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We've started beaming the video clips on our phone out to the TV. That way our friends don't have to squint, though they may nod off. There are several ways to do this:

We use a $35 device called a Google Chromecast. It's small and flat and plugs into the back of the TV. Mostly people use it for adding Netflix and other channels. But you can also stream your own videos and photos to the big screen.

Open a photo or video on your phone and tap the Chromecast icon. (It looks like a square with a white arc in the corner.) Ta-da! It's on your TV. Swipe your finger from video to video or photo to photo and they all show up on the TV, one after another.

There's an extra step involved for iPhone users and anyone who doesn't have the free Google Photos app installed. Once you've installed it, tap the three stacked lines. Then tap "settings," then "Backup and Sync." Now all your photos and videos will be backed up to your Google Photos account and can be beamed to your TV with a Chromecast. By the way, this is also a great way to extend your iPhone's storage space. Once everything is backed up in Google Photos, you can delete some of the photos on the iPhone. Like Apple's iCloud, Google Photos are stored in the cloud.

An HDMI cable will be needed to connect your phone directly to your TV. Android users can get a mini HDMI-to-HDMI cable for about $8. For iPhone users, there's the "Lightning to HDMI Cable" for $20. Another option: Use a Roku stick, Miracast (for Android or Windows phones) or Apple TV for iPhones.

The Google cloud storage capacity is third among the big three, the other two being, in order, Amazon and Microsoft. But it is the largest used by the general public and offers the most free services. Oddly enough, one of the largest users of the free Google cloud services is Apple. The electricity used by these storage drives is 3 to 5 percent of world production. The largest cloud storage facilities belong to Amazon.


"Spoon Guru" lets you tick off all your food allergies and intolerances, then offers recipes excluding those. Peanuts, dairy, gluten and other familiar allergies were listed, but we had to look up "lupin." (It's in legumes.) Sixty-four percent of the world's population actively exclude certain foods from their diet. You can choose a whole category to peruse, such as "vegan" or "vegetarian."

"Be My Eyes" is a free app for the blind and those who help them. It has almost a million volunteers and 67,413 blind or low-vision users were registered as of Friday. Volunteers receive a phone call when a blind person needs help, but since there are so many volunteers, many have yet to receive their first call, including us. Help is anonymous, as is the person being helped. shows how the app has been used so far.

INTERNUTS has an article called "Amazing Facts for People Who Love Amazing Facts." For example, Queen Elizabeth II is a trained mechanic. Amelia Earhart and Eleanor Roosevelt once sneaked out of a White House event, commandeered a plane, and took a joyride to Baltimore. Ravens in captivity learn more words than parrots. Boring, Ore., and Dull, Scotland are longtime sister cities and recently teamed up with Bland, Australia. Not much going on.

Search on the phrase "101 Dishes That Changed America." We were intrigued that Peking Duck was introduced in San Francisco in 1961 by a wealthy Mandarin Chinese woman who grew up in a 52-room mansion. She also introduced pot stickers and hot and sour soup. The popular "General Tso's Chicken" was invented in Taiwan; there is no General Tso.


Peggle is a kind of cartoon pinball game with music, including Beethoven's "Ode to Joy." It is the most addictive computer game we've ever played. It came out about 10 years ago, so we bought an old copy for $7 on Amazon.

It's somewhat like a pinball game, but only somewhat. Each Peggle character has skills to help you become a master pinballer. A pumpkin named Renfield gives you an extra, "spooky ball" while you hear the strains of an old organ. With Space Blaster, you blast your targets away. The Unicorn helps guide the ball. A wise old owl named Zen can guide your shots.

You can try Peggle for free on We're not much into games, but when we first tried this, we could hardly stop. We played it for years.


We got down on Avast, the free anti-virus used by 400 million people, because of a reader's complaints that Avast tech support switched him over to an affiliated company called Nanoheal, which charged $119 to install a free program. Now we've heard from a reader who got good free support from Avast, so there's still hope.

Our reader has two laptops, both with Quickbooks, the accounting program. The older version of Quickbooks on one laptop worked fine, but not the one that got the Quickbooks update. It turned out that Avast was preventing the newer version from working.

But even though the reader has only the free version of Avast, their tech support worked with her by email to resolve it. She had to do a little digging to find the so-called "executable" Quickbook files (they end in "exe") on her computer, but once she had their names, she added them to the "allowed apps" section of Avast.

Bottom line: If the Avast website tries to lead you over to Nanoheal, ignore that and try their free tech support by email first.

Bob and Joy Schwabach can be reached by email at and

Business on 04/07/2018

Print Headline: Chromecast streams photos, videos from cellphone to TV

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