Tools Toys and Technology

About the Tools You Use and the Toys That Make Life Interesting

Tools Toys and Technology - About the Tools You Use and the Toys That Make Life Interesting

Sling TV Update: New Channels

Last month, I reported on the new live streaming TV service from Dish called Sling TV. Since that report, a number of major channels have been added, including the History Channel, A&E, H2, and Lifetime. This brings the total number of channels in their basic programming lineup to 20. Yes, this is still small, but Sling TV is clearly on its way to becoming a serious challenger to live TV as we have known it. And, at $20 per month with no contract, it’s an attractive addition to the online lineup for cord-cutters, those who have already or are considering cancelling the traditional and expensive cable or satellite TV service.

Witness, they acquired 100,000 subscribers in their first month of operation. That’s still a small number of TV overall watchers, but if they keep adding channels at the rate they have, they will also be acquiring a lot more subscribers. I may become one of them. I’m watching this development closely.

Want to give it a try. They’ll give you 7 days for free. Go to for more information.

Does Sling TV Spell Doom for Traditional Satellite and Cable Services?

Last month, Dish Network pre-announced a service it calls “Sling TV.” Sling TV is essentially a live streaming alternative to traditional, expensive satellite and cable servies, but … it’s in its infancy and programming is severely limited. But as the service expands, this could fill the gap between live TV as we’ve known it and streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and others.

Sling TV is a $20 per month subscription with no contract. That’s right … NO CONTRACT. You can cancel at any time. Compare that to your current cable or satellite bill that may be upwards of $100 per month and locks you into their service for a year or two.

Sling TV currently offers only about 15 channels, including ESPN, ESPN 2, Disney Channel, TBS, TNT, and Food Network, with AMC coming soon. There are also some add-on packages for kids, sports and news channels for $5 per month. This is still a long shot from becoming a head-to-head equivalent to traditional satellite and cable programming. But it’s a start, and it may be pointing the way to the future.

While it may not be a full live TV substitute yet, Sling TV puts one more nail in the coffin of TV as we have known it. When Sling TV or someone else offers a full complement of live streaming programming,  the paid TV service landscape will be forever changed.

Want to know more? See the review of Sling TV.


Windows 10 – Free to Windows 7 and 8 Users

Microsoft has announced that Windows 10 will be a free upgrade to current users of Windows 7 and 8.1. This offer will be extended for one year after Windows 10 launches. Once you’ve taken advantage of this free upgrade, you will continue to get free upgrades for the lifetime of the device on which Windows 10 is installed.

So, if you are one of those XP holdouts, this may be the greatest incentive yet to upgrade to Windows 8.1, guaranteeing you’ll get Windows 10 when it comes out. There is no free upgrade for Windows XP users.

Windows WHAT!!!

What’s in a Name?

The name of the eagerly awaited followup to Windows 8.1, code named Windows Threshold, has caught everyone off guard.

It’s been widely assumed and referred to as “Windows 9.” That would make sense. Another report from a Microsoft representative said it might just be called “Windows.” Are you kidding me?

Well the official announcement is out and it caught everyone off guard. It’s moniker will be … and this is official …

“Windows 10”

So the last major versions of Windows are: Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10. Bazaar!

I didn’t know whether to post this under the category of “Software” or “Humor.” So I posted it in both.

CryptoLocker Decrypted

In November 2013, I reported on the new and devastating ransomware called CryptoLocker. This nasty malware locks up all your files with military-grade encryption. The only way you can recover you files is to pay the ransom (reportedly $300.00) within 72 hours. If you don’t pay within that time period, the encryption key is destroyed and your files are gone for good.


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Automatic Android App Updates

How to Disable Automatic Updates of Android Apps

By default, most apps you install on your Android device are set to update automatically. There are a whole slew of Google apps that you may not even use, but they were default apps that cam installed on your phone. If you are set to update apps automatically (again, the default), periodically these things start to download and install. If this is going on when I try to do something on my phone, the operation slows to a crawl or even becomes completely unresponsive.

After some poking around, I found how to change the settings so automatic updates don’t happen. I can now choose the updates I want and when I want them to occur. Continue reading

OneDrive – More Than Just a Name Change

Recently, Microsoft changed the name of their Skydrive cloud storage to OneDrive. That change was prompted by a copyright lawsuit that they lost.

But today, Microsoft changed more than just the name. And that’s good for consumers.

Previously, you got 7 GB of cloud storage for free or 20 GB if you are an Office 365 subscriber.

Today’s announcement ups that to 15 GB for free and a whopping 1 TB if you are an Office 365 subscriber. The incentive to get your Office software by subscription just got a lot bigger. With 1 TB for documents, photos, whatever, you’re not likely to run of of cloud storage space soon. You can now save your stuff to OneDrive without worrying much about the quota.

“Malvertising” – Be Careful What You Click On Even on Reputable Sites

Malicious advertisements on reputable and popular Websites like Facebook, Disney, and even The Guardian newspaper have been detected to redirect clicks to sites that will infect your computer with Ransomware. Many other reputable Websites are undoubtedly also involved. This is what makes this kind of malware so sacary, since you expect Websites like those mentioned above to be trustworthy. The Website owners may not even know their site is making their users vulnerable, but you are vulnerable none-the-less.

If you click on one of the malicious advertisements, you may be led to malware that encrypts a computer’s files and demands a ransom before you can recover your files.

There’s no sure fire way to detect such advertisements on a Website. Just don’t click ANYTHING out of curiosity alone. Be darn sure your interested in what you’re clicking on. And backup – backup – backup just in case you become a victim.