Recently, my neighbor went into assisted living. The first thing she noticed was the lack of TV channels. Gone were her favorites, like Hallmark. I suggested YouTube TV.
YouTube TV has over 85 channels for $65 a month. Its chief rival, Hulu, is $80 a month if you include the ability to skip ads and record 200 hours worth of shows. YouTube TV gives you unlimited recordings and ad skipping for no extra charge. You also get a $10 discount on the first three months after a free trial.
CNET tested six streaming services. They agree with me that YouTube TV is the best. However, you might prefer Hulu if you’re a fan of Disney Plus, the History Channel and ESPN Plus, which adds thousands of exclusive live sporting events to the usual ESPN lineup.
To watch a streaming service on a TV, rather than on a computer or phone, find the “apps” area of your remote control, then find YouTube TV, Hulu or one of many others. If your TV isn’t smart, but has an HDMI connection, you can get a $40 Google Chromecast dongle or Roku Express player, which costs $19 at Target, to plug into the back of it. Then, you’ll get all the movie, TV and other apps you need.
APP HAPPY WORD GAME
I ignored the word game Wordle even after it went viral. But then I couldn’t stand it any longer. Now I’m hooked!
Basically, you guess a word by typing it in a grid, like Hangman.
A letter lights up in green if it’s both correct and in the right position. A letter turns gold if it’s correct but in the wrong position. After you bomb out with your first try, which is expected, go to the next line, and type in your second guess. When I got a word right on the sixth try, the website version said “Phew!”
In the app and on the website, you get the daily challenge for free but can play it only once. For $10 in the app, you can play as many custom challenges as you wish. The hardest level asks you to guess a 10-letter word in eight tries.
LYRICS FROM SPOTIFY
Here’s how to see the lyrics of any song you’re listening to on Spotify.
On your phone, tap on a song, then tap at the bottom of the screen to enlarge it. Now swipe up from the bottom and you’ll see a few lines of lyrics. Tap the arrows in the upper right to see all the lyrics.
I started with Fred Astaire and his sister Adele singing “Hang on to Me,” from the musical “Lady Be Good.” Love that song! I’d never heard it before.
To see the lyrics on your computer, go to open.spotify.com. Hit the “play” button next to any song. Then click on the tiny image of a microphone in the bottom right of your screen. Voila! The lyrics appear.
Spotify usually gets the lyrics right, but it did a lousy job with “La Bamba.” When I looked up the actual words, I found this, in the translation: “To dance the La Bamba, one needs a bit of grace.”
Here are some battery tips from HMD Global, the home of Nokia devices.
First, don’t charge your phone to 100%, which puts a strain on your battery. Stop at 80% Nokia and Apple say, though Google says 90% is OK. Other experts say “fuggedaboutit.”
The results are not worth the inconvenience if you plan to get a new phone every three or four years.
Here’s another conundrum. Should you occasionally let your battery drain to zero before charging? Google and Apple both agree that you don’t want it to go below 30% or 40% on a regular basis.
Second, don’t let apps track your location except when you’re using them.
On an Android phone, go to “Settings,” then “Location” and toggle the switch off. On an iPhone, go to “Settings,” then “Privacy,” then “Location Services.”
Third, don’t expose your phone to extreme cold or heat. Maybe, I’ll wear mine under my coat when there’s snow on the ground.
Finally, consider replacing the battery when its maximum capacity is under 80%. To check your iPhone, go to “Settings,” then “Battery,” then “Battery Health.”
My 2016 iPhone SE still has 100% capacity. The previous owner must have taken good care of it. Either that or iPhones really rock. For Android phones, install the free app AccuBattery and look at “Battery Health.”
TOO MANY DINGS
If you don’t want to keep hearing a ding every time a notification comes in on your iPhone, here’s what to do. The next time a notification appears, swipe left on it to get two options. Choose the one that says “Manage.” Now tap “Deliver Quietly.” If it’s one you never want to see again, choose “Turn off.”
The Interactive Constitution, a free app from the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, has fascinating tidbits. Did you know that the Founder Fathers had laws against Loyalists owning guns?
• TreasuryDirect.gov is a site where you can buy an iBond, also called a “Series I” government bond. Invest up to $10,000 to earn 7.12% in interest if you hold it for a year or more.
• “List of Famous Computer Scientists – Famousbio.” Google that phrase to see a list of names, including Google’s Larry Page. I learned that Grace Hopper, an early programmer, was nicknamed “Amazing Grace” and “Grandma COBOL.”
Joy Schwabach can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.