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24
Dec

Awesome tech you can’t buy yet: Tiny selfie drones, smart toilet seats, and more


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.

Geekey — keychain multitool

We love the idea behind everyday carry kits, but finding the right balance between compact and useful is often easier said than done. Most people turn to multitools, but if you’ve ever carried one of those things, you’ve probably found that they’re filled with unnecessary tools that never get used. And then there’s the bulk. They feel heavy in your pocket, but you wouldn’t be caught dead wearing a holster, so you usually don’t have much of a choice. But what if there was a better way? What if you could carry around a bunch of tools without adding a bunch of unnecessary bulk to your kit?

Enter the Geekey ultra-minimalist multitool. Made from tough 17-4 stainless steel and shaped like a slightly oversized key, the Geekey includes 16 different tools, all of which have been cleverly embedded into its compact design. It includes a bottle opener, can opener, bike spoke key, multiple screwdrivers, both open and closed wrenches, and a serrated edge for cutting through rope or other small items. There’s also a bit driver, wire stripper/bender, ruler, file, and a scoring tip designed to slice through thicker materials like zip ties or clamshell packaging.

Guitar-Jo — banjo adapter for guitars

One night, Jon Langberg (the creator of Guitar-Jo) was preparing electric guitar accompaniments for his church band, and there was one song in particular that he thought really needed a banjo. “He had never played one before and couldn’t afford to buy and learn a whole new instrument with a timeframe of one week,” the Guitar-Jo Kickstarter page explains. “He searched for digital effects patches that he could input into his multi-effects processor, and when he could not find any, tried creating his own patches.”

“After tinkering around and researching online for some time, he found out that digital effects fell drastically short and would not suffice. The only thing that seemed to somewhat work was placing a cloth underneath his guitar strings. [But] he needed to create something more practical and consistent that could be used in a live performance setting, so he drew up some plans and used his uncle’s workshop to create it.” A few months and a half dozen prototypes later, the Guitar-Jo was born.

Pitta — ultracompact selfie drone

“It all really started from a personal frustration,”  J.B. Hwang, co-founder of manufacturer Eyedea, Inc, told Digital Trends, on what drove him to create the Pitta drone. “I was a fairly heavy GoPro user, and action cameras with mounts and rigs were something I always carried with me. Naturally, I wanted more diversified clips and started to get my hands on drones. When I tried out handful number of drones, the operation process was not friendly to first-time pilots. Even after I got the basic sense of controlling a drone, I wasn’t able to capture the footage that I desired. All I really wanted was an easy-to-fly drone that would not require hours of training.”

The fruit of Hwang’s labor is the Pitta drone — a palm-sized spherical drone that moonlights as an action cam. Resembling a high-tech version of the “golden snitch” from Harry Potter, Pitta boasts a nifty modular design that gives it several interesting use cases. Whether you want to mount it on your bike like a GoPro or take it aerial, Pitta is a complete video capture system packaged into a single device — with a modular snap-and-twist-to-lock design that lets you easily switch between modes.

Slim Two — smart toilet seat

You know all that talk about paperless offices? Imagine if you could take the same idea to your bathroom. No, we’re not talking about checking your emails on the toilet (because nobody does that, right?), but rather an alternative solution to wiping your butt with reams of toilet paper. Specifically, we’re talking about a smart, water-spraying bidet, called the Slim Two, that sits on top of your existing seat. It’s like buying the worlds fanciest bidet — but without all the hassle of remodeling your throne room and hiring a plumber to install it for you.

To make this possible, the Swash uses a retractable, adjustable, self-sterilizing spray nozzle — complete with customizable water temperatures, water pressures, and spray widths. The seat also offers a warm-air dryer, deodorizer, heated seat, and even a soothing night light with cool blue hue for those midnight trips to the bathroom. On top of that, users also get a remote control that lets two people customize their settings. Arguably the best feature, however, is the device’s streamlined design, which doesn’t feature visible wires or a hose — or look like you’ve jammed a bulky smart seat on top of your existing toilet.

Caply — wearable action cam

Action cameras have come a long way since the first GoPro hit the market back in 2006. In addition to shrinking in size, they’ve also managed to pack in more features and functionality. Take Caply, for example. No larger than a tube of lipstick and yet capable of continuously recording more than five hours of video, Caply is the latest incarnation of the ongoing evolutionary saga of the action cam genre. It’s also wearable, which means you can clip it onto your pack, your hat, or just about anywhere else with a good vantage point, and let the little camera do the rest.

“Designed to go the distance and accompany you on all of life’s adventures,” as per Caply’s Kickstarter page, the wearable device claims a custom battery design that allows the device to last up to five hours on non-stop record, 24 hours on time-lapse record, and 120 hours on standby mode. Moreover, Caply allegedly boasts 128GB of onboard storage capacity, so even if you’re going on a long trip, you can take quite a few photos or record quite a bit of video footage. Good luck sifting through all of it when it comes time to edit, though!

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Awesome tech you can’t buy yet: Tiny phones, trippy LED masks, and more
  • Awesome tech you can’t buy yet: Folding helmets and emojis for your car
  • Turn your toilet into a bidet with the Slim Two Smart Toilet Seat
  • Pitta is a palm-sized drone that moonlights as an action cam and security system
  • The 50 best albums of 2017




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24
Dec

Awesome tech you can’t buy yet: Tiny selfie drones, smart toilet seats, and more


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.

Geekey — keychain multitool

We love the idea behind everyday carry kits, but finding the right balance between compact and useful is often easier said than done. Most people turn to multitools, but if you’ve ever carried one of those things, you’ve probably found that they’re filled with unnecessary tools that never get used. And then there’s the bulk. They feel heavy in your pocket, but you wouldn’t be caught dead wearing a holster, so you usually don’t have much of a choice. But what if there was a better way? What if you could carry around a bunch of tools without adding a bunch of unnecessary bulk to your kit?

Enter the Geekey ultra-minimalist multitool. Made from tough 17-4 stainless steel and shaped like a slightly oversized key, the Geekey includes 16 different tools, all of which have been cleverly embedded into its compact design. It includes a bottle opener, can opener, bike spoke key, multiple screwdrivers, both open and closed wrenches, and a serrated edge for cutting through rope or other small items. There’s also a bit driver, wire stripper/bender, ruler, file, and a scoring tip designed to slice through thicker materials like zip ties or clamshell packaging.

Guitar-Jo — banjo adapter for guitars

One night, Jon Langberg (the creator of Guitar-Jo) was preparing electric guitar accompaniments for his church band, and there was one song in particular that he thought really needed a banjo. “He had never played one before and couldn’t afford to buy and learn a whole new instrument with a timeframe of one week,” the Guitar-Jo Kickstarter page explains. “He searched for digital effects patches that he could input into his multi-effects processor, and when he could not find any, tried creating his own patches.”

“After tinkering around and researching online for some time, he found out that digital effects fell drastically short and would not suffice. The only thing that seemed to somewhat work was placing a cloth underneath his guitar strings. [But] he needed to create something more practical and consistent that could be used in a live performance setting, so he drew up some plans and used his uncle’s workshop to create it.” A few months and a half dozen prototypes later, the Guitar-Jo was born.

Pitta — ultracompact selfie drone

“It all really started from a personal frustration,”  J.B. Hwang, co-founder of manufacturer Eyedea, Inc, told Digital Trends, on what drove him to create the Pitta drone. “I was a fairly heavy GoPro user, and action cameras with mounts and rigs were something I always carried with me. Naturally, I wanted more diversified clips and started to get my hands on drones. When I tried out handful number of drones, the operation process was not friendly to first-time pilots. Even after I got the basic sense of controlling a drone, I wasn’t able to capture the footage that I desired. All I really wanted was an easy-to-fly drone that would not require hours of training.”

The fruit of Hwang’s labor is the Pitta drone — a palm-sized spherical drone that moonlights as an action cam. Resembling a high-tech version of the “golden snitch” from Harry Potter, Pitta boasts a nifty modular design that gives it several interesting use cases. Whether you want to mount it on your bike like a GoPro or take it aerial, Pitta is a complete video capture system packaged into a single device — with a modular snap-and-twist-to-lock design that lets you easily switch between modes.

Slim Two — smart toilet seat

You know all that talk about paperless offices? Imagine if you could take the same idea to your bathroom. No, we’re not talking about checking your emails on the toilet (because nobody does that, right?), but rather an alternative solution to wiping your butt with reams of toilet paper. Specifically, we’re talking about a smart, water-spraying bidet, called the Slim Two, that sits on top of your existing seat. It’s like buying the worlds fanciest bidet — but without all the hassle of remodeling your throne room and hiring a plumber to install it for you.

To make this possible, the Swash uses a retractable, adjustable, self-sterilizing spray nozzle — complete with customizable water temperatures, water pressures, and spray widths. The seat also offers a warm-air dryer, deodorizer, heated seat, and even a soothing night light with cool blue hue for those midnight trips to the bathroom. On top of that, users also get a remote control that lets two people customize their settings. Arguably the best feature, however, is the device’s streamlined design, which doesn’t feature visible wires or a hose — or look like you’ve jammed a bulky smart seat on top of your existing toilet.

Caply — wearable action cam

Action cameras have come a long way since the first GoPro hit the market back in 2006. In addition to shrinking in size, they’ve also managed to pack in more features and functionality. Take Caply, for example. No larger than a tube of lipstick and yet capable of continuously recording more than five hours of video, Caply is the latest incarnation of the ongoing evolutionary saga of the action cam genre. It’s also wearable, which means you can clip it onto your pack, your hat, or just about anywhere else with a good vantage point, and let the little camera do the rest.

“Designed to go the distance and accompany you on all of life’s adventures,” as per Caply’s Kickstarter page, the wearable device claims a custom battery design that allows the device to last up to five hours on non-stop record, 24 hours on time-lapse record, and 120 hours on standby mode. Moreover, Caply allegedly boasts 128GB of onboard storage capacity, so even if you’re going on a long trip, you can take quite a few photos or record quite a bit of video footage. Good luck sifting through all of it when it comes time to edit, though!

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Awesome tech you can’t buy yet: Tiny phones, trippy LED masks, and more
  • Awesome tech you can’t buy yet: Folding helmets and emojis for your car
  • Turn your toilet into a bidet with the Slim Two Smart Toilet Seat
  • Pitta is a palm-sized drone that moonlights as an action cam and security system
  • The 50 best albums of 2017




24
Dec

Awesome tech you can’t buy yet: Tiny selfie drones, smart toilet seats, and more


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.

Geekey — keychain multitool

We love the idea behind everyday carry kits, but finding the right balance between compact and useful is often easier said than done. Most people turn to multitools, but if you’ve ever carried one of those things, you’ve probably found that they’re filled with unnecessary tools that never get used. And then there’s the bulk. They feel heavy in your pocket, but you wouldn’t be caught dead wearing a holster, so you usually don’t have much of a choice. But what if there was a better way? What if you could carry around a bunch of tools without adding a bunch of unnecessary bulk to your kit?

Enter the Geekey ultra-minimalist multitool. Made from tough 17-4 stainless steel and shaped like a slightly oversized key, the Geekey includes 16 different tools, all of which have been cleverly embedded into its compact design. It includes a bottle opener, can opener, bike spoke key, multiple screwdrivers, both open and closed wrenches, and a serrated edge for cutting through rope or other small items. There’s also a bit driver, wire stripper/bender, ruler, file, and a scoring tip designed to slice through thicker materials like zip ties or clamshell packaging.

Guitar-Jo — banjo adapter for guitars

One night, Jon Langberg (the creator of Guitar-Jo) was preparing electric guitar accompaniments for his church band, and there was one song in particular that he thought really needed a banjo. “He had never played one before and couldn’t afford to buy and learn a whole new instrument with a timeframe of one week,” the Guitar-Jo Kickstarter page explains. “He searched for digital effects patches that he could input into his multi-effects processor, and when he could not find any, tried creating his own patches.”

“After tinkering around and researching online for some time, he found out that digital effects fell drastically short and would not suffice. The only thing that seemed to somewhat work was placing a cloth underneath his guitar strings. [But] he needed to create something more practical and consistent that could be used in a live performance setting, so he drew up some plans and used his uncle’s workshop to create it.” A few months and a half dozen prototypes later, the Guitar-Jo was born.

Pitta — ultracompact selfie drone

“It all really started from a personal frustration,”  J.B. Hwang, co-founder of manufacturer Eyedea, Inc, told Digital Trends, on what drove him to create the Pitta drone. “I was a fairly heavy GoPro user, and action cameras with mounts and rigs were something I always carried with me. Naturally, I wanted more diversified clips and started to get my hands on drones. When I tried out handful number of drones, the operation process was not friendly to first-time pilots. Even after I got the basic sense of controlling a drone, I wasn’t able to capture the footage that I desired. All I really wanted was an easy-to-fly drone that would not require hours of training.”

The fruit of Hwang’s labor is the Pitta drone — a palm-sized spherical drone that moonlights as an action cam. Resembling a high-tech version of the “golden snitch” from Harry Potter, Pitta boasts a nifty modular design that gives it several interesting use cases. Whether you want to mount it on your bike like a GoPro or take it aerial, Pitta is a complete video capture system packaged into a single device — with a modular snap-and-twist-to-lock design that lets you easily switch between modes.

Slim Two — smart toilet seat

You know all that talk about paperless offices? Imagine if you could take the same idea to your bathroom. No, we’re not talking about checking your emails on the toilet (because nobody does that, right?), but rather an alternative solution to wiping your butt with reams of toilet paper. Specifically, we’re talking about a smart, water-spraying bidet, called the Slim Two, that sits on top of your existing seat. It’s like buying the worlds fanciest bidet — but without all the hassle of remodeling your throne room and hiring a plumber to install it for you.

To make this possible, the Swash uses a retractable, adjustable, self-sterilizing spray nozzle — complete with customizable water temperatures, water pressures, and spray widths. The seat also offers a warm-air dryer, deodorizer, heated seat, and even a soothing night light with cool blue hue for those midnight trips to the bathroom. On top of that, users also get a remote control that lets two people customize their settings. Arguably the best feature, however, is the device’s streamlined design, which doesn’t feature visible wires or a hose — or look like you’ve jammed a bulky smart seat on top of your existing toilet.

Caply — wearable action cam

Action cameras have come a long way since the first GoPro hit the market back in 2006. In addition to shrinking in size, they’ve also managed to pack in more features and functionality. Take Caply, for example. No larger than a tube of lipstick and yet capable of continuously recording more than five hours of video, Caply is the latest incarnation of the ongoing evolutionary saga of the action cam genre. It’s also wearable, which means you can clip it onto your pack, your hat, or just about anywhere else with a good vantage point, and let the little camera do the rest.

“Designed to go the distance and accompany you on all of life’s adventures,” as per Caply’s Kickstarter page, the wearable device claims a custom battery design that allows the device to last up to five hours on non-stop record, 24 hours on time-lapse record, and 120 hours on standby mode. Moreover, Caply allegedly boasts 128GB of onboard storage capacity, so even if you’re going on a long trip, you can take quite a few photos or record quite a bit of video footage. Good luck sifting through all of it when it comes time to edit, though!

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Awesome tech you can’t buy yet: Tiny phones, trippy LED masks, and more
  • Awesome tech you can’t buy yet: Folding helmets and emojis for your car
  • Turn your toilet into a bidet with the Slim Two Smart Toilet Seat
  • Pitta is a palm-sized drone that moonlights as an action cam and security system
  • The 50 best albums of 2017




24
Dec

OkCupid insists on real names, and some folks are a bit worried


Though it may evolve to include them, true love certainly doesn’t start with fake names. So naturally, a website dedicated to the discovery of true love can’t include pseudonyms and pen names. OkCupid agrees, and has decided that there is, in fact, a lot in a name. As such, the online dating website is removing OkCupid usernames, beginning with a test group, and then rolling out to all users.

The goal, the site says, is to have users “update their profiles with what they want their dates to call them.” So unless you actually go by LittleBunnyFuFu, you’re going to have to change your name on OkCupid.

The rationale behind the decision, OkCupid notes in a blog post, is actually for users’ sakes. “We’ve discovered that [real names] actually work best — better than usernames — when it comes to connecting with people,” the dating site wrote. So even if you think that your username is particularly descriptive, or captures the essence of who you are, chances are it’s not nearly as effective as you think in finding your mate.

While this may seem like taking the fun out of online dating, we should point out that the vast majority of other digital dating tools, particularly those of the app variety, have never even had an option for a username. Tinder and Hinge, for example, are connected to users’ Facebook profiles, so unless your dedication to a false identity runs across all social media presences, you’re likely representing a truer version of yourself on these dating apps. OkCupid, then, should be no different. After all, the site wrote, “[Usernames] are a pain to come up with and a pain to remember. And we hope that you can instead use your profile to give people an insight into your interests.”

Of course, this change does come with a host of privacy concerns. Due to OkCupid’s open messaging policy, users don’t have to be connected to begin inundating one another with messages. And once real names are brought into the mix, some are concerned that it could open the door further to harassment and digital stalking.

OkCupid assures users that it still won’t collect full names, but is rather encouraging members to put forth the name that they’d like to be called in a face-to-face meeting. And chances are, that’s not PrincessBananaHammock. And hey, you can always use a pseudonym!

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Facebook facial recognition prevents someone from stealing your photo
  • Mobile version of Blizzard’s Battle.net app lets friends get friendlier
  • Picture-in-picture mode comes to Hulu with Live TV’s beta web interface
  • Reddit’s CEO talks about his plans to upgrade the ‘front page of the internet’
  • Did you download this fake ad-infected WhatsApp from the Google Play Store?




24
Dec

CNN cancels its Snapchat-specific show ‘The Update’ after just 4 months


It seems like just yesterday that CNN launched its own Snapchat-specific show. The Update was barely four months old, but apparently, four months was all CNN needed to decide that the show needed an update of its own — or rather, a permanent downgrade.

That’s right, friends — as originally reported by the Wall Street Journal, CNN has canceled its daily bite-sized news show on the social media platform “after coming to the realization there wasn’t a clear enough path to make money,” according to WSJ’s sources. This might herald some concerning news for Snapchat as a whole, as CNN was one of the company’s launch partners for its Discover media platform, offering the TV-style show to news-hungry Snapchat users. But perhaps the problem is that such a demographic…doesn’t really exist.

The decision to end the program may come as a surprise to some, as The Update initially appeared to be quite a popular idea. Upon launch, Snapchat’s senior director of content programming said in a statement, “It’s more critical than ever that Snapchatters have access to the best journalism in the world, right when news breaks, and we’re excited to watch CNN deliver that to them through The Update.”

And as Mashable noted, the show seemed to have its fans — for example, AdWeek called CNN one of the “hottest” online publishers, noting in particular its mastery of various media forms, including Snapchat.

Alas, all this praise seems to have been for naught.

“Snap and CNN have built a great partnership over the years and our teams have enormous admiration for each other,” the two companies confirmed in a joint statement. “We plan to keep working together and mutually decided to hit pause as we explore the best opportunities for doing that.”

While CNN may not have been able to make its made-for-Snapchat show work, not all networks appear to be having the same problem. NBC, for example, has its own Stay Tuned show on the air at Snapchat, and back in September, claimed to have 30 million monthly views. ESPN is also betting on Snapchat, creating a more youthfully-targeted version of its perennially popular SportsCenter for the app. And even though CNN is pulling the plug on its original show, the network says that it will “continue to experiment on Snapchat.”

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Heads up, sports fans — ESPN is debuting a Snapchat version of ‘SportsCenter’
  • YouTube joins the party by launching its own version of Snapchat Stories
  • Is Taco Bell really your friend? New Snapchat update weeds brands from people
  • Cutting the cord? Let us help you find the best streaming TV service
  • Samsung Bixby speaker: Rumors and news




24
Dec

How to Use PlayStation Gift Cards


Having a hard time using your Gift Cards on the PlayStation Store? Here’s a how-to guide on using your cards!

playstation-gift-card.jpg?itok=E30HXJBM

Like every other digital store, the PlayStation Store has a Gift Card program. You can buy these gift cards basically anywhere, either physical or digital, making them fantastic quick things to gift for any occasion. Giving and receiving gift cards is the easy part.

Here’s how you go from opening your card to spending your cash in the PlayStation store.

Read more at VRHeads!

24
Dec

After Math: Merry Christmas, you filthy animals


It’s been a wondrous week working up to Christmas Eve and not just for the guys with the Tommy Guns. Alamo Drafthouse announced it is starting a rental store and loaning out rare VHS, Protera is going to wake up tomorrow with an order for 25 of its electric buses under the tree, and Google is practically giving away its digital movie rentals. Numbers, because how else will you know how many gold rings you’ve got coming?

Several Christmas bells and red ribbon on the sheet music from the Christmas classic, Jingle Bells.

1951: That was the year that the Ferranti Mark 1, the first commercially available general-purpose electronic computer ever, was invited on to the BBC for a special holiday performance wherein it R2-D2’d its way through a number of Christmas standards. This year, Turing archive director Jack Copeland and composer Jason Long have managed to recreate the renditions for all to hear.

40: That’s the number of beers that will be available in the lounges of Alamo Drafthouse’s new series of rental stores. Even better, they’ll offer a wide selection of rare and obscure VHS tapes (plus the VCRs to watch them on). These shops will also host a purveyance of Blu-Ray titles and memorabilia as well. You might even find a copy of Angels with Filthy Souls if you’re lucky.

1: That’s how many dollars you’ll need in order to rent a movie from Google Play during its annual holiday sale. You can also rent 3 TV episodes for the same amount or get 50 percent off of an HBO Now subscription for the first three months (obvs, only for new subscribers or it wouldn’t be “first three months”).

25: That’s how many electric buses the city of Los Angeles has ordered from Protera, all of which should arrive by 2019. It’s all part of LA’s plan to replace the entirety of its gas powered bus lines with electric alternatives by 2030 and partly why California is hitting its self-imposed green energy goals a decade early.

2018: That’s the year the Magic Leap Augmented Reality glasses are supposed to ship. But given how little we still know about how they work — or even if they work — these AR goggles are still only about as real as the magical, gay black man who delivers them.

$250: That’s how much it now costs to get into the wide world of drone racing sports thanks to the Fat Shark 101 starter kit. The setup includes the drone itself, a controller, FPV goggles and the rest of the miscellaneous hardware you’ll need. Just don’t go racing it through the house before your parents have had their first cup of coffee and donned protective headwear.

24
Dec

The best cheap coffee maker


By Thais Wilson-Soler

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 considering 17 cheap coffee makers and testing the six most promising candidates, we think that the Hamilton Beach 12-Cup Coffee Maker (46205) is the best. In addition to winning over our tasting panel of pro coffee roasters, it has a host of user-friendly features like a removable water reservoir and a programmable auto-brew timer. Best of all, it was the cheapest model we tested.

Who should buy a budget coffee maker

If you’re someone who wants a decent cup of coffee for a budget-friendly price, a budget coffee maker is for you. However, a budget coffee maker, by definition, will not make you the perfect cup of coffee (we tried!). If you’re looking for the best flavors, you’ll probably want to experiment with a pour-over setup or one of the machines from our original guide to the coffee makers. In a side-by-side taste test, the OXO On 9-Cup, our pick from that guide, made much better coffee than even the best machine covered in this review.

How we picked and tested

The cheap coffee makers we tested. Photo: Michael Hession

Because this is our budget category, we stuck to machines with costs that ranged from the very cheap (around $30) to a mid-tier ceiling (around $100). We sought out models that had a rating of at least 60 points on Consumer Reports and cross-referenced them with Amazon’s best-sellers list.

Though taste was of utmost importance when evaluating higher-end coffee makers and is still important here, other factors like usability and footprint weighed more heavily in our search for the best cheap coffee makers. That’s because features like programmability (to automatically brew a pot on a timer) are more likely to be used if you’re not using expensive coffee that needs to be freshly ground. We decided that the machine should have an easy-to-use interface, produce at least eight cups of coffee, have a brew-pause option, take up a minimal amount of space on a kitchen counter, be easy to clean, and look attractive.

Following the same protocol outlined in our guide to the best coffee maker, we returned to Lofted Coffee (now Sey) in Brooklyn to brew pots in each of our contenders with the help of master roasters Tobin Polk and Lance Schnorenburg. This time around, we conducted our taste test twice. First, we brewed with Lofted Coffee’s own single-origin light roast to determine which machine did the best job of presenting the flavor profile they were going for. Then, we brewed a second round with a bag of cheap, pre-ground Dunkin Donuts breakfast blend to simulate a more common at-home scenario. We also brought along our trusty OXO On 9-Cup as a control for taste and other measurements, like brew temperature. Finally, we conducted another group test in our Wirecutter test kitchen, requiring each tester to report on the usability of the coffee makers and participate in a blind taste test.

Our pick

Our previous pick, the Hamilton Beach 12-Cup Coffee Maker (46201), which looks identical to our current pick, the upgraded 46205 model. Photo: Michael Hession

The Hamilton Beach 12-Cup Coffee Maker (46205) made a good cup despite being the cheapest coffee maker we tested. It has a removable water reservoir for easy filling, a rotating base to make it easy to access, a compact footprint, a bold-flavor mode, and a simple interface with clearly labeled buttons.

Our testers, including the Lofted roast masters, were very pleased with the taste of the Hamilton Beach using Lofted’s high-end beans, though it wasn’t nearly as good as the $200 OXO. Using pre-ground Dunkin Donuts coffee, however, our tasters actually preferred the Hamilton Beach to the OXO because it made a very smooth and agreeable pot of coffee without bringing out too much flavor. At 6 minutes, 30 seconds, the Hamilton Beach also had one of the quicker brew times in the lineup, which is a boon for those who need their coffee quickly.

Both our testers and Amazon customer reviews thought the black plastic highlights looked a bit low-grade, and there were concerns about the machine failing after a year. The new version of this machine, the 46205, seems to have addressed these issues, and we haven’t experienced any problems in several months of testing. We also wish that the Hamilton Beach brewed slightly hotter coffee. At 194 degrees, it’s acceptable, but our runner-up pick is a better choice for people who like their coffee piping hot.

Runner-up

Our runner-up, the Mr. Coffee Optimal Brew 10-Cup Thermal Coffee Maker (BVMC-PSTX95). Photo: Michael Hession

For hotter coffee with a taste that came close to that of the Hamilton Beach’s coffee, we recommend the Mr. Coffee Optimal Brew 10-Cup Thermal Coffee Maker (BVMC-PSTX95). This model ranked second in our taste test, brews coffee faster than any other machine we tested (5 minutes and 15 seconds), and makes very hot coffee—a full 8 degrees hotter than that of our top pick. But considering how close the machines were, and the fact that the Hamilton Beach typically sells for half the price, this Mr. Coffee is only our runner-up pick.

Although the Mr. Coffee 10-cup’s panel is not the simplest to navigate, we preferred its user interface to those of similar machines. It has a sturdier—if larger—frame than the other machines we tested, and our testers particularly appreciated the tight fit of the carafe under the waterspout. It also comes equipped with a thermal carafe, although we found it only mildly effective at keeping coffee hot for longer than half an hour.

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.

24
Dec

How to Track Santa’s Journey Today on iPhone and iPad


As it has done in previous holiday seasons, Google today began tracking Santa’s journey on the web, mobile web for iOS, as well as on Android mobile and Android TV. With the tool, you can easily track Santa’s trip as he delivers presents around the world in real time, including an estimated arrival time for your specific area. This marks Google’s thirteenth year of tracking Santa’s journey.

To start tracking, open a web browsing app on your iPhone or iPad (Safari and Chrome support the mobile optimized tracker), and then visit the official website for Google Santa Tracker. On both mobile and desktop, the site will show you a live map of Santa’s location, his next stop, a live video feed of his trip, and an estimated arrival time for your area.

If you scroll down you can see pictures of the places he’s already visited, more details about these locations, a live count of the gifts he’s delivered, and more. Google last year added these features into its main Google Maps app for iOS, but as of writing the Santa tracker does not appear to be in the iOS app this year.

Of course, there are plenty of other Santa tracking services and apps on the App Store, including NORAD Tracks Santa Claus [Direct Link]. NORAD’s Santa tracking app is mainly a countdown timer that links you out to the mobile web when you want to start tracking the journey.

Similar to Google, NORAD details where Santa was last seen, where he’s heading to next, and how many gifts he’s delivered. You can also interact with a 360-degree video feed of Santa’s sleigh as he makes his journey around the Earth. If you’re on Mac or other desktop computers, you can visit NORAD’s full Santa tracking website right here.

At the time of writing, Santa was last seen over the Andaman Sea and heading to Thailand.
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24
Dec

DARPA funds unhackable computer project to replace ‘patch and pray’ solutions


In its search for hardware solutions to cyberintruders, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) awarded a $3.6 million grant to the University of Michigan. The grant funds a team of UM computer scientists and engineers who are developing Morpheus, a new approach to hardware design capable of creating an unhackable computer.

The Morpheus grant is one of several DARPA awarded in a search for hardware cybersecurity solutions in April 2017. The grant program is part of  DARPA’s System Security Integrated Through Hardware and Firmware (SSITH) initiative. Despite its Star Wars-sounding name, SSITH is real, serious, and of vital importance today. Software security solutions don’t cut it anymore.

“Security for electronic systems has been left up to software until now, but the overall confidence in this approach is summed up in the sardonic description of this standard practice as ‘patch and pray,’” said Linton Salmon, SSITH program manager from DARPA’s Microsystems Technology Office.

What we need, according to Salmon, is smarter hardware. “This race against ever more clever cyberintruders is never going to end if we keep designing our systems around gullible hardware that can be fooled in countless ways by software.”

Morpheus team leader Todd Austin claims the project will be future proof. MORPHEUS hardware design concepts center around constant data movement. Information is moved and destroyed randomly and rapidly. If a would-be cyberintruder discovers a bug or a weakness in the design, by the time the intruder designs a way to attack and take over the system the data is no longer in its original location.

“We are making the computer an unsolvable puzzle,” Austin said. “It’s like if you’re solving a Rubik’s Cube and every time you blink, I rearrange it.”

According to Austin, if hackers can’t retrieve the information required to put together an attack, the result is protection for both hardware and software.

DARPA wants protection against seven major classes of hardware weakness within five years. The classes are permissions and privileges, buffer errors, resource management, information leakage, numeric errors, crypto errors, and code injection.

According to UM’s Austin, when Morpheus is fully developed the program will be able to make those classes of attacks impossible.

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