Tech Review: Gearing up for the football season

Apps that help users stay connected. Apps that help users stay connected. Photo Credit: AFP / Getty Images

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After a long offseason, armchair quarterbacks have to get in shape by Thursday when the 2014 NFL season kicks off. These apps can help you gear up for games and update your gear.

NFL Now

(iOS, Android; free)

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Released with great fanfare this month, the newest app from the NFL promises to deliver "a personalized stream" of videos featuring favorite teams and players. But many users have complained of disruptive ads, unplayable videos and severe battery drain. In our tests on a high-end Samsung Galaxy S5 and iPad, video quality was watchable but not exceptional, but the ads were annoying. A "Plus" subscription of $2 a month gives access to programming from NFL Films' archives. The app was updated last week to address "battery life improvement."

NFL Mobile

(iOS, Android; free)

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The flagship NFL app has been updated and redesigned for the 2014 season. In addition to game highlights and previews, the app features real-time scores and comprehensive in-game stats. In-app purchases unlock several premium features, some of which are free for Verizon Wireless customers. You can listen to live radio coverage of regular-season games through the app by subscribing to the NFL's Audio Pass ($30).

NFL Game Rewind

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(iOS, Android; $30-$70)

In a kind of Netflix for football addicts, fans can watch on-demand replays of entire regular season and playoff games. The app is free, but you'll need to shell out for a subscription. A $70 Season Pass gives access to replays of every game. The $30 Follow Your Team plan allows you to watch game replays of one team. There is a condensed game feature that edits out the nonaction spots so you can watch all the plays in about 30 minutes.

Fanatics

(iOS, Android; free)

Part of the fun of being a Giants or Jets fan is showing your true colors, whether it's Big Blue or Gang Green. Fanatics offers a wide selection of team-licensed merchandise from caps to socks, allowing you to be decked out from head to toe. The company advertises free three-day shipping, so you can have your Geno Smith or Eli Manning jersey in time for the Jets and Giants season openers next week.

 

Tech bytes

 

Women face tech-job 'challenges'

Why do so many women quit their jobs as IT professionals? A new Baylor University study found that "informal interoffice social networks," where discussions invariably turn to sports or male-oriented activities such as office softball games, could be reasons. While it was previously thought work-family conflicts affected women more than men, the study said that was less of a factor than challenges found in "the occupational culture."

Anti-bullying app for parents

Just in time for the new school year, the U.S. government has released an app that can help parents recognize if their child is being bullied. KnowBullying (iOS, Android; free) includes information tailored for specific age groups (3-6, 7-13, and teens) and offers conversation starters for parents on ways they can talk with their kids. The app also includes resources for teachers.

Hanks for the memories

Oscar-winning actor Tom Hanks has created an iPad app that brings the sights and sounds of a typewriter to 21st century devices. Hanx Writer replicates the clickety-clack of hammering keys along with a visual re-creation of a typewriter carriage and ribbon as users compose documents. The app became the most popular free download on the iTunes store. Hanks is a longtime collector of vintage typewriters.

-- Peter King

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