Tinder and Bumble are kicking Capitol rioters off dating apps – CNET

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One of the men who stormed the Capitol Building in Washington on Jan. 6 bragged to Bloomberg that his Bumble account is "blowing up" thanks to pictures of him in the act. Well, not anymore pal. 

Bumble and Match Group, which owns Tinder, Hinge, OKCupid, Match and Plenty of Fish, are blocking the accounts of people known to have participated in the riot, reports the Washington Post

"Rest assured that we prohibit any content that promotes terrorism or racial hatred," a Bumble tweet reads, "and we've already removed any users that have been confirmed as participants in the attack of the US Capitol." A spokesperson for Match, which represents Tinder, told the Post, "We have, and will continue, to ban any users wanted by the FBI in connection with domestic terrorism from all of our brands, and we always cooperate with law enforcement in their investigations." 

It's a move that adds insult to injury: Of more pressing to concern to rioters is impending arrest. Over 70 people have been arrested in connection with the insurrection, in which five people were killed. 

Bumble and Tinder were contacted for comment but did not immediately respond. 

Capitol rioters being barred from datings apps is the latest in an ongoing fallout following the Jan. 6 incident, which caused President Donald Trump to be impeached for the second time. Trump, for his role in inciting the riot on Twitter and at a rally in Washington, was banned from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. Parler, a social media platform that many Pro-Trump conservatives flocked too, was blocked by Apple, Google and Amazon.

Bumble and Match's decree comes after a viral movement of users to find Capitol rioters on these apps, confirm their identity and participation in the riot, and then report them to the FBI. Some women in Washington reported changing their political preference on Bumble to "conservative" for the specific purpose of finding and matching with the protesters -- enough that Bumble temporarily removed the political preferences filter to prevent "misuse". 

The move from these dating apps has precedent. In 2017, OKCupid banned for life a neo-Nazi who participated in the Charlottesville Unite the Right rally, which led to the death of one woman.

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Best portable projector with battery power for 2021: BenQ, Anker, LG and more – CNET

How great would it be to have a big-screen movie experience without having to lug your TV into your backyard? How great would it be to have a projector in your backpack so you could watch a movie while camping? Portable projectors make it possible. These mini projectors are about the size of a large Bluetooth speaker, run on batteries and can stream Netflix and more.

The downside? The picture quality is not very bright, usually with a fraction of the brightness of a traditional home theater projector. That means the image will be pretty dim if you make the projector screen too big. Mini portable projectors are also generally lower resolution. Their batteries should last for a single movie, if you're careful, but that's it.

If you're never going to be far from an outlet, one of our home theater projector picks will get you a much bigger, brighter and better image. But if you want something that's tiny enough to fit just about anywhere, with all the possibilities battery power affords, these are the best options.

Read more: Projector setup tips: How to get the biggest, best image for movie night

Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

The Mars II Pro is easily the best compact projector option here, due to its light output, overall image quality, ease-of-use and overall solid design. It's a bit bigger than the others here and more expensive, but the extra money and size is worth it.

The built-in 12,500-mAh is good for about 3.5 hours, longer if you just run it as a Bluetooth speaker. There are apps built in, some of which consider the Mars II a portable device, meaning you can download content to its 8GB internal memory to watch offline. The faux-leather strap also makes carrying it around super easy. Read our Anker Nebula Mars II Pro review.

Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

I didn't like the M2 as much as the Anker above but it has one thing in its favor: more pixels. With 1080p resolution, compared to the Anker's 720p, you're less-likely to see pixel structure or a "screen door effect" when watching from close-up or with a really big image screen size. In most cases 720p is just fine, however, and the Anker's picture is as good or better in many ways. 

The Viewsonic is a bigger video projector than the others on this list and lacks a built-in battery, so you'll need to supply your own USB-C battery pack if you want to make it truly portable. It also doesn't have a handle and the speakers are worse than the Anker. Even so, if you want 1080p and portability, this is a good choice. Read our Viewsonic M2 review.

Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

The PH30N is not only less expensive than the two above, it's also tiny. This mini projector fits in my hand, yet creates a 720p image. It has an HDMI cable input, plus a USB connection that might be able to run a streaming stick off the LG's internal battery.

The stick connection is important because the LG lacks built-in apps. Light output is about half that of the Anker Mars II Pro and M2, though their contrast ratios are roughly the same. The internal battery should last around 2 hours in the projector's dimmest mode. Less if you're also powering a streaming stick. 

It fits in places other projectors won't, however, making it, ahem, handy. Read our LG CineBeam PH30N review.

Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

The GV1 has one of my favorite designs of any projector I've ever reviewed. To me this tiny projector is like something Pixar or Hayao Miyazaki would dream up. This mini projector is not much bigger than a can of Coke and has a tiltable head that makes it easy to place the projector where it fits or where it's needed.

Unfortunately, its beauty is largely skin deep. Its picture quality is not very bright, its contrast ratio is fairly low and it's only 480p. Those all can be excused given the size and price, but it's also rather difficult to use. The internal app store is frustrating, some apps crash or refuse to load correctly and its one input (USB-C with an included dongle for HDMI connectivity), negates the ability to run a streaming stick without external power.

It sure is adorable, however. Read our BenQ GV1 review.

More home theater recommendations


As well as covering TV and other display tech, Geoff does photo tours of cool museums and locations around the world, including nuclear submarinesmassive aircraft carriersmedieval castlesairplane graveyards and more. 

You can follow his exploits on Instagram and YouTube, and on his travel blog, BaldNomad. He also wrote a bestselling sci-fi novel about city-sized submarines, along with a sequel.

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Virgin Orbit Just Launched a Rocket From a 747

On Sunday morning, Virgin Orbit became the third privately funded American rocket company to reach orbit—and the only one to accomplish the feat from mid-air. The company’s liquid-fueled rocket, called LauncherOne, was released from beneath the wing of Cosmic Girl, Virgin Orbit’s customized Boeing 747, off the coast of California. Cosmic Girl’s pilot, Kelly Latimer, parted ways with the rocket at around 30,000 feet—the cruising altitude of a typical passenger jet—and after a few seconds of freefall, LauncherOne ignited its engines and boosted itself into space. Once it reached orbit, the rocket released its payload of 10 cubesats built by researchers from NASA and several American universities before it fell back to Earth.

The successful launch was a welcome win for the Virgin team, which has been buffeted by setbacks since its first launch attempt last spring. That first test flight in May was aborted seconds after the rocket was released due to a breakage in its propellant line. After engineers had identified and fixed the problem, company officials planned a second launch in December, but decided to postpone it as Covid-19 cases spiked around their headquarters in Los Angeles.

“We’ve done a huge amount to assure the safety of the team, and so much of our launch operations and our activities are virtual,” Virgin Orbit CEO Dan Hart told reporters on a call ahead of Sunday’s launch. “Doing it in the face of a pandemic is really amazing.”

Rocket about to lift off

The WIRED Guide to Commercial Human Space Flight

Everything you need to know about Blue Origin, SpaceX, Virgin Galactic, and what actually happens to your body if you go live in space.

Today’s launch marked the culmination of nearly a decade of work by engineers at Virgin Orbit, which is one of two rocket companies founded by billionaire Richard Branson. In 2018, Virgin Orbit’s sister space company, Virgin Galactic, made history by launching a spacecraft carrying two humans from beneath a custom plane, which sent them rocketing to the edge of space. Branson clearly loves launching stuff from planes and has staffed both companies with engineers and pilots who make it look easy. Now the question is, can he turn it into a sustainable business?

Air launch is typically associated with missiles that are bound for targets on the Earth’s surface, but it has a long history in the space industry too. The first orbital air-launched rocket, known as Pegasus, was sent to orbit in early 1990 by Orbital Sciences Corporation, which has since been folded into Northrop Grumman. Like LauncherOne, Pegasus is able to boost around 1,000 pounds of payload into space, and the rocket is dropped from the belly of a gutted passenger jet. But in the last 30 years, Pegasus has flown only 44 missions. To put that in perspective, SpaceX has flown more than twice as many in the past decade.

“When I started looking at feasibility studies and thinking about whether we should do this, Pegasus was the blinking neon sign that was flashing in my vision 24/7,” Will Pomerantz, the vice president of special projects at Virgin Orbit, told WIRED ahead of the company’s first launch attempt last May. “Technologically, Pegasus is a huge success. But from a market perspective, perhaps not.”

Pomerantz says the reason Pegasus failed to attract many customers is because when it launched, those customers didn’t exist. The commercial small satellite industry has exploded in the past few years, and now there are hundreds of companies looking for a cheap ride to space. Pegasus is still around, but its launch cost has ballooned over the past few decades. In the 1990s, NASA paid $16 million for a Pegasus launch. Today it costs closer to $60 million. Even accounting for inflation, that cost has nearly tripled, and it is beyond what most of these small satellite companies can afford. Air launch was once an idea ahead of its time—but now Pomerantz believes its time has come.

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Sunday’s top 7 deals: $8 wireless doorbell, $10 ring light, $23 Deadpool bundle and more – CNET

In these dark days, let me offer you a ray of happiness: Epic Games is giving away Star Wars Battlefront II: Celebration Edition for PC. That's right, a $40 Star Wars game, one that's just a couple years old, absolutely free. No strings attached; you just need an Epic Games account and desktop client, both free as well.

Read more: Star Wars Battlefront II: Celebration adds Rise of Skywalker characters

Let's get on to today's deal business! As always, these are available for a limited time and while supplies last. All the codes were working as of this writing, but they may expire without warning.

20th Century Fox

I can't think of two movies that made me laugh harder than Deadpool and Deadpool 2. They're incredibly rewatchable, which means they're worth owning. And right now Best Buy is offering this must-have bundle at a great price. Opt for in-store pickup to dodge the $4 shipping charge, or pad your cart to at least $35.

The Complete Collection ("for now," lol) includes 4K Ultra HD and standard Blu-ray discs, plus digital copies. The latter would cost you $30 by themselves if purchased from, say, Apple or Vudu.

Daily Steals

There are countless no-brand massage guns like this one floating around Amazon, most priced at $50 to $60 (if not higher). From what I can tell, there's just not much difference between them -- so why spend more than you have to?

This model offers three speeds, six interchangeable heads, a battery good for two to three hours and a zippered carrying case. Use promo code CNETPMG to get the discounted price.

Macwheel

Amazon seller: Macwheel Direct

Price: $322 with promo code NX9OCYQ4

This is one of the best deals I can recall on a scooter with these specs; many, if not most, run at least $400. And this particular model has never been priced lower than $360.

The MX Pro promises up to 25 miles on a charge, at speeds up to about 15 mph. It has air-free tires, disc brakes, front and rear lights, app-based locking and monitoring and a folding design. It weighs 28 pounds -- not the lightest scooter you can get, but light enough to carry with you for short distances as needed.

Tacklife

Amazon seller: WorldUS

Price: $49 with promo code 8QRPWTUU

I've had to jump-start a few cars in my day, usually with traditional jumper cables. And honestly it scares the hell out of me, because I'm convinced I'm going to cause both cars to burst into flames. Plus, it requires a second vehicle, which isn't always immediately available.

The smart solution: Keep a portable jump-starter at the ready. Tacklife's unit packs enough juice to start up to a 7-liter gas engine or 5.5-liter diesel. It's also a dual-port USB charger for your mobile devices. It even has a flashlight and compass. Definitely a smart item to keep in your car.

I haven't tried this particular model, but the nearly 2,000 user ratings are overwhelmingly positive.

Galvanox

This is one of those insanely handy items I think belongs on every desk (or kitchen counter). Starting with a flat wall-plug (thank you!), this little charging station serves up two AC outlets and three USB ports (including one 18-watt Power Delivery USB-C).

Use promo code CNETGVXB to get the discount. I know it's not a huge savings, but it's the lowest price you'll find anywhere.

Govee

Amazon seller: Govee US

Price: $8 with promo code XYJOBCVJ

Need a doorbell for, say, your apartment and don't care about smarts? The options don't come much cheaper than this. The bell itself is peel-and-stick-simple to install, and it comes with a battery that's good for up to three years, according to Govee.

As for the chime, you just plug into a wall outlet that's within 1,000 feet (!) of the door. You can choose between 36 different ring melodies.

Want two chimes, as pictured above? Get the two-chime version of this for just $11 with promo code KM4LAIZA. Fantastic deal.

Matacru

Amazon seller: Quinby

Price: $10.35 with promo code 6332XS1Y

Great for Zoom calls, TikTok videos and the like, these things are all over Amazon. This is one of the cheapest options I've seen yet.

The little kit includes two brightness-adjustable ring lights on bendy arms, which flank a phone mount and sit atop a tripod. Power comes from any standard USB port  -- like, say, one of the Galvanox desktop-charger ports, above, or even that Tacklife jump-starter, also above.

I'm using something similar to this. Works great. Crazy-good deal at this price.

OK, cheeps, who's buying what?

This article was first published last week. 


CNET's Cheapskate scours the web for great deals on tech products and much more. For the latest deals and updates, follow him on Facebook and Twitter. You can also sign up for deal texts delivered right to your phone. Find more great buys on the CNET Deals page and check out our CNET Coupons page for the latest Walmart discount codeseBay couponsSamsung promo codes and even more from hundreds of other online stores. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Answers live on our FAQ page.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.

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The best products for sleeping in the winter: Heated blankets, lots of flannel and more – CNET

It's the depths of winter and that means temperatures are dropping fast as we move into the coldest months of the year. While you can't control the temperature around you, you can turn your bed into the coziest, warmest place on Earth. OK, so maybe that title belongs to Death Valley, but if you're looking for a way to turn up the heat -- and the snuggle factor -- in your bedroom, these are the best products for sleeping in the winter.

Some of them are for your bed, some of them are for you (fleece pajamas, anyone?) and some of them are to control the air temperature so you don't have to unnecessarily blast the heat all night. Choose a few, or snag them all, to help you stay warm this winter. But fair warning: You'll probably never want to leave your bed again. Thank goodness for Zoom virtual backgrounds.

The Company Store

This 100% premium down comforter from The Company Store is the ultimate for winter warmth and comfort. The extra warmth option (it also comes in light and medium weight for warmer months) has a 650 fill power and is made from ethically sourced, certified European down. It has a baffle box construction that not only looks beautiful on your bed, it also ensures that the stuffing stays in place, so you don't have to worry about it shifting to one side as you move.

With its finished top stitch, you can use it as a top comforter, but it also has loops on each corner if you prefer to attach it to a duvet cover. And unlike other down comforters that are only available in white, it comes in four other neutral colors -- ivory, alabaster, cloud blue and gray -- so you can find something that fits your bedroom aesthetic.

L.L. Bean

Nothing warms up a bed faster than real flannel sheets underneath your down comforter and this set from L.L. Bean takes the cake. The sheets are made from 100% certified organic cotton flannel and brushed on both sides, so not only do they start out super soft, they get softer with every wash.

The sheets come in three basic colors -- white, light blue and heathered gray -- or you can choose a subtle print or striped sheets. This set includes one fitted sheet, one flat sheet and two pillow cases (the twin set only has one), but you can also purchase two-packs of the pillow cases separately. 

L.L. Bean

A heated blanket provides instant warmth, but there are so many options out there that look good on the surface but aren't built to last. Enter the Wicked Cozy Heated Blanket from L.L. Bean. This heated blanket has an insulated layer sandwiched between an ultra plush top and velvet bottom that feel soft to the touch, but are also designed to distribute some serious heat. It also has patented technology that ensures there's an even temperature throughout, without any spots that are extra hot or too cold.

It's definitely an up-front investment, but it will likely last years and if it doesn't, L.L. Bean will work with you to replace it if it fails due to manufacturer defects.

Amazon

Heated blankets are the go-to for electrical heat, but this heated mattress pad from Beautyrest brings cozy up a notch. It has 20 different heat settings and dual controllers that allow you to adjust each side to different temperatures. It also has a preheat function and a 10-hour automatic shutoff feature that ensures the mattress pad won't overheat.

And it's made from 100% cotton, so not only does it keep you cozy, it's also soft and breathable, which means you stay warm without overheating. Plus, it's totally machine washable (just make sure you remove the controllers first).

Parachute Home

If a heated mattress pad is a little too much for you, this Wool Mattress Topper from Parachute is the perfect middle ground. Not only does it help retain heat, the 100% virgin American wool cradles your pressure points and adds some extra support to your mattress, so your body stays aligned while you feel comfy and toasty. 

It's also breathable and moisture-wicking, so while it keeps warm, you don't get too hot and wake up sweaty and uncomfortable.

Wayfair

Layering your bedding is the key to staying warm while you're sleeping in the winter and this Holborn Wool Throw from Charlton Home is the coziest final touch. It does a good job on its own, but when you put it on top of a down comforter, it adds extra insulation that traps in serious heat. The blanket combines natural wool and acrylic yarn so it helps keep you warm, but is also soft, comfortable and extremely durable.

It comes in four classic colors -- platinum, beige, navy blue and cream -- and has a classic cable knit finish that looks stylish and high-end on your bed. 

Amazon

Turning your bed into a cozy haven is one of the best ways to stay warm while you're sleeping, but if you want to raise your room temperature without heating the whole house all night, the Dyson Hot and Cool is the perfect way to do it. It has a powerful fan heater and an intelligent thermostat that monitors the room and automatically adjusts to your desired room temperature, so you don't overheat (or waste energy). And there are no exposed heating elements, so you don't have to worry about your kids or pets bumping into it.

While it's pricier than other space heaters out there, it doubles as a fan too. That means, rather than storing it away and lugging up a fan in its place once the weather starts to warm up, you can simply switch from heating to cooling.

L.L. Bean

When it comes to staying warm while you sleep, what you're wearing matters as much as your bedding. Made with the same 100% brushed cotton as the sheets, these L.L. Bean Scotch Flannel Pajamas are among the warmest pajamas out there. Not only are they exceptionally soft, they're also the perfect weight to help keep you warm without trapping in too much heat, especially when you slide in under your bedding layers.

With different plaid options to choose from and a loose, relaxed fit, they also have a classic flannel vibe that's hard not to love.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.

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17 Bags, Backpacks, Cubes, and Straps to Protect Your Camera

There is no such thing as the perfect camera bag. I once spent two hours inside a B&H trying to fit all my photo gear in more than 20 bags and still left unsatisfied. Everyone’s needs are simply too different; what works for me might not work for you.

That doesn’t mean you won’t find something you really like, even if it’s not perfect. It’ll just take some time. We camera enthusiasts here on the WIRED Gear team have tested more than 30 bags to help whittle your search down. We’ve shoved our equipment into slings, messenger bags, backpacks, and cubes, we’ve even gone bag-free, all in the search of a convenient way to carry everything while keeping it protected and lightweight. These are our favorite picks.

Be sure to check our other buying guides, like the Best Compact Cameras and Best Camera Accessories for Your Phone roundups.

Special offer for Gear readers: Get a 1-Year Subscription to WIRED for $5 ($25 off). This includes unlimited access to WIRED.com and our print magazine (if you’d like). Subscriptions help fund the work we do every day.

WIRED reviewers Scott Gilbertson and Jess Grey both tested bags and contributed to this guide.

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The US Government Needs to Invest in Digital Design

Imagine if, when the president addressed the nation in those early, frightening days of March 2020, he had announced the launch of a user-friendly digital hub for citizens to access critical government services related to Covid-19. The site and corresponding iOS and Android apps would seamlessly integrate the latest Covid data and content from multiple federal agencies, hospitals nationwide, and private sector companies. It would be accessible to all Americans—supporting 62 languages, and those with visual disabilities or limited internet access would have a phone number they could call to speak to a knowledgeable representative with no wait time. You could easily find the latest data on confirmed cases, study interactive animations of how the virus spreads, search for the hours and location of your nearest testing site, schedule a test, file for an SBA loan, and check on your loan approval status in the queue. The hub would integrate with state and local websites to keep you aware of the latest mandates from your governor and county officials. Today, you’d be able to schedule a vaccine appointment for you and your family through the site. Throughout the pandemic, you’d check the site daily, building your confidence in the government’s response efforts and its ability to protect your safety.

A site with these features is not at all out of reach technologically. And yet, the federal government has provided no such resource for the American people.

As the vaccination effort continues across the country, reports of buggy and confusing websites needlessly slowing down the process have emerged. Rapid distribution of urgently needed medical supplies, loans for small businesses, stimulus checks, and unemployment benefits have similarly been delayed by the government’s continued use of outdated technology and confusing digital resources. Our nation’s failure to invest in federal and state information technology has severely restricted our ability to effectively respond to the Covid-19 crisis. That’s why the country needs a new federal officer in charge of the American citizen’s digital experience—a chief experience officer of the United States.

The world’s most successful technology companies have shown us just how vital the role of design is in the process of innovation. In fact, it’s nearly impossible to build a successful digital business without design and customer experience at its core. You won’t find a company road map that doesn’t have it—except, apparently, the US government’s.

The market research firm Forrester tracks customer experience and satisfaction across the private sector and the federal government. Not surprisingly, the government consistently underperforms the private sector. The average customer experience (CX) score across federal agencies was just 61.1 out of 100 in 2020. In other words, the percentage of people who thought federal services were easy to use was equivalent to the percentage of customers who enjoy the inflight experience on airplanes.

A prime example of this was the Centers for Disease Control’s website, CDC.gov/coronavirus, that required users to painstakingly click through 115 navigation links when searching for answers. This was one of several inconsistent, visually complex, and hard-to-navigate government websites that left Americans uncertain, confused, and fearful. The adverse effect of these sites’ ineffectiveness was compounded by the administration’s delayed, decentralized, and uncoordinated response to the pandemic.

Design and user experience are not policy priorities for most agencies, but they should be. Now more than ever, digital services are critical to our national infrastructure. They are essential tools for continuing our response and recovery to the economic and health crises. The internet is the primary source of information for most Americans. In March 2020, the Centers for Disease Control’s website received over a billion page views, more than 10 times the amount in the same month in 2019.

Investing in better digital infrastructure is the most efficient and cost-effective means to improve the delivery of government services to the American people. For example, the administration promised 20 million Americans would be vaccinated before the end of 2020. But so far, Operation Warp Speed has distributed about 14 million vaccine doses, of which only about 4 million were used before the new year. The White House used the full resources of the federal government to distribute the vaccines but not to administer them. The difficult work of outreach and coordinating appointments was relegated to overburdened hospitals, local public health departments, and state governments. Even the reporting of these health statistics has been behind schedule. How is it that, in the middle of a national health crisis, Amazon can track inventory in its warehouses in real time while CDC’s vaccine numbers lagged for more than a week?

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CES 2021 showed us how robots can ease our pandemic woes – CNET

This story is part of CES, where our editors will bring you the latest news and the hottest gadgets of the entirely virtual CES 2021.

The first all-digital CES has come and gone, and it was a very different event than the ones we've experienced in the past. But it wasn't just the format that was different; the tech was different too.

There was a discernible shift in some of the products being shown off by exhibitors -- a move toward tech designed to help us live, work and stay safe through the coronavirus pandemic. Among the technologies affected by this shift, robotics stood out as a category that's been pushed in a new direction by the events of the past year.

We saw plenty of robots grace the virtual trade show with their presence. But rather than just incremental improvements on previous efforts, or novelty concept tech, we saw robotics companies push their tech into brand-new territories to meet our needs in this new normal by going where we can't and doing things we're not allowed to do.

This shift in the direction of robotics was part of a broader push by the consumer electronics industry to address the new needs that've emerged from the pandemic and are ongoing during lockdown. Among the hot items at the show were Razer's Project Hazel smart N95 mask, an LG refrigerator with a UV light emitter to disinfect, and a touchless toilet from Kohler. With people trapped in their homes and unable to interact with other folks like they're used to, we need to find new ways to do things to keep people safe while completing essential tasks. 

For robot makers, this is already well within their wheelhouse. There was plenty of evidence at CES that many robot makers have been able to adapt their technology to meet new needs created by COVID.

Old dogs, new tricks

Reachy, a humanoid robot whose strengths are interaction with humans and object manipulation, first made an appearance at CES last year. But this year, the robot was back with a new skill.

Pollen Robotics, the French company that makes Reachy, has made the robot compatible with a humanoid VR teleoperation app. The idea is that by wearing a VR headset and using hand controllers, anyone can control Reachy remotely, allowing the robot to complete tasks from anywhere in the world. 

Now playing: Watch this: CES 2021 verdict: How the first all-digital show stacked...

4:54

Telepresence robots are nothing new, but this past year has shown us just how many ways they could potentially be useful. For Reachy, who's open-source, there are boundless possibilities to go where humans can't right now and be a proxy for them.

UK-based Shadow Robots, a frequent CES exhibitor, came to the show this year with news that it's secured funding from Innovate UK to explore whether its Tactile Telerobot can be used in manufacturing COVID vaccines for Pfizer.

An expert in building advanced robotic hands that can mimic a human hand in real time, Shadow Robots will soon begin working its way through a checklist of tasks requiring high levels of dexterity and accuracy to see if the system can work in a sterile environment to manufacture vaccines cheaper, better, faster and easier.

It'll be doing tasks usually completed by humans, who have to work by putting their hands into a sterile box with gloves attached, called an isolator, said Shadow Managing Director Rich Walker. It's tricky work, with much room for human error. But the hope is that telepresence robots will give the human workers more control and lead to greater efficiency in the manufacture of the vaccines.

Walker, who's been almost exclusively selling Shadow's robots to professors and research institutions, relishes the opportunity to bring the company's expertise into another realm. "It's just really nice to do something where you can actually genuinely see we have the opportunity to help people who are solving real problems, real challenges, who have a difficult working environment," he said.

New robots to solve new problems

Not all the pandemic robots we saw at the show were simply being repurposed, however. A new category of robots also emerged: droids designed specifically around keeping our environments clean and safe.

Both LG and Ubtech, two companies that always bring new robots to CES, unveiled robots that use ultraviolet light (UV-C) to disinfect high-touch, high-traffic areas. The idea is that these could be used in hotel rooms, classrooms, restaurants and other such high-touch areas.

For Walker, who also sits on Innovate UK's Robotics and Autonomous Systems Advisory Board, this is ideal work for a robot, as it requires a high level of accuracy -- holding a UV scanner at a certain distance for a certain amount of time -- to be effective. It would be almost impossible for a human to do and ensure an entire room had been cleaned perfectly, he said. "Whereas having a robot do it, it's absolutely consistent every time, totally faultless."

LG's CLOi robot is designed to be able to navigate around chairs and tables and irradiate an entire room's touchable surfaces in between 15 to 30 minutes, depending on size. 

lg-uvc-robot-02

LG's UV-C robot.

LG

The robot is meant to bring "peace of mind," to people that they won't be exposed to harmful bacteria and germs, said Michael Kosla, vice president of LG Business Solutions USA. "A higher level of disinfection is going to become the new customer expectation in the new contactless economy where we now all live, work, learn and play," he added.

The proliferation of disinfecting robots at this year's show didn't come as a surprise to Ben Wood, senior analyst at CCS Insight. He said in an email that new roles for robots beyond manufacturing and warehousing have been coming for some time and that in October, CCS forecast that the pandemic would quicken their adoptions in other contexts due to fears about the spread of infection.

"We predicted that robots would be deployed to undertake tasks such as health monitoring and cleaning in hospitals, housekeeping in hotels and food service and payment in restaurants," said Wood. "This has certainly come to fruition and LG's UV-C robot, that was showcased at CES, is a good example of this."

Welcome, robot saviors

While looking around at the robots making their debut at the show this year, I felt that there was more room for them in our lives than ever before.

In the past, when I've written about companion robots to tackle loneliness, it's largely been for elderly people, people with dementia or disabilities, or those who are socially isolated. But these days, we're all socially isolated. 

An adorable, fluffy guinea pig robot that can respond to your touch and the sound of your voice might not have appealed to you in the past, but it could be a welcome addition to your home right now, especially if you live alone. Moflin, made by Vanguard Industries in Japan, is just such a robot.

And Samsung's new robots appeal for similar reasons. Being at home all the time seems to result in an endless parade of dirty dishes, so wouldn't it be great if you could rely on a Bot Handy to load and unload your dishwasher for you while you work? Plus, with no bars open for happy hour, it sure would be nice to have a robot pour you a glass of wine at the end of the day, while you kick back.

Similarly, the Bot Care might just be the work-from-home colleague you've really been missing. The mobile personal assistant can pop in for a chat, reminding you to take a break and stretch, or it can run through your schedule with you, without you having to flick between screens in silence yet again.

Meanwhile, Moxie, a cute desktop robot, can keep your children entertained and help them learn, with dedicated content designed by educators and child development experts.

In the past, robots have always been a luxury, but CES 2021 showed us it might be time to reassess. The world has shifted and we've been given no choice but to adapt -- and why not let robots take at least a smidgen of the strain?

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How to make your home a healthy workspace in 2021 – CNET

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Working from home for months at a time can take a serious toll on your health, both physical and emotional. And yet, with COVID-19 reshaping modern life, that's exactly what many of us had to do in 2020. The year is new, and vaccines are slowly rolling out, but working from home is still a reality for the time being -- and could be through most of 2021.

Luckily, humans are adaptable, and we've learned a lot over the past year. A few creative solutions can really change working from home for the better, making it more sustainable as we work toward a vaccine, and healthier in the meantime.

Here are six tips on making your home a healthier workspace in 2021.

Create distinct spaces

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One of the biggest challenges with working from home is maintaining a health boundary between work and home. One way to do this is to clearly demark an area that is work-only, and try to keep your work from spilling into the areas you rely on for relaxing and de-stressing.

Even if you're only in a studio apartment, keeping your laptop to a corner desk or table and keeping work away from your bed or couch can help you establish the boundaries you need for maintaining mental health during a highly stressful time.

Work near natural light and plants

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Whether you're hunched in front of a laptop all day, or shooting videos like some of my colleagues, natural light and plants can go a long way toward making your home work space feel less claustrophobic.

Even if you don't have a great view out your window, pulling your desk a little closer to those natural light sources can make a big difference.

Keep a glass of water nearby

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It's easy for time to blend together these days, and when you lose track of time, it's also easy to lose track of how much you're eating and drinking.

Keeping a glass of water on hand (you can add sliced lemons or a straw for easy sipping if you want) helps you stay hydrated, leading to fewer headaches and a healthier body in general.

Find a comfortable chair

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Ergonomics matter, and even if you can't afford to buy a new office chair, finding the most comfortable position to sit during long work days can make a world of difference.

If you already have an office chair, using a pillow for lower back support might not be a bad choice.

Move during the day

David Priest/CNET

Whether you're just taking a quick lap around the house, a 15-minute walk outside or a full-on midday workout, injecting some activity into your daily work routine can help break up the monotony and fight off the effects of sedentary life.

I keep a pull-up bar and various other cheap exercise equipment around the house and make it a habit to do a few reps each time I pass them throughout the day.

Give yourself a little grace

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Lockdown life can be hard, and it'd be disingenuous to act like any of these solutions will totally solve those challenges. Plus, each of us is dealing with our own challenges, whether we're stuck in small apartments, living with extended family, raising small children or dealing with prolonged isolation.

While it's important to try to take care of your body and draw boundaries between work and the rest of your life, things sometimes break down. And that's okay. Just like cheat days can make healthy eating a little easier, occasionally bending rules to give yourself, say, a day working in bed, is OK.

I usually give myself Fridays to bend the rules a little, both in terms of what I eat and how I work. I don't exercise on Fridays, and I usually chill in bed for part of the day -- and giving myself a scheduled day to break those rules has made it easier to keep to them the rest of the time.

These are only a handful of the tips I've learned in the past 9 months since beginning to work from home. If you've found other ones, share them in the comments.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.

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Want to Write a Book This Year? These Tools Can Help

2020 was not the year I wrote my first book—but it was the year I started thinking about it. And in typical freelance writer fashion, I decided to take advantage of my position and get some advice on how to go about it from people much more accomplished than me under the guise of researching this article. Here’s what I managed to learn.

A Way to Take Notes

Apparently books don’t spring fully formed from the ether. You kind of have to work on them, brainstorming different ideas, doing research, and taking notes before you can really get started. News to me, but oh well.

Chris Bailey, author of The Productivity Project and Hyperfocus, and all-around productivity guru, is obsessive about taking notes for his books. He has legal pads stashed around his home, carries a small notepad when he walks around town, and even has a waterproof notepad in his shower. If he can’t commit his thoughts to paper, he uses Simplenote.

Epic fantasy writer Brian McClellan, author of The Powder Mage series, is a little less over-the-top about note-taking, but he also prefers the paper approach and carries a notepad with him—or at least tries to. Whenever he leaves it in his car, he “whips out” his smartphone and uses whatever notes app came preinstalled.

Both writers stressed that what tool you use for taking notes doesn’t matter as much as the act of doing it. Notes can be anything from a cool word or an idea for a magic system to transcribed conversations or annotated historical documents. But, whatever form they take, they’re likely to be the base of your book.

Some (Any) Kind of Writing App

Unfortunately, neither McClellan nor Bailey has some super-secret writing tool that does all the work for them. They did, however, have a few suggestions for apps to use while you do all the work.

For short works with a single point-of-view character, McClellan uses Word 2003—not out of some kind of George R. R. Martin-style embracing of defunct writing tech, but because it’s what he has. “The writing bit is the most important thing,” he explained over Zoom. “It’s just about getting it down. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing it on.”

For longer, more complex projects with multiple point-of-view characters. McClellan uses Scrivener. He said all its note-taking, outlining, and other book-focused features make it easier to keep his 200,000-plus-word drafts in some semblance of order.

Bailey has a different way of breaking his books into manageable chunks. He starts with a concrete outline and then creates one TextEdit—yes, the TextEdit that comes preinstalled on macOS—file for each chapter.

A Second, Safe Copy of Your Work

Tech writers go on and on about backing up your work, but it’s even more important if you’re going to spend months or years working on a book. You don’t want a single spilled cup of coffee or dropped laptop bag to wipe out your as-yet-unpublished masterpiece.

McClellan saves all his files to Dropbox. And while Bailey didn’t specifically mention which backup service he uses, I could see the small green ticks next to every TextEdit file over the screen share, indicating that each one was safely stored in the cloud. Personally, for all my articles, I have my writing app, Ulysses, sync everything through iCloud.

If you don’t know where to start, we have a great guide here on Wired. Give it a read—and get backing up.

Something to Track Your Progress

Over the course of a year, writing the first draft of a book is shockingly attainable. At 1,500 words a week—a few hours’ work—you can have a 75,000-word draft written in 50 weeks. Put a few more hours in here and there to edit, and you really could be looking at a rough manuscript by December without having to do anything crazy like locking yourself away in a cavern.

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