GOOGLE WIFI

From the earliest days, one of the primary rules about computers and related technology has been “No matter what you get, you have to get something else to make it work.” For example: We wanted our new Amazon Echo Dot to play thunderstorms in the bedroom as we were going to sleep. (This is one of those digital know-it-alls that you place on a table and ask it to tell you things, usually simple things, like “what’s the weather out there?”) Naturally enough, this didn’t work, because the bedroom was too far from the office router — all of 30 feet. So we bought a “Google WiFi” extender to extend our Internet signal there. This is what is often called […]

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DRONE ENTREPRENEURS

First there was the Drones Club, then Drone Racing and now: making some money with drones. Our friend Lee gets his family a tech present every year. Last year it was drones. Lee’s 20-something daughter, a civil engineer, started using hers to offer aerial photography and video to construction sites. Then she started her own drone business, offering these services as a certified remote pilot in Wisconsin. If you Google the phrase “how to be a drone entrepreneur,” several sites come up. The first, from Virgin.com, describes several possibilities. One is farming. Drones have been crop-dusting in Japan for 15 years, and U.S. farmers are getting started. American farms are much larger and farmers here are looking for drones that […]

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A HARD MASTER

Topics: DOS reconsidered,
gadget transfers photos from PC to iPad or the reverse,
Gamer’s Keyboard
Password Manger

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SOMEONE IS LISTENING

Google Home plays music, brings you news, puts videos on your TV and answers questions. “Internuts:” (interesting websites) include Lighter.world and a site for writers.

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BACK TO THE PAST

Topics: Polaroid cameras, password managers, uninterruptible power supply

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HOW’S THAT AGAIN? GETTING A TRANSLATION OFFLINE

  “Google Translate” is a free app for Android and iPhones, that can now translate 52 languages, whether you are online or off. For example: We tapped the microphone icon, then tapped “Spanish,” and said “Where is the bus station?” A voice from the phone then immediately said “Donde esta la estacio del bus?” If the person you directed this to, spoke the answer into the phone’s microphone, the phone would translate their answer into English. Joy tried Indonesian because she’s reading “Tales of a Female Nomad,” and the nomad spent most of her time there. The app solves the worst problem with the old method of using foreign language phrase books: There’s usually little trouble in speaking the phrase […]

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GETTING A JUMP

We stopped paying for AAA road service after they refused Joy’s call for help. Joy’s car was sandwiched tightly between two others in a crowded medical parking garage and she couldn’t get in. She finally got help from a building employee.

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NEWS FROM THE DRONES CLUB

Recently we wrote about taking our drone to the park and seeing it waft miles away from us in a few seconds. Afterward, a reader wrote us with his solution. It does not involve hours of practice flying.

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THE DRONES CLUB: BEWARE TINY SCREWS AND INSTANT LIFTOFF

Gone in 60 Seconds. Not the movie. Our drone. It was bouncing along the grass, struggling for liftoff, so Joy handed the controller to Bob, and said, “You try it.” Bob naturally pushed the lift lever all the way up and the drone climbed like a socialite at a garden party. Within three seconds it was out of sight. We couldn’t have been more surprised if we’d launched a pocket rocket. “There,” Joy said. “I think it came down over there.”  This was all wishful thinking, of course. As we went through the grass and the nearby woods, the odds were growing that it came down in the next county. Maybe. Bob had made the most common mistake in droning, […]

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COOL GADGETS FROM CES

Here are some cool gadgets from the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. As with all CES products, they’re expected out by the end of the year, but you never know for sure.  Here are the coolest of the cool. ili wearable translator from iamili.com. It’s the size of a small flip phone and when you speak into it, it translates between English, Chinese and Japanese. A short video on the company’s website is fun. A handsome young guy with big dimples takes the device to the streets of Japan. He makes comments in English to pretty girls and the gadget speaks them aloud in Japanese. Often, he says he would like to kiss them. Most run away, but […]

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