Crunch Report | Tesla’s Long List of Updated Updates

Tesla’s long list of updated updates, Instacart agrees to settle class-action lawsuit and SB Drive pulls in $4.6 million. All this on Crunch Report. Read More

Tesla’s long list of updated updates, Instacart agrees to settle class-action lawsuit and SB Drive pulls in $4.6 million. All this on Crunch Report. Read More

You soon won’t need a card to withdraw cash at this shady bank’s ATMs

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Plastic is soooo yesterday. 

Wells Fargo, being the hippest bank to allegedly open more than 2 million fraudulent accounts in its customers’ names, knows this. 

And so, as of March 27, the San Francisco-based company is giving its account holders a way to access their money at 13,000 Wells Fargo ATMs across the U.S. without the use of a physical ATM card.

As long as they have a smartphone, that is. 

Reuters reports that instead of the old fashioned insert-a-card-into-the-machine routine, customers can use the Wells Fargo app to generate an eight-digit code. That code, plus a customer’s PIN number, will allow the withdraw of cash.  Read more…

More about Banking, Mobile, Atms, Wells Fargo Center, and Smartphones

TwitterFacebook

Plastic is soooo yesterday. 

Wells Fargo, being the hippest bank to allegedly open more than 2 million fraudulent accounts in its customers’ names, knows this. 

And so, as of March 27, the San Francisco-based company is giving its account holders a way to access their money at 13,000 Wells Fargo ATMs across the U.S. without the use of a physical ATM card.

As long as they have a smartphone, that is. 

Reuters reports that instead of the old fashioned insert-a-card-into-the-machine routine, customers can use the Wells Fargo app to generate an eight-digit code. That code, plus a customer’s PIN number, will allow the withdraw of cash.  Read more…

More about Banking, Mobile, Atms, Wells Fargo Center, and Smartphones

Tokyo travel tips, day 1: Airbnb in Shinjuku and an adorable curry restaurant

Carla and I just returned from a one-week trip to Tokyo. It was my sixth visit to Japan’s capital, and it was my favorite. For the next few days, I’ll be writing about recommended things to do there. See them all here.

We arrived at Narita airport about 1:30pm Tokyo time. At the airport, I noticed a lot of vending machines selling SIM cards with high-speed data. You can get a week’s worth of unlimited data for less than $10 a day. If your phone is locked, you can rent a wi-fi hot spot for about the same amount. I used a wi-fi hotspot to consult Google Maps many times every day to navigate around the city. Google Maps will also tell you which trains to use to get from one place to another. We also used Yelp to find restaurants and learn when they open and close.

There are several ways to get from Narita to Tokyo (about 50 miles). A taxi or Uber costs almost $300 and you will have to deal with traffic. There are also luxury buses, which can take you right to your hotel (provided you are staying in one of the major ones.) My favorite way to get to Tokyo from the airport is by train. Both the Narita Express ($28) and the Skyliner ($22) have terminals inside the airport. They are convenient and fast. The Skyliner is faster and cheaper, but stops only at the Ueno and Nippori stations. The Narita Express stops at more places, including Shibuya and Shinjuku. We took the Narita Express because we were staying near the Shinjuku Station.

At Shinjuku station we took a taxi to our Airbnb. I’ve taken a lot of taxi rides in Japan, and in 100% of the cases the following five things were true:

1. The driver didn’t understand a word of English. (Hand your phone to him with the address displayed on the screen. He’ll enter the address in his navigation system.)

2. The car was immaculate inside and out.

3. Th driver was a man.

4. The driver got confused if I tried to tip him.

5. The driver automatically opened and closed my door for me. Do not try to open and close the yourself because it will strain the mechanism and annoy the heck out of the driver.

Cars drive on the left side of the road in Japan, by the way.

We took a very short ride to our Airbnb (right next to Yoyogi Park, home to the famous Meiji Jingu, a Shinto shrine) and took the elevator to the 9th floor. Here’s what the place looked like, along with views from the balcony:

At $225 a night, (here’s a referral code you can use to get a $40 Airbnb credit. I’ll get $20 in credit if you use it) it’s much cheaper than many hotels in the area. It has a kitchen, a loft with two futons, a bedroom with two large beds, a dining area, a Japanese style tub, and a washer/dryer. It also includes a wi-fi hotspot that you can take with you as you travel around Tokyo.

By the time we got settled in and took a shower after 16 hours of travel, we were hungry and sleepy. I looked on Yelp and found a place called Vegetable Curry Camp just a few minutes walk from our place. It was a cute tiny restaurant in the basement. They had boxes of fresh vegetables next to the front door, and the decor was “1960 American campground.” We got sizzling skillets of fresh vegetable curry and plates of rice. The bill for both of us was less than $20. (In fact, many of the restaurants we went to were a lot cheaper than places in Los Angeles).

On the way back, we stopped at one of the ubiquitous konbini (コンビニ, short for convenience store) to buy eggs and onigiri (rice filled with fish or other fillings) for breakfast the next morning. We slept like logs.

Stayed tuned for day 2, to find out about Meiji Jingu and the interesting little stores in Harajuku.

Carla and I just returned from a one-week trip to Tokyo. It was my sixth visit to Japan’s capital, and it was my favorite. For the next few days, I’ll be writing about recommended things to do there. See them all here.

We arrived at Narita airport about 1:30pm Tokyo time. At the airport, I noticed a lot of vending machines selling SIM cards with high-speed data. You can get a week’s worth of unlimited data for less than $10 a day. If your phone is locked, you can rent a wi-fi hot spot for about the same amount. I used a wi-fi hotspot to consult Google Maps many times every day to navigate around the city. Google Maps will also tell you which trains to use to get from one place to another. We also used Yelp to find restaurants and learn when they open and close.

There are several ways to get from Narita to Tokyo (about 50 miles). A taxi or Uber costs almost $300 and you will have to deal with traffic. There are also luxury buses, which can take you right to your hotel (provided you are staying in one of the major ones.) My favorite way to get to Tokyo from the airport is by train. Both the Narita Express ($28) and the Skyliner ($22) have terminals inside the airport. They are convenient and fast. The Skyliner is faster and cheaper, but stops only at the Ueno and Nippori stations. The Narita Express stops at more places, including Shibuya and Shinjuku. We took the Narita Express because we were staying near the Shinjuku Station.

At Shinjuku station we took a taxi to our Airbnb. I’ve taken a lot of taxi rides in Japan, and in 100% of the cases the following five things were true:

1. The driver didn’t understand a word of English. (Hand your phone to him with the address displayed on the screen. He’ll enter the address in his navigation system.)

2. The car was immaculate inside and out.

3. Th driver was a man.

4. The driver got confused if I tried to tip him.

5. The driver automatically opened and closed my door for me. Do not try to open and close the yourself because it will strain the mechanism and annoy the heck out of the driver.

Cars drive on the left side of the road in Japan, by the way.

We took a very short ride to our Airbnb (right next to Yoyogi Park, home to the famous Meiji Jingu, a Shinto shrine) and took the elevator to the 9th floor. Here’s what the place looked like, along with views from the balcony:

At $225 a night, (here’s a referral code you can use to get a $40 Airbnb credit. I’ll get $20 in credit if you use it) it’s much cheaper than many hotels in the area. It has a kitchen, a loft with two futons, a bedroom with two large beds, a dining area, a Japanese style tub, and a washer/dryer. It also includes a wi-fi hotspot that you can take with you as you travel around Tokyo.

By the time we got settled in and took a shower after 16 hours of travel, we were hungry and sleepy. I looked on Yelp and found a place called Vegetable Curry Camp just a few minutes walk from our place. It was a cute tiny restaurant in the basement. They had boxes of fresh vegetables next to the front door, and the decor was “1960 American campground.” We got sizzling skillets of fresh vegetable curry and plates of rice. The bill for both of us was less than $20. (In fact, many of the restaurants we went to were a lot cheaper than places in Los Angeles).

On the way back, we stopped at one of the ubiquitous konbini (コンビニ, short for convenience store) to buy eggs and onigiri (rice filled with fish or other fillings) for breakfast the next morning. We slept like logs.

Stayed tuned for day 2, to find out about Meiji Jingu and the interesting little stores in Harajuku.

This app is absolutely exploding right now and it’s all because of Snapchat

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Quick: if you had to pick one app that had the-best-year-ever in 2016 what would you pick? Pokémon Go? Super Mario Run? Instagram? 

How about Bitmoji?

That’s right, the Snapchat-owned app for making customizable emoji is, by at least one measure, besting all the competition. The two-and-a-half-year-old app has seen explosive growth over the last year to become one of the fastest growing apps in the U.S, according to a new report from comScore.

Fueled by Snapchat’s user base, the app is growing faster than Venmo, Tinder, Uber and Lyft, according to the report, which comes almost exactly a year after it was (unofficially) announced Snap was acquiring Bitmoji maker BitStrips. Read more…

More about Bitmoji, Snapchat, Apps And Software, Tech, and Tech

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Quick: if you had to pick one app that had the-best-year-ever in 2016 what would you pick? Pokémon Go? Super Mario Run? Instagram? 

How about Bitmoji?

That’s right, the Snapchat-owned app for making customizable emoji is, by at least one measure, besting all the competition. The two-and-a-half-year-old app has seen explosive growth over the last year to become one of the fastest growing apps in the U.S, according to a new report from comScore.

Fueled by Snapchat’s user base, the app is growing faster than Venmo, Tinder, Uber and Lyft, according to the report, which comes almost exactly a year after it was (unofficially) announced Snap was acquiring Bitmoji maker BitStrips. Read more…

More about Bitmoji, Snapchat, Apps And Software, Tech, and Tech

Favorite tools of Danielle Applestone, CEO of Other Machine Co.

Our guest this week on the Cool Tools Show is Danielle Applestone. Danielle is a material scientist, co-founder and CEO of Other Machine Co., the leading manufacturer of high-precision desktop CNC milling machines. Formerly, Danielle ran a DARPA project to develop digital design software and manufacturing tools for the classroom. Danielle’s team took that technology and launched Other Machine Co. in 2013.

Subscribe to the Cool Tools Show on iTunes | RSS | Transcript | Download MP3 | See all the Cool Tools Show posts on a single page

Show notes:

monarch

Monarch Instrument Examiner 1000 ($1,200)

“I came across this electronic stethoscope as part of our manufacturing process. We would get motors from a manufacturer that looked balanced and met a spec, but once we put the whole machine together, sometimes a machine would have a lot of vibration and we didn’t know how to quantify that vibration or to know what was good or what was bad. … There’s a lot of intuition when you’re putting something complicated together like “Well, it feels right,” or “It doesn’t feel right.” That’s really hard to do so we found this amazing thing, which cut a ton of time out of our manufacturing process and now we have beautiful graphs of everything. We know exactly what things vibrate and which ones don’t. You can use it on musical instruments. It’s an amazing tool. Once you have one you realize how much you needed one in your life.”

Screen Shot 2017-03-20 at 2.39.16 PM

Bicycle inner tubes with holes in them

“I came across bicycle inner tubes with holes in them through a friend who had made a sail boat that was attached only with these bicycle inner tubes —it was a catamaran. The reason why they’re so important is they are waterproof, they stretch, and you don’t have to tie them in knots, so you can latch things together really quickly and then undo them, and make a new configuration. … They’re used a little bit like a bungee cord, but bungee cords are really expensive and you have to make do with the hooks whereas if you take a long inner tube that has a hole in it — you’re not going to use it anyway — slice it up into strips. It’s like a variable length bungee cord, but it also doesn’t have the hooks so you can just wrap it around itself and tuck it under and it’ll stay put.”

Screen Shot 2017-03-20 at 2.44.44 PM

The Encyclopedia of Country Living ($20)

“This is a great tool. This is so comprehensive for every little thing. I moved out into Kentucky and lived on 1200 acres for a while and didn’t have much. It was the go-to for, “Okay, we need to build a shanty for chickens. We need to learn how to clean a chicken.” It has everything, like “How to bury your own dead.” … The thing that’s magic about this book is it has the right level of detail, just enough to get yourself in trouble. … It’s just enough to get you going and then you can kind of DIY the rest. I still use it. The pages are all rained on, and moldy, and whatever, but it’s well loved.”

Screen Shot 2017-03-20 at 2.50.03 PM

X-ray Photoelectron Spectrometer

“Yeah, well we just went from just about the lowest tech to the highest tech thing I’ve ever laid my hands on. … What’s great about this tool is it’s super useful for telling what’s on the surface of materials. I used to be a material scientist and I worked on lithium ion batteries. The surface is where all the action is. There’s not a lot of techniques out there that are nondestructive. Usually, if you invent a material, you have a sample, you have to crush it up or put it on a slide, you have to do something to it that mixes the surface in with the bulk. Sometimes, you don’t want that. … The X-ray Photoelectron Spectrometer is amazing because you can just put a sample in and it’s nondestructive …. How it works is you take a beam of x-ray, so you shoot photons at the surface of your material and those photons have enough energy to pick off electrons. A photon goes in, ejects an electron, and then there’s a collector that collects that electron and measures the kinetic energy, measures how fast it was moving. Then, if you know the energy of your x-ray going in, and the energy of that electron that you caught, you can just subtract and figure out how tightly bound was that electron to my surface. What’s cool about that is if you know how tightly a molecule was hanging onto it’s electron, you can tell what that molecule was. Whether it was a sulfur dioxide, or sulfur monoxide, the electrons that are swimming around those molecules will be held differently depending on what those molecules are. … The place that I used one was at the University of Texas at Austin. They’re quite common, but they’re usually at universities, or national labs … They’re millions of dollars.”

Our guest this week on the Cool Tools Show is Danielle Applestone. Danielle is a material scientist, co-founder and CEO of Other Machine Co., the leading manufacturer of high-precision desktop CNC milling machines. Formerly, Danielle ran a DARPA project to develop digital design software and manufacturing tools for the classroom. Danielle’s team took that technology and launched Other Machine Co. in 2013.

Subscribe to the Cool Tools Show on iTunes | RSS | Transcript | Download MP3 | See all the Cool Tools Show posts on a single page

Show notes:

monarch

Monarch Instrument Examiner 1000 ($1,200)

“I came across this electronic stethoscope as part of our manufacturing process. We would get motors from a manufacturer that looked balanced and met a spec, but once we put the whole machine together, sometimes a machine would have a lot of vibration and we didn’t know how to quantify that vibration or to know what was good or what was bad. … There’s a lot of intuition when you’re putting something complicated together like “Well, it feels right,” or “It doesn’t feel right.” That’s really hard to do so we found this amazing thing, which cut a ton of time out of our manufacturing process and now we have beautiful graphs of everything. We know exactly what things vibrate and which ones don’t. You can use it on musical instruments. It’s an amazing tool. Once you have one you realize how much you needed one in your life.”

Screen Shot 2017-03-20 at 2.39.16 PM

Bicycle inner tubes with holes in them

“I came across bicycle inner tubes with holes in them through a friend who had made a sail boat that was attached only with these bicycle inner tubes —it was a catamaran. The reason why they’re so important is they are waterproof, they stretch, and you don’t have to tie them in knots, so you can latch things together really quickly and then undo them, and make a new configuration. … They’re used a little bit like a bungee cord, but bungee cords are really expensive and you have to make do with the hooks whereas if you take a long inner tube that has a hole in it — you’re not going to use it anyway — slice it up into strips. It’s like a variable length bungee cord, but it also doesn’t have the hooks so you can just wrap it around itself and tuck it under and it’ll stay put.”

Screen Shot 2017-03-20 at 2.44.44 PM

The Encyclopedia of Country Living ($20)

“This is a great tool. This is so comprehensive for every little thing. I moved out into Kentucky and lived on 1200 acres for a while and didn’t have much. It was the go-to for, “Okay, we need to build a shanty for chickens. We need to learn how to clean a chicken.” It has everything, like “How to bury your own dead.” … The thing that’s magic about this book is it has the right level of detail, just enough to get yourself in trouble. … It’s just enough to get you going and then you can kind of DIY the rest. I still use it. The pages are all rained on, and moldy, and whatever, but it’s well loved.”

Screen Shot 2017-03-20 at 2.50.03 PM

X-ray Photoelectron Spectrometer

“Yeah, well we just went from just about the lowest tech to the highest tech thing I’ve ever laid my hands on. … What’s great about this tool is it’s super useful for telling what’s on the surface of materials. I used to be a material scientist and I worked on lithium ion batteries. The surface is where all the action is. There’s not a lot of techniques out there that are nondestructive. Usually, if you invent a material, you have a sample, you have to crush it up or put it on a slide, you have to do something to it that mixes the surface in with the bulk. Sometimes, you don’t want that. … The X-ray Photoelectron Spectrometer is amazing because you can just put a sample in and it’s nondestructive …. How it works is you take a beam of x-ray, so you shoot photons at the surface of your material and those photons have enough energy to pick off electrons. A photon goes in, ejects an electron, and then there’s a collector that collects that electron and measures the kinetic energy, measures how fast it was moving. Then, if you know the energy of your x-ray going in, and the energy of that electron that you caught, you can just subtract and figure out how tightly bound was that electron to my surface. What’s cool about that is if you know how tightly a molecule was hanging onto it’s electron, you can tell what that molecule was. Whether it was a sulfur dioxide, or sulfur monoxide, the electrons that are swimming around those molecules will be held differently depending on what those molecules are. … The place that I used one was at the University of Texas at Austin. They’re quite common, but they’re usually at universities, or national labs … They’re millions of dollars.”

This resistance group is sending Trump notes on toilet paper

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If Trump toilet paper isn’t enough for you, sending the new president a pertinent message on TP and other bathroom items might do the trick.

A group of activist friends based out of New York City frustrated with the results of November’s election are facilitating a sh*tshow of sorts straight to Donald Trump’s mailbox at the White House.

If you write a message on toilet paper, a pad or a tampon, the group will mail it to D.C. as part of their “Million Mile Message” campaign. For $10, it’s act of resistance that’s a bit different to sending a postcard or letter.  

More about Donald Trump, White House, Mail, Resistance, and Lifestyle

TwitterFacebook

If Trump toilet paper isn’t enough for you, sending the new president a pertinent message on TP and other bathroom items might do the trick.

A group of activist friends based out of New York City frustrated with the results of November’s election are facilitating a sh*tshow of sorts straight to Donald Trump’s mailbox at the White House.

If you write a message on toilet paper, a pad or a tampon, the group will mail it to D.C. as part of their “Million Mile Message” campaign. For $10, it’s act of resistance that’s a bit different to sending a postcard or letter.  

More about Donald Trump, White House, Mail, Resistance, and Lifestyle

Ultra-rich are sorry that Obamacare is still law of the land

People in the 400 highest-income households are gnashing their teeth today. If the repeal of Obamacare hadn’t stalled, they stood to get tax cuts of about $7 million each. Mother Jones made this graph based on a report from the Center of Budget and Policy Priorities.

You know what really gets me? Even among the millionaires, repeal will only net them about $50,000. That’s like finding spare change in the sofa cushions for this crowd. Is clawing back a few nickels and dimes really worth immiserating 20 million people?

People in the 400 highest-income households are gnashing their teeth today. If the repeal of Obamacare hadn’t stalled, they stood to get tax cuts of about $7 million each. Mother Jones made this graph based on a report from the Center of Budget and Policy Priorities.

You know what really gets me? Even among the millionaires, repeal will only net them about $50,000. That’s like finding spare change in the sofa cushions for this crowd. Is clawing back a few nickels and dimes really worth immiserating 20 million people?

Upright guitar stand for under $9

I have a Fender Telecaster but no case or stand. It usually sits on a couch. I finally broke down and bought the ChromaCast CC-MINIGS Universal Folding Guitar Stand with Secure Lock for $8.96 on Amazon. It’s got a 4.5-star rating on Amazon with over 1,200 reviews.

I have a Fender Telecaster but no case or stand. It usually sits on a couch. I finally broke down and bought the ChromaCast CC-MINIGS Universal Folding Guitar Stand with Secure Lock for $8.96 on Amazon. It’s got a 4.5-star rating on Amazon with over 1,200 reviews.

Hugh Grant dances to Drake in ‘Love Actually’ reunion

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Love it or loathe it, Love Actually is the film that refuses to die. 

For whatever reason it’s burrowed into our collective consciousness on both sides of the Atlantic, and when news of a 10-minute sequel was announced recently the internet quietly melted down with anticipation.

On Friday, after hours of teasing during the BBC’s annual Red Nose Day event, the short clip finally aired. Hugh Grant, Keira Knightly, Colin Firth and the most of the rest returned for the skit, which Richard Curtis said was to check in and “see what everyone is now up to.” Read more…

More about Bbc, Red Nose Day, Love Actually, Entertainment, and Tv

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Love it or loathe it, Love Actually is the film that refuses to die. 

For whatever reason it’s burrowed into our collective consciousness on both sides of the Atlantic, and when news of a 10-minute sequel was announced recently the internet quietly melted down with anticipation.

On Friday, after hours of teasing during the BBC’s annual Red Nose Day event, the short clip finally aired. Hugh Grant, Keira Knightly, Colin Firth and the most of the rest returned for the skit, which Richard Curtis said was to check in and “see what everyone is now up to.” Read more…

More about Bbc, Red Nose Day, Love Actually, Entertainment, and Tv

Bill Murray joyously celebrating his son’s March Madness upset will make you happy

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What does Bill Murray do when his son’s college basketball team scores a massive March Madness upset? 

He ruffles a friend’s hair with infectious joy, apparently. Meanwhile, the privilege of seeing Bill Murray in the stands is turning the rest of us into Xavier Musketeers fans as well. 

Xavier on Thursday night used a furious late comeback to beat two-seed Arizona in the Sweet 16. Now the 11-seed Musketeers play Saturday for a berth in the Final Four. After the buzzer sounded on Xavier’s 73-71 win, everyone’s favorite actor could be seen in the stand reveling in the moment.  Read more…

More about March Madness, Sports, Entertainment, and Sports

TwitterFacebook

What does Bill Murray do when his son’s college basketball team scores a massive March Madness upset? 

He ruffles a friend’s hair with infectious joy, apparently. Meanwhile, the privilege of seeing Bill Murray in the stands is turning the rest of us into Xavier Musketeers fans as well. 

Xavier on Thursday night used a furious late comeback to beat two-seed Arizona in the Sweet 16. Now the 11-seed Musketeers play Saturday for a berth in the Final Four. After the buzzer sounded on Xavier’s 73-71 win, everyone’s favorite actor could be seen in the stand reveling in the moment.  Read more…

More about March Madness, Sports, Entertainment, and Sports