Walt Mossberg

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Finding a Tablet for a 4-Year-Old

Q:

We have an iPad for me and my wife, but we’d like a tablet for our daughter, 4, to use on long drives and flights to keep her entertained. We would like to find something at a lower price point than an iPad, but something reliable and durable on which she can watch movies and TV show episodes. Do you have any suggestions?

A:

I’d recommend the seven-inch Kindle Fire or Fire HD, which start at $159 and $199, respectively. They have access to lots of kid-friendly content and even have a feature called FreeTime, which allows parents to preselect what content kids can access, restrict the time they spend with the tablet and create a special kid-friendly home screen. Amazon offers a subscription service, FreeTime Unlimited, which provides unlimited apps, games, movies and TV shows handpicked for ages 3 to 8 for $5 a month.

Q:

I will spend the month of October in Paris in an apartment without an Internet connection. I will have my new Verizon Galaxy III phone and my new Lenovo Yoga laptop. Is there an easy or inexpensive way to connect without visiting a cybercafe?

A:

Your phone should be able to connect to the Internet over the cellular-data network and the phone can act as a portable Wi-Fi hot spot (a feature you turn on in settings) that will enable the laptop to see it as a Wi-Fi network and get on the Internet. However, this can be costly if you are roaming on your U.S. network for a month. So, assuming your carrier and plan allow this, I suggest you switch the phone to a French carrier, which can cut costs dramatically. This may require you to get the phone “unlocked,” either here or in Paris.

Q:

I have two homes, both of which have cable TV and Internet service. Lately, I heard of Slingbox as a vehicle to make cable TV service “travel” with the subscriber. My question is whether I could use this technology to make one cable TV subscription work at both locations?

A:

Yes, that’s exactly what Slingbox does. It’s a small box, starting at $180, that connects to your cable box and home Internet router. It then sends the live and recorded programs from your house, via the Internet, to a laptop, tablet or smartphone. You can control the cable box remotely. The smartphone or tablet app costs $15, but there are no subscription fees, beyond what you already pay for cable at the originating location and for Internet service at both locations.

Email mossberg@wsj.com.


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