Weekly output: Movies Anywhere, pay-TV apps

This week involved some tech trouble at home: Tuesday morning, our fridge was near room temperature. After a call to Samsung support, they scheduled a technician to stop by Thursday afternoon, and then I borrowed a friend’s powered cooler to store the surviving food items. (We later tried rescheduling but couldn’t reach a human to change it, but the original time worked out in the end.) The cause was apparently a faulty $8.59 sensor that let ice build up and block a fan that, when partially obstructed, had earlier begun yielding annoying grinding noises that should have been our warning. It cost another $175 or so in labor and other charges to get that replaced and restore the fridge to working order. Still worth it, although I would like for this 2014 purchase to go much longer than three years before its next service incident.

10/13/2017: Movies Anywhere solves the hassle of downloading flicks everywhere, Yahoo Finance

This Disney-run site, which puts copies of movies you’ve bought off Apple, Amazon, Google or Vudu in your accounts on all four services and in its own app, is shockingly good–especially in light of the sheer awfulness of the first Hollywood-run movie-download sites. The site has even improved since I filed the post: While it didn’t initially match my years-ago iTunes purchase of The Insider, by the next day it had. I’ll try to get the post updated tomorrow.

10/15/2017: A new way to beat the cable box: Streaming Internet apps, USA Today

This column was set off by a reader asking if Spectrum’s app could let her retire one of her cable boxes. I realized that I hadn’t written about that, and then further research revealed that some other cable and satellite TV providers had expanded their own app offerings. A reader’s Facebook comment has since revealed an option for Fios TV that Verizon may not know about: If you have a Samsung phone and a Samsung smart TV, the mobile device’s Smart View screen mirroring can cast the Fios app to the big screen.

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Weekly output: IFA (x2), iPhone 7 and 7 Plus (x2), headphone jacks, pay-TV apps, iPhone 7 purchase options

Over the past few years, I’ve often found myself observing September 11 by flying somewhere. This year didn’t have me on a plane, but the day did finally get me to post a Flickr album of photos from my visit two years ago to the September 11 Memorial and Museum in New York. If you’ve never gone, try to do so sometime–but know that it will be a difficult time.

9/6/2016: Gadgets from Europe’s big tech show you can’t get in the US, Yahoo Finance

I wrote this “we can’t have nice things” post from the press room in Berlin on Saturday, but it didn’t go up until Tuesday. Note that we changed up some of the art after an editorial mixup had a couple of errant images in the post.

9/6/2016: The most bizarre things I saw at Europe’s biggest tech show, Yahoo Finance

My original headline began with “IFA inanities,” but my editor correctly pointed out that many readers have no idea what “IFA” is.

9/7/2016: The forecast for Apple’s new iPhones, WTOP

I spoke to Washington’s news station a little after 8 in the morning about predictions for the new iPhone 7 and 7 Plus.

9/7/2016: Apple’s new iPhones, WTOP

I returned to WTOP just after 5 to talk specifics about Apple’s new smartphones and their wireless AirPod headphones, which I may have called “AirBuds” once or twice.

yahoo-iphone-headphone-jack-post9/7/2016: Apple just demonstrated why people hate the tech industry, Yahoo Finance

I teed off on Apple’s decision to remove the headphone jack from the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. Nothing I’ve seen since, including BuzzFeed’s long feature, has convinced me that Apple really had no choice–remember, the company did find room to jam in a second speaker. This leaves me once again content not to own an iPhone, even if the cameras on the new models sound amazing.

9/9/2016: FCC tweaks its proposal to free Americans from cable box fees, Yahoo Finance

Federal Communications Commission chair Tom Wheeler rolled out a new proposal to give customers options to the traditional cable (and satellite) box that’s largely built around the cable industry’s own proposal. Big Cable has yet to appreciate this flattery much.

9/11/2016: How to buy an iPhone 7 without getting locked into a carrier, USA Today

I asked my editor if they needed anything iPhone-related this week, she suggested looking into purchase options, and I realized they had changed quite a bit from a year ago–in a customer-friendly direction.