CASTING CALL

A reader sent us a link to “24 hidden Android features” from PopularScience.com. Here are a few. They apply to Android 8 and up. Get Shortcuts. When you swipe down from the top of your screen, you see icons for stuff like “Do Not Disturb,” “Bluetooth,” and “Mobile Data.” Swipe down again to expand the list. If you tap the icon for a pen in the lower left, then swipe up, you’ll see a list of other shortcuts to add. For example, “Screen Cast,” makes it easy to cast whatever you’re looking at on your phone to your TV screen. Otherwise, you’ll only be able to cast from select websites where you see the casting icon. This lets you cast […]

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THE TECH SUPPORT DUNGEONS

Calling for tech support is often the beginning of a descent into gloom and doom. Here’s an example from a recent reader letter. He says: “I have recently turned eighty, my hearing is not the best. My Norton antivirus coverage expired and I needed to renew it using a new email address.” The nightmare begins. The whole process took two hours. He was told to bring up a chat screen but the “send” button wasn’t showing so he couldn’t respond.  This happened over and over with different tech support people.   After calling Norton, he writes, “I couldn’t understand the heavy European accent of a woman with a little girl voice. Soft voice, low volume, my deficient hearing, etc. The whole […]

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BACK TO THE PAST

Topics: Polaroid cameras, password managers, uninterruptible power supply

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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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HERE’S TO NOT LOOKING AT YOU

We got one of the new $150 “Polaroid Cube+” cameras, which are billed as cheaper than the popular “Go Pro.” We haven’t tried Go Pro, but we doubt the Cube+ is going to push it out of the way.

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THE BEST PHONE CAMERA

Most people take photos with their phones, not digital cameras. So Yahoo.com/Tech did an informal test of the best phone cameras, using four tech reporters, and looking at six top phones. LG’s G4 phone won easily. Next came Samsung’s Galaxy S6 and Galaxy Note 4.  These were followed by Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus and iPhone 6. HTC’s “One M9” came in last.

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BABY CAM

We’ve looked at a lot of security cameras, but the $129 “Baby Cam” from TRENDnet.com is the simplest we’ve seen:

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TAKING SELFIES

For photos of our selves, it would be nice to put the phone on a shelf, back up, and snap the picture. But when we’re more than an arm’s length away, we can’t reach the shutter button. (And we’re always forgetting how to use the self-timer.)

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RECOGNIZING FACES

Use an upcoming facial recognition app while wearing Google Glasses and you will be able to glance at some people and instantly see their Facebook and LinkedIn histories as well as anything they might have posted on dating sites. What fun – and how exhausting. It all appears on a projection in front of your eye.

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FREE PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS

PixelPerfexion.net is a free photography site with lots of good tips from a professional photographer.

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