THE WEB AND ITS DISCONTENTS

This comes up pretty regularly. A reader writes to ask if it’s worth paying $70 a year for anti-virus protection, or should he use Windows’ own built-in support? A large surge in so-called “Ransom Ware” infections has exacerbated the problem. RansomeWare locks up your files, and the sender, naturally, demands a ransom to unlock them. Typical demand is $300. This can be blocked. Microsoft says their own free program, Windows Defender, offers enough protection for Windows 8 and Windows 10 users. Perhaps so. Research on the web found that Microsoft Defender caught 94.5 percent of threats. But the sample size was 1517 threats, which meant that 83 went through. It’s that extra 5.5 percent that gets ya. The answer, says […]

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SLOW WEB

Recently, we wrote about websites that hog your computer’s resources and slow down your world. We dug in and found that our own chief culprit was one of our favorite sites, Techlicious.com. Later we found out it was a temporary problem caused by one of their advertisers. The advertiser has since been shut down. That’s good news. Even better, our Techlicious contact told us about a free plugin for users of Google’s “Chrome” browser, called “OneTab.” It takes all your open tabs (which show the websites you have open) and merges them into one tab. Collapsing all those tabs into one can cut the computer’s load by up to 95 percent. To find OneTab, search on the phrase “OneTab plugin.” […]

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A WORD TO THE FRUGAL

Topics this week: Free word processors and dictation, smart shopping, pinpointing your location, annoying ads.

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EASILY DONE

Topics: A better way to do email, alternatives to cable TV, Internuts, trends, and kid’s coding book.

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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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WATCHING TV SPORTS ANYWHERE

When our friend from Wisconsin (No, his name is not Yon Yonson) is in our neck-of-the-woods, he wants to watch the Green Bay Packer games on his phone. Can he do it? One way is to use “Watch ESPN,” a free app for Android, iPhone and iPad. We tried out the ESPN app on our phone to watch football in a doctor’s waiting room and it worked fine. But the catch is, you must verify that you have a subscription to cable TV. Our friend Lee does not have a cable TV subscription. Instead, he has a lifetime subscription to the TiVo service. TiVo users can stream programs to their TV at home or to their phone or tablet. But […]

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DROPPING CABLE

We’re going into this again because it seems that all the world wants to get rid of their cable service. Another reader writes to say that he wants to drop Comcast, and short of taking to the streets with flaming torches, he can’t seem to shake them. All he cares about is local channels and HBO.

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GETTING MORE OUT OF ONLINE TV

Thanks to the wonders of online TV, we just watched 11 years worth of Agatha Christie’s “Hercule Poirot” series in just a few weeks.

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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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