Bring your shows on the road with you

These days, cable networks offer some of the best programming in the summer.

But don't fret about missing something while on the road.

With TiVo Roamio Pro, you can manage your recordings and even stream recorded shows on a mobile device, even if you are hundreds of miles from home.

The TiVo app is easy to sync to a Roamio and simple to use, and it was recently tailored for Android devices, too.

TiVo's OnePass management system creates an easy way to organize programs available through your cable operator as well as streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime.

Catering to binge-watchers, OnePass can offer a variety of options for watching entire seasons of shows.

The Roamio Pro, which offers up to 3,000 hours of recording capacity, costs $600; for those looking for a less expensive option, the Roamio Plus offers 1,000 hours for $200 less. A one-year commitment to the TiVo service is $15 a month.


amazon echo


A personal aide that's in need of schooling

If there is one glaring flaw in the Amazon Echo — the tiny wireless speaker and artificially intelligent personal assistant, a machine that one always addresses with the honorific "Alexa," as if she's some kind of digital monarch — it is that she is quite stupid.

If Alexa were a human assistant, you'd fire her. "Sorry, I didn't understand the question I heard" is her favorite response, though honestly she really doesn't sound very sorry.

And yet, Alexa is just smart enough to be useful. And she keeps getting smarter. This week, after a long invitation-only preview period, Amazon began selling the Echo to the public. If you're the type who enjoys taking chances on early, halfway useful tech novelties, the Echo is a fun thing to try.

The Echo is a stout, plain-looking cylinder that you can park just about anywhere you have Wi-Fi access. After a week with the device, you may feel it begin to change how you think about home tech. It will not seem far-fetched to expect that one day soon, you'll have an all-knowing, all-seeing talking assistant to control your lights, thermostat, entertainment system and just about anything else at home.

In Alexa, Amazon has created the perfect interface to control your home; if it adds some more intelligence, it would be quite handy.