Life Hacks – Spoken Edition
Summary: Daily weblog on software and personal productivity recommends downloads, web sites and shortcuts that help you work smarter and save time. A SpokenEdition transforms written content into human-read audio you can listen to anywhere. It's perfect for times when you can't read - while driving, at the gym, doing chores, etc. Find more at www.spokenedition.com
When you need something delivered or need to call for help you probably give the person on the other end of the line your street address. What do you do if you’re somewhere you don’t know the address, or a place that doesn’t have one? Google is currently rolling out a new Google Maps feature called “Plus Codes” that makes it easier to share your location data with anyone on the planet—even if you location happens to be a cabin in the woods. The tool essentially creates an “address” for you based on the latitude and longitude coordinates of where you are. You can use these coordinates to mark the location of a house, but also something like a tent or a boat. To create one, you’ll tap the blue dot on Google Maps that represents where you are right now. When you do, a new page will launch with your Plus Code at the top. For instance, you might see “FWM8+V9, Ibadan, Nigeria.” It’s a lot like an address except instead of a street name and number you have “FWM8+V9.” Plus Codes can be acquired through the blue location dot as well as tapping and holding the Map to drop a pin somewhere. Once you have one, Plus Codes are searchable both in Google Maps and Google Search. They also stay the same for individual locations forever, so you could print them on a poster or sign or pass them out to an invited guest, and if they search them in Google Maps, they’ll always be able to find you—even without a street address.
As travel begins to slowly reopen, many of us are wondering what changes will be made to the check-in and boarding experience going forward. Last week, the Transportation Security Administration announced that there would be new rules and guidelines for all passengers traveling through airports in order to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. In the event that you may need to travel in the coming weeks, here’s what you need to know.
If you’ve got something that’s zip-tied together that shouldn’t be zip-tied together—whatever it is, for whatever reason—a broken bobby pin can be an excellent release tool. Yes, I know that in most cases (if you’re opening a package, for example) you’re going to want to use a pair of scissors to cut the zip tie off.
Being trapped with your significant other 24/7 is not a recipe for relationship success. That’s why this week we’re talking with divorce attorney James J. Sexton about how to save our marriage and avoid becoming a statistic in the post-pandemic “divorce boom.” Hear James talk about the ways couples can remind themselves of when they were first falling in love and the best strategies for finding distance without losing connection.
If, more than two months into the coronavirus pandemic, you’ve thought to yourself, “hmmm, living in isolation kinda works for me,” NASA may have just the job for you. The space agency is seeking applicants for a social isolation study to develop methods and technologies for future spaceflight missions to Mars and the moon. Here’s what you need to know about the job we’re now all suddenly much more qualified for than we were a few months ago.
We all use our phones for a ton of routine tasks that require a few steps to implement. For instance, if you’re going to video chat a family member you might have to find the video app on your phone, tap to open it, then scroll through your contact list to find the person you want to talk to.
The next time you need to think critically about something—whether you’re considering a new idea, weighing the pros and cons of a potential decision, or evaluating whether you can trust a particular news source—it’s worth asking yourself a few simple questions.
Signal’s new PIN feature adds an extra layer of security to the encrypted messaging app and makes moving your account between multiple devices less of a hassle. While all text and voice communication in Signal is end-to-end encrypted locally and never stored on Signal’s servers, period, your PIN can be used to encrypt certain Signal profile information that can be shared between devices—stuff like your contacts and account settings. (Your PIN itself is not saved on the servers.
As a card-carrying introvert (I laminated it myself!) with a severe aversion to talking on the phone, teleconferencing and looking at my own face on camera, our move to the 100 percent work-from-home lifestyle has been a true delight. And there’s nothing about it I love more than that point at the end of every Zoom meeting, after everyone has said goodbye, when all of our faces go slack as we fumble with our trackpads or touch bars in an attempt to exit the call.
You vacuum. You dust. Every so often, you get a bee in your bonnet and decide to clean your windows. And right now, you’re probably spending some extra attention on cleaning your doorknobs and light switches. But wait—go back to the doors for a minute. When’s the last time you wiped down your interior doors? Have you ever done it? You might perform a cursory wipe-down of the handle on both sides of your interior doors—bedrooms, bathrooms, closets. But next time you’re making the rounds, take a damp cloth and actually wipe down the doors. You know, the flat part. The door part. You’d be amazed what accumulates here: Dust. Hair spray residue. General grime from who-knows-where. I’ll admit, I never cleaned my doors. But that changed recently when I noticed something on the exterior side of my bathroom door. My best guess was that I had splattered hair dye the last time I touched up my roots, which took place more than two months ago. But I didn’t linger on the cause for too long: I sprayed the door lightly with a gentle all-surface cleaner and gave it a good once-over with a rag. The next thing I knew, I was hitting every door in the house for a quick once-over. I did the part around the doorknob that can get grimy. I did the bottom of the front door, which I tend to close behind me with my foot if my hands are full. I did the tops of the doors that rarely get shut. The amount of stealth-gunk I got off my doors was satisfying. A cleaning enthusiast would tell you not to stop there. For the same level of satisfaction (and possibly even greater satisfaction), you can wipe down your entire walls. You can take a dust rag to your baseboards, getting in all those nooks and crannies your vacuum doesn’t even come close to reaching. But wiping walls takes time, and if you have a lot of them ... well. It could take a minute. And reaching your baseboards requires moving furniture and contorting yourself in order to do a good job. But doors? Your doors are right there. You can do them all in five minutes. It’s the gateway drug of stuff you didn’t think you needed to clean, but really should.
Google recently unveiled tab groups in Chrome. As I wrote in our guide to setting them up ahead of their full rollout, they’re an incredibly useful way to keep your sprawling browser tabs slightly more organized. If nothing else, adding a little color to Chrome doesn’t hurt; I love how tab groups look. Now, let’s make them better. The one drawback of group tabs—in its current implementation—is that you’ll still see a lot of tabs crowding your browser window.
If you’ve done a group FaceTime lately, then you’ve likely experienced the feature that makes participant’s windows change see based on who is talking. The idea is similar to what Zoom does by default, in that it will make the speaker the center of attention, but if you’re in a spirited conversation with multiple people it can also get annoying pretty quickly. With the release of iOS 13.
Wendy’s may not be serving up as many of their iconic square-shaped hamburgers right now thanks to a beef shortage, but they want you to know that they’re still open for business—and they’regiving away free chicken sandwiches to do it. Specifically, if you order any menu item via the Wendy’s app, you can get a spicy chicken sandwich for $0.
The imminent iOS 13.5 update includes a new feature that could save your life. Once the update drops, you’ll be able to opt into automatically sharing your medical ID with 911 dispatchers and first responders, which will thenprovide you with the best care. In order for this to be useful in the slightest, you’ll need to have set up your Medical ID in the iOS Health app first. If you haven’t done this—there’s really no reason not to—do it now.
If you’ve ever tried to upload a panorama picture to Instagram—or if we’re being honest, any interesting horizontal picture—then you’ve likely run into issues. Yes, you can include the whole photo in a single post, but in most cases, you have to zoom out so far to fit it all in that it’s impossible to see all the amazing detail you were trying to preserve in the first place. Turns out, there’s an easy way around the problem: a multi-post panorama.