Meross Smart Wi-Fi Power Strip: $23.99

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Meross Smart Wi-Fi Power Strip

We have a deal on the Meross Smart Wi-Fi Power Strip. This device not only has three standard plugs and two USB ports, it has Wi-Fi connectivity that allows you to control each plug individually through the Meross app. You can turn connected devices on and off, set schedules, and activate timer routines, protecting your devices and trimming down your power usage. It’s $23.99 through our deal.

macOS Mojave Made Me Hate Dark Mode

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macOS Mojave Mojave Dark Mode disappoints

I’ve been a fan of Dark Mode ever since Adobe added it to Photoshop CS6 back in 2012. That’s why I was so excited to see system-wide Dark Mode support in macOS Mojave, and yet Apple managed to make me dislike the feature so much I gave up on it. For now, I’ll be sticking with the pre-Mojave light colored windows and menus instead. I planned on using Dark Mode to cut the brightness out of Finder windows, but now I’m going back to what I did before: When I’m writing and my screen feels too bright I switch to Grayscale mode. Andrew Orr did a great job of explaining how to turn it on and off for your Mac as well as iPhone and iPad. Check out his tip.

How Do Companies Make Money off our Data?

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Big Data is a huge money making business, and a big example of this is AOL. No longer an ISP, AOL is now a data broker.

The collected data has value because of how it’s used in online advertising, specifically targeted advertising: when a company sends an ad your way based on information about you, such as your location, age, and race. Targeted ads, the thinking goes, are not only more likely to result in a sale (or at least a click), they’re also supposed to be more relevant to consumers.

While some people might want better ads that are more relevant to them, the article makes a good point: “I have targeted ads that are more attuned to my desires and my wants… But if you have someone who has an alcohol abuse problem getting a liquor store ad…” 

And I’m cynical enough to believe that the average advertiser wouldn’t care about that in the slightest.

Smart Speakers Take Advantage of Wikipedia

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Smart speakers like the Amazon Echo take advantage of Wikipedia, and Wikipedia deservers way more of our money.

But it’s not just the fact that this donation is, in the scheme of things, paltry. It’s that this “endowment” is dwarfed by what Amazon and its ilk get out of Wikipedia—figuratively and literally. Wikipedia provides the intelligence behind many of Alexa’s most useful skills, its answers to everything from “What is Wikipedia?” to “What is Slate?” (meta). Tech companies that profit from Wikipedia’s extensive database owe Wikimedia a much greater debt.

Amazon recently donated US$1 million to Wikimedia, but that’s a drop in the bucket when you think just how many people and services use Wikipedia. Especially since it’s a non-profit organization that gets most of its money through donations.

Privacy Search Engine DuckDuckGo Hits 30M Daily Searches

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Privacy search engine DuckDuckGo announced it has reached 30 million daily searches. This is good news, because unlike other search engines DuckDuckGo doesn’t track you.

We’ve been growing by approximately 50% a year pretty consistently so at a macro level it isn’t too surprising, just the numbers are getting bigger! That said it has been even increased on top of that this year, especially in the past two months.

I’ve been using DuckDuckGo exclusively for a couple years now, and its gotten much better in that time. I don’t miss Google at all.

Kanye West's Apple Store "Keynote" Shows a Man Who Needs Some Serious Help

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Kanye West walking on iPhone display table in Georgetown Apple Store

Kanye West climbed on top of a product display table in the Georgetown Apple store on Thursday so he could deliver a “keynote” to shoppers. Apple didn’t invite him into the store to speak or climb on furniture, although he was apparently quite the spectacle. I said it before, and now I’m putting the call out again: Can someone get this man some help?

Plucky Google Reaches for the Golden Ring With Call Screen

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Google's CallScreen service

You have to hand it to Google. The company has a certain spirit of AI inventiveness, even if the result isn’t always iron-clad consumer ready.  In this case, it’s the recently announced Call Screen service for Pixel phones that puts an AI between the Pixel user and the telemarketers & robocalls.  Read about it in the link below. This may not do amazing things for Pixel sales, and it may still have kinks to work out, but it sets a bar and whets our appetite for what Apple could do when it’s in top gear. Alas, Siri, cannot do this. Yet.

Why Do Many Fantasy Books Feature Academia?

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Jason Kehe writes about an interesting trope in fantasy books: wizard schools. Specifically, orphans who go to wizard school, meet friends along the way, and finally defeat a villain.

Authors change; the story stays the same. In the darkness a child is born. The child suffers, but he has mysterious power. Posthaste, destiny leads the child to the same place it herds all the courageous orphan-protagonists of speculative fiction: a storied and exclusive institution of magical learning, where he unnerves the faculty, demonstrates arrogance, and forms lasting friendships on his way to vanquishing evil.

Ancestry Sites Can Potentially Expose Your Identity

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Researchers have determined that ancestry sites could potentially expose anyone’s identity.

Much like the Golden State investigators, the team found they could trace back someone’s identity in the database with relative ease by using these distant relatives and other demographic but not overly specific information, such as the target’s age or possible state residence.

Well isn’t that just a bucket of awesome.

6-in-1 USB-C Hub for MacBook Pro: $39.99

· · TMO Deals

6-in-1 USB-C Hub for MacBook Pro

Check out today’s deal on a 6-in-1 USB-C Hub for MacBook Pro. It features 2 USB-C ports, 2 USB-A 3.0 ports, a SD port, and a Micro SD port. It supports 5K video out through USB-C, and it supports 2016 and 2017 USB-C MacBook Pro models. It’s $39.99 through us.

Apple Hoping to Drive Original Content Interest with Free Shows

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Original TV shows coming to Apple Music in 2017

Insider sources tell CNBC Apple will let anyone with an Apple TV, iPhone, or iPad watch its original streaming shows for free. They’ll be available through the TV app, which also groups together other subscription channels. From the report:

The product will include Apple-owned content, which will be free to Apple device owners, and subscription “channels,” which will allow customers to sign up for online-only services, such as those from HBO and Starz.

My guess is that the insiders are partially right. I think Apple will offer an episode or two from each show for free. Watching full seasons will require a paid subscription of some sort. That could be an Apple Music subscription, or a new package Apple will create for its TV shows.

Rare Bipartisan Push to Scrutinize Silicon Valley After Google+ Fiasco

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Google+ recently suffered an incident where a bug potentially exposed the data of thousands of users. Now we’re seeing a bipartisan push to reign in tech companies after a deluge of leaks.

At a Senate hearing Wednesday, Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune (R., S.D.) said it is increasingly clear from Google+ as well as Facebook Inc.’s earlier Cambridge Analytica scandal that industry self-regulation is no longer sufficient to protect users’ privacy.

We should never have trusted corporations to be able to self-regulate in the first place. That’s like telling a criminal to voluntarily turn themselves in.

The Internet of Things Will Bring a Creepy Future

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The Internet of Things will turn everything into a computer, and will also create a creepy future for us with less privacy than ever before.

Mr. Schneier argues that the economic and technical incentives of the internet-of-things industry do not align with security and privacy for society generally. Putting a computer in everything turns the whole world into a computer security threat — and the hacks and bugs uncovered in just the last few weeks at Facebook and Google illustrate how difficult digital security is even for the biggest tech companies. In a roboticized world, hacks would not just affect your data but could endanger your property, your life and even national security.

Stardew Valley Coming to iOS

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Popular game Stardew Valley is coming soon to iOS. It will arrive in the App Store on October 24. The app is being developed by London-based studio The Secret Police.

Chucklefish has been handling the business and marketing side of things. While the game will launch first on the iOS App Store, The Secret Police are currently working on finishing up the Android version, and I hope to give you more news about an exact launch date soon.

It will be available for US$7.99.

We Need to Plant a Forest the Size of Brazil

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In order to meet the U.N.’s target when it comes to mitigating climate change, Shell boss Ben van Beurden say’s we would need to plant a forest the size of Brazil.

“You can get to 1.5C, but not by just by pulling the same levers a little bit harder, because they are being pulled roughly as fast and and as hard as we are currently imagining. What we think can be done is massive reforestation. Think of another Brazil in terms of rainforest: you can get to 1.5C,” he told an oil and gas industry audience in London.

These Special Sunglasses Block Screens

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There are a cool pair of sunglasses that can block screens. If you’re tired of the constant glare of shiny screens around you, get a pair of these.

Right now, their lenses can block light emitted from LCD and LED screens, but not OLED screens. That means they tune out most televisions and some computers, but not the newer crop of smartphones like the OLED-packing iPhones.

Details of Apple's New iPad Pros Leaked

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9to5Mac has posted leaked details of Apple’s new iPad Pros. “Today, sources familiar with the development of the new 2018 iPad Pro have offered additional details about the device, its features, and more.” That includes Face ID, thinner bezels, a USB-C port for external 4K/HDR displays and a new Apple Pencil. Are we excited? Oh, yes.

The A12 Chip Has Almost Caught up to Desktop Chips

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Redditor u/WinterCharm has made an informative post where he compares Apple’s A12 chip to desktop chips like the Xeon 8192, i7 6700k, and AMD EPYC 7601.

The main takeaway here is that Apple’s A12 is approaching or exceeding the performance of these competing chips in Spec2006, with lower clock speeds and less power consumption. The A12 BIG core running at 2.5GHz beats a Xeon 8176 core running at 3.8GHz, in 9 out of 12 of Spec_Int 2006 tests, often by a large margin (up to 44%). It falls behind in 3 tests, but the deficiency is 2%, 6%, and 12%. It also comes quite close to a desktop 6700k.