Alan Buckingham

So much for Apple exclusivity, PlayOn gets HBO NOW

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When Apple announced HBO NOW for Apple TV people were riveted by the fact the company had once again pulled off a deal reminiscent of iTunes music deals. Except the rumors claimed the exclusivity would last through July and it didn't. The app quickly came to other services and then the channel itself launched on Sling TV, making the app somewhat unneeded.

Now things progress further as PlayOn is offering HBO NOW. The app has long been expected and anticipated as it gives viewers the ability to watch the premium channel without the previous need of having a cable or satellite subscription -- something HBO GO is saddled with. It comes just in time for some folks (or perhaps too late) as HBO is taking action against those who've downloaded episodes of Game of Thrones illegally.

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The crosswalk awaits you -- Abbey Road comes to Google Maps

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When it comes to music there is perhaps no more famous location in the world than Abbey Road. The studio has become legend -- created legends, in fact. The recording home of John, Paul, George and Ringo is still there, almost a museum of sorts, awaiting the tourists who want to get just a small sense of the Fab Four.

No need to traipse the crosswalk, let alone barefoot, to get your glimpse into where it all happened. Google Street View is here to make all your troubles seem so far away by taking you to Abbey Road, virtually.

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Take this Friday off and watch Orphan Black for free on Amazon -- Prime not required

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Season three of Orphan Black is about to debut. The highly acclaimed BBC America TV show has been licensed this year by AMC, making it more widely available. Still, the two channels may not be in everyone's menu. For you, Amazon has a solution, though you may need a bit of caffeine to capitalize on this one.

While seasons one and two have been available for some time to Prime subscribers, those who don't pay Amazon $99 per year can now catch up on season one -- providing you do so this Friday.

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How well did Sling TV handle the Game of Thrones season 5 premiere?

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I signed up for the base package of Sling TV a few weeks ago. Since then, the company has managed to get extra money out of the deal, as I've added the Sports Pack and, as of yesterday, HBO, which became available late last week. While I feel like I'm closing in on pricing for my old DirecTV subscription, I confess to being happier -- I have channels I want and don't pay for a bunch I'll never watch.

Last night was huge for Sling, as Game of Thrones season five debuted (for those who didn't get it early via a torrent leak). I was curious how the service would handle the huge demand, and so was it, as it turns out.

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Amazon brings Kindle features to its Android app

Amazon Kindle logo

If you don't have a Kindle to read your books on then there's no worries, as apps exist on other platforms like Android. Amazon isn't standing still on this either, now offering customers on Google's mobile platform some new features already available on the stand-alone device.

Included are two new features that Amazon claims customers have found the most useful. First up is Word Wise, which Amazon claims is excellent for young kids and also for those learning English. Tapping a word pops up a box that provides a definition, along with synonyms and more.

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Need more tunes on your Android device? Amazon Prime Music channels arrive

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There's no shortage of ways to turn your phone or tablet into an MP3 player. The days of dedicated devices like the iPod have waned, and most of us simply use a smartphone as the substitute that replaces that bygone era. With a multitude of services at our disposal we can have an endless supply of music on hand as we work and travel, or just relax on the couch.

Amazon is never far from any new trend and it has brought music streaming to its Prime customers to compliment the other benefits that go along with the service. Now the retailer announces that Android customers will have access to the many playlists available through Prime Music on their devices.

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On the threshold of Game of Thrones, HBO makes it to Sling TV

Game of Thrones

Sling TV, a service with the motto "take back TV", has been expanding fast, despite still being in its infancy. With Dish Network behind it the fledgling project has some pull in the industry, getting big name players like ESPN on board. It's also raining on Apple's parade, having secured HBO just in time for the start of season five of Game of Thrones.

Apple recently touted the new HBO NOW app as an exclusive for those willing to purchase its Apple TV set-top box -- a deal I considered, given the lower price and the prospect of not being able to watch one of my favorite shows any other way. However, the Cupertino-based company proceeded to shoot itself in the foot when rumors almost immediately surfaced that the current model would be superseded this June, making a purchase now a bad financial decision.

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Listen to your wrist -- Pandora comes to Apple Watch

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On a day when Apple Watch is once again in the news, more information is becoming available about what you can expect from this latest fashion statement for your wrist. The success or failure rides largely on apps, as it does with phone and tablet platforms. Now Apple has one more to boast about for its launch, as Pandora steps forward.

Pandora has a history of being there for Apple, as it was ready for launches of both iPhone and iPad. This time around will be no different -- when you pick up that watch later this month Pandora will be waiting for you.

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Dell diagnostic software getting flagged as malware due to security problems

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Computers come with a lot of pre-installed software these days -- it's a trade-off for low pricing that forces OEMs to make deals with companies like McAfee, Norton and others. However, some of what comes with that new desktop or laptop is actually there to help you. Dell pre-installs diagnostic software to aid in a problematic situation.

Apparently Malwarebytes doesn't see it that way. The security software is recognizing this as a problem for your system -- and it is, or was. The problem is that older versions had a vulnerability that could allow malicious code execution. Dell has since updated its software to close the hole, which was recently discovered by a security researcher.

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Gamestop wants you to have an Xbox One and will pay you to trade in Xbox 360 or Sony PS3

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The sales business is always tough, and when things are going downhill then sellers come up with better, more enticing offers. We're not saying Microsoft's new console is in trouble, but it is currently behind its rival in recent sales figures. And while the company will still happily sell you the previous generation model, it really, really wants you to get that spiffy new box, and a third-party is here to help out.

With business seemingly slow, GameStop has a deal to offer you. All you have to do is trade in that old Xbox 360 or, gasp, Sony PS3 to get Microsoft's latest and greatest. To be fair, the offer doesn't come directly from Microsoft, but is through GameStop, though behind the scenes deals are always a possibility.

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Samsung investigates itself, finds it's innocent of hiring 'fans' for Galaxy S6 Shanghai launch

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While Samsung has been basking in the glory of its successful launch of the latest Galaxy model known as the S6, other news has been circulating. Most recently, reports have surfaced that the company hired people to pose as fans during the big Shanghai, China event. Probably not an unheard of practice for many companies.

The news spread quickly, with such major outlets as Daring Fireball and WantChinaTimes running with the story, though the former has now issued an update because Samsung is denying the reports, claiming it conducted a thorough investigation into the matter.

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Roku 2 and 3 get a refresh and better search as well

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Roku has been busy of late, with new channels, updates and the not too distantly passed release of the streaming stick. So that begs the question, what is next? Apparently quite a bit if the new announcement is of interest to you -- and it should be if you possess one of the set-top boxes.

First of all the company announced improved search. You've always been able to search the multitude of streaming  TV shows and movies, but now it has become even easier to narrow things down -- search within the channel store, which is a welcome addition. Given the number of available options this should make things simpler to find.

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Need a wireless mouse? Try the Logitech M320 [Review]

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The wireless mouse isn't new -- the technology is growing fairly old now, actually.But in this case that doesn't make it obsolete, as many of us still use them on a daily basis, and we aren't going back to wired. There's also no shortage of them on the market, but finding a good one can be a painstaking task, as everyone's needs are slightly different.

There's the gaming mouse, the travel mouse and plain old utilitarian daily-use mouse. We've reviewed many of the tiny peripherals here, but they never get old. Tolday we're looking at the Logitech M320, a simple wireless mouse. It isn't gaming and it's not considered travel size, but it's quite decent for daily use, which I'm doing as I type this from  my laptop -- I hate toucpads.

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Sling goes international with new language support

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Though channels and shows can vary greatly, television is international, with each country having its own broadcasts and favorite things to watch. New kid on the block, Sling TV, recognizes this and is making efforts to go after a more international audience. Hence its latest offering -- "content that speaks your language".

In total there are 18 new languages being added, including Arabic, Bangla, Bengali, Brazilian, Cantonese, Filipino, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Mandarin, Marathi, Punjabi, Taiwanese, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu and Vietnamese.

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HBO set to launch on Sling TV just in time for Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones

Just this morning I opined about my experience with Sling TV. On the whole I like it, though I have a few gripes. I have also written of my plans to purchase an Apple TV for two reasons -- price drop and HBO NOW. The HBO was the real key in my decision making, but perhaps it's a blessing I haven't yet pulled the trigger.

That's because Sling is announcing the service in its menu of viewing options. In fact, it promises to be up and running in time for the big season debut of Game of Thrones which takes place on April 12th. Pricing is in line with what you'd expect -- $15 per month.

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