What’s on the web? Everything.
Without buying an antenna or paying for a subscription to Netflix, Hulu or Sling TV, all you need is an internet connection. Out there on the cosmic web are tons of entertainment, and also some instruction – just recently a woman delivered her own baby watching instructions on YouTube.
One of the most popular shows in the known universe is now on the web. Search for “Twitch Presents” to pick up 500 episodes of “Doctor Who.” Never heard of it? You’re out of touch. This show has been running, with a few breaks, since 1963 and regularly draws around 100 million viewers per episode worldwide.
Why the Twitch? Twitch.TV was initially intended for watching people play video games. What? You call that entertainment? Well, last year 258 million viewers on all kinds of websites tuned in to watch competitors play video games against each other. By way of comparison, 204 million viewers tuned in to watch pro football in the U.S. Of course that’s a not a fair comparison; our brand of football isn’t played in most other countries, so that’s sort of us versus the world.
The same is true for Dr. Who, a science fiction show about a time traveler. It airs in 36 countries, so most people are “out there,” you might say, and that’s the power of the World Wide Web.
Laser printer woes
A reader was printing a picture with a laser printer when it stopped. The paper had wrapped itself around what’s called the fuser roller and wouldn’t come off. Over the phone, a tech support guy from Okidata helped him get the little fragments of paper removed. However that didn’t fix the problem. So he ordered a new fuser for $195 from Amazon.
Some further explanation might be useful here. Laser printers use a mixture of powdered ink and glue. The mixture that is deposited on the paper must then roll past a “fuser roller” that is heated and melts the ink/glue mix onto the page. The result is very nice – when all goes well.
The replacement is expensive, so it’s worth paying attention to the kind of paper you feed in to print your picture. Glossy photo paper produces a nice finish but the coating used on some photo paper can melt from the heat of the fuser roller and then it gums up the roller and tears the paper. You can also print on sheets of clear plastic and it produces a really brilliant effect when you shine a light through the finished picture. But once again, the problem is some plastics will melt from the heat of the fuser and then that’s 200 bucks down the drain. Some papers and plastics will say “laser safe” on the package, some won’t.
Is your computer safe?
Google’s Chrome web browser has a built-in check to see if has become filled with malware, slowing things down. Type chrome://settings/cleanup into the bar at the top of your browser window, where a web address usually goes. Then click “find.” Google will spring into action. When we tried it, we got the message “no harmful software found.” Oh drat.
Paying with your phone
Joy was out lunching with friends but forgot to bring her credit card, so she had to pay a friend back. If she’d had “Android Pay” linked to a card, she could have paid with her phone. Android Pay isn’t the most popular method of paying with a phone, so what is?
According to research firm eMarketer, it’s the Starbucks app for Android or iPhone. This year, 23.4 million people older than 14 will use that app to buy something at Starbucks. In second place is Apple Pay, used by 22 million people. Samsung Pay is used by 9.9 million people. A big reason why Starbucks is ahead of the pack is the rewards and offers you get by using it. We need a Panera Pay; Joy likes their salads.
One thing we didn’t realize: To use Android Pay, you don’t have to open the Android Pay app first. You just hold your phone over the payment terminal for a few seconds until you see a check mark. However, it does help if you have “NFC” or near field connections turned on. Go to settings and look under “Connected Devices.” You can toggle it on or off.
When Android Pay first came out, there were a lot more steps involved. Now it’s easy but the first time we tried it, our phone was in the locked position, so we had to enter a pin. But the second time, since we’d recently tapped on our phone, we just flashed it over the terminal.
The numbers report
“Let’s Uber,” is an increasingly popular phrase. This year, 48 million American adults will use this ride-sharing service at least once, an 18 percent jump over last year, according to research firm eMarketer. But rival service Lyft is growing faster.
Lyft is expected to grow by nearly 41 percent this year, with nearly 30 million Americans using it. Some drivers sign up for both services.
• “Google Arts and Culture” (also on the web) has high-resolution images from collections around the world. Included are the Frick collection in Washington, D.C., the Royal Museum in Belgium, the Doges Palace in Venice and the out of the way Kroller-Muller Museum in Gelderland, Holland. Bob says an interesting aspect of visiting this museum, which has the world’s largest collection of Van Gogh paintings and drawings, is the sign in the parking lot that tells you to watch out for wild boars when you get out of the car. He didn’t see any.
• “Yousician” gets rave reviews for teaching you a musical instrument for free. But we found it difficult to strike a note on the piano at the precise time a little line moved over that note on our phone screen.