The Extra Mighell - May 8, 2020

Technology and Assorted News, Among Other Things

Welcome to issue #3 of The Extra Mighell! A quick explanation for new readers - my last name is pronounced “Mile,” so hopefully the title makes more sense now.

The links here represent the stories of the past week that I found interesting or noteworthy but had no time to cover on the blog - that’s why they’re “extra.” Enjoy!

On to the news….

This Week in Living at Home

Turns out some employers don’t fully trust their employees are really working when they are at home, so they are setting up surveillance tools that include always-on webcams, virtual water coolers, and constant monitoring. Is this a good thing? [Washington Post]

On the brighter side, YouTube and Facebook are both hosting online commencement activities for all of those seniors who are missing out on graduation, with heavy-hitting guest speakers including President and Michelle Obama, BTS, Google’s Sundar Pichai, Lady Gaga, Alicia Keys, and more. If there’s a silver lining to this terrible time, it’s that graduates can boast they were able to attend two graduation ceremonies. [The Verge]

And if you’re tired of attending Zoom meetings from your house, Elon Musk says that video conferencing is “definitely” coming to Tesla vehicles. [TechCrunch]

Security

Do you own a Nest device? Google is doing the right thing by starting to require two-factor authentication, to keep bad folks from hacking into your doorbell, thermostat or other smart home device. Here’s how to get your Nest devices ready for 2FA. [LifeHacker]

On Wednesday for about a half-hour, you might have noticed that all your iPhone apps were crashing. Turns out that Facebook was the cause; if you use Facebook’s incredibly handy sign-in feature to log into other apps, those apps could suffer the consequences if the Facebook app has a problem. Just something to keep in mind. [Anil Dash]

Okay, okay, this isn’t new, but it turns out we have sucked at passwords for a long time before computers, even:

Social

Twitter, which in the past has demonstrated a somewhat hands-off approach to offensive language on its network, is testing out providing a warning message to users if it senses that the tweet the user is about to post contains harmful language. [The Verge]

Productivity

Work-From-Home apps are suddenly very popular, and WFH Stack provides a great listing (128 at last count) of apps you can use with your firm or team, no matter where you happen to be. Categories include documents, messaging and team chat, project management, video conferencing, and a lot more.

One of the rules of this newsletter is that I will only post headlines about products that are here, now, and not that they’re “coming soon.” Except now. I know so many people who were bummed about the recent closing of Wunderlist, it looks like there’s a glimmer of hope: the maker of Wunderlist has announced the upcoming Superlist. Add your name to the waiting list.

Mobile

Because many of us may find ourselves wearing face masks out in public for a while, it’s good to see that Apple is rolling out a new feature that will allow you to enter a PIN if your iPhone’s Face ID doesn’t recognize you. (Android users, Google has done this for a while now….) [CNN Business]

New Gadgets of the Week

Apple updated the 13-inch MacBook Pro with the new Magic Keyboard, double the storage, and faster performance. No more butterfly keyboard! [Apple]

When Google introduced its original Pixel Buds in 2017, I jumped early and it was not a good experience. That’s why I’m glad to see that with the new Pixel Buds 2, second time’s the charm. If you’re looking for some new truly wireless earbuds, these are a great option. [The Verge]

We may not all be in position to buy new gadgets, so the New York Times has a great guide for skipping the upgrade and caring for the gadget you’ve got. Time to dust off that old Treo! [New York Times]

New Apps/Tools

Kiwi for G Suite allows you to work in your G Suite applications in regular application windows, instead of within a web browser.

Fun and Games

AirBnB has made a nice pivot to new sources of income, by introducing Online Experiences, which features live interactive sessions conducted over Zoom by guides around the world, on topics like Dance Like a K-Pop Star, Cooking with a Moroccan Family, and Cultural Journey Through London Chinatown. There are over 200 offerings that range from $2-$15.

Do you miss flying? I don’t. But if you do, maybe Airplane Mode can offer you a nice view and some relaxing airplane white nose.

It was only a matter of time. With ZoomRoulette you can join a random zoom meeting, full of wholesome clean activities - or unwholesome, adult activities, I don’t really know because I didn’t actually try it. WARNING: enter these rooms at your own risk.

Finally, this. A joy to watch. You’re welcome.

See you next week!
— Tom