Your virtual guide to catching every moment of March Madness

march madnessWe’re in the thick of March Madness – the Sweet Sixteen round is upon us. And now that you’re thoroughly entrenched in the insanity of it all, the idea of going hours without updates and headlines sounds painful. Thankfully, there are more than a few ways to get your NCAA fix. 

Alerts

There are 67 games crammed into one month, and there’s simply no way you can keep track of them all. You need a system – like RUWT. The sports-focused Android and Web app will help you tune into the important moments so you aren’t caught missing a buzzer beater during channel flipping sprees.

ruwt The services analyzes your input and preferences, plus a user-based algorithm to determine when a game becomes unmissable – say, for instance, like when Norfolk State ousted number two ranked Missouri last week (and many of our collective bracket hopes were dashed).

thuuzThuuz has a similar agenda. You can get email or mobile alerts (for iOS and Android) when a game gets exciting on a scale of 0 to 100 (the determined number being called the “excitement quotient” — the game between Wisconsin and Syracuse this coming weekend gets a 90). And in addition to telling you when to watch, it also helps with the where, clueing you to what channel the game is on, and a nearby sports bar airing it.

Streaming

In our cord-cutting day and age, sports fanatics have it rough – especially come March. So if you want consistent access to all 67 games, you pony up the $3.99 the NCAA March Madness Live content costs. For a mere $4, you will be able to watch any and all games from your iPhone, iPad, Android, or computer. Keep in mind there have been complaints of distortion from users, and the fact that this access was free last year… and then go ahead and give them your money. 

If you aren’t averse to what are likely some very annoying SMS messages, you could give this Coke Zero promo a try. You offer up your phone number by texting “0” plus your favorite Division I team to “2653,” and you’ll get a code to enter here. Then you’ll get emailed instructions on how to watch the tournament for free on your iOS or (select) Android phone. Apparently, packages are still available, as it worked in our test.

Apps

If obsessively checking your bracket(s) isn’t enough, here are a few more ways to apply your March-exclusive gambling habit. Matchup Mania is a Facebook application that lets you create as many groups and bracket pools as you want and assign points to the winners. Whoever gets the most points wins — and there is a money prize involved. The overall winner gets $3,500, the runners-up get $500 each.

And for those that exist in an office with an anti-Internet fun policy, try the SportCaster app. It’s ideal for those who won’t be able to pay attention to a live stream, but still want to stay in the loop. It offers play-by-play analysis as well as real-time commentary from sports writers.

sportcaster

fancakeOn the less technical side, there are a few apps that can purely and simply make March Madness more fun. Fancake is a new app that puts the competition into your hands by rewarding users for their correct picks. The real-time app has features like Quick Predict, which will pop up during the game and get you to wager things like whether a player will miss both, none, or one of his free throws.

playupIf there just isn’t enough trash talking going around, give PlayUp a try. This iOS app (the Web version is in beta) lets you partake in public or private chats revolving around specific games. Version 2.0 launches this morning, with a UI focus on leagues (just skip right on ahead to NCAA, we know you’re going to), a “Live Now” scoreboard that’s sport-specific, and pumped up Facebook and Twitter integration. The update should also include faster load times and have an enhanced navigation and UI.

Product Review

The Nuimo Click’s self-powering control convenience is cool but costly

Smart home devices might be clever, but needing your phone to use them is not. Senic’s Nuimo Click is the set of physical buttons that your smart devices are missing. But these smart, self-powered buttons aren’t cheap.
Home Theater

Sling TV ramps up its base programming with Discovery Networks for free

Sling TV has grown a great deal since its launch. Now there are more channels and more packages to chose from, with prices to match, and more is being added all the time. Everything you need to know is right here.
Home Theater

Cutting the cord? Let us help you find the best service for live TV streaming

There's a long list of live TV streaming services available to help you cut the cord and replace your traditional TV subscription. Each is different in important ways, and this guide will help you find the best one for you.
Computing

Give your eyes a break with these handy blue light filters

Filtering blue light from your monitor is a great way to make long days of work easier on your eyes, especially when it gets later in the day. You can use ones built into MacOS and Windows, or one of the third-party options.
Smart Home

Amazon starts crowdsourcing Alexa’s answers. What could go wrong?

Amazon announced a new resource for its Alexa voice assistant. Alexa Answers is an invitation-only program to which select Amazon customers will be invited to supply brief answers to questions that Alexa was asked but couldn't answer.
Smart Home

ConnectSense’s next plug iteration makes a home smart without a hub

The newest smart outlet in the ConnectSense line of smart home products not only provides a dual plug but can also operate independently of a smart home home, allowing users to control devices directly through an app.
Smart Home

The C By GE Smart LED Bulbs Work Seamlessly With Google Home

The Smart Light Starter Kit contains a smart lightbulb and a Google Home Mini. For those seeking to try out smart lights in their home, it's a great option and is currently on sale for just $35 through Google.
Product Review

Putting on the grits with the Instant Pot pressure cooker

If you want to dip your toe into the low-temperature waters of sous vide, the Anova precision cooker is a good way to start. It has a robust app and an easy-to-use interface that just may convert you to a whole new way of cooking.
Smart Home

Instant Pots! Get your Instant Pot! 5 models are on sale now at Amazon

Consumers win big when Amazon pops deals on popular products like Instant Pots. Five Instant Pot models on sale range from $30 to $60 off. If you've been waiting to buy an Instant Pot for a holiday gift, this could be the time.
Smart Home

The best washing machines make laundry day a little less of a chore

It takes a special kind of person to love doing laundry, but the right machine can help make this chore a little easier. Check out our picks for the best washing machines on the market right now.
Deals

Best deals on home security cameras to save you from package thieves

Home security camera systems can help keep your home and your family safe. Amazon's deals on Blink security cameras and Ring Video Doorbells also help you save money on devices you can access regardless of your current location.
Smart Home

Google Store sale is on now through December 24!

Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2018 may be history, but fans of Google hardware including the popular Google Home Hub, Pixel 3 and 3XL mobile phones still have lots of deals in store -- the Google Store, that is.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Folding canoes and ultra-fast water filters

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Smart Home

Put away that sponge and let us help you pick the best dishwasher for your buck

Tired of doing dishes by hand? Take a look at our picks of the four best dishwashers currently available and let a machine do the dirty work for you. They’ll do a much better job, anyway.