REALLY BIG NUMBERS

An exchange of emails with a reader on the subject of falling prices for large storage drives, led to an inevitable question: What are they good for? In short, once you get past a few gigabytes – which you can buy as thumb drives for less than $10 – just what are you going to store? We know that the general notion is that bigger is always better, and at these prices why not go nuts and pull up the truck? Terabyte drives are now common. That’s a thousand gigabytes, a million megabytes, a big number. Let’s talk reality here. According to Britannica, all 32 volumes of the Encyclopedia Britannica would take up 4.7 gigabytes. That’s all the words and […]

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FACING FACEBOOK

As a special treat for our regular readers, we have nothing to say about Facebook. Meanwhile, back at the ranch … Virtual Reality at the Mall “Virtual Reality” has been over-hyped as a way to experience a movie or game. But it may be about to bring you into the mall. At the Westfield Century City mall in Los Angeles last month, six people at a time were allowed into a special room containing a virtual “Alien Zoo.” Those who made the trip viewing other-worldly animals said the 12-minute journey was something like being inside “Jurassic Park.” Participants, wore goggles and backpacks, fended off aliens and in general had a whopping good extra-terrestrial time. The company that set it up […]

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THE FUTURE ALREADY GOT HERE

Movies versus video games, public radio app, setting your home page and finding a professional.

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FREE AUDIO BOOKS FROM THE BBC

BBC radio has free audio books on occasion. The website was too long, so we shortened it to Tinyurl.com/fredinspring. There you’ll find “Uncle Fred in Springtime,” by P.G. Wodehouse, read by a whole group of actors. Part one is available until Dec. 6, at which point they’ll put up part two.

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THE BEST PODCASTS

“Podcasts” are radio shows you can listen to with an iTunes or Podcast app on your phone or tablet. We’re using “Podcast Addict” on our Android phone. From iTunes or a Podcast app, you can find thousands of shows to listen to. Here are our favorites so far:

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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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SHAKESPEARE ON THE RADIO

Spotify online radio now has a Shakespeare channel. You can listen to ninety-eight straight hours of Shakespeare’s plays and poems. Of course they will be performed by actors speaking too fast and with forced accents, so you won’t really be able to understand that they’re saying, but that’s the way it is with Shakespeare performances.

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iHEART RADIO

“iHeart Radio” and so do we. There’s lots of good stuff on radio and unlike TV, you don’t have to be in front of a screen to get it. You can download it as a free app or use it directly from the website iHeartRadio. com.

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SONGS FOR THE HOLIDAYS

Pandora, the online radio station, has created programs for the holidays. Click on Pandora’s “new station” box, and you’ll see a link for holiday stations. We saw stations for “Rockin’ Holidays,” “Classical Christmas,” “Swinging Christmas,” “Hanukkah,” “Navidad Latina” and many others. Pandora’s basic service is free, or $36 a year for the ad-free version.

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SPOTIFY RADIO ARRIVES

Spotify.com has free Internet radio that that listeners claim puts Pandora to shame. You can go to the website and get an invitation to sign on, though it’s still hasn’t officially launched. Spotify has been described as a magical version of iTunes where you’ve already bought the whole library.

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