It’s Possible to Be Too Rich, Speeding up your phone – The New York Times

What if I told you that your iPhone could feel like new even if you didn’t plunk down $700 for the “most incremental upgrade ever”? Brian X. Chen, The New York Times’s consumer technology columnist, tells you how.

“There is a widely shared conspiracy theory that phone manufacturers deliberately slow down phones as they age to entice you to buy a new device. In reality, the opposite has been true. In the last few years, Apple’s iPhone software updates have made older phones faster, and Google’s Android 12 release, expected in coming weeks, was also designed to improve performance.

It is true that phones slow down over time — but for different reasons. Like a car, smartphones need maintenance to stay in tiptop shape. Here are some tips for what to do to give your phone a boost if it’s feeling sluggish:”

16 Practical Privacy Tips for Your iPhone | Reviews by Wirecutter

“Your smartphone is an extension of your brain, filled with all your emails, search history, and communication with other people. Regardless of whether you’re concerned about corporations collecting your data to monetize your habits or a snooping roommate with a penchant for side-eyeing your incoming messages, or you just don’t want some random stranger to gain access to everything in your phone, here are the settings to change on your iPhone for increased privacy.

Using a smartphone is always a risk when it comes to privacy. Your cell provider tracks your location all the time, and it’s nearly impossible to identify exactly what data each app collects and sells. But everyone can take a few steps to mitigate privacy concerns. Some of these steps come at the cost of convenience, but we’ll explain how each setting works so that you can decide what’s worth the trade-off for you.”

How to Clean Your Filthy, Disgusting Laptop – The New York Times

“You know your laptop is filthy. You can see the dirt and grime on your keyboard. You can see that circle of skin oils on the middle of the trackpad. So when’s the last time you cleaned it?

Using a freshly cleaned laptop is almost as satisfying as getting a brand new one. The keys are clean, the screen is free of smudges and you fall in love with that three-year-old MacBook all over again. It’s also a useful skill if you buy or sell used laptops, since the previous owner doesn’t always leave them in pristine condition.

“You don’t need much to clean a computer,” said Jolie Kerr, New York Times contributor, cleaning expert and host of the podcast “Ask a Clean Person.” “I use exactly four things to keep my laptop clean: Rubbing alcohol, microfiber cloths, cotton swabs and canned air.” Ninety percent or higher isopropyl alcohol is ideal, since it won’t damage the internal components. And if you have some particularly tough grime or oil, a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser (or other melamine sponge) can also work wonders, though it should be a last resort since it’s abrasive.”

How to Clean and Care for Wood Cutting Boards | Reviews by Wirecutter

By Michael Sullivan

Published March 4, 2021
How to Clean and Care for Wood Cutting Boards
Photo: Michael Hession
“There’s a lot to love about wood cutting boards: They’re a pleasure to chop on and gentler on knife edges. And they’re far more beautiful than plastic ones. The only downside to wood is that it’s prone to warping and so requires more babying than plastic—wood must be hand-washed and oiled regularly. A warped board is a true tragedy in the kitchen. But by properly caring for your wood cutting board, you can help it avoid this fate so that it lasts for many years.

For cleaning, oiling, and waxing. . . . “

Do I have to give up bleach to go green? | Ethical and green living | The Guardian

‘I’m willing to go green in almost every other area, but the eco loo cleaners I’ve tried just don’t do the job.’

While not the most elegant subject, the bleach/toilet conundrum is a common one. The standard dictates of eco living tell us bleach is bad, toxic to waterways and aquatic life and should be substituted with a paste of lemon and vinegar and cup of borax, or at least ready-made bleach-free eco alternatives such as those from Bio D or Ecover.

On the other hand, there’s that deep seated, nagging belief – encouraged by years of primetime TV advertising – that toilets are the deadliest places on earth. Unless we tip down a substantial amount of sodium hypochlorite (household bleach), we feel we are leaving our homes open to bacterial invasion.

. . . But the real ethical issue centres around manufacture. Bleach is from the organochlorine family of chemicals, compounds rarely found in nature and which can take centuries to decompose.

America’s Great Lakes are used as the canary in the coal mine for the global effects of organochlorine pollution on water: 200 compounds have been detected in the water, sediments and animals, and traces found in breast milk. Greenpeace has called for a complete end to organochlorine production. Arguably, by buying household bleach, although it can be considered relatively innocuous in itself, it helps to prop up the whole organochlorine industry.

Bleach does the job, but what is the job and is it necessary? As we live in the Age of Bacteria immunologist, Gerald N Callahan, sums up: ‘Neither humans nor micro-organisms benefit from fully destroying the other. This is not a war, as it has often been described, even though we have an impressive array of weapons – bactericidal cribs and mattresses, toilet cleaners… If it were (a war), we would have lost long ago, overpowered by sheer numbers and evolutionary speed. This is… like a waltz that will last for all of human history. We must hold to our partners carefully and dance well.’ Seems there’s an elegant side to this debate after all.”

Source: Do I have to give up bleach to go green? | Ethical and green living | The Guardian

Berkeley’s Own Molly Ivins: Carol Denney – Martin Nicolaus

Berkeley’s Own Molly Ivins: Carol Denney

“The weird American reality has spawned a line of great satirists: Mark Twain, H.L. Mencken, Dorothy Parker, Paul Krassner, Molly Ivins, to name just a very few who have shredded the veneer of sanctimony from many a pillar of culture and politics. In that same vein thrives Carol Denney, with roots in West Virginia, but for more than five decades a proud and prominent Berkeley troublemaker. Her bio would be an ample vita for four people: musician, artist, activist, and writer, but she wraps all of that into one slender frame.

Since the founding hours of People’s Park, Denney has been wielding the pen as a dart gun whenever targets popped up. In the mid 90s she began firing regular salvos monthly. At first she edited Hard Times — “It’s Free, and its’ Funny” — and then, under the nom de plume Grace Underpressure, she morphed that broadsheet into Pepper Spray Times.”

Source: Duplex Press – Martin Nicolaus, publisher and editor

Do You Need to Worry About Old Gas in Your Car’s Tank? | Family Handyman

“If you have a car that hasn’t been driven for a while, you might be wondering if the gas in the tank is still OK or if it needs to be removed and fresh gas added. Here’s your answer.

Is old gas in the tank bad for your car? The quick answer

In almost every case, old gas is not an issue. Gas that sits does slowly go bad. However, gas that sits, even for a few months can be redeemed by topping off the tank with fresh gas. When the fresh gas mixes with the older gas, the motor will operate properly. John Ibbotson, chief mechanic at Consumer Reports, says that, “The new gas will mix with what’s already in your tank, and any variance in the octane will be adjusted for automatically by your car’s engine computer.” The adjustment will get the engine running back to normal.”

Source: Do You Need to Worry About Old Gas in Your Car’s Tank? | Family Handyman

Marie Kondo Talks About Tidying Up in 2021 and Her New Product Launch – The New York Times

It was perhaps inevitable that Marie Kondo, the one-time Shinto shrine maiden turned tidiness guru and media powerhouse, would expand her organizing business into products.

Yet her first embrace of consumerism more than a year ago roiled the internet, which cried foul as she began selling an array of minimalist objects — housewares, decorative items and organizing supplies — that included pink suede slippers, a boar-bristle broom set and, most notably, a tuning fork presented as a “reset” tool, the ping of which one imagined was the actual sound of “sparking joy,” Ms. Kondo’s trademark phrase.

It was a spare (ish) collection, however. Her latest foray is expansive: 100 organizing objects in a collaboration with — wait for it — the Container Store.

This is the second blockbuster alliance between the retailer and what we might call organizing media. Last year the Container Store partnered with the Home Edit, the Tennessee-based company responsible for Khloé Kardashian’s hair extension closet — an Instagram sensation the writer Amanda FitzSimons likened to an art installation about late-stage capitalism. If Ms. Kondo’s ethos of aspirational organization leans toward emotional and moral clarity — a transformative act, as she often points out — the Home Edit, which uses the colors of the rainbow as its organizing principle, is the equivalent of flashing a logo. (“Conscientious luxury” is how Pam Danziger, a marketing expert, would define both efforts, a trend on point for 2021.)

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NY Times Comment:
Someone who knows me, asked me to read her little book on tidying up the house. It was good advice, and I resolved to try harder. One of her neat ideas, hold up each individual x, a book in the library, a record or CD, and ask, does this item give me joy? If it doesn’t, give it up. She obviously isn’t a writer and historian with archival instincts. Yet, I know that the internet has made most of my archives obsolete. What really keeps me from cleaning up? I’d rather read the NY Times and its competitors and blog about the world going to hell in a handbasket. Also, deep down inside, I know that the easiest way to really clean up, is to die, and the ones who follow will less anguish than I over my multitude of collections.

“Songs of Nature and the Human Spirit, Climate Change and the 6th Extinction” performed by David Lindsay and Kathleen Schomaker. | Facebook

This Friday Harvest Fest concludes with “Songs of Nature and the Human Spirit, Climate Change and the 6th Extinction” performed by @davidlindsayjr and Kathleen Schomaker.
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