Here are some tips to make you a master of your Netflix account. Did you know you can create up to five profiles per account? This is great if you share your Netflix account with someone else, but you can also use it to set up “themed” accounts, like “Date Night” or “Movies the Kids Love.” To add a profile to your account, click “Manage Profiles” in the settings menu on Netflix.com. And, if you do most of your Netflix browsing on your computer, make sure to try browser extensions like Netflix Enhancer for Chrome, which make finding great movies easier by adding ratings from IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes, along with a link to the movie’s trailer. You can’t view these features on a mobile device or streaming box, but it makes setting up your queue on your computer better than ever. Finally, sites like “What’s New on Netflix” have complete lists of new movies and shows available on the service. Enjoy the movie… and don’t forget to pass the popcorn.
If it seems like your iPhone battery is draining more quickly than it should, it’s easy to check if there’s a problem with your phone. Head into your Settings app, tap on General, then Usage, and you’ll find two numbers. Usage is how long you’ve actually used your device for, and Standby is how long it’s been since you last charged your phone. Unless you’ve been using your phone non-stop since you unplugged it, your Usage time should be much lower than your Standby time. To see if you have a battery issue, write down your usage and standby times, then turn off your iPhone’s screen and set it down. After five minutes, check the numbers again. If your phone is working normally, your Standby time should have gone up by 5 minutes, but there should be little to no change in your Usage time. If that number goes up by more than a minute, you’ve got a problem – and a trip to the Genius Bar should be in order.
If you’re a T-Mobile customer who wants a new tablet, now is a great time to take the plunge. T-Mobile recently announced a new program called “Operation Tablet Freedom,” which lets existing voice customers add a tablet to their plan at no extra cost. In addition to the 200 MB of free data T-Mobile already gives tablet customers each month, “Operation Tablet Freedom” adds an extra gigabyte of free data every month through the end of the year, which will save you $10 per month. Not enough of a hook? T-Mobile says you can buy any tablet for no money down, and all cellular tablets will be the same price as their Wi-Fi counterpart. That means a 16 gig iPad Air with LTE will cost $499, rather than the normal $629 sticker price you’d pay anywhere else. You can also trade in your old Wi-Fi only tablet to T-Mobile to save even more money. If you’ve been waiting for the right time to buy a shiny new tablet, now’s as good a time as ever.
When you sit down to watch some Netflix, do you ever have a tough time finding something good to watch? Netflix has thousands of great shows and movies for you to see, but they can get lost in a sea of unwatchable junk. There are a few ways to help you discover more great stuff you’ll love to watch. The more movies and shows you rate, the better Netflix’s recommendations will get. Giving movies you love five stars and TV shows you never want to think of again a single star will help Netflix generate more accurate suggestions based on your tastes. You should also fill out the Taste Preferences survey, which can be found on the settings page of your account. This lets Netflix know how often you want to watch certain types of movies – sorted by mood, genre, decade or more. There are pages and pages of these breakdowns – the more questions you answer, the more likely you’ll be to find movies you want to see. Happy watching!
When it comes to buying a child his or her first cell phone, which should you get? Parental controls on many popular phones are great, but they only go so far. That’s where Sprint’s new WeGo phone comes in. The WeGo can limit your child’s calling and messaging to only the contacts you allow, while also letting you track just about anything your child does on the web or through its apps. It also features GPS that can show you exactly where the WeGo is at any time. And, should something go wrong – like if the phone unexpectedly shuts off or if someone pulls the tether-based panic alarm – the WeGo can send you an alert. The phone is pretty inexpensive, too, especially compared to fully-featured smartphones. It’s just $5 a month for two years – that’s $120 total – with a $10 monthly service plan that includes 1,000 minutes of talk time and 1,000 messages. If this sounds like the phone for you and your child, the WeGo is now available at Sprint stores.
Samsung’s Galaxy S5 – available now through most major wireless carriers – is an awesome phone in many ways. But did you know that it can also double as a baby monitor? Samsung’s newest flagship phone features a “baby crying detector” that’s capable of setting off a vibrating alarm to let you know to check on your newborn – as long as you also own a Galaxy Gear smartwatch that’s paired with your phone. The detector will work best if it’s about one meter away from the baby with as little background noise as possible. The feature can be found in the accessibility menu of the Galaxy S5, and uses the smartphone’s microphones to listen for a baby’s cry before sending a vibration to your Galaxy Gear. Samsung wants new parents to remember that a smartphone is no replacement for “human caregiving.” But if you’re willing to leave your phone and your newborn in a different room and don’t want to shell out the cash for a dedicated baby monitor, Samsung’s smartphone and smartwatch can do the trick.
Nearly a year after launching Office Mobile for the iPhone, Microsoft has released Office for iPad, which brings Word, Excel and PowerPoint – but not Outlook – to any iPad running iOS 7.0 or later. Office for iPad lets you view, edit and create documents on your own or with others, and lets you work back and forth between your tablet and desktop. It’s not a perfect experience, though; the apps are only compatible with Microsoft’s OneDrive, which means no access to Google Drive or Dropbox. Then, there’s the cost. The free download of Office for iPad lets you read Word documents, work with Excel data and present PowerPoint presentations. But to do anything more than that, you’ll need an Office 365 subscription, which starts at $99 per year. If you’re already an Office 365 subscriber, Office for iPad is a no-brainer. For everyone else? It depends on how much you’ll use the mobile apps. If you want to try it out – or get the full version – Office for iPad is available in the App Store today.
Have you ever found yourself trapped in a group text message thread that you desperately wanted to escape? Until now, there was no way to get out of a situation like that without blocking your contacts’ phone numbers, but a new Android app called GroupXit is here to save the day. GroupXit pulls the text message threads you’re a part of from your native messaging app. You can then tell GroupXit if you want to leave a particular thread altogether, or if there are certain people you want to silence in a particular chat. Don’t be afraid of missing out on a key message, either – GroupXit lets you set alerts if certain keywords are mentioned. The team is currently working on an iOS version, but GroupXit is – for now – only available for Android. That version is free to download, but you’ll need to pay $2 to keep going after you’ve used the app to escape from six conversations. If you’re dying for some peace and quiet, download GroupXit from Google Play today.
Amazon has finally made its way into your living room. Amazon Fire TV, a tiny streaming box for your home theater, was designed to offer a great and simple streaming experience. Two to four times more powerful than similar devices on the market, content playback on the Fire TV starts immediately, which means you’ll never again have to wait for content buffering. Built around the Amazon media experience, Fire TV also features third-party apps like Netflix, Hulu and Pandora. But the real difference-maker between the Fire TV and its competition is games. Amazon has teamed up with publishers like EA and Disney, and the thousands of games available now or soon can be controlled with the included remote, your smartphone or tablet, or with an optional $40 dedicated game controller. If you’ve been holding out on picking up a streaming device for your living room – or if you want to play some games in addition to streaming your media – Amazon’s Fire TV is now available for $99.
How much time do your kids spend staring at screens? After spending seven months studying more than 1,300 fourth and fifth graders, a research team at Iowa State University found that children whose parents limit the amount of time they spend staring at electronic screens get more sleep, get better grades, have fewer behavior problems and are also at a lower risk of obesity. Because parents don’t always enforce less screen time, the researchers say that parents don’t always see these effects. That’s made even tougher with the fact that the most noticeable effects of limiting screen time – like a child not gaining extra weight – are difficult to notice. The research team says the responsibility shouldn’t rest solely on parents, however. Lead researcher Douglas Gentile hopes pediatricians will begin to urge parents and kids to reduce screen time, too. With the average U.S. child spending seven hours a day in front of some sort of screen, there’s plenty of time to cut back on.