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5
Nov

Awesome tech you can’t buy yet: Instant prints from your phone, snake fences


At any given moment, there are approximately a zillion different crowdfunding campaigns happening on the web. Take a stroll through Kickstarter or Indiegogo and you’ll find no shortage of weird, useless, and downright stupid projects out there – alongside some real gems. We’ve cut through the fidget spinners and janky iPhone cases to round up the most unusual, ambitious, and exciting new crowdfunding projects out there this week. That said, keep in mind that any crowdfunding project — even the best intentioned — can fail, so do your homework before cutting a check for the gadget of your dreams.

Prynt Pocket — Polaroid-style smartphone camera printer

Smartphones have changed photography forever — there’s no doubt about that. But despite the fact that we all walk around with a digital camera in our pockets, and can instantly access all the photos we’ve ever taken with just a few taps, there’s still something missing. That something is tangibility: the ability to hold those photos in your hand and physically interact with them. But if the latest product from SF-based startup Prynt finds success on Kickstarter, that might soon change.

The Prynt Pocket is essentially a slim dock that clips onto your phone and allows you to print the pictures you snap — much like an old-school Polaroid camera. And despite what its name would lead you to believe, the printer doesn’t actually require ink to function. Instead, it takes a page from the Polaroid playbook and uses special paper to create the image, so you’ll never have to worry about buying cartridges (you will, however, have to worry about buying the right kind of paper). Generation 2.0 is also much quicker. Early versions of the device took about 50 seconds to print an image, but the latest generation can spit ’em out in less than 20 seconds.

Atrox — Snake-proof barrier

Do you live in a place that’s infested with snakes? Are these invasive danger-noodles constantly crashing your backyard cookouts, pool parties, and picnics in the park? Well fear not, for humanity has finally invented a solution that will keep you protected from the scaly scourge of serpents that’s been tormenting you. It’s called the Atrox Snake Barrier, and it’s designed to keep out practically any snake you throw at it — figuratively speaking of course.

You start by placing a series of stakes into your yard, then affix a durable, snake-proof mesh to the stakes, thereby creating a fence. This isn’t your average fence, though. You know how the razor wire on prison fences curves inward so that it’s harder to climb over? The Atrox Barrier features a similar shape, which makes it damn near impossible for a snake to slither over. Presumably, this works for any kind of snake too — as long as they’re on the ground. You’ll still need to be wary of tree snakes. Stay vigilant, my friends!

DPS Phantom — Ski/snowboard base glide treatment

Pretty much since the dawn of skiing, snowsport enthusiasts have used wax to make their skis/snowboards slicker. Wax naturally repels water, so it’s highly effective at reducing friction between a ski’s plastic base and frozen water molecules we call snow. Over the years, skiers and snowboarders have developed a wide variety of specialized waxes for every type of snow. But despite these advances, the fact is we’re still using the same friction reduction technology that we’ve been using for decades. Isn’t it time we thought outside the box and developed something better than wax?

Well, that’s exactly what DPS went out and did. Working with a team of chemists and materials scientists, the company created a hydrophobic compound that penetrates deep into the base material of your skis. Unlike typical wax, Phantom needs to only be applied once — it permanently alters your ski or board base, making it both faster and harder for life. Phantom is also more consistent than current waxes. Most waxes have an optimal temperature range or environment. In contrast, Phantom works across a wider range of temperatures so a ski’s speed stays consistent no matter what the snow conditions are.

Spydro — fishing line action cam

There are plenty of ruggedized waterproof cameras out there, but before Spydro came along, there weren’t many designed specifically for fishermen. Like a GoPro for your fishing line, this gizmo records your underwater battles in high definition — which is way more exciting and engaging than the boring old post-catch photos that most anglers settle for. This beast features a 1080p HD color video camera, full waterproofing rated for up to 150 meters, stabilization for wobble-free underwater recording, and a wide-angle lens. It also has almost neutral buoyancy, so you won’t lose it on the lake if your line snaps.

The camera’s front and rear end attachments hook onto your leader line and casting line respectively, while a low-profile stabilization fin keeps it from spinning in the water. Once its on your line, you can see how attractive your bait is to fish and how fish are attacking the hook — which is nearly impossible to figure out without seeing it for yourself. The only caveat is that it functions best on a taught line, so it only works with three kinds of fishing: trolling (where the drag creates constant tension), casting, and bottom fishing (where the weight should be attached before the camera’s connection to the line).

Home biogas — backyard biodigester

It sounds crazy, but around 40 percent of all the food produced in the U.S. is tossed out. We put all kinds of time and energy into producing food, but we still end up sending nearly half of it away to a landfill. It’s incredibly wasteful, but HomeBiogas is here to help. For the past few years, the company has been developing an incredibly simple biodigester that takes raw food waste (and a whole lot more) and transforms it into usable cooking gas and fertilizer. Now, it’s back on Kickstarter with version 2.0.

Here’s how it works. You start by feeding food into the machine’s digestion chamber. This can be pretty much anything biodegradeable — dining room scraps, meat, grease, oil, egg shells, bones, paper products, grass clippings, and even small sticks or bits of wood. After that, you introduce some special bacteria into the chamber and mix everything up. Once that’s done, you just let the bacteria do its thing. These little buggers will gobble up all the organic material and fart out methane gas, which the HomeBiogas unit will collect and store. When you’ve built up enough gas, you can hook the tank up to a cooktop burner. Pretty nifty!

Editor’s Recommendations

  • Ditch waxing your skis forever with DPS Skis’ new Phantom wax treatment
  • Awesome tech you can’t buy yet: Eskates, snow bikes, a better measuring cup
  • The best drifting videos on the internet are smoky, brilliant, and mesmerizing
  • Save your gear (and your back) with the best ski bags you can buy
  • Sound Huggle headphones keep your ears warm during a winter commute




5
Nov

Awesome tech you can’t buy yet: Instant prints from your phone, snake fences


At any given moment, there are approximately a zillion different crowdfunding campaigns happening on the web. Take a stroll through Kickstarter or Indiegogo and you’ll find no shortage of weird, useless, and downright stupid projects out there – alongside some real gems. We’ve cut through the fidget spinners and janky iPhone cases to round up the most unusual, ambitious, and exciting new crowdfunding projects out there this week. That said, keep in mind that any crowdfunding project — even the best intentioned — can fail, so do your homework before cutting a check for the gadget of your dreams.

Prynt Pocket — Polaroid-style smartphone camera printer

Smartphones have changed photography forever — there’s no doubt about that. But despite the fact that we all walk around with a digital camera in our pockets, and can instantly access all the photos we’ve ever taken with just a few taps, there’s still something missing. That something is tangibility: the ability to hold those photos in your hand and physically interact with them. But if the latest product from SF-based startup Prynt finds success on Kickstarter, that might soon change.

The Prynt Pocket is essentially a slim dock that clips onto your phone and allows you to print the pictures you snap — much like an old-school Polaroid camera. And despite what its name would lead you to believe, the printer doesn’t actually require ink to function. Instead, it takes a page from the Polaroid playbook and uses special paper to create the image, so you’ll never have to worry about buying cartridges (you will, however, have to worry about buying the right kind of paper). Generation 2.0 is also much quicker. Early versions of the device took about 50 seconds to print an image, but the latest generation can spit ’em out in less than 20 seconds.

Atrox — Snake-proof barrier

Do you live in a place that’s infested with snakes? Are these invasive danger-noodles constantly crashing your backyard cookouts, pool parties, and picnics in the park? Well fear not, for humanity has finally invented a solution that will keep you protected from the scaly scourge of serpents that’s been tormenting you. It’s called the Atrox Snake Barrier, and it’s designed to keep out practically any snake you throw at it — figuratively speaking of course.

You start by placing a series of stakes into your yard, then affix a durable, snake-proof mesh to the stakes, thereby creating a fence. This isn’t your average fence, though. You know how the razor wire on prison fences curves inward so that it’s harder to climb over? The Atrox Barrier features a similar shape, which makes it damn near impossible for a snake to slither over. Presumably, this works for any kind of snake too — as long as they’re on the ground. You’ll still need to be wary of tree snakes. Stay vigilant, my friends!

DPS Phantom — Ski/snowboard base glide treatment

Pretty much since the dawn of skiing, snowsport enthusiasts have used wax to make their skis/snowboards slicker. Wax naturally repels water, so it’s highly effective at reducing friction between a ski’s plastic base and frozen water molecules we call snow. Over the years, skiers and snowboarders have developed a wide variety of specialized waxes for every type of snow. But despite these advances, the fact is we’re still using the same friction reduction technology that we’ve been using for decades. Isn’t it time we thought outside the box and developed something better than wax?

Well, that’s exactly what DPS went out and did. Working with a team of chemists and materials scientists, the company created a hydrophobic compound that penetrates deep into the base material of your skis. Unlike typical wax, Phantom needs to only be applied once — it permanently alters your ski or board base, making it both faster and harder for life. Phantom is also more consistent than current waxes. Most waxes have an optimal temperature range or environment. In contrast, Phantom works across a wider range of temperatures so a ski’s speed stays consistent no matter what the snow conditions are.

Spydro — fishing line action cam

There are plenty of ruggedized waterproof cameras out there, but before Spydro came along, there weren’t many designed specifically for fishermen. Like a GoPro for your fishing line, this gizmo records your underwater battles in high definition — which is way more exciting and engaging than the boring old post-catch photos that most anglers settle for. This beast features a 1080p HD color video camera, full waterproofing rated for up to 150 meters, stabilization for wobble-free underwater recording, and a wide-angle lens. It also has almost neutral buoyancy, so you won’t lose it on the lake if your line snaps.

The camera’s front and rear end attachments hook onto your leader line and casting line respectively, while a low-profile stabilization fin keeps it from spinning in the water. Once its on your line, you can see how attractive your bait is to fish and how fish are attacking the hook — which is nearly impossible to figure out without seeing it for yourself. The only caveat is that it functions best on a taught line, so it only works with three kinds of fishing: trolling (where the drag creates constant tension), casting, and bottom fishing (where the weight should be attached before the camera’s connection to the line).

Home biogas — backyard biodigester

It sounds crazy, but around 40 percent of all the food produced in the U.S. is tossed out. We put all kinds of time and energy into producing food, but we still end up sending nearly half of it away to a landfill. It’s incredibly wasteful, but HomeBiogas is here to help. For the past few years, the company has been developing an incredibly simple biodigester that takes raw food waste (and a whole lot more) and transforms it into usable cooking gas and fertilizer. Now, it’s back on Kickstarter with version 2.0.

Here’s how it works. You start by feeding food into the machine’s digestion chamber. This can be pretty much anything biodegradeable — dining room scraps, meat, grease, oil, egg shells, bones, paper products, grass clippings, and even small sticks or bits of wood. After that, you introduce some special bacteria into the chamber and mix everything up. Once that’s done, you just let the bacteria do its thing. These little buggers will gobble up all the organic material and fart out methane gas, which the HomeBiogas unit will collect and store. When you’ve built up enough gas, you can hook the tank up to a cooktop burner. Pretty nifty!

Editor’s Recommendations

  • Ditch waxing your skis forever with DPS Skis’ new Phantom wax treatment
  • Awesome tech you can’t buy yet: Eskates, snow bikes, a better measuring cup
  • The best drifting videos on the internet are smoky, brilliant, and mesmerizing
  • Save your gear (and your back) with the best ski bags you can buy
  • Sound Huggle headphones keep your ears warm during a winter commute




5
Nov

Automakers unite to create an electric vehicle charging network across Europe


Why it matters to you

Competing directly with Tesla, the new stations offer a universal connection and super high-speed charging.

A new joint venture uniting prominent auto manufacturers is rolling out plans to create a network of fast-charging stations across Europe, paving the way for long-distance travel with electric vehicles.

Ionity is a collaboration between BMW, Ford, Daimler, and Volkswagen, with plans to install 400 high-power charging (HPC) stations across the continent by 2020. The network has already begun, with 20 stations planned in Norway, Germany, and Austria before the end of 2017. The charging stations will be placed at 75-mile intervals, and another 100 are planned for 2018.

The stations will be placed in partnership with European convenience stores Tank & Rast, Circle K, and OMV. CEO Michael Hajech said the effort will expand the range of electric vehicles to make long-distance electric car travel a reality.

“The first pan-European HPC network plays an essential role in establishing a market for electric vehicles,” he said in a press release. “Ionity will deliver our common goal of providing customers with fast charging and digital payment capability to facilitate long-distance travel.”

, each of the fast charging stations will cost about $233,000. The venture has drawn interest from energy specialists like ChargePoint and global conglomerates such as Siemens.

The network uses the European standard Combined Charging System and several cars can recharge at the same time. The brand-agnostic format means it can be used by a wide array of vehicles. The chargers have a capacity of 350 kilowatts (kW) per station, more than double Tesla’s current “second generation” chargers, which max out at 145 kW. Most other “fast-charging” stations have a capacity of approximately 50 kW.

With this move, the automakers are clearly trying to take on Tesla and its Supercharger Network, which already has 350 stations operating in Europe.

However, CEO David Martell of the British company Chargemaster, which has a 300-station network in the U.K., said the charging speed is a number that needs to be evaluated in context, noting that current models don’t even have that capacity. “While some vehicles in the future may be able to charge at 350kW, this will not be the case for most vehicles,” he told The Telegraph. “Unlike when refueling a car, drivers can do other things while their EV is charging, so the charging time is not as great an issue as it is sometimes portrayed.”

Currently, the four major automotive partners (with VW-owned Audi and Porsche also included) each have equal shares in the venture, although other car companies are invited to join in and add their expertise to help expand the network even further.

Editor’s Recommendations

  • Tesla electric semitruck unveiling delayed while Musk assists Puerto Rico
  • Every automaker’s electrification plans for the next few years explained
  • Fisker’s electric EMotion will cost $130,000 and make its debut at CES 2018
  • Tesla wants to test autonomous electric semi trucks in Nevada
  • Plug that phone in while you navigate: Our 11 favorite iPhone car chargers




5
Nov

Best new songs to stream: U2 with Kendrick Lamar, Jim James, and more.


Every week, there are thousands of new songs hitting the airwaves — and it’s just too much for your two ears to handle. With all those options, you can’t be wasting your time on tracks that deserve a thumbs-down click — you want the best new songs to stream right now.

But don’t worry, we’re going to save you the hassle. We listen to some of the most-hyped and interesting songs each week, and tell you which are worthy of your precious listening time.

Here are our five best new songs to stream this week. And don’t forget to subscribe to our Spotify page for a playlist of our weekly picks, which can also be found at the bottom of this post. Not sure which streaming service is best for you? Check out our post about the best music streaming services, or go in depth and learn the differences between Apple Music and Spotify to better weigh your options.

U2 — Get Out of Your Own Way (featuring Kendrick Lamar)

U2‘s latest single comes as part of a musical trade. Following an appearance on Kendrick Lamar‘s showstopping album DAMN, the iconic Irish rock band has enlisted the rapper for a spoken word outro on this new song from their own upcoming release, Songs of Experience. Apart from the ending, the song sounds like many of the band’s classic songs, with airy guitars joined by a simple beat and Bono’s indelible voice.

Jim James — I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times

My Morning Jacket frontman Jim James has offered up an excellent cover of The Beach Boys‘ classic single I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times that’s had us coming back to listen to it over and over again. This is a rare cover of a legendary tune that does justice to the original, with gorgeous stereo mixing, layered vocals, and an elegant string quartet creating the same intricate wall of sound.

Gorillaz — Garage Palace (featuring Little Simz)

Up-and-coming U.K. rapper Little Simz spits a series of quick-paced verses over a driving electronic beat on Garage Palace, a special bonus track from everyone’s favorite animated band, Gorillaz. The song is a perfect pick-me-up for a rainy fall day. It will have you head-bobbing your way through each second of its two-and-a-half minute runtime — and all but forcing you to hit the repeat button.

Pinegrove — Intrepid

The first new single from Pinegrove since last year’s excellent album Cardinal utilizes the same lyric-heavy, mixed-meter style that made us fall for the band in the first place. Intrepid begins as a sparse guitar-and-vocals affair before adding thick layers of bass, drums, and background vocals that lead up to a washy guitar fade-out.

Ought — These Three Things

A driving single that brings out our ’80s nostalgia in all its shoulder-padded glory, These Three Things from Canadian post-punk band Ought will help you push through the miles on your evening run or morning commute. A punchy bass line serves as the heartbeat for the track, joined by a simple and elegant drumbeat that features occasional triangle hits on the right side of the mix.

That’s it for now, but tune in next week for more songs to stream, and check out the playlist loaded with our recent selections below:

Editor’s Recommendations

  • Best new songs to stream: The National, Kurt Vile and Courtney Barnett, and more
  • Best new songs to stream: Porches, Alvvays, Feist, Grizzly Bear, and Goon
  • The best new songs this weekend from Beck, Twin Peaks, Bermuda Triangle, and more
  • Best new songs to stream: LCD Soundsystem, Washed Out, and more
  • Best new songs to stream: Big K.R.I.T., MGMT, Curls, and more




5
Nov

Afghanistan government tries to block social media apps Telegram and WhatsApp


Why it matters to you

Social media provides a platform for everyone, and censorship is never the answer in an open society.

Last week, the telecom regulator of Afghanistan attempted to block the popular messaging services Telegram and WhatsApp with a letter sent to internet service providers. The edict seemed to have little effect according to most accounts, however, as the services seemed to be operating with very few problems on both private and state-run service providers, as reported by Reuters.

Although WhatsApp was not accessible for some users, it’s unclear whether that was due to government interference or the worldwide problems plaguing that particular app.

Social media in general, and messaging services in particular,are quite popular and widely used in Afghanistan. Images of the letter quickly popped up on various sites around the world, prompting outcry from civil rights groups.

Shahzad Aryobee, acting minister for telecommunications, posted a Facebook message claiming that the telecom regulator ATRA was merely upgrading its service with gradual blocks on the two services, citing complaints about inefficiency. “The government is committed to freedom of speech and knows that it is a basic civil right for our people,” he said.

The announcement prompted the telecom regulator to issue another statement Friday, according to Voice of America, saying the ban was needed to test and implement “a new kind of technology” to address citizens’ complaints. Unconfirmed media reports placed the blame on the National Directorate for Security, as a response to the increase of encrypted messaging services by the Taliban and other insurgent groups.

Since the 2001 U.S. invasion of the country, mobile phone service has exploded in Afghanistan, although there are frequent complaints about reliability and signal strength. More than six million Afghanis can access the internet, mostly in the larger cities. Even Afghan politicians regularly use popular services such as WhatsApp, Messenger, and Viber.

On the other hand, groups like the Taliban, who have their own sophisticated social media presence and encrypted messaging systems, also regularly communicate online in plots against the government or U.S. forces.

Speaking to the BBC, newspaper editor Parwiz Kawa said the country was not about to slip backwards by blocking social apps after finally achieving an open society. “The public reaction — including our own front page — is to resist,” he said. “We can’t tolerate any ban on social media or any censorship.”

The outage may be having some effect, however. Last week, a Taliban spokesman wrote to reporters and gave them his Viber number “in case WhatsApp is not working.”

Editor’s Recommendations

  • Unsend, unsend! New WhatsApp feature lets you take back sent messages
  • WhatsApp rolls out real-time location-sharing feature for iOS and Android
  • New Truecaller iMessage filtering feature blocks spam in iOS 11
  • Planning to make a drone video of the Statue of Liberty? You’d better hurry
  • Protect your privacy with the six best VPN for the iPhone or iPad




5
Nov

Afghanistan government tries to block social media apps Telegram and WhatsApp


Why it matters to you

Social media provides a platform for everyone, and censorship is never the answer in an open society.

Last week, the telecom regulator of Afghanistan attempted to block the popular messaging services Telegram and WhatsApp with a letter sent to internet service providers. The edict seemed to have little effect according to most accounts, however, as the services seemed to be operating with very few problems on both private and state-run service providers, as reported by Reuters.

Although WhatsApp was not accessible for some users, it’s unclear whether that was due to government interference or the worldwide problems plaguing that particular app.

Social media in general, and messaging services in particular,are quite popular and widely used in Afghanistan. Images of the letter quickly popped up on various sites around the world, prompting outcry from civil rights groups.

Shahzad Aryobee, acting minister for telecommunications, posted a Facebook message claiming that the telecom regulator ATRA was merely upgrading its service with gradual blocks on the two services, citing complaints about inefficiency. “The government is committed to freedom of speech and knows that it is a basic civil right for our people,” he said.

The announcement prompted the telecom regulator to issue another statement Friday, according to Voice of America, saying the ban was needed to test and implement “a new kind of technology” to address citizens’ complaints. Unconfirmed media reports placed the blame on the National Directorate for Security, as a response to the increase of encrypted messaging services by the Taliban and other insurgent groups.

Since the 2001 U.S. invasion of the country, mobile phone service has exploded in Afghanistan, although there are frequent complaints about reliability and signal strength. More than six million Afghanis can access the internet, mostly in the larger cities. Even Afghan politicians regularly use popular services such as WhatsApp, Messenger, and Viber.

On the other hand, groups like the Taliban, who have their own sophisticated social media presence and encrypted messaging systems, also regularly communicate online in plots against the government or U.S. forces.

Speaking to the BBC, newspaper editor Parwiz Kawa said the country was not about to slip backwards by blocking social apps after finally achieving an open society. “The public reaction — including our own front page — is to resist,” he said. “We can’t tolerate any ban on social media or any censorship.”

The outage may be having some effect, however. Last week, a Taliban spokesman wrote to reporters and gave them his Viber number “in case WhatsApp is not working.”

Editor’s Recommendations

  • Unsend, unsend! New WhatsApp feature lets you take back sent messages
  • WhatsApp rolls out real-time location-sharing feature for iOS and Android
  • New Truecaller iMessage filtering feature blocks spam in iOS 11
  • Planning to make a drone video of the Statue of Liberty? You’d better hurry
  • Protect your privacy with the six best VPN for the iPhone or iPad




5
Nov

Best Google Pixel 2 Deals for November 2017


google-pixel-2-pixel-2-xl-hands-on-2.jpg

Where should you buy a Google Pixel 2 from in order to get the best deal?

Shopping for a new phone, like the Google Pixel 2 and Google Pixel 2 XL can be an expensive proposition, but there are ways that you can make it a little easier on your budget. Hunting down the best deals can be difficult since most retailers change them weekly — but don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Whether you are looking to finance your purchase, get some freebies with it, or try and save some money on the purchase there are a few places to check out.

Let’s take a look at some of the best deals on Google’s Pixel and Pixel XL that are available right now.

Check out the best deals on the original Pixel and Pixel XL

Google Pixel 2

Want to pick up the smaller of the two Pixels but avoid paying full price? It’s not extemely often to find great deals on the Pixel phones. Google hardly ever discounts them, and sometimes you’ll see a few dollars off each month through Verizon, or a random deal at a retailer. Here’s all the best deals right now.

  • Google Store offers a trade-in credit of up to $410 when you trade in your old phone
  • Best Buy offers 18 months of interest free-financing on a Best Buy Credit Card
  • Google Store offers 0% interest for 24 monthly payments of $27.04
  • Verizon offers up to $300 off with select trade-ins

Google Pixel 2 XL

If you are looking for the larger version, you’ll want to check out the deals on the Pixel 2 XL. Most of the time you’ll find the a similar deal on the Pixel 2 XL as you would on the Pixel 2, but somtimes the discounts are a little larger because it costs more. The current deals include:

  • Google Store offers a trade-in credit of up to $410 when you trade in your old phone
  • Best Buy offers 18 months of interest-free financing on a Best Buy Credit Card
  • Google Store offers 0% interest for 24 monthly payments of $27.04
  • Verizon offers up to $300 off with select trade-ins

Other deals

As time passes you’ll start to see these appear on other sites like eBay and Swappa, offering great deals on second-hand units. Some people may turn around and sell theirs at launch for a profit, but if you are looking to save you’ll have to wait a bit longer.

Have you noticed any other deals on the Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL? If so, be sure to drop a line in the comments letting us know where the deal is and why other people may be interested.

Google Pixel + Pixel XL

  • Google Pixel and Pixel XL review
  • Google Pixel XL review: A U.S. perspective
  • Google Pixel FAQ: Should you upgrade?
  • Pixel + Pixel XL specs
  • Understanding Android 7.1 Nougat
  • Join the discussion in the forums!

Google Store
Verizon

5
Nov

After Math: Xs and Os


It’s been a wild week for schemes and strategies. A band of thieves made off with a load of new iPhones, the CIA released more of bin Laden’s hard drive contents, and Netflix nixed House of Cards because Kevin Spacey turned out to be a sexual predator. Numbers, because how else will you know if your fence is underpaying for those looted wares?

$370,000: That’s the street value of some 300 iPhone Xs a band of thieves managed to purloin from a UPS truck parked outside of the Apple Store in San Francisco on Thursday. Be wary of any unreasonably good deals (read: less than a grand) you see on eBay for them in the coming weeks.

11 minutes: The only tolerable span of time to occur in 2017 was when the president’s personal attack vector, er, Twitter account was taken offline by an American hero.

Lafayette, US - December 27, 2016: Tesla Supercharger Station. The Supercharger offers recharging of Model S and Model X electric vehicles XI

$7,500: That’s how much the electric vehicle tax credit is worth that the Republicans want to get rid of. Because who needs to reduce the global carbon footprint when a couple dozen rich families here in the US can reduce their tax bases?

CIA

321 GB: That’s the size of the CIA’s most recent file dump from Osama bin Laden’s personal laptop. Turns out the dude was super into off-brand sexy ROMs, who knew?

1440p: That’s the maximum monitor screen resolution the new Xbox One X will support. Don’t worry, it’ll still display in 4K when you hook it up to your living room TV.

4 seasons: That’s how many seasons too long House of Cards ran before Kevin Spacey’s sexual predatory past caught up with him and curb stomped the remainder of his career.

A 3D rendered image of cells.  One of the cells has dark tubules protruding from it as compared to the other clear cells.

86 percent: That’s how effective a new AI system developed at Showa University in Japan is in detecting colorectal cancer. Because the quicker you catch this form of cancer, the better the chance you have of beating it.

5
Nov

The best humidifier


By John Holecek and Tim Heffernan

This post was done in partnership with Wirecutter, reviews for the real world. When readers choose to buy Wirecutter’s independently chosen editorial picks, it may earn affiliate commissions that support its work. Read the full article here.

After more than 100 hours of research (including 80-plus hours of lab testing) over the past four years, the Honeywell HCM-350 Germ Free Cool Mist Humidifier remains our pick as the best humidifier for most people. It’s quiet, leakproof, effective, and energy-efficient, and it’s the easiest model to fill and clean we’ve ever found.

Who this is for

If you are bothered by any of the symptoms caused by dry air, such as dry sinuses, nosebleeds, cracked and sore lips, or shocks from static electricity, the air in your home is likely too dry. But humidifiers require regular maintenance, including a thorough cleaning every one to three days. Because a dirty humidifier causes more harm than good, be honest with yourself: are you ready to be a “humidifier parent”?

How we picked and tested

The Honeywell HCM-350 (front), and (back, from left) the Sunpentown SU-4010, Sunpentown SU-9210, Safety 1st, and Air-O-Swiss 7135. Photo: John Holecek

We considered three basic types of humidifiers: ultrasonic, evaporative, and “air-washing.” Ultrasonic humidifiers use a vibrating diaphragm to generate vapor. They work quickly and quietly, but because they produce vapor, they can overhumidify a room and potentially leave behind a thin layer of mineral dust.

Evaporative humidifiers use the natural process of evaporation by passing dry air over a wet wicking filter. They’re a bit louder and slower than ultrasonics, but they’re also cleaner and physically incapable of overhumidifying a room.

“Air-washing” humidifiers are a more expensive, quieter variation of evaporative humidifiers that replace the wick with a stack of slowly rotating discs. In theory, they trap particles in the water and clean the air, though our tests found this feature isn’t particularly effective.

After deciding on a list of humidifiers to test, we tested each model in John Holecek’s 160-square-foot office in Southern California. For each machine, we considered five factors: noise, maximum humidification achievable, ability to hold a fixed humidity level, daily water consumption, and cost over time. For air washers, we also measured their actual ability to remove particles from the air. Please see our full guide to humidifiers for a detailed breakdown of our testing methodology.

Our pick

The Honeywell is unobtrusive, if not exactly beautiful. Photo: John Holecek

The Honeywell HCM-350 Germ Free Cool Mist Humidifier is an evaporative humidifier that consistently performed well across all categories we tested. Though it didn’t top the charts, it was a solid performer, raising the relative humidity of John’s office by 14 percentage points over the course of three hours. It uses about 1.9 gallons of water per day on high, so you’ll need to fill the one-gallon tank twice per day to run it continuously. More important, it was by far the easiest to clean and fill of the models we tested.

Including purchase price, cost of new filters, and electricity, the Honeywell will set you back about $300 over the course of its three-year expected service life (assuming you’re running it 24 hours a day, but only in the wintertime). That puts it right in the middle of the pack.

A similar evaporative option

If the Honeywell is out of stock, the Sunpentown SU-9210 Digital Evaporative Humidifier is another evaporative humidifier we liked in testing, but it’s not nearly as easy to clean. In our tests, it increased relative humidity by 19.75 percent (compared with the Honeywell’s 14 percent—though the Honeywell started at a higher humidity). The SU-9210’s total estimated operating cost of about $200 over a three-year period also makes it cheaper than the Honeywell.

For larger rooms: a silent ultrasonic pick

The Sunpentown SU-4010 Dual Mist Humidifier with ION Exchange Filter was our previous runner-up pick, and is still a solid and economical performer. If you have a larger room (bigger than, say, 400 square feet) and value moisture over ease of maintenance, this is your best bet. Just be careful not to overhumidify your space on high settings.

The Sunpentown is super-quiet, even for an ultrasonic humidifier, and has an ion-exchange water filter (a filter that draws the calcium and magnesium ions in your water in and then replaces them with sodium ions) to help keep microbial growth and mineral dust to a minimum. However, it’s not as easy to clean as we’d like, and we noticed mildew tends to build up along several of the sharp angles inside.

An efficient but expensive option

The Venta Airwasher LW25 is worthy of its high price tag only if you are willing to pay a lot more money up front for lower power consumption and less-frequent refills and cleanings. Though your typical humidifier should be cleaned about every third day, Venta recommends cleaning only every 10 to 14 days and relies on a proprietary chemical mixture to keep funk down between cleanings. These chemicals cost about $40 per year, which when combined with the high sticker price make the Venta the second most expensive option we considered—$425 over three years.

The Venta works by drawing air over a set of slowly rotating discs. It’s incredibly efficient, requiring just 0.2 gallons of water per day to achieve the same amount of humidification as the other midsize units we tested (an 18 percent increase over three hours). However, the Venta still requires that you top it off every day to maintain maximum humidifying efficiency—it works best when full.

This guide may have been updated by Wirecutter. To see the current recommendation, please go here.

Note from Wirecutter: When readers choose to buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn affiliate commissions that support our work.

5
Nov

It’s not too late to make your first website – here’s how


If you’ve been wanting a website for your business or hobby and have made the bold decision to make it yourself — good for you! Learning how to make a website today is far easier than ever before with all the resources and tools available on the internet. Better yet, you don’t need a lick of coding knowledge to get started.

Today there are a host of tools and services to walk you through the entire process, regardless of what kind of site you want to build. Whether it’s your first attempt at building a website or you just need a refresher on what all the options are, this guide will give you a quick overview of the most important things you need to know, along with a selection of links to other helpful resources on the web.

Refining your idea

racorn/123rf

The first step in the process is whittling down your idea into something that’s actually feasible to create. You can make just about anything on the web, and things can get really complicated and off track if you don’t have a clearly defined goal to work toward.

If you’re here reading this, you probably already have a general idea of the website you want to make. While you’ll be able to customize the layout and the look of your site later, the most important thing to do at this stage is figuring out are the basics. What’s it going to be called? What do you want its URL to be? What kind of site do you actually want to build?

We’d recommend perusing some sites that have a similar goal to your own for ideas. Write down a list of elements from the sites you visit that you like and don’t like. Perhaps even consider pulling out a pen and paper to sketch out some of the pages of your site if you are more of a visual thinker.

If you aren’t too sure about the specifics of any of that, don’t fret just yet, as you can iron some those details out as you go about putting the site together.

Building your site

Now comes the (not so) hard part. You actually need to create the site itself. But how do you go about doing that? Building a website today is far easier than it’s ever been thanks to the myriad of tools available. In this section, we’ll break down some of our favorites and the different ways in which you can use them.

Website Builder Services

The most popular way to build a website today, especially if you’ve never done it before, is to use a website builder service. They utilize drag and drop interfaces which should be intuitive for most PC users and streamline many processes such as publishing content, adding links, and making your site compatible with various devices.

Webflow

There are some limitations to them in that you often can’t build more complicated websites and in some cases, they do force you to use a parent domain name, but if you’re willing to pay a small subscription fee, you can have most of the advanced features without the drawbacks.

Do bear in mind though that you are often reliant on that service for future updates, so if you strive for independence, you may prefer to go in alone.

Services like Squarespace and Wix have improved how much customization you can do without having to know a single thing about HTML. These provide a great entry-level service to start with. For more information, check out our guide to the best website builders to make the right choice for you.

Content Management Systems (CMS)

Although you could technically bundle these tools under the same banner as website builders, Content Management Systems provide a much greater depth of flexibility than their hand-holding cousins. While they tend to be best for making specific types of websites, with additional modules and widgets, you can use a CMS to make whatever you want.

In the world of modern website making, this is probably about as hands-on as you want to be without involving a professional, but that doesn’t mean using any of them is overly complicated. There are plenty of guides, tutorials, free themes and widgets to help you make your site and have it looking and operating just how you want it.

WordPress

WordPress is the most popular CMS in use today, with almost 30 percent of all websites built on it. It’s even the platform that DigitalTrends runs on, so you know it’s good. That popularity isn’t without reason and it’s part of the reason that it’s such a solid recommendation. With so many people using it, updates are regular and there is a tonne of support and ways to customize it.

At its core, WordPress is easy to use and navigate around and caters to all sorts of websites. While specifically good at handling blog and e-commerce sites, you can make it into what you want with a host of free and premium widget options.

Drupal

Arguably the most difficult of these three recommended CMS, Drupal is still a popular choice, partly because it’s the most versatile. Although you may want to learn a little HTML and even CSS and PHP in order to fully utilize it, it still has tens of thousands of free plugins to expand its capabilities.

That versatility is what makes Drupal a solid choice for those looking to build something that’s not a typical blog or storefront. There’s some evidence to suggest it can produce faster sites too, so if you’re looking to build something content heavy, Drupal may be your best bet.

Joomla

Although Joomla is no way near as popular as the above alternatives, it’s still a decent choice of CMS for building a modern website. It serves as a middle ground between WordPress and Drupal, where you don’t need super technical skills to get the most out of it, but it’s not as beginner-friendly as WordPress.

Best suited to e-commerce and social websites, Joomla also has free themes and plugins, though fewer than the other CMS listed here. It does, however, feature a robust help system and community that is easier to use and parse than Drupal’s more technical guides.

Do you need to know how to code?

The short answer? No. As much as there’s nothing stopping you learning how to build a website yourself from the ground up, the days of that being a popular choice are long gone. There are also a number of modern security concerns and device compatibility issues to consider which are far beyond the reach of this entry-point guide.

In reality, the best way to get your first website online is to use a service or toolset that’s made exactly for someone like you. If you want to learn a little about the basics of coding a website, it can’t hurt, but it’s far from necessary.

For those looking to learn a little HTML or CSS, CodeAcademy is a great starting point. It offers free programming tutorials that will teach you as you code, and there are a few apps that can help you learn to code on the go.

Registering your Domain

In order to get your site up and running, you need to register a domain. If you’re using a website building service, then you’ll be prompted to buy the domain before getting started. Some website builders like Squarespace offer deals within their service to streamline the process a bit, but whether you use that or not, make sure you have your domain secured before getting started.

If you’re using a CMS and building the site yourself, you need to go through a domain name registrar. There are dozens of these to choose from, and lucky for you, we’ve got a pretty solid roundup of the best domain name registrars. Be sure to shop around until you find one that suits your needs — don’t necessarily just go with the cheapest one you see.

Purchasing hosting

Domain name registration and hosting are tightly connected, and many services offer the two of them bundled together. Don’t let that confuse you — they’re not the same thing. If buying a domain name is akin to securing your address, hosting is the plot of land you actually build your new digital property on.

Hosting generally costs a monthly fee based on your bandwidth and availability needs, and there are tons of companies out there that offer it.

If you end up using a website building service, chances are your hosting has been bundled in as part of that package. If you’re using a CMS though, you’ll need to secure your own hosting. These are the best website hosts as far as we’re concerned.

If you’d rather save some money while you practice building your site, these free alternatives should fit the bill.

Summary

When building a website today, we’d recommend either a website building service or using one of the most popular CMS. Although building your own site with a CMS is harder, it does offer more freedom and there is plenty of help out there for those that need it.

If you don’t use a website builder, you’ll need to secure a domain name and hosting too, but the links above in those respective sections will help you through that part of the process.

Updated: 11/02/2017 by Jon Martindale – Updated methods and links. The original article was posted on October 6 2013.

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