Bingeable British drama

Ever since the last season of Downton Abbey wrapped up, I’ve missed a good British historical drama. That itch has been satisfied by The Crown (on Netflix) a lovely, beautifully casted and acted drama about the life of the still living Queen of England. The series begins in the 1940s and runs till today. Remarkably, it’s far more entertaining than I would have thought. It has everything, including real drama, and actual history, and is more educational than most documentaries. With 20 episodes so far (and a 3rd season on the way), it is superbly bingeable. — KK

Download YouTube videos

The fastest way to download any YouTube video is to add “ss” before the “youtube.com” part of the URL, like this: “ssyoutube.com”. This redirects to you to Savefrom.net, click on “download video in browser” and select the video quality you prefer. Done in less than a minute. — CD

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YouTube shortcuts

I can’t believe I didn’t know these YouTube shortcuts before! To pause a video press K. To fast forward press L. To rewind press J. To watch frame by frame forward or backward, press the period or comma key. — CD 

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Fast life

Just as I zip through podcasts at 1.5x speed, I recently learned I can speed up YouTube videos too. So now I go through twice as many tutorials. Just click on the gear-circle at the bottom right corner of the YouTube frame, and in the pop-up menu select Speed and your choice up to 2x. — KK

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Scary movie tip

Fargo. the television series, is my favorite thing in the world right now, but watching it makes me very tense. Some life-changing advice when watching something scary or suspenseful: root for the villain. Once I decide I want the bad guy to win, I actually get happy when he pops up out of nowhere or kills someone off. — CD

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Funny film recaps

I’ve been a long time fan of The Editing Room for their hilarious rewrites of movies in screenplay format. They make fun of movie tropes and call out every cliche. Reading their abridged scripts is like watching a movie with a funny friend. — CD

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Read movie spoilers

I stopped watching horror movies a while back, because they seemed to be getting more and more graphic and I couldn’t cut it. Instead, I enjoy reading scene-by-scene spoilers for all the films I am too scared or lazy to watch. The Movie Spoiler is not the best designed site, but it’s been around for a long time and all the reviews are well written. — CD

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Get the average of film ratings

Flixmetrix is a website that combines film ratings from Rotten Tomatoes, IMDB and Metacritic and gives you the average. What I find the most helpful is that I can filter my movie search by genre, and limit results to only those available on Amazon Prime and/or Netflix Watch Instantly. That way I don’t waste time flipping between services searching for a movie. — CD

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Netflix viewing activity

Netflix bases its recommendations on what you watch. If you want to change what its algorithm sees, or if you are just curious to see everything you’ve watched on Netflix, go here. You can delete a show from the list by clicking the X next to it. I was surprised to see that the oldest item on my list was Phineas and Ferb the Movie: Across the 2nd Dimension, which someone in my family watched on 12/12/11. — MF

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Three YouTube channels

I am wallowing in the deep motherlode of enthusiasm that is YouTube. Here are three ultra niche channels that I subscribe to and keep coming back to for more. One is FliteTest, where they turn almost anything into a flying object, from a pizza box to an Ikea chair. Another is Steve1989, with 600,000 subscribers, who collects and eats vintage military rations and ready-to-eat meals (MRE). Yes, he’ll try that ancient WWII snack box. If he is happy, I’m happy. The third is AvE, a faceless Canadian who takes apart old tools and motors while delivering commentary in his own private language of creative swearing, potty-mouth talk, and the most astounding technical knowledge I have encountered. — KK

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Triple cleverness

If the genius artist Escher could make a musical 3D video it would like this one by mathematical explainer Vi Hart. You can move around in all 360 degrees of a 4-minute piece with 3 overlapping piano performances by a recurring Vi Hart. Watch the making-of video to appreciate the mathematical beauty of its recursive complexity. — KK

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Laughing at evil

For something completely different in movies, I recommend the intensely dark comedy The Death of Stalin. As the New Yorker said, its humor “is so black you could pump it out of the ground.” Normally trivializing evil is not something I could enjoy, but this story, loosely based on historical facts, is so over the top and well done, it was funny. Laughing at the horrifying atrocities seemed the only sane response. The movie skirted the soul’s edge, but it worked for me. Available to rent on YouTube. — KK

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Relive the 1980s personal computer revolution

I’ve been watching Halt and Catch Fire on Netflix, a TV series that ran for four seasons, from 2014 to 2017. It’s like a non-comedic Silicon Valley and is about a team of misfits (led by a guy who looks and acts like a psychotic Don Draper) who are trying to build a 15-pound portable computer during the PC computer revolution of the 1980s. Each season is better than the previous one. — MF

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BattleBots

My mother-in-law is 90, doesn’t speak English, and lives with us. She and I enjoy watching the new season 3 of BattleBots on Amazon Prime. This mindless machine-on-machine violence of robots demolishing other robots is universally entertaining, and spectacular. No language needed. — KK

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