In its never ending struggle to conquer the world, Amazon is moving Alexa into your car. Well, maybe not your car, but a lot of cars. We have a couple things to say about that. Okay, maybe three things.

For those who came into the movie late, Alexa is this know-it-all device you can ask about anything and it will often come up with the right answer and play music too. But it chops up classical pieces. (It’s best to imagine that somewhere in the middle of the Emperor Concerto, Beethoven dies, and that’s all he wrote.)

Coming out in early February, the car version will plug into your cigarette lighter and all will be well with the world. The last time we mentioned a car’s cigarette lighter, we heard from a reader who believed we were daft (close). He said it was a power outlet, not a cigarette lighter, because nobody smokes anymore. Another informed us it was not a cigarette lighter, it was a cigar lighter.

They call the new Alexa device Roav Viva and it will cost $50.  We asked Alexa what Roav Viva means but she didn’t know. Well, anyway … it talks through Bluetooth to a speaker, in your cupholder or elsewhere. (Bluetooth is a wireless radio transmission protocol named for a long, long dead king of Denmark.) Or it plugs in to your car radio. Look for a tiny socket labeled “aux” on the right side of the car radio. Aux means auxiliary. Our car is 18 years old and has no tiny socket, so another way to go is to listen to Alexa’s calm sweet voice through our smartphone. (The voice is a composite; by the way, there is no Alexa.) To hear her through the car’s own radio we could get an FM transmitter but that also goes into the cigarette lighter, so we’d need a car with two cigarette lighters.

We don’t really “need” Alexa, though we’ve heard of people who miss her terribly when they take trips. Our Pixel 2 phone has “Google Assistant” built in, and phones that don’t have it can download it from the Google Play store. We love Google Assistant, it’s also the voice inside the “Google Home” we have in the kitchen. IPhone users have Siri for the same purpose and they would both seem to be good alternatives to the new Roav Viva.

For other ways to get Alexa in your car, there’s Garmin’s “The Speak Plus,” also coming out in February, for $230. Besides channeling Alexa, it records accidents and delivers alerts. Panasonic is coming out with the Alexa Onboard. Logitech has Zero Touch for $50.

Free Logo Designs lets you create a free logo in three clicks. The only catch is, they ask you to give them credit if you use it on your website, Facebook page or elsewhere. (Failure to do so could result in a visit from the logo police, who are madmen editors.)

To make a logo, start by clicking to choose a template. Frankly, their free templates looked just as good as the professional ones. Type in the name of your company or organization and make up a slogan. Click “Download.” They’ll ask you to share their name on Facebook or some other social media site, but you can ignore that, and then it’s all yours, ready to use in three versions. One comes with a transparent background so you can use it on colored pages.

DesignEvo has over one million icons to choose from in various categories. They also have hundreds of fonts and shapes. Download as many as you want. If you need more fonts, you can download them from other sites, but beware: downloading fonts is an easy way to pick up malware. We were okay downloading fonts from BlueFaqs. Search on the phrase “20 Free Fonts Ideal for Logos and Headings.”  Once you find one you like, click it, then click the download button. Then double-click the “ttf” file and click “install.”

We made a sample logo you can see above.

App Happy

  • Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen” for Android or iPhone tells you which foods have the most nutrition and lets you check off categories to make sure your day has been health-promoting. Each category has a list of examples, with quick video explanations of that food’s powers from Dr. Greger’s site, For instance, kale and collard greens lower the risk of glaucoma and prevent wrinkles, and have powerful anti-cancer and anti-heart disease properties. To earn a gold star from the app, Joy makes a smoothie with greens, banana, soy milk, cherry pomegranate juice, and frozen cherries.
  • “Toca Life: Vacation.” (For iPhone or Android.) See what it’s like going to the airport, jumping on a hotel bed and digging for treasure. The Toca Life Hospital,” welcomes newborn babies and treats the sick.
  • Syntronik,” a free app for iPhone and iPad, offers 25 instrument sounds from 17 synthesizers. It works with Apple’s GarageBand and other programs. They say it captures the “DNA” of the original hardware and accurately reproduces the sound of classic synthesizers.

Nazi Programs

Programs you just can’t get off the computer are called “Nazi Programs” in the techie trade. The latest version of “Uninstaller,” from Ashampoo, takes care of those. It also gives you a snapshot of what you have installed. We found out we had 85 programs installed, along with 50 Windows apps we never use.

Uninstaller includes “Startup Tuner,” which prevents certain programs from starting up automatically. Using the “Internet Cleanup tab,” we got rid of 14,268 web browsing traces put there by companies who were sure we would never want to be without them.

Uninstaller 7 is better than Windows own uninstaller. Ordinary programs tend to leave bits behind, sort of digital driftwood. These can slow down your computer or make it unstable. Besides those bits, Uninstaller gets rid of unwanted toolbars and browser plugins. Those can be sneaky; they add themselves without asking you first. The program is $40 from



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