We felt like we had been dropped back to 1960 when we temporarily lost our TV’s remote control. On modern TVs, it’s difficult to find the volume control – or any controls for that matter. A gizmo called “Pronto” could have saved our bacon. (Which after all that time trying to find the controls, was burning in the oven.)
We’ve always been skeptical of those “RealPad” ads in the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) magazine. But readers tell us this senior version of a tablet computer is really neat. RealPad simplifies the user experience. If you can put up with a shorter battery life and a less zippy performance, it could be for you.
In a recent survey, the manufacturer of a sanitizer called PhoneSoap, asked people which they thought was dirtier: the soles of their shoes, a toilet seat or a cellphone: Most chose the toilet seat, but it’s actually the phone. Most cellphones have 18 times more bacteria than the toilet in a public restroom, they say.
More and more people are getting TV channels without paying a monthly cable bill, often called the movement to “cut the cord.” Now Walmart has entered the fray, with its $25 “Vudu Spark.” The Spark comes with its own remote control and plugs into the USB port on your TV or laptop. It comes pre-loaded with the Vudu movie and TV app, and that’s it. But it’s $10 less than the Google Chromecast and comes with a $25 credit for Vudu movies. The downside of these movie and TV-streaming sticks is you have to pay for most of the things you watch. You don’t have to pay much, but obviously it adds up depending on how much watching you do. […]
The “Power Tap” is a wall plug-in charger that looks like a faucet. Turn the tap when you want to power your gadget. We like this a lot. Joy is always hunting for the charging cable for her iPad Mini. Now she can just leave it plugged in without wasting power. We’d be even happier if it had two USB ports, one for the phone and one for the iPad. Then we’d never have to search for the right cable. The Power Tap is $27.50 from AeroPostale.com. (Clothing apparently is a sideline.) You can also find something similar by searching on the key words “Power Tap.” When we tried that, it came up for $10 on Amazon.
When we wrote about Roku and Amazon Fire Stick for bringing in extra movie channels, games, and apps on your TV, we neglected to talk about Google’s Chromecast, which is cheaper: $35 online or $30 at Walmart. The $49 Roku stick easily won our test against the $39 Amazon Fire Stick. But we didn‘t have a “Chromecast.” So last week we went out and bought one and tested it thoroughly. The results were disappointing. Chromecast sounds great in theory: just about anything you see on your phone can theoretically be mirrored on your big TV. They call it “casting.” In our tests, however, it didn’t always work and was highly frustrating to handle. Now we’re sorry we gave two Chromecasts […]