Free Calling and Messaging with Amazon Echo Alexa

Siri and the Google App demonstrate that using your voice can be the fastest way to get an answer to something, from driving directions to the middle name of the 21st President of the United States ("Alan"). Amazon's popular Echo devices can work this magic as well, with a built-in AI the company calls Alexa. In May 2017, Amazon added free messaging and voice calling to the Alexa app and all Echos. The people on both ends of the conversation... Read More &raquo

Topics: Windows Software , Mac Software , Android Software , iOS Software

Tags: Messaging , VoIP , Amazon

Friday 5: Amazon Chime, Facebook, Flipboard,'s Ping Pong, and Signal

In this week's Friday 5, Amazon unleashes a Skype competitor, Facebook integrates real-time weather info, Flipboard gets an overhaul, introduces a video messenger called Ping Pong, and encrypted messenger Signal gets support (in beta) for video calls.

Amazon Chime

Amazon surprised us this week with Chime (Android, iOS, Windows, Mac), an online meeting platform like Skype that uses the Amazon Web Services cloud to connect users. Like Skype, Chime has videoconferencing, teleconferencing, direct... Read More &raquo

Topics: Windows Software , Mac Software , Android Software , iOS Software

Tags: Friday 5 , video , Facebook , iPhone apps , Android apps , Amazon

Amazon 24-hour digital sale on December 30

Just when you thought it was safe to put away your wallet, Amazon has declared Friday, December 30, Digital Day: 24 hours dedicated to buying movies, music, games, and other digital content for the device you may have just received for the holidays. Amazon will offer substantial discounts on digital downloads: up to 80 percent on games like Battlefield 1 and Rocket League and as much as 50 percent on movies and TV shows, including The Martian and "Supergirl."

The... Read More &raquo

Topics: Windows Software , Mac Software , Android Software , iOS Software

Tags: Amazon

Discounts for college students

College students head back to campus soon, and tuition is not the only expense they face. Books, electronics, school supplies, and even entertainment can be a big chunk of a back-to-school budget. But many tech companies, online services, and other businesses offer student discounts. To participate, you often have to confirm that you're enrolled in a school, either with an .edu email account or through a validation service such as SheerID or Unidays.

Tech deals

Before you buy any tech,... Read More &raquo

Topics: Windows Software , Mac Software , Android Software , iOS Software

Tags: Apple , music , Microsoft , Amazon

Get Amazon Prime Video for $9 a month

Internet retail giant Amazon announced yesterday that its Amazon Prime Video streaming service will be available separately from Amazon Prime itself, for $9 per month, starting today. (Annual subscribers must be logged out to see the new offer page.) That's a dollar less than a monthly Netflix subscription.

Amazon also announced a month-to-month option for Prime, at $11 per month. Annual subscriptions are still available for $99 per year, with all the previous features, including the video streaming service.

Disable... Read More &raquo

Topics: Windows Software , Android Software , iOS Software

Tags: video , streaming , Amazon

The 10 best Christmas songs of the last 40 years

It'll be more of a blue Christmas than a holly jolly holiday if you're stuck suffering through the same old songs that your parents have been playing on the gramophone for as long as you can remember. So spice up your next holiday get-together with's list of our 10 all-time favorite holiday hits from the last 40 years.

Some of our picks, such as "Frosty the Snowman" and "We Three Kings," are perennial classics that have been reinvented... Read More &raquo

Topics: Mac Software , Android Software , iOS Software

Tags: music , iTunes , Windows software , Amazon

Amazon Cloud Drive apps for Windows and Mac (hands-on)

Amazon announced today that its Cloud Drive storage apps (Windows | Mac) are available for download, so I went ahead and downloaded the apps on both my desktop machines to check them out. The service was already available at the Amazon Cloud Drive Web site, but with a dedicated app you get easy access for storing just about any type of file on the fly.

After a fairly easy setup (requiring my Amazon account log-in info), a cloud-shaped... Read More &raquo

Topics: Mac Software

Tags: apps , Windows software , Cloud , free , software , download , Amazon

More than Fire can dress up in Silk

The browser Silk may be native to the Kindle Fire, but one Android developer has discovered a way to transplant it to any rooted Android device, an XDA forum post from the end of December revealed.

If you're an addict but don't have a Fire, Silk could become your go-to browser. Silk is unique because of its "cloud acceleration" ability, which renders Web sites extremely quickly using a combination of the SPDY protocol developed by Google and computing power... Read More &raquo

Tags: Windows software , Amazon

iOS shopping apps: bar code scanners

This week's post is a special early edition of my weekly iOS app collection. Black Friday is the biggest shopping day of the year, and though I can't help you beat the lines or navigate through the crowds, I've rounded up a few apps that might make your holiday shopping a tiny bit easier.

These apps are made for price-checking on the go, so you know you're getting the lowest price for the item in front of you. The best apps... Read More &raquo

Topics: Mac Software

Tags: iPhone , Apple , apps , iOS , iPod , iPhoneappsweek , Touch , iPad , mobile , Windows software , shopping , Amazon

Black Friday apps for the big screen

Black Friday is almost here, and if you're the type who likes to avoid the shopping rush like the plague, I may have the perfect collection of iPad apps for you.

Instead of getting up early and waiting in crowded lines for the doors to open, how about sitting on your couch with an iPad and a cup of coffee, and getting your holiday shopping done in peace? It's true that you probably won't get the super mega deals found by... Read More &raquo

Topics: Mac Software

Tags: iPhone , Apple , iOS , iPad , Windows software , shopping , Amazon