Alan Buckingham

Is there a reason to be concerned about your kid's apps and websites?

Google sets its sights on kids with child-friendly versions of YouTube and Gmail

We worry about our children, or at least we should. Stranger danger is everywhere in today's world, unlike the one we grew up in. You may have wondered around town on your own, rode in a car with no seatbelt and probably asked the question "what's a bike helmet?"

Well, things are not that safe anymore, and in fact they can be downright scary. Websites and apps are trying to sell things to kids (it will be your money that they spend). But worse, predators lurk in the shadows looking for information for potential targets.

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Google Calendar is getting a new URL for security reasons

Calendar delay

Google Calendar is used by many people to track (seemingly) their every activity. That's a good thing, as it keeps users organized and calendars can be shared with family and co-workers so they also know what's going on. But what about its security? It doesn't seem a huge issue, given the nature of the service -- it isn't your bank, after all.

Google is ever vigilant, however, and has been thinking this part through and is now making some changes. The update brings a new URL, but it's really about security.

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Logitech unveils new Bluetooth mouse and keyboard for multiple operating systems

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The wireless mouse and keyboard is not a new concept; it's been around for quite a while. Bluetooth connectivity came along a bit later, though it still isn't cutting-edge anymore. Now we work from multiple devices from PCs to laptops to tablets, even phones and these thing have become necessary.

Now Logitech is unveiling its latest Bluetooth keyboard, the Logitech K380, and mouse, the M535. Neither is dependent on the other; it isn't a set. Both have a compact design that's easy to pack up and travel with.

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Hulu gets a commercial-free option

Hulu Logo

Hulu has previously come in two varieties, both free and "premium". The premium contains limited ads, but also provides access to all content available from the service. The trade-off is, of course, paying per month for this. The $7.99 fee isn't bad, but most services remove ads in exchange for premium service.

So how do you rid yourself of those ads? Well, previously you didn't, but that changes today as Hulu rolls out an ad-free plan. That's the good news, the bad is that you'll be paying a bit more per month. To be precise, you'll be upping your monthly expenditure from $7.99 to $11.99.

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Follow in the footsteps of Charles Darwin as Google Maps takes you to Galapagos

google-maps-galapagos

Sir Isaac Newton famously said that "If I have seen further, it is because I stood on the shoulders of giants". Newton referred to the scientists who came before him, but Charles Darwin could have uttered a similar phrase. The explorer and scientist visited the islands of Galapagos and saw literal giants in the form of turtles, or tortoises to be precise. In fact, Darwin brought one home to England, though Harriet eventually resided in Australia before she died at the age of approximately 176.

Now you can see these famous, and seemingly ageless, creatures on Google Maps. No need to board the HMS Beagle and set sail, just look on your computer.

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Nest Thermostat moves ahead to third generation

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The Nest Learning Thermostat has become quite popular, at least in the tech community. It learns from a user's habits and can be remotely accessed via an app on a phone or tablet. In fact, it can even be controlled using a Harmony Ultimate Home remote control.

Now the product has edged forward into its third generation, bringing a slimmer and sleeker design, as well as being "more beautiful", at least according to Nest.

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iHeartRadio launches a Windows 10 app

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Windows 10 has been live for a few weeks now and is getting a lot of attention, deservedly so. Most users seem happy to either be away from Windows 8 or to have avoided it all together. Now it's a matter of getting the apps which are the lifeblood of any ecosystem, both PC and mobile.

To that end, music streaming giant iHeartRadio is announcing its Windows 10 compatible app. "iHeartRadio for Windows 10 will include its signature, customizable listening features known to iHeartRadio's audience of more than 70 million registered users as well as new innovations optimized exclusively for Microsoft Corp.'s most personal, productive and secure operating system yet", the company announces.

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Sling TV comes to Amazon Fire tablets

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Sling TV has become the un-subscription model, bringing you TV over an internet connection and eliminating contracts. You'll need a box -- both Roku 3 and Amazon Fire TV will work just fine and put video on the big screen just like cable or satellite. The company motto is "take back TV", and it does so. You can get channels ranging from ESPN to HBO to Food Network.

But what about on the go? Well, you can use your phone, but now the screen gets a bit bigger. Sling is announcing the debut of its service on Amazon Fire tablets.

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Netflix cancels contract with Epix films, Hulu takes it over

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Entertainment is the lifeblood of streaming services, bringing TV shows and movies to customers. That includes both original content and that which comes from studios. However, deals don't always work out as planned. The studios can be notoriously bad with licensing content.

Netflix points out that "We hear from our members that you wish we had newer movies. So do we. Studio licensing practices means it often takes more than a year before consumers can watch a theatrically released movie when and how they want".

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How to: Enable OK Google on the LG G4

LG G4 Available Colors Back Covers

The LG G4 is making quite a splash and being advertised seemingly everywhere. There's good reason for that as I previously explained in my review. Overall it's a nice phone, but there are a few things you need to know before getting underway with it.

One is that OK Google is not enabled by default, you'll need to do so yourself. It isn't intuitive, either. But the good news is that it isn't hard once you know how to do it. Here are some simple steps to get you going.

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Plex for Roku gets an update to its look and features

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Plex is perhaps the best media server around. It's also free to install, although the app will set you back $4.99, unless you stumble on a deal. It's also multi-platform, with Windows, Mac, Linux and NAS compatibility. The app, similarly, will work on just about any platform, both mobile and set-top box.

Now the version for Roku is getting an update to the channel, as Roku refers to apps on its tiny boxes. The latest version brings a new look and some additional features to the Plex channel.

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Amazon Echo learns new tricks as Alexa can now control music speakers and sprinklers

Amazon Echo

Since Amazon released the Echo last year (November 6, 2014 if you ask it when it was born), the device has been learning some new tricks. It can control multiple home automation devices, though setup can be mind numbing to accomplish.

Now Amazon is adding two more devices. The retail giant is announcing the addition of support for both HiFi company Musaic and sprinkler system Rachio.

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Windows 10 vs Windows 8.1: Which is fastest?

Runner

The comparisons were inevitable right from the start. When Microsoft releases a new operating system then people are going to look at it against the previous version, especially when the old one was a bit hated and unsuccessful. It really wasn't bad, but perception is everything, and the folks who heard it was bad steered clear of it.

But how do the two platforms stack up against one another in a performance test? The researchers at security firm AVG Labs decided to take a look.

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Windows 10 now on 75 million devices according to Microsoft

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It's been a wild month for Microsoft, given the roll out of the operating system many had been waiting for. For those who were perturbed with Windows 8 and those who skipped it all together, Windows 10 is a definite step up. It's a bit of a hybrid and it came out quickly -- much faster than past versions.

Now after much rather useless speculation, we have numbers that are actually attributed to Microsoft. The information comes via Yusuf Mehdi, Corporate Vice President of Marketing for Windows and Devices, who shared the facts on his Twitter account.

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TuneIn Radio rolls out a Premium version of service

woman listening to music on tablet

In the world of streaming entertainment, TuneIn Radio is a bit unique. It isn't just music, you get the news, sports and even podcasts. The Amazon Echo even utilizes it to play content, as well. So what more can you want from the service? Well, how about a Premium option.

This ups the offering, bringing all sorts of new content, including sports and commercial-free music. Enjoy Major League Baseball games, as well as Barclays Premier League and Bundesliga matches.

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