CHAT WITH A WORLD WAR I SOLDIER

Topics: Texting a soldier, retro game, video trends, avoiding loud commercials, family safety settings, sketching tips, ten enigmas that defy explanation.

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LOSING SKYPE

Our 96-year-old friend Ida uses the free Skype service to have video-chats with her friends in Australia. One day, her account was wiped out. Could this happen to you? (Think of that question as having been asked in scary monster movie title type.) You might think this had something to do with her age, and she must have hit the wrong button or spilled something on the keyboard. But no, we found dozens of similar complaints on the web. One guy wrote: “Where has my account gone? I do business all over Europe and today you just trashed my account with the credit I had as well?  You idiots.  If somebody within Microsoft made the decision to do this – […]

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HERE’S LOOKING AT EVERYBODY

  If you use Facebook, but worry about it sharing your personal information with strangers, we have a fix. It’s Facebook’s “Privacy Checkup.” From your computer, go to Facebook.com and click the tiny picture of a padlock next to the tiny picture of a globe in the upper right. Follow the steps to increase your privacy. — You might not want anyone to see how often you play “Candy Crush,” or any other application, for example. In that case, change the “public” setting to “only me.” — Remove any apps you’re not using. — Change the information on your profile page and remove the year of your birth if it’s listed. (It’s easier to do identity theft if the bad […]

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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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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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IT’S A MARSHMALLOW WORLD

Less than five percent of Android phone owners have the new “Marshmallow” operating system. A third have the previous version, Lollipop. the rest are so far back the operating systems were written on stone tablets.

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MOVE OVER DOT COM, MAKE ROOM FOR DOT FAMILY

There were 900 unique websites in 1995, 20 million in 2000 and now there are more than 120 million. You may have noticed that they’re not all “dot com.” Common endings include “.org,” “.net,” and “.edu.”  One of the newest endings is “.family.” If your name is Joe Doe, you might like a website called Doe.Family. Your email address could be joe@doe.family. Your wife might be jane@doe.family. Other new extensions include dot LIVE, dot SOCIAL, and dot ROCKS. To get one of these new names, you have to pay for it and register it. GoDaddy.com has some of the cheapest prices. They run around $1 to $40.  

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DUMPING CABLE

We keep hearing from readers who have dropped their expensive cable TV subscriptions. This is going to be an unstoppable trend. With plug-in adapters like Roku, Apple TV, or Google Chromecast, you get channels such as Netflix, Hulu, YouTube and Amazon Video. All of those except YouTube involve extra fees, like $7 a month price for Netflix. But that is very little compared to cable costs.

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THE NUMBERS REPORT: OVER 1 TRILLION PHOTOS TAKEN EVERY YEAR

The number of photos captured worldwide every year has increased six times in the last ten years to 1.2 trillion photos. That’s around 3.3 billion (yes, billion) photos a day. Around 79 percent of smartphone users take photos with their phones, 88 percent of those ages 18 to 24.

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TV OR NOT TV, THAT IS THE QUESTION

In three years, almost a quarter of all U.S. households won’t be cable TV subscribers, according to a new study by eMarketer. Instead, they’ll be watching Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and other channels on the Web, either directly on their computers or through devices like the Roku Player, Apple TV and Google Chromecast.

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