Time Warner Cable recently introduced a new bundle aimed to win back cord-cutters who think cable TV has become too expensive. The “Starter TV with HBO” bundle includes access to 20 channels, including local channels in HD, as well as HBO and HBO Go, for $30 a month. If this sounds familiar, that’s because it is; Comcast started offering a similar bundle in October. While it’s a step in the right direction, Time Warner’s newest bundle isn’t as appealing as it is at first glance. You’ll still need to rent a cable box, which currently costs $10 a month. Add in taxes and fees and you’ll wind up with a bill close to $50 a month – and that still doesn’t include internet access or a DVR. Cable companies like Time Warner and Comcast are scrambling to regain the market share they’re losing, but these types of bundles alone won’t get the job done. A major shake-up is coming in the world of cable TV – it’s just a matter of who will blink first.
Dealing with death is tough enough, but today’s digital world has posed a new problem: What do you do with the Facebook account of a loved one who has passed? There’s no right or wrong choice when it comes to this decision, and it may seem like it doesn’t matter one way or the other, but leaving the profile online may put you and other loved ones at risk because of the site’s ever-changing privacy rules. Facebook’s primary policy when someone dies is to memorialize the account, so if you want to go this route, all you need to do is provide Facebook with proof of death and request for the account to be memorialized. If you’d rather delete the account altogether, you’ll need to fill out a form on Facebook and provide proof that you’re related to the deceased – either a death certificate, the deceased person’s birth certificate or proof of authority will do. While the whole process may seem trivial, cybercriminals see death as a prime time to strike. Protect yourself.
Vine is one of the best ways to share bite-sized videos of your life with your family and friends. Here’s a simple way for iPhone users to make recording your videos easier. Normally, to record in Vine, you need to tap and hold your finger on the screen. But the iPhone can keep a “software finger” on the screen for you, meaning you only need to tap the screen once to film your Vine. Head to Settings, then General, then Accessibility. Scroll down to Assistive Touch, then tap on Creature New Gesture. Tap and hold on the screen for six seconds. Save and name the gesture, then turn on Assistive Touch. When you head into Vine, you can tap on the Assistive Touch white dot, find your custom gesture, and enable it. Tapping the blue circle on the screen registers as a tap and hold. When you’re done, remember to turn off Assistive Touch – otherwise every iPhone touch will register as a six second tap and hold. Happy Vining!
Look! In the sky! It’s a bird … it’s a plane … it’s an Amazon Prime Air delivery drone! Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos recently said that the company is looking to shake things up in the package delivery game, including a drone messenger service that can deliver packages to your house in less than half an hour. Amazon’s octocopters – the fancy, official word for these drones – sit at the end of a conveyer belt, waiting to pick up your package … as long as they’re under 5 pounds, which Bezos says applies to 86 percent of Amazon’s packages. The drones can then carry your order up to 10 miles from the fulfillment center – Amazon’s massive warehouses, of which there are 96 scattered across the country. Don’t expect to see Amazon drones hovering around your neighborhood anytime soon, though. Amazon still needs to work out the regulations and figure out how to prevent your package from being dropped in the wrong spot. Like on your roof… or on your head.
Facebook recently said it would add an “unfollow” button to hide a friend’s updates who might share a few too many things. You’d still be friends with him, but you wouldn’t have to see his posts clutter your News Feed. If this sounds like a dream come true, there’s no need to wait around for Facebook to officially add the button – you can hide pesky over-sharers today. Here’s how. Find something that bugs you on your News Feed – whether it’s a status update, photo album, app update or anything else – and click the upside down triangle in the top right-hand corner of the update. Then click “I don’t want to see this.” If you want to hide everything from that person, click “Hide all from this person.” That’s all you have to do! If you want to add that person back to your feed in the future, go to their page, mouse over the “Friends” dropdown at the top, and click “Show in News Feed.” Now, who needs that “Unfollow” button, anyway?
Ultra HD sets – also known as 4K set – were the new new thing at this year’s CES, and we’ll see even more awesome advances in the technology at CES next month. The picture quality and color space are amazing, but watching 4K video displayed on a 4K screen that’s as wide as an NBA player is tall will make you want one more than hearing a list of specs ever could. These 4K sets have a minimum resolution of 3,840 × 2,160 pixels – that’s 8.3 megapixels, or four times the number of pixels of a 2K set, like the one you’ve got in your living room. But don’t get too hung up on 4K, because 8K sets are on the way, and they’ve got sixteen times more pixels than the set you have in your living room now. Forget home theater; we’re talking home IMAX. Ultra HD is the next big thing in the world of tech, and you’ll be able to see it all in Las Vegas next month at CES.
Thinking of picking up a brand new video game console this holiday season? You might want to hold off on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. While the latest and greatest consoles from Microsoft and Sony will soon be the new kings of the video game world, high prices and a lack of games make them less appealing than their predecessors – the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 – as well as the Wii U. The 360, PS3 and Wii U have all seen price cuts recently, and were all featured in a slew of bundles during Black Friday week. These low prices and bundles will continue through the holiday season, letting you pick up a brand new console and a bevy of games for less than the price of one brand new Xbox One or PlayStation 4. Which would you rather have? A PlayStation 3 and ten of its best games … or a PlayStation 4 and nothing? Personally, I’d prefer a PlayStation 4. Shop smart this holiday season and for younger gamers, consider a PlayStation 3, an Xbox 360 or even a Wii U.
The internet has made digital media king in almost every realm, but a new study shows that it hasn’t quite conquered the book market. Market research firm Voxburner recently polled 16 to 24 year olds in the UK. When asked if they preferred physical products or digital content, almost two in three polled said they preferred physical books to e-books, showing that the Kindle and Nook haven’t taken over quite like their audio and video media counterparts. So why are e-books lagging so far behind other digital platforms, like music and video games? There’s a major divide over price – nearly a third of those polled think e-books should cost half as much as they do now – but the bigger reasons are more sentimental. Many said they like the smell of books, like having full bookshelves and want to show off what they’ve read to family and friends. One day, maybe Amazon or Barnes and Noble will release an e-book with smell-o-reading, but until that day comes, the printed word may remain king.
Texting and driving is a really dumb idea, and New York has a new idea how to stop people from doing it. The state recently rolled out 32 tall, unmarked SUVs to police officers, giving them a better line of sight at drivers’ hands to catch them in the act. Catching distracted drivers talking on their phones is easy, but officers have a tougher time determining if those drivers are distracted because of texting. Patrolling in taller cars should help them enforce the law better than ever. This move is the latest in a string of crackdowns against texting while driving by New York, which created “Texting Zones” for you to pull over and text from a safe spot. The state also made the penalties more severe for being caught in the act: texting while driving now carries a five point penalty for your license and a fine of up to $200. So next time you’re out for a drive, remember: texting can wait.
Another Black Friday is in the history books, but you still have another chance to save. Today is Cyber Monday, which began years ago as a way to encourage more of us to shop online rather than in stores. Many sites have been running online sales for over a week now, while others like Amazon and Walmart started even earlier than that. Cyber Monday marks the end of this run of sales, so here are a few tips to stay safe while you shop. Like any other day, make sure your anti-virus software is up-to-date. If any offer seems too good to be true, it probably is – no one’s selling an iPad Air for $100. Don’t click on any links or offers from sites you don’t recognize. Make sure you make all purchases with a credit card to stay safe and be protected by federal law. Finally, look for https:// in the address bar and the “lock” in the lower-right corner of the screen. These ensure you’re on a safe and secure URL.