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[Update, G+ Post] Francisco Franco makes his productivity timer 5217 free to try

5217, a productivity app made by well-known developer Francisco Franco, has been updated with a new Freemium payment model. Anyone that might be interested in trying new methods for boosting productivity can install the app and give it a try for 10 free work cycles. In addition to the new payment model, 5217 has been updated to include a host of new notification options, Android Wear support, and stats for users.

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Hands-on with Hulu TV: Great, but I'm confused about the audience

Some of you might know that Hulu rolled out a Live TV service to their existing streaming platform. I've spent a bit of time checking it out (if you do things right, kids, watching TV can be work) and I think I'm in a good position to provide a reasonably educated opinion on the service. Overall, I'm a bit confused about who, exactly, it's for.

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Synology DiskStation DS416play review: Cloud who? Personal servers can be cool and feature-filled too

This is one of the most difficult reviews I've had to write to date. I've been using the Synology DS416play for several months, yet everytime I sat down to start writing, I felt overwhelmed by what I should and shouldn't discuss and eventually found myself drifting to work on another simpler and more urgent news article. I love detailed reviews, I enjoy delving deep into every single feature a product offers and discussing its benefits and limitations, as evidenced by the lengthy reviews I've written on Android Police over the years. But if I wanted to do the same for this NAS, I knew I'd end up with 10K+ words at the very least without even scratching the surface of many options.

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Libby can give you access to tons of free books and audiobooks on your phone with just your library card

Those of us with a library card now have another means of easily accessing the local library’s free eBook and audiobook collection. OverDrive, a long-time manager of eBook collections for libraries, recently released their new Android app Libby.

For the uninitiated, a library card can get you a lot more than a dog-eared copy of The Girl on the Train these days. Most public libraries have long since entered the digital age and provide patrons with the convenience of eBooks and audiobooks at the same free price. It is worth noting, though, that not all library networks are the same, and many publishers place restrictions that can hinder use of some devices.

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MOCACuff review: A simple and affordable Bluetooth wrist Blood Pressure monitor

MOCACARE is a relative newcomer in the household healthcare products category. The company's first product, MOCAheart got its start on KickStarter and promised to be a tiny and simple heart health indicator. But plenty of users complained (on Amazon and in other reviews) about the lack of quantitative measurements in MOCAheart. Whereas the device does give your exact blood oxygen and heart rate, the most important measurement — the "MOCA index" — is just a qualitative indication of pulse wave velocity that's directly correlated to blood pressure, but without much transparency or granularity in the way its calculated. That left users to rely blindly on Mocacare to tell them if their heart health — so not exactly their blood pressure — was good or not.

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Sen.se Peanuts review: The coolest way to monitor your fridge, rooms, cookie jars... as long as you can rely on Bluetooth

Sen.se is a relatively new entrant in the connected home and IoT space. The company's most prominent product is the Mother, an oddly shaped humanoid-like hub that connects to small "Cookies" you can intersperse everywhere to monitor motion, temperature, presence/absence. The concept is interesting: Sen.se bills it as a way to keep an eye on different things and people around your home, including how often someone brushes their teeth or when the cookie jar is opened. But the price is on the very exorbitant side of the equation: Sen.se sells the Mother for €242 on its store and it retails for about $200 on Amazon in the US.

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Wink Hub 2 review: Powerful home automation made approachable and fun

I bought an apartment in October. You can imagine the joy at the thought that it'd be my future family's home, terror at the sight of the mortgage value on the signed contract, and all the excitement about getting to set up a house from scratch. I could pick everything that I loved from design to materials to colors to organization, and yes, also automation.

I wanted lights that turn on when the doors open, A/C units that cool the place when I'm coming home and the outside heat is too much to bear, cameras that catch intruders the moment they are detected, a washing machine that notifies me when the load is done, colored lights that coordinate with whatever I'm watching on TV, blinds that open and close with the sunset and sunrise, and much more.

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Fitbit Flex 2 review: Fitbit jumps in the pool for the first time and doesn't drown

For the past 4 years, I've been wearing a Fitbit device of some sort. I started with the One, which stuck with me for the better part of 3 years, then I tried the Blaze, the Alta, and the Charge 2. My main complaint with each of these trackers was the lack of water-resistance, which meant that I couldn't wear them in the pool or track my swims with them. I've tried several swim trackers including the Misfit Shine 2 Swim Edition and Amiigo, looking for something that could replace Fitbit, but the best that I found was the Garmin vivoactive, which has excellent swim tracking and can send the main stats to Fitbit through MyFitnessPal.

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Blink home security camera review: An interesting proposition that falters in execution

When I first heard about the Blink security cameras, I was immediately impressed and intrigued. Having tried both the Piper and Canary in my pharmacy, to more or less mitigated results, the Blink seemed like the perfect solution.

Piper (full review) suffers from one major flaw: the camera doesn't turn itself back on after a power failure if the back-up battery is empty (and since we have lots of blackouts here in Lebanon, I got tired of buying new batteries every two or three weeks). It also doesn't have a native scheduled arm/disarm feature; I really shouldn't have to manually arm and disarm my cameras when a simple time-based schedule is easy to implement.

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Amazon Echo Dot 2nd gen review: A delightful and cheap way to get started with voice assistants

Amazon's Echo success took me a little by surprise. It seemed like we went overnight from questioning the idea of a voice assistant in a speaker to almost everyone owning an Echo and companies rushing to add Alexa support for their services and products. Part of what seemed like a quick success is due to the Echo Dot, the smaller cheaper version that you can sprinkle around the house in places where you don't care about excellent sound quality.

The second generation Echo Dot builds on that. Unlike the first one, you can order it directly from Amazon without having to use another Echo.

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