Alan Buckingham

Rdio introduces live broadcast radio stations

woman listening to music on tablet

In the growing online music streaming industry, Rdio has become one the major players. But it's a cutthroat business, and you have to innovate to stay near the top and keep customers happy or they'll flee to another service.

Now Rdio has come up with something new -- streaming broadcast radio stations. The company is diving in big too, with 500 stations, all owned by Cumulus Media.

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Using Amazon Echo to control your lights with Wink and GE Link


Home automation has become the wave of the future, for better or worse. Not everyone trusts it, but many others embrace it. However it seems to be here to stay now, with websites and podcasts dedicated to it, as well as an ever growing number of products hitting the market, including some rather odd ones.

However most people jump into this endeavor with lights. They seem to be the drug that gets people hooked. And now you can incorporate Amazon Echo into this, as it is quite capable of controlling a growing number of such products.

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Windows 10 drives users to MediaPortal alternative


The release of Windows 10 spelled the end for Media Center. It wasn't unexpected, users have known it was coming for a while, as Microsoft had ceased developing the service. That didn't make the loss any easier for the loyal following of HTPC users.

From Microsoft's abandonment, other businesses grow. MediaPortal, which has been a solid solution for quite some time now is one. Though, other options for Media Center refugees also exist.

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Chromecast gets new features, including HBO, Food Network, and more


Google's Chromecast continues to grab new features as well as remaining a popular item on places like Amazon. But customers continue to ask for the ability to do new things, and now Google is responding to customer feedback.

The latest update brings HBO NOW, Food Network, Travel Channel and even Pokemon TV. There's also gaming like FitFlap and CatchPhrase. These require use of a phone or tablet.

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Why can't Amazon Echo handle this seemingly basic feature?

Amazon Echo

Since receiving Amazon Echo, Alexa, the name Amazon gives these devices, and I have grown to know one another. We mostly get along, but occasionally argue. It (she?) has learned my habits, but began playing the news the other night while I was watching TV, rather annoyingly. I'm looking forward to testing its home automation features with Nest thermostat and GE Link bulb in the near future. Hopefully Alexa won't decide I no longer need heat or lights!

But what can't Echo do? That's an open-ended question with many answers, depending on what the user wants. However, I'm only asking for one small thing, at least for now.

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Nest Learning Thermostat gets new security update


The Internet of Things can be a blessing and a curse. We all want devices that work for us, and home automation has become big business. Lights, among many other things, can be set or simply controlled from a phone or tablet, and thermostats are going that way as well.

The problem is security, as IoT devices can have all sorts of problems that people haven't faced before. Nest can change your home's temperature on its own and a hacker could, potentially, do the same. That's part of what this update is designed to address, though there are other features as well.

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Windows 10 gets enterprise services courtesy of HP


Windows 10 has been officially out for less than a week and the news it has generated doesn't seem to stop. From download numbers to new devices, things keep pouring in. Now HP is heading in a different direction, one aimed at businesses.

HP is announcing a full suite of products geared towards the enterprise market. "HP, a Preferred Provider of Microsoft cloud productivity and mobility solutions, now offers the most comprehensive portfolio of services available for the Microsoft enterprise ecosystem which includes Enterprise Services for Office 365Readiness Workshop for Office 365, Enterprise Mobility Suite, Skype for Business and the new Windows 10 enterprise suite of services", the company states in the announcement.

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Sling TV fights back against Comcast for blocking its ads


In today's television market Comcast is the bully -- the 600 pound gorilla. The cable provider owns NBC, which arguably should not have been allowed, but what's done is done. The carrier also doesn't seem to be above using it's status to fight off rivals, especially those in the new TV market that it knows is coming, but would prefer to prevent.

That is apparently the case recently with Sling TV, a service that works just like cable, but comes in over the internet, which turns Comcast into a bandwidth provider and takes away that lucrative TV business. With that in mind, Comcast-NBC has begun blocking Sling's ads.

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The LG G4: Will you get a better Android experience? [Review]

LG G4c color options

The smartphone market moves along at a fast pace, with a new device seemingly every day. Unfortunately for customers, upgrades from providers move at a much more sedate pace. You'll get one every two years unless you pay extra. That's generally fine, though most people end up longing for one before that magic date rolls around.

That brings us around to those who are set for that upgrade now. The latest flagship handset comes from LG, no stranger to this market. And, for the most part, it's an excellent piece of hardware. But let's take a closer look.

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Angry Birds 2 launches for mobile gamers

angry birds

Today marked a major milestone for mobile gaming studio Rovio. The Finland-based company is releasing it's latest version of the Angry Birds, this one aptly named Angry Birds 2. It follows up on the success of many predecessors, from the original to Space, Star Wars and more.

Like all previous versions, it's the tried and true "birds versus pigs" formula. There are a few strange things about it. For one, early levels are intent on telling you where to aim. For another, some levels force you to choose a different bird, You have no choice -- you can't fire until you've done it.

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Google Translate triples the languages it understands


Do you speak a foreign language? If not then Google Translate becomes your friend while travelling and today it's getting a bit better. Actually a lot better, going from seven languages to 27, which triples the amount it could handle -- okay that math is slightly off, but it's close enough.

Google announces the update to the app, which can be pointed at a foreign language and read the words in your native tongue. That's pretty essential for traveling. While it's good to know the language in any nation you're visiting, it's not always possible.

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Logitech welcomes Windows 10 with new features


The big day has arrived and every company is scrambling to be ready for Windows 10. Microsoft's latest operating system steps back a bit from the shudder Windows 8 gave many users. Does that mean it's better? Maybe. The general consensus seems positive.

Now Logitech is bringing software to aid in your use of this latest operating system. The company, which makes solid peripherals, aims to smooth the transition.

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Spotify meets IFTTT to make your music a bit more fun


Spotify is one of the top music services in business today. It's a tough market, with a growing field of competitors aiming to get your money. It can be good, and many people love it, but how could it become even better?

How about adding If This Then That (IFTTT) support? The service has added a new channel that allows you to utilize its capabilities for many functions associated with your music.

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Improve your reading experience with the new Kindle Paperwhite [Review]

Kindle Paperwhite

I'm late to the game, switching from a standard Kindle to a Paperwhite. Honestly, there's nothing not to like about the low-end Kindle -- it's priced right and provides a fine reading experience. But just about everything can be improved upon with a bit effort and ingenuity.

That's exactly what Amazon has done. I can't speak for the first generation Paperwhite, I never used it. But the switch from standard to second generation is a world of difference. It's noticeable right away.

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Care to hike Mongolia? Google Maps does it for you


Mongolia seems to be a country largely forgotten by the outside world. Aside from Genghis Khan it appears few people know much about the Asian nation. That's a shame because it has a beautiful countryside with deserts, rivers and mountains.

Now Google wants to take you on a rather long journey through the country -- 5,000 km to be exact. All the way across Mongolia, including those beautiful Steppes.

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