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Choosing between the iPad Pro and Surface Pro 4

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

What's new on Netflix for December By Meredith Cunningham

The first day of every month is like Christmas when you've got a Netflix subscription!

On December 5, Netflix will be adding a new exclusive-to-Netflix Christmas special, "A Very Murray Christmas" starring Bill Murray and features appearances from George Clooney, Amy Poehler, Rashida Jones, Chris Rock and many more.

If you can't wait until then to get the holidays started, there are other great titles already streaming including "A Christmas Carol," The Radio City Christmas Spectacular," "Bad Santa" and several Christmas episodes from favorite TV shows like "The Office," "Friends," 30 Rock" and more.

But that's not all. There are new Netflix original movies out this month too, like Adam Sandler's new controversial movie "The Ridiculous 6," and in case one Adam Sander movie isn't enough, there's also a new Netflix Original, "Real Rob," which stars Sandler's crony Rob Schneider and his wife.
For the kids, there's a new season on "The Adventures of Puss N' Boots" and "Dawn of the Croods" and "My Little Pony."

Meanwhile, the end of every month also means Netflix has to remove some titles, too. This month we say goodbye to "The Labyrinth," "The Silence of the Lambs," "My Best Friend's Wedding" and "Batman Begins." You'll want to be sure to look at the full list so you can watch these titles before they go away.

Arriving on Netflix in December 2015
December 1
#DeathToSelfie (2014)
30 for 30: Chasing Tyson (2015)
50 Shades of THEY, Season 1
A Christmas Star (2015)
A Genius Leaves the Hood: The Unauthorized Story of Jay Z (2014)
Amnesiac (2015)
Broadchurch, Season 2
CBGB (2013)
Christmas Wedding Baby (2014)
The Chronicles of Riddick: Dark Fury (2004)
Cradle 2 the Grave (2003)
Darkman (1990)
Detectorists, Season 1
I'm Brent Morin
Jenny's Wedding (2015)
Las mágicas historias de Plim Plim, Season 1
Ray (2004)
Real Rob, Season 1 (2015)
See You In Valhalla (2015)
Sensitive Skin, Season 1
Starting Over, season 1
Stir of Echoes (1999)
Stir of Echoes: The Homecoming (2007)
That Touch of Mink (1962)
Tyke: Elephant Outlaw
Winning Life's Battles, Season 1

December 2
Stations of the Cross (2014)
Tangerine (2015)

December 3
Matt Shepard is a Friend of Mine (2015)

December 4
A Very Murray Christmas (2015)
Comedy Bang! Bang!, Season 4 (new episodes)

December 5
A Case of You (2013)
Dinosaur 13 (2014)
Inside Man, Season 3

December 7
Vampire Academy (2014)

December 8
One & Two (2015)
Phoenix (2014)
Xenia (2014)

December 9
Phineas and Ferb, Season 4
Trailer Park Boys: Drunk, High and Unemployed Live in Austin (2015)

December 11
The Adventures of Puss in Boots, Season 2
The Ridiculous 6 (2015)

December 14
The Da Vinci Code (2006)

December 15
Drown (2014)
Hart of Dixie, Season 4
High Profits, Season 1
Time Out of Mind (2014)

December 16
Fresh Dressed (2015)
Helix, Season 2

December 18
F is for Family, Season 1
Glitter Force, Season 1
Making A Murderer, Season 1
Mike Epps: Don't Take it Personal

December 19
Chloe and Theo (2015)

December 20
Leo the Lion (2013)
Magic Snowflake (2013)
Santa's Apprentice (2010)

December 21
El Señor de los Cielos, Season 3

Encrypted messages explained By Kaye Foley

Terrorists in the modern age have a tool in their arsenal that allows them to operate under the radar: technology.

After a series of unexpected and devastating attacks, counterterrorism officials believe that it’s getting harder to track ISIS because they “go dark” through the use of encryption messaging and apps.

The act of encryption, when a message is encoded so others can’t read it, is centuries old. Think of Egyptians and cryptography or Julius Caesar and the Caesar cipher. But now, the Internet and tech advancements have propelled encryption into the digital age. Most encryption programs transform information into a series of letters and numbers, which can only be opened with a key. One message can have multiple codes, each with a different key, making it a nearly impossible to crack.
We use encryption often in our daily lives when we go online, like when we shop or bank. But databases exist that can be used to really cover a person’s tracks. Software like Tor — originally developed by the U.S. government to protect private intelligence information — uses an anonymous network of servers to create a space on the “dark Web” where people with access are untraceable online.

Encryption apps like Apple’s iMessage, WhatsApp, Signal and Telegram use end-to-end encryption, meaning only the people sending and receiving the messages can see them. Many of these apps have settings that allow messages to disappear after a set time or to prevent messages from being forwarded.

Terror groups have encrypted their information for years, but recently, the technology has become more secure and accessible. Government intelligence agencies want tech companies to leave a flaw, or “back door,” in their programs, so they have a way to decrypt messages if needed. But cybersecurity experts warn against this, saying it leaves the products vulnerable to hackers.  
Even with encrypted communication, law enforcement and intelligence agencies are able gather critical clues and information, but it can be more difficult. So the next time you hear about encrypted messaging apps, at least you can say, “Now I get it.”

iPad Pro problems: Apple acknowledges mysterious shutdowns, but no fix yet by Caitlin McGarry

Some iPad Pro owners have noticed some strange behavior in their new 12.9-inch tablets. Normally when you charge a device, unless the battery has completely died, the screen remains responsive. But some iPad Pros are completely freezing, then dying, after a recharge. The problem appears to be widespread—Apple’s support communities are filled with complaints about the issue.

Apple knows about the problem, but hasn’t said why it’s happening. There doesn’t seem to be a real fix for it, either—at least not yet. The company published a support document on Thursday advising Pro users to force restart their tablets to bring them back to life, but that’s not really a long-term solution, because the issue is ongoing.

“When I connect my iPad Pro to the charger for more than an hour, it goes dead,” one Pro owner reported in the Apple support forum. “It takes multiple hard resets to bring it back to life.”

MacRumors first reported the iPad Pro issue on Monday, just days after the supersized tablets began shipping, and even experienced the problem with one of its own tablets. Apple employees are reportedly advising a range of solutions, from using iTunes to restore settings to performing a hard restart, as Apple is now officially recommending.

We’ll update this story when Apple pushes out a fix for the problem.

iPad buying guide: How to choose an iPad Pro, iPad Air, or iPad mini by Jason Snell

So you’re in the market for a new iPad. Excellent choice—I couldn’t live without mine. It’s my companion when I’m catching up on news and email in the morning over tea, reading a comic book in the evening to unwind, or watching a movie while traveling on a plane.

But these days, picking an iPad can be tricky. Apple currently sells five different models of iPad, with prices ranging from $269 to $1079. There are size, storage, color, and connectivity options to consider. All in all, there are 61 different variations of iPad from which to choose. So which iPad is right for you? Read on.

If you want it all: iPad Pro

The iPad Pro is the newest and biggest iPad, with a 12.9-inch diagonal screen. It’s a bit like someone ripped the screen off of a 13-inch laptop and turned it into an iPad. The iPad Pro is also the fastest iOS device ever and offers many features that aren’t available on any other device.
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iPad Pro
If you’re an artist who has dreamed of having a larger and more responsive iPad to draw on, the iPad Pro is a dream come true. It’s the only iPad that supports the $99 Apple Pencil, and while there are other pressure-sensitive iPad styluses on the market, this is the one that’s made by Apple—and that means it will probably be the best in its class, if for no other reason that it will be deeply integrated into the iPad Pro’s software. The iPad Pro’s screen can scan for the location of the Apple Pencil 240 times per second, twice the rate of other iPads.

If you’re someone who does a lot of serious work on your iPad, the iPad Pro is made for you, too—its larger screen is perfect for running two apps in Split View. And rather than having to rely on Bluetooth to attach an external keyboard, the new Smart Connector supplies data and power to both Apple’s $169 Smart Keyboard (which doubles as a carrying case) as well as other forthcoming keyboards, including the Logitech Create.

But despite its name, the iPad Pro isn’t just a tool for artists and other people wanting a more powerful and expansive iPad to get work done. It’s also a fantastic (albeit pricey) entertainment device, thanks to its stereo speakers and that gorgeous 2732-by-2048-pixel display.

For all its size, the iPad Pro doesn’t feel heavy. At 1.6 pounds, it’s about as heavy as the original iPad—but its weight is spread over a much larger area, making it comfortable to hold.

Color options: Silver, Gold, Space Gray.
Storage options: 32GB ($799) or 128GB ($949).
Cellular option: Only the 128GB model is available with a cellular variant, for $1079.
Who it’s for: Artists, people who use their iPads to get work done, and anyone who wants a big, bright screen (and good audio) for watching videos.

The all-purpose powerhouse: iPad Air 2

It was introduced more than a year ago now, but the iPad Air 2 is still the beating heart at the center of the iPad product line. It was so advanced compared to any other iOS device that preceded it, that even a year later it’s the model that most people should consider when they’re shopping for a new iPad.
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iPad Air 2
In terms of tech specs, the iPad Air 2 is impressive: It’s got a three-core Apple A8X processor and 2GB of RAM. This year’s iPad Mini 4 can’t even match it in terms of speed, and the extra RAM improves almost everything when it comes to switching among a bunch of different apps. While it’s technically “last year’s model,” it’s probably more accurate to say that the iPad Air 2 was next year’s model back in 2014, and in 2015 it’s still in its prime.

The iPad Air 2’s 9.7-inch display puts it firmly in the center of the iPad product line. It’s got the same screen size as the original iPad model from five years ago—but of course, things have advanced an awful lot since then. This screen is a Retina display at 2048-by-1536 pixels, and is laminated to an anti-reflective glass coating, the result being a relatively low-glare screen that feels incredibly close to the surface. It’s also thin and light, weighing in at less than a pound.

Yes, the displays of the iPad Air 2 and the iPad mini 2 offer the exact same number of pixels. What sets them apart is sheer size. On the Air, those pixels are given room to breathe—and if you’ve got aging eyes, you’ll be grateful for that. I’ve found reading comic books much more pleasurable on the iPad Air 2 than on the iPad mini, and it’s entirely down to the fact that everything on the screen is bigger.

To sum it all up, the iPad Air 2 is a powerful, thin, light iPad with a beautiful screen. It’s the mainstream iPad and the one that most potential iPad buyers should consider first.

Color options: Silver, Gold, Space Gray.
Storage options: 16GB ($499), 64GB ($599), or 128GB ($699).
Cellular options: 16GB ($629), 64GB ($729), or 128GB ($829).
Who it’s for: Just about anyone, but especially people who are happy to trade a little weight and size for a larger screen that’s more comfortable for imperfect eyes to scan.

Small is beautiful: iPad mini 4

Apple pretty much took 2014 off when it came to the iPad mini, adding a Touch ID sensor (and very little else) to the iPad mini 3. But 2015 has been very, very good to fans of the smallest iPad. The iPad mini 4 is powered by a speedy A8 processor and has 2GB of RAM, making it almost—but not quite—the match of its big brother, the iPad Air 2. The Air 2 is a little bit faster, but only by a hair. And the iPad mini 4 has access to all the advanced features of iOS 9 that its predecessors didn’t have, including Split View multitasking.
ipad mini 4 models stock Apple
iPad mini 4
The iPad mini 4’s screen is also to die for. The Retina display is laminated directly to the glass, reducing reflection and making you feel like the pixels are right underneath your fingers. The 2048-by-1536-pixel resolution is the same as the iPad Air 2—the only difference is that all 3.1 million pixels are packed into a 7.9-inch diagonal screen, as opposed to the Air’s 9.7-inch diagonal.
But making the trade-off that favors smaller size is what the iPad mini line has always been about. It’s a pretty great size, at 8 inches tall by 5.3 inches wide, two-thirds of a pound. My 11-year-old son has been toting around an iPad mini for the last couple of years, and he absolutely loves it. As for me, I always found the smaller size of the iPad mini preferable to the iPad Air, but in the last year I’ve become aware that my aging eyes feel a lot less strain when viewing all those pixels on a bigger screen.

If you want the smallest screen with the most power, though, the iPad mini 4 delivers.

Color options: Silver, Gold, Space Gray.
Storage options: 16GB ($399), 64GB ($499), or 128GB ($599).
Cellular options: 16GB ($529), 64GB ($629), or 128GB ($729).
Who it’s for: It’s the perfect device for someone who wants it all, but wants to keep it small.

Big screen, lower price tag: iPad Air

The original iPad Air, released in 2013, is still available for sale. It’s $100 or $150 less than the iPad Air 2, but it’s quite a bit slower and doesn’t have access to some new features like Split View multitasking. The screen, while the same resolution as the iPad Air 2, isn’t laminated to the glass, so it’s got more glare and feels a bit further away when you hold it.
ipad air pair stock Apple
iPad Air
This is not a bad iPad by any means, but it is two-year-old technology, and for the same price as the 16GB model you can buy the 16GB iPad mini 4, which is faster and has more RAM. The best buy in the line is the 32GB model, which is $150 less than the iPad Air 2—but also has half the storage capacity. And you can’t get more than 32GB of capacity in this model—if you want more storage, you’ll need to buy a different model.

In general, we’re reluctant to recommend that anyone buy an original iPad Air unless price is absolutely the biggest consideration, and even then, the iPad mini 4 is worth considering. Chances are good that many future iOS features will not support this device, so if you care about speed and a long device life, steer clear. On the other hand, the iPad Air has a big 9.7-inch Retina display and is perfectly suitable for everything but the most taxing productivity multitasking and the latest cutting-edge games.

Color options: Silver, Space Gray.
Storage options: 16GB ($399), 32GB ($449).
Cellular options: 16GB ($529), 32GB ($579).
Who it’s for: Price-conscious buyers who want a full-size iPad and don’t mind if it’s a little slower than the mainstream model.

The low price leader: iPad mini 2

Like the iPad Air, the iPad mini 2 was originally released in 2013. As a result, it’s slower and has less RAM than modern models. But it’s the cheapest iPad by far, starting at $269. For that price, you get a light (three-quarters of a pound), small iPad that’s got the same 2048-by-1536 resolution as the other iPad mini and iPad Air models.
ipad mini 2 stock Apple
iPad mini 2
Yes, there are some concerns about buying a new iPad that’s using two-year-old technology. Certainly if you are someone who was committed to cutting-edge games and multitasking between lots of productivity apps, this model might not be for you. But if there’s someone in your life who just wants to play games, or surf the web, or check Twitter, this is a pretty great little tablet for a pretty great price.

Until this summer, when I switched to the iPad Air 2, my everyday iPad was an iPad mini 2, and I loved it. Yes, it’s not as good as this year’s models, but it’s still pretty great.

As with the iPad mini 4, my only caution is for people who are older and are dealing with aging eyes or failing eyesight. My mother’s first iPad was an original iPad mini, but she’s much happier now with a full-sized iPad Air. The mini screen size is ideal for people with good vision.

Color options: Silver, Space Gray.
Storage options: 16GB ($269), 32GB ($319).
Cellular options: 16GB ($399), 32GB ($449).
Who it’s for: Kids, casual users, pretty much anyone who wants a low-cost iPad and doesn’t mind the smaller screen size.

Get Rid of Ads in Your Windows 10 Start Menu by Sarah Jacobsson Purewal, CNET

This article, Get rid of ads in your Windows 10 Start menu, originally appeared on
Your Start menu could contain not-so-helpful “suggestions” from Windows.
If you’re running Windows 10 with default settings, you’ve probably noticed apps creeping into the right (tile) side of your Start menu – apps you didn’t put there. Clicking on these “apps” opens up the Store, where you can purchase and download them. Microsoft calls them “suggestions,” but they’re actually just ads.
That’s right, Microsoft is putting ads in your Start menu. Is nothing sacred?
Luckily, ridding yourself of these ads – sorry, suggestions – is a quick fix.

Open Settings and go to Personalization > Start. You’ll see several toggles, but the second one should say “Occasionally show suggestions in Start.” Turn this toggle to Off and close the Settings menu.

That’s all you have to do! No more Start menu ads for you!

5 Best Portable Headphones Under $100 by [Consumer Reports] Terry Sullivan

There are probably a select few who can entertain the possibility of buying the $55,000 Sennheiser Orpheus headphones suggested as a holiday gift by Gwyneth Paltrow's lifestyle website, Goop. But for the rest of us who lack that kind of extra cash—or mind-set—particularly around the holidays, there are thankfully other options.

In fact, we've compiled a list of five great but affordable portable headphones that will suit just about any kind of activity, from jogging or hiking to just lounging around the house. You might even decide to wear them while contemplating how you might spend the $54,900 you just saved ignoring Goop's recommendation. 

AKG by Harman Y23 ($40)

These in-ear AKG headphones are pretty barebones when it comes to extras. For instance, they lack volume or other function controls. But they deliver where it matters most: very good sound quality. They’re also very lightweight, so they won’t bog you down if you’re exercising. And like many in-ear models, the ear-insert design muffles many external noises and sounds.

Philips ActionFit Sport SHQ2305 ($40)

If you're an active, outdoors type, consider a set of headphones with a more rugged design. This model claims to be sweat and moisture proof, which makes them well suited for strenuous workouts or for hiking or biking in rainy weather. But its weather-resistant design doesn't come at the cost of its audio performance—this model provides very good overall sound. 

Skullcandy Strum ($50)

If you like your headphones to have a cool, edgy design, this model might fit the bill. Each earbud is adorned with a tiny skull logo. But it’s not just about looks: It has very good sound quality. It even comes with a carrying case, so your headphones won’t get tangled up with your other gear.  

Motorola Moto Surround ($80)

Our headphones Ratings show that wireless headphones are typically pricier than those without this feature. But this pair from Motorola, which delivers very good sound quality, will likely fit into many budgets. A distinctive feature of this wireless Bluetooth model is its contoured collar, which wraps around the back of the neck. Motorola says the band, which includes all the controls for functions such as changing audio tracks and adjusting volume, is constructed to resist movement. When not in use, the earphones can magnetically attach to the band.

Phiaton BT 100 NC ($100)

If you crave quiet in the midst of a noisy environment or while traveling on a plane or train, noise-canceling headphones can provide the peace and serenity you seek. Most, however, tend to be pretty pricey. This wireless model, by Phiaton, breaks that trend, while adding wireless Bluetooth capability. The BT 100 NC combines active noise-cancellation with a passive in-ear design to provide decent noise reduction, along with very good overall sound quality.   

5 people who need a tablet By Justin Ferris

As tablets have gotten more powerful, they've gone from interesting novelty to a must-have gadget for many people. Of course, there are still plenty of tech users who don't see the need for one, or don't think they'll use it.

If you're one of those people and you haven't looked at tablets in a year or two, it's time for another look. Today we're going to talk about five types of people who should consider buying a tablet this holiday season, and what tablets will work best.

1. You need a new computer

Computer prices have fallen substantially to the point you can pick up a laptop for as little as $200. Still, it's going to be slow, bulky and only good for the most basic computer tasks. Even at $300 to $400, you aren't anywhere near the top of the line.

If you're after a budget computer, you might be better off with a tablet. For the same price, it can handle any basic task you throw at it, from Web browsing, Facebook and email to casual games, streaming video and more. Plus, it's much more portable than a laptop with a longer battery life, so you can use it on the couch, in bed, or on the go. Learn more about how a tablet could be a better buy than a new computer.

If the reason you're sticking with a computer is because you need Windows, tablets with Windows 10 are now powerful enough and cheap enough to work for you. The KomandoTab2 we sell in the Komando Shop is a perfect example. It's a full Windows computer in a tablet-size package, and it even comes with a keyboard case for those times you need to type something long and the on-screen keyboard won't cut it. Check it out and you'll be impressed. Oh, and if you buy today and use promo code SAVE10, you'll save 10%.

2. You're afraid of computers

The reason a number of people don't even have a computer in 2015 is because they're afraid of them. Let's be honest, computers are complicated when you're first learning them, and it is easy to press the wrong button and do something you didn't mean to. It's easy to do that even after using them for years!

Plus, you have to think about security, find programs to use, set up webcams, printers and other hardware; it's more than some people want to handle. There's nothing wrong with not owning a computer, but it does mean you miss out on instant access to information online, and cool ways to communicate with friends and family like Facebook or video chat.

If you find computers scary, a tablet is a much better option. Touch screens are easier to learn than a keyboard and mouse; mobile operating systems are built for simplicity; there's much less worry about security; and most of the basic apps you need are installed from the beginning.

We know plenty of people who never had a use for computers, but when given a tablet they almost won't put it down. If you or someone you know is afraid of computers, try a tablet and see what happens.

An iPad is usually considered the best option in this situation since it's the easiest to use, but Android has gotten much easier over the years as well. See how Apple and Android tablets stack up in our handy tablet comparison chart.

3. You're in business or school

In the worlds of business and education, the standard gadget is the laptop. It's versatile, portable and great for typing up notes and papers. Plus, you usually need standard software like Microsoft Office that only works on PC or Mac.

Of course, laptops are still bulky and a pain to carry around campus to classes, or to pull out in the boardroom. A tablet would be more convenient, but until recently a tablet couldn't compete. But then a few things changed.

First, Bluetooth keyboards got more widespread, which meant that tablet users aren't stuck trying to type long assignments on an on-screen keyboard. Also, Microsoft started its cloud version of Office and finally released good Office apps for Apple and Android gadgets.

For people who still need Windows, Windows tablets have finally become powerful enough to essentially be smaller laptops. The Microsoft Surface line spearheaded this a year ago, although they fall toward the expensive side.

Now, for less than $300 you can find a Windows 10 tablet, like the KomandoTab2, that will match the power of any basic laptop at a fraction of the size. And it runs a full version of Windows so any programs you need to use, it can handle. Plus, the included keyboard case means that typing up a report or taking notes is no problem.

4. You travel

Whether you're on the road or a plane, a tablet is a good travel companion, especially a smaller tablet like the iPad mini. You can watch movies, read eBooks, play games, and, if it has cellular or you're near Wi-Fi, you can get online. The battery will last six to 10 hours.

Despite all a tablet can do, however, it's light and slip easily into a bag, and it sits well on a tray table. You don't even need to take it out of your bag for security checks. If you're still taking a laptop on your trips because you do some typing and like having a keyboard, get a keyboard case that includes a physical keyboard. The KomandoTab2 we sell comes with one included.

5. You need a second computer

Do you have a child, grandchild or other family member who is hogging your computer? You'd get them their own, but that's hundreds of dollars you might not have to spend.

Maybe what you really need is a cheap tablet. Amazon's Fire lines start at $50, and it will do browsing, basic games and eBooks. Plus, Amazon's operating system includes parental controls, which makes it a perfect starting tablet for little ones.

If one of the main requirements of your second computer is Windows, the KomandoTab2 running Windows 10 is the best mix between a tablet and computer. It's less than $300, and you can drop the price even more if you buy today with promo code SAVE10.

The KomandoTab2 sports a crisp 10.1-inch, 1280x800 screen, a quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage, supports up to 64GB of additional storage with a microSD card, has front and rear cameras for taking photos and video chat, and ships with a keyboard case included. Plus, it runs the full version of Windows 10, so you can use your Windows programs if you want. It really is the whole package.

The Cord-Cutter’s Dilemma: Will Cutting Cable Really Save You Money? by Anthony Domanico

So, you think you want to cut the cable cord and go all-in on streaming? It’s a question people have been asking themselves ever since Netflix introduced on-demand streaming in 2007. 

But it’s more relevant than ever now: 2015 might just be the Year of the Stream, with several new streaming services from traditional cable and broadcast networks like CBS and HBO, new cable-replacement services from Sling TV and Sony, and new generations of set-top boxes like the updated Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and the Roku 4. 

And when you add in the fact that the holiday season is the perfect time for families to decide how to best set up their entertainment infrastructure, now is the perfect time to consider — again — whether cutting the cord is right for you. Here’s how I’d sort through your various options right now.

Over-the-air networks

Among the biggest things you give up when you ditch cable or satellite TV service is access to the major broadcast networks — ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC. In addition to providing some pretty great programming, the networks also bring you some content — like live sports — that you just don’t want to miss.

You can still get these channels without cable, but you’ll need to buy a specialized antenna (if you don’t have one already). Fortunately, decent options are available on Amazon for pretty cheap: You can get a good one for anywhere from $20 to $100 or so, with ranges of 25 to more than 60 miles.
One-time cost: $20 to $100.

General-purpose streaming

Conventional streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu Plus have been around for several years, and each are worth considering picking up for streaming movies and TV shows to your TV and mobile devices.

Of those major options, Netflix currently offers about 10,000 movies and TV shows, including about 7,500 in HD. And it offers three pricing tiers: $8 per month for non-HD content with one stream at a time; $10 for HD content and two simultaneous streams; and $12 per month for Ultra HD content and four streams.
Amazon Prime Video has approximately 17,000 movies and TV shows, but only around 3,500 are in HD. Prime Video is included with the company’s popular Amazon Prime service, which costs $99 per year (or, for comparison’s sake, about $8.25 a month). With that subscription, you also get free two-day shipping on your Amazon orders and the Prime Music streaming service. You can rent newer movies or subscribe to current seasons of TV shows for an added cost.

Hulu is unique in that it has a free tier, which lets you watch a limited amount of content on a PC — typically older movies and a few TV episodes. The company’s premium Hulu Plus service unlocks a slew of additional content, including current seasons of several popular TV shows. Both the free plan and the basic $8 per month Hulu Plus plan have commercials; a $12 monthly tier removes the ads. Hulu Plus users can add Showtime’s streaming service for an additional $9 per month.

Monthly cost: $10 (assuming you choose just one streaming service).

Streaming from cable and broadcast services

There are a couple of different ways to stream live content from popular cable and broadcast networks. Some services essentially offer a mini-cable package, with live and on-demand cable network content, while some cable and broadcast networks offer their own standalone streaming services.
Multi-Channel Streaming:  Sling TV is a relative newcomer to the streaming game. For $20 per month, it gives you access to over 20 channels, including ESPN, Disney, AMC, TNT, TBS, HGTV, Food Network, and Cartoon Network. You can add sports, kids hollywood, world news, and lifestyle channel packages for an extra $5 per month each, or HBO for $15 per month. The service also offers new customers free Roku or Chromecast streaming sticks and discounts off streaming boxes. 

PlayStation Vue is the service that’s most like cable, and comes with similar price points. PS Vue has three tiers — Access, Core and Elite — priced at $50, $60 and $70 per month, respectively. The base tier lets you stream content from broadcast networks FOX, CBS and NBC in addition to typical cable channels like Bravo, CNN, Food Network, HGTV and more. The higher tiers include additional channels like Fox Sports, Nickelodeon, AMC, FX and TNT; it will soon add Disney and ESPN.

Single-Network Streaming: So far, three networks have announced relatively inexpensive streaming plans that let users stream their content: HBO Now costs $15 per month; Showtime’s streaming service is $11 per month (or $9 per month when packaged with Hulu Plus); and CBS All Access runs $6 per month.

Each service gets you access to shows as they air on the respective networks, as well as access to past shows and each network’s current catalogue of movies and other video content.
Monthly cost: $6 to $70 and beyond (depending on the content you want).

Streaming sports

One of the biggest reasons people don’t quit cable is live sports. Fortunately, many sports offer standalone services that let you stream live or on-demand games — but they tend to be pricey and limited in what they let you watch.

Baseball, hockey and basketball fans can subscribe to MLB.TV, NHL GameCenter, or NBA League Pass, respectively, with prices ranging from $100 annually (for PC-only baseball) to $200 per year (for live NBA games). Unfortunately, these services all have local blackout restrictions, so you won’t be able to watch your home team unless you’re outside your team’s broadcast area.
Things get a bit more complicated with the NFL. Verizon has a deal with the NFL lets Verizon users stream live local games on Sunday and primetime games on Sunday, Monday, and Thursday nights for free. If you’re not on Verizon, the NFL Game Pass service costs $100 per year, but it lets you watch games only after they’ve ended; you can, however, listen to live radio broadcasts.

There’s also an NFL Sunday Ticket streaming option from DirecTV, but it only applies to those who can’t get DirecTV service in their home or apartment complex. And it’s pretty expensive, ranging from $200 to $359 per year depending on how you want to watch the games and whether you want their extra football-specific channels.

Finally, soccer fans can subscribe to Fox Soccer 2 Go, a $20 monthly (or $150 annual) service that lets you stream live soccer matches, with one big caveat: The service no longer includes the British Barclay’s Premiere League, one of the more popular leagues in the world.
Monthly cost: $8 to $30 per sport (with significant limitations).

The hardware

To get all this content onto your TV (as opposed to your computer or smartphone screen), you’re going to need either a Smart TV or a connected device that plugs into your existing set.

There are lots of options available, from streaming sticks (like the Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV Stick or the Roku Streaming Stick, which cost between $35 and $50) to streaming boxes (such as Amazon’s Fire TV, Apple TV and Roku, which cost from $50 for older models and $200 for the latest and greatest).
All of these connected devices let you stream content from a variety of different platforms; some of the higher-priced models add features like Ultra HD content and games.
One-time cost: $35 to $200 (if you don’t already have one). 

Adding it up

So will cutting the cable cord save you any money? It depends entirely on what you like to watch.

Let’s say you’re paying $100 a month for cable TV now. (Estimates vary, but that’s one guess at the average American’s bill.) There are lots of combinations of the numbers above that get you lots of TV content — if not everything you’re getting from cable now — for less than that. It’s also quite possible to spend a lot more — and even then you might not get everything that cable has to offer.

If you can get by with just one or two streaming services — say Netflix and HBO Now — you can probably save some money by going all-in on streaming. If, however, you’re more of a TV junkie and need to subscribe to several different streaming services to get the live sports, TV, and movies you want, you may be better off sticking to standard cable.

Or, you can do what a lot of people are doing and mix-and-match traditional cable or satellite services with streaming to get the TV package that’s right for you — but you won’t save any money that way. 

The bottom line: Decide what you really need in order to satisfy your content needs, then do the math and figure out the best way to get that within your budget. 

The best task managers for iOS by Michael Simon

 While Getting Things Done might be a proven method for maximizing organization and efficiency, you don’t need to adopt a whole new philosophy just to get your life in order. All you need is the right app.

However, finding that one perfect app can be the most difficult task of all. Do a search for “task manager” or “list maker” and you’ll get dozens of apps solely dedicated to scheduling and organizing your life.
The task managers on this list all let you dive in and out of your lists and to-dos with ease and efficiency, showcasing not just the beauty of iOS but also its power and versatility. And of course, they will all help you get things done. Here are our picks.

The best task manager: Todoist 

A clean, thoughtful interface is just part of Todoist’s charm.
While Todoist (free) has actually been around as long as the iPhone has, it was born and raised on the web, only emerging in its native form in 2012 after it had ample time to mature.

Life outside the App Store has served it well. Where other some other apps feel either rushed or unintuitive, Todoist consistently gets things right. From its minimal interface to its supremely functional task management, Todoist is such a pleasure to use you might find yourself looking for extra excuses to use it. Thankfully, you won’t need to look far. Whether you’re a list maker, project manager, or obsessive scheduler, Todoist’s deceptively powerful interface has you more than covered. There’s a minimal feel to it for sure, but none of its design decisions get in the way of your ability to quickly set, schedule, and finish tasks.

Todoist breaks down your to-dos in a logical way that helps you prioritize. Like most task managers, you’ll get a list of what needs immediate attention each time you launch, but what makes Todoist great—and gives it an edge over its competitors—is the ease with which it handles all of your projects and appointments, no matter when they’re occurring.
Todoist easily lets you assign, prioritize and set reminders as you add and organize your tasks.
There’s a logical priority placed on the tasks due during the current week, but you don’t need to use Todoist as a conventional task manager to take advantage of its greatness. By utilizing an inbox to organize your to-dos, it gives you a degree of control over your schedule that helps actually get things done more efficiently—not just hastily check them off a list.

That’s not to say you can’t quickly jump in and out to check on the day’s tasks, but speed is only a small piece of Todoist’s strong user experience. Truth be told, there are any number of apps that let you input and output tasks much faster, but I didn’t find one that collected or organized them better. Todoist understands that all tasks are not equal, so the creation of their reminders shouldn’t be either. It’s not just about scheduling—the app lets you collect like-minded tasks into projects, giving them greater importance and stature and helping to separate them from the simpler things going on in your life.

And Todoist won’t cost you a thing. You can choose to subscribe to a premium account that greatly expands the service with things like custom filters, file attachments, location alerts and labels, but the free version of Todoist is still comfortably ahead of its peers.

Runner-up: Todo

Personalized lists and smart sorting make Todo an excellent home for your tasks.
Advanced features are one thing, but the basic premise of a task manager—making lists and scheduling tasks—ought to be a fairly instant-to-understand process.

That’s what ultimately earned Todo ($5) this spot. Todo edged out the others all on the strength of its interface. It offers a healthy servicing of advanced features for power users, but Todo really nailed the basic tenets of a task manager.

Right off the bat, Todo distinguishes itself with its smart, intuitive options. Start a new to-do and you’ll immediately be asked to choose the type of task you’ll be tackling: A reminder, list, or project.

It’s a simple step but an important one; many apps ignore the fact that a good deal of our tasks only need rudimentary checklists, and a way to group items together neatly and logically is often hidden inside complex menus, if it’s not overlooked altogether. Outside of list-centric apps like Clear or Remember the Milk, Todo handled things like packing lists and bundled tasks better than any other manager, and its dexterity made the input process utterly painless.
Todo’s Inbox lets you see what’s happening now, later and in the future.
But what Todo truly excels at is organization. Where other apps merely give you a repository for the things you need to do, Todo actually helps you organize your tasks in a way that helps you complete them more efficiently. No matter what type of tasks you create, they’ll naturally be sorted into smart categories: An Inbox filled with things yet to be completed, a Focus List of anything due within the next 24 hours, and Starred Tasks for anything urgent. On top of that, you can add personalized lists to divide your tasks by theme. You’ll need to do the sorting yourself here, but it’s another example of how Todo understands the way tasks naturally fit together.

The interface isn’t quite as polished as some of its competitors’, but there’s a certain appeal to its custom backgrounds and whimsical use of color. Navigation is smooth and intuitive, and you’ll find a wealth of options in its settings, including location awareness and contacts integration. Like Todoist, there’s also an optional Todo Cloud subscription that expands the app’s capabilities with powerful sharing, syncing, and collaboration (along with a clever Siri workaround), but most users will be plenty pleased with the basic app. Todo isn’t just worth the price of admission; its simple yet sophisticated task management will give you and your life a new sense of order.

Best for calendar lovers: Good Task 2

GoodTask integrates with your Calendar events to create a full picture of everything going on your life.
If you’re the kind of person who needs to visualize your to-dos on a calendar, your options are surprisingly limited. Apps like Sunrise (R.I.P.) and Fantastical do an excellent job of keeping track of your appointments and reminders, but they’re not true task managers, and many of the better to-do-centric apps don’t want to muddy their experiences with tiny calendars.

GoodTask 2 (free) fills the space between them. With a tabbed interface that lets you quickly switch between modes, it strikes a neat balance between a task manager and a day planner, letting you visualize everything you need to do without getting too bogged down in the minutiae of days and dots.

There are four tabs to choose from in GoodTask, each with its own unique view. List displays your to-dos in classic task manager mode, while the others break down the things you need to do into daily, weekly, and monthly segments. Its interface conjures shades of Fantastical, which is hardly a bad thing—in Week mode, a DayTicker-like bar lets you quickly jump through your tasks and Month view splits the screen between a full calendar and a chronological list of upcoming to-dos.

A nifty pull-down gesture lets you create new tasks and you can easily organize them with custom lists, but the best reason to download GoodTask 2 is its built-in calendar. Fast and functional, it puts your tasks in a whole new light, aligning them with the rest of your life and helping you find the spaces where you can get things done.

Best for power users: Gneo

An adjustable quadrant gives you incredible control over your tasks in Gneo.
All of the managers listed here do an exemplary job with organizing and alerting you to the tasks that need to be done, but for the most part they’re catch-all’s, dutifully collecting everything you input.If your days are becoming bogged down with overlapping tasks, Gneo ($10) will help you unjumble your schedule.

Gneo utilizes a panel interface that helps prioritize your tasks based on urgency, the most unique (and useful) being an adjustable quadrant view that divides things by importance. If, for example, a deadline has shifted from tomorrow to next week, you can literally drag it from urgent and drop it into important, freeing up time for something that requires your immediate attention. You can also create personalized “notebooks” that work well to keep tasks of all sizes—long-term projects and goals can be separated from menial things like grocery lists, so you won’t overlook anything important.

Gneo was easily the most focused task manager I used. Every step of its interface is designed to maximize efficiency and get your tasks prioritized and polished off, and power users will appreciate its strict attention to detail. Even a mountain of tasks will seem manageable once they pass through its singular system of checks and balances, and you might even gain some perspective on the other side.

Best for list junkies: Clear 

Clear has evolved over the years, but its gesture-based navigation is just as cool as it’s always been.
Clear ($5) was the first app to truly bring task management into the multi-touch era, introducing a slick, gesture-based interface that made boring old to-do lists exciting again. It’s come a long way from its humble beginnings, but its strongest suit is still its most basic feature: Making lists, and crossing things off.

Clear isn’t the only task manager that utilizes gestures, but it’s the only one I tested that relied exclusively on them. Everything from creating new lists to adjusting the settings is accomplished through simple pulls and swipes, giving Clear a fresh, modern UI that’s as slick as it is intuitive. You won’t find many of the features common to the other task managers here, but an excellent use of color and item-specific reminders make it easy to use for all of your to-dos.

Rather than swiping through screens to navigate your tasks, Clear operates in a vertical space, which takes some getting used to. But once you learn the ins and outs of its various screens, you’ll be able to make and populate lists faster than with any of its peers—and you’ll have a whole lot more fun doing it.

Best for resolutions: Streaks 

If you have recurring tasks, Streaks won’t let you forget to keep doing them.
Resolutions aren’t just for January. Whether you’re trying to quit smoking, save up for a trip, or lose weight, Streaks ($4; iPhone only) will help you accomplish your goal.

Streaks is built to be a motivator but it’s not just for tasks you need extra motivation to accomplish. You can schedule a customized daily notification for anything that you need reminding to do on a regular basis—be it walking the dog or calling your mom. And don’t worry about Streaks nagging you too much—the app doesn’t rely solely on badgering to keep you on top of your tasks.

To mark off a particular task for the day, you tap and hold its circle, and the app has various views to show how well you’ve done. It’s a bit of subtle gamification, but it works, as does the integration with the Health app for tracking exercise. And while Streaks limits you to just six tasks, it’s for your own good—it wants you to focus on the things you’re actually going to commit to doing. That means if you want to add a new task, you’ll need to complete one of your old ones (or at least feel a pang of guilt deleting it).

Others of note 

Swipes’ simple, outline-inspired interface gives your tasks a sense of style and place.
While the six spotlighted task managers above are among the very best in the App Store, there are numerous others that deserve a mention. Sporting a clever whiteboard-inspired interface, Trello’s (free) system of customizable containers just barely missed out on the runner-up position. It does a stellar job of organizing and managing not just your tasks, but attachments and notes as well.

Equally excellent is (free), a powerful task manager wrapped in an incredibly lightweight interface. Lists, projects, and to-dos are all handled with style and speed, but its shining feature has to be the daily Moment, which lets you plan the day’s tasks all at once.

Another favorite is Swipes (free). Impeccably designed and built around one of most distinctive interfaces I’ve seen, Swipes’ smart, clean approach to task managing will organize your to-dos with gesture-based steps and actions. Evernote and Gmail users will love its seamless integration with all of your notes and important emails.
Its electrifying personality will motivate you to complete your tasks—but you don’t want to get Carrot angry.
For list makers, there’s the inimitable Remember the Milk (free). One of the original task managers, the app has certainly matured since its in-browser days, but it still retains much of its classic charm, down to its paper-and-pencil-styled skeuomorphic design. You’ll also get a clever panel interface that organizes your tasks by day rather than date—not to mention the cutest home screen icon ever.

If you’re a serial procrastinator, Carrot To-Do ($3; iPhone only) will give you the motivation you need to finish you tasks—with a liberal dose of attitude. You see, Carrot doesn’t let your to-dos languish past their due dates: It will shame you with sass and attitude until they get done.

And finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t include Things ($10; iPhone only). Another classic task manager, Things’ system is time-tested and true, embracing the GTD philosophy and utilizing a drop-dead simple interface that stays out of the way while still helping you manage and dutifully organize your tasks.

How we made our list 

During my extensive testing—which included more than two dozen task managers and list makers—I tried to represent as much of a cross-section as I could. Still, there’s a good chance your favorite one didn’t make the cut. So allow me to explain why.

First off, the apps on this list are all inexpensive. I imposed a price limit of $10, not because of a misguided notion that iOS apps should cost as little as possible, but because I wanted to keep a uniform, if not level playing field. By no means is this an indictment of Omnifocus or premium subscription models, but comparing a $1 app to one that costs $30 seems unfair to both.

No matter the price, every task manager needs to do a few basic things: Organize tasks, make lists, and set a schedule. Some obviously do a whole lot more, but those three facets were a starting point for every app I tested. If it didn’t do one, it was out. (For example, the fantastic list-making app Paperless doesn’t do due dates, so it was chopped.) I also discounted any app that wasn’t yet updated for at least the iPhone 6, which notably eliminated Taasky, Finish, and Zippy, along with a few others.

From there, I used three more criteria: Interface, organization, and time management. While each of these are wholly subjective, there are some standards I did my best to apply. I tend to gravitate toward cleaner interfaces, but function trumped form. Folders (or some kind of structural hierarchy) were an absolute must, as was the ability to quickly create a new task on any page. Alerts and scheduling were important as well, but so was the ability to snooze and delete tasks without needing too many taps.

Five easy ways to get your iPhone photos onto your Mac by Nick Mediati

When it comes to importing photos you took on your iPhone, you have plenty of options. 

Smartphone cameras have always been a convenient feature, but as those cameras have improved, they have become increasingly indispensable. The iPhone camera is now so good that, for many, their iPhone now acts as their one and only camera—in fact, more Flickr users take photos with iPhones than with any other camera.

But sooner or later, you’re going to want to get those photos off of your iPhone and onto your computer. Here are five ways to transfer those photos to your Mac.

The old-fashioned way

Back in the old days, the only way to get massive quantities of photos off your iPhone was to tether it to your Mac using a USB sync cable. You can still do this with your iPhone today, and if you don’t use a cloud storage or sync service like iCloud, it’s still probably the easiest way to go.

Grab the Lightning cable (or if you have an older iPhone, your 30-pin-to-USB cable), and plug your iPhone into your computer. By default, the Photos app (or iPhoto if you’re running an older version of OS X) will open, but if it doesn’t go ahead and open it.

Click the Import tab, then click Import New Items, and Photos will do its thing. If you want Photos to remove the items you imported from your phone, check the box labelled “Delete items after import” (truncated to “Delete items” when you shrink the window) before you begin importing photos. Alternately, you can choose just a selection of photos, then click Import Selected.
photos import
Photos makes it quick and easy to import photos from your iPhone or digital camera.
If you want a little more control over the import process—perhaps you want to save certain photos to a folder in the Finder or delete a handful of photos from your phone—use your Mac’s built-in Image Capture app. Once you open Image Capture, select your iPhone from the list, then select where you want to save the imported photos from the Import To list. Next, press either Import All, or select the photos you want to import and then press Import.

Once you’re done, go ahead and safely disconnect your iPhone from your computer.

The email way

If you just need to transfer one or two photos to your Mac, the easiest, most hassle-free way may still be email. Open the Photos app on your phone, go to an album, then tap the Select button in the upper right. Select the photos you want to transfer to your Mac, then tap the Mail icon. Compose a message to yourself, then tap Send. At this point, you’ll be asked which size of images you want to send: Tap the option you want, and your iPhone will send the message on its way.
share via email
Sometimes, even in 2015, emailing a photo to yourself is still the easiest way to go.

The AirDrop way

Another method is to use AirDrop, which lets you transfer files between iOS and OS X devices over your local network. To use AirDrop, both your iPhone and Mac need to be on the same Wi-Fi network, and both need to have Bluetooth turned on. Your Mac needs to be running OS X Yosemite or newer for iOS-to-OS X AirDrop to work; your iPhone needs to have iOS 8 or later installed.
share via airdrop
AirDrop lets you send photos to any Mac or iOS device on the same Wi-Fi network.
Open the Photos app on your iPhone, go to an album, and select photos as outlined above. 
When presented with the Share screen, look under AirDrop for the Mac you want to transfer photos to. Tap the icon for that Mac, and if all works well, AirDrop will begin transferring the photos to that computer. Note that you may be asked to confirm the transfer on your Mac before the file transfer will kick off.

Personally, I’ve had some reliability issues with AirDrop between iOS and OS X—sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. If you’ve experienced AirDrop flakiness and have a Dropbox account, the next option may be your best bet.

The cloud storage way

If you use a cloud storage service like Dropbox, Box, or Microsoft OneDrive, you can likely use it to transfer photos to your computer—and all your other devices, for that matter. Look to see if your cloud storage service offers an iOS app: Most major cloud storage services do, and they often allow you to save photos to your account with just a few taps. 

The iCloud Way

Most of the options outlined above work great for copying over a handful of photos at a time, or if you want to import your photos only once and a while. But if you want to keep your Photo Library in sync across all your devices, look no further than iCloud Photos.

With iCloud Photo Library, all your photo libraries on all your devices update as you take new pictures, so you don’t have to copy your photos from one device to another. It’ll also sync edits and changes made to the photos themselves, so if you, say, crop a photo on your Mac, the version on your iPhone will also be cropped.

You get 5GB of iCloud storage for free, and when that maxes out, your photos will no longer stay in sync across devices, so you’ll probably want to pay for the extra storage if you have a large photo library. Prices start at $0.99 per month for 50GB of storage, and range to $9.99 per month for a full terabyte. 
photo stream
iCloud Photos options in OS X El Capitan.
You may already have iCloud Photo Library switched on without even realizing it. To check on your Mac, open System Preferences, go to iCloud, then make sure the Photos checkbox is checked. Also, click the Options… button next to the Photos toggle to switch additional features on or off. Here, you can choose to use iCloud’s Photo Stream feature instead of iCloud Photo Library: This feature will copy any new photos to a Photo Stream album on each of your devices, but it won’t store them in your iCloud Library.

Once you have iCloud Photos enabled on your Mac, do the same on your iPhone. Go to Settings > iCloud > Photos, then switch on iCloud Photo Library or My Photo Stream, depending on how you want to keep your photos in sync.