Google's Chromecast, Roku's Streaming Stick, Amazon Fire TV Stick. Little, 3 inch dongles that plug into an HDMI port on your TV and stream digital content without cables or wires or another box on a shelf. Each one, under $50. But which one is for you?
Chromecast $35: Stream content from your PC or mobile device to your TV. There's no remote, so you control the screen from your PC, laptop, tablet or phone. It supports Netflix, Hulu, HBO-Go, Pandora, YouTube, and, of course, Google Play, as well as some others. It also is capable of sharing your screen, so its great in a business for making presentations. Any device on the same wifi network as the Chromecast can access it.
Roku Streaming Stick $49.99: Unlike Chromecast, the Streaming Stick does not require a PC or mobile device to operate. It is a stand alone unit and comes with a remote. Stream from Netflix, Hulu, HBO-Go, M-Go, Amazon Instant Video, and many more Roku streaming apps and channels you already enjoy on your Roku Box.
Amazon Fire TV Stick $39 (but sold out on Amazon until January 15) : Similar to the Roku and Chromecast, it streams from several of your favorite online services lik Netflix and Hulu, and, for Amazon Prime members, the Prime Video and Prime Music libraries are at your fingertips. The only real difference between the Roku and the Fire is HBO-Go...Fire TV Stick doesn't support HBO yet, but it is supposedly in the works.
Geek of the Week: Total Wine & More Food Pairing
If you're not sure what wine to serve with dinner, Thursday...or what wine to bring...this app will pair the perfect wine to whatever is on the menu. Select the food category (like poultry, pork, shelfish), adjust the food prep style or spices, narrow the options by price...all in the palm of your hand!
Geek of the Week: Hand Turkey
Keep the kids entertained this weekend with Hand Turkey. Free for iPads. The child places their hand on the iPad screen and the app converts it into a turkey for them to decorate. Once the turkey is finished it can be used to play games within the app or teach pre-schoolers to name their fingers.
Free for iPads
Just yesterday, Dan Deely asked me “how do you make a Meme?” After walking him through what I assumed to be the "traditional method" (using the Paint program in Windows), I set out in search of a better way.
And here it is: MemeGenerator.net. Choose from hundreds of pre-produced memes, create your own captions for already created graphics like Willy Wonka, the Dos Equis guy or the success-fist kid, OR upload your own graphic and add your own text.
You'll be the darling of your facebook friends with MemeGenerator.net!
Sometimes you just need to “chillax”. That's where this web site and app come in handy. Calm.com is a bank of soothing images and relaxing music to help you relax. You can set a timer for up to 20 minutes of quiet meditation time or choose “guided calm” for spoken meditation instructions. The app is free on iTunes and Google Play...or on your computer at Calm.com
Instead of carrying around a keyring with one key and fifty rewards cards, get the KeyRing app and store all of your shopper loyalty cards on your phone! Select the store from a list of thousands of retailers, scan the barcode on the back of your card (you also have the option to also take a picture of the front and back of the card).
At the register, open the app, select the card you want to use and let the cashier scan the barcode from your phone's screen. Quick, simple and no fumbling as you search for the right card. The app also shows available coupons per store that can also be scanned at the register.
Like the app Leonard and Sheldon created on CBS's Big Bang Theory, life is imitating art. Photomath is every student's dream and every teacher's nightmare. It is a camera based calculator. Take a picture of your equation of math problem...and Photmath gives you the answer! Not only does it solve the problem in real-time...it also helps the user by walking you through the problem, step-by-step if necessary.
Free in iTunes and the Windows Store...the app's website says an Android version will be available in early 2015.
In the world of streaming video, there used to be just two players: YouTube and Netflix. Now there is iTunes, Google Play, Amazon, Vudoo, Hulu and the list goes on. CanIStream.It is a one-stop-shop search engine for streaming movies and TV shows. A quick search can tell you if the movie is available to stream, where it is available to stream, and if it is available for digital purchase or rental.
The site also offers click-through links and the ability to filter your search by service, and the site can email you when movies become available on a given platform.
The next in a long line of puzzle games with a minimalistic approach...like Dots. On the screen there are a number of hearts, your goal is to collect them by moving from Point A to Point B to Point C in a straight line. Do you remember the brain teaser teachers used to put on the chalk board that had 9 dots and your goal was to connect them all with a single line? Its the same sort of idea...
This game releases TOMORROW (10/16/14)!
Look for it on iTunes and Google Play
This service is, essentially, Netflix for clothes. Browse their web site, find tops, dresses, sweaters, dresses, skirts or blazers that you like, add them to your “closet”. When the clothes become available, you get it in the mail. Wear it, send it back in the addressed, postage paid bag included in the delivery box. Keep it as long as you like. Wash it...or don't. All clothes returned are laundered and dry-cleaned. If you love it, you can purchase it for up to 50% off the retail price. Shipping is free. Subscriptions start at $35 a month for one garment at a time.
go to GwynnieBee.com
I haven't quite decided if this app is useful or useless. You know how your desk or fridge are covered in Post-its? This app lets you digitize these reminders and notes using your phone's camera, then sort, store and organize them right on your phone.
This app is extremely useful if you're in an industry that uses Post-its in a collaborative environment to prepare for presentations. Digitizing the notes allows you to share them with other services like DropBox or GoogleDrive, so the whole group is kept up to date and remains a part of the process.
On the other hand, if your sticky notes are reminders and motivational thoughts of the day...do you really need two copies?
Decide for yourself. Post-it Plus is free on iTunes and works with iOS8.
The Wave changed streaming providers to improve our quality and with that comes a new and improved streaming app! (the old one is defunct, uninstall it). Along with improved quality, less commercial interruptions and more music, we added new features including album art, song and artist information, a list of recently played songs, a sleep timer and an alarm feature!
When searching for the app, it is important that you use WNWV. “The Wave” or “107.3” are helpful but won't get you the immediate results you're hoping for.
Last week, U2 released their new album "Songs of Innocence" on iTunes, and gave it, for free, to everyone with an iTunes account. With about a half-billion iTunes accounts out there, not surprisingly, there were one or two people who didn't appreciate the gift and tried to remove it from their library. They were unsuccessful. The album or the songs could not be deleted...until now.
Monday, Apple released a removal tool.
To remove the album from your iTunes library, go to itunes.com/soi-remove. You will be asked to confirm your decision, then enter your AppleID and password. That's all there is to it.
After introducing the new iPhone 6, 6Plus and the Apple Watch, this week, Apple announced Apple Pay, a digital wallet, integrated into the new devices that will let you use your phone to pay for purchases online and at the register. Like some credit and debit cards are already doing, the technology uses near-field communications. While pressing your fingerprint to the phone's screen, hold the phone near the credit card keypad at the register and your payment will be accepted. Macys, Walgreens, McDonald's, Subway and Staples are already on board and planning to participate with the service rolls out in October.
Online, Apple Pay will act like PayPal, where you pay for goods by entering your Apple Pay account information, not your credit card number.
The service is free...but the iPhone 6 will set you back $299 (with a two-year carrier contract)
Never miss a bill payment again! From Intuit, the makers of Quickbooks, comes this app that keeps track of your bills and your account balances, and pays your bills for you, automatically and on-time. Get reminders when bills are due and either pay them immediately with the push of a button or schedule a payment. You also receive alerts when your balance is low so you don't get hit with overdraft charges. You can also pay with a credit or debit card, though there is a fee associated...direct account payments are free. The app works even if your bank doesn't offer its own mobile banking app.