STOPPING JUNK MAIL

Here’s the big reason we get so much junk email. Marketers can see which email we open and respond with an avalanche of new solicitations. If we open email on our phone, as 70 percent of us do,  we might even trigger a call. In the jargon it’s called a “read receipt.” Without your knowing, marketers use these to  tell which email you open. To combat this, we’ve started using “Edison Mail” whenever we’re on our phones.  It works with Yahoo, Gmail, Apple Mail or whatever email service you use, by bringing your mail inside its app.  Besides blocking marketers, Edison neatly categorizes any info about package arrivals, bills and flight changes, while also letting you unsubscribe from any email […]

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READ THE COMMENTS

One of the best pieces of advice we ever got was: “Read the comments following a review.” Not only are they enlightening, they’re entertaining. Take the screen-protector review we read at HowToGeek.com. The reviewer said he couldn’t get a screen protector on his iPhone without a massive bubble under the surface. So he bought one at an Apple store for $40, because it came with free installation. We see his point. We’ve never installed a screen protector without leaving bubbles. But in the comments, the readers dumped all over the reviewer. One guy said this is “not your ordinary dumb, this is some special kind of dumb. I call it ‘iDumb.’” Another pointed out that you could go to a […]

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DRONE JOURNALISM

It used to be that aerial photography was available only to the richest newspapers. When Bob was the food critic for the Chicago Tribune, he remembers a photo shoot from a helicopter costing $10,000. Now with cheap drones, anybody can get an aerial shot. It’s called “Drone Journalism.” Two researchers from the University of Jyväskylä in Finland have a new book by that name. Besides the usual tips, they point out that a journalist’s drone can be stopped by the government. Dictatorships are famous for this, but even the U.S. government sometimes calls a halt. In 2016, Sioux Indians staged a major protest against a proposed oil pipeline in North and South Dakota. When the first dramatic aerial images of […]

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SEE IT LATER

Pressed for time or feeling sleepy? “Pocket” is a free app for saving articles and pictures to look at later. The app is available for Windows, Macs, phones and tablets. That’s everything but billboards. To get started on your computer, go to GetPocket.com and install it. If you use Firefox as your browser, it comes with it. Once installed, you can click the tiny picture of a pocket in the upper right of your screen any time you want to save an item for later viewing. To find the stuff you’ve saved, click on the pocket and “view list.” It might also save whatever you’re looking at right at that moment at the same time, but live with it. So […]

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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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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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TWITTER MOMENTS

Until now, news on Twitter was only as good as the services you subscribed to. You could search for a topic, click “follow” and from then on see posts on that topic whenever you went to Twitter.com. Now they’ve added “Moments.” Moments are more like traditional news headings. Click “Moments” at the top left of your screen any time of the day or night to see what’s going on. When we clicked,  we saw travel stories, music, sports and political news. Usually there’s not much going on.

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MUSIC APPS

“Google Play Music” has free radio stations, and will store any music you upload for playback on any device. They start you out with a free trial subscription for their premium service, but you can continue listening for free if you choose to play music from their free stations. We thought they were excellent.

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GETTING THROUGH THE HUFFINGTON POST

An incensed reader wrote to complain about The Huffington Post’s requirement that you have a Facebook account before you can comment on their news articles. Well, it’s their business and no one has to use their site. But if you want to comment and you don’t do Facebook, here’s a workaround:

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ALL NEWS

VeryQuiet.com is a simple text only site with links to the top news headlines from dozens of sources, including BBC, NBC, ABC, Voice of America, NPR, Yahoo, Google, The Guardian, and more.

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