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VentiFresh’s odor-killing devices are on sale for as low as $43

Keep that new car smell.

If you need an odor-killing solution for your home, the VentiFresh range of products is a great option.

VentiFresh products unleash the same technology used on the International Space Station to neutralize foul odors. As of July 28, you can snag three of their most popular stench destroyers on sale for up to 50% off.

VentiFresh ECO: Next Generation Odor Eliminator

Over 388% funded on Indiegogo, the VentiFresh ECO works to destroy any odors in its path. While it's regularly $72, you can snag the ECO on sale for $36.54 using the code ANNUAL15.

VentiFresh ECO: Next Generation Odor Eliminator — $36.54 with code ANNUAL15
VentiFresh ECO: Next Generation Odor Eliminator — $36.54 with code ANNUAL15
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VentiFresh Plus: Next Generation Germ and Odor Eliminator

The VentiFresh Plus uses UV-C light to destroy germs and odors. No filters or chemicals are needed to yield fresh air. Simply install the VentiFresh Plus within a couple of feet of the source of pollution — i.e., a toilet, cat litter box, trash can, etc. — and let it go to work. For a limited time, you can knock the $84 price tag down to just $50.14 using the code ANNUAL15 at checkout.

VentiFresh Plus: Next Generation Germ and Odor Eliminator — $50.14 with code ANNUAL15
Credit: Ventifresh
VentiFresh Plus: Next Generation Germ and Odor Eliminator — $50.14 with code ANNUAL15
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VentiFresh Plus: Next Generation Germ and Odor Eliminator Car Pack

Got a funky-smelling car? Bring the VentiFresh Plus along with you. With this car pack, you’ll get the odor-eliminating device, plus a custom car vent clip, a magnet mount, and a one-meter USB power cable. Use the code ANNUAL15 to knock the $88 price tag down to $50.99 for a limited time.

VentiFresh Plus: Next Generation Germ and Odor Eliminator Car Pack — $50.99 with code ANNUAL15
Credit: Ventifresh
VentiFresh Plus: Next Generation Germ and Odor Eliminator Car Pack — $50.99 with code ANNUAL15
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Posted on 28 July 2021 | 9:00 am

Transform your room into a galactic wonderland with this moon lamp

Choose from 16 different colors and two different tones.

TL;DR: Give your room a glow-up with the Original 16-Color Moon Lamp, which is on sale as of July 28. Use code ANNUAL15 at checkout to score one for only $40.80, a savings of nearly 26%.


With the Original 16-Color Moon Lamp, you can bring galactic vibes into your space and completely change the ambiance of any room in your house with the flip of a switch.

This lamp was designed using NASA satellite images as inspiration, so even when it's not lit up you can see plenty of realistic bumps and craters. When it is lit up, the lamp is totally customizable. If you want to keep things natural-looking, you can choose from a cool white or warm yellow undertone. If you want to spice things up, you can choose from 16 other colors using the remote control. It's even dimmable.

The lamp operates wirelessly and is rechargeable with a USB cable. It lasts up to two full hours on a single charge. If you'd like, you can even use the included wooden base stand to prop it up and place it anywhere in your home.

See it in action:

Normally, the Original 16-Color Moon Lamp retails for $55. But, for a limited time, you can knock the price down to just $40.80 when you enter the code ANNUAL15 at checkout.

The Original 16-Color Moon Lamp — $40.80 with code ANNUAL15
Credit: Original moon lamp
The Original 16-Color Moon Lamp — $40.80 with code ANNUAL15
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Posted on 28 July 2021 | 9:00 am

Save 15% on a power hub that charges 7 devices at once

The ChargeHub X7 can quickly power seven devices with little risk of overcharging.

TL;DR: Charge up to seven devices at a time with the ChargeHub X7 Signature Charging Station, on sale as of July 28. Use code ANNUAL15 to get one for $50.99 — a 15% discount.


If every outlet in your home is always loaded up with chargers, leaving no room for things like lamps, appliances, and electronics, it’s time for a change. There’s no need for every gadget in your household to take up its own outlet just to get a charge. Snag the ChargeHub X7 Signature Charging Station and streamline your setup.

The award-winning ChargeHub X7 allows you to eliminate bulky power strips and extra cables and replace them with this single, streamlined charging station. About the size of a coaster, it’s designed with equally spaced USB ports that can deliver a charge to seven devices at a time. And, whether you plug in a phone, a Bluetooth speaker, or a smartwatch, you can rest assured that overcharging is an extremely low risk. 

See it in action:

While the ChargeHub X7 usually retails for $59.99, you can save 15% for a limited time and snag it for just $50.99 by using the code ANNUAL15.

ChargeHub X7 Signature: 7-Port USB Charging Station — $50.99
Credit: Limitless innovations
ChargeHub X7 Signature: 7-Port USB Charging Station — $50.99
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Posted on 28 July 2021 | 9:00 am

Save over 45% on a super useful Qi charger

The upright stand makes it easy to take video calls while charging.

TL;DR: As of July 28, get the Crave 10W Wireless Charger on sale for over 45% off. Use code ANNUAL15 to score one for just $21.24.


When you come home after a long day, do you kick your shoes off, lie back on the couch, and finally get back to all the people you've been ignoring all day? Or do you sit crouched by the nearest outlet and 12-inch USB cord because your phone is completely out of battery?

If you fall into the latter category, it may be time to upgrade the way you charge your devices. For a limited time, you can score an additional 15% off of the already discounted Crave 10W Wireless Charger.

A Qi charger can make charging your Qi-compatible devices a whole lot easier. With the Crave 10W Qi Wireless Charger, you don't have to worry about extra cords. Just place your phone against the stand and let it do the work for you.

The Crave 10W Qi-Certified Wireless Charger typically retails for $39, but for a limited time, you can snag it on sale for just $21.24 (over 45% savings) when you use the code ANNUAL15 checkout.

Crave 10W Qi-Certified Wireless Charging Stand — $21.24 with code ANNUAL15
Credit: Crave Direct
Crave 10W Qi-Certified Wireless Charging Stand — $21.24 with code ANNUAL15
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Posted on 28 July 2021 | 9:00 am

Jurors could use VR to visit crime scenes, and help them reach a verdict

I was just as surprised as you that this stock image exists.

VR headsets could eventually become appropriate court attire.

Virtual reality is frequently used for both entertainment and education, immersing people in computer-generated environments. Australian researchers are now looking into the benefits VR technology could offer in a courtroom — and the results so far are promising.

In a paper published this May, researchers from the University of South Australia investigated whether the ability to inspect crime scenes in virtual reality could help jurors make decisions in courtroom trials. Measuring the impact of viewing the same crime scene in either VR or a photographic slideshow, they found that virtual reality led participants to a different, more consistent verdict than one based only on photos.

"We found that participants in VR were significantly more accurate in remembering the correct placement of evidence items," the researchers wrote, noting they were also better at remembering some narrative aspects. "Participants who viewed the scene in the [photograph] Baseline mode were divided in their verdict decision, whereas participants in VR came to an almost unanimous decision."

SEE ALSO: Facebook's Oculus is testing in-headset VR advertising

The researchers built their experiment prototype using the Unity video game engine and a VIVE Pro Eye VR headset. Scanning a mock crime scene, they presented two groups of 15 participants with the same scenario: the aftermath of a parking lot dispute between two people in which one was killed. While one group explored the scene in interactive virtual reality, the other was only given photographs to inspect.

"There were a few reasons we chose hit and run," researcher Dr Andrew Cunningham told Mashable via email. "1. We modelled it after a mock crime from our forensic partners; 2. It was a situation with some ambiguity; 3. It relied on spatial understanding and interpretation; 4. It was not too horrific/stressful for participants."

The different ways in which the evidence was presented seemed to have a stark impact on how participants understood and interpreted information, and on their subsequent verdicts. Of those who viewed the scene in VR, 86.67 percent determined the scene was a case of "death by dangerous driving" — that's 13 out of the 15 in the group. Meanwhile, just 46.67 percent of participants who were presented with photographs came to the same conclusion, with a slight majority of 8 out of 15 choosing the more lenient "death by driving without due care" ruling instead.

"This experiment was developed with the input of forensic professionals but was nonetheless designed to be ambiguous," wrote the researchers, stating that further research could be done using scenarios with an objective truth. "The goal of this experiment was to identify how participants develop a narrative based on what they were presented and how this further affects their decision-making."

Virtual reality's interactivity allowed jurors to examine the crime scene in a way that made sense for them, helping them coherently piece together events in their minds. Its ability to let participants literally see the accused's point of view was also particularly impactful, with six of the 15 people in the VR group specifically stating that this influenced their verdict. Being able to place themselves in the accused's position cast significant doubt on the defence's argument that he hadn't been able to see the victim — VR participants determined that he actually had a clear view.

"The verdict 'Death by dangerous driving' was 9.5 times more likely to be chosen by participants who viewed the scene in VR," wrote the researchers. "A possible explanation for this result may be the amount of information that can be presented in VR…. An immersive scene allows large amounts of information to be presented in a way that is manageable, and participants took advantage of the exploration in a way that may have better supported their mental model."

The researchers further noted that virtual reality could be particularly useful for crime scenes that involve reflective surfaces such as car mirrors, as photographs are unable to reliably capture them. Cunningham told Mashable that while the laser scanning technique they used isn't good at capturing reflections, technology such as Google's LightField would be up to the task.

Interestingly, participants who were shown the photographic evidence were also given the opportunity to look at the virtual reality scenario after the experiment had concluded. At least one stated that they would change their initial, more lenient verdict, while others who chose a harsher penalty in this scenario gained even more confidence in their decision.

The VR scenario had preset locations that users could 'teleport' to, as well as a free-roaming option.
The VR scenario had preset locations that users could 'teleport' to, as well as a free-roaming option. Credit: Andrew Cunningham / University of South Australia

Though physical site visits aren't uncommon in jury trials, VR reconstructions could both reduce costs and address situations where excursions aren't possible. The researchers considered that it would be useful to conduct further experiments using a larger sample size of participants, as well as allowing them to deliberate together as a real jury would.

"The cost of jury viewings is significant; [it costs] thousands of dollars to transport the jury, judge, and scheduling," said Cunningham. "Viewings can also take place months after the fact under different weather conditions, or the scene may have changed."

A high tech solution like virtual reality may seem expensive, but Cunningham noted that current laser scanners make the cost of digitising a crime scene "negligible." Scanning the crime scene also only took around four hours, time he believes could be reduced with experience.

"Policing agencies are already scanning crime scenes as part of investigations, so that will also reduce costs," said Cunningham. "Forensics experts will re-create or scan scenes as well to analyse a scene (for example, tracing bullets) and this evidence may be presented in court currently as videos."

Though it seems like VR technology would greatly assist the legal process, Cunningham believes it will be over a decade before jury duty involves strapping on a headset.

"I think VR will be used in investigations first by policing agencies and forensics analysts," said Cunningham. "For the courtroom, there’s still quite a road before it is used."

Virtual reality is slowly growing more common and accessible to the general public, offering great benefits in many other spheres. Even so, it's still relatively new technology, and the justice system isn't exactly known for being an early adopter.

"The technology is reaching a point where it is consumer friendly, but [introducing it to a courtroom] would require a progressive judge," said Cunningham. "However, we did present the technology to South Australian judges, and their takeaway was that the technology was coming, that [it] will be used in the courtroom at some stage in the future, and that we should understand the impact of the technology to ensure the best outcomes."

Posted on 28 July 2021 | 8:07 am

Apple's next iPhone might be in short supply, at least at first

Don't sell your iPhone 12 until you're sure you'll be able to get the iPhone 13.

Here's one negative takeaway from Apple's otherwise stellar earnings report: New iPhones and iPads might be hard to obtain this fall.

This is according to Apple's CEO Tim Cook and CFO Luca Maestri, who spoke about the issue during the earnings call (via MacRumors).

"We expect supply constraints during the September quarter to be greater than what we experienced during the June quarter. The constraints will primarily impact iPhone and iPad," Maestri said.

It's hard to quantify that. Apple does say that it expects "very strong double digit growth" in the fourth quarter, so it can't be that bad. But it's quite possible that some of the most desired colors and configurations of iPhones and iPad will be a bit harder to get this fall.

SEE ALSO: Apple's iPhone 13 might have an always-on display

Apple isn't the only company experiencing supply constraints; a global chip shortage has been affecting basically every tech company out there, from Tesla to Microsoft. And while the situation will likely get better in the auto industry soon, there are indications that smartphones will suffer next.

As for the rest of Apple's Q3 financial results, they're pretty great. Apple reported record June quarter revenue of $81.4 billion, a 36 percent year-over-year increase, with revenues being up in double-digits across all product categories.

As for the upcoming products, Apple is expected to launch four new iPhones, which will be fairly similar in design to the current iPhone 12 lineup. Rumored new features include a smaller notch, an always-on display, a bigger battery, and a 1TB storage option. Apple is also expected to launch new iPads this fall, including a redesigned iPad mini.

Posted on 28 July 2021 | 7:40 am

These cars go 180 miles per hour — and will race without drivers

It's go time.

When the Indy Autonomous Challenge takes off later this year, all the race cars will look the same — and no one will be behind the wheel.

The IAC is a university-led self-driving car race taking place Oct. 23 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with $1.3 million in prizes on offer. The first three teams to cross the finish line in 25 minutes or less after 20 laps (that's about 50 miles) will win what's believed to be the first head-to-head autonomous race.

To make sure the race is about building out the software for autonomous driving at high speeds (the average speed will be about 120mph), each team has the exact same modified Dallara AV-21, a typical race car usually with a human driver. Clemson University students helped develop the base car for the race.

Earlier this month, the IAC showed off more details about the cars equipped with radar, cameras, ultrasonic, and infrared sensors along with three light-detecting sensors, called LiDAR, from autonomous sensor maker Luminar. LiDAR helps cars "see" by emitting light onto objects as far as 800 feet around the car.

Look at that hardware.
Look at that hardware. Credit: Indy Autonomous Challenge

The sensors in the car are the same that Luminar, a Florida-based company, is going to put in future Volvo SUVs. Race organizers want the cars able to handle the extreme racing environment, but also be applicable to future self-driving car scenarios on city roads and highways.

Luminar's senior director of product strategy, Dr. Matthew Weed, who studies optics and lasers, said the race is less about the hardware and more about the challenge of making decisions while moving at breakneck speeds. It's an opportunity to make autonomous highway driving safer, too.

What the students learn on the course will "trickle down from the racing environment to commercial vehicles," he said in a recent call.

When driving really fast, the car's sensors and computer system has to anticipate what will happen next. It doesn't happen right in front of the car, as with many of the test autonomous vehicles from companies like Cruise and Waymo that travel at modest freeway speeds at most.

"You’re going to have a fair shot at 65mph when something unexpected happens," said Matt Peak, the director of mobility at Energy Systems Network, which is one of the main organizers behind the Indy Autonomous Challenge. That's not the case at 180mph in autonomous mode.

The race is based on the 2004 DARPA Grand Challenge for autonomous vehicle development, but this time with university teams. The U.S. Department of Defense led the original challenge that brought competitors from major automakers.

For the IAC, more than 40 schools with 550 students from around the world entered the competition. As of late July, it's down to 19 universities across 10 final teams comprised of more than 200 students.

Students from as far as Poland, Germany, Italy, and Korea are taking on teams from U.S. universities like Rochester Institute of Technology, Colorado State, Western Michigan, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Pittsburgh, University of Alabama, University of Virginia, West Point, Auburn, and University of Hawai'i. Some schools are joining forces with others, like Indiana University with the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur and Colombia's Universidad de San Buenaventura.

"It's a good opportunity for our tech to be in the hands of the next generation," Luminar's Dr. Weed said.

SEE ALSO: New robo-taxi is sleek and slim compared to other 'monstrosities'

To make it to the final race, the university teams have been working on programming the cars since before the pandemic. All without stepping onto the race track.

Starting next month the final teams will finally get to interact with the race vehicle in preparation for a qualifying race on Oct. 21 and 22. Earlier this year the teams competed in a simulated race completely virtually.

Now an IRL race day is fast approaching. In October finalists will put the pedal to the metal with their programming skills for the robo-race.

Posted on 28 July 2021 | 5:00 am

Twitter permanently suspends pro-Arizona audit accounts, but not due to their content

Eight Twitter accounts pushing for the U.S. election to be audited have been permanently suspended.

It's been nine months since President Joe Biden won the 2020 U.S. presidential election, but the acrid stench of the Trump administration's corpse continues to linger. Now Twitter has finally thrown open some windows, permanently suspending eight accounts which baselessly pushed for the election results to be audited.

The bans are for reasons unrelated to their spread of dangerous misinformation and undermining of the American democratic system. Still, the end result is the same.

As first reported by BuzzFeed News, the suspended accounts include @arizonaaudit, @AuditWarRoom, @Audit_Arizona, @Audit_PA, @AuditGeorgia, @AuditMichigan, @AuditNevada, and @AuditWisconsin. As their names suggest, these accounts were focused on promoting the Republican-led election audit in Arizona, and pushing for audits to be performed in other states as well. In fact, @arizonaaudit billed itself the official Twitter account for the audit, and verified government officials had previously linked to it.

Now Republicans' overactive sense of victimhood has a smaller audience, with Twitter confirming the suspensions in a statement to Mashable. However, the social media company also indicated that its decision to boot the accounts had nothing to do with the nature of their content.

"The accounts referenced were permanently suspended for violating the Twitter rules on platform manipulation and spam," a Twitter spokesperson told Mashable.

Twitter's platform manipulation and spam policy doesn't address content issues regarding misleading election information — that would fall under its civic integrity policy. Rather, this policy stops people from operating multiple accounts with overlapping uses, and posting identical or substantially similar content across them. It wouldn't matter if these audit accounts were posting civic process misinformation or the full text of The Lord of the Rings line by line. Under this policy, Twitter's response would supposedly be the same.

SEE ALSO: Twitter suspends Marjorie Taylor Greene again, this time over misleading vaccine tweets

Twitter declined to comment as to whether any specific incident sparked the suspensions. However, while at least @AuditWarRoom and @arizonaaudit had both been operating since May, a post on Audit War Room's Instagram account indicated the other six Twitter accounts were only established last week. It's likely this drew some extra attention from the big blue bird.

The Arizona audit has become a watchword for Trump supporters resolute in their dissociation from reality. The ballots from Maricopa County, Arizona have already been audited four times since the November 2020 election, including in a hand recount, a partial hand recount, and two further audits by accredited independent experts. Yet in March this year, Republicans hired private contractors to examine Maricopa County's results for a fifth time, once more searching for any evidence of widespread election fraud.

That's over $150,000, months of work, and a whole ton of energy that could have gone toward literally anything other than the political equivalent of hunting for monsters under the bed. But at least we won't hear as much about it on Twitter anymore.

Posted on 28 July 2021 | 4:46 am

This powerful cordless vacuum cleaner from Shark is on sale for £150 off

The Shark cordless stick vacuum cleaner (IZ201UKTSB) is on sale.

SAVE 38%: The Shark cordless stick vacuum cleaner (IZ201UKTSB) is on sale for £249.99 on Amazon, saving you £150 on list price.


Pets are the best. These furry friends brighten your day, every day, and we should be extremely thankful for that. Something we're not thankful for is all the hair that gets absolutely everywhere. Even pets aren't perfect.

The best way of dealing with all of this pet hair is with a vacuum cleaner that's designed to handle it. The Shark cordless stick vacuum cleaner (IZ201UKTSB) is exactly that, with anti-hair wrap technology that actively removes hair from the brush-roll as you clean. It also has a run-time of up to 40 minutes from a single charge, which should be enough time to get around the house.

The Shark cordless stick vacuum cleaner (IZ201UKTSB) is on sale for £249.99 on Amazon, saving you £150 on list price. This deal comes with a five-year guarantee (and a two-year guarantee for the battery) upon registration with Shark.

Handle all that pet hair with this powerful vacuum cleaner from Shark.

Save £150 on this Shark vacuum cleaner
Credit: Shark
Save £150 on this Shark vacuum cleaner
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Posted on 28 July 2021 | 4:10 am

Save 79% on an annual subscription to this intuitive Photoshop alternative

A one-year subscription to Pixlr Premium is on sale.

TL;DR: A one-year subscription to Pixlr Premium is on sale for £14.51 as of July 28, saving you 79% on list price.


Pixlr is a flexible browser-based photo editing suite for beginners and professionals. Its claim to fame: It has an intuitive layout that's super easy to use, even for editing newbies.

In seconds, for example, you can remove the entire background from a portrait or selfie and swap it for something more exciting. You’ll get access to filters, effects, overlays, icons, stickers, decorative texts, and other assets. Social media templates are also included, so you can edit your photo to fit YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and more.

Since Pixlr is browser-based, you can edit your photos directly from your browser. And if you ever need help, there are plenty of video tutorials at your disposal.

While it's regularly £69 for a year's access, you can get a Pixlr Premium subscription for only £14.51 for a limited time.

Save 79% on Pixlr Premium
Save 79% on Pixlr Premium
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Posted on 28 July 2021 | 4:05 am

Protect your data with this heavily discounted security bundle

The Lifetime Backup and Security Subscription Bundle is on sale.

TL;DR: The Lifetime Backup and Security Subscription Bundle is on sale for £65.34 as of July 28, saving you 97% on list price.


With the Lifetime Backup and Security Subscription Bundle, you can get lifetime access to two highly-rated file and data protection systems.

First, you'll get lifetime access to Degoo Premium, which grants you 10TB of backup storage for life. Degoo helps you get secured backup space and a system that helps you manage and share files with simplicity. You can back up 10TB of data, photos, videos, and more under ultra-secure 256-bit AES encryption.

The second part of this bundle includes a lifetime subscription on up to five devices to KeepSolid VPN Unlimited. VPN Unlimited gives you full anonymity online and protects you even on public WiFi networks. It uses military-grade AES 256-bit encryption to keep the wrong eyes off your files, browsing activity, and documents.

This security bundle is valued at over £2,000 for a lifetime subscription to both Degoo and VPN Unlimited. But for a limited time, you'll pay just £65.34.

Save 97% on the Lifetime Backup and Security Subscription Bundle
Credit: Degoo
Save 97% on the Lifetime Backup and Security Subscription Bundle
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Posted on 28 July 2021 | 4:00 am

This speedy VPN provides an all-access pass to global content

A one-year subscription to ExpressVPN is on sale.

SAVE 49%: A one-year subscription to ExpressVPN is on sale for £5 per month as of July 28, and includes an extra three months for free.


ExpressVPN is far from the cheapest VPN out there. If you're looking to find the cheapest services, you should probably check out the likes of Surfshark and ZenMate VPN. These VPNs are both decent, but they don't compare to ExpressVPN when it comes to streaming.

You get what you pay for with VPNs, and ExpressVPN is tough to beat. It offers fast connection speeds and a diverse network of secure servers. It's also the most reliable service for bypassing the content restrictions of sites like Netflix and Prime Video, meaning you can watch more content from around the world without disruptions.

A one-year subscription to ExpressVPN is on sale for £5 per month as of July 27, saving you 49% on list price. This annual plan comes with an extra three months for free, and is fully refundable for 30 days. If you're not totally satisfied with the service, you can recover your cash.

Unlock more content from around the world with ExpressVPN.

Save 49% on ExpressVPN
Credit: ExpressVPN
Save 49% on ExpressVPN
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Posted on 28 July 2021 | 3:55 am

How to find an account on TikTok

Are you looking for someone on TikTok?

So you've made your TikTok account. What now? Maybe you want to follow some of your friends that are already on the app?

The easiest way to see the content you want to see is by interacting with content you like and following creators who make that content. Maybe you have some people in mind already. That's great! Now, how do you find them?

There are a couple ways to do this, and in this article we'll cover everything from simply searching names and usernames, to syncing your contacts and Facebook friends.

Search from the Discover page.

1. Navigate to the Discover page by tapping the magnifying glass icon at the bottom of your screen.

Navigate to the TikTok "Discover" page.
Navigate to the TikTok "Discover" page. Credit: andy moser / tiktok

2. Type the name or username of the creator you're looking for in the search bar.

Let's say you're looking for Miley Cyrus. You can sort results by users, videos, sounds, and more.

If you're looking for Miley Cyrus, type her name into the search bar at the top.
If you're looking for Miley Cyrus, type her name into the search bar at the top. Credit: andy moser / tiktok

3. Tap the account you're looking for, and you'll be taken to their profile. Done! Tap the Follow button to follow that creator.

Search from your profile page.

1. Instead of tapping "Discover" at the bottom of the screen, tap "Me".

2. Tap the "Find friends" icon in the top left corner of the screen.

"Find friends" using the button on the top left corner of your profile page.
"Find friends" using the button on the top left corner of your profile page. Credit: andy moser / tiktok

3. Type the name or username of the account you're looking for in the search bar.

Finding a TikTok account using the "Find friends" button on your profile page.
Finding a TikTok account using the "Find friends" button on your profile page. Credit: andy moser / tiktok

4. Tap the account you're looking for and you'll be taken to their profile. Tap the "Follow" button to follow that creator.

Find friends via contacts or Facebook

You can also use the "Find friends" button to find TikTok accounts from your contacts or Facebook friends.

To do so, you'll have to go into your phone settings and allow TikTok access to your contacts. For Facebook, the app will prompt you to sign in to your Facebook account, displaying a warning that says "This allows the app and website to share information about you" like your Facebook name and profile picture.

Either method involves potentially widening your TikTok network and sharing your account with others. Additionally, you'll be handing over some of your personal data to TikTok, so before you decide to follow the next steps, make sure this is something you comfortable in doing.

Find friends via contacts

1. Go to your profile page and tap the "Find friends" button in the upper left corner.

2. Under the search bar, tap "Find" next to "Contacts."

3. You'll be prompted to open your settings and allow TikTok access to your contacts. Tap "Open settings" and ensure TikTok has access to your contacts.

4. Navigate back to your TikTok app, and you'll see a list of accounts TikTok was able to find from your contacts.

5. Tap "Follow" on all the accounts you want to connect with.

Find friends via Facebook

1. Go to your profile page and tap the "Find friends" button in the upper left corner.

2. Under the search bar, tap "Find" next to "Facebook friends."

3. TikTok will prompt you to sign in to your Facebook profile, which will allow TikTok access to information about your Facebook account. Tap "Continue" to see more information and sign in.

4. You should see a page that says "TikTok will receive the following info: your name and profile picture and friends list."

5. Read the warning at the bottom of the page. It will say: "By continuing, TikTok will receive ongoing access to the information you share and Facebook will recored when TikTok accesses it."

6. If you want to continue, tap "Continue as [your name]."

7. You'll see a message that says "Facebook wants to open "TikTok." Tap "Open."

8. Tap "Find" next to "Facebook friends" just as you did before.

9. You'll be prompted to sync your Facebook friends list with your TikTok account to find your friends. Tap "Sync" to continue.

10. Tap "Follow" on all the accounts you want to connect with from your Facebook friends list.

If you want to remove your synced contacts or Facebook friends, go into your privacy settings on TikTok and tap where it says "Sync contacts and Facebook friends" (which, of course, you can also use to sync or re-sync friends and contacts). Then, just tap either "Remove contacts" or "Remove Facebook friends," which will turn off syncing and remove the data you previously synced with your TikTok account.

Tap "Remove" again when prompted, and you're done.

You can follow all kinds of accounts on TikTok. Follow celebs and influencers. Follow your friends. Follow your friends who may happen to be celebs and influencers. You can even follow brands, if you must.

The more accounts you follow, the more content you'll curate in your TikTok space. So get out there and start following.

Posted on 28 July 2021 | 2:00 am

How to create and post to your Close Friends Story on Instagram

Close friends allows you to post Instagram stories to a select group of your followers.

If you want to post a fun Story, but you don't want your random Instagram followers seeing it, try posting a Close Friends Story.

The Instagram feature Close Friends allows to you to post stories to a select group of your followers. With Close Friends you can choose to post a Story to all of your followers or to just to that designated group. No one else can see who is on your Close Friends list, but individual users know they are on the list because Close Friends Stories have a green circle around them rather than the usual pink and orange circle.

You can also edit your Close Friends list at anytime.

Here is how to post a close friends story.

How to create a Close Friends Story on Instagram:

1. Open Instagram

2. Navigate to your profile

3. Tap the three black lines in the upper right corner

Tap the three black lines to access your settings.
Tap the three black lines to access your settings. Credit: screenshot: instagram

3. Select "Close Friends"

Select "Close Friends" to create your close friends list.
Select "Close Friends" to create your close friends list. Credit: screenshot: instagram

4. Select "Get Started"

Tap the blue rectangle to create your close friends list.
Tap the blue rectangle to create your close friends list. Credit: screenshot: instagram

5. Tap "Add" to add people to your close friends

To add people to your close friends, search their username and select "Add."
To add people to your close friends, search their username and select "Add." Credit: screenshot: instagram

Instagram will suggest people to add to your close friends, but you can also search for users using the search bar.

6. Once you have your Close Friends list, select "Create List" at the bottom of your screen

7. Select "Create Story"

Tap "Create Story" to create your first close friends story.
Tap "Create Story" to create your first close friends story. Credit: Screenshot: instagram

8. Select the photo you want to post on your close friends story

9. Tap the green star icon in the bottom left corner to post your Close Friends Story

Tap on the green star icon to share your Story with your Close Friends.
Tap on the green star icon to share your Story with your Close Friends. Credit: SCREENSHOT: INSTAGRAM

Now that you've set up your Close Friends list, select a photo or video as usual and instead of tapping on your profile picture in the bottom right corner, tap the green start icon to post only to your Close Friends.

To edit your close friends list navigate to your profile, tap the three black lines, and select "Close Friends."

Posted on 28 July 2021 | 1:00 am

Simone Biles redefined GOAT. It's a win for us all.

Simone Biles claps during the Olympics' women's team final at Ariake Gymnastics Centre on July 27, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan.

To be the greatest of all time is to wield power. And Simone Biles wielded hers wisely and with grace on Tuesday.

The gold medalist and record-breaker showed us all how the GOAT should act when she withdrew from the artistic gymnastics women's team final to care for her mental health. Her teammates in turn gave the world a master class in how to support a struggling colleague, even when their ailment is invisible.

Biles cheered from the sidelines as Team USA continued on, winning silver. When she explained to her teammates that she was stepping aside, they freaked out, but she encouraged them to "kick some butt, just like we've done in training. And just lay it out on the floor," she told Hoda Kotb of Today. Bars wizard Sunisa Lee responded with a rallying cry: "We can go out there and show the world what we came here to do." Later, Lee, 18, said the competition was the most pressure she'd ever felt in her life.

Simone Biles cheers on her teammates at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre on July 27, 2021 at the Tokyo Olympics.
Simone Biles cheers on her teammates at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre on July 27, 2021 at the Tokyo Olympics. Credit: Iris van den Broek / Getty Images

While Lee and the others, including Jordan Chiles, who filled in for Biles on short notice, conquered the challenge ahead, Biles hollered, clapped, and delivered chalk to coat her teammates' hands for a better grip. Being the GOAT means delivering the gold, but also pumping up your team, even if you can't compete.

Even before the Olympics began, Biles carried the heavy burden of expectation. She stunned at the Rio Olympics in 2016, and in the years since the 24-year-old has become an internet icon, publicly speaking out about being a survivor of sexual assault and supporting Black Lives Matter. She chose to defy those who put her on an untouchable pedestal for the good of her team. If she had carried on, she told reporters she was worried she'd hurt herself, and Team USA's chances of medaling. Taking charge of her own self care was a selfless act.

"I have to put my pride aside. I have to do it for the team."

"It's like fighting all those demons and coming out here. I have to put my pride aside. I have to do it for the team," Biles said after the competition, according to Reuters.

She added, "It just sucks when you are fighting with your own head. You want to do it for yourself but you’re just too worried about what everybody else is going to say, think, the internet," said Biles, who's battled online trolls for years.

Biles said in a press conference she was inspired by Naomi Osaka, the champion tennis player who refused to talk to press at the French Open in May due to mental health concerns. Osaka would go on to light the Olympic torch last week and compete in the Games. Before that, though, Osaka made an important point in an essay in Time: Don't shame people for taking a mental health break.

Biles' teammates didn't, even if some on social media still wrongly chastised her decision.

"You will forever be loved. We can't thank you enough," Chiles, 20, commented on an Instagram post from Biles exclaiming how proud and thankful she was of her team. Biles was an inspiration, Chiles said.

Other gymnasts and celebrities also showed their support for Biles later on Tuesday. Aly Raisman, who competed with Biles in Rio, told CNN that even though Biles makes it look easy, gymnastics is tough.

"Even the greatest athletes of all time, they're not perfect, and they're human too," Raisman said.

Tweet may have been deleted

Kerri Strug, who famously competed on the vault during the 1996 Atlanta Olympics despite an ankle injury, sent Biles words of encouragement over Twitter, paired with a goat emoji.

Tweet may have been deleted

Sharing kind comments on social media with someone taking a mental health break is exactly the right thing to do, as is trying to reframe negative reactions you may have by considering that you don't know someone's whole story, mental health professionals told Mashable after Osaka shared more of her experiences.

At a press conference, Biles said there were many factors that led to her decision.

"It's been really stressful this Olympic Games. I think just as a whole, not having an audience, there are a lot of different variables going into it. It's been a long week. It's been a long Olympic process. It's been a long year," she said. "I think we're just a little bit too stressed out, but we should be out here having fun and sometimes that's not the case."

The Tokyo Olympics were postponed last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, but went forward this month as the world continued to combat a fast-spreading, deadly virus. The majority of Japanese citizens didn't want the Olympics to take place, but the government and Olympic officials carried on. As the country declared a state of emergency due to a COVID surge in early July, spectators were banned from the Olympic Games.

On top of the COVID cloud surrounding the Games, Biles was the only assault survivor of Larry Nassar who came out publicly to compete in Tokyo. A judge sentenced the former USA Gymnastics national team doctor in 2018 to 175 years in prison on criminal sexual conduct and federal child pornography charges. More than 150 women, including Biles and other gymnasts, have opened up about his abuse. Biles did so in a tweet shortly before Nassar was sentenced, affixing the hashtag #MeToo.

Biles has said she was depressed after talking about her trauma. Once a self-described "happy, giggly, energetic" girl, she felt broken. She went to therapy, and championed mental health treatment.

She made a point to say that when she went to Tokyo, she wouldn't be representing USA Gymnastics as an organization. Instead, she told the New York Times, she'd be representing the country and women of color.

“I’m going to go out there and represent the USA, represent World Champions Centre, and represent Black and brown girls over the world,” she told the newspaper. After withdrawing from the event, she told reporters she wanted to focus on her wellbeing and that "there's more to life than just gymnastics."

Biles made the decision to step aside for mental health reasons, not her coaches. She was using her power to do what was best for her team, for herself, and possibly for others who don't yet feel strong enough to put their mental health first. Strength can be shown on the sidelines, as much as on the mat, the vault, or the bars. Osaka was her inspiration. Biles may be that for someone else, just as she's inspired Black girls to participate in a historically white sport.

There are two more events that Biles is eligible to compete in — if she can — later this week. But whether she does or not, she's already won.

And so has Team USA.

UPDATE: July 27, 2021, 4:37 p.m. PDT This post has been updated to include comments from Olympians Aly Raisman and Kerri Strug.

Posted on 27 July 2021 | 10:48 pm

Slack is appalling Olympics viewers with an excruciating ad on repeat

Now Slack is intruding into my Olympics leisure time, too?

Whether you're watching on the NBC app or on cable, there are only so many commercials that play during the Olympics. Most of them feature athletes whose stories of overcoming adversity and achieving greatness get somehow loosely associated with, like, an airline. A consequence of being invested in the Olympics means you see these commercials over and over and over again. And then one more time.

It's mostly fine, though. I'll watch American swimmer/nice guy/hottie Ryan Murphy talk about his migraines all day. ALL. DAY. But there is one commercial of the Tokyo Olympics that I cannot abide. And it ends not with a bang, but a knock brush.

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Quite simply, how dare they.

I'm talking about Slack, and the company's ad, titled "Work in Progress." It's a cheery, 30-second spot about the future of work that contains the extremely lucid line "the future is forward movement from the now" and proclaims that the pandemic has been pretty much Great for Work.

By my calculations, it plays approximately 37,000 times per broadcast segment and it's been sending me screaming from the room to do literally anything else but hear the offensive ad yet again.

Why? It both begins and ends with Slack's signature sound, the "knock brush." This is the sound that Slack's 12 million daily active users hear by default when we receive a message within the work productivity app from our colleagues or bosses or HR reps or whoever else we'd rather not hear from while enjoying sports on our own time.

The Slack CEO has described the sound as one that delivers a "pavlovian response." He's right: Notification sounds have the ability to jog our brains to a specific moment or mindset. So hearing the Slack notification immediately triggers that jolt that something at work needs your attention. Just what everyone wants during Olympics-viewing leisure hours!

I'm not the only knowledge worker who's been affronted by the Slack sound in the ad. Many of us saw the use of the knock brush as exactly what it is: An attack.

Tweet may have been deleted
Tweet may have been deleted
Tweet may have been deleted

Subjecting Olympics viewers to the knock brush is reason enough to loathe this ad. But the inclusion of the sound is an ironic part of what makes the actual meat of it so annoying.

The Slack ad describes the future of work as "a future that works for all of us." I suppose that means a remote working culture where you stay in touch via Slack. Some workers value that the pandemic has made flexible work arrangements more commonplace. The flipside is that work has reached its tentacles even further into the home, and is always just a knock-brush away from asking: Could you be working right now?

SEE ALSO: Face it: Slack is ruining your life

I think working from home is great. But I also think that participating in Slack is chaotic. The need to be performatively present in Slack saps my energy, like a memory-hogging application running in the background of my brain at all times. In other words, just because you like remote work does not mean you stan Slack.

I am *this* close to having Slack's ad fully memorized, which is almost as intrusive as the space in my brain that Slack actually occupies. The only thing that makes the repetition of Olympics ads bearable is the ability to gaze upon the peak of human potential (shilling for a brand is fine; get paid Ryan!!!).

Slack said "nah" and decided to go with a quirky monologue reminding viewers that they live to work, and that's a future to get excited about. Slack, it's 9 p.m. on a Tuesday. Can I just watch some competitive table tennis, please?

Posted on 27 July 2021 | 8:37 pm

The shine of Nintendo's new Zelda remake for Switch is dulled by awkward controls

Even the exact same locations are better in

It's very weird to review a remake. Most of what could be said about a remade game has already been said years ago, and the time that has passed since the original game's release can have a massive impact on how the game is received in its second wind. For example: The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD is a high definition remaster of a 2011 Wii game about which much has been said, debated, and lamented, but in the 10 years since its release the Zelda franchise produced one of the most successful console video games of all time.

Though it is unfair to compare The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild with its upgraded predecessor, there is enough connective tissue between both games to make the comparison automatic in a way that only enhances the weirdness of reviewing it at all. Should Skyward Sword HD's faulty stamina wheel, annoyingly breakable shields, and limited potion system be judged on their own merits? Or does the experience of playing Skyward Sword HD suffer as a whole because players know how much better things got in Breath of the Wild?

And then there's the lurking question — does Skyward Sword HD even need the comparison to Breath of the Wild to be kind of a disappointment?

It's dangerous to go alone! Take — wait."
It's dangerous to go alone! Take — wait." Credit: Nintendo

To start with the good news, Skyward Sword HD looks great. There's a new clarity of image that makes the dreamy color scheme pop instead of fading into fogginess, and as a whole the game looks about as sharp as any contemporary with a similar cartoonish style is going to get. However, when it comes to updating a game as initially controversial as the original Skyward Sword, a visual upgrade alone was never going to cut it.

When Skyward Sword came out in 2011, Nintendo staked its baseline playability on the Wii's motion controls. Those controls were unreliable, frustrating, and unavoidable, and any given player's enjoyment of the title stemmed from whether or not they could find a way to look past using wobbly Wiimotes that required near-constant recentering. The Nintendo Switch's Joy-Cons have more sophisticated hardware and are technologically superior to the Wiimotes... but they still suck to play Skyward Sword with.

Does Skyward Sword HD even need the comparison to Breath of the Wild to be kind of a disappointment?

Anyone who had high hopes that the hardware element of Skyward Sword HD on the Switch would fix any of the problems with the motion controls should abandon those hopes now, because the controls remain hopeless. Even though some of the combat moves are satisfyingly intuitive, what with the directional slashing and poking, much of the game requires a finesse that lies beyond the capabilities of the Joy-Cons. Whether it's constantly holding your arm out and tapping Y to find out what the game interprets as the "center" of your screen or requiring you to sloooowly rotate a Joy-Con to find out exactly which angle will produce the pose for a Skyward Strike, the experience of using the motion controls is too finicky to be any fun.

Thankfully, Skyward Sword HD gives Switch and Switch Lite users the opportunity to play this adventure as it's never been played before: on handheld like an actual video game. Handheld mode is more enjoyable by an order of magnitude and will likely be most new players' method of choice, but it's also not a perfect solution for a number of reasons.

It's very hard to hack this guy's feet off with motion controls. And you have to do it a lot.
It's very hard to hack this guy's feet off with motion controls. And you have to do it a lot. Credit: Nintendo

While porting Skyward Sword to handheld is a net gain for the game's playability, there's a huge lack of coordination between playing in handheld mode and using the motion controls. For example, I played the first five hours with the motion controls before giving up on them, and from there did almost everything in handheld mode — almost being the operative word.

With the exception of a replayable basic combat tutorial, Skyward Sword HD doesn't have a mechanic to re-teach players how to navigate when they switch methods of play. This resulted in me realizing I had no idea how to dive and roll on handheld, so in order to perform that move I had to remove my Joy-Cons, wiggle the left one around to roll, and reattach them to continue playing every time Link had to bowl his own body into a tree.

Handheld mode will likely be most new players' method of choice, but it's also not a perfect solution.

There are also experiences ranging from spinning underwater to entire boss fights that were clearly designed for motion controls and don't work as well (or at all) in handheld. Crucial moves like tricking enemies with sword feints and whipping the arms off a giant mechanical homunculus while strafing require a range of wrist movement that's difficult to replicate with thumbsticks. The overall result is a game that works about 60 percent fine as a motion control title and 85 percent fine as a handheld title, with bizarre and frustrating gaps between those experiences.

In those 60 or 85 percent of moments where the gameplay is going smoothly, Skyward Sword's clever puzzle design and wacky story absolutely shine. Sure, this is a Zelda game where flying around on terrifying Lisa Frank pelicans is a core gameplay mechanic and there are three entire boss fights where the point is to hack off a scaly potato kaiju's ickle toes, but that humor and unpredictability is what makes the fun parts fun.

Um.
Um. Credit: Nintendo

Skyward Sword's puzzles are just noodly enough to make players feel smart when they solve them, and some of their elements, including localized time travel, are so cool they really ought to reappear in a later Zelda title. The level designs are smart and repeatable, and half the joy of getting a new item comes from knowing you can use it to go back to a previous area and unlock something new. The characters are funny and charming, with the exception of one uncomfortably svelte villain whose menace trends way too close to horny. And the plot is...super weird, to be honest, but its thematic implications for the rest of the Zelda games is cool to think about.

The most frustrating thing about The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD remake is that it really does have its merits, just like the original version. It's unfortunate that the remake didn't go farther with its quality of life improvements and actually improve the experience of playing the game with motion controls or otherwise. And that is the weirdest thing about reviewing this particular remake. It's almost impossible to see what's actually changed.

Related Video: These are the best beginner-friendly video games for your coronavirus lockdown

Posted on 27 July 2021 | 7:34 pm

In moving post, Simone Biles praises teammates: 'They stepped up when I couldn't'

#thefighting4 and their silver medals

Simone Biles showed true strength at the Olympics on Tuesday by admitting that she needed to take a step back from competing for the good of her mental health.

On Tuesday, the 24-year-old Olympic gold medalist left the floor at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre during the artistic gymnastics women's team final. After having some difficulties on the vault, she later withdrew from the women's artistic team all-around gymnastics final in Tokyo. Biles spent the rest of the competition on the sidelines cheering on her teammates, who went on to win silver medals in the event.

USA Gymnastics released an initial statement announcing that Biles "withdrew due to a medical issue," but the Olympic champion has since spoken to press and explained that she didn't feel she was in the proper headspace to compete and thought it was best for her and her teammates if she sat the rest of the run out.

Biles also elaborated in a celebratory Instagram post shared on Tuesday afternoon.

"OLYMPIC SILVER MEDALISTS 🤍," Biles wrote alongside a photo of her and her teammates — Jordan Chiles, Grace McCallum, and Sunisa Lee — posing with their silver medals.

"I'm SO proud of these girls right here. You girls are incredibly brave & talented! I'll forever be inspired by your determination to not give up and to fight through adversity!" Biles continued. "They stepped up when I couldn't. thanks for being there for me and having my back! forever love y'all."

In an interview with the New York Times on Tuesday, Biles said, "At the end of the day, I have to do what was right for me. It just sucks that it happened at the Olympic Games."

After withdrawing, sharing her truth, and celebrating her teammates, the gymnast received an outpouring of love, support, and respect from fellow athletes and fans around the world.

Team USA's Sunisa Lee commented on Biles' Instagram post to share these touching words: "love you so much. thank you for inspiring me every single day. you are not only an amazing gymnast but you are also an amazing person. 💕🤞🏼"

Lee also shared her own sentimental Instagram post and celebrated the team's resilience. "Beyond proud of this team. in my heart, we are winners. we fought til the end and didn't give up. tonight may not have gone how we wanted it to but we stepped up to the plate and give it our all. best team i could’ve asked for. #thefighting4," she wrote alongside a photo of the team with silver medals in hand.

And USA team member Jordan Chiles also chimed in on Biles post to say, "You will forever be loved. We can't thank you enough. You have such a huge inspiration on all of us. We wouldn’t have done it without you🥺💕 love you mo 🤞🏾❤️ "

In the past 24 hours, according to Facebook, Biles has been the most mentioned athlete in the United States on both Facebook and Instagram. And her Instagram post above received more than 400,000 in its first hour on the platform.

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She also posted on Twitter and shared a simple silver heart, which has received over 300,000 likes.

Biles' next scheduled competition is on Thursday, but it remains unclear if she will perform.

Posted on 27 July 2021 | 6:59 pm

A guide to the best tablets out there

Even if you have a very capable smartphone and a nice laptop, tablets are still a worthwhile hunk of tech to add to your arsenal.

The touchscreen that can be carried anywhere makes for a portable studio for creatives, a crucial sidekick for commuters and frequent travelers, and a mini TV for people who aren't missing the newest episode of Loki just because they're on vacation.

A simple question kicks off the process of narrowing down your options: Are you an Apple person? Whether that's yes, no, or an "I have no idea," the buying guide below lays out the pros and cons of the main picks from Apple, Amazon, Samsung, and Microsoft.

Are refurbished tablets worth buying?

Taking a refurbished device off the market is a great way to save money — and save that device from going where e-waste goes to die. Refurbished or renewed tablets are often next to impossible to tell apart from a brand new one. Cosmetic dings are a possibility (the retailer will mention this) but unless stated otherwise, the devices have been reworked and tested to run like new. iPads are probably the easiest tablet to find refurbished, both at Amazon and Apple's website.

What about a tablet for you kid?

Most tablets made specifically for kids will already be equipped with built-in parental accounts, timers, and pre-selected websites or apps that are strictly for kids.

General-purpose tablets aren't a bad choice, either — many sites name the iPad as one of the best tablets for kids even though it's an everyone tablet. These won't have any parental guardrails baked in, so you'll need to get creative if you'd rather your kid not have unlimited access to the internet. Apple and Android have features that can filter or block content and prevent purchases, but the closest thing you'll be able to get to close monitoring is by installing parental control software. Such monitoring features are easy to toggle off or uninstall as your kid gets older or if the family is sharing the device. In the latter case, Osmo is a neat snap-on kit that connects to iPads and Fire tablets for augmented reality-ish learning exercises and games. When your kid moves a physical piece in real life, the same piece moves on the screen.

Here are the best tablets you can buy in 2021:

Posted on 27 July 2021 | 6:54 pm

Is it even OK to play Call of Duty anymore?

Activision Blizzard, the publisher behind Call of Duty and

For those who might have missed it, Activision Blizzard is the video game industry's latest out-of-control dumpster fire.

The Call of Duty and World of Warcraft publisher is the focus of a new lawsuit spearheaded by California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). It caps off a two-year investigation which found, according to the filing, that female employees — who make up roughly one-fifth of the company's workforce — operate in a toxic, hostile working environment.

We've been here before. Ubisoft and League of Legends publisher Riot Games have both been outed as havens for harmful workplace behavior — including sexual misconduct — in the past. Rockstar Games basically bullied Red Dead Redemption 2 into existence. It's not only corporate blunders that hurt a game's reputation. J.K. Rowling's overt displays of transphobia have already tarnished Warner Bros. Games' upcoming Hogwarts Legacy. The list goes on.

Every time reports of bad behavior shake loose the facades around a high-profile industry personality or business, those of us on the outside who just want to play some good video games are left to navigate the tricky landscape of how to process the news. Do we boycott? Make a public disavowal? Accept that each business employs a veritable army of people, and so punishing the bad behavior of one person or a smaller piece of the whole inadvertently punishes everyone?

There are no easy answers here. But before we even dare to try finding some, let's start from the beginning. What did Activision Blizzard allegedly do?

The facts of the case

The July 20 complaint, first reported by Bloomberg, portrays a workplace where women — and women of color especially, though not exclusively — receive lower pay and fewer opportunities than their male co-workers. The company's leadership is "exclusively male and white," to the point that no woman has ever been named president or CEO. Those few women who have reached the C-suite allegedly "earn less salary, incentive pay and total compensation than their male peers."

The complaint also paints the picture of a "'frat boy' workplace culture" where female employees are subjected to sexual harassment. In one depressingly vivid allegation, the court filing describes "'cube crawls' in which male employees drink copious amounts of alcohol as they 'crawl' their way through various cubicles in the office and often engage in inappropriate behavior toward female employees."

The bad behavior allegedly extends as far up the corporate ladder as "high-ranking executives and creatives," too. The complaint accuses former World of Warcraft Senior Creative Director Alex Afrasiabi of attempting to kiss female employees and telling them he wanted to marry them at the annual BlizzCon fan convention.

In another heartbreaking accusation, the complaint recounts how male employees at a holiday party distributed nude photos of a female co-worker, who was having a sexual relationship with a male supervisor. She later died by suicide during a work trip; suicide is complex and may have multiple causes.

Tweet may have been deleted

Activision Blizzard has denounced the lawsuit, describing it as a "distorted" and "inaccurate" picture of the circumstances. The company claims state officials acted in haste, and that these issues could have been resolved outside the court system, according to a statement shared with Kotaku.

"They were required by law to adequately investigate and to have good faith discussions with us to better understand and to resolve any claims or concerns before going to litigation, but they failed to do so. Instead, they rushed to file an inaccurate complaint, as we will demonstrate in court," the statement reads. The state's lawyers have said they attempted to resolve the matter out of the courtroom, but were unsuccessful.

Activision Blizzard also took the state to task for referencing the employee's suicide, calling the move "disgraceful and unprofessional." Though the company undercuts its own objection by manipulating the suicide to politicize the complaint as a whole.

"We are sickened by the reprehensible conduct of the DFEH to drag into the complaint the tragic suicide of an employee whose passing has no bearing whatsoever on this case and with no regard for her grieving family," the statement reads. "While we find this behavior to be disgraceful and unprofessional, it is unfortunately an example of how they have conducted themselves throughout the course of their investigation. It is this type of irresponsible behavior from unaccountable State bureaucrats that are driving many of the State’s best businesses out of California."

What's a gamer to do?

The conduct and workplace environment described in the DFEH complaint has prompted an uproar inside and outside the communities that rally around Activision Blizzard games.

"My brothers deleted all [Activision] games we have after they told me, [and I] will be leaving the community now," one commenter wrote in response to an r/CallofDuty subreddit post about the lawsuit.

In the time since the complaint surfaced, some employees, former and otherwise, have spoken up about their own experiences on the job and shared their thoughts. More than 2,000 current and former employees signed a petition denouncing Activision Blizzard's "abhorrent and insulting" response to the lawsuit, and calling for more thoughtful statements. It doesn't take more than a few moments of searching on Twitter to find streamer personalities and even media outlets swearing off Activision Blizzard.

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GameXplain, a games-focused YouTube channel that's discontinuing coverage of Activision Blizzard, isn't extending the same treatment to the likes of Ubisoft. The rationale, as laid out in a statement to Kotaku, contends that Activision Blizzard's response to the lawsuit "stands in stark contrast to Ubisoft’s promise of meaningful action they laid out in response." The channel wants to see "a clear plan" from the Call of Duty publisher for addressing its issues before coverage resumes.

Clear plans only go so far though; they need to be acted upon. The tightrope that GameXplain is attempting to walk here is a shaky one in light of a recent report that Ubisoft's statements haven't necessarily been accompanied by meaningful actions.

What's the right call there? Is GameXplain approaching this thoughtfully and responsibly? Or does that statement read to you like a weak rationalization that lets past offenders off the hook while only holding the latest bad actor accountable? The answers to these questions are complex, nuanced, and impossible to answer in a way that satisfies everyone.

That's why there's no one-size-fits-all solution in a situation like this. Even if we set aside the people who embrace a "separate the art from the artist" mentality — as in they simply don't care one way or another — there's still tons of room for disagreement over the appropriate response. We can't ethically consume when we live in an environment where any creator is always potentially one harrowing Medium post or lawsuit away from being revealed as a monster.

The honking elephant in the room

Sexism and racism are so deeply ingrained into every facet of society that, on a long enough timeline, all your faves are at risk of suddenly becoming problematic. Individual monsters shoulder plenty of blame, but in a very real sense all of us are victims of systems that have been built over decades and centuries to empower some groups at the expense of others.

It's not as simple as blaming systemic inequity and how it constructs society, though. We've stared into the eyes of many influential accused sexual abusers over the past decade, from Kevin Spacey to R. Kelly to Dr. Luke to Louis C.K. They've had an undeniably massive impact on culture, to the point that it's impossible to completely unwind those positive impacts they're attached to from the harms they've caused. They all should take responsibility for their alleged actions, regardless of the societal factors that may have helped shape such behavior. But that doesn't always happen. Even so, the comebacks continue.

Deleting an installed copy of Call of Duty might feel good, but it's a purely symbolic act.

So it is in games. Red Dead Redemption 2 is still a widely played game and the subject of regular updates. Assassin's Creed, the franchise, still enjoys global renown and a supportive fanbase. And yes, in any honest consideration of the big picture, it's clear that a juggernaut like Call of Duty — one of the most popular and highest-selling games in the world — will persevere as well, and in spite of any hits it may take in the short-term.

None of those games faced boycott efforts that gained enough traction to have an impact, even though there's a deep history of such actions leading to change. I'd like to be optimistic and say things will be different this time. The scale and volume of the backlash Activision Blizzard has faced since the lawsuit first surfaced suggests that maybe this one will break through and turn an ethically-minded mainstream against the company until change occurs.

Yet, you can't simply shake these things loose from the public consciousness. We all have to decide for ourselves if it's still OK to play Call of Duty, still OK to watch The Usual Suspects, still OK to show our kids The Secret Life of Pets. These decisions ultimately fall to you, and all they really do is establish your personal comfort level with financially supporting something that may benefit one or more monsters or their enablers.

Don't fall into the trap of putting too much thought into calibrating your own comfort level. Harmful systems are upheld when we look at these situations in terms of how they apply to our own lives. Deleting an installed Call of Duty game that you already purchased might feel good, but it's a purely symbolic act. Think: What does a choice like that really do beyond making you feel like you've done your part in some way?

If ridding your life of all Activision Blizzard products feels right, then do that. Same goes for not spending money on the company's products anymore. Actions like these go much further when they're part of an organized effort, but small, individual acts can add up. A widespread boycott isn't necessarily going to happen, though, and even if it does success is hardly guaranteed.

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Despite the bleak prospects for hitting a billion-dollar business square in its bottom line, there are steps to take that can make a larger impact. Unequal pay is one of many accusations thrown at the video game industry, including in this new Activision lawsuit. Fight for it in your own workplace. Encourage colleagues, friends, and families to do the same. And when you take the fight to social media to call out an alleged bad actor like Activision Blizzard, be specific. Let them know exactly what's so troubling.

Embrace a similar strategy in the fight to reduce (and hopefully, eventually eliminate) sexual misconduct in the workplace. Training programs that educate the workforce on topics like sexual harassment and bystander intervention are proven to work. So again, push your employer to consider these tactics, convince the people you know to do the same, and apply social media pressure only after you've armed yourself with facts and data.

Also, consider throwing your support behind efforts to unionize game industry workers. Union protections and a strong, clear contract can address unequal pay directly, and create a concrete path to dealing with harmful behavior in the workplace when it occurs. Many of the unionization efforts across the industry are still in their infancy, but efforts like the Campaign to Organize Digital Employees (CODE), led by the Communication Workers of America, are well-positioned to have an impact.

Taking steps to make yourself feel better, personally, is an understandable first instinct. But the question of whether or not it's OK to keep on liking one thing or another is a distraction. All that bad shit still happened, and it can't be erased. So while it's fine to work toward squaring your own thoughts and feelings whenever these awful stories surface, make a point of thinking bigger, too.

Ask yourself how you can help unravel the systems that allowed these injustices to occur in the first place.

Posted on 27 July 2021 | 6:45 pm

Need a laptop that won't break the bank? Here are the best options for under $300.

A new laptop is always a big investment, one that you'll likely need to make every few years to keep up with ever-changing technology. You might even put it off after an initial browse when you start to see how pricey a new laptop can get, and the sheer volume of how many options are out there.

But you don’t always need to break the bank to get a suitable laptop. You’ll still have a huge range of products to choose from if you’re only looking to spend a few hundred bucks. And if you just need another device to check email on, browse YouTube, or pull up recipes, maybe a budget laptop is all you need.

Cheaper laptops may not have all the features of top-of-the-line computers, but you can still get reliability and the basic features that you’ll be using every day.

SEE ALSO: So your kid needs a laptop — here are the best options

Each individual will find different specs to be their priority. Depending on what kinds of tasks you’re hoping to accomplish with your new laptop, maybe a larger screen display is what you’re looking for. Perhaps if you’re the kind of worker who enjoys taking your laptop to the corner cafe, battery life is super important. Maybe you’re looking for a place to store all your photos and documents, in which case, more storage space is what you’ll have in mind. A commuter may value a lighter laptop over a heavier machine, for ease of transport. It’s all up to the individual, and just because you’re looking at a lower price point doesn’t mean you don’t have all of these options available.

What size laptop should you get?

This really comes down to two things: Personal preference and lifestyle. Personal preference is self-explanatory, really — do you like having a huge display, or do you prefer something more compact? Lifestyle is where practicality comes into play. If you're traveling often and usually have your computer on your back in some way, you're going to want to go with something more light and compact (thin, 11-inch models will most likely be the best). But, if you're a huge movie buff who doesn't normally take their laptop on the road with them, spring for a 15-inch (and higher) screen with a bulky construction so you can have sweet Netflix and chill sessions. If you're getting a gaming laptop, you should probably "go big or go home," as well.  

What am I losing by getting a cheap laptop?

Laptops in the $300-or-below price range are not going to be good for PC gaming. You won’t get a 4K resolution display or a refresh rate higher than 60Hz. RAM is going to max out around 8GB, which isn’t bad but also isn’t spectacular. You’re also unlikely to get more than 500GB of storage space.

In this price range, laptops are going to be best for web browsing, word processing, Zoom calls, and streaming. As long as you don’t expect more than that, you’ll be fine.

But are cheap laptops worth it?

You know the old saying: You get what you pay for. But thanks to the technology boom of the last few decades, a cheap laptop can actually take you pretty far and won't break down immediately. It's all about knowing which one to select.

Rather than just making a few purchase suggestions and sending you on your way, we're going to equip you with some knowledge that'll help you be a more informed laptop shopper. You know all that computer jargon of processor-this and gigahertz-that — we'll explain it all in terms that anyone can understand.

Whether you’re looking for a machine for school, work, or fun, you can find a laptop that can handle the basics for less than $300. It may sound impossible in today’s world, and that’s why we’ve listed our favorites for you below. Here are our favorite models at that price point.

Posted on 27 July 2021 | 5:29 pm

The best slow cookers for making easy, hands-off meals

The Instant Pot isn't the only player in the slow cooker game.

Slow cookers are a must-have appliance for anyone with a kitchen. Also known as a rite of passage to being a grown-ass adult who has their life together — or at the very least, makes you look like you do.

Whether you've been on your own for 20 years and have kids, just graduated college, or hell, are still in college, you know the struggle of being too busy to cook a nice meal. (If you're a parent, this struggle is multiplied.) "Mmm, another frozen meal," said no one ever. Don't you just wish someone could have dinner ready at your beck and call? Is that really too much to ask?

Nope — not with a slow cooker. These workhorses can save you some serious stress about what to make every night, not to mention cut back on the amount of time you spend in the kitchen, as they require about five minutes of prep from you while they do the rest. Plus, whether you're meal prepping or saving leftovers, it's a lot less expensive than eating out all the time.

SEE ALSO: Why Instant Pots are the best: We explore the Lux, Duo, Ultra, Max, and more

We especially love our slow cooker during the winter, when the chilly (negative degree) air outside makes us crave a toasty meal like chili or soup. We also love them in the fall, as they're especially handy to take tailgating and showing off your famous pulled pork recipe. They're also also great for summer BBQs for staples like ribs or macaroni and cheese. So actually, they're just clutch year round.

Slow cookers have been around for generations, and we wouldn't be surprised if you've already been through a few in your adult life. (Or had your heart broken by one on TV — ahem This is Us.) New ones are constantly hitting the market (you are literally older than the Instant Pot), and it's agonizing trying to find the stand-out features other than, you know, cooking slowly.

We scoured the internet to find the best slow cookers for any situation or skill level, and here's what we found:

Posted on 27 July 2021 | 5:24 pm

The 15 most gravity-defying gymnastics moments from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics

Jennifer Gadirova of Team Great Britain defies gravity on balance beam.

Every four years the Olympics serves as a reminder that the human body has remarkable capabilities. And gymnastics is one of the most physically challenging, visually stunning sports around.

Since the 2020 Tokyo Olympics kicked off on July 23, we've seen astonishing displays of strength, grace, and agility. We collected photos of 15 of the most mind-blowing gymnastics moments so far to help you relive the highlights.

1. Japan's Kazuma Kaya creates a perfect V on parallel bars

Look at that concentration!
Look at that concentration! Credit: Martin bureau / AFP via Getty Images

2. Lu Yufei of Team China gracefully levitates during her floor routine

Yufei Lu and DaBaby?
Yufei Lu and DaBaby? Credit: Amin mohammad / Getty Images

3. Artur Dalaloyan of Team ROC flips in the air on horizontal bar

So much potential energy in one image.
So much potential energy in one image. Credit: Laurence griffiths / Getty Images

4. Asia D'Amato of Team Italy upside down over beam

Can you do the splits?
Can you do the splits? Credit: Ezra shaw / Getty Images

5. Takeru Kitazono of Team Japan slices through the air

He's soaring, flying...
He's soaring, flying... Credit: Fred lee / Getty Images

6. USA's Sunisa Lee lunges into the air during her floor routine

No, she isn't photoshopped.
No, she isn't photoshopped. Credit: Jamie squire / Getty Images

7. Samuel Mikulak of Team USA takes the cannon ball to the next level during his floor exercise

If only there was a pool beneath him.
If only there was a pool beneath him. Credit: patrick smith / Getty Images

8. Jennifer Gadirova of Team Great Britain hovers over balance beam

Wow!
Wow! Credit: Laurence griffiths / Getty Images

9. USA's Brody Malone reaches for horizontal bar

Oh, nbd!
Oh, nbd! Credit: Laurence griffiths / Getty Images

10. USA's Grace McCallum flies between uneven bars

Birds are jealous.
Birds are jealous. Credit: Laurence Griffiths / Getty Images

11. Japan's Takeru Kitazono spins through the air during his floor exercise

We're getting dizzy just thinking about it.
We're getting dizzy just thinking about it. Credit: Fred lee / Getty Images

12. Angelina Melnikova of Team ROC wows on beam

Stressful!
Stressful! Credit: amin mohammad jamali / Getty Images

13. Takeru Kitazono of Japan is all angles on the pommel horse

Does anyone have a protractor?
Does anyone have a protractor? Credit: Kaz Photography / Getty Images

14. Nina Derwael of Belgium balances on the beam in such a way that she appears headless

Where is her head?
Where is her head? Credit: Iris van den Broek/BSR Agency / Getty Images

15. Angelina Melnikova of Team ROC soars through the air during her floor exercise

Absolutely stunning.
Absolutely stunning. Credit: Ezra Shaw / Getty Images

Posted on 27 July 2021 | 5:17 pm

Apple warns iPhone and Mac owners of vulnerability, and it's update time

Smash that update button.

It's updating time. Again.

Apple issued a series of warnings Monday aimed at Mac, iPhone, and iPad owners. The tech giant alerted customers to vulnerabilities in iOS, iPadOS, and macOS which could leave their devices open to hackers.

And to be clear, Apple said the vulnerabilities aren't just theoretical.

"Apple is aware of a report that this issue may have been actively exploited," warned the company.

The problem appears to be the same, or at least similar in effect, for all three operating systems. "An application may be able to execute arbitrary code with kernel privileges," explained Apple.

Which, well, isn't good. Thankfully, there's an easy fix — albeit one that requires you to actually do something.

For iPhone and iPad owners (assuming you have an iPhone 6s or later, an iPad Pro, an iPad Air 2 or later, an iPad 5th generation or later, an iPad mini 4 or later, or an iPod touch 7th generation), all you need to do is download and install iOS 14.7.1 and iPadOS 14.7.1.

To do so, plug your device in to a power source and go to Settings > General > Software Update and follow the directions there.

For Mac owners, click the Apple button (in the upper-left corner of your screen) > About This Mac > Software Update > Update Now.

SEE ALSO: How to change your iPhone's default browser, and why you might want to

Once you've down that, you can sit back and rest easy knowing that you've at least done the bare minimum to keep your Mac, iPhone, and iPad safe from hackers.

Related Video: Apple has a lot of new products, so we ranked them

Posted on 27 July 2021 | 5:12 pm

Netflix's surreal 'Cooking with Paris' trailer gives Hilton her Julia Child moment

Have a seat and help yourself to the "culinary expertise and kitchen prowess" of one Paris Hilton.

On Tuesday, Netflix dropped its first trailer for Cooking with Paris — an unscripted reality series that sees the heiress-turned-amateur chef invite her celebrity friends over for dinner. Across six episodes, Paris will attempt to wow her guests with homecooked dishes she only sort of knows how to make, transforming The Simple Life star's viral video from last year into a full-blown television production.

"Any bitch can cook," Hilton announces, amidst a montage of spectacular mishaps seen in the trailer. From earnestly googling "what is zest lemon" to dropping her feathered sleeve in a bowl of batter, Hilton appears as a kind of everywoman's Julia Child in the hilarious preview. As Mashable writer Belen Edwards rightly pointed out, she's giving "big Ratatouille vibes" when it comes to inspiration. Of course, the setting is more glitter and glam than rat-infested bistro.

Hilton's guests will include Kim Kardashian West, Demi Lovato, Nikki Glaser, Saweetie, and Lele Pons, as well as Nicky and Kathy Hilton. Cooking with Paris will be ready Aug. 4 on Netflix.

Posted on 27 July 2021 | 5:05 pm

Obsessed with yoga and pilates? Glo app brings it to your phone

There’s nothing quite like attending a yoga class at a studio or gym, but who really has the time and flexibility to attend class on a regular basis?

Don’t get me wrong — I’m a big fan of taking classes in person. It’s just that I find the Glo app to be so much more convenient. And the more convenient something is, the more likely I’m going to stick with it.

With Glo, I don’t have to arrive at class at a certain time. I don’t have to plan ahead to commute or get there early to get a good spot. I’m not limited by the style, focus, intensity, level, or time commitment of the class.

I can completely customize my yoga experience, yet feel as if I’m taking a class at a studio. All I need is my mat and my phone.

You can pick a class that’s as short as five minutes, or as long as an hour and a half. Whatever time you have, and whatever your focus may be, you’re almost guaranteed to find the perfect class for it on Glo.

Glo’s filtering options make it easy to find a class for exactly what I want

What I love most about Glo is just how easy it is to find the right class for me at any given time, thanks to all of its amazing filters. Just hit Search in the bottom menu and choose the class type at the top: Yoga, Pilates, Meditation, or Fitness.

Filtering by levels and time.
Filtering by levels and time.
Credit: ELISE MOREAU
More in depth filters are super helpful if you're not sure where to start.
More in depth filters are super helpful if you're not sure where to start.
Credit: ELISE MOREAU

There are four primary filters below this, which let you sort by class, duration, level, intensity, and style. If you swipe right on those filters to scroll horizontally, you’ll be able to tap More Filters, which opens up all sorts of other ways for you to filter through classes.

SEE ALSO: 8fit blends workouts, meal planning, and meditation into one app

I definitely have a few favorite teachers, so I love being able to filter classes led by Kathryn Budig or Jason Crandell. Sometimes I know that I want a super low-intensity class, so I’ll use tap Focus to filter by Calm or Stretch + Release. And when I’m looking to target a certain area of my body, I’ll use the Body Part filter to see what’s available under the Thighs, Glutes, or Lower Body tags.

I’ve been a loyal subscriber to Glo for almost five years now, with no plans of ending my subscription.

You can apply multiple filters at once so you can narrow down through classes even further, which is super helpful and a huge time saver. I find that using the filters is the single best way to find the perfect class for how I’m feeling or what I’m interested in doing at any given time.

Live classes with Glo

Besides offering thousands of classes led by world-class teachers that you can push play on any time you want, another feature that makes Glo stand out from other apps is its live classes. This feature was launched last summer, a few months into the pandemic, and I’ve noticed that Glo has been working hard to make it a main component of its class offering.

Live classes bring you as close to an in-person class experience as you can get from an app. Just tap Live Classes in the bottom menu to see the current schedule for live classes, and use the calendar menu at the top to browse through scheduled live classes every day over the coming week.

Live class options let you practice now or get a reminder when classes begin.
Live class options let you practice now or get a reminder when classes begin.
Credit: ELISE MOREAU
More live classes.
More live classes.
Credit: ELISE MOREAU

When you find a live class you want to attend, tap Count Me In to join, at no extra cost to you. If you have notifications enabled, you’ll receive a reminder right before the class starts.

The more you use Glo, the more you’ll probably find yourself favoring certain teachers and classes you’ll want to take over and over again. Be sure to navigate to your Library using the lower menu to see your saved classes, favorites (classes you tapped the heart on), your class history, programs and more.

If you ever find yourself without an internet connection, you can download your classes (non-live ones, of course) by tapping the three dots in the top right of any class so you can play it while offline. I find that the Add Note feature is really useful as well, which is located beneath every class. It lets you type out some details to save as a personal reminder the next time you decide to take the same class.

The price for premium yoga and fitness content

As you might’ve already guessed, Glo isn’t free. Like so many other streaming video services out there, you have to pay for a subscription to be able to use it.

You can get a monthly subscription for $18 a month, or you can sign up for an annual one for $162 (which works out to $13.50 a month). There’s also a 7-day free trial you can take advantage of if you want to try it out first before signing up for a subscription.

Honestly, even if you use Glo to take as few as two 30-minute classes a month, you’re pretty much getting your money’s worth. A live, in-person yoga class at a studio costs anywhere from $10 to $20 depending on location and length of the class, making Glo’s $18 monthly or $13.50 annual subscription well worth it and a total steal if you plan on taking a few classes every week.

I’ve been a loyal subscriber to Glo for almost five years now, with no plans of ending my subscription. If you want an in-person class experience right in your own home, Glo could be exactly what you need.

Posted on 27 July 2021 | 4:37 pm

These Keurigs are on sale for up to 34% off just in time for back-to-school season

A handful of Keurigs are on sale at Walmart for up to 34% off as July 27:


Whether you're heading off to college this fall or helping a student transition back to in-person learning, we can tell you one thing with absolute certainty: The back-to-school season calls for coffee (and lots of it).

SEE ALSO: Believe it or not, back-to-school shopping has already started

Upgrading your existing coffee maker to one of Keurig's single-serve machines is a surefire way to shorten the distance between you and your next caffeine fix, since there's no measuring or bean-grinding required with their conveniently pre-packaged K-Cup pods (which finally got an eco-friendly makeover last year). If you head over to Walmart right now, you can snag select models on sale for up to 34% off — here's the scoop:

OUR TOP PICK: Keurig K-Slim

Measuring in at a mere five inches wide, the aptly named K-Slim is a compact coffee maker that won't take up too much real estate in your kitchen — a big plus for dorm rooms and small apartments. It sports a 46-ounce water reservoir and gives you the option of three different cup sizes — 8, 10, or 12 ounces — with a removable drip tray that leaves plenty of room for tall travel mugs. (Said drip tray is also big enough to hold a full brew itself, because spills happen.)

Normally priced at $109.99, you can score the Black K-Slim on sale at Walmart for just $77.33 — a solid 30% savings.

Save $32.66 at Walmart
Credit: Keurig
Save $32.66 at Walmart
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BEST BUDGET PICK: Keurig K-Mini Plus

The even tinier K-Mini Plus swaps a rear water tank for a one-cup reservoir and built-in storage that can fit its cord and up to nine of your favorite K-Cups. (Which is great, considering you'll definitely want this one out on your countertop — a matte finish and shiny silver accents make it the most stylish pick of this bunch.) It can whip up any cup size ranging from 6 to 12 ounces, and if you're feeling especially zapped after class, you can hit its "Strong" button for a bolder brew.

Walmart has it on sale in Cardinal Red for just $66.16, or 34% off its $99.99 MSRP.

Save $33.83 at Walmart
Credit: Keurig
Save $33.83 at Walmart
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BEST FOR BIGGER HOUSEHOLDS: Keurig K-Select

No need to top off the K-Select every time you or your roommates need some java — with a large 52-ounce water reservoir, you can brew up to eight servings of coffee between refills, depending on the cup size. (Choose from 6, 8, 10, 12 ounces and either normal or strong brew intensities.) Better yet, it comes equipped with Keurig's Quiet Brew Technology so you can avoid waking everyone else up while you're getting ready for a 7:45 a.m. lecture.

This one sells for $129.99 on the Keurig website, but Walmart will give it to you in Matte Black for just $99.99 — a 23% savings.

Save $30 at Walmart
Credit: Keurig
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Explore related content:

Posted on 27 July 2021 | 4:21 pm

Believe it or not, back-to-school deals have already started

OUR TOP PICKS:


Even though summer vacation isn't quite over yet, the back-to-school deals are already coming in hot. As students prepare to go back to in-person classes for the first time in over a year, this back-to-school season is expected to fuel lots of spending — and even more deals.

Last fall's back-to-school season was way different than years past. There was much more emphasis on tech due to remote learning, and most physical school supplies became obsolete in the face of virtual Zoom school. Think about it: You didn't need pens, backpacks, or new school clothes just to sit in front of the computer at home all day.

With students going back to full-time — or at minimum, hybrid — in-person learning, we'll see more deals on traditional physical school supplies. Expect to see online discounts on everything from pens and pencils to planners and backpacks, as retailers get students excited to return to their classrooms. Amazon is already leading the pack with deals that give $10 off purchases of $25 or $100 worth of select school supplies.

Even though most schools are expected to return to in-person learning per the new CDC guidance, there's a chance that hybrid models will be implemented for colleges, high schools, and even elementary schools. In short, we're thinking that tech-forward learning is likely here to stay for the foreseeable future.

With the flexibility of going remote at a moment's notice and easy (or easier) communication between students and schools, having a good laptop or tablet on hand is almost a necessity. Luckily, back-to-school season is one of the best times to purchase laptops and tablets without completely draining your bank account, thanks to widespread deals. We're already seeing Apple's yearly education pricing, with free AirPods offered with the purchase of select MacBooks and iPads.

Whether you're a parent looking to check crayons off an elementary school supply list or you're a college student looking for a laptop that will take you through four years at a university, we've rounded up the best sales for the upcoming school year. This list will be regularly updated, so check back frequently for even more deals.

LAPTOPS

MacBook Pro with free AirPods — Starting at $1,199

The MacBook Pro is the laptop of choice for most college students, and for good reason. While it's pricey, the latest edition with Apple's exclusive M1 chip is the most powerful laptop Apple has put out to date — making it a worthy investment for your college career. With super-fast performance and graphics that beat out previous MacBook generations by a landslide, the MacBook Pro is ideal for completing assignments, running large apps, editing photos and videos, and more.

You'll be able to choose from 13-inch or 16-inch models and customize your storage. As an added bonus, if you buy your MacBook Pro from the Apple Store, you'll score a free pair of AirPods with purchase.

Get free AirPods with the purchase of a MacBook Pro at Apple
Credit: Apple
Get free AirPods with the purchase of a MacBook Pro at Apple
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13-inch MacBook Air with free AirPods — Starting at $899

Don't need all the bells and whistles of a MacBook Pro? Get the lighter, cheaper MacBook Air for $100 off the regular price, and score a free pair of AirPods while you're at it. Choose the 8-Core CPU, 7-Core GPU model with 256GB storage for $899, or select the 8-Core CPU, 8-Core GPU version with 512GB Storage for $1,149. You'll also score three months of Apple TV plus with purchase of either configuration, so you'll have something to watch when you're taking breaks from doing homework.

Save $100 and get free AirPods at Apple
Save $100 and get free AirPods at Apple
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ASUS Chromebook Flip C434 2-In-1 Laptop — $429

A 2-in-1 laptop offers the most versatility and portability for college students, and this Asus Chromebook Flip is a great option. It has a 14-inch touchscreen, a 360-degree hinge, and a quick processor for solid multitasking. It's also super lightweight at only three pounds, so taking it from the dorm to class and back again won't break your back.

Save $140.99 at Amazon
Credit: Asus
Save $140.99 at Amazon
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Dell New Inspiron 15 Laptop — $599 with code STUDENT50

A great mid-priced option, the Inspiron 15 runs on an 11th Gen Intel Core processor, making multitasking a breeze. The interior fan design has been optimized from previous generations, so it's ultra-quiet and keeps the laptop running quickly. It also has basically every port you'll ever need (including an SD card reader, multiple USBs, and a USB-C) so it's a good option for any student who will be transferring lots of files.

Save $259.99 with code STUDENT50 at Dell
Credit: Dell
Save $259.99 with code STUDENT50 at Dell
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Samsung CB4 11.6" Celeron 4GB/32GB Chromebook — $129

At only $129, this Samsung Chromebook is a great budget laptop option for younger students who still need solid tech at home. It's completely Google Classroom compatible, has a compact 13.3-inch display, and gets up to 12.5 hours of battery life — so it will hold up to full days of remote learning for kids who end up on a hybrid schedule for the upcoming school year.

Save $100.99 at Walmart
Credit: Samsung
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TABLETS

iPad Air — Starting at $549

Portability is the name of the game with the iPad Air. Students who are constantly on the go will appreciate the lightweight design — it's perfect for taking to class instead of lugging around a full-sized laptop. The upgraded 7MP FaceTime HD camera has improved low-light performance too, so if you end up in Zoom school again, you're covered.

Save $50 and get free AirPods
Credit: Apple
Save $50 and get free AirPods
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iPad Pro — Starting at $749

The iPad Pro is ideal for anyone studying digital art, graphic design, or other creative pursuits in college. The M1 chip makes for speedy performance and an ultra-long battery life, while Apple Pencil and Magic Keyboard compatibility mean that you basically won't need a laptop ever again.

Save up to $200  and get free AirPods
Save up to $200  and get free AirPods
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Microsoft Surface Pro 7 — $699

For students studying art and graphic design, a high-quality tablet is non-negotiable. The Microsoft Surface Pro 7 is endlessly versatile — it can go from your desk, to class, to the couch, to bed with ease. It boasts all-day battery life, so it will hold up to long school days, and the 10th Gen Intel Core processor will ensure all your multitasking is seamless.

Save $260 at Best Buy
Credit: Microsoft
Save $260 at Best Buy
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HEADPHONES

AirPods Pro — $189.99

The beloved AirPods Pro are once again nearly $60 off, just in time for back-to-school season. With a compact design, active noise canceling, and a customizable fit thanks to multiple silicone tip options, it's no wonder everyone either has or wants a pair.

Save $59.01 at Amazon
Credit: Apple
Save $59.01 at Amazon
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Bose QuietComfort 35 II Wireless Bluetooth Headphones — $249

If tiny wireless earbuds just aren't your jam, the Bose QC 35's have great noise cancellation technology and a comfy, padded fit for a solid price. You'll score three levels of active noise canceling, sound customization through the paired app, and the high-quality audio that Bose is known for.

Save $50 at Amazon
Credit: Bose
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Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro — $149.98

If the college student in your life needs to stay on task from class to the gym to the library, grab them these Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro. You'll get active noise cancellation, immersive sound, water resistance, a compact charging case, and a long battery life — all in a size that's perfect to toss in a backpack.

Save $50.01 at Amazon
Credit: Samsung
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DORM ESSENTIALS

Insignia NS-32DF310NA19 32-inch Smart HD Fire TV — $129.99

For weekend Netflix marathons and kicking back after long study sessions, a TV is a must for college students. This 32-inch Insignia TV is the perfect size to fit in small dorm rooms, and it comes equipped with Fire TV smart integration, giving you easy access to all your favorite streaming sites.

Save $70 at Amazon
Credit: Insignia
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Keurig K-Mini Plus Single Serve Coffee Maker — $60

Balancing college classes, work, internships, and a social life is hard, but that's why there's coffee. Stock up your dorm with this compact single-serve Keurig to quench your caffeine habit. It will fit in even the smallest corner, makes cups up to 12 ounces, and can brew directly into most travel mugs. Your drink will also be ready in just two minutes — so you'll never be late to class because you were waiting in line at Starbucks.

Save $33.83 at Walmart
Credit: Keurig
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Galanz Two Door Compact Refrigerator with Freezer — $149

Many traditional dorms don't have kitchens, so you have to get creative if you want to eat anything other than dining hall food during your first few years of college. Getting a mini-fridge means you can store all your favorite snacks and drinks in your room — perfect for when a late-night snack attack hits. This one has a freezer, two shelves, a vegetable crisper drawer, a can dispenser, and storage for two-liter bottles.

Save $20 at Walmart
Credit: Galanz
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Ninja CE251 Programmable Coffee Brewer — $79.99

College and coffee go hand-in-hand. This programmable coffee maker can be scheduled up to 24 hours in advance, so the student in your life can have hot coffee before every morning class (and they'll never be late because of it).

Save $20 at Amazon
Credit: Ninja
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Headspace annual membership — $34.99

College can be rough, and students should definitely prioritize their mental health. A Headpsace membership will offer college kids the tools they need to relax and remain mindful, even when they're cramming for a big test or writing those long research papers. Currently, annual memberships are half off, so they're price-accessible for college students, too.

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Hulu student membership — $1.99 per month

Let's be real, college isn't all studying and going to class — students deserve to stream their favorite shows and movies, too. Hulu offers $1.99 monthly memberships to folks who are enrolled in a college or university, so even if you're a broke college kid, you can still watch and rewatch all the episodes of The Handmaid's Tale.

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SCHOOL SUPPLIES

16 Count EXPO Chisel Tip Dry Erase and Expo Whiteboard Board Eraser — $18.49

Teachers and students alike know that dry-erase markers get pricey. This bundle deal gives you 16 chisel-tipped Expo markers in vibrant colors and a whiteboard eraser for over 50% off — perfect for stocking the classroom.

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Post-it 3x3 inch Super Sticky Notes, 6 Pads — $7.45

Can't remember when your assignments are due? Write it on a Post-it. Score this six-pack of sticky Post-it notes in bright beautiful colors for almost 40% off at Amazon. They'll help you brainstorm ideas, plan out projects, and get organized.

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Save $10 when you buy $25 in select school supplies from Amazon

Just need a few things for this school year? This Amazon promo will give you $25 worth of select school supplies for just $15. Save on dry-erase markers, felt tip pens, mechanical pencils, and so much more.

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Get $10 off when you purchase $100 or more in school supplies from Amazon

If you're buying supplies for multiple kids or just have an extra-long school supply list this year, this Amazon promo will save you a bit of cash. When you add $100 worth of select school supplies to your cart, you'll automatically get a $10 discount. There are over 100 qualifying items (You'll find everything from glue sticks to highlighters), and most of them are on sale, too.

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Fjallraven Kanken Classic Backpack — $64.99

A good backpack is a must, no matter what grade level you're in. This trendy Fjallraven Kanken is just as good for carrying supplies to class as it is for hitting the town. The 16-liter capacity is roomy enough to carry the essentials, and the exterior is completely dirt and water-resistant, and easily wipes clean.

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Posted on 27 July 2021 | 4:01 pm

Oscar Isaac is a poker player haunted by his past in intense trailer for 'The Card Counter'

The Card Counter stars Oscar Isaac as William Tell, an ex-military interrogator turned gambler. Now an expert poker player, Tell remains haunted by the actions of his past. However, an opportunity to get revenge on an old enemy could bring him the redemption he seeks. The trailer promises an intense thriller with many, many card games.

Written and directed by Paul Schrader and produced by Martin Scorsese, The Card Counter also stars Tiffany Haddish, Tye Sheridan, and Willem Dafoe.

The Card Counter hits theaters Sept. 10.

Posted on 27 July 2021 | 3:47 pm

Nothing finally unveils its see-through, $99 Ear (1) wireless earbuds

Okay, these do look really cool.

The wait is officially over for Nothing's rather elusive true wireless earbuds. Known as the Nothing Ear (1), the $99 buds are the first product to drop under the new startup, founded by OnePlus' co-founder Carl Pai.

On the outside, it's safe to say the Ear (1) buds have a unique aesthetic compared to what's currently on the market. The transparent design (case included) allows you to see all of its internal components, including the magnets, circuit board, and microphones.

At 4.7 grams, the earbuds are lightweight.
At 4.7 grams, the earbuds are lightweight. Credit: nothing

As for durability, the earbuds have an IPX4 certification making them sweat and water splash resistant. So, yes, you can designate these as your official workout buds if you want.

Weighing in at 4.7 grams per bud, the Ear (1)'s are super lightweight, too —they're only slightly heavier than Apple's AirPods 2, which weigh 4 grams. They also come equipped with pressure-relieving vents and three customizable silicone tips, so you can secure the right fit for your ears.

On the inside, the earbuds pack an 11.6mm driver. To fine tune the sound quality, Nothing partnered with Swedish electronics company Teenage Engineering (the ones behind the OP-1 synthesizer and Pocket Operator).

The Ear (1)'s come equipped with Active Noise Cancellation.
The Ear (1)'s come equipped with Active Noise Cancellation. Credit: nothing

According to Nothing, "the audiophiles at Teenage Engineering painstakingly dialed in the software and hardware for balanced bass, mid, and treble performance." Of course, we'll have to test these buds out ourselves to believe it.

The Ear (1)'s also feature Active Noise Cancellation (ANC). Equipped with three high-definition microphones, you have the ability to switch between Light Mode (for moderate noise cancellation) and Maximum Mode (when you need to drown out a good deal of noise). There's also transparency mode, for when you want to let some sound in from the outside world.

Nothing has thrown in some additional features too, including Find My Earbud, Fast Pairing (for Android devices), and Gesture Control Customization (which you can tweak using the connected app).

You'll get a total of 34 hours of battery life with these buds.
You'll get a total of 34 hours of battery life with these buds. Credit: nothing

As for battery life, the Ear (1)'s pack up to 5.7 hours on the earbuds themselves and 34 hours with the case (with ANC turned off). A quick 10-minute charge will also get you up to 8 hours of battery life. And since the case is Qi-certified, it's compatible with any third-party wireless charger.

The Ear (1)'s aren't available just yet, though. Nothing's earbuds officially go on sale starting Aug. 17. But you can also attempt to get your hands on the limited supply, currently available on Nothing's official site.

Posted on 27 July 2021 | 3:24 pm

Stay hydrated wherever with Lifestraw's self-filter stainless steel bottle

Save up to 25%: Assorted LifeStraw products like their filtered stainless steel and collapsible water bottles are on sale at Amazon as of July 27.


Summer trips are all fun and games until your one good bottle of water runs out.

Chugging straight from the stream in the woods — or the hotel tap that tastes like metal, for that matter — aren't your only options. Neither is lugging around a case of plastic water bottles, which is both inconvenient and wasteful.

If you've seen this viral TikTok about Brita and LifeStraw pitchers, you've probably been giving your own kitchen sink the sus eye as well.

For the times when a trusty pitcher isn't an option, LifeStraw's reusable stainless steel water bottle does more than keep water cold like a Yeti or Hydro Flask would. It pushes that water through a two-stage filter straw to remove 99.999% of microplastics, chlorine, bacteria, and parasites. Regularly $60, an Amazon discount brings the 24-ounce LifeStraw Go down to $47.96. LifeStraw's collapsible Flex bottle, regularly $34.95, is on sale for $26.10

The .2 micron membrane filter in both bottles is the same one used in the classic LifeStraw (also on sale) that allows you to safely sip directly from a dirty outdoor water source.

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Posted on 27 July 2021 | 3:24 pm

Instagram to increase privacy and security for young people on the app

Instagram is releasing new features to help protect kids on the app.m

Instagram is making some changes for young people on the platform — and, no, it isn't Instagram Youth.

On Tuesday, Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, announced that everyone who signs up for an Instagram account who is under 16 will be defaulted to a private account. You have to be at least 13 years old to even sign up for an account and, historically, all users could choose between a public or private account when they signed up. Now, young users will be opted into a private account and will have to manually switch to a public one.

For young users who already have public accounts, they'll be prompted with a notification that highlights "the benefits of a private account" and will explain how to change their privacy settings, according to Instagram.

"As a dad to three, I know it’s important to create an Instagram experience for young people that’s safe and private but also fun," Mosseri said in an Instagram post about the changes. "We’ll keep listening to feedback from teens, parents, lawmakers and experts — and working to keep Instagram safe."

View this post on Instagram

It's also about to get a bit more difficult for adults to chat with teens who don't want to talk with them, by finding accounts with "potentially suspicious behavior" and stopping them from interacting with young people's accounts. That behavior includes accounts belonging to adults that young people have blocked or reported, Instagram said in a press statement. The platform also won't show young people's accounts in Explore, Reels or the suggested pages for those potentially suspicious adults, and will block them from commenting on young people's posts.

The platform will also start limiting the ways advertisers and young people can interact on both Instagram and Facebook by only allowing advertisers to target ads to people under 18 based on their age, gender, and location and not on things like interests or activity on other apps and websites.

Instagram says they'll "continue listening" to young people, parents, lawmakers, and experts in order to build a platform that is not only enjoyable but also safe. But this comes as Instagram continues to discuss an entirely new platform specifically for young people — Instagram Youth. All the while, the platform is struggling to compete with other apps young people simply use more, like Snapchat or TikTok.

It's unclear if these extra safety measures will make the app more attractive for young users, but it there's a chance that fewer old people on their pages will make it more fun — and safer.

Related Video: How to not get your social media hacked

Posted on 27 July 2021 | 3:14 pm

Hulu's star-studded Steve Martin murder comedy gets its first trailer

Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Selena Gomez are on the case.

In Hulu's Only Murders in the Building, the three stars team up to get to the bottom of some foul play in their posh New York City apartment building. Bound by a shared interest in true crime and seemingly nothing else, the trio investigates a colorful cast of neighbors that includes Nathan Lane and Sting (playing himself, apparently) as they record a podcast of their own.

Only Murders in the Building was created by Martin, Dan Fogelman, and John Hoffman.

The first three episodes premiere on Hulu on Aug. 31.

Posted on 27 July 2021 | 2:39 pm

Simone Biles withdraws from artistic gymnastics women's team final at Olympics

USA's Simone Biles looks on during the artistic gymnastics women's team final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Defending U.S. Olympic champion Simone Biles withdrew from the women's artistic team all-around gymnastics final in Tokyo on Tuesday.

According to a statement from USA Gymnastics, the 24-year-old gold medallist and most successful gymnast of all time has withdrawn "due to a medical issue," and "will be assessed daily to determine medical clearance for future competitions."

In addition, Biles told the BBC, "I'm just dealing with things internally that will get fixed in the next couple of days."

Tweet may have been deleted

On the fourth day of the Tokyo Olympics, Biles had started the competition final alongside her teammates on Tuesday at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre, but left the arena after her run on the vault. Biles, who had planned to perform a highly difficult Yurchenko pike with two and a half twists (going further than her history-making version at the U.S. Classic), scored 13.766 on the apparatus, a rare low score for the expert vaulter and the lowest she's scored on the vault at an Olympic event.

SEE ALSO: How to watch the Tokyo 2020 Olympics without cable

Biles' withdrawal from the team event was confirmed by USA Gymnastics and event start lists were updated, with gymnast Jordan Chiles replacing Biles alongside teammates Grace McCallum and Sunisa Lee. Biles later rejoined the arena to cheer on her teammates performing their routines and told the Associated Press why she didn't feel it was in her or her team's best interest to continue competing.

"I didn't want to go into any of the other events second-guessing myself," Biles said. "So, I thought it would be better if I took a step back and let these girls go out there and do their job."

Team USA went on to win silver at the event, with the Russian Olympic Committee team winning gold, Great Britain taking bronze.

Sunisa Lee, Simone Biles, coach Cecile Landi, and Jordan Chiles of Team USA react during the women's team final.
Sunisa Lee, Simone Biles, coach Cecile Landi, and Jordan Chiles of Team USA react during the women's team final. Credit: Laurence Griffiths / Getty Images

According to BBC Sport, Biles is due to compete next on Thursday, as she has qualified to perform in all five individual gymnastics finals and defend her title. A two-time Olympian at the Tokyo and Rio Olympics, Biles currently has six Olympic medals (four gold, one silver, one bronze).

Biles has recently posted about feeling pressure at the Tokyo Olympics, writing in an Instagram caption on Monday, "I truly do feel like I have the weight of the world on my shoulders at times. I know I brush it off and make it seem like pressure doesn't affect me but damn sometimes it's hard."

According to the New York Times, Biles grappled with the pressure of being the greatest gymnast in history and had been "fighting all of those demons," on Tuesday.

"At the end of the day, I have to do what was right for me,” Biles told the Times, "It just sucks that it happened at the Olympic Games."

In another interview with the New York Times earlier this week, Biles also opened up about the "unreal" wear and tear the sport has had on her body and identified her time off as the happiest moment of her career.

Later on Tuesday, Biles tweeted a simple message.

Tweet may have been deleted

UPDATE: July 27, 2021, 11:50 a.m. EDT This post was updated with additional comments from Simone Biles.

UPDATE: July 27, 2021, 5:42 p.m. BST Simone Biles' tweet was added.

Posted on 27 July 2021 | 2:22 pm

Noomi Rapace makes a new friend in eerie "LAMB' trailer

Nature works in mysterious ways. Maria (Noomi Rapace) thinks she has the child of her dreams after the birth of a special lamb on her farm in Iceland. But not everyone can stomach this uncanny presence, including nature itself. The film also stars Hilmir Snær Guðnason, Björn Hlynur Haraldsson, and Ingvar Sigurðsson.

Valdimar Jóhannsson's feature debut trailer is whimsical and terrifying in equal measure, including a truly chilling use of "God Only Knows" by the Beach Boys. A24 describes the film as a "dark and atmospheric folktale" and the trailer recalls horror works like Midsommar and The Witch.

LAMB hits theaters Oct. 8.

Posted on 27 July 2021 | 2:05 pm

Samsung's new Odyssey monitor is a 49-inch, Mini LED beast

Samsung's Odyssey Neo G9. Yes, it's big.

Samsung's Odyssey G9 monitor has more or less been the measuring stick for extra-large gaming displays since the company launched it early last year.

That device now has what seems to be a worthy successor: The Odyssey Neo G9.

Basic specs are the same: The new Odyssey Neo G9 is still a curved, 49-inch monitor with a 5,120 x 1,440 pixel resolution.

Design-wise, the Odyssey Neo G9's design is similar to its predecessor: Bold and futuristic.
Design-wise, the Odyssey Neo G9's design is similar to its predecessor: Bold and futuristic. Credit: SAMSUNG

However, the new monitor is the first Samsung screen of this size to feature Quantum Mini LED technology — the same one used in Samsung's Neo QLED TVs. Thanks to this, the Odyssey Neo G9 has a 1,000,000:1 contrast radio, and a typical brightness of 420 cd/m2 with a peak brightness of 2,000 cd/m2. In real-life usage, this means deep, inky blacks with extremely bright HDR.

Other specs of note include a 240Hz refresh rate, a 1ms response rate, and a 178-degree vertical and horizontal viewing angle. And yes, it's still very immersive, thanks to a 1000R curve — though this kind of extreme curvature will mostly appeal to gamers.

The Odyssey is probably the curviest monitor we've seen.
The Odyssey is probably the curviest monitor we've seen. Credit: SAMSUNG

On the connectivity front, the monitor has a single Display Port 1.4, two HDMI 2.1 ports, two USB 3.0 connectors, and a headphone jack.

SEE ALSO: Samsung's getting ready to 'unpack' some shiny new foldables this August

Unfortunately, this kind of power comes at a fairly high price: $2,499.99. For comparison, that's $800 more than the original G9's price at launch.

The Samsung Odyssey Neo G9 will be available for pre-order on July 29, and it will ship globally on August 9.

Posted on 27 July 2021 | 1:28 pm

Thrilling 'Ghostbusters: Afterlife' trailer takes us back to the old days

This isn't your grandma's Ghostbusters anymore, but she'll definitely like what she sees.

Sony's latest trailer for Ghostbusters: Afterlife, the decades-later sequel to Ghostbusters II, is a blast from the past. You'll see photos and videos of the original foursome, all sorts of toys and gadgets from the old days (plus a few with some new twists), an army of tiny Stay-Puft Marshmallow Men, a demon dog that looks suspiciously familiar, and none other than Annie Potts herself, who played Ghostbusters receptionist Janine Melman.

Also, that's definitely Dan Aykroyd at the end of the trailer.

Afterlife represents a baton-passing moment for the series, and Sony's latest attempt to revive a Hollywood classic for younger audiences. The sequel follows Egon Spengler's (the late Harold Ramis) grandkids, Phoebe (Mckenna Grace) and Trevor (Finn Wolfhard) as their small town life in Oklahoma is disrupted by a ghostly outbreak.

Ghostbusters hits theaters in November.

Posted on 27 July 2021 | 1:21 pm

TikTok's reality shifting trend mixes dream-like consciousness with fandoms

To shift realities shifters enter a meditative state.

TikTok users are taking fan culture to the next level by practicing a sort of meditation in an effort to "shift realities" to inhabit the fictional universe of their choosing. It's sort of like a more real form of daydreaming.

The most popular of those desired realities are Harry Potter and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As of Monday on TikTok the tag "shifting" had 6.2 billion views and the tag "shifting realities" had 1.8 billion views. The videos under these tags are a variety of storytimes about experiences users have in their desired realities, tips and tutorials on how to shift, and complaints about being unable to shift.

Shifting relies on the assumption that there are infinite realities, and the act of shifting directs your consciousness to a different reality. Shifting appears to be a combination of meditation, astral projecting, and lucid dreaming, but shifters on TikTok and Reddit insist that shifting is different.

When asked how shifting compares to lucid dreaming, Alexa Valentino, 16, said, "So if you're lucid dreaming, it's a dream and your subconscious is still in your current reality. But when you're shifting, you're literally shifting your subconscious and your awareness to another reality in which you already exist. When you're shifting, you are essentially living another life, which is 100 percent as real as living your life in your current reality." Valentino gained over 36,000 followers and over 1.5 million likes on her TikTok @ssvalentino for her shifting content.

There are many shifting methods, but they all involve putting your body to sleep while remaining conscious. The most popular method is the "raven method" which involves laying on your back in a starfish position, counting to 100, and visualizing your desired reality like being a doctor in the Greys Anatomy universe. The "raven method" is a sleep method which means after you awake you are in your desired reality. Many shifters listen to specific music called "subliminals" to help with their shifting.

According to the shifting subreddit, subliminals are "videos or audios of a collection of affirmations either sped up or lowered past an audible level and layered over some other noise, usually music or ambience like rain." When you are about to shift you begin to feel "symptoms" like your body tingling. Shifters use safe words or phrases to come back to their current reality. An example from @a_shifting_girl on TikTok is "I want to come back to my current reality."

Information on shifting realities isn't only found on TikTok and Reddit, there are also YouTube tutorials on how to shift.

Some shifters write scripts that detail everything they want to happen in their desired reality. Each shifting script is personal, some people write it down in a notebook while others say it out loud.

TikTok user @mcu.shifting made a video with a script template focused on how you are in your desired reality with details like body type, hair color, and any hair on your body.

A look at @mcu.shifting's script template.
A look at @mcu.shifting's script template. Credit: Screenshot: Google docs

"I am the same person, but I’m physically different in my desired reality," said another member of the shifting community, Amber, 16, from the Netherlands.

"So pretty much what you are doing is creating a template for your experience. You’re not so much writing a story as just kind of adding details you want specifically in your desired reality," explained Valentino, who shifts to a Criminal Minds reality and spent two or three days preparing her script before shifting. In Valentino’s script, which she posted on her TikTok, COVID-19 doesn’t exist and neither do her current reality social media accounts.

Valentino's Criminal Minds desired reality script.
Valentino's Criminal Minds desired reality script. Credit: screenshot: TikTOk
Valentino's Criminal Minds desired reality script.
Valentino's Criminal Minds desired reality script. Credit: screenshot: tiktok

"I decided to start shifting because I really wanted to shift to my Criminal Minds desired reality. I love the show so much and wanted to experience it myself," said Valentino on why she decided to try out shifting.

Shifters say it can take months of practice to finally shift realities. Amber has been trying to shift to her Harry Potter desired reality for nine months. "I haven’t shifted yet, but I once heard the voice of one of my comfort characters and it felt like he was standing right next to me. It made me feel really good," said Amber.

While it has been a particularly difficult year and the desire to escape reality is understandable, some of the videos under the shifting tag are concerning. For example @braydonanthonyy posted a TikTok of him crying that said "Its currently 9am and i just woke up from a full 5 months at hogwarts.. take me back home, i hate it here."

While people have been changing their appearances and escaping into fictional worlds for years through activities like gaming, shifting seems to be taking escapism to new heights.

Posted on 27 July 2021 | 1:00 pm

Friends and family react to British swimmer winning at Olympics and it's pure joy

Tom Dean of Great Britain cheers at the award ceremony at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre on July 27, 2021.

Swimmer Tom Dean secured Britain's fourth gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics in the 200 metre freestyle on Tuesday.

Not only that, he did so six months after contracting COVID-19 for a second time, which left the 21-year-old athlete struggling to walk up stairs. It was a truly moving moment, but the celebrations weren't just happening in Tokyo.

Thousands of miles away from the Tokyo Aquatics Centre, in his mum's back garden in Maidenhead, Berkshire in England, Dean's friends and family watched intently as the swimmer inched his way to victory and, as you can imagine, the screaming and cheering got louder and more intense the closer the final stretch came.

SEE ALSO: Swimming coach's wild reaction to Olympic win is an instant-classic meme

The moment was captured by BBC South sports editor Lewis Coombes in a video that shows the truly joyful gathering of family and friends celebrating Dean's win.

Tweet may have been deleted

Here's what they were looking at, in case you missed Dean's victorious swim:

All that's left to say is: Go Team GB!

Posted on 27 July 2021 | 12:52 pm

Lucasfilm hires YouTuber who deepfaked 'The Mandalorian'

If you haven't seen The Mandalorian Season 2 by now, there are spoilers ahead, but also, watch it!

Deepfakes are both fascinating and highly problematic, but nonetheless, one particularly good one landed its creator a slam dunk of a job.

Lucasfilm has hired the YouTube creator who created a deepfake of one of the biggest moments in The Mandalorian Season 2, in which the studio dropped a chunk of budget de-ageing Mark Hamill to appear as Luke Skywalker in the final episode.

Following this surprise appearance (and Grogu rescue) from the Jedi master in the finale, YouTube creator Shamook created a deepfake of Skywalker using the same scenes. It was incredibly convincing, in fact, arguably surpassed the CGI rolled out in the actual episode, although the audio is just slightly off. And now, after making YouTube videos since 2018, the UK-based creator is working for Industrial Light and Magic, the visual effects division of Lucasfilm.

Here's the clip released in December 2020, which has earned 2.1 million views to date:

Lucasfilm confirmed to Indiewire it had hired Shamook, with a representative telling the publisher it was "always on the lookout" for artists to recruit: "Over the past several years ILM has been investing in both machine learning and A.I. as a means to produce compelling visual effects work and it’s been terrific to see momentum building in this space as the technology advances."

SEE ALSO: Facebook drives effort to combat deepfakes while enabling misinformation

Also spotted by the publisher, Shamook had commented on one of their other deepfake YouTube videos weeks ago, talking about being hired by ILM. The job title? Senior facial capture artist, they said. "As some of you may already know, I joined ILM/Lucasfilms a few months ago and haven't had the time to work on any new YouTube content," they wrote. "Now I've settled into my job, uploads should start increasing again. They'll still be slow, but hopefully not months apart."

So, while creating deepfakes is undeniably dicey territory, it's apparently good stuff for a visual film effects resume.

Posted on 27 July 2021 | 11:53 am

10 of the best earbuds for every situation

They might be small, but earbuds shouldn’t be taken lightly. Finding a good pair of buds is pretty tricky, and you’ve likely gone through more earbuds over the years than you can count.

Picking up a £10 pair of earbuds in the checkout line is easy enough but you know deep down that you’ll be back there again next month (or even sooner) because they’ve fizzled out already. Spending that much will only get you so far.

Does that mean all earbuds are poor quality? Absolutely not. Thumping bass, immersive noise cancellation, and crisp sound is not exclusive to over-ear headphones. There are plenty of premium, feature-heavy earbuds out there.

Which is better, over-ear headphones or earbuds?

Ultimately there’s no definitive answer to this question. It’s down to personal preference. Some of you will prefer your headphones to be a little more inconspicuous and portable.

There are some general benefits to choosing earbuds over headphones. They’re obviously more compact, and generally better suited to fitness. Earbuds will likely suit anyone who prioritises portability — whether that’s for commuting, air travel, or taking to the gym — and anyone who gets uncomfortable from long, sweaty sessions under padded headphones.

What are the different types of earbuds?

Technically, earbuds fall into two categories — earbuds, which rest on the inner part of the ear; and in-ear headphones, which fit into the ear canal. To keep things simple, we’ve recommended a selection of each kind.

You can break down earbuds into a few categories:

Wired earbuds — these connect to your device by a cable (it’s an increasingly outdated approach — particularly with Apple removng the regular headphone jack from the iPhone — so there are none on this list)

Wireless earbuds — these are connected to each other via a cable but independent from the device

True wireless earbuds — these have no cables at all

We're not going to tell you which option will work best for you. That's up to you. What we will say is that it's worth taking some time to properly consider your priorities and lifestyle, and find the earbuds type that best matches up.

What is true wireless?

When shopping around you may see the term true wireless, or “truly” wireless as it’s sometimes known. This relates to headphones that have no cord connected to your phone or device. True wireless headphones can use different types of wireless technology to transmit the sound into your ears. The most common form is Bluetooth.

Do headphones or earbuds sound better?

Headphones are generally considered the go-to option for serious audiophiles. It can come down to over-ear headphones having more powerful drivers — the components that convert electrical signals into sound — and an open-backed design. But there are still earbuds geared towards high-quality sound that can match up to over-ear headphones at the same price point.

Wireless sound quality can be affected by factors such as distance and obstructions between your headphones and device, but also the codec software that your headphones support. Codecs are algorithms that encode and decode digital audio signals. Look out for earbuds with low latency (this is the time it takes for the sound to hit your ears) and support for Qaulcomm’s aptX codecs.

These are generally reviewed as the best codecs — particularly for streaming video content on your phone and ensuring the picture and audio stay in sync.

What are the most important features for earbuds?

If you want a set of earbuds that deliver the latest in tech and features, check out options that have active noise cancellation (ANC) — tiny microphones create anti-noise sound waves to block out ambient noise — or connectivity to a dedicated app. Many top brands have an app that allows you to adjust EQ levels, customise ANC, or use other advanced features.

What are the best earbuds?

Since it's always good to get a personal recommendation, we did some research and pulled out the best earbuds online. Whatever your preference and whatever your price range, you're sure to find some that don't suck.

These are the best earbuds in 2021.

Posted on 27 July 2021 | 11:34 am

All the horror movie references in Netflix's 'Fear Street' trilogy

Leigh Janiak's Fear Street trilogy may be based on R.L. Stine's beloved teen horror books, but it makes more than a few references to classic horror films — Netflix even opened its own totally '90s pop-up video stores to promote the series.

The three-part Netflix film series, Part 1: 1994, Part 2: 1978, and Part 3: 1666, makes both overt and subtle nods to iconic horror films like Scream, Friday the 13th, The Shining, The Exorcist, Poltergeist, The Evil Dead, Night of the Living Dead, and Halloween, whether in the form of a passing name-drop in dialogue, a blatant shot re-creation, or a sneaky real estate sign in the background of a scene.

In the video above, Netflix points out these references, so you can spot anything you missed while avoiding your own peril in Shadyside. There's a fair few Stephen King references in the films too.

If you haven't watched them yet, beware spoilers in the video. Before you watch it, Fear Street Part 1: 1994, Fear Street Part 2: 1978, and Fear Street Part 3: 1666 are now streaming on Netflix.

Posted on 27 July 2021 | 9:53 am

Netflix's 'Masters of the Universe: Revelation' ending gets explained by Kevin Smith

So, you've smashed all five episodes of Netflix's excellent reboot of Masters of the Universe: Revelation. How about that ending?

If you've got a powerful amount of questions about what just happened in Eternia, showrunner Kevin Smith teamed up with Netflix to answer a few in this "Ending Explained" video above.

Where will Part 2 begin? What exactly happened in the final battle? What's up with Evil-Lyn's staff?

It goes without saying that this has some major spoilers in it — it's a chat about the ending, after all.

Masters of the Universe: Revelation is now streaming on Netflix.

Posted on 27 July 2021 | 9:29 am

Save on an ergonomic controller that attaches right to your phone

Attach the Page Gamepad Controller to your phone or tablet for easier, more accurate gameplay.

TL;DR: Make the mobile gaming experience more enjoyable with the Page Gamepad Controller, which is on sale for 18% off. As of July 27, grab one for only $49.99.


The Page Gamepad Controller lets mobile gamers clamp a customizable controller with ergonomic grips to the sides of their phones to enjoy more immersive gameplay.

Specifically designed for first-person shooter games, the Page Gamepad can be customized to suit your gameplay. Choose which buttons you want to use to shoot, probe, lie down, jump, squat, and more, so that the game works best for you. The ergonomic mold feels much better in your hands than your phone, and the stretchable clamp fits phones and tablets between 13 and 28 cm.

Download the ShootingplusV3 app to customize the buttons and settings to your liking. Just scan the QR code on the instruction book and it’ll pop right up.

While it's regularly $61, you can save 18% for a limited time and snag the Page Gamepad Controller for just $49.99.

Page Gamepad Controller — $49.99
Credit: Genius Depot
Page Gamepad Controller — $49.99
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Posted on 27 July 2021 | 9:00 am

Help boost your career prospects with exam prep courses for IT certifications

Get access to more than 13 lectures and companion ebooks, plus thousands of study tools.

TL;DR: Study for a career in the IT field with the 2021 CompTIA, AWS, Cisco, Microsoft and Google Certification Exam Bundle. As of July 27, get it on sale for $29.99.


If you’ve ever wanted to jump into a tech career, start now. With this IT Exam Test Prep Bundle, you can begin your journey toward becoming an in-demand tech guru one certification at a time. It’s filled with more than 8,000 questions and answers for CompTIA, Cisco, AWS, Google, and Microsoft certification exams, so you can study your butt off to ace each and every one.

This course bundle is from ExamsDigest, a company that provides quiz-based online training for in-demand IT certifications. With lifetime access, you’ll get 13 practice guides, plus access to 13 companion ebooks to ensure you’re well prepared for not just the exams, but also potential interviews. You’ll even get unlimited access to future updates. So, if you want to focus on one track now, you can revisit another at a later date. 

You can choose your prep either based on specific exams or on a career path. For example, if you want to focus on cloud security, ExamsDigest will point you in the direction of AWS certifications, Microsoft Azure certifications, and more. If you’d rather start off with a broader career path, you’ll be pointed in the direction of CompTIA core exams. Whichever path you choose, ExamsDigest can help prepare you for certification.

The IT Exam Test Prep Bundle is valued at $450, but for a limited time, you can get lifetime access to it all for just $29.99.

The 2021 CompTIA, AWS, Cisco, Microsoft and Google Certification Exam Bundle — $29.99
Credit: Exams Digest
The 2021 CompTIA, AWS, Cisco, Microsoft and Google Certification Exam Bundle — $29.99
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Posted on 27 July 2021 | 9:00 am

Get a crash course in all things Adobe with this bundle on sale

Learn Premiere, Lightroom, Photoshop, and more.

TL;DR: Learn how to use Adobe's entire creative suite with the 2021 Complete Learn Adobe Training Bundle, on sale for 97% off. As of July 27, get the 11-course bundle for only $59.95.


With the 2021 Complete Learn Adobe Training Bundle, you can master Adobe programs in just 11 courses.

You'll start with a course on After Effects, where you'll learn how to improve videos with professional motion graphics and stunning video effects. Then, you'll move on to using Adobe Premiere Pro to edit videos like a professional. You'll learn how to create layers, import media, create new sequences, and more. If you've ever thought about starting a podcast, there's also a course on Adobe Audition, where you can record, edit, and master audio. And, of course, this bundle also covers staples like Illustrator, Photoshop, and XD.

This updated 2021 Adobe training bundle is valued at $2,200. But, for a limited time, you can get lifetime access to all 11 courses for just $59.95.

The 2021 Complete Learn Adobe Training Certification Bundle — $59.95
Credit: Entrepreneur academy
The 2021 Complete Learn Adobe Training Certification Bundle — $59.95
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Posted on 27 July 2021 | 9:00 am

Enjoy a personalized light show with this smart lamp on sale

Choose from over 25 different lighting presets.

TL;DR: Give your room a colorful makeover with the Govee Lyra smart floor lamp, which is available for $149.99 as of July 27.


Imagine a floor lamp with a profile so low, it's barely even noticeable in a room. Now imagine that same lamp displaying a fun, rainbow-colored light show.

In a nutshell, that’s the Govee Lyra: a smart lamp that can give your home a completely different vibe.

The Lyra stands slightly under five feet tall, has a small base, and can showcase multi-color customizable light displays. Great for everything from hosting parties to enjoying a movie night at home, the Lyra offers 16 million unique color varieties.

You can control the lamp with your phone via the Govee Home app or your voice via Alexa and Google Assistant. Using the remote, you can turn the light on and off, control dimming effects, and adjust color. Then, using the app, you can truly customize the Lyra smart lamp to suit you. The color options multiply by the hundreds compared to the built-in options on the remote, and you can even independently control sections of the light strip at a time.

Embrace innovative home lighting and entertainment with this smart floor lamp of the future, which is available on Amazon for just $149.99 for a limited time.

Govee Lyra Smart Corner Floor Lamp — $149.99
Credit: Govee
Govee Lyra Smart Corner Floor Lamp — $149.99
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Posted on 27 July 2021 | 9:00 am

Samsung's upcoming foldable phones revealed in new image and specs leak

Samsung's upcoming Z Fold 3 will be water resistant. Its predecessor, the Z Fold 2 (pictured), wasn't.

Samsung's next event, where the company is slated to reveal its new foldable phones, the Z Fold 3 and Z Flip 3, is still weeks away. However, thanks to leaker Evan Blass, we've just gotten the first official (well, official-looking) image of the new devices, along with some key specs.

In a tweet Monday, Blass revealed that the Samsung Z Flip 3 will have a 6.7-inch internal, and a 1.9-inch external display, as well as a dual 12-megapixel camera on the back, and a 10-megapixel selfie camera on the front.

Tweet may have been deleted

As for the larger Z Fold 3, it'll have a 7.6-inch internal, and a 6.2-inch external display. It'll have a triple 12-megapixel rear camera, and two selfie cameras, a 10-megapixel one on the cover, and a 4-megapixel one inside. Customers will be able to purchase two optional S-Pens (a Pro and a Fold Edition) as well.

Both devices will be water resistant up to IPX8 specs.

As for the image Blass has shared, it certainly looks like an official Samsung press photo. The devices in the image are shown from the rear, with those large rear camera lenses clearly visible, and a water splash is there to assure you of that water resistance.

Notably, the Z Fold 2 and Z Flip 2 are similarly sized, and have similar specs to those outlined above, but they weren't officially water resistant.

SEE ALSO: Samsung's getting ready to 'unpack' some shiny new foldables this August

The news comes less than a day after Samsung officially confirmed that the new foldables will support Samsung's S-Pen stylus, which sort of makes them an unofficial Galaxy Note replacement.

The new devices will be officially unveiled at a virtual Samsung event on August 11.

Posted on 27 July 2021 | 8:00 am

Save 93% on lifetime access to over 90 cybersecurity courses

Get lifetime access to a Infosec4TC Platinum Membership.

TL;DR: Get lifetime access to a Infosec4TC Platinum Membership for £50.18 as of July 27, saving you 93% on list price.


When it comes to a career in cybersecurity, there are lots of possibilities. You just need the right training.

Speaking of the right training, lifetime access to all Infosec4TC courses and programs is on sale for only £50.18 for a limited time. With more than 1,800 hours of training on everything from ethical hacking to GSEC to CISSP and more, that's a pretty great deal.

There are over 90 different courses included, like Cyber Security Certifications Practice Questions 2021, GSEC Certification Security Essentials, and CISSP Exam Preparation Training, to name a few. Fortunately, you can pick and choose what you want to focus on and work through everything on your own schedule.

A platinum membership not only gives you lifetime access to the online courses, but all future courses, extra course materials, exam questions, and access to the student portal as well. You’ll even get a free session with a career counselor to help you plan your next move following your training.  

While it's valued at £726, you can get lifetime access to this membership for only £50.18 for a limited time.

Save 93% on the Infosec4TC Platinum Membership
Credit: Infosec4TC
Save 93% on the Infosec4TC Platinum Membership
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Posted on 27 July 2021 | 4:05 am

Want to learn an instrument? Try this discounted online course bundle.

The Complete 2021 Piano for Beginners Bundle is on sale.

TL;DR: The Complete 2021 Piano for Beginners Bundle is on sale for £14.54 as of July 27, saving you 98% on list price.


Want to learn piano but don't have time to commit to weekly lessons? Consider opting for a virtual course bundle, so you can learn from the experts on your own time.

This Complete 2021 Piano for Beginners Bundle features six courses and over 13 hours of training, which you can work through at your own pace. These lessons are virtual, have no mandatory time commitment, and can be done whenever you have the time.

The lessons are taught by pro keyboard player and session musician David Brogan and piano professor Ilse Lozoya. Both have earned 4.4 out of 5 stars on average from previous students and teach via dynamic video lessons. You’ll learn by actually playing, but you can pause the video lessons as needed.

No prior piano knowledge is needed to get started. Having an instrument to practice on, however, is highly recommended (even if it’s one made of virtual lasers).

This training is valued at £868, but for a limited time, you can sign up for all six courses for just £14.54.

Save 98% on the Complete 2021 Piano for Beginners Bundle
Credit: Skill Success
Save 98% on the Complete 2021 Piano for Beginners Bundle
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Posted on 27 July 2021 | 4:00 am

Elon Musk explains how non-Tesla cars will use Superchargers

Superchargers will soon accept any type of electric vehicle, not just Teslas.

At what may have been Tesla CEO Elon Musk's final quarterly check-in, the electric vehicle evangelist delved into the details about eventually sharing Tesla's Supercharger network.

Last week Musk tweeted about opening up the exclusive Supercharger network to other electric vehicles. Supercharging has only been available to Tesla owners. During Monday's second quarter earnings call he spelled out what this change would look like in the near-future.

Tweet may have been deleted

It'll be a matter of just downloading the Tesla app and heading to a Tesla charger and plugging in, even if you're riding in a Nissan Leaf instead of a Tesla Model 3.

For cars that charge at a slower rate than Teslas (Tesla vehicles are all capable of fast charging, while some older non-Teslas can't take in electricity at that quick of a rate), the longer charge time will cost drivers more.

"The biggest constraint is time," Musk said.

Tesla will also introduce dynamic pricing, charging more for electricity at rush hour, for example. When a station is empty it'll be cheaper than when it's "jam-packed," as Musk put it.

Tesla vehicles have a different connector in North America (which Musk hailed as "the best connector") to the charging port, so non-Teslas will need to use an adapter. Tesla will provide those at the Supercharger stations unless there's a theft problem, Musk said.

You'll need a Tesla adapter for non-Tesla Supercharging.
You'll need a Tesla adapter for non-Tesla Supercharging. Credit: Tesla

In the California car company's latest earning report there were a reported 2,966 Supercharger stations worldwide, which is up 46 percent from a year before.

But that number needs to keep growing, especially as Tesla sold a record number of vehicles (mostly Model Y and 3 vehicles) in the most recent quarter, and plans to open up access to any and all vehicles with a plug-in battery.

"For the Superchargers to be useful to other cars, we need to grow the network faster than vehicle output," he said in Monday's call.

SEE ALSO: Teslas are basic now but many Musk stans don't want to accept that

Since last week's tweet there's been a lot of groaning from Tesla owners, especially about longer wait times and crowded stations. But Musk summed up why this will be a good move for the greater EV movement.

"Our goal is to support the advent of sustainable energy," he said. "It’s not to create a walled garden and bludgeon our competitors."

Posted on 27 July 2021 | 12:08 am

Self-thrusting dildos are here, and I tried them

The Velvet Thruster Prime in lilac

Have you ever been scared and horny at the same time? That's how I felt looking at The Thruster, a handheld thrusting dildo.

Yes, as the name implies, this dildo does the thrusting for you.

The Thruster is a less expensive, more petite take on "fucking machines" like the Cowgirl Machine, which can run you $2,000.

Velvet Thruster cofounders and couple Danyell and Alex Fima began the company in 2017 after working at Boeing, Airbus, and NASA as aerospace engineers. (Yes. That's right.) The work was stressful and carried major liabilities, they explain in Velvet Thruster's about page so they channeled their passion and expertise in advanced engineering into... what else? Sex toys.

The company's goal, according to Danyell Fima, was to replace those bulky, ultra-pricey handheld toys. In previous decades, smaller batteries weren't powerful enough to make it happen. Now, the technology is there.

That being said, these self-pumping dildos aren't cheap: The most affordable option, the Thruster Mini ("Teddy"), retails at $166, while the Thruster Prime will run you $234 before any additional add-ons.

There are fucking machines cheaper than the Thruster on the market (for instance, this jackhammer-looking thing on Amazon), but the Thruster is hand-controllable and more compact, thus easier to store.

The Thruster and its website look intimidating at first glance, the latter due to the many customization options for the Prime. Choose from four colors (lilac, mint, black, and red), and, in the case of the Prime, different head styles ranging from standard dildos to heads made specifically for the G-spot or prostate. Each head has its own page — such as the Walter for anal penetration — to help you decide.

The nitty-gritty on the Thruster

The Prime has an insertable length of seven inches and a total length of 11. I'm not a complete dildo novice, but I am certainly a sex machine novice, so I figured the Prime would be a bit much for me.

Instead, I tried two of Thruster's other offerings: Teddy and Teddy XL ($182). These are both smaller than the Prime: Teddy is the company's smallest at an insertable length of five inches and extending to nine in total. For Teddy XL, it's six inches and ten inches respectively.

The thrusters are made of platinum-cured, body-safe silicone. The Teddy models have realistic dildo attachments, and while the lengths are different, the circumferences are the same, at 4.5 inches in the middle of the shaft.

The bottom of the toy has an accordion-like structure that extends and retracts the toy to create the thrusting motion. Both Teddys have 2.5 inches of vibrating thrust (it extends and retracts 2.5 inches when thrusting), according to Thruster, and six adjustable speeds. They differ slightly in that the Teddy speeds up to 125 strokes per minute, while Teddy XL speeds up to 128 strokes per minute. For comparison, the average dick owner thrusts 48 times per minute.

All Thrusters are cordless and come with their own chargers. You can use Teddy for up to two hours of battery life, and 2.5 hours with the Teddy XL. They can also be used while charging, but I recommend waiting for a wireless experience.

Mini Thruster - Teddy - in Lilac.
Mini Thruster - Teddy - in Lilac.
Credit: velvet thruster
Teddy XL in Mint.
Teddy XL in Mint.
Credit: velvet thruster

What using the Thruster is like

Many dildos are made of body-safe silicone, but there was something special about the Thrusters. The top of the shaft is bendable while the bottom half is sturdy, probably due to the motor. While the dildo doesn't feel exactly like skin — how can it? And would you even want it to? — it's soft, fitting the "velvet" in the company's name.

The part-bendable, part-stiff dildo of the Teddys made maneuvering and inserting easier than with a standard dildo (though, as with all sex toys, I recommend using lots of lube). The Thruster comes with three standard buttons: On/off, plus, and minus to increase/decrease the speed; they're big and easy to handle when using the Thruster.

Watching the Thruster in action is pretty remarkable. I noticed that after a few minutes and at higher speeds, the accordion pumps out air and sounds like a queef. Not a bad thing, but it did make me laugh.

The sensations weren't dissimilar from penetration from a strap-on, only this time I was alone and controlling the speed of the thrusts myself.

I found the Teddys easy to use when lying down — and especially less rigorous than using a standard dildo because the thruster does the work for me — but if you don't want to reach that far, Thruster offers a long-reach handle for solo play and a partner play handle for use in couples. The Teddys have a suction-cup base, which is also clutch for hands-free, doggy-style thrusting as you can stick it on your wall (or your floor, or any hard surface).

Thruster claims these toys will help achieve vaginal orgasms. I've never had the pleasure of experiencing a vaginal orgasm, but along with clit stimulation these toys led to some stellar masturbation sessions.

"Vaginal orgasms aren't the easiest to achieve considering a perfect amount of repetitive stroking, rubbing, and rhythm is needed," Fima noted. While people with penises or strap-ons may not have the stamina for their partner to reach a vaginal orgasm, Thrusters can go for hours.

Needless to say, I'll keep experimenting.

Thruster aftercare and logistics

These toys are water-resistant, meaning that they can't be submerged in water, but they can be washed without having to worry about destroying them. This makes cleaning the dildos much easier.

Since the bottom of the Thrusters has "accordion" grooves (seen in the photos), Velvet Thruster created a way to easily turn the toy off when extended in order to clean them: While the toy is in use, press the on/off button twice within three seconds. The thruster will stop with the accordion extended and can be thoroughly washed.

A downside to the Thrusters is that they don't come with a travel pouch or case. According to the website, the cardboard box it comes in acts as storage. A cardboard box doesn't strike me as the best place to keep a dildo, but it's not the end of the world.

SEE ALSO: Which is the best wand vibrator? Hitachi vs. Le Wand vs. Doxy

The toy comes with a one-sheeter that teaches the user how to charge and clean the toy, but I wish there were a bit more details about the mechanics. I had to find the charge time (2 hours for Teddy and 2.5 for Teddy XL), for example, on the Thrusters website.

None of these snags are terrible and they don't disrupt my enjoyment of the toys, but they stuck out to me. There's always room for improvement.

Is the Thruster worth the price?

The Thruster is by no means a beginner toy, or even a beginner dildo. If you want to explore penetrative toys, I'd recommend starting out with a stationary dildo (many of which come with suction-cup ends as well).

I also wouldn't recommend the Thruster to novice users or to users that prefer clitoral stimulation over vaginal or anal stimulation.

For experienced dildo users who love penetration, however, the Thruster may be perfect for you, if it's in your price range. The self-thrusting action is a marvel, and for those who want powerful movements without having to put in any effort yourself, you can't go wrong with this.

I had the most fun with the smallest Thruster, the Teddy, because the size worked the best for me. It also happens to be under $200.

The Thruster gives you the power of a sex machine in your hand. If that sounds scary, this isn't for you! If it's enticing, however, I'd highly consider purchasing one.

Related Video: 5 ways to safely clean your sex toys

Posted on 27 July 2021 | 12:03 am

Nokia revives the legendary 6310 phone with a larger, curvy display

Nokia 6310 is back! Well, sort of.

There was a point in history, at least in my mind, when Nokia 6310 was the best phone you could get. More advanced than the 3xxx series and yet not as bulky as the Communicator, the Nokia 6310 was the phone to get in the early aughts if money was no object, and getting things done was the priority.

Now, HMD Global, which owns the Nokia brand, has launched a remake of the Nokia 6310 under the same name. As is typical of Nokia's remakes, it's a cheap, little, basic phone that sort of looks like the original (more on that later) but has been updated to be more usable today.

In terms of specs, this means the Nokia 6310 has a 2.8-inch display with curvy edges, a numerical keypad, 8MB of RAM, 16MB of storage (expandable to 32GB via microSD cards), a rear 0.3-megapixel camera, and FM radio. Yes, it's very, very basic.

One good thing about a phone as simple as this one is that its 1,150mAh battery can last for "weeks" between charges — just like the one on the original 6310.

Whip up this baby out of pocket, and literally no one will know that it's a remake of the old Nokia 6310.
Whip up this baby out of pocket, and literally no one will know that it's a remake of the old Nokia 6310. Credit: NOKIA

The design, unfortunately, has little to do with the original Nokia 6310. That phone had a three-tone look (it came in a couple of flavors; my favorite was the light grey/dark grey/gold combo) which, while obviously outdated, still seems to say "I'm a flagship device for serious businessmen," or something like that.

The new 6310 bears almost no likeness to the old one — the shape of the device is different, the buttons are different, even the color schemes are different (the new phone comes in four colors: dark green, yellow, black, and (only in India) light blue).

The new Nokia 6310 and the old Nokia 6310 (pictured; technically, it's a 6310i but they're very similar) aren't exactly peas in a pod.
The new Nokia 6310 and the old Nokia 6310 (pictured; technically, it's a 6310i but they're very similar) aren't exactly peas in a pod. Credit: Shutterstock

The new Nokia has revived several of its old, famous phones like this. I liked the Nokia 3310, which was fairly similar to the original, but was underwhelmed with the Nokia 8110, also known as the Matrix phone. Those two devices, however, at least bore some resemblance to their forefathers; the new Nokia 6310 is similar to the old one only in name. OK, there is one other thing: The new phone also has Snake.

SEE ALSO: 6 personal finance podcasts that won't bore you to death

Alongside the new 6310, Nokia also launched a couple of new smartphones.

The Nokia C30 is an entry-level device running Android Go with a 6.82-inch display, a 13-megapixel camera on the back, a 5-megapixel selfie camera on the front, 2GB of RAM, and 32GB of storage (expandable up to 256GB via a microSD card). The phone's highlight is its 6,000mAh battery, which should keep the phone running for "up to three days."

Nokia C30 is a cheap smartphone with a massive battery.
Nokia C30 is a cheap smartphone with a massive battery. Credit: NOKIA

The Nokia XR20 is a rugged smartphone made to MIL-STD-810H standard and with IP68 water and dust resistance, meaning it shouldn't break when you drop it or submerge it underwater.

Nokia XR20 is the brand's most durable smartphone yet.
Nokia XR20 is the brand's most durable smartphone yet. Credit: NOKIA

It has a 6.67-inch display, a 48/13-megapixel camera, an 8-megapixel selfie camera, 4/6GB of RAM, 64/128GB of storage (expandable up to 512GB via a microSD card), and a 4,630mAh battery.

Availability dates for these devices haven't been announced yet, but we know the prices in the UK and Europe. The Nokia 6310 will cost £49.99 ($69) in the UK and 40 EUR in Europe, the Nokia C30 will be available for £99 ($136) in the UK and 99 EUR in Europe. The Nokia XR20 will cost £399 ($549) in the UK for the 4/64GB version, and £449 ($618) for the 6/128GB version. The average price for this model will be 499 EUR in Europe, Nokia says.

Posted on 26 July 2021 | 11:01 pm

The Galaxy Note is dead (for now) but it lives on in Samsung's new foldables

Goodbye Galaxy Note, hello foldables.

Galaxy Unpacked may be just a few weeks away, but Samsung isn't leaving much to the imagination.

On Monday, the company's president and head of mobile communications business, Tae Moon Roh, confirmed in a recent blog post that two foldable phones are on the way.

Oh, and that the Galaxy Note is dead.

Well, those weren't his words exactly. Towards the bottom of the post, Roh writes:

"I hope you’ll join us as we debut our next Galaxy Z family and share some foldable surprises — including the first-ever S Pen designed specifically for foldable phones. Instead of unveiling a new Galaxy Note this time around, we will further broaden beloved Note features to more Samsung Galaxy devices."

Historically speaking, Samsung has always saved the second half of the year for its Galaxy Note lineup. But considering Roh began to temper expectations for a new model as far back as last year, the news isn't shocking.

SEE ALSO: Galaxy S21 and S21 Ultra review: Enough with the feature overkill, Samsung

In a blog post published in December of 2020, he wrote that Samsung has "been paying attention to people’s favorite aspects of the Galaxy Note experience and [is] excited to add some of its most well-loved features to other devices in our lineup."

A month later, Samsung announced its Galaxy S21 lineup with S-Pen compatibility on the S21 Ultra — another hint that the company was preparing to let go of the Galaxy Note. And now, its upcoming foldable phones are also receiving the S-Pen treatment.

Samsung's post doesn't go into detail regarding what the stylus will look like or how it will function, but a recent leak gives us some insight.

According to leaked renders from 91mobile, a Galaxy Z Fold 3 folio case features a slot for the S-Pen. That leads us to believe the new foldable phone won't have its own dedicated S-Pen slot. And seeing as how Samsung offered a similar case for the S21 Ultra, this latest S-Pen will probably act as an optional accessory.

SEE ALSO: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 review: The foldable we all want but don't need... yet

Speaking of the Z Fold 3, it's still unclear whether that will be the foldable's official name. Throughout the blog post, Roh consistently refers to the company's third-generation foldables as the "upcoming" Z Fold and Z Flip.

It remains to be seen whether the company will decide to tack on extra monikers like "21," or "5G," or perhaps even both — you know, to make it sound extra confusing.

As for what we can expect for the upcoming foldable phones? Other than a more durable display and some recycled camera specs, the leaks don't point to all that much. Of course, we won't have to wait long to find out as all will be revealed on August 11.

Related Video: Hands-on with the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip

Posted on 26 July 2021 | 11:00 pm

Olympic gymnasts tired of being objectified swap leotards for bodysuits

Germany's Pauline Schaefer-Betz in a unitard as she competes in the artistic gymnastics balance beam event during the Tokyo Olympic Games.

The German gymnastics team is attracting attention for more than its gravity-defying moves at this year's Olympic games in Tokyo.

In an effort to prevent the sexualization of their bodies and the sport (and just feel comfortable while competing), the gymnasts traded in standard bikini-cut leotards for full-body unitards on Sunday during an Olympics qualifying round.

"We wanted to show that every woman, everybody, should decide what to wear," said Elisabeth Seitz, a 27-year-old German Olympics gymnast, before the qualifying event, according to Reuters.

Elizabeth Seitz, German gymnast, competes in the Tokyo Olympics in a unitard.
Elizabeth Seitz, German gymnast, competes in the Tokyo Olympics in a unitard. Credit: IRIS VAN DEN BROEK / Getty Images
German gymnast Pauline Schaefer-Betz wears a unitard as she flips upside down during the artistic gymnastics balance beam event during the Tokyo Olympic Games.
German gymnast Pauline Schaefer-Betz wears a unitard as she flips upside down during the artistic gymnastics balance beam event during the Tokyo Olympic Games. Credit: IONEL BONAVENTURE / Getty Images

While bucking tradition, this is not the first time the German team has worn these full-body outfits, which reach their ankles. In April, they donned the bodysuits during the European championships, the Washington Post reported.

That move garnered the team widespread praise from other female gymnasts, according to Reuters.

The International Gymnastics Federation, the governing body of competitive gymnastics, allows gymnasts to compete in uniforms that cover or semi-cover their arms and fully obscure their legs, as long as the color matches their leotards, CNN reported. However, gymnasts have usually covered their legs in competition because of religious reasons, per Reuters.

Back in June, American gold medalist Simone Biles said she supported athletes being able to wear their preferred uniform, even if she'll be sticking to the traditional leotard. "I stand with their decision to wear whatever they please and whatever makes them feel comfortable," Biles said of the German gymnasts, according to the Associated Press. "So if anyone out there wants to wear a unitard or leotard, it's totally up to you."

Germany's Kim Bui shows off her moves in a unitard in a qualifying round of the Tokyo Olympic Games.
Germany's Kim Bui shows off her moves in a unitard in a qualifying round of the Tokyo Olympic Games. Credit: AFP via Getty Images

The unitards shouldn't affect the athletes' ability to perform at their peak condition.

"We also train in tights so we are used to the feeling," said Kim Bui, a 32-year-old German Olympics gymnast, according to Reuters. "It is not that different between competition or training. It is comfortable and that is the most important thing."

While the German gymnasts' bodysuits didn't break any regulations, the same can't be said for the women's beach handball team from Norway when they played in a separate competition. On Monday, the European Handball Federation fined each Norwegian female athlete on the team 150 euros ($177) each for wearing shorts rather than bikini bottoms during a game, the New York Times reported.

The federation requires female players to wear bikini bottoms with “with a close fit and cut on an upward angle toward the top of the leg.” However, male handball athletes can wear shorts.

The Norwegian Handball Federation offered to pay the fines, as has singer Pink.

"The European handball federation should be fined for sexism. Good on ya, ladies," Pink wrote on Twitter on Saturday.

For the German gymnasts at the Olympics, they wanted to look good without feeling uncomfortable.

Tweet may have been deleted

The team decided as a group to wear the bodysuit before the meet.

"We sat together today and said, OK, we want to have a big competition," said Sarah Voss, a 21-year-old gymnast, reported the Associated Press. "We want to feel amazing, we want to show everyone that we look amazing."

Posted on 26 July 2021 | 10:02 pm

The best Chromebooks for kids, from grade school to college

The assumption that Chromebooks are kids' laptops makes sense. They're typically smaller and lighter than traditional laptops, and often hold up better against drops or spills. They usually don't have fast processors, 4K screens, or many other high-end specs that kids just don't need, which slashes the price big time.

For budget-conscious families, it's also noteworthy that many beloved Chromebooks are rarely at their full price — especially near shopping holidays like Prime Day or Black Friday. Price cuts of 25% or more drop some models to near or below the $200 price point.

But there's a more serious facet to Chromebooks that makes them appealing to cautious parents: They're some of the most secure devices on the market. On top of the usual "stranger danger" apprehension, parents are likely concerned about their family's data getting into the wrong hands.

But actually, parent or not, every paranoid internet user should have a Chromebook. Don't @ us.

The main reason is that Chromebooks are cloud-based. Almost anything you do is automatically backed up on Google Drive, so you won't lose all of your files if your Chromebook breaks — or if your kid forgets to save a school paper. Updates are automatic as well.

SEE ALSO: Which tablet to buy for your kid: These are the best right now

Google's Chrome OS is a hardcore bodyguard in itself. Every web page or Chrome app runs its own sandbox, essentially ensuring that other parts of the computer won't be compromised even if that page gets hacked or "infected." However, a Chromebook probably won't get a virus: Most malware is designed for Windows or Mac and ignore Google's OS (for now). If something sketchy were to happen, the threat can be wiped out by closing the page or reverting to factory settings. These security features are a huge part of why nearly three out of every five machines in schools use Chrome OS.

Monitoring kids' usage on the cloud can't be done with downloadable parental control software. The easiest way to set limits is to take advantage of your router's parental control features (Google Nest and Eero are great) or invest in a filter for your home network, like Circle with Disney. These let you manage things like screen time and blocked sites on every device connected to your home WiFi. Upon setup, it's suggested that parents be the first person to create an account. The first account to log in is seen as the "owner" of the Chromebook, and the owner is who gets to control the settings on other accounts.

Choosing the right Chromebook for your kid

Some Chromebooks are lightweight and some are bricks. Younger kids will probably do better with compact laptops with military-grade durability that can handle a drop from the table.

Storage isn't a huge deal when most everything is stored in the cloud. (Google Drive comes with 15GB for free.) However, if your kid will be downloading something like textbooks, you might consider a Chromebook with more storage or with an SD card slot to expand storage. Most have 32GB, basic models have 16GB, and nicer models stretch to 64GB.

If your kid uses Microsoft Office for school, you'll need a Chromebook that can run Android apps from the Google Play Store. Most are Android-compatible, but some fumble with non-Chrome apps.

Chromebooks for entertainment versus actual work

No one is buying a Chromebook to use power-sucking software like Photoshop. That means that Chromebooks don't need a lot of RAM, which is what determines how many tasks your computer can keep track of at once. But even with the draining apps reserved for MacBooks out of the picture, Chromebooks still aren't one-size-fits-all when it comes to daily tasks. When is it time to bypass the average Chromebook 4GB RAM for 8GB or 16GB?

Kids using a Chromebook primarily for media consumption — streaming Disney+ or Youtube, playing games, or using light educational programs — could easily scoot by with 4GB, which is more than capable enough to handle anything that's not super involved when it comes to data or graphics.

Bumping up to a beast like the Google Pixelbook Go or Slate and their 8 or 16GB RAM is the wise move if your kid is regularly using the Chromebook for more than entertainment purposes. We're talking demanding programs like statistics software or storage of huge textbooks — any heavy-duty stuff outside of the Microsoft Word or Google Docs realm. Bigger workloads require more RAM to allow the computer to operate smoothly and avoid the ominous frozen screen. Such desktop-esque models are also more likely to have juicier displays and processors, more versatile ports and memory card slots, and backlit keyboards.

Here are the best Chromebooks for kids in 2021:

Posted on 26 July 2021 | 8:20 pm

It's peak fat bear watching season, so tune in now

Brown bears congregated at the Brooks River in Katmai National Park and Preserve on July 25, 2021.

It's fishin' season.

The brown bears of Alaska's Katmai National Park and Preserve — the same bears of Fat Bear Week internet fame — are currently devouring the skin, flesh, and brains of 4,500-calorie sockeye salmon. The bounties of migrating fish attract an exceptional gathering of bears at Katmai's Brooks River, and the final week of July 2021 is burgeoning with activity. It's a superb opportunity to tune into the dynamic explore.org livestream, beamed from a remote part of the Alaskan Peninsula.

Bears young and old congregate at the river's waterfall, Brooks Falls, in July. It's an ideal place for bears to catch salmon, as the fish run into a natural "roadblock" that slows their migration. The energetic salmon must repeatedly try to leap over the waterfall. Meanwhile, the bears feast on crowds of fish.

"Bear Insanity at Brooks Falls right now!!!" explore.org tweeted on Sunday night.

Tweet may have been deleted
Tweet may have been deleted

Brown bears, except mothers with cubs, live mostly solitary lives, so the annual July congregations are exciting events. Spend some time bear watching, and you'll undoubtedly witness some of these behaviors :

Come August, many bears seek out other rivers with later salmon runs. But in September, brown bears return to Katmai's Brooks River in large numbers to feast on the remains of dead or dying salmon. By October, the bears will be fattened up, sometimes to ridiculous degrees, for their long, harsh winter hibernation.

Watch the magic.

Posted on 26 July 2021 | 7:12 pm

Dev Patel wants 'The Green Knight' to push the limits of a hero's journey

Dev Patel and Joel Edgerton talk about the lessons you'll take away after watching The Green Knight.

Posted on 26 July 2021 | 6:09 pm

The Mirror is $550 off (!) when you use this code at checkout

SAVE $550: July 26 is the last day you can use the code JULY400 to take $150 off The Mirror (normally $1,495) and get free shipping and installation (a $400 value).


Some of us never made it back to the gym after quarantine, and you know what? That's perfectly OK — no one's ever sat on their deathbed wishing they spent more time at a Planet Fitness.

But if a basic set of dumbbells and some resistance bands just aren't cutting it for you anymore, allow us to introduce you to The Mirror, an elegant smart gym that streams live and on-demand fitness classes to the comfort of your living room. It's our favorite piece of home gym equipment for interactive workouts, and it just so happens to be enjoying one of its all-time-highest discounts for a *very* limited time.

SEE ALSO: The most essential fitness tech of 2021 (so far)

Through the end of the day on July 26, you can use the code JULY400 to save $150 on The Mirror and score free shipping and installation (a $400 value). That brings its price down from $1,495 to a slightly more stomachable $1,345 and works out to a total savings of $550, making this one of the best Mirror deals we've ever seen. (It technically even tops The Mirror's Black Friday deal, which "only" took $500 off.)

Why trek to the gym for workout classes when you could just.... not?
Why trek to the gym for workout classes when you could just.... not? Credit: mirror

You wouldn't know what The Mirror was just by looking at it: It doesn't appear to be anything more than a sleek, shiny, full-length mirror when it's not in use. Flip a small switch on its bottom frame, though, and a hidden LCD panel will turn it into a screen; from there, you can pair it with your phone to bring it to life with a variety of workout classes featuring carefully curated playlists and professional instructors. (The latter will appear alongside your reflection so you can work on honing your form.)

We should note that access to those classes will cost you $39 a month by way of a Mirror All-Access Membership, but an extensive library of thousands of expert-led classes (all available 24/7) makes it well worth it.

Save $150 and get free shipping/installation with code JULY400
Credit: Mirror
Save $150 and get free shipping/installation with code JULY400
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Posted on 26 July 2021 | 5:20 pm

Blanket your home in better WiFi with mesh systems on sale

Cover up to 6,000 square feet in high-speed internet.

If you frequently suffer from a poor internet connection during virtual meetings, it may be time to consider a WiFi mesh network.

Mesh systems are designed to blanket your home in WiFi, extending your wireless coverage by sharing the network across multiple devices. If you have a large home, an old home, or one with an unusual layout, you may encounter dead zones with your internet connection and speed. That’s where a mesh network truly shines — it covers the areas a typical router can’t reach.

These highly-rated options from MeshForce are on sale as of July 26.

MeshForce M1 Whole Home Mesh WiFi System

The MeshForce M1 supports up to 60 devices with dual-band WiFi connectivity. With the three WiFi points (included), you can cover up to 4,500 square feet in your home. The full system even connects to a My Mesh app, where you can pause WiFi to specific devices and even manage your children’s screen time. Get the M1 Whole Home System for just $117.99 for a limited time.

MeshForce M1 Whole Home Mesh WiFi System — $117.99
MeshForce M1 Whole Home Mesh WiFi System — $117.99
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Meshforce M3 Mesh WiFi System

Like the M1, the M3 can cover 4,500 square feet, support up to 60 devices, and connect to the My Mesh app for parental control, connection management, and guest networks. With the M3, you’ll get the M3 router, two M3 Dots, and an ethernet cable for $136.99. Choose from white or midnight black ($142.99) to match your home aesthetic.

Meshforce M3 Mesh WiFi System (white) — $142.99
Credit: Speedefy
Meshforce M3 Mesh WiFi System (white) — $142.99
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Meshforce M3 Mesh WiFi System (black) — $142.99
Credit: Speedefy
Meshforce M3 Mesh WiFi System (black) — $142.99
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Meshforce M3s Mesh WiFi System

The M3S WiFi system comes with three M3s WiFi points that can cover up to 6,000 square feet. They’re also compatible with MeshForce M1 points and M3 Dots. Get it in white ($164.99) or midnight black ($168.99) for a limited time.

Meshforce M3s Mesh WiFi System (black) — $164.99
Credit: Speedefy
Meshforce M3s Mesh WiFi System (black) — $164.99
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Meshforce M3s Mesh WiFi System — $164.99
Credit: Speedefy
Meshforce M3s Mesh WiFi System — $164.99
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Meshforce M7 Mesh WiFi System

The M7 is a Red Dot award-winning, powerful tri-band system. It covers up to 6,000 square feet and is expandable up to six mesh points. And thanks to a built-in firewall and WPA/WPA2 encryption, you can browse and stream without security worries. Snag three M7 WiFi points, plus the ethernet cable and power adapters for just $246.99 for a limited time.

Meshforce M7 Mesh WiFi System — $246.99
Credit: Speedefy
Meshforce M7 Mesh WiFi System — $246.99
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Posted on 26 July 2021 | 5:06 pm

Dev Patel dazzles in David Lowery's captivating 'The Green Knight'

I do not know at what point The Green Knight won me over.

David Lowery's feature film, which adapted from the Arthurian story Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, is exceedingly slow and often so bizarre it defies description. It's also some of the most magnificent and breathtaking cinema in recent history — par for the course for Lowery, who wrote and directed 2017's A Ghost Story. The Green Knight now cements him as a master of genre, escapism, and mesmerizing visual language.

Star Dev Patel plays Gawain, a young man who craves greatness but flees from it. When an otherworldly knight (Ralph Ineson) arrives unannounced at the King's (Sean Harris) Christmas feast, Gawain accepts his challenge: Strike the knight anywhere, and he will return the same blow "one year hence." Gawain goes straight for the throat, slicing the knight's head clean off — before his decapitated body picks it up and leaves, promising to strike Gawain back a year later.

The film unfolds in whimsical chapters: "The Christmas Game," "A Too-Quick Year," "A Kindness," and "An Interlude," each its own stylistic vignette. One is ironic, one violent, one horror, but the shifts never interrupt and only enhance the overall tone.

It's best to leave these unspoiled, but Erin Kellyman's segment is a standout, while a play-within-a-play foreshadows Gawain's fate in what he dreads will be the final months of his life. He seeks out the Knight even as his lover Essel (Alicia Vikander) tries to dissuade him, because a great man would not do such a thing.

Dev Patel is truly legendary as Sir Gawain in "The Green Knight."
Dev Patel is truly legendary as Sir Gawain in "The Green Knight." Credit: a24

And so the film becomes a long, luxuriant meditation on greatness itself, an old-fashioned fascination with nobility or lack thereof. It's not an easy sell given our distance from medieval society, and among the film's many impressive feats is that it makes a case for antiquated greatness — or at least for how its pursuit alters the seeker. Characters explore this through action and dialogue, which the film magnificently mirrors.

Even without any script or story to speak of, The Green Knight could exist solely to boast its artistry. Minutes pass without dialogue, sometimes without even a human in sight, turning the experience over to Jade Healy's production design, Christine McDonagh and David Pink's art direction, and Malgosia Turzanska's gorgeous costumes. Lowery once again teams up with cinematographer Andrew Droz Palermo for contemplative stationary shots and quiet, steady panning — all of which they deployed to stunning effect in A Ghost Story — set to Daniel Hart's magnetic score.

With Patel in the lead, Lowery recognizes greatness in front of the camera and unleashes it.

With Patel in the lead, Lowery recognizes greatness in front of the camera and unleashes it in full force. It's an inspired casting choice and easily a career-best performance; for an actor with over a decade of high-profile work, it feels like Patel was born to play this role, unlocking new depths in both Gawain and himself.

He gets to speak in his real voice, for one, not accented as the token Indian tour guide for white leads, and the casting choice should embarrass any Hollywood figure still shutting people of color out of historically white roles. It has been a quiet, triumphant evolution from gawky teen to epic symbol, and Patel wears the mantle like it's destiny.

Vikander commands her scenes, but overall Essel and Gawain's mother (Sarita Choudhury) aren't very necessary. They pray for his safety, question his foolhardy quest, and then disappear for most of the remaining runtime. This isn't a shortcoming of performance or script, but an inherent byproduct of a story set so squarely on the shoulders of one actor. Gawain's introspection takes precedence over any supporting player, and they exist mostly to support him in the few scenes they have — particularly Harris and Joel Edgerton.

At just over two hours, The Green Knight is mesmerizing and immersive until the last millisecond. By the time it twists and turns and coils and uncoils to deliver those final moments, it's a veritable feast of what movies have to offer, in no small part thanks to Lowery's confident command of the cinematic language. It's no surprise that greatness in cinema, as in Gawain's story, comes from patience, attention, and imagination. The result is truly legendary.

The Green Knight arrives in theaters and on-demand Friday July 30.

Posted on 26 July 2021 | 4:27 pm

How to delete your TikTok account

Is it time to delete your TikTok account?

So it's come to this.

"This" being the end of the line for your TikTok account. It's time to delete it.

We get it, though. After dozens upon dozens of "everything is cake" videos, you gotta say "enough's enough" and pack it up. Even the Very Online people have limits. Or maybe you're worried at how an app with an extremely unique algorithm is collecting a whole bunch of data on you. What are they doing with it all?

If you're ready to escape TikTok forever (or at least until you get FOMO and create a new account), follow the steps below.

1. Navigate to your profile page by tapping "Me" in the bottom right corner.

Tap the profile button in the bottom right corner.
Tap the profile button in the bottom right corner. Credit: andy Moser / tiktok

2. Tap the menu icon in the top right corner.

The menu button looks like three horizontal bars in the top right corner.
The menu button looks like three horizontal bars in the top right corner. Credit: andy moser / tiktok

3. In the menu, tap "Manage account."

"Manage account" will be close to the top of the menu.
"Manage account" will be close to the top of the menu. Credit: andy moser / tiktok

4. Tap "Delete account" at the very bottom.

"Delete account" will show up at the very bottom.
"Delete account" will show up at the very bottom. Credit: andy moser / tiktok

5. Carefully read the bulleted information on the following screen! Here's what it'll look like:

Read the info before you tap that big red button.
Read the info before you tap that big red button. Credit: andy moser / tiktok

6. Once you've read all that, and you still want to delete your account, tap "Continue" at the bottom.

TechBoomers notes that you may be asked to perform some sort of verification step after. It'll depend on how you created your count (phone/email/etc). This is because the app wants to verify that the real owner of the account is making the decision to delete it.

Verify your info if you're asked, and then your account will be deactivated.

As mentioned on the bulleted information screen above, your TikTok account will deactivate for a period of 30 days (ya know, just in case you suffer Account Deleter's Remorse and want to request TikTok reinstates your account).

After that 30-day period, your account will be deleted.

Posted on 26 July 2021 | 3:53 pm

8fit blends workouts, meal planning, and meditation into one app

8fit is a health and fitness app that helps you workout and meal plan.

The older I get, the more it seems to make sense to treat health and fitness as a sustainable lifestyle journey rather than a rigid regimen for the sole purpose of hitting goals.

The body positivity and self-care movements are trendier than ever, undoubtedly due to the fact that a large portion of society has become largely aware of just how unsustainable (and sometimes downright dangerous) dieting and weight loss tactics can be.

We could all perhaps use a little less rigidity and a lot more balance in our lives. And this is exactly what 8fit strives to help you with, by taking more of a holistic approach to health and fitness.

What is 8fit?

8fit is a comprehensive health and fitness app that integrates four main areas: exercise, daily movement, meal planning/tracking, and meditation. It essentially eliminates the need to use a separate app for each of these areas.

Although 8fit’s philosophy is more about building and sustaining healthy habits than it is about helping you get to your goal weight by a certain date, you can still use the app for weight loss purposes. When you first sign up, you'll be asked a series of questions about yourself and the types of goals you have so that it can create a personalized experience.

The app interface features a clean and minimal design that’s easy to use, with main menu options at the bottom. On the main feed, you’ll see suggested programs and featured workouts, including upcoming classes you can sign up to follow along with or classes that have previously been held and will expire soon.

There’s also a handy little goal counter for completing workouts, logging meals, hitting your daily step count and completing meditation sessions so you can see at a glance how you’re hitting your goals for each area on a daily basis. It’s pretty basic, but that’s the point — you don’t necessarily need anything overly complicated to track your daily progress.

Weekly goals you set can easily be seen at a glance.
Weekly goals you set can easily be seen at a glance.
Credit: ElISE MOREAU
Users can pick workouts based on a variety of preferences.
Users can pick workouts based on a variety of preferences.
Credit: ELISE MOREAU

Working out with 8fit felt great, but it was limited for free users

8fit offers a good variety of workouts in categories like boxing, HIIT, yoga, pilates, stretch, strength, bands, and weights. There may not be hundreds of workouts to choose from, but there are enough to keep things fresh and interesting — especially if you’re willing to shift between workout types. Just know that there are more workouts in some categories than there are in others. For instance, I counted 58 workouts in the weight lifting category and just 27 in yoga.

The workouts mainly come in two different styles. The first is your classic video-style workout, featuring recorded video content of one of the app’s many fitness coaches actually performing the workout themselves and guiding you through it as they go. The second style is sequence workout, such as a time interval workout, which is a little more self-paced. For each move in the sequence, you’re shown a brief video of someone performing each move before a timer automatically starts so you can do the move yourself.

SEE ALSO: The most essential fitness tech of 2021 (so far)

Workouts are meant to be kept relatively short. Most are around 10 to 20 minutes, with the longest one I’ve come across at 35 minutes. Each workout is labeled beginner, intermediate, advanced, or all levels so you know what to expect in terms of difficulty.

Before you start a workout, the app tells you what you need to get ready, which can be helpful if it’s your first time trying it. I found that the video-style workouts were very professional in terms of picture quality, coach performance/guidance, and the environment it took place in.

The sequence-style workouts were easy to follow and easy to pause if I missed something. When you finish, you’re asked to rate the workout as easy, perfect, or hard and choose an emoji (no, OK, or loved it) so that 8fit can improve its suggestions for you later on.

I really liked that you can select an individual workout on a whim, or you can sign up for a program that lasts several weeks. On the Workout tab, you can also see the newest workouts that have been added and the most popular workouts.

The biggest downside? Most workouts are only available for premium subscribers. You can tell by noticing the obvious padlock icon in the top left of any workout thumbnail. Without upgrading to premium, the number of workouts you’re able to press play on is extremely limited.

Sequence-style workouts walk you through one move at a time.
Sequence-style workouts walk you through one move at a time.
Credit: ELISE MOREAU
You get a chance to prep for each move, which was super helpful.
You get a chance to prep for each move, which was super helpful.
Credit: ELISE MOREAU

Meal planning is for premium subscribers only

I love exploring health and lifestyle apps that combine both fitness and food. Why use two apps when you can tackle both in one?

Upon navigating to the Meals tab, you’ll first be asked a series of questions about your diet type, foods you dislike, the types of recipes you’re interested in, how many meals per day you eat, and how much variety you want. 8fit then uses this information to build your personalized meal plan.

Unfortunately, free members can’t get access to any of the meal planning features. After answering all your meal-related questions, you’ll be asked to upgrade to move forward. Annoying, I know.

If you decide to upgrade, you’ll notice that the meal planning process is quite intuitive to browse and customize to your liking. You get tabs for each meal (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack) with recipe tabs featuring photos, nutritional information, prep time, ingredients, directions, and kitchen tools you’ll need. You can even tap on an individual ingredient in a recipe to see its nutritional information and take advantage of the shopping list feature that tells you all the ingredients you’ll need based on the recipes in your meal plan.

If you eat something or do an activity outside of the 8fit app, you can log it manually. Logging on 8fit is very basic, and it’s primarily there to help you become more aware of your habits as opposed to tracking stats like calories consumed, calories burned, macronutrients, and so on.

That’s another thing — because 8fit is more of an awareness-building app for your lifestyle habits, you won’t see much in terms of data and analytics. Besides the mini goal tracker on the home feed and the calendar on your profile, you don’t get any charts, graphs, or other analysis. It’s also not designed to integrate with other fitness wearables or apps besides Apple Health and Google Fit, making it less versatile in that sense.

Plan your meals ahead, and easily change them if you want something else.
Plan your meals ahead, and easily change them if you want something else.
Credit: ELISE MOREAU
An in-depth view of the meal of the day.
An in-depth view of the meal of the day.
Credit: ELISE MOREAU

Is 8fit worth the premium upgrade?

I'll be honest: The free version of the app isn’t very useful since almost all of its workout content is locked and you get no access to meal planning at all. The more you use it as a free member, the more pop-ups you’ll receive asking you to upgrade.

Despite the limitations of the free version, the app is beautifully designed and the content is excellent. It takes most of the decision-making out of trying to figure out what workout to do and what kinds of meals to plan without getting repetitive, making it worth the upgrade to an annual subscription for $79.99 if you like what you saw in the free version and simply want to take full advantage of the content and features.

Overall, 8fit offers a very practical, all-in-one destination for discovering new content, tracking daily habits, and sustaining a healthy lifestyle by discovering new workouts, programs, and recipes. It’s a breath of fresh air among a myriad of apps that focus mostly on numbers.

Posted on 26 July 2021 | 3:43 pm

Turn your backyard into a spa with these inflatable hot tubs on sale

Relieve muscle tension with 104-degree water and soothing bubble jets.

Spruce up your backyard with one of these inflatable hot tubs on sale as of July 26:


You don't have to spend a literal fortune to make your backyard feel luxurious. Opting for an inflatable hot tub will still give you the relaxing spa-like experience of a normal tub, but for a few thousand dollars cheaper — and who doesn't want to save a few thousand dollars?

Unlike a normal hot tub, you'll be able to take a portable, inflatable hot tub down to store it in the really cold months (most inflatable models can't be used under 39 degrees Fahrenheit). And, if you have to move houses, an inflatable tub will be way easier to transport than one made of hard plastic, perfect for folks who want to make their backyard a destination, but aren't in their forever home quite yet.

Just in time to take you from summer into fall, these three inflatable hot tubs are on sale at Amazon — and they're all sub-$500.

OUR TOP PICK: Coleman 90455 SaluSpa Miami 4 Person Portable Inflatable Hot Tub — $441.99

If you're really into the massage-like experience of a hot tub, this Coleman SaluSpa Miami tub comes with 120 air jets — double the amount of the normal Coleman Saluspa. It features a rapid-heating system that gets it up to a toasty 104 degrees, and reviews say that the assembly is fast and easy. While you'll have to clean out the filter every time you use it, the SaluSpa is ideal for folks who want the therapeutic benefits of a hot tub but don't want to shell out the cash for a traditional one.

Save $78 at Amazon
Credit: Coleman
Save $78 at Amazon
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BEST BUDGET SIX-PERSON TUB: Bestway 54185E SaluSpa Milan Airjet Plus Portable Inflatable 6 Person Hot Tub — $469.99

If you plan on having people over to enjoy the hot tub, this one from Bestway comfortably seats up to six people. It has an attached digital control panel and a compatible smartphone app that allows you to control the temperature, timer, and bubbles, even if you're not outside. It features 80 bubble jets for a relaxing full-body massage, and reaches up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit.

Save $180 at Amazon
Credit: Bestway
Save $180 at Amazon
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BEST UPGRADE PICK: Intex PureSpa Greywood Deluxe Outdoor Inflatable Six Person Hot Tub — $649.99

Named Mashable's top pick in our best inflatable hot tubs roundup, the Intex PureSpa Greywood Deluxe has all the bells and whistles of a normal hot tub, at a fraction of the price. It features 170 soothing high-powered bubble jets, reaches up to 104 degrees, and has a built-in hard water treatment system that makes water gentler on your skin, clothes, and the tub, too. There's also an added LED light that will help you get the vibes just right when you're ready for a soak.

Save $50 at Amazon
Credit: Intex
Save $50 at Amazon
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Posted on 26 July 2021 | 3:34 pm

How to create a private session on Spotify

Spotify icon

It's exhausting to have to perform for your Spotify followers all the time. Take a break and listen to all your guilty pleasures in a private session.

By default what you're listening to on Spotify is broadcasted to all your followers under friend activity on desktop — it's that scrolling column on the right side of the app. Personally, Spotify is my favorite form of social media because wow, you can learn a lot about a person's headspace based on their listening habits (if you're listening to Blonde I will be texting you to check in). But I understand wanting some privacy, because no one needs to know you're listening to your crush's playlist.

Private sessions allow you to listen to music for as long as you want without your listening activity being displayed to your followers. The music you listen to in a private session also will not influence your music recommendations like your Discover Weekly. A private session automatically ends when you close the app or after a long period of inactivity.

Follow the steps below to listen to whatever you want in peace.

How to create a private session on desktop:

1. Open Spotify

2. Click the arrow in the upper right corner next to your name

Click the arrow.
Click the arrow. Credit: screenshot: Spotify

3. Select "Private Session"

Select "Private Session."
Select "Private Session." Credit: Screenshot: Spotify

When you are in a private session, a blue lock will appear next to your profile picture.

The blue lock indicates that you're in a private session.
The blue lock indicates that you're in a private session. Credit: screenshot: spotify

To end a private session repeat the steps.

How to create a private session in app:

1. Open Spotify

2. Tap "Home" in the bottom left hand corner

3. Tap the settings icon in the upper right corner

Tap the gear in the upper right hand corner.
Tap the gear in the upper right hand corner. Credit: screenshot: spotify

4. Select "Social"

Select "Social."
Select "Social." Credit: Screenshot: spotify

5. Turn private session on by tapping the white circle next to "Private session"

Tap the white circle to turn on and off private sessions.
Tap the white circle to turn on and off private sessions. Credit: screenshot: spotify

To end a private session repeat the steps or close the app.

Check out other fun Spotify features.

Posted on 26 July 2021 | 3:08 pm

So your kid needs a laptop — here are the best options

The learning experience is fundamentally different for kids now than it was even for today's 20-somethings — especially for elementary and middle schools. A lot of that change can be attributed to laptops.

The Covid-induced school closures that spanned 2020 cemented the cruciality of a kid having easy access to a laptop at home. Both teachers and parents were forced to make online learning work — and now that the groove has been found, a hybrid model may just be the future for some classrooms even after pandemic protections are a thing of the past.

Sheer convenience isn't the only reason for kids to have a laptop. The importance of access to email and virtual learning platforms like Blackboard while a kid's not at school can't be understated (and for a lot of kids, it's far less intimidating than talking to a teacher IRL.) Digital accessibility to school materials and other resources can cultivate a sense of autonomy and responsibility in students: The Speak Up Research Project for Digital Learning found that high schoolers who were assigned a laptop were more likely to take notes in class, do internet research, create documents to share, collaborate with their peers on projects, check their grades, and get reminders about due dates or tests.

Are first graders going to be taking notes or keeping track of their own test scores? Probably not. But as children move from elementary to middle to high school, computers are made a more integral part of the curriculum and assignments. Young kids can stay ahead of the curve by practicing those skills at home — it's like practicing reading with your preschooler or letting your 15-year-old practice driving in a parking lot. Easing them into the responsibility of keeping a device charged can work as preparation for a cell phone as well.

As schools continue to solidify laptop-based curricula, we expect retailers to make it easy for parents to buy their kids a laptop. Shoppers saw an emphasis on affordable laptops and Chromebooks in the early month of school shutdowns, and shopping holidays like Prime Day and Black Friday will likely keep student-friendly laptops at the top of the deals list — even if remote learning has fizzled out.

How to monitor your kid's computer activity without smothering them

Handing a laptop to your kid (and subsequently setting them loose on the internet) naturally comes with safety concerns. The already-huge screen time debate was forced into the spotlight when the coronavirus required schools to close, forcing caregivers to find a way to keep kids entertained and engaged all day, every day. Parents were told to not freak out about their kids staring at a screen while stuck at home, as the evidence connecting screen time and cognitive or behavior development is pretty meager. But if you're worried that too much freedom will result in kids landing on an inappropriate site or going into technology zombie mode, parental control software steps in to strike a healthy balance.

What's the difference between a Chromebook and a laptop?

A Chromebook is a laptop that operates almost solely on the internet. These laptops aren't inherently kids' laptops, but their low price point, cute and compact designs, and security features do make them a good option for iffy parents and kids who will be doing most of their work on a web browser (like playing on ABCmouse or typing on Google Docs).

Being locked into Chrome OS isn't as limiting as it sounds. Actually, it provides some freedoms that regular laptops can't. Because everything is automatically stored on Google Drive, your kid won't lose all of their work if they forget to save a document or if the Chromebook itself crashes. This also means that kids can access their slideshow or essay on any computer where they can log into their Google account.

Kids perusing the internet might sound like a virus waiting to happen. Every web page or Chrome app runs its own sandbox, essentially ensuring that other parts of the computer won't be compromised even if that page gets hacked or "infected."

However, malware has nothing on Chrome. Most hackers are aiming at Windows or Mac and ignore Google's OS (for now), making it highly unlikely for a Chromebook to get a virus. If something sketchy were to happen, the threat can be wiped out by closing the page or reverting to factory settings. Parents and teachers can get some peace of mind without constantly looking over their child's shoulder, and children can surf the web without feeling like they're being watched.

Laptops for younger kids versus older kids

Some criteria make sense for all ages. Young kids need something sturdy that can handle drops or bumps, and older kids need something that can handle being lugged in a backpack alongside heavy books. Long battery life makes everyone's life easier, too.

Processing power and storage will likely be your main deciding factors, and it all depends on what the kid will be doing on the laptop. Younger kids may do some light schoolwork, play games, or watch a movie, but there's no reason to pay for RAM over 4 GB to run a few apps for school or a fancy screen to play Overcooked! 2. Faster RAM and increased screen resolution will be important for high school or college students who need a device that can multitask with power-sucking apps like PhotoShop or software for a statistics course. Ample storage space is a must to house things like schoolwork and downloaded textbooks.

Here are the best laptops for kids in 2021:

Posted on 26 July 2021 | 2:58 pm

Mars helicopter zooms past its first mile marker during 10th flight

After 10 successful flights on Mars, NASA's Ingenuity helicopter has now covered more than a mile in the Martian air.

Ingenuity's 10th flight on Saturday saw the four-pound drone scouting over an area of scientific interest called the Raised Ridges, covering a distance of about 310 feet in a little under three minutes. Along with hitting a record-setting altitude of 40 feet, the helicopter clocked its first mile on its 152nd sol (Mars day) after landing with Perseverance in February.

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The little helicopter was originally planned to perform just five test flights, a tech demo to see if it was actually possible to fly in the extremely challenging Martian environment. After those five successful flights, Ingenuity has been embarking on exceedingly challenging scouting missions, looking for interesting terrain that the Perseverance rover could potentially visit with all of its scientific instruments. In total, the helicopter has spent nearly 17 minutes in the air.

Saturday's 10th flight had the helicopter fly through a series of 10 waypoints, the most that it's done in one flight, to get images of the Raised Ridges. Located within the ancient lakebed in Jezero Crater, the geology of the Raised Ridges could help scientists unpack the history of this area of Mars where liquid water once flowed over the surface, and life may have once existed. Mission scientists said in a news briefing on July 21 that Perseverance will collect a sample from the Raised Ridges to be prepared for a return to Earth.

This annotated map shows the planned path for Ingenuity's 10th flight, including the 10 waypoints it successfully traversed through.
This annotated map shows the planned path for Ingenuity's 10th flight, including the 10 waypoints it successfully traversed through. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona

Ingenuity's ability to cover far distances and travel above difficult terrain makes it an excellent companion to the Perseverance rover. The helicopter can scout ahead to find interesting terrain and see if certain destinations are worth the rover taking the time to travel to and inspect. Efficiency is key in interplanetary exploration.

SEE ALSO: Is it aliens? Here's why it's hard to know for sure.

With 10 flights down, hopefully Ingenuity can keep pushing the boundaries in its historic life on Mars and continue to deliver positive results to aid in scientists' quest to determine whether life ever appeared on Mars.

Posted on 26 July 2021 | 2:43 pm

5 portable power stations on sale for your emergency preparedness kit

Power your life during an emergency or while you're off the grid.

As part of your disaster preparedness plan, it doesn't hurt to have a backup power station.

These five options — including indoor and outdoor models, solar-powered batteries, and more — are on sale as of July 26.

HomePower ONE: Backup Battery Power Station

With 1,002Wh of power, this backup battery station can provide up to seven days of power supply on a single charge. You can recharge it from your car, AC outlet, or with the compatible solar-powered accessory. Normally, the HomePower ONE retails for $1,299, but you can slash 26% off and pay just $949.99 for a limited time.

HomePower ONE: Backup Battery Power Station — $949.99
Credit: Generark
HomePower ONE: Backup Battery Power Station — $949.99
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Generark Solar Generator: HomePower ONE + SolarPower ONE

This power generator also includes solar panel chargers, and provides up to seven days of battery power while giving you multiple ways to recharge. Get the Generark solar generator for just $1,399 (regularly $1,897) for a limited time.

Generark Solar Generator: HomePower ONE + SolarPower ONE — $1,399
Credit: Generark
Generark Solar Generator: HomePower ONE + SolarPower ONE — $1,399
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EcoFlow DELTA Power Station

Power up to 13 devices at the same time with this 1,260Wh battery-powered generator. Use the solar panels to recharge it in just four hours. (It can also be recharged using your carport.) Get it for just $1,149 (normally $1399) for a limited time.

EcoFlow DELTA Power Station — $1,149
EcoFlow DELTA Power Station — $1,149
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EcoFlow RIVER Portable Power Station

This power station is compatible with 80 percent of home appliances, like refrigerators and air conditioners. Get the EcoFlow RIVER for just $339.99 (normally $349) for a limited time.

EcoFlow RIVER Portable Power Station — $339.99
Credit: Ecoflow
EcoFlow RIVER Portable Power Station — $339.99
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EcoFlow RIVER Pro Portable Power Station

The RIVER Pro provides even more energy, with 720Wh of battery capacity. You can keep multiple devices powered at once and recharge through your car, solar panels, or standard outlets. Charge up to 10 devices at the same time. Take home the RIVER Pro for a limited time for just $629.99 (normally $649).

EcoFlow RIVER Pro Portable Power Station — $629.99
Credit: Ecoflow
EcoFlow RIVER Pro Portable Power Station — $629.99
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Posted on 26 July 2021 | 2:34 pm

Take summer movie nights up a notch with an outdoor projector

The projector has a built-in table mount.

Save $124: Grab the Anker Nebula Solar Portable 1080p projector on sale for $475.99 at Amazon.


As summer winds down, you'll probably want to spend as much time as you can outdoors before the colder weather starts to creep back in. An outdoor projector is a fun way to chill outside without having to do anything too active or sweaty.

The Anker Nebula Solar Portable projector has a three-hour battery life for watching flicks in your yard or on your rooftop, and as of July 26, it's on sale for $475.99, down from $599.99. Plus, you can use it indoors when the mosquitos get to be too much.

The Full HD projector produces an image up to 120 inches on whatever flat, plain surface you have available. It's equipped with autofocus and a digital zoom to help you get a clear picture. Plus, it has Android TV built in, giving you access to more than 5,000 apps, so you can easily stream from Netflix or Hulu.

Save $124 at Amazon
Credit: Anker
Save $124 at Amazon
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Posted on 26 July 2021 | 2:31 pm

Get a $20 Costco Shop Card when you sign up for a yearly membership

TL;DR: Get a $20 Costco Shop Card with the purchase of a new, one-year membership (until Aug. 1).


There's no better time than right now to focus on your personal wellness. It's the hottest trend of the last few years and we don't see it going away anytime soon.

Whether you’re increasing your daily water intake, seeking your inner zen, or enjoying time in the great outdoors with friends, Costco has gadgets and gizmos aplenty to help take your wellness game to the next level before the end of summer. And through Aug. 1, you can get a $20 Costco Shop Card with the purchase of a new, one-year membership.

Here are some Costco finds to help fuel your wellness reboot.

Take Hydration Seriously with the HoMedics TotalComfort Ultrasonic Humidifier

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Credit: Homedics

Running a humidifier in your home is a quick, simple way to rehydrate skin that's parched from the sun, a trip to the desert, or too much time beside the air conditioner.

Get hip to the pickleball trend with the Wilson Pickleball Kit

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Credit: wilson

If you haven’t heard of pickleball this summer, then are you even living in 2021? Find out what the buzz is all about with this easy, everything-but-the-net set. But be warned — you’ll probably get hooked, because it really is as fun as they say.

Bring the om home with the Crystal Cove Home Yoga Pillow Bundle

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Credit: crystal cove

If you need a little extra support in your yoga practice, this is the pillow set for you. The yoga bolster, meditation cushion, and pranayama pillow are filled with sustainable buckwheat hulls and feature removable covers for easy cleaning and thick carry handles for traveling from home to class.

Join Costco and get a $20 Shop Card to spend on summer items
Credit: Costco
Join Costco and get a $20 Shop Card to spend on summer items
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Posted on 26 July 2021 | 2:17 pm

Take your interest in photography to the next level with this course bundle

Learn how to take photos of all types.

TL;DR: Take pro-quality photos for your social media, website, blog, and more with the 2021 Ultimate Learn to Become a Photographer bundle. As of July 26, get the 13-course package for only $29.99, a total savings of 98%.


If you want to take your photography to the next level, this 13-course bundle will break down what you need to know.

The 2021 Ultimate Learn to Become a Photographer bundle begins with a course on how to take amazing photos for beginners and will guide you all the way up to advanced photography skills. There's even a course that will teach you how to operate the professional photographer's favorite camera: the Nikon DSLR.

The business side of photography is covered, too. There's a course dedicated to creating your own wedding photography business: how to price packages, how to build an equipment kit, and how to build your own brand.

Courses are taught by professionals like Phil Ebiner, who boasts a rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars as an instructor. Since 2012, he's taught over 200,000 students and shot and edited thousands of photos and videos.

Normally, this bundle of online photography courses retails for $2,600. But, for a limited time, you can get unlimited, lifetime access to all 13 courses for just $29.99.

The 2021 Ultimate Learn to Become a Photographer Bundle — $29.99
Credit: Phil Ebiner
The 2021 Ultimate Learn to Become a Photographer Bundle — $29.99
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Posted on 26 July 2021 | 1:45 pm

Apple's iPhone 14 Pro might come with a titanium body

Next year, stainless steel might get replaced with a titanium alloy.

Next year, some iPhone models might get sturdier than ever before.

According to a report by JP Morgan Chase (via MacRumors), Apple plans to equip the Pro models in its iPhone 14 series of devices — likely coming next year — with a titanium alloy chassis.

This would be a first for the iPhone; previously Apple used aluminum and stainless steel for the iPhone. Titanium is harder and more resistant to scratches, more resistant to corrosion, and lighter than stainless steel.

However, titanium is harder to etch, and it's quite prone to fingerprint marks. Apple reportedly has a fix for both issues, by using an oxide coating which should get rid of fingerprints, as well as a new blasting, etching and chemical process that should give titanium a glossier finish.

SEE ALSO: Apple's iPhone 13 might have an always-on display

Notably, Apple does already use titanium for its Apple Watch Edition, which used to have a ceramic case.

It's hard to tell, but these Apple Watch models have a titanium case.
It's hard to tell, but these Apple Watch models have a titanium case. Credit: apple

In other Apple rumors, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman said in the latest edition of his PowerOn newsletter that Apple plans to bring Face ID to basically all relevant devices, including all iPads, Macs, and the iPhone SE range. There's no clear timeline on this, though, but it should eventually happen. And you know what that means: Notches on iPhones are here to stay, even though this year's iPhone 13 is rumored to come with a smaller notch than previous models.

Related Video: 5 game-changing iPhone hacks for 2021

Posted on 26 July 2021 | 1:43 pm

Switch effortlessly from studying to gaming with the right tech for college life


Getting your head around a new semester is all about using your time and resources wisely. Cutting-edge gaming tech can power your downtime at school, but it can also help you speed through your classwork. To find that perfect balance, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30 Series laptops are powerhouses for keeping up with intense games, handling demanding school apps, and creating content.

To make your gaming setup dorm room-friendly, a GeForce laptop is a smart, space-saving option. You’ll also love the newfound freedom and independence of a rig you can take pretty much anywhere—especially when you need a break from your roommate.

Here are our favorite picks for back-to-school tech perfect for gaming and studying:

Get speed and efficiency

What gives NVIDIA its summa cum laude status in the world of GPUs? It’s award-winning Ampere architecture with 2nd gen RTX. The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Laptop GPU on this Dell laptop packs ray tracing cores for cinematic-quality visuals and NVIDIA DLSS (Deep Learning Super Sampling), which is groundbreaking AI rendering technology that boosts game performance.

Dell G5 5510 ($1,499.99)
Credit: Micro Center
Dell G5 5510 ($1,499.99)
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Treat your eyes to stunning graphics

Are you a visual learner? Prepare your peepers for realistic ray-traced graphics and AI-accelerated DLSS thanks to an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Laptop GPU on this Alienware gaming laptop with a 17.3-inch screen and incredibly thin left and right bezels.

Alienware m17 R4 ($2,249.99)
Credit: Best Buy
Alienware m17 R4 ($2,249.99)
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Play hard and study hard

The 300Hz refresh rate, panoramic aurora lighting, and sleek chassis make this high-end machine a thing of beauty any gamer would be proud to own. Its swift NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Laptop GPU and tons of system memory (32GB) let you max out your gameplay or get serious work done.

MSI GE66 ($2,999.99)
Credit: Best Buy
MSI GE66 ($2,999.99)
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Stay calm with an accident-proof laptop

Game, stream, and write term papers on this battle axe of a rig offering military-grade durability and a familiar Windows 10 OS. The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti Laptop GPU facilitates action-packed gameplay and blazing through a syllabus.

ASUS Tuf Gaming A17 ($1,149.99)
Credit: Micro Center
ASUS Tuf Gaming A17 ($1,149.99)
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Train with an RGB keyboard

Get the power of a desktop in laptop form with an overclockable NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Laptop GPU and a 15.6-inch, widescreen, LED-backlit display. It also has a four-zone RGB backlit keyboard.

Acer Predator Helios 300 ($1,639)
Credit: Amazon
Acer Predator Helios 300 ($1,639)
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Create your own studio

Polish your presence for voice and video calls with the NVIDIA Broadcast app. Its AI-enhanced A/V tools remove background noise like typing and allow you to customize your background with an AI greenscreen. Go ahead and live-stream your next virtual presentation from Mars—or the campus coffee shop, at least.

NVIDIA Broadcast app
NVIDIA Broadcast app
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Measure your wins with scientific precision

Want a competitive edge? NVIDIA Reflex tech reduces system latency in games by combining GPU and game optimizations enabling you to react quicker, increase aim precision, and acquire targets faster. For the accuracy-obsessed, your highly-polished skills are measured in milliseconds.

NVIDIA Reflex
Credit: NVIDIA
NVIDIA Reflex
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Upgrade your “field” of play

Forget blurry visuals with this 24.5-inch gaming screen featuring a 360Hz refresh rate and NVIDIA’s Reflex Latency Analyzer tech to prevent tearing and ghosting when the action kicks up. Specially designed for competitive play, it also has VisionCare features to minimize eyestrain.

Acer Predator X25 ($799.99)
Credit: Acer
Acer Predator X25 ($799.99)
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Get hands-on experience

The optical gaming sensor of this Reflex Latency Analyzer compatible wireless mouse tracks movements at 400 inches per second for lag-free responsiveness and has a built-in, programmable joystick you can use in digital or analog mode. Other customizable, DIY features include screw-less magnetic buttons and push-fit switch sockets.

ASUS ROG Chakram Wireless Gaming Mouse ($124.99)
Credit: Amazon
ASUS ROG Chakram Wireless Gaming Mouse ($124.99)
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Posted on 26 July 2021 | 12:53 pm

John Oliver unpacks racial housing discrimination in America and calls for reparations

John Oliver has delved into the history of race and land ownership in America in the latest episode of Last Week Tonight. It's a history that, in Oliver's words, "has many horrifying chapters pretty much from chapter one when America was 'discovered' from under other people's feet."

As Oliver points out, some communities in the U.S. technically still have laws in place prohibiting the sale of homes to people of colour. Oliver begins by telling the story of a Black couple who owned two oceanfront lots on Manhattan Beach, California in the 1920s. After the Klu Klux Klan was involved in harassing them, the town seized the land. 100 years on, the Bruce family may have that land returned to them. Oliver goes on to make the case that other families who've experienced similar injustices should receive reparations for land that was taken from them.

"The only really strange thing about paying reparations to Black people is that we haven’t done it yet," the host of Last Week Tonight said. "When you deprive somebody of something, you make it right by paying what you owe."

Posted on 26 July 2021 | 11:30 am

Non-writers can create killer copy with the help of Writesonic’s AI-based software

This AI writing tool is ideal for business owners,  marketers, and more.

TL;DR: Writesonic will become your new favorite copywriting tool, and as of July 26, get a lifetime subscription for only $69.99 — a 98% discount.


Let’s face it. Not everyone was born to be a writer. And if you’re one of the many who can’t arrange words into eloquent segments, you’ve likely already made your peace with it. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean you’re free of all writing forever. In fact, if you run a business of any shape or size, you’re going to need a wordsmith to give your brand a fighting chance.

Along with visual content and SEO, written content is essential to most business marketing strategies. And as of 2020, 70 percent of marketers actively invested in content marketing. But when funds are tight, the luxury of an on-staff content writer is sometimes not something you can afford. That’s where artificial intelligence saves the day (as usual). With Writesonic, the AI-powered tool that helps you write copy effortlessly, you can create high-performing ads, landing pages, descriptions, blog posts, and more in just seconds without breaking the bank.

Rated 4.9 out of 5 stars on AppSumo, Writesonic has the power to boost your business without you lifting a finger. Well, you’ll actually have to click a few buttons, but it’s still a major energy and time-saver. You’ll select from a collection of copy templates depending on what you need, including landing pages, ads, and more. Then, simply enter a short description (just one or two lines) of your product or service as input, hit generate, and watch as a dozen high-converting copy variants are formed in front of your eyes. If you want to add a few things in after the fact, feel free to edit the results. Then just copy, share, and launch your AI-written copy. 

Writesonic is powered by OpenAi, a San Francisco-based artificial intelligence research lab, and their revolutionary Generative Pre-trained Transformer 3 technology. Consider it the brains of the operation. It uses deep learning to scour the web and figure out what type of content performs well and how to sound like a human, thus delivering only the best for you and your brand.

For a limited time, you can grab a lifetime subscription to this game-changing tool for only $69.99 (a $5,340 value).

Writesonic Starter Plan: Lifetime Subscription — $69.99
Credit: Writesonic
Writesonic Starter Plan: Lifetime Subscription — $69.99
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Posted on 26 July 2021 | 9:00 am

Swimming coach's wild reaction to Olympic win is an instant-classic meme

Ariarne Titmus of Team Australia embraces Coach Dean Boxall after the medal ceremony for the Women's 400m Freestyle Final on day three of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre on July 26, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Twenty-year-old Australian swimmer Ariarne Titmus made her mark at her first ever Olympics on Monday, beating out American champ Katie Ledecky to take gold in the women's 400 metre freestyle final.

Titmus, whose nickname is "Arnie", smashed her personal best time in the race with 3:56.69, ahead of Ledecky's 3:57.36. Ledecky put up a real fight, with the final lap a genuinely thrilling neck-and-neck push towards the wall.

But Titmus' incredible win also gave viewers — and the internet — another indelible moment: the sight of her coach, Dean Boxall, going positively hog wild with GIFable joy up in the stands.

Tweet may have been deleted

Absolutely hooting and hollering.

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NBC's commentary team noted a resemblance to Back to the Future's Doc Brown.

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This moment of joy and vindication is an clear instant classic reaction that will live on on the internet for years to come. It distils the essence of so many iconic sports GIFs: Vince McMahon leaning back in his chair (yes, WWE counts, don't @ me), Rob Ryan fist-pumping, the Buckle Up Baby hockey kid. It's all of those in one. Boxall is clearly ready to tear the stadium to pieces with his bare hands, fuelled only by pure adrenaline and pride.

While we cannot endorse ripping your mask off to scream very much outside your heart in the middle of a pandemic, violently air-humping barriers, or terrifying poor facilities staffers who were clearly not warned about how Australian men react to winning at sport, we can all recognise and relate to a moment of long-fought-for triumph.

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Tweet may have been deleted
Tweet may have been deleted
Tweet may have been deleted
Tweet may have been deleted
Tweet may have been deleted
Tweet may have been deleted
Tweet may have been deleted
Tweet may have been deleted

Hail to the camera operators who spotted and recorded this moment for posterity. And here's hoping Boxall shouts that poor usher a drink once he's out of Ultimate Warrior mode.

Posted on 26 July 2021 | 4:11 am

Save 91% on a bundle deal that includes a private phone line and a VPN

The Lifetime Mobile Privacy and Security Subscription Bundle is on sale.

TL;DR: The Lifetime Mobile Privacy and Security Subscription Bundle is on sale for £21.81 as of July 26, saving you 91% on list price.


For a limited time, you can get a Hushed Private Phone Line and a lifetime subscription to KeepSolid VPN bundled together for just £21.81.

The Hushed Private Phone Line lets you set up a second secure phone number while keeping your real number hidden. You can choose from hundreds of different area codes, and your plan includes a yearly usage of 6,000 SMS or 1,000 call minutes that automatically renews each year.

The lifetime subscription to KeepSolid VPN gives you security and anonymity online with no speed or bandwidth limits. Break down geographical barriers for apps like Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and more, all while enjoying military-grade AES 256-bit encryption.

At full price, you'd pay £253 for both apps. But, for a limited time, you can save hundreds with this bundle deal and pay just £21.81 for a lifetime subscription to both.

Save 91% on the Lifetime Mobile Privacy and Security Subscription Bundle
Credit: KeepSolid
Save 91% on the Lifetime Mobile Privacy and Security Subscription Bundle
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Posted on 26 July 2021 | 4:05 am

Learn the tips and tricks you need to make your own beats with this EDM bundle

The Complete 2021 EDM Music Production Bundle is on sale.

TL;DR: The Complete 2021 EDM Music Production Bundle is on sale for £21.81 as of July 26, saving you 98% on list price.


Sign up for the Complete 2021 EDM Music Production Bundle to get a primer on the tips and tricks you need to make your own beats.

This bundle includes eight in-depth courses and over 600 lessons covering electronic music, music theory, EDM production, and DAW (digital audio workstation) software. They’re taught by Jason Allen, Ph.D, an Ableton Certified Trainer, David O’Leary, an audiovisual specialist, sound engineer, and DJ, Benjamin Lynott, a veteran music producer and audio engineer, and Chester Sky, a music producer and composer.

If you’re a complete beginner, there’s a primer course that will help you get started with the basics, including what equipment you’ll need, what software you should buy, and how to get it all set up. There’s also a novice's class that teaches you how EDM is structured and the musical principles it’s based upon, as well as some basics on production, theory, composition, mixing, and mastering. From these two courses onward, you’ll build a solid foundation for your budding electronic music production skill set.

Finally, you’ll start your deep dive into Ableton Live, which is arguably the best DAW software for EDM. You’ll focus on how to use your DAW as your instrument, analyse popular tracks from EDM artists like Avicii, Skrillex, and Daft Punk, and make harmonies, melodies, and eventually, whole tracks from scratch.

While it's valued at over £1,000, you can sign up for this eight-course bundle for £21.81 when you’re ready to unleash your inner DJ.

Save 98% on the Complete 2021 EDM Music Production Bundle
Save 98% on the Complete 2021 EDM Music Production Bundle
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Posted on 26 July 2021 | 4:00 am

From old favorites to 'Old': Every M. Night Shyamalan thriller, ranked

Few filmmakers are as hotly debated as M. Night Shyamalan. To many, the story of his career goes something like this.

The Academy Award-nominated writer-director won over audiences with the horror flick The Sixth Sense (1999). He kept up the successful streak with the chilling superhero story Unbreakable (2000) and heart-wrenching alien invasion tale Signs (2002).

Then, things took a turn for the confusing with period thriller The Village (2004) and exhausting mermaid suspense story Lady in the Water (2006). This apparent quality nosedive culminated in total catastrophe with apocalyptic thriller The Happening (2008), one of the silliest films ever made.

Shyamalan's reputation stayed lukewarm across found-footage film The Visit (2015) and Unbreakable sequels Split (2017) and Glass (2019). But with his latest release now in theaters, there's never been a better time to revisit his divisive, extraordinarily hit-or-miss body of work.

On Rotten Tomatoes, Old (2021) is hovering around 50%. Its quality is being heavily contested on social media — and, yes, "the beach that makes you old" is getting memed.

As someone who gave Old a positive review (I stand by it!), this emphasizes to me the role personal preference plays in enjoying Shyamalan's work. It seems to me what you expect from a thriller hugely impacts whether you walk away satisfied at the end of a Shyamalan film.

With this in mind, I've rewatched and ranked every Shyamalan thriller, spelling out what makes some titles work better for me than others. YMMV, but that's true of every director.

Note: This is not a complete ranking of Shyamalan filmography. Because Shyamalan is primarily known for his thrillers, we've excluded dramas Praying with Anger (1992) and Wide Awake (1998), as well as fantasy films After Earth (2013) and The Last Airbender (2010).

That said, I will take this opportunity to say: The Last Airbender is terrible. Truly, it is the worst thing to happen to Aang, Katara, and Sokka since the Fire Nation attacked. Never watch it. Thank you.

10. Glass (2019)

"Belief in oneself is contagious."
"Belief in oneself is contagious." Credit: universal pictures

The Bruce Willis-starring superhero thriller Unbreakable came out before the Marvel Cinematic Universe existed. So you'd think that'd be the film to understand the world of comics the least.

But, nope. That distinction goes to Glass, the final film in the Unbreakable franchise that somehow manages to make superpowers lame and three great actors boring. Samuel L. Jackson and Will reprise their roles from the original film, and James McAvoy returns as his character from the other Unbreakable sequel Split. Sarah Paulson joins the cast as Dr. Ellie Staple, a psychiatrist.

Easily the worst Shyamalan thriller, Glass took the Unbreakable franchise — and, well, broke it. If you're dying to see more of this world after watching the first two, cue it up. Otherwise, it's a pass.

How to watch: Glass is available for rent or purchase on Amazon Prime Video, Google Play, YouTube, iTunes, and the Microsoft Store.

9. Lady in the Water (2006)

"Where are you from?" "The pool."
"Where are you from?" "The pool." Credit: Warner Bros/Kobal/Shutterstock

Starring Paul Giamatti as an apartment superintendent who skims way more than he was expecting out of his building's pool, Lady in the Water is an overly contrived fairytale thriller best described as goofy. That said, Bryce Dallas Howard delivers an interesting enough performance as a nymph-like being named "Story" — yes, it's as awkward to hear in dialogue as you'd imagine — who has to fight her way back to her underwater home after magically appearing in urban Philly.

The titular lady in the water isn't particularly well-written, her world never feels truly believable, and Shyamalan's cameo here is easily his most cringe-worthy. Still, Lady in the Water is a good on-in-the-background pick for its ethereal visuals. Just don't try to follow or care about it.

How to watch: Lady in the Water is now streaming on Cinemax (via Hulu).

8. The Happening (2008)

"Why can't anybody give me a goddamn second?!"
"Why can't anybody give me a goddamn second?!" Credit: Zade Rosenthal/20th Century Fox/Kobal/Shutterstock

In The Happening, something is "happening." At least, that's what every character, including those played by Succession's Alan Ruck and Jeremy Strong, tells us during this apocalyptic snooze fest.

Though Shyamalan is often lampooned for his twist endings, The Happening is one of the most banally straightforward apocalypse films ever written. Flimsy stakes and unlikable characters — stars Zooey Deschanel and Mark Walhberg have never been so unappealing — make this difficult to enjoy as a suspenseful survival thriller.

But if you turn it into a drinking game or opportunity for heckling, then you're in for a very fun watch. Count for example how many times hero Elliott, played by Wahlberg, asks himself a rhetorical question out loud versus how many facial expressions he has. (Answer: Too many, and 1.)

How to watch: The Happening is now streaming on Peacock.

7. The Village (2004)

"If it ends, it ends."
"If it ends, it ends." Credit: universal pictures

On the off chance you haven't had The Village spoiled for you yet, I won't say too much about its ridiculous plot. That said, this bizarre period thriller is among the more divisive Shyamalan films out there with a lot more going for it than critics at the time of release gave the movie credit for.

In her first collaboration with Shyamalan, Bryce Dallas Howard stars as Ivy Walker — a young woman living in a small Pennsylvania town in the 19th century. Though the settlement has been able to live in peace for years due to an ancient agreement, monsters surround the village and the threat of their attack always looms.

Joaquin Phoenix, Adrien Brody, Sigourney Weaver, and more round out the cast of what is at the very least a memorable film, with an ending best seen rather than explained. Seriously, the 180 this thing pulls is just unparalleled.

How to watch: The Village is now streaming on Peacock.

6. Split (2017)

"24 identities live in Kevin's body."
"24 identities live in Kevin's body." Credit: universal pictures

The better of the two Unbreakable sequels by a wide margin, Split doesn't have all that much to do with superheroes and, aside from that post-credits scene, doesn't include characters from the original. Still, James McAvoy's jaw-dropping performance as Kevin Wendell Crumb, a dangerous man with 24 distinct psychological identities, is a cinematic experience to behold.

Anya Taylor-Joy, Haley Lu Richardson, and Jessica Sula co-star as three teenagers captured by Kevin and kept in an underground facility. Their tense fight for survival grounds the film — and while it's not consistently compelling, this story will leave an impression.

How to watch: Split is available for rent or purchase on Amazon Prime Video, Google Play, YouTube, iTunes, and the Microsoft Store.

5. Old (2021)

"Can you believe I found this online?"
"Can you believe I found this online?" Credit: universal pictures

As spicy a take as this may be... I liked Old!

The latest Shyamalan nightmare takes us far away from the writer-director's typical filming location of Philadelphia to a remote tropical island, where Guy (Gael García Bernal), Prisca (Vicky Krieps), and their children Maddox (Alexa Swinton) and Trent (Nolan River) are hoping for a great vacation.

But when the family becomes trapped on a sinister beach — yes, one that makes them old! — things take a turn for the dire. Undeniably awkward, a bit silly, and still pretty effective, Old takes a bonkers premise to its most extreme and, in my humble opinion, sticks the landing.

How to watch: Old is now playing in theaters.

4. The Visit (2015)

"Would you mind getting inside the oven to clean it?"
"Would you mind getting inside the oven to clean it?" Credit: universal pictures

If there's a true hidden gem in Shyamalan's catalog, then it's got to be The Visit.

When mom Loretta (Kathyrn Hahn) sends her kids Becca (Olivia DeJonge) and Tyler (Ed Oxenbould) on a trip to meet their estranged grandparents, she expects they'll have a quiet vacation. But soon after the kids arrive, Nana (Deanna Dunagan) and Pop Pop (Peter McRobbie) begin acting strangely.

A found-footage film made by aspiring documentarian Becca captures everything that comes next. It's a nauseating, gut-wrenching nightmare filled with some surprisingly light moments and a stellar performance from DeJonge. You'll laugh. You'll scream. You might throw up. You've been warned.

How to watch: The Visit is available for rent or purchase on Amazon Prime Video, Google Play, YouTube, iTunes, and the Microsoft Store.

3. Unbreakable (2000)

"This is an art gallery, my friend. And *this* is a piece of art."
"This is an art gallery, my friend. And *this* is a piece of art." Credit: Getty Images

The awesome movie that (for better or worse) made Split and Glass possible, Unbreakable tells the story of David Dunn. David, played by Bruce Willis, wakes up in a hospital to discover he is the lone survivor of a train derailment that killed more than 130 people. Discovering why, with the help of Samuel L. Jackson's comic book-loving Elijah Price, grounds the rest of the film.

More than 20 years after its release, Unbreakable remains a gripping mystery that changed the game for superhero films. With a voice that's especially original for its time, this hero's journey is full of unexpected twists and turns that stand out even now.

How to watch: Unbreakable is now streaming on Peacock and Amazon Prime Video.

2. Signs (2002)

"Swing away, Merrill. Swing away."
"Swing away, Merrill. Swing away." Credit: Frank Masi/Touchstone/Blinding Edge/Kobal/Shutterstock

Signs is a great movie — if you can stomach watching a performance by Mel Gibson.

Over the years, Gibson has been heavily criticized for making racist, antisemitic, homophobic, and sexist remarks as well as been accused of domestic violence. As a result, Shyamalan's stirring tale of an alien invasion, which stars Gibson, hasn't aged as well as it could have.

That said, if you choose to watch Signs anyway, you'll enjoy a wonderful performance from Joaquin Phoenix as the uncle of two children, played by Abigail Breslin and Rory Culkin, as they wait for extraterrestrial life to descend on Earth. It's a moving story that elevates the art of the twist ending — even more than The Sixth Sense in my opinion — and features an all-time great jump-scare.

How to watch: Signs is now streaming on Peacock.

1. The Sixth Sense (1999)

"I see dead people."
"I see dead people." Credit: Getty Images

The Sixth Sense earned Shyamalan both of his Oscar nods, and with good reason. In this emotional ghost story, 10-year-old Haley Joel Osment plays Cole Sear, the iconic boy who can see dead people, opposite Unbreakable's Willis as Malcolm Crowe, a child psychologist.

Convincing lead performances, a scene-stealing turn from Toni Collette as Cole's mom (her second-best horror movie after Hereditary, obvs), and a killer ending help sell The Sixth Sense as an all-time great scary story. You probably already know The Sixth Sense's "big twist", but it's Shyamalan's keen understanding of spirituality and meticulous crafting of tension that make this 1998 film a classic.

How to watch: The Sixth Sense is now streaming on Peacock.

Posted on 26 July 2021 | 12:02 am

Zack Snyder trades zombies for heists in Netflix's 'Army of the Thieves' trailer

Before there were scores of zombies and digitally inserted Tig Notaro, there was a crime.

Zack and Deborah Snyder revealed a first look at their prequel to May's Netflix zombie flick, Army of the Dead, in a Comic-Con@Home panel on Sunday. Rather than delving deeper into the walking dead angle, this first trailer for Army of Thieves highlights what looks an awful lot like a grounded, not-at-all fantastical heist movie. (Zombies do still exist, apparently, but we're not focusing on them this time.)

It's an expansion of the universe, in other words. By venturing back in time, director Matthias Schweighöfer and writer Shay Hatten are giving fans a deeper and more clearly defined world to serve as a home for more stories.

You can learn more about how this whole, unexpected thing came together in the panel recording at the top, complete with the trailer at the end. If you just want the trailer, here's Netflix crowing about it on Twitter. Army of Thieves is "coming soon."

Tweet may have been deleted

Posted on 25 July 2021 | 9:45 pm

Slick 'Dexter: New Blood' trailer shows our killer in a fresh habitat

Dexter may not be called "Dexter" these days, but that doesn't mean Showtime's most infamous serial killer has lost his lust for blood.

On Sunday at a panel for Comic-Con@Home, the television network revealed the name and release date — not to mention, a juicy first trailer — for its Dexter special event series. Titled Dexter: New Blood and debuting Nov. 7, the revival is set 10 years after the events of the original show and sees Dexter (Michael C. Hall) on the run and living under the alias Jim Lindsay in rural Oregon.

In the trailer, we don't see Dexter/Jim get up to anything too nefarious. But it appears the ruthless murderer now owns a hunting store, and longingly staring at all those weapons can't be good for him — even if he insists his new life is "all about blending in."

Julia Jones, Alano Miller, Johnny Sequoyah, Jack Alcott, and Clancy Brown round out the cast. Dexter: New Blood will premiere Sunday, Nov. 7 at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT on Showtime.

Posted on 25 July 2021 | 9:09 pm

The future of sports? There's a robot sinking basketballs at the Tokyo Olympics.

A star is... built?

Just a little preview of our robot overlord-ruled dystopian future to darken your Sunday.

The Tokyo Olympics are in full swing, as anyone who has the ability to set the TV channel to NBC is no doubt aware. And while the biennial showdown between world-class athletes and the nations they represent is entirely a celebration of human excellence, in 2021 at least one robot is being allowed to have a little fun, as a treat.

Fresh from the Tokyo Olympics Twitter account we have this clip of a tiny-headed robot — WHY IS ITS HEAD SO SMALL, Mashable's EiC asked in Slack — shooting, and sinking, free throws. Look at this mad nonsense.

Tweet may have been deleted

Nothing but net! (The robot moved further back right after this and immediately sunk a three-point shot with ease as well.)

Why is this robot wearing a jersey with the number 95 on it? I don't know enough about basketball to have a good answer for you there. But I do know robots, and this almost seven-foot tall future Robolympics (not actually a thing) superstar has the goods.

Kidding aside, this basketball-slinging robot appears to be CUE, a Toyota-developed creation that was first built — the original model, anyway — in 2018. In 2019, the third version, CUE3, went out to set a Guinness world record. It's not clear if the one attending the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo is the same model or a newer one, but it appears to be from the same line of perfect-shooting automatons.

SEE ALSO: Boston Dynamics' robot dogs dancing in sync to BTS is both my dream and nightmare

The odd moment you see above played out as part of the halftime festivities during Sunday's showdown between Team USA and France. France ultimately won the match-up, 89 to 79.

No medals for this one.
No medals for this one. Credit: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Posted on 25 July 2021 | 8:36 pm

YouTube is more likely to serve problematic videos than useful ones, study (and common sense) finds

Shouldn't recommended videos prioritize my interests?

Here's a study supported by the objective reality that many of us experience already on YouTube.

The streaming video company's recommendation algorithm can sometimes send you on an hours-long video binge so captivating that you never notice the time passing. But according to a study from software nonprofit Mozilla Foundation, trusting the algorithm means you're actually more likely to see videos featuring sexualized content and false claims than personalized interests.

In a study with more than 37,000 volunteers, Mozilla found that 71 percent of YouTube's recommended videos were flagged as objectionable by participants. The volunteers used a browser extension to track their YouTube usage over 10 months, and when they flagged a video as problematic, the extension recorded if they came across the video via YouTube's recommendation or on their own.

The study called these problematic videos "YouTube Regrets," signifying any regrettable experience had via YouTube information. Such Regrets included videos "championing pseudo-science, promoting 9/11 conspiracies, showcasing mistreated animals, [and] encouraging white supremacy." One girl's parents told Mozilla that their 10-year-old daughter fell down a rabbit hole of extreme dieting videos while seeking out dance content, leading her to restrict her own eating habits.

SEE ALSO: Cops are playing music during filmed encounters to game YouTube's copyright striking

What causes these videos to become recommended is their ability to go viral. If videos with potentially harmful content manage to accrue thousands or millions of views, the recommendation algorithm may circulate it to users, rather than focusing on their personal interests.

YouTube removed 200 videos flagged through the study, and a spokesperson told the Wall Street Journal that "the company has reduced recommendations of content it defines as harmful to below 1% of videos viewed." The spokesperson also said that YouTube has launched 30 changes over the past year to address the issue, and the automated system now detects and removes 94 percent of videos that violate YouTube's policies before they reach 10 views.

While it's easy to agree on removing videos featuring violence or racism, YouTube faces the same misinformation policing struggles as many other social media sites. It previously removed QAnon conspiracies that it deemed capable of causing real-world harm, but plenty of similar-minded videos slip through the cracks by arguing free speech or claiming entertainment purposes only.

YouTube also declines to make public any information about how exactly the recommendation algorithm works, claiming it as proprietary. Because of this, it's impossible for us as consumers to know if the company is really doing all it can to combat such videos circulating via the algorithm.

While 30 changes over the past year is an admirable step, if YouTube really wants to eliminate harmful videos on its platform, letting its users plainly see its efforts would be a good first step toward meaningful action.

Posted on 25 July 2021 | 7:31 pm

Tesla channels old school sorority values by policing customers' social media posts

Who are you to talk, Elon?

If you were in a sorority in college, the following scenario will be familiar: You post a cute pic on Instagram, one where you're holding a drink. Maybe it's an ambiguous red solo cup, or a beer bottle partially out of frame. Either way, your sorority's standards board quickly contacts you: "Hey girly! Super cute pic, but could you take it down? It goes against our sorority values. Don't wanna look bad to the PNMs!"

Apparently, the situation isn't unique to srats. If you post a complaint about Tesla to social media, you might get a similar request to delete your post.

Tesla's solar power division, Tesla Energy, reportedly has a team of 20 employees that acts as the company's own standards board. It scours the internet looking for complaints against the company and, according to former employees speaking to Business Insider, they are instructed to "politely ask customers to delete their social media complaints."

It goes beyond just product complaints, too. An ex-employee also told Insider that a separate team of nine people specifically looked for posts complaining about CEO Elon Musk. I guess making the head honcho look bad in front of the internet isn't a great look for potential new members – I mean, potential customers, either.

SEE ALSO: Teslas are basic now but many Musk stans don't want to accept that

To be fair, having a dedicated team searching for complaints against its company isn't unheard of. Usually, it's a positive thing. The bureaucracy of customer service departments can be disheartening, so many customers do turn to social media to get companies' attention. But while engaging on the internet with customers is welcome, asking them to delete any negative comments, resolved or not, seems like an overstep.

Confusingly, a former employee in Tesla customer service also told Insider that they would actually suggest that customers complain on social media if they wanted quicker service. So apparently the preferred Tesla method is to go ahead and tweet your disdain, but then please immediately take it down, thanks very much.

It's a particularly obsessive way to manage a brand's social media image, and quite frankly, it feels a little over the top for a company with a CEO who tweets as carelessly as Elon Musk does.

If Tesla's gonna act like a sorority on overdrive, maybe they shouldn't tell their customers to post the very comments they want to take down. At least srat standards boards have clear guidelines!

Posted on 25 July 2021 | 6:12 pm

It's LeVar Burton's 'Jeopardy!' week! Here's how you, a lapsed fan, can watch.

LeVar Burton finally gets his chance to host 'Jeopardy!' on Monday, July 26.

Jeopardy! fans don't need to hear this, but you, a lapsed fan, might: Starting Monday, July 26, LeVar Burton begins his week-long run as the host of the beloved game show.

The Reading Rainbow and Star Trek: The Next Generation star joins a lengthy lineup of other public figures — including everyone from CNN's Sanjay Gupta to professional football's Aaron Rodgers — who are vying for the honor of replacing the late Alex Trebek as host. Burton's path to scoring the opportunity was decidedly different, however.

Despite the actor's obvious cred as a beloved celebrity and defender of education for people of all ages, it took a Burton-authored appeal on social media — possibly helped by a fan petition — for the show's producers to give him a shot. Now, it's finally happening, and not a moment too soon. Finding a replacement for someone like Trebek hasn't been easy.

Tweet may have been deleted

But hey, maybe you don't keep up with Jeopardy! anymore. We get it. The show has been a staple of the U.S. TV diet for generations, but not everyone watches it religiously for their whole lives. I haven't been a regular viewer since my teenage years when I would watch an early broadcast of the day's episode and then use that information to make my mother and sister think I had the ability to psychically divine the answers. (A ruse that lasted all of one week, if that, though it's still one of my best capers.)

Point being, some of us who might be rooting for Burton to get the job may not immediately know where to turn for catching the coming week's episodes. Well, don't worry. We're here to help.

When is Jeopardy! even on?

Let's start with the most basic of basics: New episodes of Jeopardy! air on ABC from Monday to Friday at 7:00 p.m. local time in most locations. As mentioned already, Burton is hosting the coming week's episodes — so he'll be on from July 26 through July 30.

Note that things may be a little funky on the timing front during Burton's Jeopardy! week due to the ongoing Tokyo Olympics and, at the end of the week, the 2021 NBA Draft. There's a rundown of how the scheduling changes affect various airings on the show's official website.

Note, too, that you can punch in your ZIP code at the link above if you want to double-check the airtime in your area.

Where can you watch Jeopardy!?

As I mentioned already, Jeopardy! airs on ABC. If you have cable or even if you just rock the modern equivalent of rabbit ear antennas, tuning in is as simple as setting the channel to ABC at the right time.

The same is true for subscribers to alternative cable-style services like Hulu with Live TV or YouTube TV. ABC should be available to subscribers of services like these in most locations. Most services like these also include some kind of built-in DVR feature, so as a bonus you can set Jeopardy! as a favorite and catch up with the show even after it airs.

For people who cut the cord on cable (or who have just never bothered), there's still hope. You can watch Jeopardy! without having to resort to anything shady. All you'll need is an internet connection and a willingness to create an account on a particular website: Locast.

Locast.org is essentially a streaming service for "rabbit ear" TV — i.e. the channels you'd get if you had a working antenna. It unfortunately only works if you're in or near a supported market, but that accounts for roughly three-quarters of the country. It's also technically a free service, so there's no harm in at least checking.

That "free" comes with a bit of a caveat, though: If you watch on Locast without donating any money — a $5 monthly fee is the minimum suggested amount — the site cuts in occasionally to ask for a donation (theoretically; I haven't seen it myself in limited usage, but I've read that it happens). You can always go pick your show again in the live guide on the site, but the interruptions are the price you pay for going the totally free route.

What to expect from Burton's hosting week?

Jeopardy! isn't filmed live, so Burton's run as host technically happened already. He's done some press ahead of the week his episodes air, and some of what he's said sets the stage for what we can expect from his time at the podium.

"I had, like all of the hosts, one day of rehearsal and the following day I shot five episodes of Jeopardy!" he said in an interview with the Associated Press. "I came backstage after taping the first episode and I said to [my wife] Stephanie, 'Well, how did I do?' She said, 'ehhh.' Now, this is a woman who loves me enough to tell me the truth. She said it wasn’t me."

Burton took the constructive criticism in stride and used it to inform his subsequent four episodes.

He continued: "I made it my business for the next four chances at bat to just be myself, to forget about the procedure, to forget about the process, stop trying, stop focusing on the wrong thing. You’re not going to be smooth as Alex, let go of that. But what you can bring to the table is you. So that became my point of focus. And when it did, I started having fun."

That's all the info you should need. Tune in for Burton's hosting stint on Jeopardy! all this week, starting Monday, July 26.

Related Video: 'Jeopardy!' legends talk about the time Alex Trebek hosted pantsless

Posted on 25 July 2021 | 5:01 pm

The U.S women's rugby team abused the cardboard Olympics beds to show us the truth

I wouldn't trust cardboard beds either.

No, the Olympic Village beds are not anti-sex. And we have that on the authority of the Team USA women's rugby team, thanks to their creative testing on TikTok.

The beds in the Village went viral for being made of cardboard, which was presumed to be less sturdy in a way that would've prevented more than one person in bed from getting up to some frisky business. In reality, the cardboard is just as supportive as regular wood and withstands plenty of weight — up to 440 pounds, according to the Associated Press.

The U.S. women's rugby team decided to have some fun with the beds after word of their existence went viral. In a TikTok with more than a million likes, Ilona Maher and her teammates performed various activities on one of the beds, both proving the bed's strength and demonstrating some athletic prowess.

A beautiful warrior one pose.
A beautiful warrior one pose.
Credit: Screenshot: Tiktok/Ilona Maher
Watch out, beds.
Watch out, beds.
Credit: screenshot: TikTok/Ilona Maher

The tests included performing yoga poses, giving CPR to the mattress, acting like a "cry baby" by pummeling the mattress, throwing a temper tantrum and jumping around, practicing A skips, delivering a wrestling knockout, dropping to the bed via a dramatic faint, clap push-ups, and "beating up a robber," aka punching the mattress.

The TikTok concludes with Ilona returning to the screen and cheekily saying, "And for this last take, Nicole and I will be having se–" as the video cuts off.

The rugby team's tests actually showed the beds are a little stronger than expected. Takashi Kitajama, the general manager of the Village, told the AP in 2020 that jumping on the beds as you would in a rowdy team celebration could break them, just as wooden beds would. But the rugby team did plenty of jumping, and the beds appeared to hold up.

SEE ALSO: How to watch the Tokyo 2020 Olympics without cable

The true purpose of the cardboard beds is to contribute to Tokyo's sustainability efforts during the Olympics. The bed frames will be recycled after the games, as will the mattress' plastic components.

And if you're worried about comfort, don't worry too much. Athletes like Australia's Tilly Kearns have also made TikToks showing how to customize mattress firmness and length, plus the included mattress toppers for extra comfiness. It seems like the Olympians are pretty content with their sleeping setup – whether they're using the beds just for sleep or, ahem, other activities.

Posted on 25 July 2021 | 3:32 pm

How to take stunning long exposure photos on your iPhone

As long as you can take Live photos with your iPhone you can turn standard snapshots into artsy long exposure shots.

Every iPhone since the 6s has had the ability to take "Live" photos through Apple's built-in camera. As long as you have the "Live" setting turned on, long exposure stills are only a few taps away.

First, turn on Live photos.

Take Live photos with the button with concentric and dashed circles on the top of the camera screen. This mode captures the few moments before you take the photo, bringing the still moment briefly to life.

To get to Live hit the button.
To get to Live hit the button. Credit: Sasha Lekach / mashable

Take a photo, but make sure it's Live

Hit the shutter button as usual. Try to keep the phone as still as possible since it's capturing the few seconds before while in Live mode.

Select the "Long Exposure" effect

Long exposure mimics the effect of a slow shutter speed. On an iPhone you can't change the shutter speed, but Live photos come with different effects to modify the moving image.

Find your Live photo in your camera roll. Scroll down below the photo and you'll come to an "Effects" section. Pick "Long Exposure."

If there was any movement during the Live photo it'll show up as blurry or smoothed over.

Here's the effect on some California poppy flowers blowing in the wind, as seen in the second photo.

No effects here.
No effects here.
Credit: Sasha Lekach / Mashable
The same photo but with long expsoure.
The same photo but with long expsoure.
Credit: Sasha Lekach / Mashable

Post your artsy photo skills

You can save your Live photo with the long exposure effect, or you can go back to your camera roll, scroll to the "Effects" section and take it off. Your choice. There are also bounce, looping, and other effects you can use to modify the image.

SEE ALSO: How to save an iPhone live photo as a video

There are of course third-party apps to get you the same effect, but this is already built into your phone. Artistic eye not included.

Posted on 25 July 2021 | 2:11 pm

'The Walking Dead' goes big and brutal in the first trailer for its final season

I stopped watching The Walking Dead ages ago, but for all of you who have kept up here's your first proper look at Season 11. The coming season marks the last ride for the series adapted from Robert Kirkman's hit comic book series, which itself ended in 2019.

I have no idea what's happening in any of this. Who are half of these characters even? Why are there stormtroopers? AMC's three-minute look at The Walking Dead's final season debuted during 2021's fully remote San Diego Comic Con on Saturday. The season premieres on Aug. 22, but AMC+ subscribers can get an early start with it on Aug. 15.

Posted on 25 July 2021 | 2:06 pm

How to add and easily switch between accounts on TikTok

How to add and switch accounts on TikTok.

Are you a Super Influencer who has multiple TikTok accounts? Or perhaps you're a creator who likes to keep multiple accounts for different kinds of content? Or maybe you let a friend sign into their account on your phone and now you need to be able to switch back?

Whatever the reason, you're here because you need to switch from one TikTok account to another and you don't know how. Rest assured, there are a couple ways to do this using the "Switch account" page. They're both simple and should only take you seconds.

If you want to add an account to your TikTok app that you'd like to be able to switch to, you'll see that option on the "Switch account" page, and we'll show you how to do that, as well.

Adding and switching accounts

1. Navigate to your profile page and tap your username at the top of the page.

The dropdown menu will show you "Switch account page" displaying accounts you can switch between. If you'd like to add another TikTok account, this is where you can do that as well.

Tap your username at the top to go to the "switch account" page.
Tap your username at the top to go to the "switch account" page. Credit: andy moser / tiktok

2. Select the account you want to switch to.

The red check notes which account you are currently logged into.

Tap the TikTok account you want to switch to, or tap "Add account" to add another account.
Tap the TikTok account you want to switch to, or tap "Add account" to add another account. Credit: andy moser / tiktok

3. If you want to add an account, you'll see that option at the bottom of the dropdown menu. Just tap "Add account" to create a new TikTok profile.

After adding a new account, it will appear on this menu.

Method 2

1. Navigate to your profile page and click the menu button in the top right corner.

The menu button looks like three horizontal bars in the top right corner of the screen
The menu button looks like three horizontal bars in the top right corner of the screen Credit: andy moser / tiktok

2. Scroll all the way to the bottom of the menu until you see the "Switch account" button.

"Switch account" under "Login" at the bottom of the settings menu
"Switch account" under "Login" at the bottom of the settings menu Credit: andy moser / tiktok

3. Tap "Switch account" and make sure the account you want to switch to has the red checkmark next to it. The app will then switch you over to that account.

4. To add an account, tap "Add account" at the bottom and sign in.

Tap the TikTok account you want to switch to, or tap "Add account" to add another account.
Tap the TikTok account you want to switch to, or tap "Add account" to add another account. Credit: andy moser / tiktok

That's it! A few easy steps and you're done.

Now go manage those TikTok accounts, TikTok legend.

Posted on 25 July 2021 | 2:00 pm

How to adopt a pet ethically

Adopting or fostering a pet is big responsibility. Here's how to do it ethically.

If you're reading this, you probably have the best intentions about adding a furry companion to your family and you've started to prepare. Keeping up with rabies and other requisite shots, check. Grooming tools, check. Endless number of fluffy toys for your fur baby to rip to shreds, check. Dog walker research, check.

What you may not know, however, is that some of the most important decisions happen before you sign any paperwork or stop by your nearest local pet shop to scoop up the best treats. It starts with where you find your pet.

"Adopting a pet means acquiring one from an animal shelter or a rescue group as opposed to purchasing one from a pet store or breeder," says Vicki Stevens, director of the companion animals department for program management and communications at the Humane Society of the United States, a nonprofit national animal advocacy organization.

The majority of puppies sold in pet stores and online come from puppy mills, which force animals into overcrowded and unsanitary quarters. Breeders may follow similarly unethical practices or source their animals from mills (though, not always. More on that later). Meanwhile, according to the ASPCA, some 6.5 million cats and dogs entered shelters each year in the U.S. between 2015 and 2018 and, though about half were adopted, about one fifth of them ended up euthanized. Those numbers can vary widely, depending on how data is collected, but the TL;DR? If ethics is a concern, you should look into adoption.

"It's always a good bet to adopt from your local shelter or rescue group," says Holly Sizemore, chief mission officer of Best Friends Animal Society "We've seen tremendous progress over the years in saving more lives but there's still around 300,000 cats and dogs being killed in our nation's shelters, simply because shelters lack the resources to find them new homes."

Where you get a pet is a big consideration if you want to do it ethically, but there's more to consider beyond that, too. We spoke with animal advocacy organizations to learn how you can adopt an animal with its best interests in mind. Our step-by-step guide is below.

Questions to ask yourself

Before you visit a shelter or contact an animal rescue group, says Stevens, you'll want to mull over a few considerations first, such as:

This first question can help determine what kind of animal you choose. Both cats and dogs need playtime, says Stevens, but dogs also require several walks every day. You'll also want to prepare yourself for an animal's lifespan, no matter how short or long it may be. Smaller dogs usually live longer than bigger ones, and, if you buy a bird, it could live for two decades or more.

Other considerations include:

Answering the questions above can help you start to narrow down if you're ready to be a pet parent and what kind of pet is best for you.

Shelters versus rescues

As Stevens mentioned, shelters and rescues are good options for adopting a pet if you want to support a place that likely treats animals well and serves a larger mission.

Rescues tend to be run by private, non-profit organizations and may or may not have a facility or a network of foster homes, says Stevens. Shelters may be similarly operated or run by a government municipality.

Sizemore says some rescues and shelters work together to leverage each other's resources and save the most pets possible.

Bottom line, says Stevens, each shelter and rescue is its own independent entity with individual policies. So it's best to adopt from one with policies you can co-sign, like a shelter that also offers foster options.

Animals don't always show their true personalities the first or even several times you meet them. They may not yet be adjusted to their environment or you. Like humans, their real self tends to shine through once they're comfortable.

"Especially in shelters, if it's loud, pets might be intimidated or overly stimulated and they'll behave differently," says Stevens.

If you're first-time pet owner or you're not yet sure if the animal you want to adopt would be a good fit, it's worth asking the shelter or rescue if you can adopt or foster the pet on a trial basis.

Stevens and her husband, for example, weren't sure how the kittens they wanted to adopt would fare with the cat they already had.

"The rescue group let us foster those kittens for about six weeks until we felt comfortable that things were going to work out," she says, "and then we adopted them."

Breeders

If you haven't found the animal for you at a shelter or through a rescue, you could turn to a breeder.

While both Stevens and Sizemore don't think breeders should be your first choice, there are ways to differentiate between a breeder who only cares about profits and one who puts an animal's well-being first.

"All breeders are not created equal; quite the contrary," says Sizemore. "It's pretty easy to tell if someone is a responsible breeder versus the type of breeder that is just doing it to make money and is happy to jeopardize the health and well-being of the animals in their care."

If a breeder doesn't allow you to see an animal before you buy it, that's probably a red flag. They might not want you to view your potential pet because they keep it in unsanitary conditions (like a puppy mill). However, Sizemore says she's heard stories of unscrupulous breeders who show a pet in good condition but down the block and out of sight there are rows of small cages housing the breeder's mistreated animals.

The below resource from Best Friends Animal Society can help you determine whether a particular breeder is the right one.

Mashable Image
Credit: BEST FRIENDS ANIMAL SOCIETY

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty for Animals also recommends you ask for information like the animal's health records and photos of prior litters. And it's a two-way street — not only should you be curious about the breeder's practices but they should also ask you questions to determine if you're a responsible pet parent. If they don't, that should get you thinking about how invested they are in the animals in their care.

Puppy and kitty mills

Some mills that sell animals online may pose as a responsible breeder or a rescue group, says Sizemore.

One red flag to look out for is cost.

"The higher the price, the more likely it might be [masquerading as] a [responsible] breeder," says Sizemore. "Now, certainly, some reputable breeders do sell dogs at pretty high prices."

That being said, if the cost is over $500 for a single pet online, it's worth investigating if you're talking with a responsible breeder.

Again, the biggest sign you're dealing with someone exploitative is if you're barred from visiting the animal to check out how it's treated.

"The problem is we now live in this society where we're used to instant gratification, ordering things online and they're shipped to us," says Sizemore. "We really encourage people to not buy sight unseen on the internet."

Another red flag? Someone who tries to sell you a puppy younger than 8 weeks old.

"Many of the backyard and puppy mills will happily let puppies go earlier, it's in their bottom-line best interest," says Sizemore. "But it's not good for puppies to be removed from their mothers before 8 weeks of age."

Kitten mills are much less common than puppy mills simply because there are more cats in the world, so they're not as profitable.

If you want to help cats, the best thing to do is to adopt them from a shelter.

"Cats are dying in our nations' shelters two to one, compared to dogs," says Sizemore. Often "cats live in colonies in the neighborhood where a few people may feed them. You don't see dogs living like that in our communities, and so that results in more stray cats coming into shelters."

Beyond cats and dogs, Stevens says the Humane Society of the United States never advocates owning an exotic pet.

"Keeping wild animals as pets is inhumane and it poses the potential for unacceptable physical harm and zoonotic disease risk to the community and emergency responders," says Stevens. "It's detrimental to true wildlife conservation efforts."

Additionally, exotic animals often require specialized and costly care, such as large natural habitat enclosures.

What to do after you adopt (or foster)

Now that you've done all your research and you're ready to adopt (or foster), you can search shelters and rescue groups near you to find a good match.

If you've brought home a cat, Sizemore recommends first keeping it in a room by itself so it can get acclimated to that space first and then expose it to the rest of your apartment or home. For dogs, you might consider crate training while your new pet is getting to know his space. No matter the age of your dog, give her time to adjust to your family and her new home.

And whatever your comfort or experience with animals, consider basic training sessions.

"It's about training you as much as it's about training the pet," says Sizemore. "It's about learning interactive tools between you and the animal."

Overall, Sizemore says, a relationship with a pet, as with people, will have some bumps in the road, such as behavioral or medical issues.

"Reach out to the experts because they make a world of difference," she says.

Adopting and caring for an animal that will likely depend on you for many, many years is no small (or inexpensive) feat. Though immensely rewarding, it's a huge responsibility and you'll have to make sure you're up for the challenge of being a pet owner before you adopt. Fortunately, rescue and shelter organizations typically have resources to help, so you don't have to do it alone.

Related Video: Pet fostering, adoption is skyrocketing during the coronavirus pandemic

Posted on 25 July 2021 | 1:00 pm

Gain the tech skills you'd need to become a software engineer at Google for under $40

Prepare for the CISA certification exam and more.

TL;DR: Start setting yourself up for a career in software engineering with the 2021 Google Software Engineering Manager Prep Bundle. As of July 25, get the 12-course bundle for $39.96.


Aspiring to be a software engineer is admirable. Aspiring to be a software engineer at Google is extraordinarily ambitious — but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to achieve. Just like any other dream job, the only way to get there is by simply taking the first step. And this 2021 Google Software Engineering Manager Prep Bundle offers the perfect stepping stone.

This bundle is curated with key courses to help you master all the tech skills you need to become a Google software engineer. There are a dozen courses total and each of them is taught by a top online instructor, including Minerva Singh, a data scientist with a 4.3-star rating; Mark Misin, an aerospace and robotics engineer with a 4.7-star rating; Paulo Dichone, an Android, Java, and Flutter developer with a 4.4-star rating; along with a few others.

You can train completely at your own pace with over 90 hours of content and start filling your résumé with in-demand skills like Natural Language Processing (NLP) and machine learning with Python, AI in digital marketing, UI design, data visualization, and programming in Java and C#. There are even courses designed to help you prep for and ace specific ISACA exams, like the Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) certification and Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) certification. These courses will come in handy as study guides before you sit for the exams.

Of course, because this is Google software engineering preparation we’re talking about, there’s also a course specifically focused on business data visualization, analytics, and reporting with Google Data Studio (GDS).

Remember, this course load is just a starting point. If you really want to become a software engineering manager at Google, building up your management skills wouldn’t be a bad idea either. In fact, the more well-rounded you appear, the more desirable you’ll be to hiring managers. Of course, nobody can promise a job at Google, but these skills could be a stepping stone.

For a limited time, you can sign up for all 12 courses in this bundle for just $39.96 ($2,388 value).

The 2021 Google Software Engineering Manager Prep Bundle — $39.96
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The 2021 Google Software Engineering Manager Prep Bundle — $39.96
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Posted on 25 July 2021 | 9:00 am

Grow a flourishing garden with Gardenuity kits on sale

Get everything you need to have a flourishing mini garden.

TL;DR: Spruce up your space with an Outdoor Container Herb Garden or a Desktop Garden Bamboo Planter, on sale for $104.99 and $71.99, respectively, as of July 25.


Gardenuity curates garden kits with everything you need to grow a delightful garden, even if you have very little — or zero — outdoor space.

If you have a patio, porch, or balcony to work with, these Outdoor Container Herb Gardens can spruce up your space and help you grow your own fresh ingredients from home. And if you don’t have any outdoor space at all, no worries. The Desktop Garden Bamboo Planter makes growing your own plants indoors a breeze.

For the more labor-intensive outdoor kit, you’ll get a collection of herb plants, a reusable and portable five-gallon grow bag, foundation compost, coir, soil primer, micronutrients, PH toner, 30-day and 60-day feeding, a critter cover, scissors, and a Seasonal Grow Pro membership. The membership gives you access to Gardenuity’s guidance as you grow, with garden weather alerts, harvest guidance, on-call support from an expert, seasonal recipes, and more.

The indoor, ready-to-go garden can flourish from your kitchen counter or the desk in your office, even if there are low light conditions. You can set it up in less than 10 minutes, and you’ll have everything you need to keep it growing. The kit comes with a bamboo planter, customized foundation, mister, plant nutrients, three plants, and a care card to help you along the way.

The Outdoor Container Herb Garden is on sale for just $104.99 (regularly $115), while the Desktop Garden Bamboo Planter Kit is discounted to just $71.99 (regularly $80), both for a limited time.

Outdoor Container Garden Kits with Tools (Tea Herb) —  $104.99
Credit: Gardenuity
Outdoor Container Garden Kits with Tools (Tea Herb) —  $104.99
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Desktop Garden in Bamboo Planter with Soy Candle (Fern) — $71.99
Credit: Gardenuity
Desktop Garden in Bamboo Planter with Soy Candle (Fern) — $71.99
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Posted on 25 July 2021 | 9:00 am

Treat your furry friend with dog grooming accessories on sale

Keep your pup's teeth clean with a finger toothbrush set.

At-home grooming can be quite a hassle, but it can save you a lot of money — and give you some quality time with your furry BFF.

You already splurge on toys and clothes for your pet, so why not grooming supplies, too? If you want to invest in grooming equipment for your canine companion, here's some from BOSHEL on sale as of July 25.

BOSHEL Pet Nail Clippers

These nail clippers have an angled semi-circular open blade that’s ideal for cutting your pet’s nails at home. Usually $12, they're on sale for $9.99 for a limited time.

BOSHEL Pet Nail Clippers — $9.99
Credit: Boshel
BOSHEL Pet Nail Clippers — $9.99
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BOSHEL Dog Scissors Set

Tend to your pet’s locks from home using this set, which comes with two pairs of grooming scissors. Grab it on sale for $14.99 for a limited time.

BOSHEL Dog Scissors Set — $14.99
Credit: Boshel
BOSHEL Dog Scissors Set — $14.99
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BOSHEL Dog Finger Toothbrush Set

This FDA-approved toothbrush set will help you give their teeth a more thorough cleaning. Snag it on sale for $8.99 (regularly $10.99) for a limited time.

BOSHEL Dog Finger Toothbrush Set — $8.99
Credit: Boshel
BOSHEL Dog Finger Toothbrush Set — $8.99
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BOSHEL Dog Nail Clipper and Trimmer

Keep your pet’s nails trimmed regularly from the comforts of your home with the BOSHEL Dog Nail Clipper and Trimmer. Get it for $13.99 for a limited time.

BOSHEL Dog Nail Clipper and Trimmer — $13.99
Credit: Boshel
BOSHEL Dog Nail Clipper and Trimmer — $13.99
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BOSHEL Dog Thinning Shear

This seven-inch thinning shear has 26 teeth and is designed with rounded safety tips. Normally $11.99, it's on sale for $8.99.

BOSHEL Dog Thinning Shear — $8.99
Credit: Boshel
BOSHEL Dog Thinning Shear — $8.99
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BOSHEL Dog Toothbrush Set

This three-piece bundle comes with a large-end toothbrush for big dogs, a small-end toothbrush for small dogs, and a finger toothbrush. Get it for just $8.99 (regularly $9.99) for a limited time.

BOSHEL Dog Toothbrush Set — $8.99
Credit: Boshel
BOSHEL Dog Toothbrush Set — $8.99
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BOSHEL Pet Grooming Bundle

This bundle includes grooming shears, a slicker brush, and a two-in-one comb and hair remover, and is designed with your pet’s safety and comfort in mind. It's on sale for $39.99 (regularly $44) for a limited time.

BOSHEL Pet Grooming Bundle — $39.99
Credit: Boshel
BOSHEL Pet Grooming Bundle — $39.99
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BOSHEL Pet Grooming Nail Bundle for Large Dogs

Keep your pet’s nails in tip-top shape from home with the BOSHEL Grooming Nail Bundle for Large Dogs, which includes a set of clippers and a nail grinder. It's on sale for $39.99 (regularly $44) for a limited time.

BOSHEL Pet Grooming Nail Bundle for Large Dogs — $39.99
Credit: Boshel
BOSHEL Pet Grooming Nail Bundle for Large Dogs — $39.99
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BOSHEL Pet Grooming Nail Bundle for Small Dogs

This set designed for small dogs also includes a (smaller) set of nail clippers and a nail grinder. Usually $44, it's on sale for $34.99 for a limited time.

BOSHEL Pet Grooming Nail Bundle for Small Dogs — $34.99
Credit: Boshel
BOSHEL Pet Grooming Nail Bundle for Small Dogs — $34.99
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Posted on 25 July 2021 | 9:00 am

Get into livestreaming with a gameplay recording tool on sale

Screen record in HD.

TL;DR: Go full gamer with the Action! Screen and Gameplay Recorder, which is on sale for 66% off. As of July 25, get a lifetime subscription for only $9.99.


Action! is a popular screen recorder and piece of gameplay software that helps you record and stream high-quality gameplay footage straight from your PC.

After you add your own webcam, you can start recording and streaming the highest-quality gameplay straight from your PC. It’s compatible with Windows 7 and up and offers easy customization of widgets like logos, graphics, watermarks, streaming overlays, and more, so you can truly make all of your gameplay recordings unique.

There’s even a gameplay drawing panel built in, so you can add text, shapes, arrows, and more while recording or live streaming. This is especially helpful if you’re filming a tutorial.

See it in action below:

For a limited time, a lifetime subscription to Action! is on sale for just $9.99 (regularly $29). 

Action! Screen and Gameplay Recorder: Lifetime Subscription — $9.99
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Action! Screen and Gameplay Recorder: Lifetime Subscription — $9.99
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Posted on 25 July 2021 | 9:00 am

Save 22% on an inflatable massage hot tub you can set up in the yard

Seat up to six people in this inflatable tub.

TL;DR: Live the laid-back summer of your dreams with this Costway inflatable massage hot tub, on sale for 22% off. As of July 25, bring one home for $849.99.


With the Costway inflatable massage spa, you can transform your backyard into your own personal oasis.

Everything you need to set up this hot tub is included with your purchase, including an inflation hose that makes setup a breeze. The temperature and the high-powered bubble jets can be adjusted, so you can get a relaxing massage as you soak.

When you're not using the hot tub, you can protect it with its insulated cover. Plus, you can move the hot tub around the backyard easily when you use the grab handles.

To clean or refresh your at-home spa, simply replace the included filter cartridge.

Normally, the Costway bubble massage spa retails for over $1,000. But, for a limited time, you can save 22% and take it home for just $849.99.

Goplus Six-Person Portable Inflatable Massage Spa Hot Tub — $849.99
Credit: Costway
Goplus Six-Person Portable Inflatable Massage Spa Hot Tub — $849.99
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Posted on 25 July 2021 | 9:00 am

Save £155 on a seriously smart electric toothbrush from Oral-B

The Oral-B Smart 6 6000N electric toothbrush is on sale.

SAVE 70%: The Oral-B Smart 6 6000N electric toothbrush is on sale for £64.99 on Amazon, saving you £155 on list price.


Electric toothbrushes are getting seriously smart. It's not got to the point that electric toothbrushes can clean your teeth for you, but it feels that we're not a million miles away.

Take the Oral-B Smart 6 6000N electric toothbrush for example. This smart device provides real-time feedback as you brush, with a pressure sensor that alerts you if you brush too hard. It also has a battery that lasts for more than two weeks on a single charge, and five cleaning modes including gum care, whitening, and sensitive. There is a lot of brains in this brush.

The Oral-B Smart 6 6000N electric toothbrush is on sale for £64.99 on Amazon, saving you a massive £155 on list price. This deal also includes three brush heads, one travel case, and a smartphone holder.

Save 70% on this impressive electric toothbrush from Oral-B.

Save 70% on the Oral-B Smart 6 6000N electric toothbrush
Credit: Oral-B
Save 70% on the Oral-B Smart 6 6000N electric toothbrush
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Posted on 25 July 2021 | 4:10 am

This versatile and easy-to-use design tool is on sale for 60% off

A lifetime subscription to the Venus Design System is on sale.

TL;DR: A lifetime subscription to the Venus Design System is on sale for £28.36 as of July 25, saving you 60% on list price.


Meet Venus Design System, a tool that streamlines your design process with over 2,000 customizable UI/UX components, icons, colors, and typography styles.

With a lifetime license freelancer plan, designers, developers, and other contractors can take advantage of over 2,000 components, over 1,400 material design icons, over 250 global colour and text styles, and more. Each component is fully customisable to suit your branding and to ensure consistency across your designs. And best of all, busy designers and developers don’t have to waste time starting each project from scratch.

You can choose between light and dark modes and easily connect with Figma features like Variants, Auto Layout V3.0, and more. Plus, all elements of Venus Design System work natively on both iOS and Android and are responsive on both mobile and desktop.

For a limited time, this lifetime subscription is on sale for only £28.36 — 60% off its usual cost.

Save 60% on the Venus Design System
Credit: Venus Design System
Save 60% on the Venus Design System
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Posted on 25 July 2021 | 4:05 am

This useful AI-powered writing tool is on sale for 94% off

A lifetime subscription to the Rytr AI Writing Tool is on sale.

TL;DR: A lifetime subscription to the Rytr AI Writing Tool is on sale for £54.53 as of July 25, saving you 94% on list price.


Rytr is an intuitive, AI-powered writing tool that can create high-quality content for you. All you have to do is feed it some relevant information — like topic, tone, and format — and in return, it will deliver content to fit your needs.

Rytr is easily accessible on any browser (via desktop or mobile). Once you open it up, you’ll choose your use case from over 25 different categories, including emails, Facebook ads, blog text, landing pages, captions, product descriptions, taglines, headlines, and more. Then you’ll choose your tone from over a dozen options, like “convincing,” “casual,” or “appreciative.” Finally, you’ll type in some input text for the topic at hand, choose how many variants you’d like, and click the “Ryte for me” button.

From there, you can edit it as you see fit and truly customise it for your brand — all while feeling confident that it’s SEO-friendly.

With a lifetime subscription, you can generate up to 75,000 characters per month. For a limited time, it’ll only cost you £54.53 (£908 value).

Save 94% on the Rytr AI Writing Tool
Credit: Rytr
Save 94% on the Rytr AI Writing Tool
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Posted on 25 July 2021 | 4:00 am

Celebrate PureVPN's birthday by saving 73% on a subscription

Save 73% on PureVPN.

SAVE 73%: A two-year subscription to PureVPN is on sale for £2.07 per month as of July 25, saving you 73% on list price.


How do you like to spend your birthday? You might like to go out with friends and family. Maybe you like to indulge in all of your favourite foods, at the same time. VPNs do things a little differently and celebrate their birthdays by offering impressive deals.

PureVPN is celebrating 14 years of internet security and privacy by dropping the price of a two-year subscription by 73% on list price. That means a two-year plan is on sale for just £2.07 per month as of July 25. That's a low price, especially when you consider everything that is included with PureVPN.

Subscribers get apps for all operating systems, enterprise-grade security, 10-multi logins, around-the-clock customer support, and access to thousands of servers located in hundreds of countries. PureVPN is also one of the best services for unlocking streaming sites like Netflix and Prime Video.

Celebrate PureVPN's birthday by saving on a two-year subscription.

Save 73% on PureVPN
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Save 73% on PureVPN
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Posted on 25 July 2021 | 3:55 am

The 10 best crime shows on Hulu to watch right now

Ever since Jack the Ripper terrified London and became the first serial killer to spark a global frenzy, people have loved consuming content about crime. From the penny dreadfuls of old to the true crime podcasts of now, there's a whole cottage industry in wading through the gory details to better serve the armchair investigators of the world.

Some of these crime shows on Hulu are fictional, best enjoyed by those who like a good drama or comedy about committing or solving crimes. Two of them, however, are the best true crime docuseries Hulu has to offer.

Here are the 10 best crime shows on Hulu.

1. Law and Order: SVU

Just looking at a picture makes you hear the "dun dun."
Just looking at a picture makes you hear the "dun dun." Credit: Virginia Sherwood / NBC

Hulu has the delightful distinction of hosting the entirety of the longest-running edition of Dick Wolf's Law and Order franchise, Special Victims Unit. Mariska Hargitay has held down the fort as Detective Olivia Benson with or without Detective Stabler (Christopher Meloni) by her side for 22 seasons, and between that length of catalogue and the show's frequently ripped-from-the-headlines plots, SVU is an iconic and likely eternal part of the crime show canon.

How to watch: Law and Order: SVU is streaming on Hulu.

2. Good Girls

What makes these good girls go bad?
What makes these good girls go bad? Credit: Evans Vestal Ward / NBC

Three suburban moms have more problems than money, so they decide to turn to a life of crime. What starts out as a simple robbery quickly snowballs into a hilarious swan dive into the criminal underworld, complete with a menacing money launderer, kidnapping, eliminating witnesses, and so much more. Christina Hendricks, Mae Whitman, and Retta play the three women at the heart of this show, which ran for four seasons on NBC.

How to watch: Good Girls is streaming on Hulu.

3. Fargo

Four seasons, four stories, lotta crime.
Four seasons, four stories, lotta crime. Credit: Matthias Clamer / FX

In 1996, the Coen brothers released the movie Fargo, which starred Frances McDormand as a Minnesota cop investigating a strong of homicides. Decades later the Coens returned to the theme of Midwestern crime as executive producers of the series Fargo, which tells new stories that take place in the same universe as the movie. Each season, the anthology starts over to greater expand the world and explore all manner of crimes in Missouri, North Dakota, and Minnesota.

How to watch: Fargo is streaming on Hulu.

4. Twin Peaks

RIP Laura Palmer.
RIP Laura Palmer. Credit: Getty Images

Twin Peaks has always been more than a crime show. It's a dramatic supernatural mystery that begins with the murder of homecoming queen Laura Palmer and the arrival of Detective Dale Cooper, then quickly becomes a walk on the dark side of every element of humanity. What's real, not real, or surreal means little and less in the town of Twin Peaks, and this show's 30-year reign as a television cult classic proves it sticks in the mind long after the final episode.

How to watch: Twin Peaks is streaming on Hulu.

5. Hannibal

Don't you just want to eat Will up?
Don't you just want to eat Will up? Credit: NBCU Photo Bank / NBCUniversal via Getty Images

If your sole perception of Hannibal Lecter is Anthony Hopkins pretending to slurp up human livers with fava beans and a nice chianti, Hannibal will absolutely change your mind about this hungry serial killer's image. Mads Mikkelsen plays a younger, suaver Hannibal whose culinary skills are equaled only by his powers of psychological manipulation. FBI profiler Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) enters Hannibal's life when they are assigned to solve a murder, but the killer they hunt is nowhere near as interesting as the one hiding inside Hannibal...and maybe Will as well.

How to watch: Hannibal is streaming on Hulu.

6. Stumptown

Not about the coffee shop.
Not about the coffee shop. Credit: Eric McCandless / ABC / Kobal / Shutterstock

Based on the comic of the same name, Stumptown tells the story of Dex Parios (Cobie Smulders), a veteran who becomes a private investigator in her hometown of Portland, Oregon after leaving the military. Dex's PTSD and personal life might cause her problems, but with the help of a police detective who refers work to her and her quick wits, she becomes a problem solver for others.

How to watch: Stumptown is streaming on Hulu.

7. Top of the Lake

Top of the lake to you too!
Top of the lake to you too! Credit: See-Saw / Escapade / Screen Australia / Sundance Channel / Bbc Worldwide / Kobal / Shutterstock

Elisabeth Moss stars in Top of the Lake as Robin Griffin, a Sydney-based detective who comes across the heinous case of a missing and pregnant 12-year-old girl. Even though Griffin's specialty is investigating crimes involving children, it's clear that this case hits a particular nerve that threatens to derail Griffin's career and hard-earned stability. In Season 2, Gwendoline Christie joins Moss in the role of Miranda Hilmarson, Robin's new partner as they investigate a Jane Doe murder.

How to watch: Top of the Lake is streaming on Hulu.

8. I Am the Night

No, not the Dark Knight. Different "I am the Night."
No, not the Dark Knight. Different "I am the Night." Credit: Clay Enos

I Am the Night is a fictional miniseries based on the memoir of Fauna Hodel, a woman who went searching for her roots and wound up discovering a dark secret in her family's past. In this interpretation, Chris Pine plays Jay Singletary, a down-on-his-luck journalist who crosses path with Founa (India Eisley) when they realize the men they're looking for might be the same terrifying person.

How to watch: I Am the Night is streaming on Hulu.

9. Sasquatch

Big feet, pot farms, can't lose.
Big feet, pot farms, can't lose. Credit: Hulu

Whether or not one believes in Bigfoot is irrelevant in Sasquatch, a docuseries that begins with an urban legend about three men torn limb from limb by the cryptid in question and morphs into an examination of the dark, seedy, and dangerous world of marijuana farming in the Pacific northwest. Investigative journalist David Holthouse is the man far removed from the dangerous world of pot farming (and Sasquatch hunting), and the one who delves into the creepiest and horrifying aspects of both industries.

How to watch: Sasquatch is streaming on Hulu.

10. The Most Dangerous Animal of All

He doesn't not look like a serial killer.
He doesn't not look like a serial killer. Credit: FX

In 2014 the book The Most Dangerous Animal of All came out and was a bestseller. Co-written by journalist Susan Mustafa and the subject of the sort-of memoir, Gary L. Stewart, the book outlines Stewart's search for his long-lost father and the cataclysmic discovery that his father, Earl Van Best, may have been the infamous Zodiac Killer. The series The Most Dangerous Animal of All is an attempt to follow Mustafa and Stewart's investigation in a new format, but what the documentary uncovers is possibly more surprising than anything the authors came up with.

How to watch: The Most Dangerous Animal of All is streaming on Hulu.

Posted on 24 July 2021 | 10:00 pm