BEST SLIDESHOW MAKER

Slideshows are one of those things that can drive us nuts.We’re always forgetting how we did it last time. When we look up instructions, we often get something that is no longer available in Windows. For example, when you look up “Movie Maker for Windows 10,” you get a lot of free products from unknown companies because the original Windows movie maker went kaput. Here are our top contenders for best slideshow maker. We judge mainly on ease of use. “Microsoft Photos” comes already installed on your Windows 10 computer. To find it, type “Photos” in the search box in the lower left of your Windows desktop and the app comes right up. If you just want Microsoft to make […]

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DOWNWARD-FACING DOGPILE

A reader says he’s used the “Dogpile” search engine instead of Google for many years, but now it’s not working. We say drop it. Our research shows there’s a Dogpile hijacker that looks like the real thing. So what should you use instead, if you don’t want to Google everything? We’ve been trying out Yippy, which is powered by IBM Watson, the computer that beat Ken Jennings on Jeopardy. Yippy was developed by Vivisimo, which we’ve written about many times. Much of Vivisimo’s and Yippy’s artificial intelligence was incorporated by IBM Watson which “reads” all the scientific journal articles to make better decisions in some cases than doctors can. In our tests, Yippy’s results look good. Joy looked up “cotton […]

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BUILD YOUR OWN

We remember when personal computers first came out. You could build them yourself if you were savvy. That’s what Michael Dell did way back when. He sold them to other college students and the business went on from there. Now there’s a computer that kids can put together. The “Computer Kit Touch” is $280 from Kano.me. Designed for young children, it has a ten-inch screen. Follow a printed storybook to build a portable, touchscreen computer, and attach a keyboard. From there, kids can make apps, art, and games with simple steps. Included apps are Chromium (a web browser similar to Chrome), YouTube, Libre Office (similar to Microsoft Office) and Google Drive; more are available in the app store, such as […]

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CUTTING THE CABLE, REVISITED

We asked AT&T how much it would cost to drop our TV service and just keep the Internet. They immediately offered to drop the monthly charge to $120 from $160. That’s better, we thought, but hardly the best. “Philo TV” has over 45 channels for $16 a month. These include A&E, Discovery, AMC, BBC America, Food Network, History, Travel, Lifetime, Food Network and Nickelodeon.  You can watch them on your computer or your phone. Or, if you want to watch on a regular TV, you can plug in a Roku stick or player, Apple TV, or an Amazon Fire stick. Roku and Amazon Fire are fairly cheap, $28 for Roku Express and $40 for the Fire stick. Though Philo doesn’t […]

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REMOTE CONTROL

Sometimes you need to access your computer from a galaxy far, far away. Or at least from the beach. We used to like TeamViewer, but it got too complicated. So now we like the free “AnyDesk.” You can use this from any laptop, tablet or smartphone. In our tests, all went well. On a Chromebook, we used AnyDesk to control our Windows computer. It was only in the next room, but in theory it could have been far, far away. After clicking on the AnyDesk icon and typing the secret code, we clicked on familiar icons to browse the web, edit anything we had written, and play Peggle, our favorite game. In PowerPoint, we added a slide to our “History […]

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THIS SEARCH ENGINE PLANTS TREES

Most of us use Google to search on the web. But if you use Ecosia.org, you’ll help plant trees all over the world. They say every search you do plants another tree.

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TIME TO FIND ALTERNATIVES TO BALKY BROWSERS

Your Web browser is not your operating system! Nor is it your search engine. There’s a surprising amount of confusion, and it leads to anxiety. In fact, there’s plenty of time to panic.

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GOOGLE SEARCH TIPS

Tips on Web searching have been around as long as the Web itself. But all you really need to know is this:  Start typing whatever is on your mind. The more specific you get, the better. For instance, we Googled “British pronunciation of pasta.” If we’d Googled “British pronunciations,” it would have taken a long time to find what we want. (Incidentally, the British pronounce “pasta” to rhyme with “fast-a.”) Don’t bother with the complicated search tips you read from time to time. They involve colons, minus signs and other unnecessary symbols. Just type in your query. This works especially well when someone sends you an extremely outrageous political quote. Take the first sentence, copy and paste into a search […]

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GOOGLE FOR PRESIDENT

Here’s a wakeup study for election time: Recent research shows that we trust the Internet — maybe too much. In a test of undecided voters, the name and favorable information about any candidate that came in at the top of their search results, made them likely to switch to that candidate.

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APP SEARCHES DIVORCE RECORDS AND MORE

InstantCheckmate.com turns you into a private investigator, like Paul Drake in the old Perry Mason TV shows. Besides a person’s address and phone number, you can get police records, which include everything from speeding tickets to sexual offenses, background reports, marriage and divorce info, and a history of lawsuits. You pay $23 for one month, $59 for six.

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