INTERNET BLUES

A reader wrote to say she can’t get fast Internet service from her Internet provider. They say it’s because she’s in a rural area, at the very edge of their coverage. “An update available on my iPhone 6s took a day and a half to download,” she says.  “The update on my watch took even longer.  My son got both done at his school in two hours!  It’s ironic that in order to pay the bill I have to mail it in.” If you’re in the same rocky boat, go to speedtest.net to verify how fast your Internet connection is. (Just click “go” and they do the rest.)  Our connection is pretty fast, with a download speed of 20 and […]

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DEVELOPING A TWITCH

An old friend in the computer gaming business called to pitch a new product. The product was interesting though not yet ready for prime time. But his call opened a window we hadn’t looked through in many years. We hardly ever mention computer games anymore, because it has become a specialty in its own right and is too narrow for this column. And yet, they’re still out there. More than half a million people tune in daily to Twitch.TV, where they can watch other people play video games. Ten million have downloaded the app to watch Twitch on their phones. Sound pretty stupid? We tuned in (because we have to) and it was actually interesting. In fact it was more […]

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SEE IT LATER

Pressed for time or feeling sleepy? “Pocket” is a free app for saving articles and pictures to look at later. The app is available for Windows, Macs, phones and tablets. That’s everything but billboards. To get started on your computer, go to GetPocket.com and install it. If you use Firefox as your browser, it comes with it. Once installed, you can click the tiny picture of a pocket in the upper right of your screen any time you want to save an item for later viewing. To find the stuff you’ve saved, click on the pocket and “view list.” It might also save whatever you’re looking at right at that moment at the same time, but live with it. So […]

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MEDICAL APPS

A reader asked us to find her a blood pressure app for the iPhone. There are several of these for both iPhone and Android. Unlike the kind you see at the doctor’s office, the apps do not use a compression band that temporarily cuts off your circulation. They measure the slight pulsing from placing your finger on the phone. We tried “Finger Blood Pressure! Free” on our Android phone, and compared it with the reading we got on the $35 Omron 3 Series Blood Pressure monitor with a pressure cuff. The Omron is battery operated, so you’re not tethered to the wall plug. Omron said Joy’s systolic pressure was 118, her diastolic reading was 74 and her pulse was 46. […]

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A BRIGHT BULB

Now there are light bulbs that respond to apps on your smartphone. You can control the lighting from anywhere in the world.

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WHAT’S REALLY WARMING THE WORLD?

“What’s Really Warming the World?” Search on that phrase and you’ll come up with an interactive chart put together by Bloomberg Business. It’s a view of temperature changes in air and water over the last 135 years, plotted against things like volcanic activity, deforestation, changes in solar radiation, etc. The strongest correlation is seen with so-called “greenhouse gases.”

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WHAT’S NEW IN ELECTRIC CARS

Electric cars are hot, so to speak, and the latest entry comes from the Morgan Motor Car Company in Malvern Links, Wales. Bob drove a Morgan for more than 20 years and it remains his all-time favorite car. It’s very British: They made one car a day.

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DESK LIGHTS

Okay we’re caving in – a little bit — to the desire for gift suggestions:

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THIN-FILM SOLAR CELLS

Making solar cells can get expensive. What if you could just stick them on, or perhaps even spay them on?

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GETTING A CHARGE

Another day, another charger. We’ve been flooded with these things, but some are unusual.

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