SPEEDING UP AN ANDROID

It’s not just computers that slow down, Android phones do too.

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TV APP

“Plex” is an app for users of the Roku, a device that brings in hundreds of extra channels — Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, YouTube, for example – on your TV.  Plex gives you shortcuts to your favorite content and lets you pick up where you left off in a movie or show. You can also get it for laptops and tablets.

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PHOTO MATH

PhotoMath, a free app, lets you take a picture of an equation and get an answer plus the steps involved. (Does not recognize handwriting.) Assuming you already have it on a screen somewhere, this is easier than re-typing the mathematical expression at sites like WolframAlpha.com. PhotoMath already has 11 million downloads for the iPhone and Windows Phone version. That’s a lot of downloads but it didn’t work for us. You try it. An Android version is coming soon.  

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KEEP BREATHING –‘SPIRE’ HELPS COLUMNIST BREATH EASY

Joy is a mouth breather and was wondering if she breathes irregularly. So she got one these new $150 fitness tracker “Spire” to monitor her breathing and emotions — stress levels — as well as her steps. It has notions: When Joy did a backbend today, a pop-up message immediately suggested she calm down. The Spire said she hadn’t been calm for hours. “Who says I’m not calm!” Joy is demanding as we type. Spire looks like one of those smooth flat stones you pick up on river bottoms; it has a clip to attach to your shirt or pants. It goes with an app for your iPhone or iPad. (Android app coming up soon.) The app shows three flower […]

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THE SHARING ECONOMY

Sharing your car, couch and kitchen are all part of the so-called “sharing economy.”

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CELL PHONE BATTERY WOES

The battery in the Samsung Galaxy S3 smartphone is supposed to last for 18 hours on standby, 10 hours if you’re talking, 8 hours if you’re playing a video. We’ve been lucky if ours lasted half that. A free app called “Greenify,” along with some basic adjustments, has made a big difference. Greenify for Android phones hibernates any apps you don’t need to have running. Our phone stays on for at least 18 hours now, with light use. Some apps, such as the Amazon Kindle app, take a little longer to load with Greenify running in the background, but that’s better than a phone that dies when you don’t expect it. Before Greenify, we tried several other battery life extenders: […]

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LUMOID LETS YOU TRY LOTS OF FITNESS TRACKERS AT ONCE

Fitness trackers are a hot topic right now. It’s hard to pick the one you might like, but here’s a novel way to choose: try them all.

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ART OF THE GREETING CARD

Joy is mad for greeting cards, usually making her own with programs like Nova Development’s “Greeting Card Factory.” But CleverCards.com was too clever to pass up, for digital as well as printed cards.

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APPS FOR ART’S SAKE

“Famous Paintings” is a free Android app with paintings by Matisse, Homer, Uccello, Velasquez and dozens of others. Tap to zoom in once, then spread your fingers to zoom more. The details are remarkable. (Bob once visited a home in Morocco with $25 million worth of paintings in the entrance hall: A row of Fragonards on one wall and Watteaus on the other. Raphael was in the study. Now Joy has seen some of them too.)

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WHAT TO DO IF YOUR KID IS SICK

“KidsDoc,” a $2 app, helps you determine what to do if your kid is sick. It is the top iPhone app recommended by the 65,000 doctors at HealthTap.com. The doctors’ favorite Android app  is “First Aid American Red Cross.” You can see the whole list at healthtap.com/top_health_apps_2014.

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