If you own an iPhone, you might be eligible for $25 “throttling” lawsuit settlement

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In 2017 Apple acknowledged it had been throttling iPhones with degraded batteries. This resulted in a class-action lawsuit and a $500 million settlement. Lifehacker has a guide on how you can collect a cash payment of $25 per eligible iOS device.

You’ll qualify for this settlement if you own(ed) one of the following iPhones before December 21, 2017:

An iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6S, 6S Plus or SE that ran iOS 10.2.1 or later

An iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus that ran iOS 11.2 or later

I just checked and found that all four members of my family have eligible iPhones, and I submitted claims for all of them. Thanks for the $100, Lifehacker!

Image: Jumpstory / CC0 Read the rest

This innovative training device can help you pick up a ukulele and start playing right now

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There’s no research to back this up…but it’s entirely possible the ukulele is the least intimidating instrument in the world. 

Oh, make no mistake — that’s not because the ukulele is just that simple to master. It’s a stringed instrument, so it takes some serious work to get good at it. But admit it…the island favorite, this baby guitar just looks too darn cute to be that big a headache.

Either way, Fret Zealot has come up with their new Ukulele Teaching Device, a new method for training you to pick up a uke and play like it’s been in your hand your whole life. 

The Fret Zealot first got its start with the guitar, but with this new version, it’s now able to help novice ukulele players start strumming and even playing music almost instantly.

The LED-enabled pad slides on to your ukulele just about the frets. When you’re synced with the Fre Zealot app, those LEDs light the way, blinking out to show you exactly where to put your fingers to play any of your favorite songs, island style.

The app is more than just a simple guide, offering a handful of features that make it easy for learners to pick up tips quickly and intuitively without getting bogged down in a book or training video. With the streamlined focus, students get to concentrate on proper technique and developing your own personal playing style from the beginning of your journey.


The Fret Zealot approach is catered to helping each student develop your own method of learning, so you can immediately jump in, pick the chords, notes, scales or songs you want to learn and Fret Zealot will help you get there. Read the rest

Grant Imahara dead at 49

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Electricical engineer and TV host Grant Imahara is unexpectedly dead at 49, reports The Hollywood Reporter. Imahara, the longtime co-host of Mythbusters and a veteran of Industrial Light and Magic, suffered a brain aneurism.

An electrical engineer and roboticist by training, he joined Discovery’s MythBusters in its third season, replacing Scottie Chapman and was with the show until 2014 when he left with co-hosts Kari Byron and Tory Belleci. The trio would reunite in 2016 for Netflix’s White Rabbit Project which lasted for one season. On MythBusters, Imahara used his technical expertise to design and build robots for the show and also operated the computers and electronics needed to test myths.

While part of the Mythbusters team, he sky-dived and drove stunt cars, on film sets he came into contact with some of the most iconic characters in screen history, installing lights onto Star Wars’ R2-D2, creating the robot Geoff Peterson for The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson and working on the Energizer Bunny.

Read the rest

Nursing home residents pose for album cover recreations, from Adele to Queen

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While in quarantine, residents at a North London elderly care facility, and their caregivers, have been posing like Adele, Madonna, David Bowie, and other musical artists for an album cover recreation project. The photographer, Sydmar Lodge‘s Activities Coordinator Robert Speker, writes that it’s his “job and privilege to keep them entertained during the COVID crisis with no outside entertainers or family.” He has set up a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for the home:

As this situation is on-going it could be months before the situation changes for them and the need to keep them happy entertained and full of spirit has never been more crucial.

The photography project – recreating Classic Album covers, with the Residents and Carers has raised awareness globally but with no funds for the home which was my original intention.

Elderly people will remain in lockdown for a long time, and I want to make their time as happy and full of enjoyment and interest as possible.

image via The Show Must Go On/GoFundMe

(Independent) Read the rest

It’s time to watch that Alaska bear cam again — salmon are jumping!

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It’s that time of year when the brown bears of Katmai National Park in Alaska are hungry for a fresh fish feast. And you can watch them capture spawning salmon straight out of Brooks Falls on this Explore.org webcam. Unlike most live webcams, you don’t have to wait long to see something interesting because this one always seems to be pointed right at the action.

The largest and most successful bears can catch and eat more than 30 salmon (over 120 pounds) per day! Bears are most abundant at Brooks Falls in late June and July during the sockeye salmon migration, but also keep an eye out for bald eagles, lots of gulls, and maybe even the occasional wolf trying to partake in the salmon buffet.

image via Explore.org

(Pee-wee Herman) Read the rest

Covid puts U.S. penny back on death row

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Covid might finally kill off something that’s long been on death row: the penny. Virtually worthless yet relatively expensive to make, the 1c coin complicates an ongoing coin shortage and production needs to be switched to more valuable denominations.

It costs the U.S. government about 2 cents to produce every penny. Pennies aren’t even worth our time. Wake Forest University economist Robert Whaples has calculated that the typical American worker earns a penny every two seconds. It takes most of us more than two seconds to fumble around with change or pick a penny off the ground, which explains why there are so many pennies on the ground. Money is supposed to be the medium of exchange, not dead weight.

Canada murdered its penny a few years ago. Britain recently decided not to officially kill its penny, but is no longer minting new ones. Read the rest

Lego Nintendo set

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Nintendo’s replica NES looks like an elaborate marketing tease, but it’s real and will be offered for $200 from August 1, reports The Verge. Yes you can have a pony.

“Recreate classic Super Mario Bros. gameplay with this cool LEGO Nintendo Entertainment System! Place the Game Pack in the brick-built console. Turn the handle on the retro TV to make 8-bit Mario move across the screen. And place LEGO Mario from the LEGO Super Mario Starter Course in the slot on top so he reacts to the on-screen enemies, obstacles and power-ups, while the original game’s theme tune plays!”

I’m looking forward to the official Toyota-Nintendo branding hookup, whose obvious name surely does not escape you.

Read the rest

Bardcore: Medieval-style cover of Dolly Parton’s ‘Jolene’

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Canada-based YouTuber Hildegard von Blingin’ is getting medieval on your ears with this charming cover of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene.” Welcome to “bardcore.”

Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jolene
I beg of thee, pray take not my lord
Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jolene
I fear, from thee, ‘twould take naught but a word

Wait! There’s more bardcore:

— Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know”
— Radiohead’s “Creep”
— Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance”
— Foster the People’s “Pumped Up Kicks”

(Digg) Read the rest

This tech-powered renters and home insurance cuts through red tape fast

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You probably have a lot of items in your home that you’d hate to lose to theft or damage. While certainly no one ever hopes to fall victim to a natural disaster or home invasion, you need to be prepared just in case it does happen. When it comes to choosing a reliable renters insurance, it might be worth looking outside the more traditional options. Like Lemonade, for example. This trending technology-driven insurance company has a primary goal of making the lives of both renters and homeowners easier (and headache-free).

How Lemonade is different

If you’ve ever had the unfortunate experience of submitting a typical insurance claim, you understand the frustration the process strikes up: endless back and forth between agents, a lot of fine print to decipher, and of course — the endless wait for the much-needed funds from your claim to process Lemonade wants to put an end to all that financial and emotional toil: its state-of-the-art service is intuitive, the customer service is impeccable, and best of all, your claims could be processed in as little as three seconds.

Here’s how Lemonade works: powered by AI technology, you can get set up with a customized insurance plan tailored to your individual needs. Just answer a few questions, and you’ll be able to review a plan that you can further adjust — and you pay immediately for it (no paperwork or call wait times to deal with). Lemonade also works by a flat fee, with rental insurance starting as low as $5 a month and homeowners insurance available for $25 a month. Read the rest

Disabled dog gets her wheeeeeelchair

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Her name is Luca, and look at her go on those new wheels!

She’s a little french bulldog.

My parents dog. She’s about 4 years old and due to a neurological disorder her hind legs decided to crap out on her. Luckily she’s a brick shithouse and is loving her new ride. Thing handles like a champ, it’s the Lincoln of doggy wheelchairs

Go see the entire video here.

Read the rest

The GhostBed is the world’s coolest mattress and it’s on sale for over 25% off

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The average US household replaces their mattress about every seven years. So if it’s been more than that, or even a lot more than that, it might be time to invest in a new slumber HQ.

And most sleep experts will tell you the right mattress really should be looked at as an investment. Because if you’re not happy with the place you spend nearly a third of your life…well, let’s just say the results won’t be pretty.

The makers of the GhostBed Luxe 13-Inch Cooling Mattress say their brainchild is like a hug from a gentle ghost. While that might creep out a lot of prospective customers, they also call the GhostBed the coolest bed in the world — and during these summer months, that’s probably a lot more likely to earn some smiles and interested glances.

The heart of the GhostBed is that dual-stage core and surface cooling tech, the only mattress of its kind employing this method for keeping you and your bed cool and comfortable all night long.

If you can imagine touching a popsicle box fresh from the freezer, then you’ve got an idea of what to expect from the Ghost Bed. The first two layers — the Ghost Ice Fabric and Cooling Fiber — are instantly cool to the touch, a top inch of cool burst airflow technology fiber to cool your body down.

Next, two layers of gel memory foam and a Ghost Ice Layer form around you for that “GhostHug” vibe, which also relieves aches and pains while sensing heat and adjusting to keep your sleep environment cool.  Read the rest

This leather and stainless steel Active Strap is the band your Apple Watch never knew it needed

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If there’s any knock on most smartwatches, up to and including the industry-leading Apple Watch, it’s probably that the bands aren’t…well, they aren’t usually the greatest. 

While Apple is certainly making strides in the watchband game, most models are just as black, boring and nondescript as you’d expect from a tech company. 

And where many watch bands truly fall apart is when they’re pushed during daily use, as water, strain, sweat and more all work to literally make cheap bands start falling apart.

The Active Strap from Nomad is built to withstand the rigors of the modern world and look good while doing it.

Designed for everyday life, the Active Strap is not only engineered to fit most Apple Watch models, but it’s also crafted from some of the finest German leather anywhere. For over 120 years, Heinen leather comes from a special tanning process that makes it extremely water-resistant and durable, so athletes and outdoor enthusiasts never have to worry about their band giving out.

In fact, the Heinen leather is also infused with natural lipids for a thoroughly hydrophobic strap that easily wipes clean. 

It’s also engineered with ventilation channels, so no matter how hard you go or how much sweat, dirt, sand, or even saltwater the Active Strap battles, it’s always ready to look stylish and cool with a quick brush.

Including the stainless steel hardware, the Active Strap both works and plays hard, regardless of your Apple Watch model. Designed for all the Apple Watch varieties dating back to the Apple Watch Series 1 in 2016, you’d be hard-pressed to find an Apple Watch that this band didn’t work with beautifully. Read the rest

Alarming chart shows 140 years of country-level temperature anomalies

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Antti Lipponen of the Finnish Meteorological Institute created this troubling but unsurprising chart of almost 140 years of temperature anomalies by country. The data used was from the NASA GISS, Land Ocean Temperature Index. You can probably guess what will happen.

As Antti says, “No matter how you visualize it, it looks scary!”

Here is a hi-res download via Flickr:

Image: Twitter / anttilip (CC-BY-4.0) Read the rest

Busuu can teach you your favorite foreign language and you’ll have worldwide help

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For all their obvious similarities, language learning apps will often each take unique approaches to teaching a foreign tongue. Or, in the case of many services, a whole bunch of foreign tongues. 

While some providers give you access to training across overwhelming menus of more than 150 different languages, the people behind the Busuu Language Learning system have settled on only 12. English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese, Polish, Turkish, Russian, and Arabic. That’s it. 

While that comes as an obvious disappointment for those with their heart set on learning Fijian, Lithuanian or Tok Pisin, the creole-based language spoken throughout Papua New Guinea, Busuu’s focus on the fundamentals has paid off, with more than 100 million learners worldwide.

Crafted by an in-house team of education and linguistic experts, Busuu has fashioned more than 1,000 fully optimized lessons aimed at getting new speakers proficient in the four main language skills — reading, writing, listening, and, of course, speaking. So unlike language systems that only focus on spoken word training, Busuu gives you a well-rounded immersion in all aspects of your new language.

One of Busuu’s strongest advantages is that massive 100 million-strong community, which allows students to advance their learning through practice directly with native speakers around the world. For example, you can send off written work in your new language and get a native to critique you almost instantly.

Meanwhile, Busuu has also crafted their service to couple that old-school, one-on-one personal training method with all the advantages of a high-tech world. Read the rest

Your home office could use some work of its own and these 20 items might just do the trick

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Example no. 3,225 why the real world isn’t like The Brady Bunch: your home office. Mike Brady was able to turn his den into a truly groovy cool home office for his architectural work. Mike had a wife, six kids and a live-in maid, yet still had a spare room he could devote to his business, which is a lot luckier than most of us. 

In fact, we bet since many of your home offices are only 3 or 4 months old, they may just consist of a laptop perched on the corner of the dining room table during non-dinner hours.

That won’t do. It’s time to devote a room and remake your space into a real home office — and we’ve got 20 ideas to help make it happen. Even if you just want the space more ready for your after-hours play, we think you’ll approve.

Laptop Stand with USB Ports – $29.99; originally $49.99

Maybe you can’t devote space to a big, bulky new desk, but this laptop stand will help make your trusty computer feel more like a proper business tool. In addition to a sleek, sturdy profile that looks great and an adjustable angle to help reduce screen glare, this stand also has four built-in USB ports, so you can keep your phone and all your other important devices charged at your desk without a tangle of outlets and connectors.

Portable Lazy Laptop Desk – $134.95; originally $199

Ok, if a full desk isn’t your speed, at least make the laptop perched in your lap a more comfortable experience with this Lazy Lap Desk. Read the rest

Good price on Calvin Klein T-Shirt 5-pack

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I used to buy Gildan T-shirts, but after Carla bought me Calvin Klein t-shirts, I noticed a big difference in the quality of the fabric. The Calvin Klein cotton feels a lot better! And occasionally Amazon has the shirts on sale. Right now you can get a 5-pack for a really good price. I just bought a combo pack that includes three white shirts and two gray ones. Read the rest

How can a disease with 1% mortality shut down the United States?

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A 1% mortality rate might not seem like much, but the death rate for COVID-19 is just the tip of a massive iceberg that the US economy is heading towards full-steam ahead.

From Franklin Veaux’s Quora post:

For every one person who dies:

19 more require hospitalization.
18 of those will have permanent heart damage for the rest of their lives.
10 will have permanent lung damage.
3 will have strokes.
2 will have neurological damage that leads to chronic weakness and loss of coordination.
2 will have neurological damage that leads to loss of cognitive function.

So now all of a sudden, that “but it’s only 1% fatal!” becomes:

3,282,000 people dead.
62,358,000 hospitalized.
59,076,000 people with permanent heart damage.
32,820,000 people with permanent lung damage.
9,846,000 people with strokes.
6,564,000 people with muscle weakness.
6,564,000 people with loss of cognitive function.

His conclusion: “The choice is not ‘ruin the economy to save 1%.’ If we reopen the economy, it will be destroyed anyway. The US economy cannot survive everyone getting COVID-19.”

Image: Jumpstory / CC0 Read the rest

Often Feel Like You’re Missing Eleven Days From Your Life? Blame the British Empire for The Calendar Act of 1750.

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Spoken Word with Electronics is an audio series delivering to you a two side recording of unusual stories paired with vintage modular electronic sounds

Hi, everyone – Welcome back to the show. This week, the topic is on Time Keeping, and asks: What’s your favorite Riot? My favorite riot is mythically referred to as “The Calendar Riots“. It was a reaction across the British Empire for a government theft of eleven days from September 1752. Specifically September 2nd would immediately be followed by September 14th, with September 3rd-13th deleted.

People stormed through villages demanding these stolen eleven days, and the possible loss of experiences, be returned. Some say the riots didn’t happen, and I think that makes the riots even better. You can’t control an invisible riot, and a riot that never happened is one that never stops.

As to why, The British were one of few standouts on shifting from the flawed Julian Calendar to the more accurate but less pagan Gregorian one. The solution on shifting to the Gregorian was sloppy. The Calendar Act is an interesting moment at controlling a population through decrees.

Jump into our Time Capsule and bounce back to 1752. Hear an actual Riot Act declared (reference audio), and consider The Calendar Act in modern times as a new effort for Time Made Great Again by the Trump Administration. “Clock, You’re Up!”

SPOKEN WORD WITH ELECTRONICS #18: The Calendar Act of 1750 & The Fake or Real Calendar RIOTS of 1752

In this era of Covid, “Give Us Our Eleven Days” sounds resonant. Read the rest

Blinfolded, Big Wendy makes a portrait of Erno Rubik with tactile Rubik’s Cubes

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I had no idea there was such a thing as tactile Rubik’s Cubes. Here’s Big Wendy, an accomplished Rubik’s Cube artist, making a portrait of Rubik’s Cube inventor Erno Rubik using 400 tactile cubes while blindfolded. She says, “The actual portrait took me around 7 hours to finish and the prep took around 3.” Read the rest

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