If you’ve ever wanted to access your computer from your Android phone, your wish has been granted. Google recently launched a Chrome Remote Desktop app, which lets you control your PC or Mac from an Android smartphone or tablet, no matter where you are. Setting up remote access is easy, too. On your computer, download the Chrome Remote Desktop app from the Chrome Web Store, which generates a code. Plug this code into the app on your phone, and you’ll instantly receive remote access. The web version of the app has been around for about a year and a half, letting you access one computer from another through the same process. This new update brings that same power to your phone. There have been rumors of an iOS version of the app as well, but Google hasn’t announced anything about that version. But if you’ve got an Android and want remote access to your PC or Mac, the Chrome Remote Desktop app is now available for download in the Google Play store.
You probably have a dozen devices in your house that can stream music from your phone already. But you probably DON’T have something quite like Gramofon, which recently launched on Kickstarter. Gramofon, created by ‘social Wi-Fi’ company Fon, connects to your home’s internet connection and acts like a social jukebox. Your friends can log into the device with their Facebook account to queue up songs on a Spotify playlist. They send the songs they want to hear to Gramofon, which queues up the music without using Bluetooth or AirPlay or taxing your battery in any way. But Gramofon is more than just a jukebox; it also lets your friends connect to your home Wi-Fi network, too, as long as you’re Facebook friends with them. That means you’ll no longer need to memorize a 25 character password for your router – connecting to Gramofon is all they’ll need to get online. If it sounds like a device you’ve got to have, you can secure a device on its Kickstarter page for $60 right now.
Google hopes to one day provide wireless internet across the globe through an initiative called Project Loon. That project got a big boost recently when Google acquired Titan Aerospace, a startup that specializes in building high-altitude drones. In acquiring the drone manufacturer, Google beat Facebook to the punch, which had been eying up Titan Aerospace as it, too, aims to provide global internet through its ‘Connectivity Labs’ program. Titan was so highly sought-after because its drones fly higher and closer to the earth’s atmosphere than most other drones, which could be key to providing cheap internet connectivity across the globe – and making Project Loon a success. Project Loon is currently operating with high-altitude balloons that fly in Earth’s stratosphere, but drones are easier to control and can react more quickly to changing conditions. But the acquisition is about more than just drones – and we can see some of the effects of the acquisition, too. Titan’s drones take high-quality images in real-time – which could help make Google Maps better than ever.
The Heartbleed bug is one of the worst threats to online security and privacy in recent memory. Worse yet, the bug isn’t limited to computers – there’s also a chance your Android device is at risk, too. Google knows about Heartbleed and is working on a software patch, but your device could be at risk. Luckily, there’s a really simple way to check if your Android could be exploited on a malicious website. Head into the Google Play Store and download Heartbleed Detector, a free app from Lookout Mobile. When you first load up the app, it will tell you if your device contains the vulnerable version of OpenSSL, which is what Heartbleed targets, as well as whether or not the Heartbeat extension that hosts the coding bug is enabled. If your phone doesn’t have the vulnerable version of OpenSSL or the extension isn’t enabled, you’re fine. If that’s not the case, your phone is at risk – and you better be very careful about what you do until your operating system is patched.
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.