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IT’S A MARSHMALLOW WORLD

Less than five percent of Android phone owners have the new “Marshmallow” operating system. A third have the previous version, Lollipop. the rest are so far back the operating systems were written on stone tablets.

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OUR NEW PHONE

Sometimes we pay attention to our own column. Right after we wrote about Google’s “Project Fi” phone service, we ditched our T-Mobile service and signed up. It was, as they say, a moment of epiphany.

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PHONE PLANS

PC Magazine surveyed thousands of readers to find out which phone plan is best. The big winner was Google’s “Project Fi,” which hardly anybody has ever heard of. It combines T-Mobile, Sprint and Wi-Fi into a virtual network. (A virtual network is one that doesn’t really exist but seems to. Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to make sense.) Project Fi gives you unlimited U.S. calls and texts and unlimited international texts for $20 a month; add $10 for each gigabyte of data you use. The nice thing is, you get money back for anything you don’t use. We used only 100 megabytes last month, so we would have gotten $9 back, for a monthly bill of $21. The catch is, […]

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TEST DRIVING THE GALAXY

Samsung is so sure that iPhone users would like a Samsung phone better if they tried one out, they’re offering a 30-day trial of the latest Samsung Galaxy and other Samsung phones for $1.

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THE BEST FREE ANDROID APPS

The August issue of PC Magazine reviewed the 100 best Android apps of 2015. Besides the usual suspects, we saw some we’d never heard of. Such as…

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THE MYSTERIOUS ANDROID “M”

The latest Android operating system, “M,” isn’t out yet, but here are the features getting the most buzz. — “Permissions.” One of the scariest things about downloading an app today is having to tap  “Accept” to give the app permission over a dozen different areas. That won’t happen with M. The app will only ask permission for something when it needs it. — “Doze” notices when your phone is at rest and shuts down unnecessary programs running in the background. According to Google, this makes the battery last 50 percent longer before a recharge. — “Android Pay” is now more like “Apple Pay.” It’s easier to use.  After signing up with a credit card, you can buy things by holding […]

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