Alan Buckingham

Harmony Home Hub gets voice control with Ivee and Ubi

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It seems that every day there are new ways to make us more lazy...ahh...automate our homes. Controlling devices by a smartphone or tablet has become old school. Now options exist that allow for voice commands. Harmony, which is a top choice in universal remotes, is getting in on the act with new partnerships.

Logitech, which controls the Harmony brand, is announcing deals with both Ivee and Ubi. Both allow you to speak the commands and they, hopefully, happen. As Harmony points out it's simply "OK Ubi, watch Netflix".

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Sony rolling out new update to your PS4, here's what you get

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The Sony PS4 is seemingly doing well in its head-to-head battle with Microsoft's Xbox One. But that doesn't mean the company can just rest -- snooze and you could fall behind to a competitor that is updating often and at a quick pace. Sony isn't sleeping though, today announcing an update that will be coming to your box very soon.

The update is codenamed "Yukimura" (yes, I had to look it up as well and it's still vague -- we'll go with the Samurai by that name since it sounds cool). Name aside, what's important is features, and Sony promises a number of them.

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Microsoft makes an investment in the youth of Vietnam

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The youth is obviously always the future and today's tech companies have good reason to invest in that, given a seeming shortage of necessary people to fill positions. Microsoft is just one company looking to help fill that void by providing resources to get kids started on the right path, regardless if it's with them or somewhere else.

The software giant has a global program it calls YouthSpark which aims to provide education and employment for the future of the young folks around the world. The latest move is a three million dollar investment, spread over three years, to help out in Vietnam.

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The truth is out there -- Mulder and Scully make a comeback as Fox brings back X-Files

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It's been far too long since we've visited with agents Mulder and Scully to see what sort of evidence they've turned up in their hunt for the truth about all sorts of crazy events. Fortunately we get to check in again, more than ten years later, to see what clues have come to light. It's hard to say how much has changed in the ensuing years, but surely things must be different from the days of Cigarette Smoking Man and the rest.

We'll find out soon as Fox has ordered up a six episode run of the classic series. Little is known at this point, but David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson, however, are slated to reprise their roles as the alien-hunting, crime-solving, paranormal-investigating duo that we all loved in those dim, dark days of the 90's.

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Amazon launches new features for Fire TV devices

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The set-top box market continues to grow and thrive and, as expected, newcomer Amazon is beefing up its offerings to compete. With rumors of a new Apple TV and an HBO Now exclusive deal in Apple's hands, it becomes more difficult in the market. But today the retail giant rolls out new features to both its devices -- Fire TV and Fire TV Stick.

This isn't just a minor update with a few bug fixes, but an actual upgrade that users should care about. There's a lot for customers to be excited about in this update.

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Logitech MX Master wireless mouse works equally well with Windows and Mac

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The oft-forgotten peripheral that makes computer use possible is the mouse. Yes, some simply use the trackpad on a laptop, but there are many of us who opt for something more familiar and simple. There's no shortage of the little products on the market, covering everything you could possibly want from travel to gaming to just plain, simple functionality.

Now Logitech, a company that makes a variety of these products across the spectrum of use, has a new offering. The MX Master is a multi-platform mouse that works equally well with both Windows and Mac and can be paired with up to three devices at once. There's an "easy switch" button that allows the user to move between devices.

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Hulu and TV show creator Jason Katims team for show, Stephen King among those on board

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Original content is king these days, as the online streaming services fall all over themselves trying to score the next big winner -- the House of Cards for the next awards show. While Netflix and Amazon spring to mind, Hulu is no slouch either, offering an ever-increasing amount of content to its eager audience. Now one more original series has appeared in the pipeline.

Writer and creator Jason Katims, famous for Friday Night Lights and Parenthood, among others, is on board for a new series titled The Way. Not a title that gives much of any clue about content.

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Nice curves! Samsung unveils new monitor lineup

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Curves are en vogue these days with both monitors and TVs, though they still come at a premium price and the benefits are open to debate. Still, it seems to be the latest fad, coupling with 4K and riding on the heels of the failure to sell people on 3D. Samsung is no stranger to the market, manufacturing upper tier screens for living room and office alike.

Now the company is announcing its latest line of monitors, featuring five curved models. The latest offerings range in size from as small as 23.5 inches up to 31.5 inches, the latter approaching TV size. The specs of each are as varying as the sizes.

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Give me all your money -- yet more ransomware found in the wild

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The online community has been living under the threat of ransomware for sometime now -- it feels like dwelling near Mordor. While many of you reading this are likely too savvy to fall for these tricks, there are people who do, which is why scammers stay in business. Now a new threat arises to go after people's hard earned money.

Security firm Doctor Web reports that a mass of spam emails have recently been detected. This latest threat comes in the guise of "Incoming fax report". The so-called report contains a ZIP file which disguises an SCR, or Windows executable file. It's been tagged as Trojan.DownLoader11.32458.

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Want to sign up for Sling TV? Your Gmail address may not work

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It's March Madness, which is an awful time of the year for those of us who no longer subscribe to cable or satellite -- at least not for TV.  The brackets are getting smaller and big games are pending, including my own team's matchup later tonight. Enter Sling TV to save the day. The service provides live TV and ample amounts of sports for any fanatic. That's why today I opted into the free seven day trial, or at least tried to.

Things didn't go smoothly, though it should, in theory, be an easy process. There was a major stumbling block and it came right in step one. I entered my Gmail address and was told I couldn't use it. A second try resulted in the same outcome. I clicked Contact, found that online chat with customer service was closed, but the phone variety was good to go.

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TuneIn Radio brings music to your Android-powered car

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This week Google announced its move into the car industry with Android Auto. The company describes it as "designed with safety in mind". The interface aims to be simple, controls will be present right on the steering wheel, everything can be launched by voice and Google Maps will guide the way.

A number of automobile makers are on board, including Ford, Subaru, Chrysler and many more. Now it's up to app makers to round things out and TuneIn Radio is among the early adopters racing to the platform.

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Google releases extended version of the Android Wear commercial

Android Wear users can now download watch faces from Google Play

In the hours running up to the big Apple show, Google attempted to rain on the Apple Watch parade by pushing its own wearable platform with a new ad. We already knew about the technology, but the cheeky move got the attention of many people. It was nothing more, nor less, than a smart business decision.

However, what we saw that day was only part of a longer format video which the search giant has just released on YouTube (naturally). It's still only one minute long, but that's a virtual lifetime compared to the original 18 second clip.

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Hulu scores exclusive rights to the show Empire

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In the world of of cord-cutters there are few things more exciting than getting new streaming services and, consequently, those services grabbing new content deals. It means there will be something to watch when you want to kick back on the couch. Now Hulu is announcing a new offering that fits the bill.

The streaming service has secured exclusive right to the show Empire. This will include all past and future episodes. "In a new deal with Twentieth Century Fox Television Distribution, Hulu becomes the exclusive SVOD home to TV’s biggest hit of the year", says Hulu's Lisa Holme.

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I'm fine with Windows 8.1, do I need Windows 10?

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To be clear, right from the start, I write this from a Chromebook. It's my production system, though it has its limitations. Certain tasks send me scurrying to my home office in a frantic search for a Windows PC. Microsoft's operating system certainly still has its raison d'être -- both Photoshop and Plex server are among those in my household, though other minor needs exist.

Windows 10 is the belle of the ball right now with the tech press falling all over itself to run stories about the latest build, even non-stories are apparently in fashion, just as long as you can work the proper keywords into the headline. But the question remains, who needs it?

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Amazon increases the reach of Prime Now, adding more cities

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Amazon Prime members benefit in many ways -- there's the Netflix-like video streaming service, complete with original content, the Kindle lending library, and music streaming. But perhaps the best of all dates back to the roots of the program. Amazon Prime was created to bring free two-day shipping to loyal customers. It's an incentive to buy from there and not stray to other sites.

Since then we've seen crazy things like drone delivery, but also more realistic options like Prime Now. A service that can deliver your package in just hours? Sign me up, right? Well, not so fast, as it's limited to certain areas of the US. That's expanding though, and does so again today.

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