Free Digital Content, For Everyone

With many people throughout the world being asked to stay home, many streaming providers have been offering free content. We’ll go over some of the places where you can watch things for free while social distancing and how they can be accessed.

Apple TV+ is offering a decent amount of their original series for non-subscribers. You will need an Apple ID to sign in (you can get an Apple ID for free if you don’t already have one). These shows include:

  • Servant
  • Little America
  • Helpsters
  • For All Mankind
  • Dickinson
  • Snoopy in Space
  • The Elephant Queen
  • Ghostwriter

Apple TV+ can be accessed through an app on streaming devices such as Roku, Amazon Firestick/Amazon Firecube and also on smartphones, tablets and laptops. When navigating the Apple TV app, you will see a large “Free for Everyone” tab that you can tap or click to access the content.

Also accessible through Apple TV+ channels app is Epix. They feature a large offering of movies and TV programming. Their selection is free when accessed through the Apple TV app.

HBO is offering a selection of movies, documentaries and its original series to non-subscribers through the HBO Go and HBO Now app. For information on what programming is available, check out their website. Some selections include: series like The Wire, Big Little Lies, The Sopranos; movies like Pokemon Detective Pikachu, Isn’t it Romantic, and Blinded by the Light; and documentaries like The Apollo, McMillion$, and United Skates.

AMC Networks is running a “We’re With You” campaign that includes the first half of Season 10 of The Walking Dead.

Other networks that fall under AMC Networks include BBC America, which offering a collection of nature documentaries, the entire new season of Dr. Who, the entire series of Orphan Black, and many other neat programs. Additionally, the season three premiere of Killing Eve is available. To watch, go to their website.

IFC (the Independent Film Channel) is offering a comedy lineup for those of us that could use some laughs. They are offering free full seasons for the month of April of shows like Birthday Boys, Baroness von Sketch Show, Spoils of Babylon, Spoils Before Dying, Bunk and Mystery Science Theatre 3000. The programming can be accessed on IFC.com and on their IFC TV app.

Sling TV is offering free TV from 5pm through midnight every evening. There is also a selection of free TV shows and movies available anytime for non-subscribers. The content can be accessed through their website or through the Sling TV app on Roku, Amazon Fire, and many other devices. To get started, select the free option on the app or browse available content on their website.

YouTube is offering a decent amount of their original series for free for a limited time. You can check this list for the complete offering. The list has links to watch the programs.

Last but not least, Hoopla Digital and Overdrive both offer a large collection of streaming videos. Both are services offered from the Upper Hudson Library System and are free for residents of Albany or Rensselaer County. If you belong to a different library system, check out their digital collections, as there is a good chance they also offer one or both of these great services. Both can be accessed on their websites or through their apps, which are available on smartphones, tablets and other devices. The Hoopla app is available on devices such as Roku, Amazon Fire devices, Apple TV, Chromecast, and more. A full listed of supported Hoopla devices can be found here. The Overdrive app is available on iOS, Android devices, Kindle Fire, and more. A full list of devices that can access the Overdrive can be found here.

Other offerings

There are also a handful of original episodes of Showtime original programing that can be watched on their website.

Focus Features will be streaming a free movie every Monday in April for free on their Facebook page. The movies begin at 8pm, EST. The schedule for the rest of April:
-April 20, Mallrats (featuring a Q & A with director Kevin Smith after the movie)
-April 27, My Summer of Love

SiriusXM is offering free streaming of their satellite radio service for all North American residents. To get started, head over to their website.

Streaming Services With Extended Trial Periods

Many streaming services offer a free seven day trial period. During social distancing, many services are offering a 30 day (or longer) trial period, during which the trial can be canceled at anytime. As a heads up, you will probably need to enter your credit card information to begin any of these trials. These are just trials and if you don’t cancel before the end of the trial period, you will be charged the regular monthly rate.

  • CBS All Access For the CBS All Access extended trial, use the code ALL
  • Acorn TV, a large selection of British TV and movies. Use code FREE30 when signing up on their website.
  • History Vault, a collection of documentaries from the History Channel.
  • The Lifetime Movie Club, a collection of new and classic Lifetime movies.
  • Noggin, featuring many children’s programs such as Peppa Pig, Dora the Explorer and more. (60 day trial)
  • Shudder, featuring horror, thriller, and suspense movies and programming. Use code SHUTIN on their website.
  • Smithsonian Channel, a large collection of documentaries on a variety of different subjects. Use the code ALONETOGETHER on their website when signing up.
  • Netflix, movies, TV shows, documentaries, and original programming.
  • Hulu, movies, TV shows, documentaries, and original programming.

Do you know of any other services offering free programming while we’re all at home? Let us know in the comments.

Tech Tricks to Improve Your Technological Experience

checkthisout

There is a wealth of information available on the internet. Luckily, there are lots of neat technological tips and tricks that can help with how you use technology and its components.

Vine is an app people use to post very short (eight seconds or less) video clips that will automatically replay once the clip has finished. The clips are referred to as Vines. GCF LearnFree has posted a neat list of Vines that can help with some common tech-related problems such as how to organize and label various wires, how to protect power cords, and how to clean a keyboard with a sticky note.

If you are a Chrome user and have been frustrated with the slowness of your browser, makeuseof has written an article that has some suggestions on how you can improve the speed of your Chrome browsing experience.

If you are a user of Creative Commons (content that is free to legally use and share), makeuseof has put together a helpful post that gives tips on how to find Creative Commons content.

Have you ever accidentally installed bundled software without meaning to? When installing free software, often times there will be a message box that appears before the installation asking if you want to install another program, reset your browser homepage, or change your search settings. Luckily, there is a program called Unchecky. This application searches for commonly bundled unwanted applications and removes them. It also prevents unwanted applications from being installed in the future by automatically unchecking the unwanted offers box when a user is installing a new application, as well as warning the user if they try to accept a potentially unwanted offer.

These are just a few of the many neat tricks to help you improve how you use technology and its components. Do you have any neat tricks you’ve discovered? Share them in the comments.

Have You Been Pwned? Find Out with This Tool

pwned

Data breaches and internet security are a big concern for many individuals, and with good reason. Large companies that have had their users’ information (such as email addresses, passwords and password hints) compromised include Adobe and Snapchat.

Luckily, there is a website, Have I Been Pwned?, which searches across various domains and known breaches to see if a particular email address or username has been compromised.  The site’s name comes from the gaming term “Pwned”, which is a twist on the word “owned” (defeated).  The exact origin of this term is disputed.

The website also can inform you if your information has been “pasted,” which the site describes as:

A “paste” is information that has been “pasted” to a publicly facing website designed to share content such as Pastebin. These services are favored by hackers due to the ease of anonymously sharing information and they’re frequently the first place a breach appears.

This website is a valuable tool to find out if your personal information has been compromised.  Check out this post for suggestions on strengthening the security of your accounts.

MakeUseOf Has the Answers to Questions You Didn’t Know You Had

makeuseofStaying current with IT news, trends, and tips is a fundamental part of my job in the library.  While I get this information from a variety of resources, there is one website that keeps surprising me with helpful information on a variety of subjects of interest to me and the patrons I assist.  I’d like to take this opportunity to give a shout out to MakeUseOf, a free online resource with timely articles, reviews, and help guides for all things tech.  What really makes this resource shine is its ability to speak to both new and veteran users at the same time without confusing or boring either!

The home page at MakeUseOf displays headlines and teaser text for their most recent articles.  I find this layout somewhat chaotic, so I prefer to sort the articles by category before browsing.  Selecting “Topics” in the header menu will display the articles by category.  The “Answers” section leads to a user forum where registered members can ask and answer questions from the MakeUseOf community.  Check out the “Top List” section for “best of” lists for a variety of software and services on multiple platforms.  For in-depth technology guides, have a look at their “E-books” area.

As a registered user of MakeUseOf, you can earn points for sharing their content on social media, as well as participating in the forum, polls, and other activities.  Those points can be redeemed for rewards, such as entries in drawings for free hardware and software.  My favorite benefit of membership has been receiving the newsletter.  Each email has a few headlines with teaser text that can be easily scanned, with more information just a click away.  I have happened upon lots of very useful information in these newsletters that I didn’t even know I needed!  You can opt-in to the newsletter by selecting the social media icons at the top of any MakeUseOf page, and then selecting the blue “Email” button.

subscribeWhat do you think of MakeUseOf?  If you have another tech info source you love, please share it in the comments.

Google Tricks

googleGoogle’s search box is so much more than it appears to be.  You may be familiar with Google Doodles, where Google modifies its logo to commemorate holidays or events.  You may also know that you can use the “Search Tools” button to refine a Google search by time, location, or other limits (found under “All results”).advancedIn fact, there are a whole host of tricks and tools (infographic) out there to make the most of your Google search.  Beyond search terms and language that can refine a search, Google has built in some other neat features that are outlined nicely in this Mashable article.  Some of my favorite tools are:

  • Hidden “Easter Eggs” – the Chuck Norris bit is great!
  • Easy unit conversions – a must for recipes.
  • Package tracking
  • Local movie times

What are your favorite Google tricks?