Airbnb — and their partner nonprofit organization Airbnb.org — announced on Tuesday that it will provide temporary housing to 20,000 Afghan refugees worldwide who are fleeing their homes as the Taliban seizes power.
“As tens of thousands of Afghan refugees resettle around the world, where they stay will be the first chapter in their new lives,” Brian Chesky, the CEO and co-founder of Airbnb said in a statement. “For these 20,000 refugees, my hope is that the Airbnb community will provide them with not only a safe place to rest and start over, but also a warm welcome home.”
This comes just a week after the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan as the U.S. completes its troop withdrawal from a nearly two-decade-long war. Since August 14, the U.S. has evacuated more than 58,000 people from Kabul, the nation’s capitol and largest city. In the 24 hours preceding Tuesday morning, more than 21,000 more people were evacuated, according to the Washington Post. About 6,500 people, the majority of whom are Afghans, were waiting for evacuation flights inside the Kabul airport on Tuesday morning, CNN reported.
The European Union announced on Tuesday that it would increase humanitarian aid to Afghanistan by more than $175 million, the Post reported. Also on Tuesday, President Joe Biden will meet with European allies at the virtual G7 summit. CNN reported that international leaders will likely encourage Biden to slow the U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, and allow for more evacuations, but Biden hasn’t agreed to anything yet.
Last week, Airbnb.org gave emergency funding to the International Rescue Committee, HIAS and Church World Service in support of Afghan refugees and, over the past weekend, it placed 165 refugees in housing after they reached the states.
“As the IRC helps to welcome and resettle Afghans in the U.S., accessible housing is urgently needed and essential,” David Miliband, the president and CEO of the International Rescue Committee said in a statement. “We are grateful to our partners at Airbnb.org and Airbnb for once again offering their support and infrastructure to meet this moment, providing safe and welcoming places for individuals and families as they arrive in the United States and begin rebuilding their lives.”
Fall is coming, and with it, all new allergens to potentially wreak havoc on our sinuses and fragile emotional states. Indoor humidity levels are an important factor in keeping allergy symptoms at bay. Low humidity levels (below 30 percent) can dry out your nose, skin, and throat. Plus, they can cause dust mites, mold, and bacteria to dry out and become airborne, which you could then inhale. If you live in a dry climate or have been blasting your air conditioner to extreme highs to stay cool, a humidifier can help return some of that much-needed moisture to the air. And as a result, it could clear up that dry, runny nose and sore throat you’ve been suffering from.
The Missed Global Stella Humidifier is wireless and portable, so you can tote it around to any room that needs a little moisture. With dual misting ports that can be used together or separately, intermittently or continuously, you can customize your humidity levels to your home’s specific needs.
Check it out:
Wirelessly, it’ll last you up to six hours on a single charge, and plugged in, you can enjoy up to 12 hours of activity. It’s great for creating a more comfortable atmosphere in your home office during the workday or catching allergens as you sleep. It covers up to 150 square feet of space and barely makes a peep as it moisturizes the air. Plus, cleaning and maintaining this portable gem only takes 30 seconds out of your day.
As a bonus, the Stella packs a built-in power bank that allows you to charge up your phone or other USB-powered devices without an outlet.
For a limited time, you can snag the Stella Humidifier on sale for just $62.99 (regularly $74) and work to eliminate the allergens in your home. And if you spend $50 or more, you’ll even get a $10 credit added to your account automatically within 14 days of your purchase.
The last five years have felt like 20. Samsung’s mysterious case of exploding Galaxy Note 7 smartphones might as well be ancient history, but for the 129 passengers and six crew members on an Alaska Airlines flight, it was anything but.
Alaska Airlines flight 751 from New Orleans to Seattle had a scare after it landed on Monday evening, as a passenger’s Samsung Galaxy A21 phone “overheated and began sparking,” an Alaska Airlines spokesperson told the Associated Press. Members of the flight crew used fire extinguishers to deal with the phone, and the plane’s passengers had to evacuate on slides since the interior of the cabin was hazy from smoke.
Alaska Airlines told the AP that two passengers had to be treated at a hospital, but the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport Twitter account said only bruises and scrapes were reported. A Samsung spokesperson told Mashable via email that the company is “aware of the situation” and is “conducting a thorough investigation” into the matter.
The Galaxy A21 is a budget-friendly $249.99 Samsung smartphone that came to the U.S. last year, making it four years newer than the infamous Galaxy Note 7 that caused so many problems back in 2016. The Note 7 problems were caused by manufacturing errors related to the battery casing inside the phone, and it got bad enough that the phones had to be recalled. While the Galaxy A21 is a lower-end Samsung phone that doesn’t get top billing in the company’s lineup, the Note 7 was the opposite. Mashable even called it “the best smartphone on the planet” before retracting its Mashable Choice award.
Obviously, we’re glad the situation wasn’t any worse than it was, given the unique dangers presented by a combustible smartphone inside an airplane cabin. Hopefully this is just a fluke and other Galaxy A21 phones don’t start doing this en masse. Exploding smartphones were just one of many horrible things that happened in 2016 that we don’t need to revisit in 2021.
Just days after OnlyFans announced that it would ban sexually explicit content on the site, the company has reversed its decision.
On August 19, the platform announced it would ban sexually explicit content on the site starting on October 1, 2021, leaving many sex workers struggling to find alternative places to work. OnlyFans said the ban was because, while there are plenty of users and creators on the app, they could not pull in enough investors. But, just a few days later in a Wednesday morning tweet, the company said it “secured assurances necessary to support our diverse creator community.”
When Mashable asked OnlyFans what kind of agreement they made with the banks, or which banks are down for paying a site with sexually-explicit content on it, the platform declined to comment. They did respond in an email saying: “The proposed October 1, 2021 changes are no longer required due to banking partners’ assurances that OnlyFans can support all genres of creators.” As Variety reported, this resolution could have come exactly because it went so public with the issue of garnering funding while its workers produced explicit content despite being one of the largest and most financially successful platforms for creators that continues to grow.
It’s unclear if OnlyFans will bring sexually explicit content back for good, as it said it “suspended” the ban. The platform did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Mashable on the timeline or specifics of this change.
When I started texting on a smartphone years ago, I thought I had learned where all the punctuation marks are. So I was flustered when I was texting a friend the other day, and I suddenly had no idea where the darn quotation mark button was.
I was using a new digital keyboard called Typewise that I had added to my smartphone for what I hoped would be a better typing experience. Instead of the standard QWERTY keyboard with four lines of keys on my iPhone, I was using Typewise’s hexagonal, or honeycomb, keyboard layout.
I had taken a tutorial that came with the app the first time I used it, and I was desperately trying to remember where punctuation marks like quotes were kept. I was tempted to switch back to my usual default keyboard, but I kept clicking around until I finally found the quotation marks. I did it!
Was texting going to be a treasure hunt every time? This wasn’t going well right from the jump, but the app claimed eventually this keyboard would be faster and easier. I’d have to commit to it.
What is Typewise?
You might not think about what you use to type out texts, emails, or even addresses on navigation apps because the default keyboard just seems like a fixed and unchanging fact of life. But Typewise is an app that adds a different digital keyboard to your smartphone.
Typewise is one of a few alternative boards you can add, like Google’s Gboard with voice-to-text, glide typing, and GIF search or Microsoft’s SwiftKey known for its predictions for text and emoji. But unlike those keyboards, Typewise has large hexagonal-shaped keys in a different arrangement that form a honeycomb shape instead of traditional straight lines. Instead of “q, w, e, r, t, y” on top, Typewise has “w, e, t, y, i, o” at the top.
A different way to type. Credit: Typewise
The keys themselves are also bigger. These are supposed to make for smoother, faster typing once you’ve learned the layout.
Predicative text suggestions are also supposed to speed things up as the keyboard learns how and what you type and offers suggestions that get more accurate over time.
How to make Typewise your primary keyboard
To use on your phone you need to download the app and then add the keyboard. Typewise isn’t available for tablets, so for any iPad iMessages, you’ll be back to using the default keyboard.
On an Android go to: Settings, then System & updates, and under Language & input find the Typewise option.
On an iPhone: Head to Settings, then General, then Keyboards, and finally Add New Keyboard.
When text pops up on your phone you can switch to different keyboards by clicking on the globe button and you can select any of the keyboards you have downloaded. You’ll notice Typewise on the bottom of the list below.
Switching between languages on an iPhone is a pain. Credit: Sasha Lekach / Mashable
How much does Typewise cost?
For the free version, it’s just a matter of downloading the app and adding it to your keyboard options, as explained above.
For the Pro version, it’s $1.99 per month, $9.49 per year, or a one-time $25 fee for Pro for life.
Is it worth it to get the premium version, Typewise Pro? If you’re writing to your mom in Spanish, your boss in English, and Portuguese to your friends, then yes. One of the premium features is automatic language detection. So if you start writing “atardecer” (sunset in Spanish) it won’t recommend “altar decertification” as it does with the English keyboard.
Other Pro features include personalized suggestions (like if you write “hiya” instead of “hi” usually), vibration feedback that you can adjust in intensity for when you touch a key, and auto word replacements to set up shortcuts, such as a typing “a1” for your full address or “bts” for “be there soon.”
With Pro you can choose from 16 different keyboard themes in varying colors including rainbow, an ombre purple, and even a sunset color gradient.
Pro custom keyboards.
Even more Pro color themes.
Relearning to type
Typewise warns that it could take anywhere from two days to a couple of weeks to get comfortable with the different typing layout. It can be tempting to give up and revert back to the usual QWERTY keyboard, but that just slows down the learning curve.
Once you start using the keyboard more you appreciate that the space bars and commonly used punctuation marks like question marks, exclamation points, commas, and periods are in the center of the board, not all the way at the bottom.
After talking to the cofounder of Typewise, David Eberle in Switzerland, I learned that when we type we use the space keys the most. As much as 25 percent of our keystrokes are spaces. On the typical digital keyboard, the space key or bar is at the very bottom of the screen where Eberle says it’s more difficult to reach. So instead, the space bar becomes two hexagonal keys in the center of the Typewise keyboard.
I personally love how you delete on the Typewise keyboard. Instead of a delete button that is always in the same spot, you can swipe left anywhere on the board and you’re deleting. Swiping right gives you a space.
Using capitalized letters is also simplified with the app. Instead of finding the caps lock button you just swipe up on the letter you want in uppercase.
A keyboard for language lovers
Since WhatsApp remembers which keyboard I use for which chat, whenever I text with my Spanish teacher in Lima, Peru, the Typewise keyboard comes up as the default. In this way, I’ve gotten accustomed to the funky layout thanks entirely to the Spanish language.
I’ve also come to appreciate the properly spelled suggestions in Spanish, a language in which I’m not yet a master speller. I could add other such dictionaries from a long list of languages that starts with Afrikaans and ends with Vietnamese.
Typing in Spanish on Typewise. Credit: Sasha Lekach / Mashable
But what about privacy?
Typewise’s Eberle emphasized that “For this to work it really comes down to privacy.” He promises that Typewise isn’t listening to your conversations or taking that information to sell or market products to you. The app doesn’t have any ads and relies on paid subscriptions for the premium version.
Instead, the AI works on your device, not the cloud. “We never send typing data off your phone,” he assured. That means any personal information gleaned from what you type, like a shipping address, credit card number, or secret relationship aren’t shared with outside parties.
What you type is inherently a very private activity, so the app has to pull back on unleashing its full AI on everything you write to everyone. Instead, it slowly learns more general typing patterns and often used phrases — all on the device and without spying on every text and word you type. You can download an offline version of the keyboard that doesn’t collect any data. Pro users can switch to “offline mode.”
To Eberle, it’s not just about building an app or a keyboard, but “building a text prediction technology.” Eventually, the AI will make typing faster and faster.
“Our mission is to decode human thought,” he said.
Add to cart?
If you find the default keyboard frustrating or you’re tired of switching to different languages on your built-in keyboard (and don’t mind paying for Pro), go for it. What can it hurt to give an alternative a try? If you put in the time it takes to master the basics, you might become a full-time Typewise user.
As to shelling out for the paid version: Only if you consider yourself a die-hard smartphone power user. The predictive feature and potentially faster typing aren’t dealmakers, but they are nice deal sweeteners.
Remember when Marie Kondo had everyone tidying up their homes? Well, it’s been a couple years now, and some of that clutter might have crept its way back into your house. It’s not a big solution, but a wireless charging dock can at least clear up some of your cord clutter — and this one from Loma Living is on sale for 30% off for a limited time.
The Loma Living Wireless Charging Dock is crafted from solid walnut wood and topped with soft felt. It’s capable of charging an iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods case simultaneously, each one having its own designated spot on the charging pad. When you place your Apple Watch on the dock, it automatically switches into nightstand mode, which lets you easily see the time at a glance. Just a single cable on the back of the dock powers up the charging station by plugging into the wall, which reduces cable clutter from your desktop, kitchen counter, or nightstand.
I’ve tested PiP out on a non-U.S. YouTube Premium account, and it worked, so it’s probably available globally.
To enable it, first you must be a YouTube Premium subscriber. Then, go to youtube.com/new on Chrome (while being logged in with the account that has the Premium subscription), scroll down to “Picture-in-picture on iOS” and click “Try it out.”
The feature is only available to Premium subscribers, and only on the iPhone. Credit: screenshot: youtube
This will make the feature enabled for you. Now, when you open a video in the YouTube app on your iPhone, if you close the app (either by swiping up or clicking the home button), the video will continue playing in a small window. You can move that window around, and do other things on your iPhone, and it will continue playing.
The video can be moved around, and it sticks to the upper right/left or lower right/left part of the screen. You can also push it out of the screen; it’ll continue playing but it will not be visible, and it’ll turn into a little drawer you can pull back out to see the full video. Credit: screenshot: stan schroeder / Mashable
When you want to close the video, tap on it and you’ll get an “x” in the upper left corner. In the upper right corner, you’ll see an icon that lets you expand the video back into the YouTube app. And if you lock the iPhone’s screen while the video is playing, it will pause, but you can resume it from the lockscreen, and the video’s window will stay on your screen when you unlock the phone again.
GhostVolt lets you encrypt documents, photos, videos, or files on your computer with AES encryption, then add a personal password in order to access them. It’s built to work just like a typical file explorer, so learning to use it will likely be easy.
Besides simply storing your files securely, GhostVolt allows for secure sharing through Microsoft OneDrive integration.
Ready to lock up your digital assets? Snag a lifetime subscription to GhostVolt Encryption Software for only £21.97 for a limited time.
The online world can be a seriously dangerous place, with hackers, viruses, and surveillance software absolutely everywhere. We’re not trying to worry you, but have you ever considered just how much of your personal data is exposed to this sort of thing whilst you’re browsing? If not, you probably should. You might be surprised.
Your personal data is seriously valuable stuff these days, and everyone is looking to get their hands on it. Once you come to understand that the internet is insecure, it’s perfectly normal to feel a little concerned about how much of your data is up for grabs. There’s no need to panic though, because there is a simple and effective way that you can stay protected.
To stay safe online, and keep all of your data and personal information secure, you should invest in a VPN.
What is a VPN?
VPNs provide protection for your data and identity by creating a private network that hides your real IP address. All of your activity is untraceable and secure because everything passes through an encrypted tunnel.
VPNs create a private network that hides your real IP address. Credit: Pexels
Nobody can see into the tunnel, and everything inside is protected against online threats. This means that hackers, governments, and your internet service provider will be unable to access any of your information.
Do you really need to invest in a VPN?
We’ve already covered the fact that investing in a VPN is one of the best ways to ensure your safety and anonymity online. VPNs are vital tools in the fight against scammers and cybercriminals, but there’s another reason you might consider these security services. And it has nothing to do with security.
VPNs can be used to unlock streaming services from around the world, including the likes of Netflix, Prime Video, and Disney+. How do they do this? It’s actually a really simple process, and it can significantly boost your content options. All you need to do is open up your preferred VPN, connect to a server from another country in order to spoof your IP to another address, and then head to your preferred streaming site. This process tricks the site into thinking you are based in another country, meaning you can watch all that great content that is normally blocked.
So VPNs are really useful for cybersecurity and streaming, which means they should be a worthwhile investment for just about everyone.
What are the most important features in a VPN?
Choosing a VPN that is right for you is not easy, because there are a lot of options all offering similar packages. To make your life a little easier, we have highlighted a selection of the most important things to consider before making any sort of decision:
Connection speed: This is absolutely vital whether you’re looking to use a VPN for online security or streaming. It’s normal for a VPN to result in a drop in your connection speed, but you shouldn’t accept anything significant.
Encryption: We know that a lot of people will be using VPNs for streaming, but these services are primarily designed to provide cybersecurity, so encryption is important. The best VPNs will offer powerful protection for your data, meaning that everything is unreadable and untraceable.
Number of connections: You should seek out a VPN that offers multiple simultaneous connections, so you can stay protected on all your devices at the same time. This is also beneficial for large families or households with multiple people likely to be online at the same time.
Browse, shop, and stream securely with a VPN. Credit: Pexels
Server network: The best VPNs provide access to thousands of servers located all around the world. This is useful as you should always be able to find a stable and speedy connection for streaming, shopping, or browsing.
There are plenty of other things that are worth considering, like bandwidth, apps for certain operating systems, and customer support, but these are probably the most important features to keep in mind.
What is the best VPN?
There are a lot of VPNs out there, and we recommend taking some time to carefully access all your options. Once you have established exactly what you need, you can turn your attention to finding the best deals on all the top VPNs.
We have reached out to partners in order to line up a list of the best deals on the most popular providers, to help you save big. You can find all the best deals on the likes of ExpressVPN, NordVPN, PureVPN, and more.
Hot dog maker Oscar Mayer’s distinct wiener-shaped vehicle is available on the Lyft app this week, but only for a select few in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Atlanta.
Between Wednesday and Friday, riders in those cities who request a Lyft XL (that’s usually for cars like SUVs and minivans that fit more people) could be matched with a really big 27-foot-long hot dog instead. You won’t know if the surprise Wienermobile is coming until it arrives, but you will get a call confirming how many people are in your group.
Once it’s there, two five-star Lyft drivers will be up front, piloting the giant hot dog and blasting music. Oscar Mayer is giving away free swag like T-shirts, hot dog masks, and Weenie Whistles shaped like the Wienermobile to the randomly selected riders. The ride in the wiener will also be free.
There’s no way to know if you matched with the giant wiener, but if you do, you’ll notice immediately as the red-and-yellow monstrosity approaches with your name on a neon Lyft sign on top. If giant hot dogs aren’t your thing you could decline the free ride once it arrives. It’ll carry onto the next set of unsuspecting Lyft riders.