BUYING GLASSES ONLINE, AN EYE-OPENING EXPERIENCE

Joy just ordered her first pair of glasses online. She couldn’t resist after reading “Seven Reasons to Order Glasses Online,” an article we found — where else? — online. We’re not going to go into all the reasons, but here are the ones that impressed us. Number one is price. Number two is free return. The third is parking. These also turn out to be the reasons for almost any online purchase. It is no secret and no longer a surprise that buying online is the winner in the retail Olympics. Amazon.com is the leader but not the only name in online shopping. Its sales are increasing 20 percent a year, while traditional large retailers’ sales have been moribund for […]

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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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OFFICE POLITICS

Topics in this column: Office politics, Losing the Internet, TED Talks, an app for Healthy Eating, Giving away a Kindle Fire, and the new Mac operating system.

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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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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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CAPTURING VIDEO AND PICTURES

Both Windows and Mac come with free tools for capturing whatever you see on your screen and attaching it to an email or using it elsewhere. But if you need high resolution screenshots, or want to capture video, add voice over or turn it into a brief animation, the new Ashampoo Snap 9 is a handy Windows program for doing that. Basically anything you see on your computer screen can be captured in up to 4K resolution, which is quite sharp. Add special effects, or time the video capture for a precise start and stop, or even pause it. The program can also do “OCR” (optical character recognition). So if you want to capture a news article off the screen, […]

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REUTERS TV

Reuters TV is a free app for Android and iPhone, as well as iPad, Apple TV and the web. On the web, go to Reuters.TV for what looked to us like even-handed coverage; they are especially strong on international news.

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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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WATCHING AMAZON VIDEO OFFLINE

“Amazon Instant Video,” for Android phones and tablets, allows you to download a movie for offline viewing, great for when you’re on a plane or train or otherwise out of range of a Wi-Fi signal.  Go to Amazon.com/GetAndroidVideo for detailed instructions.

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