How to Pick the Perfect Phone Case

Few people have greater insight into the follies and foibles of humans than smartphone repair technicians. Sure, Shakespeare is the master when it comes to cutting observations on human nature, but the people who repair our phones see us at our most vulnerable—mangled hardware in palms, usually with some embarrassing and revelatory mistake to confess.

The world is filled with potential tech treachery, so it’s best to act preemptively and wrap your phone in a protective case.

Laxmi Agrawal of Cupertino iPhone Repair and Sam Shoman of SF Smart Wireless have seen it all. A client who dropped his phone in the snow and found it two months later in a puddle of snowmelt. A client whose phone was run over by a truck and brought it in with tire chain marks crushed onto the screen.

Their experience shows that even if you’ve vowed to be careful, the world is filled with potential tech treachery, so it’s best to act preemptively and wrap your phone in a protective case. We read more

When in Nature, Google Lens Does What the Human Brain Can’t

AI-powered visual search tools, like Google Lens and Bing Visual Search, promise a new way to search the world—but most people still type into a search box rather than point their camera at something. We’ve gotten used to manually searching for things over the past 25 years or so that search engines have been at our fingertips. Also, not all objects are directly in front of us at the time we’re searching for information about them.

One area where I’ve found visual search useful is outside, in the natural world. I go for hikes frequently, a form of retreat from the constant digital interactions that fool me into thinking I’m living my “best life” online. Lately, I’ve gotten into the habit of using Google Lens to identify the things I’m seeing along the way. I point my phone’s camera—in this case, an Android phone with Lens built into the Google Assistant app—at a tree or flower I don’t recognize. The app suggests what the object might be, like a modern-day read more

Weekend Tech Deals: Google Pixelbook, Vizio, Apple Watch

We’re deep into the dog days of summer, and this weekend, a lot of us are planning on hiding inside to escape the heat. If that sounds like a great weekend plan to you too, then you’re in luck. Together with our pals at TechBargains, we’ve compiled some of this weekend’s most intriguing deals, from a Nintendo Switch online subscription, to what we called “the Mack Daddy of all Chromebooks.”

Buy the Google Pixelbook for $156 Off

We didn’t have words strong enough to express our (positive!) feelings about the Google Pixelbook. Some of the adjectives that we used were “handsome”, “powerful”, “light”, “versatile”—you get the idea. Now you can snag it for a way nice price.

Buy the Google Pixelbook for $843 (was $999).

Electronics and Television Deals

Handpicked Fitness and Lifestyle Deals

When you buy something using the retail links in our stories, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Read more about how this works.

social experiment by Livio Acerbo #greengroundit #wired

Gadget Lab Podcast: The New MacBook Pro

Apple’s newest pro-grade laptop is out, and over the last week or so, our own Brendan Nystedt has had a chance to test it thoroughly. Brendan’s review of the 2018 MacBook Pro was published on WIRED on Friday morning, and he joins this week’s show as our special guest to run down the particulars. From the processor to the screen to the reparability to that divisive keyboard, he has opinions. Mac nerds, this one’s for you.

Some notes: Brendan’s review awards the MacBook Pro a cautious “buy” recommendation. Last week’s software update seems to have solved the early issues with the processor. iFixit tore down the new keyboard. Apple’s own MacBook Pro page lets you see the price of your desired configuration.

Recommendations this week: Get a Nintendo Switch, go see the film Eighth Grade, and read Emily Dreyfuss’s argument in favor of deleting all your precious little tweets.

Send the hosts feedback on their personal Twitter feeds. Arielle Pardes is @pardesoteric, read more

Apple’s MacBook Pro Heating Problem Gets a Software Fix

When Apple revealed its newest MacBook Pro laptops in New York City two weeks ago, it naturally emphasized the computers’ performance capabilities. Apple’s line of pro laptops is targeted toward creative professionals who do processor-intensive work on their PCs, and Apple was eager to appeal to them. There was just one issue, as some early buyers soon found out: In certain scenarios the machines were underperforming due to thermal throttling.

Apple now says it’s aware of the issue and is releasing a software fix to address it. In a statement released today, the company says it’s discovered a bug that’s been slowing down processor speeds when the machine gets hot. “Following extensive performance testing under numerous workloads, we’ve identified that there is a missing digital key in the firmware that impacts the thermal management system and could drive clock speeds down” under heavy loads on the new laptops, an Apple spokesperson said. “We apologize to any customer read more

How to Supercharge Instagram Stories: Ask Questions, Use Stickers, Save Highlights

Since its launch in August 2016, Instagram Stories has been one of the premiere channels for everyday ephemera, a space for users to spontaneously share photos and short, often goofy videos.

Originally, stories were designed to vanish from your profile page—and your followers’ view—after just 24 hours. Now, stories aren’t so ephemeral. With the addition of Stories Highlights in December 2017, these short videos are automatically archived after the 24-hour period. You can put an archived story back onto your profile by marking it as a “Highlight” with no expiration date, thus curating your favorite moments for all to see.

The addition of Highlights is just one of the ways Instagram has been trying to establish an identity for Stories beyond that of a Snapchat copycat. In fact, Instagram has given Stories a slew of shiny new features, or “creative tools” in Insta parlance. read more

Charting Juul’s Face-Off With Legislators and Watchdogs

Interesting things come out of teens’ mouths all the time, but one of the most controversial things to emerge recently is the wispy tendril of nicotine vapor from a Juul, a compact and discrete vaping device. Legislators and the FDA have been slow to move on the vaping craze, which has left the door open for companies like Juul to advertise and position themselves without the oversight many feel is necessary for products that have been proven to be physically addictive. Juul’s platform in particular has taken root in our youth culture thanks to its popularity among influential internet celebs. All of this has led to a chaotic marketplace that’s benefitted the vaping startups but made things rather sticky for everyone else. Nitasha Tiku joins the show to walk us through the weeds.

Some notes: Read Nitasha’s latest story about Juul’s relationship with regulators and legislators. She read more

This Man Tried to Break the World Record for Paper Airplane Flight

On Friday morning, an attempt to make history took flight: John Collins, otherwise known as The Paper Airplane Guy, tried to fly a paper airplane further than any paper airplane has flown before.

John and his “arm”—former arena football quarterback Joe Ayoob—had 10 attempts to break the current world record from the sprawling Pomeroy Sports Centre in Fort St. John, British Columbia. While several made it beyond the previous world record that Collins broke in 2012, none flew the distance of Collins’ current world record of 226 feet and 10 inches. Collins, though, was undeterred. “We had some planes we thought could do it, but you know, that’s why it’s a world record,” said Collins. “We had a great day, but not the best day ever, and that’s exactly what makes world records so incredible.”

With a moniker like The Paper Airplane Guy, it should come as no surprise that Collins takes the business of paper airplanes read more

LIVE: Watch This Man Try to Break the World Record for Paper Airplane Flight

Right now, an attempt to make history takes flight: John Collins, otherwise known as The Paper Airplane Guy, will try to fly a paper airplane further than any paper airplane has flown before.

Collins set the standing world record for paper airplane flight—226 feet and 10 inches—in February of 2012. But now, Collins has even higher hopes. “In terms of breaking the record, our worst practice day of that year was world record day,” he says. “We’d routinely thrown beyond 230 feet, and sometimes beyond 240 feet. Adding a couple of meters to the record is likely if conditions are good.”

With a moniker like The Paper Airplane Guy, it should come as no surprise that Collins takes the business of paper airplanes seriously. Besides the world record, his vigorous studies of aerodynamics and origami have led to the creation of a “boomerang” paper airplane that flies back read more