If You’ve Turned Your Home Into an Airbnb, You Need Smart Devices

Although the travel industry has hardly recovered six months into the pandemic, there are signs that it’s rebounding. For anyone who’s thought of taking a try at running an Airbnb, smart devices are practically non-negotiable. With a modest investment in the right collection of gadgets, you can monitor your property in real time in a number of useful, potentially life-saving ways that otherwise would be impossible or too onerous to keep up with. And, most crucially, you can do all of this while preserving privacy and being transparent about it with renters—without coming off as some peeping Tom creep. (And, just to note, Airbnb has specific policies about using recording devices.)

I’ve run my own rental for several years and found this small collection of devices to be all but foolproof, providing convenience to my guests while giving me peace of mind. And this setup has especially come in handy

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Class-action lawsuit alleges Google has turned Canadians’ electronics into tracking devices

A group of law firms across Canada  has teamed up to propose a class-action lawsuit against Google in the  Supreme Court of British Columbia alleging the company turns Canadians’  electronics into tracking devices.

The proposed lawsuit was filed on behalf of millions of Canadians by law firms from British Columbia, Quebec and Ontario. 

In a release,  the firms said they are seeking compensation for the invasion of  privacy, trespass, and consumer protection violations with the intention  of getting Google to stop these alleged invasive practices.

“The  claim alleges that Google turns Canadians’ electronics into tracking  devices, which it uses to build profiles on almost every Internet user  in Canada; even people Google has no relationship with, all without  their consent,” said Luciana P. Brasil, a partner at B.C. firm Branch  MacMaster LLP, in the release. “There is no reason Canadians should  tolerate what we say is extensive surveillance of their

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Pringles Can Turned Vaporwave Lamp

We play host to a lot of incredibly complex projects here at Hackaday; take a look at some of the entries in the Hackaday Prize for some real world-class engineering. But the hacks you can knock out in an afternoon are often just as compelling as the flagship projects. After all, not everyone is looking to devote years of their lives into building some complex machine.

Case in point, this very slick lamp built by [mytzusky]. Made of nothing more exotic than an old Pringles can and an RGB LED strip, this is something that can potentially be built with what you have laying around right now. All you need to provide is a bit of geometry, a steady hand, and a love for anything that looks like it could pass as a prop in a TRON fan film.

The first step is getting the Pringles can: either find one

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Controversy Turned ‘Cuties’ Into One Of Netflix’s Most Popular Movies

As sadly expected, the outcry over a French coming-of-age drama has turned it into a must-see movie.

Well, that was expected. After an initial firestorm of displeasure over the initial poster for Netflix’s
NFLX
Cuties brought the film into the public eye, online outrage started up all over again when the film actually debuted on the streaming site this past Wednesday. Absent this outcry, French-Senegalese filmmaker Maïmouna Doucouré’s directorial debut would likely have slid under the radar, as just one indie/festival darling that premiered on the streaming service alongside the more high-profile movies like The Babysitter: Killer Queen (now the top-ranked movie) and TV shows like Julie and the Phantoms. Alas, thanks to the controversy, Cuties, a foreign-language coming-of-age melodrama about a young girl who is torn between her traditionalist family and her provocative new friends, is now the fourth-biggest movie on the site.

The situation

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Bricks Can Be Turned Into Batteries

Bricks are one of the oldest known building materials, dating back thousands of years.

But researchers at Washington University in St. Louis have found a new use for bricks: as energy storage units. A team of engineers and chemists have found a way to transform an ordinary house brick into a pseudo-battery—allowing it to conduct and store electricity.

The bricks are powerful enough to illuminate an LED light bulb, and cost only about $3 to make.

“I love the idea of adding value to things that are inexpensive, things that are affordable, things that we kind of take for granted.”

Julio D’Arcy is an assistant professor of chemistry at Washington University and one of the researchers on this project. 

The brick-battery relies on the reddish pigment known as iron oxide, or rust, that gives red bricks their color. The scientists pumped the bricks with several gases that react with iron

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How Silicon Valley turned true innovation into a delusion

For as long as it has existed, people have been trying to replicate the magic of Silicon Valley, to capture some of its ineffable ability to produce true innovation—inventions that have changed many people’s lives for the better. But despite its real claim to innovation, Silicon Valley has also come to represent something less tangible. Andrew Russell, professor of history and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at SUNY Polytechnic Institute, and Lee Vinsel, a professor in the Department of Science, Technology, and Society at Virginia Tech, call it “innovation speak.”

The two are the author of a new book, called The Innovation Delusion, that explores the deep problems with the Silicon Valley-inspired mindset that shiny new things can solve all of society’s problems. Instead, Russell and Vinsel advocate for what they call a “maintenance mindset,” which focuses on keeping the technology we already have up and running

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Best Buy Turned Pandemic Lemons Into Lemonade

Many retailers have adapted and evolved in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. But few have done so as well as consumer electronics name Best Buy (NYSE:BBY).

Last quarter’s numbers point in that direction. Same-store sales improved 5.8% year over year despite coronavirus-related shutdowns, and companywide revenue grew 4% for the three-month stretch ending in June. That’s impressive, particularly given the circumstances.

Where the retailer has proven truly impressive, however, is beyond the numbers. Best Buy took a methodical, well-reasoned approach in its response to tricky situations and applied solutions that will continue to work after COVID-19 is in the rearview mirror.

Sliced lemons and a pitcher of fresh lemonade

Image source: Getty Images.

“Good enough” isn’t good enough

Most consumer-facing companies took various actions in response to the pandemic. Walmart melded its grocery shopping app with its platform that sells goods from the rest of the store to encourage curbside pickup. Target expanded its curbside pickup

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