THE FUTURE IS PLUGGED IN

Here are some facts on children’s use of their phones. Most kids get their first phone at age 10. The most common activity is texting. Almost a third have sent text messages to their parents even though everyone involved was in the house. Seventy-six percent of kids access the Internet from the family room, down from 85 percent four years ago. A quarter of kids now have private access from their bedrooms. Fifty percent of kids begin using Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat at age 12 or younger. The study was done by Influence Central, a marketing firm. Making Windows 10 Look Like Windows 7 For $5 we can finally stop moaning about the clunky look of Windows10. “Start10” is […]

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CHEAP PHONES STILL WORK

A reader wrote to tell us his young daughter got separated from him and his wife during Mardi Gras. Instead of it being a desperate situation, she called and told him where she was. “I found her in short order,” He says. His daughter uses an old LG flip phone with $10 a month service from Kajeet.com. This made us think of other ways out of tough situations. Since she had an old-fashioned flip phone, it lacked apps, including the Uber app for calling a cab. With services like Uber and Lyft, no cash is required because a credit card is linked to your account and charged automatically. So if you have no money — say you’ve been robbed or […]

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BLUETOOTH MYSTERIES

We heard from a reader who wasn’t sure what Bluetooth was and why she needed it on her new iPad Mini. The answer is (the envelope, please): It’s a short-range radio transmitter and receiver, and she doesn’t need it.

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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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USING HOUND INSTEAD OF SIRI

“Hound” is a free competitor to Apple’s “Siri,” Google’s “Now” and Microsoft’s “Cortana.”

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APPS FOR SHIPPING AND MOVING

–“Roadie,” a free app for Android, iPhone and your computer, is a different way to ship stuff. Describe your gig, as they call it, and Roadies (who are people like you) will tell you how much they’d charge to deliver it. It’s a similar approach to Uber Cab and Lyft. It’s a lot cheaper than UPS, Fed Ex or even the Post Office if the driver happens to be going your way. Get enough drivers doing this and there will always be somebody going your way. (But not Bing Crosby.) We read about a business owner who sent four chandeliers 300 miles away. They arrived the next day, saving him hundreds of dollars. There are also benefits for the driver. […]

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SECURE IPHONE

A reader asked us how to protect his iPhone from the bad guys; iPhones are pretty well protected, but there are a few things you can do to be even safer. Here are several iPhone security apps: “1Password” protects credit card info and passwords with military-grade encryption. “Private Photo Vault Pro,” $4, keeps whole albums or individual photos and videos private. “Hotspot Shield,” for $5 a month protects your identity and blocks hackers when you’re using Wi-Fi in coffee shops, at the airport, library or wherever you find a free public Internet connection. (There have been 400 million downloads on this one.)

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APPLE WATCH

When we tried out some smart watches, we mainly used them for checking email, noting the weather and keeping track of stocks. Our friend Louise got an Apple Watch, and she uses it differently.

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BLOCK THOSE CALLS

“Mr. Number” is a free app for Android phones that lets you block calls and text messages from certain numbers or area codes. “Truecaller,” free for Android, adds caller ID info on incoming calls and texts. It automatically blocks known spammers. (Dang! There go all my old friends from Nigeria.)

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FREE APPS FOR THE KINDLE FIRE

“Amazon’s Best Sellers of the Underground” has free apps that can be used on the Amazon Kindle Fire. We got a free set of “Office Suite Professional,” normally $15, and saw many other freebies, including “Star Wars” games, exercise routines and something called “Monster Crafter Pro.” You create the monster, train it, and go on adventures through harrowing dungeons. (Always handy to have a monster along.) All free.

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