Which is better for watching movies, a TV or a projector?
Years ago, a man invited me to his apartment to meet his wife and baby. After dinner, we watched a Jacques Tati movie. Rather than use a TV, he projected it from his computer onto a big white wall.
It made perfect sense. Why bother with a TV when you can get a movie-size projection? A $100 projector can give you a 10-foot-wide viewing area. I saw one from Epson, a quality brand, for $70 on Amazon.
But according to CNET, TVs are the better buy, thanks to a rapid drop in prices and improvements in technology. The big ones used to cost upwards of $10,000. Now you can get a 75-inch 4K TV for $1,400 from TCL, which recently won a CNET "Editor's Choice" award. A 55-incher, still huge, is around $750.
CNET says a movie shown from a home projector isn't as bright, nor as sharp, nor as contrasting. Many cannot display the full range of colors. They say the only way projectors make sense is if you want a 100-inch screen or more.
First, I got hooked on the word game Wordle. Now I'm into Worldle Maps, Octordle and Quordle.
Worldle Maps, for iPhone/iPad only, is a World Map game. It shows you the outline of a different country each day. For the first one, I guessed "Honduras." I was 97% right, so I cheated and looked on a map. Ah! Costa Rica!
Quordle, which you can play on your computer, phone or tablet, lets you play four Wordle games at once. It's tough. I much prefer Octordle, with only two at a time.
I'm totally out of my league with "Heardle," which gives you seven tries to guess a song, based on a snatch of music. I recognized my first song in four seconds but didn't know the title. It was Fleetwood Mac's "Dreams." The second one, from Kanye West, was new to me.
My favorite Wordle clone is "Absurdle." Reviewers say "Absurdle" is absurdly difficult. I find it easier than Wordle, since you get as many guesses as you like. It seems to strike out all your obvious first choices, which rapidly narrows things down. Play it on the web or get the free app.
PHONE TRANSFER WOES
A reader had a heck of a time trying to switch his phone service from Verizon to Consumer Cellular. After he told me about it, another reader wrote to share the same problem. He wanted to switch from AT&T to Consumer Cellular.
"It took seven hours and two trips to Target," he said. The first day he was at Target for three hours. "AT&T claimed that my wife had some kind of fraud protection on her phone," he said. "They would not transfer her service." A technician suggested they call AT&T. So they did. "We spent two hours being transferred around. We finally got a lady who said she removed the fraud protection. The next day, we had another appointment with the tech at Target." The tech said their account was still fraud protected. So a service rep at Consumer Cellular "kept going up the chain at AT&T until they transferred the service. This took two more hours."
Fortunately, they've had no more problems. Consumer Cellular even gave them a $100 rebate. The wife's new monthly phone bill is only $20.
Another reader said that anyone who is thinking of switching their phone service should start with the company they're switching to. Then, everything should go smoothly. Perhaps. But in the experience of many readers as well as a friend of mine, it ain't necessarily so.
TREACHERY ON FACEBOOK
Have you ever gotten a Facebook friend request from someone who's already a friend? It's usually a scam.
I accepted one of those recently. Later, I got a text from the person who was pretending to be my cousin on Facebook Messenger. After an innocuous 'How are you?" it asked me if I'd heard about a certain political movement. Instead of answering, I emailed my cousin. She said it wasn't her. Many of her friends also received the fake message. She'd been hacked.
If you've been hacked, visit facebook.com/hacked and follow their onscreen instructions to get control of your account. First step: Change your password.
ACM.org, the home of the Association for Computing Machinery, has interesting articles on many topics, including data privacy. It reminded me of the recent IRS decision to use a private company, ID.me, to gather facial data on those who set up online accounts.
In answer to protests, the IRS made the facial ID requirement optional. But if you don't use it, you must have a video chat with an IRS agent. A reader points out that it would be trivial for any agent to do a screen capture that could be used for facial ID purposes. Should we worry?
"My personal feeling," he said, "is that as long as we have a democracy and a free press, any major abuse of personal data could at best be hidden for a few years before someone reveals it. The other saving grace is that maybe most taxpayers won't need one of these accounts. But if anyone ever succeeds in compiling a nationwide database with facial data, once done it would be impossible to undo with any assurance that all copies were eliminated."
Joy Schwabach can be reached by email at email@example.com.