Twitter may never figure out how to handle account verification.
The micro-blogging platform announced Friday that it would once again pump the brakes on taking applications for account verification, the process by which accounts belonging to famous or otherwise noteworthy people can get a blue checkmark badge on their profile. Existing applications will still be reviewed, but anyone who wanted to ask Twitter for verification but hadn’t done so yet will have to wait an indefinite amount of time before applications are accepted again.
While Twitter’s official statement didn’t list specific reasons for doing this beyond a vague call to improve the process, it’s not tough to figure out if you’ve been following along lately. Over the past month, Twitter was found to have verified both a fake account claiming to belong to novelist Cormac McCarthy and a number of obviously fraudulent bot accounts. These incidents called into question Twitter’s application process that had just been relaunched in May of this year. (Even during the years-long verification pause though, some folks, like CEO Jack Dorsey’s mom and ’80s band Whitesnake, still got a blue check.)
Twitter had already briefly suspended its new verification process a week after launch due to a high volume of requests. That’s not to mention one of many reasons it had to be relaunched in the first place: Back in 2017, Twitter’s previous verification mechanism bestowed a badge upon a notable white supremacist.
So yeah, needless to say, it’s been a bumpy road for a feature that’s merely intended to stem the tide of fake accounts for famous people. Twitter’s more open than ever before about how it chooses who gets verified, but now it needs to work on managing the deluge and blocking fakers. There may not be a perfect solution, but there has to be one that doesn’t easily let people impersonate someone as famous as Cormac McCarthy.
Launching a rover into space and landing it safely on an alien surface is difficult enough. Then you have to get the thing to actually drive.
Humans put seven rovers on the moon and six on Mars. Since the 1970s, they’ve covered 137 miles. Four of them are still cruising: NASA’s Curiosity and Perseverance rovers on Mars, and the China National Space Administration’s (CNSA) Zhurong rover on Mars and Yutu-2 rover on the moon. The Soviet Union was the only other country to land a rover on the moon and Mars.
In the spirit of friendly competition, we’ve ranked the 13 rovers on how far they’ve traveled on the moon and Mars.
All Mars and lunar rovers ranked by how far they’ve driven. Credit: Bob al-greene / mashable
The little rover that could, Sojourner was a relatively small vehicle that never ventured very far from its original landing site. Credit: NASA
The first rover to make it to the surface of Mars, 1997’s Sojourner weighed just 25 pounds and stood under 11 inches tall. After its seven-month journey through space and deployment on Mars, the rover was active for 83 sols (Mars days), equal to 85 Earth days, and drove a total of 330 feet. It acted as a test for wheel designs and took readings of rock compositions.
Yutu was the China National Space Administration’s first rover mission, landing on the moon in late 2013. Equipped with ground-penetrating radar and instruments to measure soil composition, Yutu only traveled 377 feet before it ceased moving in early 2014. Even though it couldn’t move, it kept collecting data until 2016.
Zhurong captured this self-portrait with its lander after arriving on Mars. Credit: china national space administration
Launched right around the same time as Perseverance, Zhurong traveled to Mars as part of the China National Space Administration’s Tianwen-1 mission, which also included an orbiter and a lander for the rover. After orbiting the planet for months, Zhurong touched down in May. As it explores an area roughly 1,000 miles away from Perseverance, it’s searching for signs of past life as well as pockets of subterranean ice deposits, which could prove useful in future crewed missions to the red planet.
Yutu-2 is captured by the Chang’e 3 lander rolling on the far side of the moon. Credit: cnsa
Yutu-2 landed on the far side of the moon in early 2019 with a similar but improved payload to Yutu and has put in 2,325 feet, or about 0.4 miles, of driving as of May 2021. Yutu-2 is still operating.
NASA’s Perseverance rover captured a selfie including its helicopter friend Ingenuity by stitching together a bunch of photos. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS
Landing in February 2021, NASA’s Perseverance rover has put in just over one mile of distance on the red planet. Exploring an ancient lakebed in the search for evidence of past life, Perseverance is outfitted with a range of instruments for taking pictures, precisely analyzing rocks and soil, and examining both the local atmosphere and geography. Perseverance’s main goal is to prep a sample of the surface to be picked and returned to Earth in a future mission. Percy also brought along the Ingenuity helicopter. Flying through the thin Martian atmosphere, the drone has covered more than a mile in the air.
Landing on Mars in 2004, the twin rovers Spirit and Opportunity were part of NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover mission. Spirit and Opportunity had identical designs with identical cameras and scientific instruments for examining rocks, soil, and dust. Both rovers were designed to last 90 sols, and both exceeded that target. Spirit lasted longer than five Earth years and traveled 4.8 miles before getting stuck.
7. Lunokhod 1
The beefy Lunokhod rovers from the Soviet space program were groundbreaking vehicles in the history of space exploration. Credit: NASA
The Lunokhod 1 had the first honor of driving outside Earth when it arrived on the moon in 1970 courtesy of the Soviet space program. Operating for longer than 10 Earth months, it way overshot the three months it was designed for and covered 6.5 miles. Along the way, it beamed photos of the moon back to Earth and gathered data on the soil.
One of Curiosity’s selfies from his time on Mars. Credit: Getty Images/NASA
Curiosity landed on Mars in 2012 and is still chugging along, racking up 16.2 miles as of early August. Curiosity was designed to search for evidence of past life and examine Mars’ atmosphere and geology. For now, the rover doesn’t show signs of slowing down.
5, 4, 3. Lunar Roving Vehicle
Apollo 15 astronaut James Irwin is pictured on the moon beside the first Lunar Roving Vehicle, captured by David Scott. Mount Hadley looms in the background. Credit: nasa
NASA’s first rover to land on the moon was driven by people. From 1971 to 1972, NASA put three Lunar Roving Vehicles on the moon. The astronauts from Apollo 15 drove 17.3 miles. The next one ventured just 16.5 miles. Apollo 17 astronauts pushed the third rover 22.3 miles, cranking the speed up to a record 11.2 miles per hour.
2. Lunokhod 2
The Soviet space program’s second lunar rover touched down on the moon in 1973, and although it only worked for about four months, it managed to clock in 24 miles. Like Lunokhod 1, the sequel sent pictures back to Earth and performed various tests on the moon’s soil. It was the last rover sent by the Soviet space program, the last rover of the ’70s, and the end of the first era of space exploration. There wouldn’t be another rover successfully launched and landed until the ’90s.
An artist’s rendering of the Opportunity rover on the surface of Mars. Spirit and Opportunity are identical. Credit: NASA/jpl-caltech
After landing on the opposite side of Mars as its twin Spirit, Opportunity made it all the way to 2018. Outshining its fellow rover and all other rovers in history so far, Opportunity clocked the longest distance ever driven by a rover outside of Earth: 28.1 miles.
My Apple Watch timer has saved the day several times while I’m cheffing it up in the kitchen. I can easily pop a dish in the oven, set a timer on my wrist, and forget about it until the silent vibration lets me know it’s time to take my dish out.
But if you’re cooking more than a one-pot meal, you probably need more than one timer. Here’s how to set up multiple timers on your Apple Watch, for your cooking – or really, any other – needs.
1. Make sure you have watchOS 8 downloaded to your Apple Watch 3 or newer.
The ability to set up multiple timers in the Apple Watch’s native timer app comes new with the latest software update. The watchOS 8 update is currently only available via the public or developer beta, which requires you to also have the iOS 15 beta downloaded to your iPhone. If you’d prefer to wait for the general release of watchOS 8 and iOS 15, check back in later this fall.
2. Head to your Timer app.
Stopwatch has a stopwatch button. Timer is, well, the other one. Credit: screenshot / apple
Press the Digital Crown to get to your watch’s home screen, which will display every app you have. Your screen may look a little different, but the Timer app is usually located next to the Stopwatch app. They do look pretty similar, so make sure you tap on the right one.
3. Tap on “Custom Timer.”
Customize your timer. Credit: SCREENSHOT / APPLE
When the app opens, you’ll see a small menu of preset timers. On top of those, there is the custom timer option, where you can input exactly how long you want your first timer to run for. Tap that and set your timer.
Then, name that timer using Siri if it’s helpful for your task. Trust me, it’s better to name it than have a timer go off and have no clue what you’re supposed to be doing.
4. Hit “Start” on your first timer, then repeat the process.
Start that timer baby. Credit: SCREENSHOT / APPLE
Simply repeat the same steps for as many timers as you would like to set, and all of your countdowns should appear in list form once you have more than one running.
What the list of timers will look like if you don’t name them. Credit: SCREENSHOT / APPLE
I prefer to have my Apple Watch on quiet mode, so my timers notify me via vibration when they’re done. But if you want a sound to play, just make sure you have Silent Mode turned off, and a beeping sound should alert you when your timers are complete.
Now go off and set a timer for your cooking! Your laundry! Your scrubbing bubbles sitting in the bathtub! Overlapping household chores have never been so exact.
Privacy Please is an ongoing series exploring the ways privacy is violated in the modern world, and what can be done about it.
Computer security and privacy are daunting subjects that call to mind global ransomware gangs, targeted espionage, and data-hungry behemoths. And yet, often overlooked in this roiling digital miasma is the fact that there’s one simple step you can take to protect both your privacy and your security: Encrypting your computer.
“It’s a really fantastic bit of basic security hygiene, like washing your hands or wearing a mask, that anyone can do that really gets you a lot of benefits,” he explained over the phone.
Why you should encrypt your computer, and what that means
Encryption is complicated. But you personally don’t need to understand all the behind-the-scenes math, as smart and dedicated people have already figured it out for you.
When discussing encrypting data, experts typically talk about two distinct categories: encryption of data in motion, and encryption of data at rest. For the former, think of things like text messaging. Apps like Signal use end-to-end encryption to ensure messages (data in motion) can’t be read by third parties. And that’s great! For the latter, which is what this piece is focused on, think about the data that lives on people’s computers or phones.
Data that, presumably, you want to keep private.
“Even if you’ve deleted stuff, people can recover the deleted files from your hard drive.”
A properly encrypted hard drive is functionally unreadable to anyone who doesn’t have the decryption key. When it comes to an encrypted computer, that’s usually just the password used to log in. Unlike deleted data, which is often trivial to recover, encrypted data is truly private — appearing as a jumbled mess to any unwelcome eyes.
“Even if you’ve deleted stuff, people can recover the deleted files from your hard drive,” emphasized Quintin. “But, if you’ve encrypted your hard drive, people won’t be able to recover those files.”
People store a lot of personal data on their computers — tax documents, private photos, health records, journal entries, and who knows what else — and even if there are no plans to share that information with the world, if your hard drive isn’t encrypted, the chances are a lot higher that its contents will get out.
“The most important reason to encrypt your computer or phone, and this may seem obvious, is so that no can read, without your permission, what’s on your computer or your phone,” added Quintin. “This is really handy, for example, if somebody were to steal your computer or steal your phone — or you were to lose your computer, or your phone.”
In the scenario that Quintin lays out, even if thieves get their hands on your computer, the files on that computer remain inaccessible to them.
It’s a reminder that even supposed experts occasionally need.
Essentially, encrypting your computer is a vital step. It’s one that should be done today, right now, before you lose, sell, or recycle your computer.
How to encrypt your computer
Thankfully, these days encrypting both Macs and and PCs is an easy process — even if the onus is on you to make it happen.
“It’s a shame that operating systems for laptops and desktops, such as Mac and Windows, are not presenting [encryption] as a default because it’s really such a basic step that everyone should take,” observed Quinton.
Those looking to take that basic computer hygiene step are in luck, as often there’s no additional software or skills required. Most modern computers provide owners a baked-in process (as long as they know where to look).
“The ways that Mac, and Windows, and all of your mobile phones allow you to encrypt your computer are perfectly fine for the vast majority of people,” Quintin assured.
How to encrypt a Mac:
Pretty easy. Credit: Screenshot / apple
Click the Apple logo in the upper-left corner of your screen
Select System Preferences > Security & Privacy and then click the FireVault tab
Click the lock icon in the bottom left of the window, then provide the admin name and password (if it’s your computer, that’s likely just your login info)
Select Turn On FileVault
Chose a recovery method in case you forget your password (Apple explains that part in detail, but a local recovery key is perhaps the most straightforward of the options)
Click Continue, and go about your business as your hard drive encrypts in the background
How to encrypt a Windows PC:
Sign into your Windows admin account (if it’s your computer, that’s likely just the account you use day to day)
If you see the Device encryption option, select Turn on
If you don’t see the Device encryption option, then Windows explains that you should search for “Manage BitLocker” using the taskbar, open it up, and then turn the feature on
That’s it. You’re all done.
Keeping things secure
Encrypting your hard drive is a great way to protect your personal data from prying eyes. Of course, if you’re not careful, it might also protect your data from you.
Unlike with an unencrypted computer, if you lose your password there is not an easy way to retrieve your data. In other words, encryption is like locking your files in a safe — forget the combination, and you’re in quite the bind.
iPhones come with so many new features these days, it can be hard to keep track … and sometimes to even know they exist. We hear ya. But some of those features can be extremely useful.
For instance, did you know you can hide photos on your iPhone? You can even create hidden photo albums on an iPhone, too. The “Hide Photo” feature on your iPhone is definitely one you should be using, and not just because it’s there. We’re big fans of privacy here at Mashable, and we can think of multiple reasons (some obvious, some less so) why someone might want to hide their iPhone photos. Let’s walk you through them, shall we?
Why would anyone want to hide photos?
We’ll begin with the most obvious reason: Nudes. Yours? Someone else’s? There’s nothing wrong with that at all. A lot of us take them! But do you really feel comfortable knowing you’re an accidental iPhone misplacement away from a total stranger having access to your intimate pics?
I lose my iPhone probably twice a day, and I barely ever leave home. On the chance that you lose your phone, you want to make it as difficult as possible for people to find those pics.
Maybe you’re not worried about losing your phone, or about strangers looking at your photos. Maybe you’re more concerned about showing your friends some cool photos you just took and accidentally scrolling by a pic of your butthole! I mean, it happens.
Nudes may not be the only photos on your iPhone you want to hide. Maybe you don’t take them at all, and that’s fine, but consider the various other possibilities. For holidays, birthdays, or any special gift-giving occasion, you may have taken a photo of something you want to give to somebody else. And if you’re hanging out with that person, you don’t want them to accidentally find their present on your phone when it was supposed to be a secret! Hiding photos is a sneaky good move when it comes to keeping surprise presents an *actual* surprise.
Or maybe you have a not-so-secret selfie stash you don’t necessarily want everyone to see. We’re certainly not anti-selfie, but if you like taking selfies and aren’t comfortable having them in a super-accessible place, a hidden album on your iPhone may be a perfect place to keep them.
How to hide photos on iPhone
Go to your iPhone photo gallery and find the photo or photos you want to hide. Tap “Select” in the upper righthand corner, then tap the photo or photos to select them.
Next, go to the bottom left corner of your iPhone screen and tap the “Share” icon — a little box with an arrow pointing up inside it. Don’t worry, selecting this icon isn’t actually going to “share” your photos.
Then, scroll down past your share options and tap the “Hide” function, marked by a symbol of an eyeball with a line going through it.
“Hide Photo” feature Credit: Andy moser
When prompted, tap “Hide Photo.”
That photo or selection of photos will now be in your “Hidden Album,” which can be found by going to your photos and scrolling all the way down under the “Utilities” section, where it says “Hidden,” characterized by the same eyeball icon as before.
Tap “Hidden” to see the hidden photos on your iPhone.
Where to find your “Hidden Album” Credit: andy moser
What about making a hidden album on your iPhone?
Perhaps you’re not satisfied with simply hiding individual photos and you’d like to learn how to make and navigate hidden albums on your iPhone as well. If that’s the case, here’s what you do:
Go to your iPhone settings and scroll down to “Photos.” In your “Photos” settings, you can scroll down to where it says “Hidden Album.” There’ll be a toggle to the right of it.
When the toggle lit up green and switched to the right, that means the “Hidden Album” designation (not the photos themselves) will appear under “Utilities” in your “Albums” tab. When “Hidden Album” is switched off, the hidden album on your iPhone will no longer appear under “Utilities” like it did before, meaning no one can access your hidden photos. You can switch it off without fear of your hidden photos being deleted. Once you switch it back on, your hidden photo album will be right where it was before.
How to turn your “Hidden Album” “on” and “off” Credit: andy moser
Please note that if someone knows all the information we discussed in this story — how to hide photos on an iPhone and how to access hidden albums on iPhones — then they know enough to be able to access your stealthily stored away photos, even if you’ve taken these precautions. The “Hide Photo” feature on iPhones is not a 100 percent fail-safe way to keep your photos hidden. For that, Apple would have to implement some sort of passcode/fingerprint/facial ID security system to restrict access to hidden photos. Somehow, we’re not there yet.
Be that as it may, making use of the “Hide Photo” iPhone feature is still a great idea, because there’s always the chance that someone looking through your phone doesn’t know this information. Therefore, using the “Hide Photo” feature still means you’re better off than you were before, and it costs you nothing, so we’d say it’s easily worth a try.
This article originally published in January 2021, and was updated in August 2021.
Related Video: Our 5 favorite iOS 14 features, so far
If you’re very online, it’s likely you’ve seen Samsung’s new Z Flip 3 pop up on your social feeds. And for a split second, you might’ve even stopped scrolling and thought about purchasing one of these flippy bois.
While I’d love to tell you whether or not you should buy it, I can’t yet. It’s only been a few days since Samsung sent me my review unit. But having used the original Z Flip for a short 24 hours back in 2020, I can tell you about some of the notable changes Samsung made to its third-generation foldable.
Here are five things to know about Samsung’s Z Flip 3:
1. It’s built for even the clumsiest of people
I’d really like to see someone drop a Flip 3 from a rooftop. Credit: Brenda stolyar / mashable
Sure, the Z Flip series doesn’t have as troubled of a past as the original Z Fold did in terms of durability. But that didn’t stop Samsung from coating the Flip 3 in as much protective material as possible.
The outside of the phone is made up of “Armor Aluminum,” which Samsung claims is its strongest aluminum ever on a Galaxy smartphone. Meanwhile, the cover display and main display are equipped with Corning’s Gorilla Glass Victus — which is Corning’s strongest glass ever.
Are you spotting a pattern here? Because, same. And, to top it all off, it’s also IPX8 rated. In plain English, that means you can safely take the phone out in the rain and submerge it in water (5 feet for up to 30 minutes, to be exact).
2) Adorable animals greet you on the cover display
A CUTE LIL BUNNY. Credit: brenda stolyar / mashable
The Z Flip 3’s bigger cover display is already one of my favorite upgrades. The increase from 1.1-inches to 1.9-inches makes a huge difference. You can now see more notifications at once and add useful widgets (like weather, timer, alarms, and today’s schedule).
But the best part about it is the new animated clock. You’ll have the choice between animals or blob-like formations with eyeballs — both of which change whenever you tap on the cover screen.
Said blob-like formation with eyeballs Credit: screenshot / samsung
It’ll definitely eat up your battery life, but the animations are so freakin’ cute I don’t even mind it. (I can happily sit here and tap on the display all day.)
3) There’s an even smoother scrolling experience
A standard for flagships at this point. Credit: brenda stolyar / mashable
As with every Samsung flagship nowadays, the Fold 3 features a 120Hz refresh rate for smoother scrolling. It’s adaptive though, so it’ll help to save battery life and only kick in when you actually need a high refresh rate. But you also have the option to go back down to 60Hz via settings.
4) Say goodbye to metallic colors and hello to muted tones
I miss the metallic colors, though. Credit: brenda stolyar / mashable
I’m sad that Samsung basically teasedus with those stunning metallic colors (like mirror purple and mirror gold) on the first-generation Z Flip and then decided not to offer them this year. The Z Flip 3 instead comes in more muted colors including cream, green, lavender, and phantom black.
Samsung sent me the cream-colored Z Flip 3 and I… kinda like it? It’s a color that’s weirdly soothing and also easy on the eyes.
Still, I would’ve much preferred waving around a flashy, reflective clamshell phone in public solely for the purpose of attracting unnecessary attention.
5) It has a far more attractive price tag
Your wallet will hurt a little less when purchasing this one. Credit: brenda stolyar / mashable
Unlike the Galaxy Z Fold 3, which is only $200 less than the Z Fold 2, the Z Flip 3 is $450 cheaper than its predecessor. Still, it’ll cost you about $1,000 for a base model, but hey, that’s better than before.
Again, whether or not the Z Flip 3 will actually be worth the investment remains to be seen. So be sure to check back soon for a full review.
SAVE 82%: A three-year subscription to CyberGhost VPN is on sale for £1.99 per month as of Aug. 14, and includes an extra three months for free.
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A three-year subscription to CyberGhost VPN is on sale for £1.99 per month as of Aug. 14, saving you 82% on list price. This discounted plan includes an extra three months for free, and is fully refundable for 45 days.
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It’s great that computers and phones are living longer, but the longer devices last, the more storage we end up needing. The built-in storage is never enough. If you’re sick of seeing the dreaded “out of space” message, do yourself a favour and jump on this deal for pCloud Premium Cloud Storage. You can get a one-year subscription for just £21.73 for a limited time, which is much cheaper than Dropbox or iCloud — just saying.
Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars on Cloudwards, pCloud might be the best cloud storage you’ve never heard of. Whether you have heaps of old photos and videos taking up precious space or backlogs of tax documents you just can’t throw away, pCloud is a perfect solution. With high-level security and a 256-bit TLS/SSL connection, it’s there to make sure your personal files and photos will stay private. You’ll get an impressive 2TB of cloud space and 2TB of download link traffic without taking up any extra space on your device. And there are no file size limits, either. So, that 25-minute long concert video you just can’t part with can find a new home with pCloud (your hard drive will thank you).
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TL;DR: As of Aug. 14, new subscribers can experience unlimited access to Audible’s Plus Catalogue with a 30-day free trial.
You probably think you know Audible pretty well at this point, but there’s some freebies that you might have missed.
Members can get unlimited access to Audible’s Plus Catalogue along with a monthly credit that’s good for any title to download and keep. That means Audible members can listen to as many titles as they want from a catalogue that includes an impressive selection of Audible Originals, thousands of podcasts, and a growing bank of audiobooks.
If you’re not totally convinced, a free trial may be for you. Signing up for a free 30-day trial lets you listen all you want to the thousands of titles in the catalogue, and still gets you a credit for any audiobook to keep. A trial also provides access to exclusive member-only sales and deals.
At the end of the trial period, your subscription will automatically renew at £7.99 per month. You can cancel this at anytime though, so there is no obligation to pay anything.