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Outside the Box: The quick and easy way to lose your life savings

There are an endless number of companies and people intent on separating us from our money.....»»

Category: topSource: marketwatchDec 4th, 2021

The Rule of 72 is a quick and simple formula to estimate when your investments will double

The Rule of 72 is a math formula that estimates how long it takes something to double or decline in value and illustrates how compounding interest works. The Rule of 72 demonstrates how the magic of compounding helps investments to grow. stockcam/Getty Images The Rule of 72 is a mathematical formula that estimates how long it'll take an investment to double in value or to lose half its value. To calculate the Rule of 72, you divide the number 72 by the rate of return of an investment or account. The Rule of 72 can only be used on investments earning compound interest; it's most effective on interest rates between 6% to 10%. Visit Insider's Investing Reference library for more stories. Learning where and how to invest is intimidating. So intimidating that many people don't make it to the next step of figuring out how to project the growth of their investments - even though that's pretty crucial to your making financial plans and setting goals. What if you could plug some numbers into a simple formula and find out how long it would take for your investments to double?That's exactly what the Rule of 72 does. Here's what you need to know about how it works and why it's a key tool to keep in your investing toolbox.What is the Rule of 72?The Rule of 72 is a mathematical principle that estimates the time it will take for an investment to double in value. The mention of math might make your jaw clench, but the Rule of 72 is actually a very basic formula that anyone can use. Simply take the number 72 and divide it by the interest earned on your investments each year to get the number of years it will take for your investments to grow 100%. Or to drop by 50%.However, you can only apply this rule to compounding growth or decay. In other words, you can only use it for investments that earn compound interest, not simple interest. With simple interest, you only earn interest on the principal amount you invest. Compound interest is "interest earned on interest": It accrues on accumulated interest, in addition to the principal. Because interest is essentially being added into your principal, and used as the base for fresh interest calculations, compounding makes your investment grow exponentially. Meaning: As interest accrues and the quantity of money increases, the rate of growth becomes faster.It doesn't have to be investment interest; anything that augments your principal creates "the magic of compounding." For example, if you reinvest the dividends you earn on your investments, your earnings are being compounded. Therefore, the Rule of 72 applies. On the other hand, if you choose to withdraw your dividends rather than reinvest them, your earnings might not compound, and the Rule of 72 wouldn't work.How to calculate the Rule of 72To calculate the Rule of 72, all you have to do is divide the number 72 by the rate of return. You can use the formula below to calculate the doubling time in days, months, or years, depending on how the interest rate is expressed. For example, if you input the annualized interest rate, you'll get the number of years it will take for your investments to double. Yuqing Liu/Business Insider You'll notice the formula uses the "approximately equals" symbol (≈) rather than the regular "equals" symbol (=). That's because this formula offers an estimate rather than an exact amount, and it's most accurate when used on investments that earn a typical rate of 6% to 10%. While usually used to estimate the doubling time on a growing investment, the Rule of 72 can also be used to estimate halving time on something that's depreciating. For example, you can use the Rule of 72 to estimate how many years it will take for a currency's buying power to be cut in half due to inflation, or how many years it will take for the total value of a universal life insurance policy to decline by 50%. The formula works exactly the same either way - simply plug in the inflation rate instead of the rate of return, and you'll get an estimate for how many years it will take for the initial amount to lose half its value.Rule of 72 exampleLet's say you invest $1,000 at a 9.2% annual rate of return, which is the average stock market return for the last 10 years. To calculate the doubling time using the Rule of 72, you'd input the numbers into the formula as follows:72 / 9.2 ≈ 7.8This means that your initial $1,000 investment will be worth $2,000 in about 7.8 years, assuming your earnings are compounding. If you instead invest $10,000, you'll have $20,000 in just under eight years. This also means that $20,000 will double again in another eight years, assuming the same rate of growth - in other words, you'll have $40,000 in less than 16 years. All of this is also assuming you're not adding to your initial investment over time, which makes the fact that your money is doubled in less than a decade all the more impressive.Alternatives to the Rule of 72The number 72 is a good estimator in most situations and, thanks to it being an easily divisible number, it makes for simple math. It's best for interest rates, or rates of return, between 6% to 10%. Most investment accounts, including retirement accounts, brokerage accounts, index funds, and mutual funds fall into this range of return. But with a different range, you might want to fiddle a bit - same formula, but different numbers to divide by. An easy rule of thumb is to add or subtract "1" from 72 for every three points the interest rate diverges from 8% (the middle of the Rule of 72's ideal range). At really high interest rates, for example, using the number 78 will give more accurate results. On the other hand, 69 or 70 are more accurate for lower interest rates and interest that compounds daily. Daily compounding is rare in investing and mostly happens with savings products such as high-yield savings accounts and certificates of deposit (CDs).The financial takeawayThe Rule of 72 offers a quick and easy way for investors to project the growth of their investments. By showing how quickly you can double your money with minimal effort, this rule beautifully demonstrates the magic of compounding for building wealth.How to invest using dollar-cost averagingStart investing in mutual funds in 4 stepsWhat is ROI? This simple metric can offer greater insight into the profitability of the assets in your portfolioInvesting for income: 7 money-generating assets for your portfolio and how to get startedRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 20th, 2021

38 Secret Santa gifts under $25 they"ll actually want to keep

If you're doing Secret Santa, do it right. Check out our list of Secret Santa gifts that won't get regifted, all under $25. Prices are accurate at the time of publication.When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.Uncommon Goods You don't have to spend a lot on Secret Santa gifts to find something that's still special. We rounded up 38 fun gifts under $25 that they'll actually really like.  Check out all of our gift guides for even more inspiration, including White Elephant gift ideas.  Sign up for Insider Reviews' weekly newsletter for more buying advice and great deals In theory, Secret Santa is a great idea. In practice, it can be a little underwhelming. You could end up with that cozy scarf your best friend knew you wanted — or, you could end up with lackluster socks from your neighbor that will definitely end up in your re-gift pile.Whether you're responsible for getting a gift for someone you know really well or someone you barely do, get them a gift they won't relegate to the storage closet. If you're spending money, make it count with something they'll actually want. Don't worry, we already did the grunge work and found 38 gifts that your secret Santa recipient will love. We've got everything from the more generically-appealing, like chocolate for your sweet coworker, to the more personal, like a portable cheese melter for your cheese-obsessed friend. Plus, they're all $25 or less, so scroll with abandon.Most of these items are available with expedited shipping, and some should arrive within a few days' time, so don't stress too hard if you've left it to the last minute — just remember that the sooner you order, the better your chances of a timely arrival.Keep reading for all 38 Secret Santa gifts under $25: A behind the scenes look of The Office for fansAmazonWelcome to Dunder Mifflin: The Ultimate Oral History of The Office, available at Amazon, $20.99If they're a super fan of The Office, this tell-all book of the franchise is a must-have gift. The humorous book spills the inside story of the show with memories from every character and 100 behind-the-scene photos to relive the iconic series.A LED ring light for video calls and picturesAmazonUBeezie 10" LED Ring Light with Tripod, available at Amazon, $21.99Secure the best lighting for your friend that always needs to be camera-ready. This luminous ring light is the perfect solution for getting the best angles whether it's video calls or content creation posts. The ten-inch ring light comes with a desk tripod stand, 360 degrees of adjustable phone angles, and three lighting modes with 11 brightness levels.A healthy popcorn makerAmazonNostalgia 16-Cup Air-Pop Popcorn Maker, available at Amazon, $19.99This popcorn maker makes movie night at home much more easier and enjoyable as they never have to leave their spot. This must-have item pops 16 tasty cups of healthy, homemade popcorn with no oil required.A reusable bag that's cute and sustainableBagguStandard Baggu, available at Baggu, $16If they hate single-use plastic, they'll love this cute, reusable bag. It comes in a variety of fun colors and patterns and the simple style makes it a go-to choice for bringing to the gym, grocery shopping, or even to use like a purse.Lip balm inspired by "Schitt's Creek"Beekman 1802Rose Apothecary Tinted Lip Balm, available at Beekman 1802, $8Any fan of "Schitt's Creek" will love getting to feel like they shopped at David's chic general store, Rose Apothecary. Part of a limited edition collection, this tinted lip balm is made from natural goat milk and botanicals, and fittingly scented with the signature Beekman 1802  fragrance, Heirloom Rose. A portable cheese melterAmazonBoska Holland Partyclette Melting Pan, available at Amazon, $19.49Melted cheese can make pretty much every meal better. If you don't believe us, check out this video to see the gooey goodness in action. A small speaker they can fit in their pocketAmazonRokono Bass + Mini Speaker, available at Amazon, $19.22This speaker isn't the best in the world audio-wise (for that you'll have to spend a bit more), but for less than $20 it's a great choice. Give it the friend that values convenience, since this thing is so small they fit it in their pocket and can literally take it anywhere. A tarot cookbook for magical mealsAmazonDivine Your Dinner cookbook, available at Amazon, $19.49For the mystical friend, this cookbook lets them conjure a magical meal according to a fortune. The tarot cookbook contains 78 tarot card-inspired recipes divinely crafted by a tarot priestess and chef.A healing Himalayan salt lampAmazonMineralamp Glow Salt Lamp, available at Amazon, $19.97Himalayan salt lamps have recently become a big trend in home decor, but they're also said to have healing properties that can potentially help purify the air around them. Whether they believe in the health benefits or not, anyone can enjoy the warm glow and aesthetic appeal of this hand-carved, 100% pure Himalayan salt lamp.A set of reusable strawsCrate & Barrel Stainless Steel Drinking Straws, available at Sur la Table, $14.95 (set of 6)For those trying to make a positive impact on the planet, give them these reusable straws so they never have to rely on the wasteful plastic ones again. Use these for cocktails, lemonade, frozen coffee drinks, smoothies, and more.A carry-on cocktail kit to make flights a little more bearableUncommon GoodsOld Fashioned Carry-On Cocktail Kit, available at W&P, $24This kit fits right in their carry-on bag and has all of the fixings for two Old Fashioned cocktails. All they need to do is add whiskey or rye. This cocktail kit can be enjoyed at any altitude, but it will most definitely make for a fun flight activity, and help inspire future travels when the time is right. A five-year journal that asks the big questions — and little ones, tooUrban OutfittersOne Question a Day Journal, available at Amazon, $14.59A gift for your ambitious friend who's always asking where you see yourself in five years. Help them answer this question for themselves, with a daily journal that poses a new question each day for five years.A letter board they can leave fun messages onAmazonFelt Letter Board, available at Amazon, $20.99This is a fun message board and a great piece of home decor all in one. They'll love using this to display mantras, messages for roommates, or just to show off some random thoughts. It comes in plenty of colors, so you're sure to find one that fits their space and aesthetic. A french press coffee maker for their morning brewAmazonOXO Good Grips Shatterproof French Press, available at Amazon, $20.99A French press makes it easy to enjoy delicious, rich coffee every morning. It's not as quick as a Keurig (you have to let the grounds steep for a few minutes), but the results are worth the wait. Plus, they'll love that they can fill it with their favorite beans. A face mask that calms red and irritated skinNordstromMario Badescu Azulene Calming Mask, available at Amazon, $18This light, refreshing face mask is made with botanical ingredients that calm irritated skin. It's delicate on skin and will leave it looking more hydrated, even, and refreshed. A spice set for rescuing bland pizzasUncommon GoodsPizza Rescue Kit, available at Etsy, $15.75All pizza is not created equal. That's why the pizza aficionado in your life deserves this pizza rescue kit. With three flavorful spices, this set will transform even the most "meh" slices to something delicious. If you're not sold, it was made by New Yorkers — and they know good pizza. A best-selling book for foodiesAmazon"Salt Fat Acid Heat," available at Amazon, $16.65Home cooks will love honing in on their craft with this book. Don't expect just a recipe book, though. The vivid illustrations in this one help explain how to master cooking techniques by looking at those four important elements that are in everything we cook and eat. A diary for sports, music, or movie loversUncommon GoodsTicket Stub Diary, available at Uncommon Goods, $14A great gift for anyone who is constantly attending shows, concerts, or sports games — and never throws away their tickets. Instead of keeping them hidden in a shoe box or desk drawer, they can use this diary, which has plastic sleeves to fit all different kinds of tickets as well as open margins on the sides where they can scribble notes to remind them of each event. A tracker for keys, wallets, bags or any other important items they’re prone to loseAmazonTile Mate, available at Tile, from $19.99Your forgetful friends and family will be so thankful for this gift. They can place this tracker in their wallet, purse, or phone case to make sure they never lose their things, because if they do, the Tile app makes it easy to retrace. A cute set of plantersAmazonMkono Modern Succulent Planters, available at Amazon, $25.99 for threeHelp them add some greenery to their space with these cool concrete planters. Add some small plants if you want to complete the gift. A mini, portable pinball machineUrban OutfittersTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, available at Amazon, $19.99This pint-sized pinball machine brings all of the fun and nostalgia of their favorite retro arcade game. It even comes with a keychain, so they can take it with them wherever they go.A cozy beanie for impending chilly daysUrban OutfittersLoose Knit Beanie, available at Urban Oufitters, $15It's that time of year when everyone needs a cozy hat. With a classic cable knit, this one is as cool as it is comfortable.A cheese-making kit for chefs and foodiesThrive MarketMozzarella and Ricotta Cheese Making Kit, available at Thrive Market, $24.99The only thing better than cheese is cheese that you made with your own two hands. Cheese fiends will love the chance to make their own favorite Italian cheeses. Plus, once they learn they'll be armed with cheese-making knowledge to last a lifetime — now that's a gift that keeps on giving.A mini waffle maker for the cutest breakfast everUrban OutfittersDash Mini Waffle Maker, available at Target, $10This miniature waffle maker is adorably small and will look super cute in their kitchen. Plus, it makes for a delicious, easy breakfast.A unique hot sauce blend for an adventurous eaterUncommon GoodsGochujang Sriracha, available at Sur La Table, $9.95Give them a gift to take their hot-sauce habit to the next level. The blend of Thai sriracha and Korean gochujang is sweet, spicy, and unlike anything they've ever tasted before.A shower beer holder for mid-rinse brewsUncommon GoodsShower Beer Holder, available at Uncommon Goods, $15Shower time might not seem like the most opportune moment to crack open a cold one — that is, until now. This silicone beer holder sticks to tile (or any other glossy surface), so they can always have their favorite brew by their side, whatever time it is. A catch-all inspired by their favorite animalWest ElmLlama Trinket Dish, available at West Elm, $20.80Everyone could use a catch-all to collect the small odds and ends around the house. Llama lovers will love using this cute trinket dish modeled after their favorite animal.A set of cool coasters that's worthy of InstagramSociety6Blue Aqua Agate Coaster, available at Society6, $13.59 (set of 4)Let's be real — nobody wants water stains and rings on their nice tables, but admittedly, telling guests to put down coasters first isn't the coolest move. These agate-style coasters are practical, but also add a nice aesthetic, so you'll actually want to leave them out to be used.A history lesson with their cup of teaUncommon GoodsTea Leaf Reading Set, available at Uncommon Goods, $23Give tea lovers the chance to try something new every day with this tea leaf reading kit. It comes with a mug, loose leaf tea, and of course a lesson that explains how to read different symbols.A convenient phone grip for texting on the goAmazonPopSockets Grip, available at Amazon, from $9.97They might seem unnecessary at first, but PopSocket Grips are extremely useful. They can use them as a kickstand to prop up their tablet and to comfortably hold their phone while reading on the subway. It's a very useful way to spend $10 (or less.)An adult card game that will make parties a lot more interestingAmazonCards Against Humanity, available at Amazon, $25If they don't already own Cards Against Humanity, you owe it to them. It's a fun party game that always leaves everyone cackling, and I'm not the only one that thinks this — the game has over 29,000 5-star reviews on Amazon.A cute mug that lets them track their travelsUncommon GoodsColor Map Mugs, available at Uncommon Goods, $25No matter what they're sipping on, they'll love doing so in this mug that they can completely customize. With the included markers they can color in the destinations they've been to or want to go to, for a map of the world that's unique to them. A scratch-off bucket list to spur their next adventureUncommon Goods100 Things To Do Scratch Off Poster, available at Uncommon Goods, $15This bucket list suggests 100 unique activities to look forward to once they're safe again — from little things like "take a cooking class" to big ones like "see the Northern Lights." They can scratch each box off after they complete it to reveal a colorful image. It's a cool poster to have hanging and a definite conversation starter.A faux plant desk organizer for much needed greenery and tidinessAmazonKikkerland Potted Pen Phone Stand, available at Amazon, $12If they're stuck inside an office all day, they could benefit from the sight of something green. This plastic plant isn't as good as the real deal, but it adds some much-needed color and works as desk decor, plus it functions as a phone stand and organizational tool.A stylish cheese and pastry boardAmazonmDesign Modern Marble Round Pastry Board, available at Amazon, $21.99For the entertainer, this elegant marble cheese or pastry serving board will make for a great addition the next time they host a wine and cheese night. To complement the board, you can also pick up a matching wine bottle chiller.A hilarious coffee table bookUncommon Goods"F in Exams," available at Uncommon Goods or Amazon, from $8.50This is a great gift for the person who can laugh at the little things in life, or for anyone who works as a teacher. It's a collection of hilarious wrong test answers that is sure to keep them laughing.A bestselling body moisturizerNordstromKiehl's Creme de Corps, 2.5-ounce, available at Nordstrom, from $14Help them treat their skin right with Kiehl's beloved, and super-hydrating Creme de Corps, another one of our favorite remedies for dryness.A sweet snack they'll enjoy eatingUncommon GoodsDecadent Chocolate Fondue, available at Uncommon Goods, $24Sweeten up their holiday season with this incredibly easy-to-make chocolate fondue. All they have to do is heat up the stoneware containers (which are pre-filled with chocolate) and find some fruit for dipping.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 17th, 2021

Current assets are the cash and assets a company has for near-term operations

A company's current assets include the funds it has to cover short-term liabilities, which can determine its long-term success as a company. Whether an asset gets classified as a current or noncurrent asset depends on how long the company expects it will take to turn the asset into cash.Hinterhaus Productions/Getty Current assets are assets that a company expects to use or turn into cash within a year. Cash, short-term investments, accounts receivable, inventory, and supplies are common examples. A company's current assets and related financial ratios offer insight into its financial health. Visit Insider's Investing Reference library for more stories. In accounting, a company's current assets include the cash it has on hand and the other assets that will soon be turned into cash. Current assets can be important because even if a business is on track to achieve long-term success, it could wind up falling short if it doesn't have enough money available to cover short-term expenses. What are current assets?"Current assets are the category of a company's resources that are expected to be used over the course of normal business operations over the near term, less than one year into the future," says Matt Stucky, a senior portfolio manager with Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Co.Stucky says a company's current assets can offer a lens into how much liquidity the company will have to fund its everyday operations and meet near-term financial obligations. These short-term assets could include the money a company will use to pay employees or buy supplies, along with the inventory it's currently selling to customers.In contrast, a company's fixed assets may include the land, buildings, and machinery that it will use for longer than one operating cycle, such as a year. Noncurrent assets can also include intangible assets, such as copyrights or trademarks, that won't likely or can't easily be quickly turned into cash. Current assets are combined with noncurrent assets to make up the company's total assets on its balance sheet.How current assets workWhether an asset gets classified as a current or noncurrent asset depends on how long the company expects it will take to turn the asset into cash. Assets must be used or converted within a year (or, within one operating cycle if that's longer than a year) to qualify. Current assets are also often liquid assets, meaning they can quickly be sold for cash without losing much value. Some assets are easy to classify, such as cash and US Treasury bills, which mature in a year or less. But others may seem more ambiguous if you're not familiar with accounting practices. For example, prepaid expenses — such as when you pay an annual insurance premium at the start of the year — could be considered current assets. As could accounts receivable — the money that customers owe the business for products or services that have been delivered.Note: Managing a business's cash flow, when the company receives and pays cash, is an important part of building a successful company. Current assets and liabilities are a component of this, but they won't necessarily show you the day-to-day financial obligations.Understanding a business's current assets and whether it can cover its short-term liabilities is an important part analyzing the company's financial position. Businesses that can easily pay their debts or have funds to take advantage of opportunities may be more likely to survive and thrive in the long run. What types of current assets might a company have? Common examples of companies' current assets include: Accounts receivableCashCash equivalentsInventoryPrepaid expensesShort-term investmentsSuppliesSometimes, whether an asset gets classified as current or fixed can depend on the business. For example, a company that builds manufacturing equipment might consider the completed units as inventory and classify them as current assets. However, a company that buys the machinery and will use it for years to come would consider it a fixed asset. Using current assets to analyze companies"Current assets are one of the first steps in assessing the financial soundness of a company," says Stucky. "But analysts go much further and assess those current assets against current liabilities … financial obligations that a business expects to incur over the near term." Analysts may also use a company's current assets and other financial information to calculate financial ratios that are commonly used to better understand companies' financial positions. Balance sheetTo find a company's current assets you can look at its balance sheet, one of the main financial statements. "Both current assets and current liabilities are found every quarter on a company's balance sheet statement," says Stucky.The asset section may be broken into current and noncurrent assets. And the current assets may be further broken down and ordered based on their liquidity — how easily they can be converted into cash. For example, cash and cash equivalents may be listed first, while inventory and accounts receivable could be further down. Financial ratiosA company's current assets can also be inputs for different financial ratios. Commonly used ratios that involve current assets may be considered liquidity ratios because they offer insight into a company's near-term finances: Current ratio (current assets / current liabilities). The current ratio, sometimes called the working capital ratio, measures a business's ability to cover its short-term liabilities. Quick ratio (quick assets / current liabilities). The quick ratio, sometimes called the acid-test ratio, compares a subset of current assets that can be converted to cash within 90 days to its current liabilities. In both cases, a ratio below one could indicate the company will struggle to cover its short-term liabilities. A higher number may be better. However, there are diminishing returns and companies that have high ratios might not be effectively using their capital to run or grow the business. "Going further, investors like to measure how current assets and liabilities evolve over time in relation to other fundamental considerations, like sales growth or earnings," adds Stucky. "For example, it's not a good situation if sales are slowing over time if inventories (a current asset) are rising."The financial takeawayCompanies that don't have enough liquidity may struggle with a cash flow crunch or lose out on opportunities to expand. Reviewing a company's current assets, liabilities, and related financial ratios can give you insight into whether a company may fail, survive, or thrive. Stucky says, "investors want to see current assets and current liabilities move appropriately in relation to the company's sales and earnings profile. Lower levels of current assets relative to sales imply an efficient operation, but shouldn't be a headwind to a company's growth trajectory." Also, make sure you're comparing a company to its peers. Expected or average financial ratios may vary depending on the business, and depending on where it is in the business life cycle.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 10th, 2021

Evil Is The Root Of All (Fiat) Money

Evil Is The Root Of All (Fiat) Money Authored by Egon von Greyerz via GoldSwitzerland.com, “So you think that money is the root of all evil. Have you ever asked what is the root of all money?” -Ayn Rand Money used to be a stable medium of exchange and a store of value but that was in the days when there were sound monetary principles, mostly backed by gold or silver. Since 1913 and especially 1971 there is no discipline and no morals when it comes to the issuing of money as unlimited amounts of fake fiat money is printed at will. In today’s fiat money world, there is only one answer to Rand’s question “What is the root of all money?”, namely: “Evil is the root of all fiat money.” – Egon von Greyerz On the IMF (International Monetary Fund) website there is an article stating that “Money is something that holds its value” – Hmmm….. The meeting of bankers and politicians on Jekyll Island in November 1910 laid the foundations for the Federal Reserve Bank. Three years later in 1913 the Fed was founded. From that moment on, private bankers were running the US monetary system including the printing of money. But the British pound, backed by gold until 1931, was the global currency of choice until then. CURRENCY SYSTEMS ARE EPHEMERAL The Bretton Woods Agreement in 1944 established a new currency system based on the dollar. From that time, all major currencies were pegged to the US dollar and the dollar itself was pegged to gold at $35 per ounce. The dollar thus became the world’s reserve currency bolstered by big gold reserves. These were accumulated gradually from the early 1900s to the late 1940s. The US received payment in gold during WWII from its sales of arms and other supplies. As the chart below shows, the gold holdings grew from virtually nothing in the early 1900s to 22,000 metric tonnes by 1947. Over the following 25 years, 14,000 tonnes were sold and the US gold reserves are now alleged to be 8,000 tonnes. The 14,000 tonnes sold would today be worth a handsome $840 billion which certainly would have been useful in propping up the ailing finances of the US treasury. Most of the US gold was sold at a measly $35 per oz which tells that the US made an opportunity loss of $794 billion. And the people in charge of the Treasury and the Fed are supposed to be money experts. This tells us again that they don’t understand gold and they don’t understand history. They clearly don’t understand money either. Still they are only hired hands and temporary custodians of US gold and the US finances and never have to directly suffer the consequences of their actions. As Ayn Rand said: “You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality.” In the current era of the golden calf and instant gratification, no leader, politician, central banker or commercial banker ever has to suffer the consequences of his own actions. Profits are always privatised and losses, without fail, socialised. Whatever deficits or debts a President or Prime Minister causes, the consequences when he retires are fees in the millions for just selling his name. And the bankers continue to collect their bonuses and options whatever losses they incur. So most of these individuals don’t ever have to bear the consequences of their actions. Instead normal people bear the consequences through taxes and decreasing benefits like pensions, healthcare and a much lower standard of living. US – 90 YEARS OF DEFICITS Since 1930, the US government has had budget deficits every year, except a couple of years in the 1950s and 1960s. The Clinton surpluses were fake due to false accounting. So for 90 years, the most powerful economic power in the world has been living on borrowed money and borrowed time. The consequences are blatant and for most people to see, if they care to look. But their government won’t tell them and the media is too ignorant to understand it. Probably not even 1% of Americans understand that their leaders and bankers are destroying their money on a daily basis. How many Americans would understand that since 1971 their US dollar has lost 98% of its purchasing power? Virtually nobody realises that the dollar only buys 2% of what it bought in 1971. And what did President Nixon tell his American compatriots in 1971 when he took away the gold backing of the dollar: “THE EFFECT OF TODAY’S ACTION will be to stabilise the dollar.” A DOLLAR FALL OF 98% SO FAR – ANOTHER 100% TO GO Hmmmmmm! The chart below shows how the dollar was stabilised. A 98% fall of the dollar doesn’t look very stable to me. Instead it looks chaotic and catastrophic! US DEFICITS ARE GROWING EXPONENTIALLY Back in 2016 when Trump was elected I forecast that the US debt would be $28 trillion at the beginning of the next presidential period in early 2021.  Few forecasters predicted an $8 trillion increase for the period after Obama. But I am no genius. The trick was easy. Just look at history. Since Reagan became president in 1981, US debt has on average doubled every 8 years. A simple extrapolation meant $28 trillion debt at the halfway stage and $40 trillion in 2025. But as the table shows below, I have now revised my forecast and am projecting $50 trillion by 2025. The US government is currently spending $7 trillion annually but the tax revenue is ONLY $4 trillion. So there is a neat annual deficit of a mere $3 trillion or 43% of the US budget. How can anyone believe that the US can repay a debt of currently $29 trillion and rising to $50 trillion with an annual deficit of $3 trillion – a deficit which is rising exponentially. The simple answer is that they never will repay it. Instead it will increase uncontrollably. As I said at the beginning of the article – Evil is the root of all fiat money as a 50 fold increase in the US debt since 1981 can only be achieved through corrupt means. And don’t believe that the Fed will really taper the $120 billion a month that they are printing. They have declared a $15 billion tampering programme but that is a FAKE TAPER as my colleague Matt Piepenburg wrote about. As expected they are cooking the books, giving with one hand and taking back with the other one – Plus ça change….. (the more it changes, the more it stays the same).  COVID – YET ANOTHER VARIANT WITH OMICRON So now the world has yet another Covid variant. It seems as every time Covid recedes another variant is invented appears. European countries are starting to lock down again. In the UK there were initially only 2 cases of the Omicron variant. Still, based on those 2 cases Switzerland implemented a 10 day quarantine for UK visitors and more countries are likely to follow. At this point, nobody knows the severity of the Omicron variant but still countries are locking down. It is believed that Omicron has around 32 mutations and that current vaccines might not be effective. So now Big Pharma will come up with a new vaccine to be taken in addition to boosters and normal annual flu vaccines. It is a wonderful position  for Big Pharma to be both expert advisor and beneficiary of Covid. The billions and trillions will keep rolling in. CONSEQUENCES We are not medical experts (there seems to be few impartial ones around) but we do understand the economic CONSEQUENCES. In September 2019, major central banks gave the signal that they “would do what it takes” to keep the financial system afloat. Covid which officially arrived early in 2020 was of course the most perfect excuse for starting yet another massive programme of unlimited money printing. Some people even believe that it was started deliberately but that could hardly be possible?? Whatever the severity of new Covid variants, it is crystal clear that the world will suffer economically, financially as well as socially. In other words, all these additional problems are landing on a world which is morally and financially bankrupt. All the king’s soldiers and all the king’s printed money will not put this Humpty Dumpty world together again. A PERFECT RECIPE FOR DISASTER Let’s look at the ingredients: Global debt of $300 trillion growing exponentially – it was $100t in 2000 Rapidly increasing deficits in most major and developing economies $1.5t+ derivatives which will be worthless when counterparties fail An Epic Everything bubble in all asset classes – Stocks, Bonds, Property An asset bubble which will implode since it is based on fake money Social and Moral decadence No statesmen as leader in any Western country – so no chance of rescue A flu of relatively modest proportions which will lock down the world for a 3rd year A financial system which is on the verge of collapse Inflation which will lead to hyperinflation Fiat Money of ZERO value which is created hand over fist A currency system which will lose 100% from here as history tells us The above factors are the inevitable consequences of a financial and currency system that was doomed to fail when it was first devised by a few bankers on Jekyll Island in 1910. As I said at the beginning of the article – Evil is the root of all fiat money! Greed is a cardinal sin and the bankers and politicians at Jekyll Island were definitely clear of the consequences of their actions. With more than 100 years of reaping the benefits and creating extraordinary fortunes for a few, they needn’t worry. But the rest of the world, that just has debt and no savings, is in for an extended period of misery. It is clearly very appropriate that the decision to take control of the money took place on Jekyll Island. If we look up the meaning of Jekyll we find: “A person with very different sides to their personality – one good and the other EVIL”! Clearly the appearance that the Fed would like to project to the world is the goodness of being the guardian and saviour of the financial system. The purpose agreed at Jekyll Island was the EVIL purpose to take control of the monetary system for the benefit of the private bankers who would own and control the Fed. MANY OF THE BEST THINGS IN LIFE ARE FREE I don’t like being a Cassandra predicting doom and gloom that few will believe. But these are the consequences that history teaches us time and time again. But sadly everyone thinks it is different today. Since every currency system in history has collapsed, it is quite a certain bet that this one will too. For the few who have savings, wealth preservation in physical gold and silver is essential as insurance against yet another failed currency and financial system. And for everybody it is important to remember that the most important things in life are family and friends. Helping others in difficult times is critical. Remember also that many wonderful things in life are free, conversations, books, music and nature. Tyler Durden Fri, 12/03/2021 - 21:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeDec 4th, 2021

Leapfrogging Legacy Banking To A Bitcoin Standard

Leapfrogging Legacy Banking To A Bitcoin Standard Authored by Mitch Klee via BitcoinMagazine.com, How looking at the history of technological adoption can give us insights into where Bitcoin could be embraced the fastest... INTRO Throughout time, technology has proven to change our lives by leveraging efficiencies in energy. New ways in how we hunt have saved time and energy for innovation and to live more intentionally. Currently, Bitcoin presents an immense opportunity to change the lives of those who are burdened by old forms of manipulated money and preserve their time and energy. It is the first self-sovereign, programmable money that is proving to destroy expectations of every “expert” imaginable. At the intersection of money and technology, Bitcoin's network effect is spreading like a mind virus to all corners of the globe. This is not a coincidence but the manifestation of a zero to one moment; a radical new technology that will change nearly everything it touches. This article explores the idea that some regions and nations have a higher susceptibility to adoption in new monetary networks. Specifically, I will outline how the unbanked populations of emerging countries can leapfrog legacy systems, straight into a new monetary standard. But first, let's lay the groundwork for understanding how this can happen with some concepts. DEMOCRATIZATION OF TECHNOLOGY To understand leapfrogging, let’s first look into something that naturally happens when humans produce technology: the democratization of technology. As we make technology, the cost reduces, while the ease of production increases. Our tools get better, people’s skills improve, securing the material for production gets easier, logistics improve, and everything is less costly as humans continue increasing the output/yield over time. Simply put, cost goes down, while production goes up. Figure 1. A great example is the printing press. Before this innovation, each book had to be typed out or written one by one and distributed almost by osmosis. This means books were more expensive and were only in the hands of the few. After the printing press, people were able to automate a portion of the process by creating blueprints of the books. This cut down labor costs, and there was a huge explosion in printed material. This may have put people out of work; but it also introduced better dissemination of information to a wider group of people and new opportunities to produce more books for less cost and effort. Another example is photography. Historically, taking photos on film took hours to produce in a dark room. The film had to be brought to a local expert and it would take several days to get back the finished product. Smartphones and photoshop technology made this essentially free. It was then possible to download an app or use the built-in app on smartphones, take pictures, and immediately process them. Democratization of technology has been happening across every single aspect of human society since the beginning of time. Humans create tools to make it easier and cheaper to survive. Each tool becomes better, we then expand and evolve with less energy improving the quality of life. Fast-forward to the internet age. Emerging countries are just now tapping into the power of the internet. Although there are many factors underlying the reasons for expansion, one thing that is known is that technology builds on itself, making each successive technology easier to produce. Not only is there growth, but there is exponential growth. Certain times throughout history, technology has made such a large leap forward that it allows extremely poor countries to skip the legacy technology and quickly adopt the new one. This is called leapfrogging. LEAPFROGGING EXPLAINED Leapfrogging is when the cost to produce one technology is too great for a population, so when a new, drastically cheaper technology is created it’s quickly adopted and the old tech is skipped. This is the coexistence and benefit of separate populations within society. Let's look at the mobile phone revolution as a way to explain leapfrogging. Some societies did not have the wealth or infrastructure to adopt landlines and phone communication when it was brand new, but when the mobile phone was introduced, this gave mostly everyone around the world the ability to opt-in. Figure 2. Landlines in the U.S., 1900–2019. Figure 2 shows the number of landlines in the U.S. population from the 1900s to 2019. Throughout the entirety of the 20th century, the landline was being adopted in the U.S. Consequently it only took a decade to dethrone this old technology. The decline started when the benefit of cell phones outweighed the cost compared to landlines. This is where democratization hit the tipping point and we saw a huge jump from one technology to the next. Now it’s extremely cheap to use technology that is 100 times or even 1,000 times more advanced than the previous. Mobile phones usurped landlines because they were more affordable, easier to use and more mobile. Figure 2 shows how quickly a society can adopt a technology that has significantly more benefits than the previous, even in an advanced society. A similar thing is happening with television and the internet. Netflix came out and disrupted how people consume media on the television. As more platforms emerged, and people realized they could pay a fraction of the cost for a Netflix subscription rather than $100 for cable and a bunch of commercials, the switch was easy. Legacy systems were bogged down by all of the brick-and-mortar stores and overhead costs. They could not compete and pivot quickly enough, so they lost their seat at the table. Figure 3. Number of telephone subscriptions in the U.S. versus worldwide. When comparing fixed telephone subscriptions to other countries, the U.S. was way ahead of most. Many factors were contributing to this. Wealth played a huge part, but much of it was the production and first movers’ advantage. The U.S. was the first country to set up telephone lines from Boston to Somerville Massachusetts and expanded from there. Other countries did not have this opportunity, so they were laggards in the technology simply by default. It also made it easy to have a grid to run on top of, being a technologically advanced country with a power grid. Because it was so resource-heavy to set up this grid, this took over 30 years to build up the infrastructure. Figure 4. Landline subscriptions compared to GDP per capita, 2019. One of the main reasons why it was so hard to increase telephone subscriptions in other countries is because of the initial cost. You can’t just tap into a telephone line, there needs to be a large grid, infrastructure and companies/governments willing to build out this grid. Figure 4 shows that there is a rough line at a GDP per capita of $5,000 to get off zero and start communicating via landline. As the GDP per capita grows in a country, it is more likely they adopt fixed landlines. This is a huge barrier to entry as they try and compete to be a part of the 21st century. With telephones, it brings an easier flow of information across long distances quickly. These are important technologies that helped first-world countries advance quicker than their counterparts. This technology could mean the difference between surviving and thriving in the modern era. Figure 5. Mobile phone subscriptions versus GDP per capita, 2019. Things get much different when you start looking at mobile phones in Figure 5. To have a mobile phone is drastically cheaper than having a landline, all costs considered. Before, you needed the infrastructure and everything that came with installing a landline phone. But with mobile phones, even at a GDP per capita of less than $1,000, you get ~50% penetration of adoption within the population. All of the countries that were left out of communication with landlines, now have leapfrogged the old technology, right into a new standard of mobile phones. People benefit, businesses benefit and countries benefit immensely from these technologies. With mobile communication, people have higher leverage over their energy output. Businesses and life in general are more efficient, in turn creating a higher GDP for the country. It is a feedback loop that is good for all of humanity. When one group of people creates new technology, everyone benefits at one point or another. FROM LANDLINES TO MOBILE PHONES TO INTERNET-CONNECTED SMARTPHONES Not only are poorer countries leapfrogging into mobile phone communication, but they are, in turn, jumping right into the internet age. On top of that, (Android) smartphone costs are dropping significantly every year, with the average cost down by 50% from 2008 to 2016. With the growing ability to connect with the rest of the world comes more opportunities to learn and grow with the rest of the world. An incredible amount of information is available on the internet, and the benefit of being on the network is immeasurable. Figure 6. Mobile versus landline subscriptions, worldwide, 1960–2019. When comparing the numbers of mobile phone users to the numbers of landlines, you get a huge disparity in the pace at which they were adopted. Fixed landlines were around for almost 50 years before they started to see some real competition. Thinking back to our Figure 5, this makes sense, because the cost to build infrastructure is drastically higher than that of mobile phones. The opportunity a landline brought to civilization was immense, but the cost-effective mobility of cell phones transcends previous communication technology by a longshot. As of September 2021, the world’s population was ~7.89 billion people. Of that, there are 10.5 billion cell phones with network connections. That is 2.52 billion more activated phones than there are people. This becomes thought-provoking when adoption data starts to reveal where mobile phones are headed next. As people adopt mobile phones, smartphones are becoming cheaper and more abundant. The cost of production for smartphones is less and less each year, and soon there will be little reason to have a cell phone without internet connection because the cost difference will be so minuscule. Smartphone abundance is allowing people around the world to tap into the internet and it is estimated that “by 2025, 72% of all internet users will solely use smartphones to access the web.” Figure 7. Share of the population using the internet, 1990–2019. Currently, the world is in a transitionary period of communication. Not all of the world has access to the internet, only 65%, with an increasingly rapid pace of adoption. Because it is so inexpensive to get a mobile phone, and the benefits are immense, the world is being onboarded at an incredible rate. To answer the question “What is Leapfrogging?” we can look directly at mobile phones. But it’s not just one leapfrog, it’s more of a continuous onboarding to the digital revolution for the entire human population. Things are getting cheaper, and technology is moving exponentially forward, toward a more connected future. Soon, everyone will have access to the internet and will bring about new and exciting opportunities for the world to grow. With the high rate of adoption in communication technology, mobile phones swept across low-GDP countries allowing information to spread. Smartphones are a small hop away from mobile phones. With smartphones comes all sorts of opportunities not to mention the connection to the world's internet. In developing countries, the internet is starting to hit its hockey stick moment. Adoption continues to grow and as smartphones get cheaper, more people in the world have access to the internet, connecting them to their local and global economies and new innovations will come about in unforeseen ways. This begs the question, what monetary network will they use to transact in the digital age? It's taken years to get the legacy banking system up to speed. We’ve bootstrapped and “Frankensteined” many different ways to connect the internet to a centuries-old banking infrastructure, but these newly onboarded countries have the opportunity to skip that altogether. With no legacy banking infrastructure rooted within the nation, this leaves the door wide open for a new legacy. LEAPFROGGING ONTO A BITCOIN STANDARD It seems the stage is set for a paradigm shift. A perfect storm is brewing in populations that lack bank accounts and access to store their wealth. Coupling this with connection to the internet, and 21st-century e-commerce and monetary system, it is impossible for countries not to adopt it. Because bitcoin is a global asset with no intermediaries, its infrastructure is inherently global. Any improvements to the network, the entire world will benefit automatically without having to update the old tech. Unlike landlines, there is no infrastructure to build, and the barrier to entry is almost zero. You just opt in with a bit of hardware and an internet connection. As of 2017, according to the World Bank, there are 1.7 billion adults in the world without a basic transacting account. Most of these countries with higher rates of unbanked are poor, have high rates of inflation and lower currency stability, not to mention a disconnected state government ripe with problems. This is extremely common when looking at currencies in other low-GDP countries. So, what are some of the biggest factors in which people would want or need to adopt Bitcoin? If we can answer this question, then maybe we can quantify and pinpoint which countries have the biggest opportunity and most to gain from adopting a Bitcoin standard. Figure 8. World’s most unbanked countries (Source). Figure 8 shows the top-10 most unbanked countries as of February 2021. The Oxford dictionary defines “unbanked” as “not having access to the services of a bank or similar financial organization.” Much like building the infrastructure for landlines, it’s expensive to build banks and serve the local economy. Not to mention, many of the people living in these countries don't have the amount of money that would warrant the cost of owning a bank account. Some even share bank accounts with members of their families to save on costs. There is a huge opportunity to solve the problem of banking in low-GDP countries, but many of the digital banking companies around the world are constrained by regulation and geographical jurisdiction. It may be hard to grasp the importance of a bank account having never lived without one, but without a bank, citizens cannot secure funds safely. Without secure funds, the future is uncertain. This is where Bitcoin can solve some of the problems in these less developed and emerging countries. There are three specific ways in which these problems could be solved. 1. Bank the Unbanked Bitcoin gives everyone the ability to be their own bank with something as little as a cell phone. All that's needed is to be connected to the network and accept funds. The smartphone does all of this. It allows people to download a bitcoin wallet, connect to the internet and start transacting. There are many ways in which one can use this wallet. Coincidentally, the countries above who have low banking numbers within their population, also have mobile phones and high internet penetration. This is an open door from a technological standpoint, allowing people to opt into Bitcoin and secure their funds digitally. In addition to using the Bitcoin network to transact on your phone, you can also use it as a cold storage solution. Cold storage is similar to a savings account. This savings account or cold storage is disconnected from the internet, making it harder for people to steal your funds. With the old technology of banks, you would have to pay for this solution, but with Bitcoin, it's free, just download the software and/or buy a hardware wallet. There are some cold storage solutions where you can pay for a hardware device, but creating a phone wallet and securing your keys, gives the people an entry point and on-ramp to storing their wealth in a digital bank. 2. Securely Store Value Over Time The second opportunity is the store of value function. Many of the countries that have unbanked populations and poverty issues are a result of a currency problem. In my previous article, “Bitcoin As A Pressure Release Valve,” I wrote that certain countries have hyperinflated currencies with no option but to turn to the black market. Most of the time, these countries use the U.S. dollar to transact since it holds its value better relative to their currency. Strictly from a monetary standpoint, bitcoin is scarce. It is the most scarce form of money there is. There will only ever be 21 million bitcoin in existence and when the value rises, the production does not increase. This is called elasticity or the lack of elasticity in bitcoin’s case. Unlike fiat money, no government, central bank or agency can print more. And unlike gold, silver or any other commodity, when the demand rises, the amount that is mined stays the same. The first completely inelastic asset in existence is a result of preprogrammed architecture, with consensus in the network that’s default is to not change the protocol. People that live in countries where the money is known to be manipulated, understand Bitcoin almost immediately. When the idea of something that can't be manipulated is presented, the concept of scarcity and 21 million is understood. With the reality of incorruptible money, the current regime in power can't stuff their pockets without alienating the population through force. These people understand this idea because they have experienced it firsthand. When food prices rise faster than people can spend a weekly budget on groceries, it is immediately apparent the importance of a completely scarce, un-manipulatable asset. In developed countries with low levels of unbanked, people have ways of storing their wealth. They have a 401k and IRA, and most people own property. This is a way of storing value over time. It may not be completely efficient, but it is sufficient enough to escape some level of inflation. The alternative would be to keep your dollars in a savings account, and the real yield of that is negative and not a smart way to store money. These countries put money in financial devices, because it is the smart thing to do and it preserves time and energy. Unbanked countries have no way of storing long-term value. It is degraded and evaporated through manipulation and high levels of money printing. Emerging countries cannot store time and value into financial instruments. There is no Apple stock or S&P 500 to put money into. They are stuck with low levels of wealth that are stolen away on an ever-moving treadmill. There is no way of truly saving value or energy spent over time. For the first time, Bitcoin gives the world, particularly those in emerging countries, the ability to hold their value in a closed system that cannot be inflated. Much like the opportunity the mobile phone brought to change communication, bitcoin is the first “store of value'' that is available for low-GDP countries to buy and hold. It allows them to securely transfer their wealth over time, without fear of inflation or confiscation. Add on top of that, if they need to transfer wealth out of the country and flee an oppressive regime, bitcoin is the first asset that gives the ability to do so. Large amounts of gold cannot be taken on a plane or property and homes cannot be transferred to another country. Bitcoin gives people the freedom to do what they want with their earned value, without fear of a centralized power removing it. Bitcoin preserves the fundamental human right of property. 3. Connection to the Digital Economy The third problem Bitcoin solves is connecting and transacting digitally. Being a digitally native asset, bitcoin smooths the rails of commerce allowing low-GDP countries to join the 21st century of commerce. This is huge, and what cell phones did for communication, digital commerce will do the same. It immensely increases our ability to transact and exchange value. Bitcoin allows anyone, anywhere, to join a digital transacting network and exchange value natively over the internet, whether in person or without knowing them at all. Digital economies move at the speed of light, while old-school economies move at the speed of osmosis. This brings more time and efficiency for people on both ends of the transaction. Businesses spend less time on transactions, widen their addressable market, and start putting more time and effort into other things that can improve their work. It is the difference between transacting daily in cash and using a preprogrammed point of sales system. It is simply better. Not only does Bitcoin make things easier and frees up more time, but it is programmable money. Like the internet, Bitcoin can be built in layers. Each layer brings a new way to use it that widens the possibilities and use cases. What the internet did for communication, Bitcoin will do for money. Combining all three of these factors, you get a massive magnetic pull toward adoption of the new technology. It is hard to slow the movement of technological adoption and impossible to stop. Like throwing a match on a tinder-filled hillside, years of opportunity build up in countries that lack technology where innovation and adoption prepare to explode at the right moment. QUANTIFYING BITCOIN ADOPTION IN LOW-GDP COUNTRIES Figure 9. LocalBitcoins and Paxful Vietnamese dong (VND) combined volume in Vietnam (Source). Looking at every one of the top-10 countries from Figure 8, they all have meaningful adoption in Bitcoin and it is growing every week. Not only is Vietnam number two on the unbanked list, but it is also number one on the “Chainalysis 2021 Global Adoption Ranking.” In fact, looking at Figure 10 of adoption through LocalBitcoins and Paxful, USD volume shows that every one of the countries in the top-10 list of unbanked have meaningful adoption. Figure 10. LocalBitcoins and Paxful Vietnamese dong (VND) combined volume. What does this tell us about Bitcoin adoption in unbanked countries? It tells us that it's working. Continuing to see these trends improve will be good for Bitcoin adoption and not to mention the countries in which they are adopting it. All the ingredients are there. Most are unbanked with high internet access and an unreliable currency that isn't natively digital. All you need is time for the adoption to take hold. There are also some concerns that come up when thinking about Bitcoin adoption. Like, “How can they adopt bitcoin when it is so volatile?” Well, there are a few solutions to this problem. The first is that when a population has no choice, something as volatile as bitcoin could mean the difference between losing 30% or losing 90% over the span of one year. Keep in mind that bitcoin is already solving three of the major problems listed above, we are just remedying the problem of volatility. First, look at just bitcoin and its use cases today. For some countries, their currency is just as volatile if not more volatile than bitcoin. Not only that, but it is volatile to the downside, continuing to lose value as the government steals and prints away spent time and energy. If bitcoin were to be used, sure it might be volatile, but this volatility is either short lived, or it’s to the upside. Now look at bitcoin while using it for everyday transactions through Strike, as a more technical solution. This solution is currently available now in El Salvador as a test case and is starting to roll out to more and more countries. People use the Bitcoin and Lightning rails every single day but transact in USD, choosing to either save in bitcoin or not. This solution gives the best of both worlds. One, a population has the ability to transact short term in a currency that isn't volatile, like other emerging countries. Two, this gives access to the payment rails of Bitcoin and the ability to save in the most scarce asset in existence. Looking back historically, bitcoin has grown at a 200% compound annual growth rate and this has the opportunity to conserve and grow wealth immensely. For someone in a developing world, this is life changing. As this trend of adoption in underbanked countries continues, new and exciting ways where Bitcoin is used will emerge. For the first time in history, countries have the ability to store wealth in something that cannot be stolen. It gives the opportunity to transact freely without the permission of the state or government, and it allows people to break free from imposed serfdom. Bitcoin is here and it is only getting bigger. There is a change in the tides of time, and Bitcoin is a once-in-a-millennia technology that is pulling the shores. Tyler Durden Fri, 12/03/2021 - 18:20.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeDec 3rd, 2021

We tested 9 popular bread machines — these are the 3 best ones you can buy in 2021

We tested nine machines and consulted two baking experts to determine the three best bread machines that you can buy. Prices are accurate at the time of publication.Caitlin Petreycik/Insider A bread machine is a valuable kitchen tool if you enjoy making bread at home. Most bread makers require quick prep work and take about three to four hours to make the bread. We tested nine machines, and the Zojirushi Virtuoso Plus is our top pick. While I like the concept of making bread entirely from scratch, the lag time is significant between realizing that warm carbs are what's missing in my life and actually holding a freshly-baked brioche. Many recipes involving yeast require kneading, refrigerating, or babysitting, making spur-of-the-moment bread out of the question. That is, unless, you have a bread machine. Most bread machines require about 10 minutes of prep time, which is mostly spent measuring ingredients and putting them into a pan. After that's done, you pick a setting, turn on the machine, and three or four hours later you (ideally) have a warm, golden-brown loaf. But with so many bread machines on the market, how do you choose the right one? "At a minimum, I'd want a machine with a standard cycle, a whole grain or whole wheat cycle (if you enjoy whole-grain bread) and a dough cycle, which simply mixes and kneads the dough, then keeps it warm as it rises," said P.J. Hamel, senior digital content editor for King Arthur Flour and author of the James Beard Award-winning cookbook "The King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion." "After that, you can make pizza crust, cinnamon buns, or any number of yummy treats."That's why I put each bread machine in this guide through a series of tests to see how they handled basic white bread, wheat bread with mix-ins (in this case, sunflower seeds and flax seeds), and gluten-free bread. I also assessed the ease of use, setting options, baking times, noise levels, and special features like pre-programming. You can read a more in-depth explanation of my testing methods here, and a few tips for getting the most out of your bread machine here.The 3 best bread machines of 2021Best bread machine overall: Zojirushi Virtuoso PlusBest bread machine on a budget: Oster Express BakeBest bread machine for small households: Zojirushi MaestroBest bread machine overallCaitlin Petreycik/InsiderThis bread machine kneads thoroughly, bakes evenly, and, unlike many of its competitors, turns out standard-sized loaves. Loaf size: standard Settings: 14 including Multigrain, Sourdough Starter, Whole Wheat, Rapid, and moreGluten free cycle: YesCustom bread cycles: three custom cyclesPre-programming: 13 hours in advanceCooking time: 2.5-3.5 hours depending on the type of bread being madeDimensions: 9" x 18" x 3"Pros: Produces standard-sized loaves that rise evenly and are a consistent color, a wide variety of settings, ability to customize your own settings, pre-programmable, 1-year warrantyCons: Expensive, takes up a lot of counter spaceThe Zojirushi Virtuoso Plus is my top pick for home bakers, thanks to its stellar reliability and variety of settings. After putting nine different machines through three rounds of tests (or two, for machines without gluten-free settings), I found that this was the only one to turn out perfectly domed, uniformly browned, and consistently fluffy bread with evenly distributed mix-ins every time. To check for consistency, I made two more loaves of white bread after those initial tests, and both were slam dunks. It was also one of the few bread machines to pass the gluten-free test with flying colors, producing bread that was similar in color, size, and texture to your standard white loaf. For her own experiment, the Bread Machine Diva blog's Marsha Perry — who name-checked the Virtuoso Plus when I asked her for a bread machine recommendation — made one gluten-free loaf using the "Gluten-Free" setting and another using its regular "White" setting, and said the first loaf was markedly better. The Virtuoso Plus' custom bread cycles feature is especially helpful for those who have moved beyond the machine's guidebook recipes. Interestingly, Hamel of King Arthur Flour uses her Zojirushi's "Jam" cycle to make risotto — a technique that I'm curious to try. The Virtuoso Plus can be pre-programmed (a feature that worked perfectly and allowed me to wake up to the smell of fresh bread during testing), and the machine's 5-minute power backup means you won't automatically lose your bread-in-progress if the power flickers, as Hamel noted.The Virtuoso Plus also stops kneading when you open the lid, which is useful if you want to add mix-ins to your bread. And if you need to measure those mix-ins, the machine comes with four nested measuring cups, one liquid measuring cup, and a double-ended measuring spoon — add-ons that are unnecessary, but appreciated. This machine makes two-pound 9-by-5 loaves that are, as I mentioned, about the size and shape of sandwich bread you'd find at the grocery store. Timing-wise, the white and wheat loaves of bread took about 3.5 hours to bake, while the gluten-free loaf was done in 2.5 hours. The clock displays the time your bread will be done, rather than the hours left, which I found helpful when planning my day. I've been using this model at least twice a month in the four months since my initial testing, and find that it still runs smoothly, with no discernable changes in quality of bread, reliability of programming, or noise levels. All of this being said, the Zojirushi is on the expensive side, so if you're just trying out bread-making before you fully commit to the hobby, I'd recommend our budget pick. It's also probably not the best choice if you have limited counter space, as the other machines in this guide are more compact.$310.67 FROM AMAZONOriginally $375.00 | Save 17%$359.99 FROM ABTBest bread machine on a budgetCaitlin Petreycik/InsiderThe Oster Expressbake is a solid starter machine that mixes, kneads, and bakes evenly, and with 13 settings, it's notably more versatile than competitors within its price range. Loaf size: shorter than standardSettings: 13 including French, Sweet, Dough, and moreGluten free cycle: YesCustom bread cycles: NoPre-programming: 13 hours in advance Cooking time: under one hour on Expressbake setting Dimensions: 14" x 12" x 13"Pros: produces bread with an even rise, makes three loaf sizes, affordable, compact, fast baking time, variety of settings, window, pre-programmable, 1-year warrantyCons: Somewhat noisy, loaf size isn't quite standard, slightly thicker crusts than our top pickThe Oster Express Bake's name refers to the fact that it can turn out a two-pound loaf of bread in less than an hour on its Express Bake setting (our top pick's "Rapid" cycle takes about 2.5 hours). While the results are certainly better than your standard grocery store loaf, I found that bread baked on this machine's namesake setting turned out denser and shorter than loaves made on its Basic cycle (a near-universal bread machine problem, according to experts we spoke to). But most people don't choose a bread machine based on its ability to bake two loaves of bread in the time it takes to watch an episode of "The Bachelorette," and Express Bake results aside, the Oster's white, wheat, and gluten-free loaves of bread were the best — golden brown and evenly risen with a fine crumb, a smooth, domed top, and evenly distributed mix-ins — out of the five machines in its price bracket that we tested. The only flaws that placed its loaves under the Zojirushi's in testing were their unconventional shape (shorter in length and taller in height, with bread slices whose tops stick out slightly from your average toaster) and thicker crusts.The Oster was also a bit more finicky in terms of exact measurements; when I relied on measuring cups instead of a kitchen scale, my loaves turned out flatter on top — a problem I didn't have with our top pick. And while this machine's gluten-free bread was solid, it was a bit less soft than the Zojirushi's. I also tested the Express Bake's predecessor and found that loaves baked in the original turned out slightly darker on the sides and paler on top. The brand swapped the Express Bake's Bagel Dough setting for Pasta, which isn't necessarily an improvement but does seem more practical, given the complicated process of making bagels from scratch.Like the Zojirushi Virtuoso Plus, the Oster Express Bake comes with a liquid measuring cup and a double-sided measuring spoon (but no set of nested dry measuring cups). It's less bulky than our top pick, although perhaps not ideal if kitchen space is tight (if compactness is a priority, check out the Zojirushi Maestro, below). It can be pre-programmed and will beep instantly after finishing its bread cycle before switching to the warm mode for 60 minutes, then beeping again and automatically shutting off.$68.00 FROM AMAZONOriginally $89.99 | Save 24%Best compact bread machineCaitlin Petreycik/InsiderThe Zojirushi Maestro is specifically calibrated to bake excellent one-pound loaves of bread, making it a solid choice for one or two-person households. Loaf size: Smaller than standardSettings: 14 including Whole Wheat, Salt Free, Sugar Free, Vegan and more Gluten free cycle: Yes Custom bread cycles: YesPre-programming: 13 hours in advanceCooking time: 2.5 hours or more depending on the type of bread being madeDimensions: 14" x 9" x 13"Pros: Produces an even bake, perfect for small households, variety of settings, ability to customize cycles, pre-programmable, compact, 1-year warrantyCons: Loaves are oddly-shaped, bread can be difficult to remove from panSince I'm typically baking for one or two people, most standard two-pound loaves of bread go stale before I can finish them. (In other words, I've made a lot of croutons lately.) Typically, bread machines offer 1.5-pound loaves as their smallest option, and those that do begin at one pound aren't necessarily calibrated to excel at loaves that small. When I tried making a one-pound loaf in Cuisinart's Compact Automatic Breadmaker, for example, the results were dense, with a thicker crust than I would have liked. Zojirushi's Maestro, however, is designed with small households in mind, and during my tests, it consistently turned out solid one-pound loaves that ticked every box on my bread checklist: golden-brown color, domed top, fine crumb, evenly risen, and evenly-distributed mix-ins. That being said, the Maestro's pan is aligned vertically, meaning its loaves are oddly-shaped — even cube-like – and the bread is a bit more difficult to pry from inside. I appreciate the fact that Zojirushi didn't scale down its flagship breadmaker's features just to make smaller loaves; the Maestro can be pre-programmed in advance and includes a 5-minute power backup (as mentioned in our Virtuoso review, this can really save your loaf in the event your power flickers). The Maestro's narrow dimensions make it easy to store in my tiny Brooklyn kitchen. It's also the only bread machine I tested that features a convenient top handle, making it easy to transport. Its interior top handle, however, isn't as solidly constructed; I yanked it off the first time I pulled the pan from the machine (although it popped back in easily).$255.98 FROM AMAZONOriginally $329.99 | Save 22%$339.95 FROM ABTOriginally $395.00 | Save 14%What else we testedCaitlin Petreycik/InsiderWhat else we recommend and whyBreville Custom Loaf ($299.95): This was a close second to the Zojirushi, but my first attempt at white bread came out slightly darker at the sides than on top, and the gluten-free bread wasn't quite as fluffy as our top pick's. The Breville Custom Loaf has 13 automatic settings, nine customizable settings, and two features we didn't find in any other machine: a paddle that collapses after kneading, so there's no paddle-sized hole when you pull the baked bread from the pan; and a fruit and nut dispenser that will automatically add any mix-ins at the appropriate time in the bread cycle. I'd recommend this machine for confident bakers who are interested in programming their own bread cycles to match go-to recipes.Cru X GG Bred ($169.95): A collaboration between Cru and Ghetto Gastro, a collective of chefs who use food to empower communities and advance social justice, the Bred was definitely the boldest, sleekest, and most compact out of all the machines we tested. And, with 15 settings, it was also one of the most versatile. Since the bread it produced was on par with the significantly cheaper Oster Express Bake, it didn't make the cut, but perhaps you're willing to pay a little extra for an appliance that's attractive enough to leave out on the counter.What we don't recommend and whyOster Express Bake (older model, $68): While the previous iteration of the Oster Express Bake is still available online, we found that the newer version performs better in terms of producing evenly-baked bread. And, importantly, the latest Express Bake includes a gluten-free setting – a feature commenters on retail sites had been asking for. Cuisinart Convection Breadmaker ($154.95): With 16 settings, this is one of the most versatile machines I tested. However, while my white and wheat loaves were top-notch, both of my attempts at gluten-free bread resulted in collapsed domes. Cuisinart Compact Automatic Breadmaker ($129.95): Again, my gluten-free bread didn't rise as I had hoped, and the machine's white and wheat loaves of bread weren't quite as professional-looking as those from the latest version of the Oster Express Bake. Hamilton Beach Artisan Dough and Bread Maker ($75.32): The white and wheat loafs came out slightly underbaked in the middle, while the gluten-free bread was denser compared to the ones our top three picks made.Our bread machine testing methodologyCaitlin Petreycik/InsiderBefore I began testing, I spoke to Marsha Perry, the writer behind the popular Bread Machine Diva blog, and P.J. Hamel, senior digital content editor for King Arthur Flour and author of the James Beard Award-winning cookbook "The King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion." Both have decades of experience testing and adapting bread machine recipes and providing their respective readers with bread machine tips. On their recommendation, I followed the recipes featured in each bread machine's guidebook, since they're calibrated to accommodate unique temperatures, mixing speeds, proofing techniques, and baking times. In future testing rounds, I plan to see how each machine fares using a universal bread machine recipe. I baked, at most, two loaves of bread per day in each machine, waiting several hours between baking sessions to allow the breadmakers to cool completely.Here are the criteria I looked for during each test:Bread quality: A bread machine has one job — to make good bread. I tested how each one handled basic white bread, wheat bread with mix-ins (in this case, a combination of sunflower seeds and flax seeds, to see how the machines dispersed mix-ins of different sizes), and, for the machines with a gluten-free setting, gluten-free bread. I used the same ingredients throughout testing, all of which are basic items you'd find at any grocery store.I dialed the crust setting to "Medium" on each breadmaker. White bread was baked on the "White" setting (sometimes labeled as "Basic," depending on the machine), wheat bread was baked on the "Whole Wheat" setting, and gluten-free bread was baked on the "Gluten-Free" setting.Each loaf of bread was then examined for consistency of texture, a golden color throughout, and an even rise; points were docked if the domed top fell. I cut several slices of bread from each loaf to look for air pockets and under or over-baked spots. Size: Most bread machines take up a lot of counter space, so while it wasn't a deciding factor, extra consideration was given to more compact options.Capacity: While every bread machine I tested — aside from the Zojirushi Maestro — was built with a two-pound loaf in mind (aka the size you'd find in a grocery store), I made note of the models that had the ability to bake loaves in three or four different sizes; one pound was the smallest I saw, and 2.5 pounds was the largest. Noise: Extra noisy machines were dinged, as were ones that "hopped" across the counter during the kneading cycle. The top three picks above all operated at a low hum, and were, as far as I could tell, motionless.Unique features: I noted setting options (some machines had special cycles for things like jam, yogurt, and pasta dough), especially fast baking times, and special features like pre-programming or auto-dispensers for mix-ins. Getting the most out of your bread machineCaitlin Petreycik/InsiderDon't throw out the manualMost breadmakers come with a few recipes, and they're often tucked away in the back of a guidebook. These are crucial since they're calibrated to work well with that particular machine's features and specifications. "Once you've made some of those and understand how the machine works — how much flour it can handle, how long each rise cycle and bake cycle are — you can start to adapt any of your own favorite yeast bread recipes to bake in the machine," P.J. Hamel, senior digital content editor for King Arthur Flour, said. Have fun with the dough cycleBy taking care of the mixing and kneading, it allows you to start a little closer to the finish line if you're making other yeast-based baked goods. The Bread Machine Diva's Marsha Perry recommends it for pizzas and dinner rolls.Experiment with settingsBut master the basics first. "If your machine is programmable — that is, you can program in your own mixing kneading, rising, and baking times — you're golden," Hamel said. "Your machine is then simply a mini oven, ready to bake macaroni and cheese, apple crisp, bread pudding, cheesecake — even soup, stew, or lasagna! Once you get to know your machine, and if it has that 'homemade menu' capability — it becomes so much more than a machine that bakes bread."Use good ingredients"Cheap ingredients yield a crummy (rather than crumb-y) final product. Flour and yeast quality are super-important," said Hamel. "You don't have to use bread flour in your bread machine, so long as you use flour with a protein content higher than 11.5% or so." All of my bread were made with King Arthur bread flour and gluten-free flour (both of which I purchased before reaching out to PJ) and Whole Foods 365 whole wheat flour.Invest in a kitchen scaleBread machine baking is all about precision, and measuring your ingredients by weight will clear up any confusion as to whether or not that tightly-packed cup of flour is more like a cup and a half.Bread machine FAQsIs bread from a bread machine different from oven-baked bread?Yes. In terms of appearance, most loaves made in a bread machine will have a hole in the bottom where the mixing paddle was. Taste-wise, bread machine bread is pretty universally light and fluffy. "You won't be making crusty artisan bread in your bread machine (though you can certainly make the dough for them on the machine's dough cycle)," Hamel said. "Bread machine bread may taste a bit yeasty, but beyond that, it's up to you to add flavor with spices, herbs, dried fruit, and nuts. Most bread machines won't deliver loaves with the rich, nuanced flavor of an artisan loaf, since that flavor comes from a series of long rises, some of which may be in the refrigerator. Bread machines simply don't have that capability."How long does homemade bread last? If kept at room temperature, homemade bread will be noticeably stale by day three. If you're pretty sure you're not going to finish an entire loaf in that amount of time, you can always wrap a portion tightly in plastic wrap and put it in the freezer. How do I store homemade bread? If you're storing homemade bread for a day or two, plastic or foil will help lock in moisture. Since direct sunlight can cause bread to overheat, it's best stored in a cool, dry place like a bread box or cupboard. Any tips for keeping homemade bread fresh?There is one slicing technique that can help extend the life of your bread. As Hamel wrote on the King Arthur blog, "If you start slicing at one end, you'll always be dealing with an open-end 'leaking' moisture. But if you slice the loaf in half down the middle, cut a slice from one of the halves, then press the two halves back together before wrapping, no open surface will be exposed — which means less chance of moisture evaporating."Check out our other great guides for home cooksLauren Savoie/InsiderThe best KitchenAid stand mixersThe best KitchenAid attachmentsThe best food processorsThe best espresso machinesRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytNov 19th, 2021

The 7 best rice cookers we tested in 2021

If you eat rice often, a rice cooker is an invaluable tool, since cooking rice on the stove can be finicky. Here are the best rice cookers of 2021. Su-Jit Lin/InsiderTable of Contents: Masthead Sticky I researched 30 and tested 15 rice cookers to find the seven best. A lesser-known product by Yum Asia delivered flawless results across all four tests, besting well-loved brands. Read more about how the Insider Reviews team tests kitchen products.  If you've ever tasted "plain" rice and thought it was boring, I have a revelation for you: it may not be the rice. It might just be how you cooked it. Rice a staple food for countless cultures around the world, and not for nothing. It's inexpensive, filling, nutritious, and rich with subtle nuances, layers of flavor, and lovely distinctive fragrances — when prepared properly. And for that, you need a good rice cooker.Growing up in a Chinese-American family, rinsing rice for the family cooker was probably the first kitchen task I was ever given, even before I ever stirred cake batter. And having been raised in my parents' Chinese restaurant, where commercial rice cookers were an integral part of the business, it's no surprise I grew up sensitive to what constitutes good, acceptable, and bad rice. The princess and the pilaf, essentially; a pickiness I've leveraged as a food writer, product reviewer, and author of several rice cooker references and guides.However, none I've written have been as comprehensive as this one right here, for which I researched 30 rice cookers, home-tested a whopping 15, and distilled it down to the seven best based on grain type, preparation, and other factors important to both Eastern and Western rice aficionados.Here are the best rice cookers you can buy in 2021Best rice cooker overall: Yum Asia Panda 3.5-Cup Mini Rice CookerBest budget rice cooker: Aroma ARC-1126SBL 20-Cup SmartCarb MulticookerBest mini rice cooker: Black + Decker 3-Cup Rice CookerBest large capacity rice cooker: Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy Rice CookerBest rice cooker for long-grain rice: Zojirushi UMAMI Micom Rice Cooker & Warmer NL-GAC10Best rice cooker for brown rice: Cuckoo CR-0632F 6-Cup Multifunctional Micom Rice CookerBest rice cooker for porridge: Aroma MTC-8008 Professional 8-Cup ChampagneBest rice cooker overallSu-Jit Lin/InsiderThe Panda 3.5-Cup Mini Rice Cooker from lesser-known brand Yum Asia blew me away with flawless rice through every test.Rice capacity (uncooked): 3.5 cupsRice capacity (cooked): about 7 cupsFuzzy Logic: YesPros: Detachable power cord, clear easy-view display, straightforward operation, sleek design, compact footprint, precision settings, 24-hour keep warm setting, included extra accessoriesCons: Top doesn't detach for cleaning, strong spring-back in the lid, inner pot markings are not high-contrast, only one set of water lines, quick rice setting is only for white riceThere's so much to love about this unassuming little powerhouse, it's hard to know where to start. Right out of the box, its tidy design and thoughtful details — like an included steamer basket and ladle; a handle on the measuring cup; and glossy magazine-style guide — earned immediate points. A detachable cord for neat self-storage, built-in carrying handle, minimal but easy-to-understand display, built-in spatula holder, and well-considered cook settings made it clear that functionality was a focus. The fact that it had different programs for long- or short-grain rice as well as brown rice, porridge, quick and slow cooking, steam, and even cake functions spoke to precision, which it delivered during my testing.  It cooked all four rice types perfectly — a remarkable feat. Every grain was well defined and evenly cooked all the way through. Every batch was moist but not wet; gemmy but not dry; sweet and aromatic. The only test in which the rice lost structure was as a porridge, which is to be expected, as you trade texture for extruded flavor. I loved that the countdown timer for the Keep Warm setting began right away by the minute, while most others only track time by the hour. The Keep Warm setting was gentle and the rice resisted developing any hard crustiness. Even better, as a small- to medium-capacity cooker, it's quick about its job, taking around half an hour for white rice, just under an hour for brown, and an hour and a half for porridge.Best budget rice cookerSu-Jit Lin/InsiderDespite being an older model (and one I've used for years), the Aroma SmartCarb Multicooker outperformed more expensive models in texture and taste.Rice capacity (uncooked): 10 cupsRice capacity (cooked): 20 cupsFuzzy Logic: NoPros: SmartCarb feature, large capacity, many included accessories, sauté-then-simmer capability, Keep Warm countdown begins immediately, eight one-touch programs, available in smaller 12-cup sizeCons: Non-removable lid is hard to clean, components like steamer vent and condensation catcher tend to pop off, condensation catcher eventually leaks, inner pot prone to scratching and denting, stainless steel SmartCarb basket is not nonstick, big for smaller householdsThis jack-of-all-trades multicooker has certainly mastered one: chewy, toothsome rice that retains its fragrance and flavor. It boasts a variety of other capabilities, including the Aroma brand's trademarked sauté-then-simmer technology and its headlining SmartCarb ability, which elevates the rice above the cooking water after boiling, preventing the starchy water from being reabsorbed and therefore cutting the carbohydrate content. (This feature sounds too good to be true, and unfortunately, it is. The rice texture ends up being too soft and grains blown out on this setting.)This model earned its ranking as the best budget workhorse for the quality and taste of its regularly cooked rice, a task at which it aces. This is even more notable as it's a more old-fashioned cooker, a "dumb" one despite having "smart" in the name. Unlike the other advanced cookers ruling this list, it's not a micom (microcomputerized) appliance. By relying on sensors that trigger "done" via the sudden temperature spike as the last of the water evaporates, rice (especially brown rice) comes out on just the right side of al dente. On the other hand, the fluctuations of the Fuzzy Logic micom cookers, which dynamically adjust the temperature as the rice cooks, actually have a tendency to overcook brown rice.White rice is ready to eat as soon as you crack open the lid, sweet and steam-cooked rather than boiled. And if you want to wait a bit, its 12-hour Keep Warm function does its job well for about three hours before the steam catcher traps more moisture than it returns to the rice.Best mini rice cookerSu-Jit Lin/InsiderIf you just need a cheap monotasker for one or two people, this bargain buy from Black + Decker is just right.Rice capacity (uncooked): 1.5 cupsRice capacity (cooked): 3 cupsFuzzy Logic: NoPros: Really inexpensive, detachable clip-on lid, just the basics, cooks quicklyCons: Looks flimsy, design creates boil-over and burn risk, hard to read water markings, outer body gets very hot, rice hardens quickly and is hard to scoop out, no Keep Warm timer, no display at all, no audible notificationsBeating out much pricier and much more advanced mini models, this child's toy-looking, basic one-setting, one-button, entry-level rice cooker resulted in surprisingly acceptable rice. The quality of its results came nowhere near any of the others on this list, but for a household of one that's short on storage space and long on thrift, this utilitarian mono-tasker does its job cheerfully and quickly. It relies on an old-fashioned temperature trip sensor to determine when the rice is done; the only audio cue you'll get is the flip of the switch as it changes from Cooking to Keep Warm settings. Like with other "dumb" rice cooker models, it's important to be patient and give the rice at least 15 minutes of resting time before it really is ready. If you try to eat the rice right away, you'll find it still quite wet and undercooked. Give it that rest, though, and your patience will be rewarded with sweet, chewy medium-grain rice that offers that lovely semi-translucent, gemmy look. We had less successful results with other types of rice: long-grain rice got soft but at least avoided mushiness; and brown rice was flavorful but on the under-done side. Its minuscule size also comes with natural cons. It accommodates only a mere 1.5-cup maximum of raw rice, which doesn't give you a whole lot of room to maneuver, especially while rinsing the rice since the inner pot was roughly the size of my (small) fist. There are also a few burn risks in the design: the lightweight inner pot makes it unstable, forcing you to grip it when scooping out rice, and the vent in the lid concentrates the steam in a sharp plume. However, I did appreciate the clip-on feature of the detachable lid, and the fun of being able to monitor the status of the rice visually through the glass top. Its ease of cleaning and the end taste of the rice is how it won over other small options.Best large capacity rice cookerSu-Jit Lin/InsiderThe gold standard of rice cookers, the legendary Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy is now available in double its original capacity.Rice capacity (uncooked): 10 cupsRice capacity (cooked): 20 cupsFuzzy Logic: YesPros: Precision settings for nearly every type of rice, detachable inner lid and rounded nonstick inner pot for easy cleaning, well-marked guidelines, choice of textures for customizable riceCons: Looks dated with its huge buttons, so many choices can feel overwhelming for inexperienced users, brown rice cooks too soft Though we tested the 5.5 cup version, the larger 10 cup model of this classic cooker is identical in everything but size, with thoughtful design and usability details that make it incredibly intuitive.The retractable cord, for instance, is such a simple but brilliant solution, as is the dual-sided rice paddle holder, soft-open lid, and easy-grip handles on the sides of the inner pot. In fact, I could devote an entire paragraph to this inner pot, which has a rounded bottom that makes rinsing the grains, scooping the cooked rice, and cleaning up a breeze. The pot also features high-contrast water markings for different types of rice to ensure precision.Most importantly, though, is how good the rice comes out and how it maintains that level of quality for hours after the rice is done. Rice porridge emerged glistening in a thick, pleasantly tacky suspension, soft but retaining a hint of a bite. Medium-grain rice comes out absolutely beautifully — chewy, polished, pearly, fully formed, uniformly cooked, and with a lovely enhanced sweetness few other cookers could match. The long-grain rice was fragrant, fully distinct, evenly cooked, but fluffy with unmatched airiness.In both white rice tests, the rice was better after 24 hours on Keep Warm than fresh-cooked rice from some of the other cookers, with minimal deterioration and no clumping or crust. The brown rice setting was its only underperformer due to the program's long cook time, which made the rice soft and blown out.Best rice cooker for long-grain riceSu-Jit Lin/InsiderThe Zojirushi UMAMI Micom Rice Cooker & Warmer NL-GAC10 is a stylish cooker and a bit of a splurge, but you assuredly get what you pay for, especially if you primarily cook long-grain rice.Rice capacity (uncooked): 5.5 cupsRice capacity (cooked): 11 cupsFuzzy Logic: YesPros: Sleek design, easy to read display, easy to use, clearly marked water lines for nearly all programs, hyper-specific settings, compact footprint, removable inner lid, extended Keep Warm, sturdy handle, detachable cord, included steamer basket, ambidextrous spatula holderCons: Keep Warm countdown doesn't start right away, so many choices can feel overwhelming for inexperienced users, brown rice cooks too soft This microcomputerized (micom) cooker has incredibly precise and detailed cooking settings. I appreciated the jasmine rice setting, a nod to the delicate structure of this long-grain cultivar. The batch I made on this setting was perfect from the get-go, with distinct, intact grains that were chewy and only got sweeter with time on the Keep Warm setting. The batch even held strong for over 66 hours without any significant degradation. It also performed remarkably with medium grains, too. They came out flawless: chewy, gem-like, moist, airy, and with no soggy or wet spots, retaining their character for 14 hours. The UMAMI setting that gives this model its name extends soaking and steaming to coax out more sweetness and subtleties in the rice. However, I do not advise using it on brown rice. The extended cook made it soft, wet, and blown out.Best rice cooker for brown riceSu-Jit Lin/InsiderSmart rice cookers tend to overthink and therefore overcook brown rice, but the Cuckoo CR-0632F 6-Cup Multifunctional Micom Rice Cooker nailed the cook on this tough grain.Rice capacity (uncooked): 6 cupsRice capacity (cooked): 12 cupsFuzzy Logic: YesPros: Keep Warm timer starts immediately, My Mode features for personalized flavor and textures, attractive coffee-colored inner pot, longer power cord, built-in spatula holder, cleans easilyCons: Overcooks white rice, significant bounce-back in lid operation, water line markings are hard to read, no handle, condensation catcher can leakWith all this talk of soaking brown rice, you'd think that the cookers who do it longest would make the best. I did. But after extensive testing, I found that extended soaking broke down the bran a bit too much, resulting in a mushier bite rather than the firm, gemmy one that comes with perfect rice. Plus, you lose the popcorn element that's so distinctive to brown rice — one of the greatest pleasures of it.  With this cooker, though, a propensity for cooking softer, mushier white rice benefited its brown rice execution. Although there's a hint of hot-heat scorch to the rice if you eat it as soon as it's done, it mellows after a few minutes of resting to a pleasant toasted nutty richness. This cooker blooms the grains visibly, but stops short of any blow-out. It breaks down the bran just enough to make it more easily digestible without compromising the chew. Every bite of brown rice from this cooker showcased the best qualities of this type of rice. Grains remained fully distinct, avoiding any kind of clumping, crusting, or wetness for a shocking 50 hours on Keep Warm. Plus, it also has a setting for GABA rice, a sprouted variety of brown rice with purported nutritional benefits. Get this cooker if brown rice is your primary pick, and just use less water than marked on the occasions you make white rice.Best rice cooker for porridgeSu-Jit Lin/InsiderIf you're partial to a thick, pureed porridge with country-style lumps, the low and slow cook of the Aroma MTC-8008 Professional 8-Cup Champagne model will give you what you want. Rice capacity (uncooked): 8 cupsRice capacity (cooked): 16 cupsFuzzy Logic: YesPros: Elegant design, thick inner pot, reheat feature, cake and soup features, turbo convection, detachable inner lid, many accessories, high-contrast markings, two-year warrantyCons: Drips and holds onto a lot of condensation, lid rebounds heavily, rice dries out faster than most on Keep Warm settingIn this cooker, soft lumps of broken down rice grains settle at the bottom and reattach to one another if undisturbed, providing pleasant glutinous bites reminiscent of underdeveloped mochi. Working this bottom layer back results in a creamy finished product in a luxuriously thick liquid suspension, which formed as the starches were gradually extruded into the rice water. While the grains broke down significantly, the nuances of the high-quality short-grain rice used weren't lost. All of the flavor elements become concentrated into what became not a mush, but a smooth slurry.  Porridge is best slightly cooled, in my opinion, getting sweeter and more textured, and the near suctioning power of the condensation and steam catcher of this cooker keeps it from getting watered down. Unfortunately, this characteristic is what caused it to perform very poorly in keeping other rice types warm. It catches and holds onto a lot of moisture, which gathers annoyingly in the inner lid and pours into the channel around the inner pot. This is likely why all of the batches of solid rice cooked very wet and patchily, and needed to be tossed after cooking to better distribute the remaining water. Its turbo convection power is supposed to help it cook more evenly, but we didn't find that to be the case. However, the rice is decent and this is the best pick if you prioritize porridge or congee.What else we testedSu-Jit Lin/InsiderWe tested more than a dozen rice cookers, and while many were able to do an adequate job, there were inherent design or performance flaws that made them less recommended. What else we recommend and why:GreenLife Go Grains Rice Cooker ($49.99): It's hard not to like a cooker this cartoon-cute, plus it's one of the only tiny rice cookers featuring micom Fuzzy Logic. Unfortunately, it consistently cooked every type of rice too dry and condensation puddled up around the rim, which made for a bothersome cleanup. It was a close call between this and the Black & Decker for best small capacity rice cooker, but ultimately, the cleanup decided it. Instant Pot Zest 8-Cup Rice Cooker ($39.00): Powered by a cult-favorite brand but using the traditional boil-and-steam method as opposed to pressure, this multicooker seemed initially promising. It yielded wet rice, which is a quirk folks can learn to work with by customizing their water fill, but the nuances of sweetness were lost in a flat boiled taste. However, it's a great size and a budget buy for entry-level cookers.What we don't recommend and why:Tiger JAX-S18U-WY 10-Cup Micom Rice Cooker & Warmer ($139.95): White rice cooked in this oversized model quickly degraded in structure. Obvious hot spots made results even more inconsistent. Minor inconveniences such as a freestanding rice spatula holder that created clutter and a fixed inner lid showed inadequate attention to detail. Hamilton Beach Advanced Multi-Function Fuzzy Logic 37570 ($109.99): Unlike the others, this micom rice cooker had a great visual chart that allowed you to track the progress of your rice. A shame, then, that the machine had the most uneven, haphazard cook of all of the products tested, yielding a soggy lower layer, dry and crusty top layer, and mushy grains in the center of the bowl. JINGTIEDA Small Rice Cooker Portable ($79.99): A tidy design with more digital features than most cookers of similar size, this rice cooker performed acceptably with long-grain rice but undercooked medium-grain rice. Its biggest flaw was a Keep Warm setting that made the rice hard, dehydrated, and inedible in mere hours. COMFEE Asian Style Programmable Multi-Cooker ($57.09): There was no getting away from having to constantly stir and manipulate the rice in this cooker; it cooked to various textures in layers, making for incredibly inconsistent batches. The bottom was always soggy and the top too dry, while the opposite was true for brown rice, which scalded. Our rice cooker testing methodologySu-Jit Lin/InsiderOver the course of over a month, I tested 13 rice cookers and evaluated them using the criteria:Cooking riceRegardless of the type of rice or preparation, I tested one measure above the minimum. For example, if the lowest marker was for 1 cup of raw rice, I tested with 2 cups; if it was for 2 cups, I tested with 3. I chose these measurements since cooking the minimum would increase the likelihood of a dry batch and maxing out the capacity would result in a wetter one.White rice: I used each rice cooker to prepare medium-grain Nishiki white rice to test liquid penetration and Thai jasmine rice to test flavor and structural preservation. Every batch was hand-rinsed five times and none were soaked prior to cooking. Brown rice: Rice cookers that performed well at white rice advanced to a final round where I tested mixed grain brown rice, a blend of brown medium-grain and brown jasmine, using the default brown rice setting.Porridge: For the rice cookers that offered this specific setting, I tested authentic Koshihikari short-grain rice for porridge/congee.Cook timeAlthough some rice cookers were equipped with Quick Rice functions, I ignored these in favor of the traditional preparation time to keep the test results fair. The faster the rice cooker could do its job on a standard setting without compromising the structure of the grains, the better.Keep Warm functionI taste-tested each batch of rice immediately after cooking, 30 minutes after cooking, then longer intervals of hours — up to 66 hours after cycle completion — to investigate how well the cooker protected the rice against crusting, yellowing, or hardening.DesignIn this all-encompassing criterion, I took note of everything from overall aesthetic to user experience, including controls, ease of use and cleaning, and overall look and feel. Functional necessities such as a carrying handle, delay timer, rice spatula holder, and bonus accessory materials were also major plusses.What to consider when buying a rice cookerSu-Jit Lin/InsiderAll rice cookers will cook rice, plain and simple. But the best rice cookers will have certain default features that will extract the most out of every grain. Here's what to look for in a rice cooker:Lid: Airtight, sealed tops help the aroma of fragrant rice types like jasmine and basmati bloom, as well as prevent rice from drying out on the Keep Warm setting.Smart functions: Micom, or microcomputerized rice cookers, are best for those who don't limit their pantries to just one type or preparation of rice. These smart rice cookers have different settings for each type of rice, so that you get consistent results each time. All Fuzzy Logic-marked rice cookers are equipped with this technology.Features: In an advanced rice cooker, audible indicators and digital countdowns make cooking even more effortless. Removable inner lids are also a great feature for easy cleaning. A spatula holder minimizes mess, and easy-to-grip handles simplify clean up even further. Finally, high contrast, water line markers will save a lot of frustration and help to guarantee success. Extras: Some rice cookers only come with a rice cup and paddle. Others include steamer baskets, ladles, spatula holders, scrapers, and other extras. If you're planning to use your rice cooker as an all-in-one cooking device, you may want to look for a model that contains extras.Capacity: A mere half rice cup of raw rice, three ounces, is considered one serving, with a yield of a full cup of cooked rice. A tiny, single-serving rice cooker might be fine if you're cooking for just one, but if you're cooking for a family, you'll want a rice cooker that makes at least 5 cooked cups of rice.Rice cooker safety tipsRice cookers are immensely easy to operate and even safer than cooking rice on a stovetop. That said, as with all small electronic appliances, you'll want to play it safe with some basic guidelines:"Dishwasher safe" typically only applies to the inner pot and accessory items. Never, ever immerse the outer electronic casing of the cooker in water.When grabbing the lid or standing near an active rice cooker, never put your hand or face over the steam vent. The concentrated direct blast can cause real injury.Remember that the inner pot is meant to retain heat. When you're done cooking, give it time to cool down before you handle it, and approach it with hand protection to avoid burn risk.If the cooker doesn't come with a spatula holder, it might be tempting to leave the rice paddle in with the rice. Don't. Rce paddles and accessories are often made of plastic, which can melt or leach plastics with extended and direct contact with heat.Because rice cookers work with so much moisture, it's important to keep them clean to avoid mold and bacterial breeding. Clean out the steam vent and condensation catchers after every use or prepare to be grossed out in the not very distant future. Wash out the inner pot right away and let it fully dry before storing it back in the cooker. And while that's airing out, leave the lid open to let any trapped or pooled moisture evaporate. Guaranteed that even if you wipe the moats, there will be some droplets hiding in the seams and linings you'll want to provide a chance to dissipate.Rice cooker FAQsSu-Jit Lin/InsiderIs a rice cooker worth it? What are its benefits?According to millions of Asians around the world: yes. It's more of a necessity to most Asian households than even a blender or toaster oven, saving significant time, labor, and babysitting over what for many families is a daily chore.It also saves even more time with cleanup, since the nonstick interiors take scrubbing out of the equation, and scorching, too. And while its name might hint at uni-tasking, digital rice cookers take on many uses with aplomb. Even the most basic ones can boil and steam simultaneously. With the more advanced, you can cook yogurt, oatmeal, stew, baby food, and even cake.What is the benefit of using a rice cooker instead of my stove?Rice is extremely absorbent and therefore sensitive to even minuscule variation in water-to-grain proportions, plus sticky to boot, so making rice on a stovetop can be tricky and requires more hands-on work. A rice cooker fully automates the process, so you can just add rice and water, press the cook button, and come back whenever you like to perfectly cooked rice.Can a rice cooker be used as a slow cooker?If it has a slow cooker function, absolutely! Just mind that because those models tend to be airtight; the lining might hold onto the flavor of what you're making, so be sure to clean and air it out thoroughly. We don't recommend attempting to slow cook in a rice cooker without a slow cooker function, however. Can I use a regular measuring cup?It's not recommended. Measuring cups that come with rice cookers are usually 2 ounces less than a standard one cup measure, and typically sized to match the markings on the inner pot of the rice cooker.Incremental measurements can make a noticeable difference when it comes to cooking rice, and if you use a conventional cup measure, the ratios will be off and affect the success of your end result. Hold onto the one that comes with your cooker, and just store it in the inner pot with its accessories to keep it on hand. But if you do happen to misplace it, a standard ¾-cup measure should do the trick with comparable results.How long can I keep rice in a rice cooker?Generally, rice is best consumed 15-45 minutes after cooking. However, that eating window may not work for everyone (or you might have extra you want to save and keep ready for the next meal). Most rice cookers — even the most elementary one-button ones — come equipped with a Keep Warm function that keeps your rice at a food safe temperature for hours after cooking.Ideally, cooked rice should be kept at 140 degrees Fahrenheit or higher on the Keep Warm setting. Different models can maintain that temperature for different amounts of time. The best rule of thumb is to use a thermometer to confirm that the rice is, in fact, being held above 140 degrees.However, keep in mind that the higher the temperature, the higher the risk of dry-out. Many hours spent on Keep Warm causes flavors to dissipate, too. Most manufacturers report 12 hours as the maximum rice should be kept in a rice cooker on the Keep Warm setting.What is the best way to store cooked rice?Allow it to cool and store in an airtight container, then consume it within six days; the extended shelf life if it's stored properly.To buy more time, you can also freeze it, but make sure you cool, package, and freeze it within an hour after cooking to avoid bacterial growth. Bacteria can live through the freezing process, living in suspension only to multiply once you heat back up, picking up right where it left off.What is the best way to reheat cooked rice?When reheating, reconstitute the grains with a sprinkle of water, then cover and microwave. One serving in a bowl will take as little as 35 seconds this way. For bigger batches, some advanced rice cookers have a "reheat" function (many of our top picks do). If not, you can also choose to steam the rice. Can I make rice in an Instant Pot or multicooker?If your household eats rice regularly, it's worthwhile to invest in a dedicated rice cooker that will last you for years. However, rice cookers can be quite expensive and may not be the best option if you only cook or eat rice occasionally. Multicookers like the Instant Pot can be a good alternative if you want a foolproof way to make rice once in a while. They provide excellent value and help maximize storage space by doing the job of more than one small appliance. Most usually have at least one setting for rice and can produce acceptable results.What is Fuzzy Logic?Fuzzy Logic-equipped rice cookers are microcomputerized (micom, for short) rice cookers that have smart settings that allow them to make micro-adjustments dynamically to the temperature and humidity during the cooking process. The most basic rice cookers rely on a one-button switch to cook and will automatically flip via spring mechanism to Keep Warm once the inner plate detects that all water has been absorbed into the rice grains. Fuzzy Logic, on the other hand, allows for more flexibility so that you can set preferences and programs for specific textures and functions. For example, jasmine rice cooks differently than medium-grain rice, which cooks differently than porridge. Fuzzy Logic allows for this variability.These presets are not perfect for all types of rice and preferences (see our note on brown rice in our best budget recommendation), but they're ideally suited for folks who like to change up their grains.Check out our other comprehensive kitchen appliance guidesJames Brains/InsiderThe best Instant Pot and electric pressure cookersThe best toaster ovensThe best air fryersThe best vacuum sealersThe best food processorsThe best ice cream makersThe best Crock-Pot slow cookersRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 18th, 2021

62 thoughtful gifts for him available on Amazon, from a modern turntable to a top-notch espresso machine

Regardless of your budget or his interests, there are plenty of cool and useful gifts for him on Amazon. We found options he'll actually want. Whether it's your dad or partner, you don't have to look further than Amazon for gifts for him. Amazon has pretty much everything he could need, from a turntable to a rotating pizza oven. Still looking for a gift? Check out our list of the All-Time Best products we've ever tested. When trying to find thoughtful gifts for the men on your shopping list, Amazon is a great place to start. The retail giant is sure to have a gift he'll appreciate with product categories as diverse as home, kitchen, tech, clothing, grooming, and more. Plus, if you have a Prime membership you can take advantage of perks like fast shipping.And don't be fooled into thinking you can't find unique gifts here. In fact, Amazon even has a whole handmade gifts section you can shop for an extra personal touch.From cool new video games to premium espresso machines, we've rounded up 62 of the best gifts for the guys in your life - all available on Amazon. That said, we've also included links to additional retailers for some items to give you extra options.Here are 62 gifts for him that you can find on Amazon: A DIY kit for homemade hot sauce Amazon Men who are always reaching for a bottle of hot sauce will love this DIY kit that allows them to create a custom sauce at home. Whether he wants to keep it more mild with ancho pasilla peppers or turn the heat all the way up with a ghost pepper, this fun and spicy project lets him experiment with ingredients. A turntable for his record collection Amazon For men with a collection of vinyl records, the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon EVO ($599) is a top-notch turntable that provides a high-quality audio experience. With a carbon fiber tonearm and carefully designed damping techniques, this player is a great gift for any audiophile. Keep in mind, though, that it doesn't include a built-in preamp.For $250, the  entry-level Fluance RT81 turntable is a more affordable option with an integrated preamp for men who might be just entering the world of vinyl. It's easy to use and still produces good audio. A cool video game on the Nintendo Switch Amazon "Metroid Dread," the newest entry in the classic "Metroid" franchise, is a wildly entertaining game with beautiful visuals that will delight any Nintendo Switch owner. Even if he has not played previous installments in the series, "Metroid Dread" is an accessible entry into the dangerous world of Samus Aran. A chef's knife that's super sharp Amazon Make him feel like a head chef in the kitchen with this 8-inch knife from Japan. The razor-sharp blade is made from stainless steel, and the dimples on the handle provide a comfortable gripping surface. With efficient slicing methods, this knife can help save time when he's making your favorite recipes. A hardcover version of the sci-fi novel 'Dune' Amazon This hardcover edition of the "Dune" novel is a fantastic gift for men who loved the recent movie adaptation, but have not yet read the epic book by Frank Herbert. A virtual cultural experience Amazon With Amazon Explore, he can learn to make Mexican tacos and tortillas with a professional chef or tour the historic city of Naples, Italy, all from the comfort of his own home. You can gift credit to buy live virtual experiences that range from a variety of interactive tours to one-on-on classes. Read our full review of Amazon Explore here.  An earthy-smelling soap scrub Amazon Smooth, clean skin is just a scrub away thanks to this men's exfoliating body soap. It's formulated with passionflower fruit, green tea, and willow bark extracts designed to nourish skin. This bath soap is lightly scented with a blend of oud wood, smoked birch, cardamom, and vanilla, to give him an earthy scent. A Bluetooth key tracker Amazon From keys to bags, the Tile Mate all-purpose finder is helpful for locating a variety of lost items. When outside of Bluetooth range, he can use the Tile app to ring his Tile Mate when it's within 200 feet. He can also use it to find his phone, even when it's on silent. You can learn more about the Tile Mate and how it compares to the AirTag from Apple, here.  An ergonomic chair for the gamer Amazon His back will thank you for this super comfortable, padded gaming chair. There are adjustable support features like the two-directional, adjustable armrests and removable headrest pillow. This chair clearly does more than look the part, which is why we've named it the best budget option in our guide to the best gaming chairs.Gaming Chair (button) A duffel bag for the traveler Amazon For the man in your life who's always jetting out, this duffel bag makes for a useful gift for him. It's functional, but also fashionable, so you know he'll be traveling in style to his next destination.Novel Duffel Bag (button) A rotating oven for the pizza lover Amazon A pizza oven can often take up a lot of space and money, but it doesn't have to. This one from Presto is more affordable, but also more convenient. You can keep it indoors and store it easily. Plus, it has custom heat settings and a built-in timer, so it's not hard to see why we've included it in our guide to the best pizza ovens.Pizzazz Plus Rotating Oven (button) A backpack cooler for on-the-go refreshments Amazon Whether he loves to spend time outdoors, lounging at the beach, or you're hoping to go on more picnics with him, this backpack cooler is an easy way to carry food and drink and keep it cold. It even features a leak-proof liner. A personalized belt Amazon Give him a gift he can wear daily with a classic leather belt. This handmade option comes in brown or black and you can opt to have his initials embossed for a truly personal touch. A mini massage gun for sore muscles Amazon Give his sore and tired muscles a nice massage with this lightweight and mini massage gun. It's about the same size as a standard smartphone, so he can even throw it in a bag and easily take it to the gym, on trips, or to the office.  The 'Goldilocks' pillow he'll love sleeping on Casper The support and fluffiness level of this pillow is just right for many sleepers. It owes this perfect balance to a two-layer construction and cotton percale weave casing.  A luxurious men's bathrobe Amazon Who doesn't love lounging in a luxurious and cozy robe? Give him the gift of comfy morning and weekend time with this plush option. A cast-iron skillet holder Amazon/Business Insider This convenient skillet holder will allow for efficient cast-iron cooking without facing burns from the heat. It protects against up to 450 degrees, and it's available in six fun colors. Smooth and soft luxury sheets Amazon It's no secret that we love Brooklinen sheets. Treat him to the luxury of silky and satin-like sateen sheets for a gift he'll appreciate each and every night.Read our full review of Brooklinen sheets here. Amazon's smart speaker Amazon With improved sound quality and a sleek redesign, the fourth generation of the Echo speaker will allow him to easily listen to his favorite music and podcasts at home. Beyond taking song requests, the Echo can tell him the weather and news of the day, help him turn on smart home devices, and more.  A Monopoly board for the rule breaker Amazon Take game night to the next level and indulge his inner rule-breaker with this Monopoly game specifically designed for cheating. There are tons of Monopoly editions out there, but this one might be the most fun for those with a competitive streak. A cult-favorite, acne-banishing solution Amazon/Business Insider Just dab a bit of this lotion on a blemish to dry it out and reduce its appearance overnight.Read our full review of the Mario Badescu Drying Lotion here.  A high-tech electric toothbrush Amazon Oral-B is known for making some of the best electric toothbrushes you can buy. This particular model has a smart pressure sensor that lights up when he brushes too hard. It can also connect to an app to give him other feedback on his brushing habits. A professional-quality teeth whitening kit Amazon He might look a little silly with this appliance in his mouth, but the ultimate result is a brighter, whiter smile. The portable, mess-free process involves a fast-absorbing, minty brightening formula and LED light.  A stretchy, lightweight shirt Amazon Mizzen + Main shirts are known for their comfortable design. The henley is durable yet breathable so it'll keep up with his busy, active day. Comfy joggers Amazon/Business Insider It's vacation every day in these relaxed lounge pants. The joggers from Amazon Essentials come in a variety of colors like olive, charcoal, and navy. A small and super effective soap bar Amazon We swear by this fresh and non-toxic soap bar to take out all the stubborn stains on our clothing. A minimalist watch MVMT In addition to timeless automatic watches, MVMT makes minimalist chronograph watches that match seamlessly with his style. It's not made for intense outdoor use, but it is waterproof up to 50 meters.  A well-designed leather wallet Amazon We love Bellroy's thoughtful approach to wallet design, which is why the Slim Sleeve has remained our favorite slim men's wallet for years. It manages to fit up to 12 cards, with two quick-access slots for his most-used cards and a pull-out section for the rest, while remaining surprisingly compact.  A suspension trainer kit Amazon The system includes everything he needs to train and challenge his body from the comfort of his home, including a free 30-day trial with the TRX app to discover smart and efficient workouts.  A foam roller used by physical therapists and trainers Amazon Foam rolling can change the way his body reacts to workouts. It keeps his muscles loose and speeds up recovery times.  A soft, cloud-like comforter Buffy The fluffy comforter is covered by a soft, cooling eucalyptus fiber that always feels silky smooth against his skin. Read our full review of the Buffy Cloud Comforter here. An organizer to keep his bedtime essentials close at hand Amazon Whether he chooses to wind down at night with a book or TV show, this handy organizer can store those nighttime ritual accessories.  A quiet robot vacuum cleaner Amazon Weekend chore days just got a lot easier thanks to eufy's popular robot vacuum cleaner. At less than three inches tall, it can squeeze into those hard-to-reach nooks and crannies to clean up dust and debris. His very own espresso machine Amazon Breville's machine makes delicious espresso and bundles in important accessories so he doesn't need to spend additional money on his coffee habit.  The multi-cooker everyone knows and loves Amazon The Instant Pot is efficient, versatile, and convenient, featuring seven different cooking functions that can help him make anything from a hearty stew to a sweet dessert.Read our full review of the Instant Pot here. A cookbook that gives him recipe inspiration Amazon/Business Insider The recipes are specifically designed for use with the Instant Pot, which means he can avoid any guesswork and uncertainty. A kit to clean his dirty phone screens Amazon/Business Insider The kit isn't the most brag-worthy gift in the list, but it might be the most practical. The alcohol- and ammonia-free formula cleans and polishes his screens with startling effectiveness.  Apple's newest AirPods Apple Give him the latest iteration of Apple's iconic AirPods that have shorter stems and longer battery life. The AirPods (3rd Gen) pair seamlessly with iPhones and come with a MagSafe charger. If he's inside the Apple ecosystem, he'll love a fresh pair of AirPods. A compact battery pack Amazon/Business Insider Don't let him leave the house without a portable charger like this 10,000 mAH pack. It's especially useful for traveling, giving him the peace of mind that he won't lose his phone capabilities when he needs them most.  A long and durable Lightning charging cable Amazon/Business Insider Anker says this Lightning cable is built with durability in mind thanks to its premium braided nylon fiber. And since it's extra-long, he can charge his device far away from the outlet.  A memoir from the bassist of the Red Hot Chili Peppers Amazon/Business Insider In this book, Flea recounts the tumultuous, hilarious, and inspiring experiences that ultimately brought him to start the Red Hot Chili Peppers. A personal water filter Amazon/Business Insider No outdoors trip or travel adventure should take place without a LifeStraw on hand. The light and compact device removes more than 99.9% of waterborne bacteria and parasites. A soft flannel Amazon You can't go wrong with a classic cotton flannel. Legendary Whitetails style comes in 28 attractive color options. A pack of comfortable boxer briefs Amazon Though they don't come cheap, Tommy John's underwear consistently ranks among the best we've ever tried. The Second Skin fabric in particular — a blend of smooth micro modal and spandex — is a standout that's always breathable and never pills.  A pair of stylish boots Amazon It's boot season and this handsome leather boot will be the star of his shoe lineup. The cork footbed and EVA comfort strip offer unparalleled, all-day comfort.  A 3-month membership to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate Hopix Art/Shutterstock The perfect gift for Xbox enthusiasts, a Game Pass Ultimate subscription includes Xbox Live Gold which allows him to connect with friends for online gaming sessions. In addition to unlocking multiplayer gaming, a 3-month membership to Game Pass Ultimate allows him to discover new games to play with the extensive library of titles available with his subscription. A water bottle that he'll never get tired of Hydro Flask He'll always stay hydrated with a Hydro Flask in his bag. There are a variety of bright colors to choose from, as well as smaller sizes if you know he doesn't like carrying heavy bottles. A heavy-duty skillet Amazon The workhorse of the kitchen is the humble cast iron skillet, which lends its strong heat retention to baking, searing, stir-frying, and other cooking tasks. A mouth-watering hot sauce Amazon/Business Insider The savory hot sauce is the recipient of multiple awards. While created from one of the world's hottest peppers, the mild sauce is more smoky than spicy.   Fancy, infused salts Amazon Easily elevate his meals with flavor-infused salts such as Smoked Bacon Chipotle and Garlic Medley. A cream that gives him a comfortable shave Amazon He can lather up with a rich and foamy cream that won't irritate his skin or give him razor burn.  A shaving set that takes care of his skin Amazon Cleanse, protect, moisturize, protect, and repeat with this three-piece set. The products contain natural, effective ingredients such as kaolin clay, macadamia nut oil, and blue algae extract.  A wireless charging pad Simon Hill/Business Insider It's made for any Qi-enabled device (including AirPods!) and delivers speedy wireless charging speeds. It also looks more composed and stylish than a regular charger.  A waterproof ebook reader The Kindle Paperwhite's new, warmer backlight. Amazon The thin and light Kindle Paperwhite ebook reader has a crisp and glare-free display, and it's now waterproof so he can read by the beach or in the tub worry-free. While he can buy ebooks, there are also a few ways to expand his reading collection for free.  An Audible membership Amazon If he prefers to listen to his books while commuting, an Audible membership would be a more suitable gift. Each month, he'll get access to one audiobook and two Audible Originals of his choice, plus 30% off any additional audiobooks. Read our full review of Audible here. A travel pillow with a unique design Amazon Once he's gotten used to the curious stares from his fellow passengers, he can settle into a long and restful nap. The soft and cushioned Trtl Pillow keeps his neck propped up and supported through the flight.  Compression socks that don't look like compression socks Amazon The socks look like ordinary socks, but they actually contain medical-grade compression technology to keep his legs comfortable on flights and after workouts.  A small and portable cocktail making kit Amazon/Business Insider Alcohol's not included, but everything else is: recipe card, spoon/muddler, jigger, syrup, and coasters. Even if he's squished into Basic Economy, he'll feel like he's flying Business Class.  A Lego Y-Wing Starfighter kit Amazon A Star Wars gift he'll spend an afternoon playing around with is this Lego collectible. The details, like the opening cockpit and the accurate mini figures, are what really stand out.  A fun word game Amazon/Business Insider Rather than playing the same old games during game night, bring out Codenames, a challenge to figure out the secret identities of 25 agents.  A streaming stick that gives him access to more than 500,000 movies and TV episodes Steven Cohen/Insider Give him access to high-quality entertainment that streams in up to 4K with HDR on compatible devices. Roku's latest offering, the Streaming Stick 4K, is faster than previous generations and supports Dolby Vision. The streaming stick is easy to install and plugs directly into his TV.Read our full review of the Roku Streaming Stick 4K here. A gift card to inspire future travels Target As more Americans continue to get vaccinated, future trips are looking bright. Give him something to look forward to with an Airbnb gift card. You can choose amounts ranging from $25 to $200. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 10th, 2021

26 best tech gifts for women that she"ll love this holiday season

Tech devices make great gifts. These are the best tech gifts for women that she'll actually want to get this holiday season. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. The Fitbit Versa 3 makes a great gift for women who want a fitness tracker that doubles as a smartwatch. Fitbit Tech products make great gifts for anyone and everyone - including the women in your life. Ahead of Black Friday, we've found some incredibly useful tech gifts that will best fit her life and style. Still looking for a gift? Check out our list of the All-Time Best products we've ever tested. Gift-giving season is upon us again, and so is the mad scramble to find the perfect present for everyone on your list. Luckily, there are tons of worthwhile gadgets to choose from when coming up with the most ideal gifts for the women in our lives. Forget cute power banks that only have enough juice for one charge, rechargeable heating pads dressed up as llamas that don't really give off enough heat, and jewelry health trackers that don't really work. Women lead busy lives, and they need tech gifts that are reliable, robust, and most importantly, useful and practical. So, if you are seeking the best tech gifts for your wife, daughter, sister, mother, or friend, let us be your guide.From budget options that will set you back less than $50, like a phone wallet, to more expensive items that she'll never stop using, like a compact e-reader, we found the best tech gifts for women this holiday season. A phone wallet and grip PopSocket PopWallet+ Grip, available at PopSocket, from $25While we do love those adorable PopSockets, especially because they're great for preventing our phones from dropping on our faces, we've found the brand's PopWallet+ Grip to be much more useful. She's not just getting a phone grip here; she's getting a phone grip that's attached to a card holder designed to fit up to three credit cards. And, it's just the ticket for traveling light while running quick errands, going to a concert, or going on a hike. It's incredibly secure as well so she'll never have to worry about her cards popping out. A compact streaming device Steven Cohen/Insider Roku Streaming Stick 4K, available at Amazon, from $29.00These days, most of us have smart TVs, but if she needs a standalone streaming player, we adore Roku's new Streaming Stick 4K thanks to its affordable price and simple interface. This is a quality all-in-one streamer that doesn't feel premium in our pockets and comes in a very compact package. This device will let her stream 4K HDR content with Dolby Vision, use voice commands to conveniently find content, and even connect to her Google Assistant or Alexa smart speaker. Plus, because it's so compact, she can take it while traveling and stream anywhere. A leather wireless charger Courant Courant wireless chargers, available at Courant, $56 to $122.50Wireless chargers don't have to be ugly or boring. Courant's wireless chargers and wirelessly charging battery packs are sophisticated and beautiful. They're covered in leather and come in a few classy colors, including off white, black, rose, and light blue. We've used these chargers ourselves, and we're certain she'll love them. We particularly like the catch-all that has a space for keys, wallets, jewelry, and any other small items she may have. You can also personalize it with a short phrase. A funky gaming headset Roccat Roccat Elo 7.1 Air, available at Amazon and Roccat, $79.99For the gamer in your life, we love the Roccat Elo 7.1 Air headset, which looks and feels just as good as it sounds. With its suspension strap headband, soft memory foam ear cushions and lightweight design, she can play for hours without experiencing fatigue. Luckily, it delivers great sound quality, terrific 3D surround sound, and a long battery life of up to 24 hours.  Oh, and it comes in two different colors, with the white version being incredibly appealing. Though what makes it even more so is Roccat's AIMO illumination RGB lighting. A smart display Google Google Nest Hub Max, available at Target, $229If the lady in your life is invested in Google's smart home ecosystem, she'll appreciate having easy control for all her connected devices from this handy 10-inch HD screen. The Google Nest Hub Max also lets her do video calls with loved ones, jump on company video conferences, and access her calendar so she stays right on schedule with her day. A cleaner mode of transport Segway Segway Ninebot ES2, available at Amazon, from $549.99Green commutes are great for running quick errands or just getting a bit of fresh air without taking the car or the metro. For the woman in your life who's all about sustainability, she might just appreciate this solid e-scooter. The Segway Ninebot ES2 is a great time saver with its 12.4 mph top speed and its battery life is rated for up to 13.7 miles.  A solid tablet for reading, productivity, and entertainment Apple iPad 10.2, available at Apple, from $329While most of us use our phones for almost every digital interaction and distraction these days, sometimes a 6-inch screen won't cut it. Apple's newly updated base-level $329 iPad is an excellent gift for anyone seeking a tablet that can do just about anything. This iPad has a sharp display, ultrawide front camera, long battery life, and much-improved performance (for its price) for anyone in your life that's looking for that bridge between their phone and their laptop.  A high-tech hair dryer that delivers salon-like results at home Ebay Dyson Supersonic, available at Dyson, $399.99It may be expensive, but reviews suggest this futuristic hair dryer is worth splurging for. Dyson's Supersonic measures air temperature over 40 times per second to prevent heat damage and operates much more quietly than other hair dryers. But what really makes the Dyson Supersonic worth the high price, is its results. Not only does it dry hair significantly faster than the average hair dryer, but it's also probably the closest thing you'll get to a professional blowout at home. Check out our guide to the best hairdryers in 2021 A stylish keyboard that makes you feel productive Azio Azio Izo Wireless Keyboard, available at Azio, $139.99We've tested our share of keyboards, but we haven't found anything so stylish and retro-looking as Azio's new Izo Wireless Keyboard. It comes in three different colors: white, rose and blue. It also has pearl-colored keycaps, gold trimmings, and 21 backlight modes to choose from — just what every office setup needs to spruce it up. But, it doesn't go by looks alone. Those keys are extremely satisfying to type on, the keycaps themselves are dipped at the center to keep fingers in place, and there's a handy volume knob included. If she spends most of her days typing away at her desk, she'll love opening this present. A smart herb garden Aerogarden AeroGarden Harvest, available at Walmart and Amazon, from $89.97Who doesn't love fresh herbs? AeroGarden's Harvest herb garden isn't super high-tech, but it is techy in that it uses hydroponics to grow delicious herbs and other produce quickly without much effort on her part. All she has to do to get her herbs growing is pop the seed pods in the planter, give it water regularly, and add the included plant food now and then. The planter does the rest, providing light on a schedule, moving the water, and alerting her when it needs more. In our tests, we had great success with this garden, and we're sure she will, too. A portable safe to keep your valuables… well, safe Trova Trova Go, available at Trova, $199Stowing your valuables to keep them away from petty thieves isn't the most glamorous activity, especially when you're traveling. But, Trova Go makes it look so elegant. This robust yet stylish portable safe stores her cash, credit cards, jewelry and other small valuables and keeps them locked in until she opens it with a four-digit pin or her biometric login via the Trova app. That ensures that nobody else can open it (unless they have the pin). The Trova app even has a locator so she can figure out where the device is last seen if someone did attempt to steal it. It's kind of ingenious. A Tile Bluetooth tracker for everything Amazon Tile trackers, available at Tile, from $23.99Everyone has lots of things to keep track of in their lives, and it can be easy to, well, lose track. That's where Tile Bluetooth trackers come in. She can throw one of these on her keys or in her wallet so that she never has to go scrambling for one of those things when it's time for work or an appointment. Tile sells a variety of models in different sizes and form factors.  A cool, artistic smart light Nanoleaf Nanoleaf Lines, available at Nanoleaf, from $199.99Nanoleaf is basically the smart wall light brand that launched a thousand other smart wall lights, and it remains unbeatable. Just in time for the holidays, it added a new model to the family. Instead of wall panels, it went with light bars, appropriately christened Nanoleaf Lines. Available now for preorder and slated for release in late November, these gorgeous looking light bulbs are modular, can display over ​​16 million colors, boast music syncing, and are compatible with all smart home ecosystems — just the ticket to give her home a stylish yet functional flair. A heated vest to keep you warm all-day ewool ewool Pro+ Heated Vest, available at ewool, $478Layers in the wintertime are absolutely required, but so is this brilliant vest from ewool. We've all wished we could wrap ourselves in our heated blankets while out and about during those brisk winter days, and ewool's battery-powered heated vest, the Pro+ Heated Vest, feels like a dream come true. It boasts up to seven hours of battery life and offers a fit so comfortable and stylish she wouldn't even feel the battery and heater inside. If its juice runs out, she could always connect it to a 12V DC power source while the battery recharges. It's just the perfect present this cold holiday season.  An affordable soundbar with Dolby Atmos Soundcore Soundcore Infini Pro, available at Amazon and Soundcore, $219The Soundcore brand produces solid audio solutions, from headphones to soundbars, without the steep price tag. And, if you want an affordable way to add Dolby Atmos to her home theater, the Soundcore Infini Pro might just be your best bet. For how much it costs, this soundbar genuinely feels premium with a lightweight design and a solid build. It sounds great as well, and has enough volume to cover a relatively large room. Its features are just as fancy: 4K HDR and Dolby Vision pass-through, an HDMI ARC port, Bluetooth 5 connectivity, and of course, Dolby Atmos. A fitness tracker that's also a smartwatch Fitbit Fitbit Versa 3, available at Fitbit, $229.95The Fitbit Versa 3 is the best-looking fitness tracker Fitbit has made to date. It looks a bit like a more angular Apple Watch and you can choose from a lot of different bands to personalize it to match her style. The Versa 3 has smartwatch features and apps, but it's best at fitness tracking and keeping tabs on workouts. An instant camera Kodak Kodak Step Touch Instant Print Digital Camera, available at Kodak, $129.99For the woman in your life who loves taking photos, Kodak's Step Touch Instant Print Digital Camera is a step up from Fujifilm's offerings. It prints 2 x 3 sticky-backed images to satisfy her need for instant gratification. However, as a proper digital camera, it also comes with a few other features, notably 1080p video recording capabilities, a 3.5-inch LCD screen, up to 256 GB microSD card support, and Bluetooth connectivity. So, it not only prints memories; it captures and stores them as well. A pretty phone case Case-Mate Case-Mate Phone Cases for iPhone and Samsung, available at Amazon, from $5Case-Mate has a huge range of cases for iPhones and Samsung phones, so you're sure to find one that matches her style. Whether she wants a classic slim leather case, a clear case, or one that's bedazzled, full of glitter, or covered in real pressed flowers, Case-Mate has an option. The most popular e-reader You first have to find your Kindle email address to be able to send emails to your Kindle. Hollis Johnson/Business Insider Kindle, available at Amazon, $89.99Amazon's Kindle is a great e-reader on a budget. The text isn't as crisp or bright as it is on more expensive models, but the device offers a lot of value for the price. Amazon has an unrivaled selection of ebooks available for download and she can get free ebooks or borrow library books on the Kindle. We tested this ebook reader, and consider it one of the best ones you can buy. A good-looking smartwatch Lisa Eadicicco/Business Insider Apple Watch SE, available at Best Buy, from $279The Apple Watch SE is Apple's budget-friendly smartwatch model. It comes in several great finishes including a classic Rose Gold one and she can choose from many different watch band options to suit her style. The 40mm casing is also perfect for smaller wrists. Beyond beauty, the Apple Watch has serious brains, too. It can track fitness, monitor her heart rate and health, and buzz with important notifications. A brilliant bracelet that keeps you nice and toasty this winter Embr Embr Labs Wave 2, available at EmbrLabs, $349Sometimes, you come across a device that you never knew you needed until it came along. Such is the case with Embr Labs' cooling and warming wristband. This bracelet keeps you nice and cool during hot days and warms you up when it's freezing out by giving you precisely calibrated cooling or warming sensations on your wrist. If that sounds impossible to you, trust us: we didn't believe it at first either until we used it at an outdoor concert at night and it chased away the chills. This thing works, and she'll absolutely love using it. A beautiful wireless charger Anker Anker 623 2-in-1 Magnetic Wireless Charger, available at Amazon and Anker, $79.99With the launch of Apple's MagSafe-capable iPhones, Anker is upping its game with a line of attractive wireless solutions aptly called MagGo. There are several chargers in this line, including a MagSafe portable charger, all of them coming in several gorgeous colors (including Lilac and Misty Blue). But, our current favorite is the compact Anker 623 2-in-1 Magnetic Wireless Charger, which literally puts her iPhone 12 or 13 (as well as AirPods Pro) on a pedestal so she can conveniently access it while it's charging. The MagSafe part even turns 360-degrees for landscape and portrait orientations. A pair of touchscreen gloves that are actually warm Ugg UGG Touchscreen Compatible Gloves, available at UGG, $165Touchscreen gloves aren't always attractive, but Ugg makes some very nice ones with genuine leather and shearling for warmth and style. These gloves will make it easy for her to use her phone no matter how cold it gets outside. A mega-popular smart speaker Lisa Eadicicco/Business Insider Amazon Echo, available at Amazon, $99.99If she doesn't have a smart speaker yet, the Amazon Echo will be a game-changer. This speaker has Alexa inside so she can ask it to play music, answer questions, order products, play games, and so much more. If she has some smart home gadgets, Alexa can control many of those, too. We reviewed the latest version and think it's the best one yet. A pair of truly wireless earbuds Apple AirPods (3rd Gen), available on Best Buy and Apple, $179When it comes to convenience, true wireless earbuds are the best. AirPods are very popular with iPhone users since they're designed to pair with Apple's smartphones so seamlessly. They look fairly subtle compared to many other bigger earbuds, and they're incredibly easy to use. What's more, Apple's finally updated them, giving them a fresher look, a longer battery life, and a few new features like spatial audio with dynamic head tracking, sweat and water resistance, and a MagSafe Charging Case. If she loved her old AirPods, she's going to love these even more. A smart mug that keeps drinks hot Simon Hill/Business Insider Ember Mug 2, available at Best Buy, $129.99With the app-controlled Ember Mug 2, her favorite hot drink will never get cold again. In the app, she can choose the exact temperature she likes her beverage to be at for drinking, and the mug will keep it at that temperature for up to 80 minutes per charge. The mug itself is made of stainless steel that's been coated in ceramic. We tested the mug and found it to be a life-changer. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 9th, 2021

The 5 best vacuum cleaners for every mess, floor type, and budget

These are our top vacuum picks in 2021 from our guides to the best robot vacuums, affordable vacs, cordless vacs, and pet hair vacs. Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky No matter what kind of flooring or carpet you have, you need a good vacuum cleaner to keep it tidy. Vacuums from Shark, Bissell, Dyson, and iRobot have strong suction and long battery lives. Find out more about how Insider Reviews tests and reviews home products. Depending on how you feel about it, vacuuming can be the most dreaded chore of all, or a therapeutic ridding of all that dust, dirt, and whatever else might be hiding on and within your floors and carpets.We've tested plenty of vacuum cleaners over the years, and we have written several in-depth guides focused on everything from the best robot vacuums and the best affordable vacuums to the best vacuums for pet hair and the best cordless vacuums. But here, we have our top picks from each of these respective guides for an easily digestible look at the best of the best.A good vacuum cleaner should have no trouble tackling both carpeting and hardwood, and the best ones we've tested can automatically detect the difference between the two and adjust their suction accordingly. Ease of use, cleaning, and maintenance are all important too - in fact, one of the most common losses of suction in a vacuum is a clogged filter or airway.Whether you're more of a set-it-and-forget-it robot vacuum type or you prefer to do it yourself with the ease and mobility of a cordless vacuum, or somewhere in between, you'll find what you need below.The best vacuum cleaners in 2021Best cordless vacuum cleaner: Shark Vertex DuoClean Cordless VacuumBest vacuum cleaner on a budget: Bissell Cleanview Swivel Pet VacuumBest vacuum cleaner for pet hair: Dyson V11 Animal Cord-Free VacuumBest upright vacuum: Dyson Ball Animal 2 VacuumBest robot vacuum cleaner: iRobot Roomba i3+ Robot Vacuum Best cordless vacuum Connie Chen/Insider The Shark Vertex DuoClean Cordless Vacuum is a strong performer all around, picking up particles of most sizes on a variety of surfaces in a smooth and efficient fashion. We also love the light that illuminates your cleaning path and the flexible hose that lets you reach under low spaces better than any other cordless vac.Size and weight: 10.24 x 7.09 x 46.1 inches; 7.17 poundsDust bin capacity: 0.34 gallonsFilter type: Washable HEPA, no extra filters includedBattery life: 25 minutes Attachments: Crevice tool, pet multi-tool, anti-allergen brushWarranty: Five years on parts and laborPros: Versatile, strong suction, cleaning path light, great for under-furniture cleaning, comes with attachments Cons: Loud and high-pitched noise, thick grip that may be uncomfortable for small hands, weaker on high-pile carpet and rug  This Shark vacuum had the best overall cleaning performance of all the cordless vacuums we tested, picking up every bit of flour, cat litter, ground coffee, and dog hair from hardwood and tile with ease. It also does well with large particles like whole Cheerios. It's less effective on high-pile rug. It's not the lightest cordless vac out there, but it's really smooth to operate and easy to use. There are distinct settings for hardwood and carpet located near the grip and they're easy to slide between. There's also a power boost trigger that you can hold down whenever you need some extra suction power. Rolling the cleaning head around hardwood and tile feels very smooth and soft, instead of clunky and abrasive. The cleaning head also has two useful features: a light that shows you exactly what you're cleaning and highlights small particles you might've otherwise missed, and a green alert button that turns red when a blockage occurs, so you can address the problem right away. We also love how it can get lower and flatter than any other cordless vac. The middle of the stick can bend into a flexible hose "elbow," allowing the entire bottom half of the stick to lay flat and get under beds, couches, chairs, and other tricky spots. Read our full guide to the best cordless vacuums. Best budget vacuum Connie Chen/Insider The Bissell Cleanview Swivel Vacuum is a bit on the large side, but it's powerful and operates smoothly. It comes with attachments to pick up pet hair and clean hard-to-reach spots.Size and weight: 13 x 14 x 44.5 inches; 15 poundsDust bin capacity: 0.26 gallonsFilter type: Washable HEPA, no extra filters includedCord length: 27 feetAttachments: Crevice tool, pet tool Warranty: Three years on parts and laborPros: Powerful suction, large cleaner head, large and hygienic dust bin, comes with attachments, convenient foot controls Cons: A bit heavy and clunky, loud  Bissell's Cleanview Swivel Pet Vacuum is your classic corded upright vacuum. As restrictive as the cords are on these kinds of vacuums, Bissell builds in many thoughtful design features to make up for the inconvenience. The large, square cleaner head has a brush roll that effectively lifts and removes small and large debris, passing all of our cleaning tests with flying colors. From whole Cheerios to fine flour, the vacuum sucked up all the particles cleanly and quickly. It worked well with pet hair as well. It has five settings for different floor types, which you must bend down and adjust at the top of the cleaner head. But turning on the vacuum is as easy as pressing a lever at the base with your foot. There's also a separate foot pedal to tilt the vacuum and allow it to swivel in different directions. The dust bin is a generous size and easy to remove by simply clicking the release button at the top. The contents empty out at the bottom so you'll have minimal or no direct contact with all the dirt and dust. The bin has a handle on top, letting you carry your vacuum downstairs or to different rooms with ease. For its consistent, powerful suction and easy maneuverability, the vacuum is already a great deal. Even better, it comes with a few attachments, which you affix to the 6-foot-long hose to clean upholstery or get into crevices. For these cleaning tasks, we might still prefer a cordless handheld vacuum, but it's nice to have the option here. We do love that the attachments are stored directly on the vacuum so you'll never lose them.Read our full guide to the best affordable vacuum cleaners. Best vacuum for pet hair James Brains/Insider The powerful suction of the Dyson V11 Animal Cord-Free Vacuum picked up all of the pet hair in our tests, and emptying the dustbin was easy and clean.Size and weight: 49.6 x 10.3 x 9.8 inches; 7 poundsDust bin capacity: 0.2 gallonsFilter type: 5-stage designed to pick up 99.97% of 0.3-micron particlesBattery life: 9 minutes on Boost mode, 75 in Eco modeAttachments: Crevice tool, mini motorized tool, docking station, stiff bristle brush, combination tool, wand clipWarranty: 2 yearsPros: Performed well in all of our cleaning tests, powerful suction, contactless debris disposal, comes with a wall-mounted docking stationCons: Short battery runtime in Boost mode, the handheld configuration is tiring to hold, need to keep the trigger depressed for the vacuum to runThe V11 Animal Cord-Free Vacuum is a clear example of the high-end, high-quality products Dyson is known for.Dyson had large homes with pets in mind when it developed the V11 Animal. This proved true in our tests. On all of the surfaces we tested, it picked up all of the pet hair. And the brush remained tangle-free.The V11 Animal also did an impressive job of cleaning up other debris, including coffee grounds, Cheerios, cat litter, and all but a trace of flour on furniture and hardwood. On carpeting, the Dyson vac had more trouble with flour, leaving behind 17% of it.However, the V11 Animal wasn't without flaws. For the unit to run, the trigger must be depressed, which can be fatiguing during long cleaning jobs. For testing, we used a piece of duct tape to keep it down.The bin empties cleanly if you position it right. Otherwise, the trap-door mechanism can send debris flying, but this was rarely a problem during testing.The battery wasn't impressive. It took more than 4 hours to recharge and only lasted 9 minutes in Boost mode. Keep in mind, though, Boost is incredibly powerful and overkill for most cleaning jobs. Eco mode will be suitable for most tasks. The battery lasted for 75 minutes in Eco mode in our tests. The V11 Animal has excellent maneuverability. In fact, we could move the head perpendicular to where we were facing with minimal effort. This ability was unique to the Dyson vacs we tested. Another bonus is the convenient, unobtrusive storage of the attachments afforded by the wall-mounted docking station.Read our full review of the Dyson V11 Animal.Read our full guide to the best vacuums for pet hair. Best upright vacuum Amazon The Dyson Ball Animal 2 prioritizes maneuverability, but it also has impressive suction and keeps allergens sealed in the dustbin.Size and weight: 13.39 x 15.35 x 42.13 inches; 17.5 poundsDust bin capacity: 0.55 gallonsFilter type: Washable HEPA, no extra filters includedCord length: 31 feetAttachments: Combination tool, stair tool, tangle-free turbine tool Warranty: One year on parts and laborPros: Powerful suction, great maneuverability, keeps dust and allergens in the machine, tangle-free turbine tool gets into tight spacesCons: Rollerball prevents you from getting under furniture, heavy, power cord does not retractUpright vacuums are celebrated for their versatility and power. The Dyson Ball Animal 2 has both and more. It features an easy-to-clean brush head, HEPA filtration to lock in allergens, and a removable hose with an upholstery attachment so you can suck up debris wherever it happens to land. This upright vacuum easily handles both hardwood and carpet, with a rotating brush head that gets deep into area rugs and low-pile carpet very well. The self-adjusting head helps the vacuum create a tight seal against any type of flooring for a better clean.The large-capacity bagless dust bin is sealed with a HEPA filter, locking in dust, hair, and pet dander. To empty it, simply lift it off the base and press a button on the canister handle to release the bottom and let the dust fall out. The filter is easily removable and washable.Where the Ball Animal 2 really stands out is in its wand attachments. Not only does it come with a combination brush for hard-to-reach places and a specialized stair tool, but it also comes with its unique tangle-free turbine tool. The tool features counter-rotating spinner brushes which sucks up hair without giving it the chance to get tangled. It's great for furniture, curtains, and any other fabric you need to detail.The Ball Animal 2 has a couple of downsides, the largest of which is that the roller ball makes it difficult to fit under furniture. The wand will be helpful in these instances, but you won't get as thorough a clean you would with the brush head. It's also a heavy machine at 17.5 pounds. Best robot vacuum James Brains/Insider With its automatic dirt disposal, strong suction, and large main brushes, the iRobot Roomba i3+ Robot Vacuum is an excellent, low-maintenance solution for any home.Size and weight: 13.34 x 13.26 x 3.63 inches; 7.44 poundsDust bin capacity: 0.1 gallonsFilter type: High-efficiency filterBattery life: 75 minutesAttachments: NoneWarranty: One year on parts and laborPros: Doesn't get stuck easily, pairs with the iRobot app and Alexa/Google Home, outstanding carpet cleaning, comes with an auto-empty station, good hardwood cleaningCons: Loud, so-so corner cleaning, virtual wall barriers are sold separatelyWe have tested 30 robot vacuums, putting them through rigorous tests to see how well they pick up coffee grounds, cat litter, flour, and pet hair on both carpet and hardwood floors, and the iRobot Roomba i3+ tops the list. Not only does it handle both hardwood and carpeted flooring with ease, but it navigates its cleaning paths smoothly, getting stuck infrequently. When it's done cleaning, it returns to the automatic dirt disposal dock, which empties the vac's dustbin so you don't have to. You just switch out the dust bag every month or two. The i3+ is the most affordable Roomba to feature the auto-empty station.The vac is Alexa compatible and comes with a user-friendly app (available for iOS and Android) that allows you to set your cleaning schedule. However, we're disappointed that iRobot left off the no-go zone and zoned-cleaning capabilities for the i3+. If you want to set keep-out zones, you have to spring for $50 virtual wall barriers.The i3+ doesn't have adjustable suction. Instead, it maintains a consistently strong suction and performs multiple passes in areas where it detects excess dirt. Since the vac is about 68 decibels (louder than a normal conversation), we would have liked to be able to adjust the suction and thus sound levels.Read our full guide to the best robot vacuums. What else we tested James Brains/Insider We tested dozens of models for our vacuum guides. Here are some excellent options we recommend from them.What else we recommend and why:LG Cordzero A9: This is the best vacuum for hardwood floors in our guide to the best cordless vacuum cleaners. On tile and hardwood floors, it picked up all of the flour we laid out. The Cordzero A9 also has a spinning mop head attachment that dispenses water to give you an all-in-one cleaning solution. It's lightweight and comes with an extra battery so you can keep cleaning while the other charges.Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Cordless Hand Vacuum: This is the best handheld vacuum in our guide to the best cheap vacuums. We like how compact and light it is. With the useful motorized brush tool, crevice tool, and upholstery tool attachments, it's the ideal choice for keeping your car tidy or for cleaning up small messes.Miele Classic C1 Cat & Dog Vacuum: The Miele Classic C1 is the best canister vacuum in our guide to the best vacuums for pet hair. This is one of the few bagged models we've tested, and we like how the dirt bags hold 4.5 liters of debris and keep it all contained. The Classic C1 did well cleaning all debris on all surfaces we tested, and it runs quietly.Bissell SpinWave Robot Vacuum: The SpinWave is the best robot vacuum for pet hair in our guide. For its relatively low price (about $300), it's a great robot vacuum. In addition to cleaning up almost all of the debris in corners and on hardwood, it features a mop attachment with spinning brushes that removed dried-up spills on the linoleum in our tests. For more recommendations and as well as what we don't recommend, visit our other vacuum guides. Vacuum cleaner FAQs James Brains/Insider What is the best type of vacuum cleaner?The best type of vacuum depends on your needs. In general, upright vacuums balance performance and affordability. Stick vacuums are convenient and versatile. Handhelds are for small or hard-to-reach tasks. Robot vacuums automate cleaning. And canister vacuums are the most powerful.Here's a more thorough rundown of the pros and cons of each type of vacuum cleaner:Robot vacuum: A robot vacuum is an autonomous vacuum cleaner that roams around your house with no effort on your part aside from maybe setting a scheduled cleaning time or freeing it when it gets tangled in a power cord or stuck behind a piece of furniture. They're not as powerful as other types of vacuum cleaners and need to be emptied regularly, but they can't be beaten when it comes to convenience.Canister vacuum: A canister vacuum has its motor and dust bin in a standalone canister with the brush head attached by a long suction hose. The canister is usually on wheels, and it follows you around a bit like a lost puppy. Canister vacuums are known for their superior power and excellent suction. Still, they don't offer much versatility and are particularly difficult to move around the house given that you're tethered to a separate piece that you have to tote around with you.Upright vacuum: An upright vacuum is what you likely picture when asked to imagine a vacuum — if you're in the US, that is. (If you're in the UK, you'll likely picture a canister vacuum.) Unlike canister vacuums, upright vacuums have the motor, dust bin, and head all aligned in one package. The vacuum stands upright on its own, and the machine's body tilts back when you need to vacuum. Upright vacuums balance power and versatility but can still be clunky to operate in some cases. They are often equipped with a removable hose to reach places the main brush head can't go.Cordless stick vacuum: Stick vacuums prevail when it comes to convenience and portability, but they often do so by sacrificing power. Often rechargeable and cordless, the batteries they're equipped with can't generate as much power as corded vacuums, and they need to be recharged frequently. The dust bins are often smaller than upright or canister vacuums as well. But it's the most lightweight category of vacuum, and a low profile makes it easy to slide under almost any furniture.Handheld vacuum: Just like Jell-O became synonymous with gelatin desserts, so too did Black & Decker's Dustbuster become synonymous with handheld vacuums. A handheld vacuum is ultra-compact and suitable for spot cleaning — think of a spilled box of cereal, stray kitty litter, or picking up dust after sweeping. You certainly won't want to clean your whole house with one, but they're good to have around for quick messes.How do I choose a vacuum cleaner?Once you know what type of vacuum cleaner you want (see above), the main features you should look for are comfort and ease of use, a well-designed brush head, long battery life (if cordless), mess-free debris disposal, and a strong warranty.Edward Chudleigh, a former Dyson engineer of 11 years, walked us through some of the common pitfalls of vacuum cleaners and how to shop for the best machine for your needs.Here are some more specifics to look for:A brushless motor: A vacuum's motor is, of course, what powers the mechanism, ultimately providing suction and ensuring a clean home. Motors fall into two categories: brushed and brushless. Chudleigh recommends sticking to brushless motors: "Brushless motors are very efficient and translate much more of the available power from the battery to cleaning the floor. The trouble with brushed motors is that there is more friction in the system, which in turn eats some of the battery power and, amongst other things, makes the machine less efficient." He said brushes could also wear down over time and may emit carbon pollution into the air. The Dyson models we recommend use brushless motors.A well-designed brush head: "It's all good having efficient motors and batteries, however this only works with a well-designed pick-up head," said Chudleigh, who was involved in developing Dyson's Tangle-Free Turbine Tool — a key feature in our recommendation for the best vacuum for pet hair. A well-designed brush head ensures the dirt and dust on your floor are actually making their way into your vacuum. You can see excellent examples of how we test vacuum pick-up in our guides to the best robot vacuums and cordless vacuums.A bagless design: "Bagless every time," said Chudleigh. Vacuum bags have tiny holes that allow air to pass through them and act almost like a filter, trapping dust and dirt. But over time, those tiny holes get clogged. "The suction of the vacuum then decreases as more holes get blocked. It's essentially like strangling a vacuum cleaner," said Chudleigh. Bagless designs employ a cyclonic system that "spins the particles out of the airflow," allowing clean air to pass through the motor without clogging anything or impeding suction. All of the vacuums we recommend are bagless.A lightweight machine: This one's pretty simple. You'd want a vacuum somewhere around 10 to 15 pounds that you can easily carry around your home, up and down flights of stairs, and even out to your car.  A strong warranty: Chudleigh said that the most common parts that fail in vacuums are hoses and batteries, so ensure the warranty on any vacuum you buy has a suitable guarantee to replace those parts should issues come up. He also recommends you look for a good money-back guarantee that ensures you can return that machine for any reason if you're unhappy with its performance.How much should you spend on a vacuum cleaner?The vacuums in our guides range from $70 for a handheld vacuum to $1,100 for a self-emptying robot vacuum. In general, you should expect to spend at least $100 on a new vacuum. However, if you're looking for a good robot, canister, or stick vacuum, expect to pay at least $300.How long does a vacuum last?According to a reader survey conducted by Consumer Reports, the median life of a vacuum cleaner is 8 years. Leslie Tam, a co-founder of the cleaning service UrbanMop, told us that a drastic reduction in suction is usually the first sign that a vacuum has reached the end of its life. He recommended performing regular maintenance to prolong your vacuum's life. Maintenance should include emptying the dustbin before it gets too full, removing hairs and other debris from the brush roll, and cleaning the filter often. Glossary James Brains/Insider Brush roll: The brush roll is situated in the head of the vacuum and should be activated when cleaning carpet. It spins to help agitate the carpet pile to dislodge dust and dirt.Crevice tool: A long, flat attachment with an angled tip. It's good for getting into tight corners including baseboards and stairs and between couch cushions. Dust bin: A canister on the main body of the vacuum where trapped dirt and dust is stored.Dust brush tool: A small attachment with soft bristles. It's good for blinds, windowsills, and delicate objects. Head: This is the part of the vacuum that moves across your floor and picks up dirt and dust.HEPA filter: A high-efficiency particulate air filter or HEPA filter must filter 99.97% of airborne particles in order to meet HEPA standards. Most high-quality vacuum cleaners contain HEPA filters. Many are washable and reusable and should be cleaned regularly.Lithium ion battery: A type of rechargeable battery that uses lithium ions and can store high amounts of energy and deliver higher voltage than nickel-based batteries. It doesn't display memory effect, but it is less stable than nickel-based batteries and has a tendency to overheat. Nickel battery: A type of rechargeable battery that comes in either nickel-cadmium (Ni-Ca) or nickel-metal-hydride (Ni-MH) form. It can store high amounts of energy, is more difficult to damage than Li-ion batteries, and suffers from memory effect.Upholstery tool: A wide, flat attachment that allows for strong suction. It's good for furniture with fabric upholstery like mattresses, chairs, and couches. Wand: Often featured on upright vacuums, wands detach from the main body to allow you to reach spots the head can't go. They're useful for cleaning stairs, corners, and upholstery. The best deals on vacuum cleaners from this guide Vacuuming is a chore made significantly worse when using a mediocre vacuum cleaner. Unfortunately, none of the vacuum cleaners we recommend retail for under $100, but the good news is that vacuum cleaners see sales frequently throughout the year. They most reliably see the deepest discounts during Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Prime Day, from major retailers like Amazon, Best Buy, Target, and Walmart. The Shark Vertex Duoclean, for example, dropped to an all-time low of $300 during these events in 2020. There are currently no deals on our recommended vacuums.Read more about how the Insider Reviews team evaluates deals and why you should trust us. Check out our other vacuum buying guides Bissel The best robot vacuumsThe best vacuums for pet hairThe best affordable vacuum cleaners The best cordless vacuums Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 8th, 2021

33 cool tech gifts for teens, from Bluetooth speakers to gaming controllers

Teens love tech, so we've rounded up the best gadget gifts out there. From smart speakers to bike helmets and cameras, there's something for everyone. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. Amazon; Best Buy; Gilbert Espinoza/Business Insider We rounded up the best tech gifts for teens with something for every budget. From headphones to cameras, we have gift ideas for all interests. Shopping for someone else? Check out our best tech gifts for women and our best picks under $25. Finding exciting gifts for a teenager can be difficult as they develop their own style, but new technology can encourage them to build new skills or just make their life easier as they continue to grow.Whether the teen on your shopping list is into video games, photography, music, or fitness, there's a tech gift on this list for everyone. Our tech gift recommendations also cover a variety of budgets, with some picks costing less than $15. A subscription service with access to thousands of digital comic books Marvel Marvel Unlimited, $10 a month or $70 a yearComixology Unlimited, $6 a monthIf your teen is a fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe or superheroes in general, you can give them access to thousands of comic books with a subscription to Marvel Unlimited. The digital service offers more than 29,000 comics, spanning from the classic origin stories of characters like Spider-Man and the X-Men, to recent comic book events like "Venom: King in Black." You can access Marvel Unlimited on iPhone, Android, iPad, and your web browser, and download books for offline viewing. If your teen is a more adventurous reader, you can get them a subscription to Comixology Unlimited, an Amazon owned comic reading service that features a wider range of content, including DC Comics like "Batman" and Image Comics like "The Walking Dead." Comixology Unlimited costs $6 a month making it cheaper than Marvel Unlimited, but it offers fewer complete series. Comixology Unlimited subscribers also receive up to 15% off Marvel, DC, Image, and Dark Horse comic book purchases, making it easier to build a personal collection. A customized gaming controller This is just a small selection of the colors available in the Xbox Design Lab. Microsoft Xbox design Lab Custom Controller, available at Microsoft, $69.99Microsoft's Xbox controller has a classic design and is compatible with a wide range of devices, including iPhone, iPad, Android products, Mac, and PC. But people might not be aware of Microsoft's Xbox Design Lab, which lets you customize the colors on every part of the controller and add a laser engraving. The custom controller will arrive within 28 days, usually taking about two weeks.If you're worried about choosing a design for your teen, you can give them an $80 Xbox gift card and let them choose between a custom design, or just buying a new game with the store credit. A webcam perfect for streaming your own videos Logitech Logitech c920x, available at Amazon, $60This webcam is one of the most recommended for people getting started with YouTube videos or Twitch livestreams, and it's become even more popular with professionals working from home.While lots of laptops come with built-in cameras, the Logitech c920 offers better video quality with resolutions up to 1080p, a wide viewing angle, streaming at 60 frames per second at 720p, and an adjustable base that can be easily attached to tripods and other stands. A streaming subscription for music lovers An Android smartphone with the Spotify Music logo visible on screen, alongside a pair of earphones. Olly Curtis/Future via Getty Images Spotify Premium Subscription, available at Spotify, $9.99 a monthTeens love listening to music, and streaming services offer unlimited access to their favorite tunes. Spotify offers a huge music library and is compatible with Apple, Android, and Windows devices.  The premium subscription gets rid of ads, allows  your teen  to download songs for offline listening, and lets them skip songs as they please. Plans start at $10 per month and are a great way to satisfy the music lover in your family. Wireless earbuds that easily pair with an iPhone Crystal Cox/Business Insider Apple AirPods Pro,  available at Amazon, $190Apple's AirPods Pro offer a great way for your teen to listen to music, take calls, and tune out the world. These true wireless earbuds feature seamless pairing with Apple devices, active noise cancellation, and a transparency mode so they can still hear you when you remind them to do their homework. They come with three sizes of removable eartips for a perfect fit, and boast up to 24 hours of listening time with multiple charges in the included wireless charging case. A subscription that's like Netflix for video games Microsoft Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, $37.99 for 3 months Playstation Plus Subscription, $24.99 for 3 monthsWhy buy just one game when you can get dozens? That's the premise behind Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, Microsoft's Netflix-style subscription gaming service.  Microsoft offers over 100 games, including blockbusters like "Grand Theft Auto V," "Destiny 2," and "FIFA 21" among many others.  Game Pass Ultimate isn't cheap – it costs around $40 for three months – but offers a tremendous value considering that one new game costs $60. For Playstation fans there's Playstation Plus, which is cheaper than Microsoft's service at $25 for three months, but offers far fewer games. Subscribers get access to a handful of titles each month that they can download and keep as long as they remain a member of the service.The service also comes with other perks like online gameplay and discounts. Which subscription you should get depends on the console your teen owns, but they'll appreciate either one. A gaming headset with audiophile-level sound Amazon SteelSeries Arctis Pro, available at Amazon, from $149.84If you're going to get your PC gamer a gaming headset, you might as well invest in one that produces audiophile-level sound. That way, they can listen to music and watch movies without having to switch to a different pair of headphones.The SteelSeries Arctis Pro is a good choice for gamers who care about top-notch audio, as it comes with several input options, virtual surround sound, and a bass that can be pushed. Plus, teens will love the fact that they can customize its look with SteelSeries' range of headbands and ear cups.If you're willing to splurge, the $329.99 wireless version makes it easier for your teen to seamlessly transition between playing games on their PC and taking a call on their phone. An Instax printer to print all those selfies on Amazon Fujifilm Instax Mini Link Smartphone Printer, available at Best Buy, $99.99Instant cameras are so yesterday! With most teens relying on their camera phones to take photos, a mobile photo printer that lets them print all those friend selfies saved on their phone on 1.81 x 2.44 Instax film is just what the fun doctor ordered. Pair that with the photo clip fairy string lights as a stocking stuffer, and you might just inspire your teen to decorate and declutter their room to make it visitor-friendly. A unique electronic musical instrument that's big in Japan Amazon Otamatone Deluxe Electronic Musical Instrument, available at Amazon, $79.99Music is one of the biggest outlets teens turn to channel their creativity and angst, and this musical synthesizer lets your budding musician create music in a fun and quirky way. Pressing the middle part of the Otamatone and sliding your fingers up and down it will produce higher and lower tones while opening and closing its mouth creates a "wah" sound. It can even connect to speakers, amps, and (preferably to the rest of your household) headphones.  A 3D pen with plastic refills in 15 different colors Facebook 3Doodler Create + 3D Printing Pen, available at Amazon, $79.99Today's 3D printers may be pricey, but that doesn't mean that your artistic teen can't enjoy and master the art. With this 3D pen, they can even do so in a more analog way, stirring their creativity and allowing them to appreciate the value of working with one's hands. Plug this pen into a wall outlet, load up the plastic color, and once the pen heats the plastic, your teen is ready to create. It comes with an app with interactive step-by-step instructions on custom art projects. A smartwatch that tracks activity and fitness goals Lisa Eadicicco/Business Insider Apple Watch SE, available at Amazon, $279.00Your athletic or health-conscious teen will definitely appreciate the Apple Watch SE. This smartwatch can do most of the things Apple's flagship smartwatch can, while keeping things more affordable. It's still on the pricey side, but it's worth it to keep teens on the healthy, active path. As for the fun factor, your teen can customize it with different faces, bands and memojis, as well as use it to play music and stay in touch with friends via iMessage, social media apps, and phone capabilities. Bluetooth trackers that keep your teen from losing their, well, everything Tile Tile Limited Edition Bluetooth trackers, available at Tile, starting at $23.99You want to be able to entrust them with important things, from necessities like house and car keys to devices that cost money like laptops. But, let's face it: teenagers are basically bigger versions of kids, and they still tend to lose their stuff. This is why Tile's Bluetooth trackers are super handy. Attach one to their keys or wallet, connect it with their phone, and that's one last question you'll have to field. With their range of Limited Edition trackers that come in several fun designs, they'll be proud to show these off to friends.If your teen owns an iPhone, you can also consider purchasing AirTags, Apple's official tracking device that works with the Find My app. They're a bit more expensive than Tile trackers at $29 each, but offer more features for iPhone users. They also come with a free engraving for personalization. A handheld gaming system with multiplayer capabilities Nintendo Nintendo Switch Lite, available at Best Buy, $199.00If you're on a limited budget (times have been tough, after all) but want to reward your teen with a handheld gaming console, you cannot go wrong with a Nintendo Switch Lite. This pocket-friendly device may not be able to connect to the TV, but it's got a few advantages over the standard Switch beyond the price. It plays all but a few of the same games while being more portable. And, for color-loving teens, it comes in three fun shades plus gray. A PC gaming controller with wireless connectivity Amazon Logitech Gamepad F310, available at Target, $14.99This is a must-have for any teen who enjoys PC and console gaming. With the Logitech Gamepad F310, they can play their favorite Steam and other PC games from the comfort of a couch without the need for a mouse or keyboard — partly thanks to the 6-foot long cable. This will give them better control and a more seamless gaming experience during long sessions as well. If your teen hasn't experienced PC gaming from the couch, this will be a game-changer. A mini projector with a built-in speaker system Amazon Elephas Mini Movie Projector, available at Amazon, $79.99Kids today are moving away from classic television and toward the versatility and convenience of projectors. The Elephas Mini Movie Projector turns any wall into a TV or computer monitor. This allows your teen to watch movies, sports, video games, and more just about anywhere, including their room for their much-needed privacy. Help them create a comfy floor setup with pillows and blankets, and it's a fun slumber party with friends. Also, Elephas offers a lifetime warranty. Affordable wireless earbuds Amazon JLab Audio JBuds Air, available at Amazon, $24.49These true wireless earbuds don't boast the same feature set as Apple's AirPods but they do have Bluetooth 5.0, quality sound, a microphone for calls, and basic water resistance. The battery lasts for six hours, and the case holds an additional 18 hours of charge, giving them comparable battery life to AirPods. A drone with high-quality video capabilities Amazon DJI Mini SE, available at Amazon, $299Whether you've got a future influencer or a budding content creator in the family, you've got an ace gift in this mini drone from DJI. This is an impressive drone for the price point, with a battery life of 30 minutes and a camera touting great stabilization and 2.7K Quad HD video capability. This drone even has automatic motion presets and a smooth motion mode, allowing beginner videographers such as your teen to utilize pro-level shooting techniques effortlessly. Just remember to teach them proper drone etiquette before they let their new toy fly. Winter gloves with touchscreen-capable fingertips Amazon Achiou Winter Knit Gloves, available at Amazon, from $7.99Teens aren't going to stop using their phones just because it's freezing outside. They need to stay in touch, and a lot of the time, they'll take off their gloves so they can rub and tap on a touchscreen. With these gloves, they can protect their digits while catching up on social media. And, at this price, you might want to buy a few pairs – and in different colors, if you want – for when they inevitably lose them. A build-your-own computer kit for beginners Amazon CanaKit Raspberry Pi 4 Starter MAX Kit, available at Amazon, $124.99If your teen likes to take things apart and put them back together again, this is the perfect gift. Raspberry Pi has taught basic computer science in developing countries and schools since 2012, and Pi 4 is the latest version. The kit comes with an easy-to-follow quick start guide. The computer doesn't come with accessories, such as a monitor, mouse, keyboard, or cooling fan so you may want to pick those components up as well. A portable Bluetooth speaker with a hardshell carrying case Amazon JBL Flip 5 Portable Speaker, available at Amazon, $129.99Teens love blasting music away, and this speaker from JBL will let them do so wherever they are — including at the beach or even while floating in the pool. To keep things portable, it boasts up to 12 hours of playtime and comes with a gSport Deluxe Hardshell Case. Best of all, it features IPX7 waterproof protection so it can go in up to three feet of water. With this, they'll have something to look forward to next summer. A power bank with enough juice to charge a phone 2 times Amazon Anker Portable Charger, available at Amazon, $22 It's not surprising for a teen to spend all day and night draining their phone's battery, but if their phone is frequently dying while they're out, consider buying them a portable charger to provide some extra juice on the go. Anker's PowerCore Slim portable charger holds more than two full charges for the latest iPhone, and should work with any USB device. If you're willing to spend a bit more, you can buy a portable battery with wireless charging, to eliminate the need for cords. A handheld gimbal for shooting cinematic videos with friends Amazon Zhiyun Smooth 4 Handheld Smartphone Gimbal, available at Amazon, $99.00Whether it's for shooting TikTok content to making full-fledged YouTube videos, a handheld gimbal will let your teen produce better, smoother-looking content. But, while many options out there will set you back more than $100, this gimbal from Zhiyun costs less, which makes it the perfect gift for teens. And, while most teens seem to be naturally tech savvy, this one is especially effortless to figure out, complete with different shooting modes and pro-level shooting techniques turned automated. A beanie with headphones that pair with their phone Amazon SoundBot SB210 Bluetooth Smart Beanie Headset, available on Amazon, $17.99We all agree – beanies are some of the comfiest accessories out there. But, this nifty one from SoundBot takes it to a new level, with built-in speakers, Bluetooth connectivity, and up to five hours of music listening. Now, your teen can stay warm and listen to music at the same time, without having to wear or carry two things at once. Best yet, it comes in several different colors, some even with poms, so you can get it in their favorite color or design. A smart light strip that changes colors Philips Philips Hue White & Color Ambiance LightStrip Plus, available at Philips-Hue, $79.99Fairy or string lights are among the top accessories teens love to decorate their rooms with, and Hue's light strip takes that to a new level with its smart light capabilities, ability to display 16 million colors, and Alexa and Google Assistant compatibility. It's terrific for sprucing up every teen's room, whether they're gamers, Bohemians, nature-lovers, or those with an eclectic taste. They can even change the colors depending on their mood, what they're into, or what they're currently doing. A subscription to the best audiobook service Amazon Audible Subscription, available at Amazon, $15 a monthGive teens the gift of knowledge with this audiobook subscription. This gives them an audiobook and two Audible originals each month. They will also get 30% off any other audiobooks they choose to buy, which they will own even after their subscription expires. This is an excellent solution for students who learn better by listening than reading. An alarm clock that doubles as a Bluetooth speaker Amazon Anker Soundcore Wakey Bluetooth Speakers with Alarm Clock, available at Amazon, $89.99This alarm clock is packed full of features. It pairs with your teen's phone via Bluetooth and plays audio from any of the apps, as well as FM radio or any combination of the 10 sleep-inducing ambient sounds. There are 10 different alarm sounds, and it wirelessly charges Qi-compatible devices as well. A Bluetooth speaker that teens can use in the shower Amazon iFox iF012 Bluetooth Shower Speaker, available at Amazon, $34.90Teens need to have their music everywhere at all times – that's right, even in the shower. Sure, the JBL Flip 5 mentioned above will work in the shower. For a quarter of the price, however, you can get your teen a dedicated shower speaker, one with a 33-foot range and up to 10 hours of battery life. iFox backs this with a 12-month, no-risk, money-back guarantee. What have you got to lose? A microphone that plugs into a USB port Amazon Blue Snowball iCE Condenser Microphone, available at Amazon, $40We bet you haven't considered giving your teen a microphone before. It is a bit of an unconventional holiday gift, but one that teens will love whether they have their own Twitch or YouTube channel, or produce their own podcast. It's an outstanding plug-and-play microphone solution that delivers crystal clear audio to your recordings, all while looking cool and retro. An action camera that will record their adventures Les Shu/Insider GoPro Hero 10 Black, available at B&H, $450Teens, especially active and adventurous ones, are always up to something new and exciting, whether it's taking an electric skateboard out for a spin or taking on the latest TikTok trends. And, a GoPro action camera will let them record those exploits with friends hands-free. This latest one is obviously the best with 5.3K Ultra HD recording, 23MP still images, and improved HyperSmooth stabilization. A bike helmet with built-in turn signals Amazon Lumos Smart Bike Helmet, available at Amazon, from $199.95This is the perfect helmet for a bike and, most importantly, to protect your teen's head. The helmet pairs with the Lumos app as well as the wireless handlebar remote so you can let drivers know when you're turning. Finally, it has auto brake lights. All these features help keep teens even safer while they're out on the streets. A smart speaker that helps keep them organized Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen), available at Amazon, $34.99 With the help of Alexa, this mini smart speaker is capable of doing a host of things, from playing your teen's favorite tunes on Spotify or Amazon Music to controlling other smart devices and setting reminders and schedules hands-free. It'll even tell jokes and play trivia games. Teens have a lot going on in their lives, and this gadget is among the best tools they can use to stay organized. A smart outlet plug with support for voice control Amazon Gosund Multi Wi-Fi Smart Outlet, available on Walmart, $18.99Today's smart plugs are like the Clapper on steroids. Teens can control their lights, fans, and more from anywhere with the free app that works on both iOS and Android devices – or with an Amazon Echo device. This is another one that parents will also like since it might make a dent on the steep electricity bill. A laptop with great durability and battery life Apple Apple MacBook Air with Apple M1 Chip, available at Amazon, $899.00If you're looking to splurge on your kid, then the latest MacBook Air will go a long way. This thin and light 13-inch comes with 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD storage, as well as Apple's M1 chip, should get them through daily homework, projects and papers, while letting them play games and enjoy some streaming post-school work. And, since Apple's laptops are practically built like a tank, you'll have the peace of mind that it'll survive some beatings. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 5th, 2021

29 thoughtful Christmas gifts on Amazon for every person in your life

In the huge sea of products on Amazon, there are plenty of gems to be found. Here are the best Amazon Christmas gifts for everyone on your list. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. The Echo Dot is one of many great gift ideas available on Amazon. Christian de Looper/Business Insider You can get pretty much anything on Amazon, which makes it a convenient site for holiday gifts. From candles to speakers, these Amazon gift ideas will help you check off every person on your shopping list. Still looking for a gift? Check out our list of the All-Time Best products we've ever tested. Even during a year when online shoppers can expect delays, Amazon remains a reliable retailer with fast delivery options for Prime members. Although the quick delivery is convenient, searching through Amazon's millions of products to find the perfect gift for every recipient can be a time-consuming endeavor.To help speed up your search, we rounded up recommendations for thoughtful and interesting gifts that are ideal for everyone on your shopping list. From the friend who's obsessed with spicy food to the family member who loves binge-watching new shows, our list includes Amazon gift ideas for all interests.Here are the 29 best Amazon Christmas gifts for every recipient: For the puzzle buff Amazon Houseplant Jungle 1,000 Piece Jigsaw Puzzle, $16.99This stunning, 1,000 piece project is the perfect gift for anyone who enjoys completing jigsaw puzzles, especially if they have a green thumb. The Houseplant Jungle puzzle features artwork with over 50 plants in beautiful shades of green and measures 20 inches by 27 inches when completed. For the binge-watcher Hulu Hulu Gift Card, from $25Friends and family members who are always streaming the latest TV shows and movies will appreciate a digital gift card to Hulu. Compatible with new and existing subscriptions, the gift card is sent via email to your recipient and comes in $25, $50, and $100 options.Ad-supported Hulu costs $7 a month and ad-free Hulu costs $13 a month, so a $50 Hulu gift card will provide your recipient with seven months of Hulu Basic or just under four months of Hulu Premium. From critically acclaimed original series like "The Handmaid's Tale" to network shows like "The Bachelorette," there's entertainment for everyone to watch on Hulu. For the spicy food fanatic Amazon DIY Hot Sauce Making Kit, $49.99Any gift recipient who loves spicy foods will enjoy controlling the heat and making a custom concoction with this DIY hot sauce kit. In addition to useful items like a funnel, glass bottles, and a recipe pamphlet, this quality package has all the ingredients needed to make a homemade hot sauce, including apple cider vinegar, ancho pasillas peppers, chipotle peppers, habanero peppers, and even a ghost pepper. For gamers on the go Amazon Hard Shell Travel and Storage Case for Nintendo Switch, $27.60As more Americans get vaccinated and feel comfortable traveling, many Nintendo Switch consoles that were purchased during the height of the coronavirus lockdown may be taken outside of the home for the first time. Whether the console is brought on an airplane, a road trip, or just to a friend's apartment, a hard shell case can give your giftee peace of mind.This black case from Amazon Basics costs $28 and has room for the console, dock, cables, Joy-Con controller grip, and a Pro controller. For the host Amazon Slate Cheese Board Set, $26.99Help them amp up their hosting with this slate cheese board. It features handles for easy transporting and velvet pads underneath so it won't scratch their table. This setting will be a sure standout at their next dinner party.  For the photographer Amazon Kodak Mini 2 Retro Portable Instant Photo Printer, $99.99Whether they're a photography pro or have never used a camera besides the one on their iPhone, just about anyone will have fun with this portable printer. It quickly connects to any mobile device for fast printing at home or on the go. It's a fun gadget and a great gift for anyone who loves to have tangible photos of their favorite memories.  For the wine enthusiast Amazon Oster Cordless Electric Wine Bottle Opener with Foil Cutter, $19.99Forget simple corkscrews and make opening bottles a breeze with this Oster wine bottle opener. It features a sleek design and gives you the ability to effortlessly open bottle after bottle. For the music junkie Amazon Haissky Portable Bluetooth Shower Speaker, $25.99Now they can take their tunes anywhere they go — even in the shower. This speaker is fully waterproof, suctions to shower walls, and pairs with their smartphone, tablet, or computer for easy listening. If they don't feel like taking their shower show tunes to the next level, the portable speaker is also great for using in the car, on a boat, at the beach, out on their patio, or just around the house. For the breakfast fan Amazon Dash Mini Waffle Maker, $17.99The Dash Mini Waffle Maker is compact enough to keep for special occasions without cramping up your kitchen storage space. It's affordable, efficient, and likely to bring them a bit of joy. For the skincare enthusiast Aztec Secret Aztec Secret Healing Clay Mask, $14.95The Aztec Clay Mask has been called "the world's most powerful facial," and it's also under $15. It can be mixed with water, but it works best with a little bit of apple cider vinegar. You can read a full review here. For the coffee lover Amazon Breville Barista Express Espresso Machine, $599.95For the hardcore coffee lover, an instant coffee maker might not cut it. If nothing would make them happier in the morning than sipping on an espresso that tastes like the one from their favorite cafe, they need this Breville espresso machine. If you love the idea, but are looking for something a little more affordable, check out our guide to the best espresso machines you can buy.  For the cat lady Amazon Jamber Jewels Sterling Silver Cat Stud Earrings, $27Even if you don't have a cat yourself, you probably understand that owning one isn't just a choice — it's a lifestyle. Show your favorite cat lover you get it with these adorable silver studs. From afar they look like just another simple silver pair of studs, but a look up close reveals they're actually super-cute kittens.  For the commuter Amazon Audible Subscription, $15/monthAdd some excitement to their monotonous, everyday commute with an Audible subscription. For $15 a month, they'll get one audiobook and two Audible Originals that they can listen to anytime and anywhere. Plus, when you gift Audible the recipient will get 30% off any additional audiobooks they want to purchase on their own. You can choose to gift memberships for either one, three, six, or 12 months.  For the serious home chef Amazon Breville CS20001 Joule Sous Vide, $199.95If they don't have one yet, any home cook needs this sous vide machine that we named the best sous vide machine with an app in our guide. With little effort, they can make juicy, tender meats of restaurant-level quality. They'll impress themselves and their guests alike with how delicious their dishes turn out.  For the outdoors enthusiast Amazon Earth Pak Dry Bag, from $19.99Whether they're hiking, fishing, camping, or doing any outdoor activities with unpredictable weather, they'll appreciate this dry bag to keep all of their belongings safe. With sizes from 10 to 40 liters, you can pick one that's right for their needs. It even comes with a clear, waterproof phone case, so they can document their adventures with pictures, without a broken smartphone at the end of the day. For the eco-friendly Amazon Baggu Duck Tote, $32Being sustainable doesn't mean they have to sacrifice style. This tote from Baggu is roomy, adjustable, comes in plenty of fun patterns, and is made from 100% recycled cotton. If you think they'd like something a little smaller, Baggu's nylon bags are really popular, cute, and just $10.  For the artist Amazon Art 101 142-Piece Art Set, $29.99Help them get their creative juices flowing with this set of art supplies that'll let them create everything from pencil sketches to beautiful watercolors. Inside they'll find premium colored pencils, pastels, crayons, mixing palettes, brushes, and more. Everything comes in a nice wooden box with a handle, so they can easily take this with them wherever they go. For the spa regular Amazon Pre De Provence Luxury Box of Guest Gift Soap (Set of 5), Rose, $8.99These rose soaps make a thoughtful gift for anyone who loves to indulge in some quality "me time." Plus, anyone will love smelling like a fresh bouquet of roses.  For the football fan Amazon The Northwest Company NFL Handwarmer, $29.97Football fans are willing to brave the cold for their favorite team, but you can help make game day a little more bearable with this hand warmer. The weatherproof exterior and plush, insulated interior will keep their hands warm and dry, so they can focus on the game — and not the fact that their fingers are freezing.  For the 'green thumb' Amazon Indoor Herb Garden Starter Kit, $29.97 Give them the tools to keep up with their gardening habit all year long. Each set comes with five compostable peat pots, five potting soil discs, five custom wood plant markets, and a comprehensive growing guide to get started. For the bookworm Amazon Alice in Wonderland Bookmark, $22.40Add some whimsy to their next read with this Alice in Wonderland bookmark. It's sure to catch their attention, and you can be sure they'll never lose their place again.  For the student Amazon LapGear BamBoard Lap Desk, $29.99You don't even have to be a student to appreciate this lap desk — it works for just about anyone who likes to get work done from the comfort of their own bed. While the top surface is flat and sturdy enough to write on, the bottom is a tapered pillow that's comfortable to hold on your lap. It'll also keep your legs from overheating.  For the fitness enthusiast Amazon NextRoller 3-Speed Vibrating Foam Roller, $59.98Anyone who exercises often knows that a foam roller is an essential fitness tool. Not only does it relieve muscle and joint pain, a foam roller can improve flexibility, circulation, and even help speed up injury recovery. This vibrating foam roller lets them choose just the right amount of pressure to soothe sore joints and muscles, plus it feels like a massage (which you can be sure they'll appreciate).  For the pet parent Amazon Enchanted Home Pet Dreamcatcher Dog Sofa, $149.99For the pet parent whose furry friend is their world, get them a gift that their pet will find useful and comfy. This classy couch has been miniaturized to fit small dogs and cats. It's also a great gift for pet owners who don't want their pets to perch on their real couch, but still want to give them a place to sit in the living room.  For new homeowners Amazon Primitives by Kathy Striped Throw Pillow, $30.69Getting settled into a new home takes a lot of time, and a lot of decorating. If you know anyone who just moved in, this throw pillow is a thoughtful way to bring them one step closer to making their new place feel like home.  For the home decorator Amazon Rivet Modern Geometric Ceramic Planter, $34.94From their statement couch to the art on their walls, their home is impeccably decorated and, frankly, buying them a piece of home decor can be intimidating. If you so choose, go for one of these ceramic planters. They're simple enough to accentuate all kinds of spaces, but the rose color and pattern helps make them unique.  For the foodie Amazon Sabatino Truffles Pasta Night, $50This set made it into Oprah's exclusive Favorite Things giveaway last year — and if it's one of Oprah's favorite things, you can be sure the foodie in your life will love it too. White truffle oil, truffle zest, and a truffle-infused, gluten-free pasta will make for a deliciously decadent pasta night.  For the homebody Amazon Warm and Cozy Soy Candle, $20Their favorite winter pastime is curling up by a warm fire wrapped in a fuzzy blanket. Their home smells like hot cocoa, freshly baked cookies, and everything else you want on a cold day. This hand-poured soy candle — with notes of pine, orange, cinnamon, cypress, and fir — is just what they need to make their home feel even homier this holiday season.  For the techie Amazon Echo Dot (4th Generation) with Sengled Bluetooth Bulb, $34.99While there are many Amazon devices to choose from, the Echo Dot is our favorite for affordability without sacrificing quality. This set even comes with a smart bulb to get them started — or add to their existing collection of smart appliances Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 4th, 2021

14 tech gifts that will impress any gadget-loving dad this holiday

As a dad myself, I would love any combination of these techy gifts for the holidays. Our picks cover everything from tablets to record players. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. Headphones, earbuds, and tablets all make great tech gifts for any dad. Google; Apple; Amazon; Alyssa Powell/Insider There are lots of fun and helpful tech products that make excellent gifts for dads. Tile trackers make great stocking stuffers, while pricier items like the latest iPad are sure to impress. For more holiday shopping recommendations, check out all of our gift guides. The 2021 holiday season is almost here, and we've come up with some convenient tech gifts that are perfect for dads. Tech products are some of the easiest gifts to give, as they range in price, and even small accessories can prove incredibly useful for your dad. Plus, there's just something about tech that fires up those happy neurons.Whether it's an incredibly useful and low-stress screwdriver or a fun retro gaming machine - or something in between - we think there's a tech gift below that the dad in your life will love. An electric screwdriver that's easy on the hands Amazon Craftsman Max 4V Cordless ScrewdriverMax 4V Cordless Screwdriver (button)Every father out there will, eventually, be asked to pick up a screwdriver and use it. But, it's always possible they might not have the right one for the task at hand. Get rid of that concern and simplify your dad's screwdriving with the Craftsman Max 4V Cordless screwdriver.It includes 10 screw bits, and while you shouldn't expect to fix a pair of glasses with this gadget, you'll definitely be able to open almost anything in your home — including children's toys and electronics. When it comes to dads, it's tough to imagine a more universally useful gift than the Craftsman Max 4V Cordless screwdriver. A smart, learning thermostat to give dad complete control Google Google Nest ThermostatNest Thermostat (button)We all know how dad can get about the thermostat… Nest built the original smart thermostat, and since then the Nest Learning Thermostat has only gotten better under Google. The device is currently on its fourth generation, and offers deep integration with Google Assistant, plus it works with Alexa, too.Using a Nest Thermostat may even save you money, thanks to the fact that the thermostat intelligently manages your home's temperature depending on whether the user is actually there. A retro game console for deeply nerdy dads Amazon PlayStation ClassicPlayStation Classic (button)For any dad that self-identifies as a nerd, a retro revival gaming console is bound to be their "Gift of the Year." The Sony PlayStation Classic is a miniaturized version of the original PlayStation that was released in 1995, and it comes pre-loaded with 20 PlayStation classics like "Tekken 3," "Final Fantasy VII," "Metal Gear Solid," and "Ridge Racer Type 4," among several others. The latest Apple Watch to keep dad solidly in the loop Antonio Villas-Boas/Insider Apple Watch Series 7Watch Series 7 (button)The Apple Watch continues to be a great gift for dad. The Series 7 is the latest model that features health tools, like a blood-oxygen sensor and an electrocardiogram, that can help him keep tabs on his heart health. The Apple Watch Series 7 also helps ensure he gets notifications if he doesn't have his iPhone on or around him, making it easier to get in touch with him. The new model has an updated screen design as well, with narrower borders, so it's able to display the time and other "complications" more efficiently than previous Apple Watch models. Apple also made the always-on display brighter, which makes it easier to see the screen when making quick glances to check the time. The newest tiny smart speaker from Amazon Amazon Amazon Echo Dot (4th Generation)Echo Dot (4th Gen) (button)Amazon's newest Echo Dot smart speaker with Alexa looks very different compared to previous versions. The Echo Dot (4th Gen) is actually a sphere, instead of a puck, to enhance its audio capabilities. Smart speakers are useful gadgets to have around the house, and this could give your dad's space some much-needed distraction and assistance. Even better is the new Alexa Guard feature, which allows the Echo Dot to use its microphone to detect audible threats within its space and alert dad to those via their smartphone. Bring the dad in your life into the modern era in a surprisingly affordable way. A kit of smart light bulbs to kickstart their smart home Amazon Philips Hue Starter KitPhilips Hue White & Color Ambiance A19 LED Starter Kit (button)Philips has been building some of the most reliable, high-quality smart light bulbs for some time now, and the Philips Hue Starter Kit offers everything the dad in your life will need to get started with smart lighting.Philips Hue smart bulbs are compatible with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Apple's HomeKit, so you'll be able to use them in conjunction with the rest of your smart home devices. And, these particular bulbs can be set to any color you want — which makes them even more versatile. The best noise-cancelling headphones so dad can focus Sony Sony WH-1000XM4 noise-cancelling headphonesWH-1000XM4 Wireless Headphones (button)The Sony WH-1000XM4 noise-cancelling headphones are considered by many to be the best noise-cancelling headphones out there, thanks to the fact that they're sleek and stylish, very comfortable, and sound great. They even offer some smart features, like a touch surface on the ear cup for easy control.Then there's the fact these headphones offer such great noise cancellation, meaning they can cut out noises from plane engines, traffic, vacuum cleaners, and even noisy air conditioners. You can read our Sony WH-1000XM4 review here. A top-of-the-line fitness tracker for the swole dads out there Amazon Fitbit Charge 5Charge 5 (button)Maybe an Apple Watch is too much — but if the dad in your life still wants to track his fitness, then the Fitbit Charge 5 is an excellent option. The Charge 5 offers a built-in heart rate monitor, meaning that it can track a range of different activities — including walking, running, swimming, and more.It also includes GPS tracking for workouts like jogs and bike rides, blood-oxygen level measuring, and of course, steps. The device works with the excellent Fitbit app too, which offers a range of insights on how to manage your health, like how to keep up your workouts, how much weight you might be losing, and so on. Plus, it allows you to easily see the workouts you've already completed. A discreet, comfortable pair of wireless earbuds for when dad is doing things around the house Apple Apple AirPodsAirPods 3 (button)Samsung Galaxy Buds 2Galaxy Buds 2 (button)Discreet wireless earbuds are perfect alternatives to larger headphones, like the Sony WH-1000XM4, if dad prefers a little more mobility and comfort. If dad has an iPhone, then the ideal choice is Apple's AirPods. The standard $129 AirPods will likely work just fine, and the new $179 third-generation AirPods offer an upgrade in audio quality and battery life. If you know dad wants noise cancelling, the AirPods Pro ($200 at the time of writing) are your best bet. If dad has an Android phone, on the other hand, he'll love Samsung's $150 Galaxy Buds 2, which deliver stunning sound and noise cancellation. A baseline iPad that's plenty powerful ESR Apple iPad (10.2-inch, 2021)10.2-inch iPad 9th Generation (2021) (button)The latest and greatest Apple iPad offers a big 10.2-inch display, which is ideal for watching movies, playing games, FaceTime calls, and even digital doodling with new support for the second-generation Apple Pencil. The 2021 10.2-inch iPad also comes with a new and wider front camera that can follow you around a room for FaceTime calls, making it a perfect option to better keep in touch with your dad. This iPad is powered by Apple's A13 Bionic chip, which is more than fast enough for any tasks you'd normally use a tablet for.Of course, as you would expect from an Apple product, you'll also get a sleek and stylish design, and availability in a range of colors. Even better, the entry-level iPad is available at a pretty affordable price, coming in at $329. A mirrorless camera for the budding photographer dad Best Buy Sony Alpha A6000 Mirrorless CameraAlpha a6000 Mirrorless Camera (button)Sony has been building some of the better mirrorless cameras for years, and the Alpha A6000 is a perfect example of why. This package comes with a camera body, as well as a 16-50mm lens, which means that there's everything you'll need to get started right out of the box.The camera is relatively inexpensive, too. While many mirrorless cameras can range into the thousands of dollars, this camera, with the lens, is currently available for only around $650. A modern turntable to spin up dad's vinyl collection again Amazon Pro-Ject Debut Carbon EVO TurntableDebut Carbon EVO Turntable (button)Fluance RT81 TurntableRT81 Turntable (button)Perhaps the dad in your life is more of a music fan, and in that case a record player is worth considering. Though digital music is more convenient, many people still prefer the unique, warm quality of vinyl, and record sales have seen a resurgence in recent years.If your dad has an existing record collection or wants to start a new one, the Fluance RT81 is an excellent entry-level turntable. It's affordable, easy to use, supports 33-1/3 and 45 rpm playback, and even has a built-in preamp.Meanwhile, the more expensive Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Evo is a better option for more experienced users who want audiophile quality and better components. This model adds support for 78 rpm (via a second included drive belt) if your dad happens to have an older collection of albums. That said, it doesn't have an integrated preamp. A set of Bluetooth trackers to help dad from losing things Amazon Tile Essentials 4-packEssentials (4-pack) (button)Let's face it: a ton of parents have the tendency to lose things sometimes, what with the children they're so focused on. That's where the Tile Bluetooth tracker comes in. Tile trackers come in several shapes and sizes designed for a number of household objects, namely keys, phones and tablets, and gadgets like TV remotes.Using a paired smart device, you can cause these trackers to chime, and can inversely cause your paired device to chime if you happen to lose that. This essentials package features a Tile Mate, a Tile Slim, and two Tile Stickers. The Mate and Slim both have a range of 200 feet, while the Stickers have a range of 150 feet. The best e-reader holding thousands of books for bookworm dads Amazon Amazon KindleKindle (button)If the dad in your life is a bookworm, then the Kindle may be the way to go when it comes to gifts. The Kindle allows users to download thousands of books straight to the device. Plus, it's ultra portable, and has a relatively natural-looking e-ink display, which has a resolution of 167 pixels per inch and now features a front light.The Kindle is very inexpensive too, and it's available in two colors: black and white. And, it has a battery life of weeks on a single charge, which is perfect for the dads out there that aren't all that great at keeping their devices charged up. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 1st, 2021

46 work-appropriate gifts for your boss that"ll make you stand out from the team

From desk accessories and food deliveries to adult coloring books, these gifts will make your boss feel appreciated. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. If you're looking for great work-appropriate gifts, we've listed dozens of good work gift options below, from high-quality olive oil to home office upgrades. Thomas Northcut/Getty Images Show a great boss your appreciation with a thoughtful (but office-friendly) gift. Below, we rounded up some of our favorite work-appropriate gifts, from tech to coloring books. Looking for more gifts from Insider Reviews? Shop gift ideas for everyone in your life here. Whether virtually or in person, you likely spend the majority of your day with your coworkers. If you like them enough, you might even plan on getting them a gift as a thank you for all the good times in and out of the office. Giving a gift to a great boss, someone who makes a big difference in how you approach daily work activities and helps you grow professionally can feel a little trickier. Since they're your manager, it's important that your gift maintains professionalism - but still gets the message across that you appreciate their hard work. Below, we've rounded up 46 great gifts for your boss, from useful desk accessories to beautiful notebooks.The 46 best affordable, work-appropriate gifts for your boss:This list includes a Sponsored Product that has been suggested by Crowd Cow. It also meets our editorial criteria in terms of quality and value.* A three-month subscription that delivers the best teas or coffees from around the world to their door Atlas Tea Club Atlas Tea Club, Three-Month Subscription, from $60, available at Atlas Tea ClubAtlas Coffee Club, Three-Month Subscription, from $60, available at Atlas Coffee ClubThis subscription sends them delicious, unique single-origin teas or coffees from the best regions in the world for three months. It'll make each day just a little more pleasant. The best socks they'll ever wear Bombas Women's Solids Ankle Sock 4-Pack, from $47.50, available at BombasMen's Solids Ankle 4-Pack, from $47.50, available at BombasBombas makes the best socks in our closets. We've been vocal supporters of the brand for years thanks to its durability, comfort, and superior materials.Another part of Bombas' appeal is that the company donates a specifically designed pair of socks to a homeless shelter for every pair purchased. If you're not sold on those, we also like these $20 tube socks from the Parks Project — which helps fund projects in national parks.  A handmade, plantable card Etsy Plantable Seed Cards With Envelopes, $20, available at EtsySometimes the most thoughtful and appropriate gift is a handwritten card that they know you didn't just pick up in a rush. These beautiful handmade cards on Etsy support a small business and are made of seed paper, so they can plant their card and watch wildflowers grow.If you want to add something extra to show your appreciation, a Starbucks gift card is as safe as it gets.  A towel designed like their favorite city or hometown West Elm Claudia Pearson City Tea Towels, $20, available at West ElmIf they're a big fan of their current home or the town they grew up in, you can pay homage to that aspect of them with a cool, functional, and sentimental tea towel illustrated with city maps.  A small plant or bouquet for their desk The Sill Calathea Vittata, $43, available at The SillEarth & Sky Small Bouquet, $39, available at The Sill  If they've expressed an appreciation for greenery, a small plant for their workspace could help brighten a bit of each day. (Note: If they have pets, you may want to steer towards pet-friendly options).If they're less into caring for plants, The Sill also carries beautiful, unique bouquets.  A beautiful frame for their desk Framebridge The Little Gift, available at Framebridge, from $45Whether it adorns their desk in the office or their WFH station, a small frame filled with an image of their favorite memory, place, people, or pets is always appreciated. If you'd rather let them personalize it — and choose their own photo — go with a gift card. A comfortable travel-sized pillow Casper Nap Pillow, $17.50, available at CasperNot that we're encouraging sleeping on the job, but this mini pillow does make spontaneous naps very tempting. It's the smaller but equally comfortable and supportive version of one of our favorite pillows and even has its own pillowcase and travel bag.  A non-pretentious field guide to good wine Amazon The New Wine Rules: A Genuinely Helpful Guide to Everything You Need to Know, available on Amazon, $14.99If your boss enjoys the finer things (like a nice glass of wine) they'll probably like this book. In lieu of complicated or stuffy tips, "The New Wine Rules" by Jon Bonné is full of beautiful illustrations and useful, digestible tips — like a wine's expensive price tag not necessarily being indicative of its quality. Trendy olive oil that elevates any meal Brightland Alive Olive Oil, $37, available at BrightlandIf they spend a lot of time in the kitchen, they probably already know the merits of high-quality olive oil. A drizzle of Alive from Brightland adds a vibrant, zesty flavor to any dish. Plus, the beautiful bottle will look great on display in their kitchen. A relaxing adult coloring book Amazon The Art of Mandala, $4.99, available at AmazonStudies focused on the benefits of adult coloring books often reveal mandalas are the most effective designs for relaxation and induction of a meditative state. Their complex geometric patterns can be traced back to both ancient Buddhist and Hindu traditions.This affordable book contains 50 mandalas that vary in complexity and detail, so they can slowly work their way up to the most challenging patterns or work on a simple design when time is limited.  A fun desk toy Speks Speks Magnet Balls, $29.95, available at SpeksThe makers of our favorite magnetic desk toy have a new way to reduce stress and keep your boss entertained. These tiny magnetic balls make for a good mental break as well as help us stay concentrate in meetings.  A virtual helper Walmart Google Nest Mini, from $39, available at WalmartThe Google Nest Mini offers a compact, affordable smart speaker with Google Assistant built-in. They'll love being able to dim lights, control the volume on their TV, check the weather, and more, all with just the sound of their voice. Read our full review of the Google nest Mini here.This option is best for people who prefer Google's tech ecosystem. You may also want to consider the Amazon Echo Dot for Amazon users. A debut cookbook from a Michelin-starred chef Amazon "My Korea" by Hooni Kim, $22.49, at AmazonMichelin-starred chef Hooni Kim's debut cookbook is a crash course in the essentials of Korean cuisine. The book's tagline of "traditional flavors, modern recipes" is exactly what you should expect — from its take on Dolsot Bibimbap to Budae Jjigae to Hanjan's Spicy Rice Cakes.  A personalized video message from their favorite celebrity Cameo/Facebook Cameo video, from $1, available on CameoIf your workplace is less formal, you could get them a personalized message from their favorite celebrity. Whether they love a certain musician, reality TV star, comedian, or actor in a show you've both bonded over, there's a good chance you can find them on Cameo. The price will depend on the star, but there are plenty of options. A desk-friendly succulent garden The Sill/Facebook Hoya Heart Plant, $32, available at The SillThis heart-shaped succulent provides the perfect touch of greenery to any space. The miniature plant is pet-friendly and thrives in bright direct light.  Comfortable house slippers Everlane The ReNew Slipper, $65, available at EverlaneMost of us are spending a lot more time at home these days. And it's more enjoyable to do that when you're wearing some of the most comfortable slippers on the planet. We are big fans of the ReNew Slippers from Everlane — and they're relatively inexpensive. A face mask they can work out in Under Armour UA Sportmask, $30, available at Under ArmourUnder Armour's Sportmask was designed with athletes in mind, as reflected in its breathability, water resistance, and UPF 50+ sun protection. Thanks to the Sportsmask, they won't have to sacrifice their workout routine or their comfort. The best pens for their office Amazon Muji Gel Ink Ball Point Pens, $5.98, available at AmazonMuji's fine 0.38mm tip pen is a cult favorite — including among our teammates. According to the company, the water-based ink enables smooth writing, minimal bleeding, and a mechanism that helps keep the ink from drying out. If they write handwritten notes for work, they may have an outsized appreciation for this small but impactful upgrade. They're sold out on Muji, but you can still find them on Amazon. A set of notebooks with a bullet journaling system Amazon Word. 3 Pack Lined Pocket Notebooks, $12.99, available at AmazonThese small books are the perfect size for jotting down quick notes and to-do lists. Each page is printed with circles to help them set up an efficient, organized bullet journal.  A custom book embosser Etsy Custom Stamp, from $15, available at EtsyThis unique, thoughtful gift embosses books with "from the library of [their name]" by pressing down on it like a hole-puncher — it's the kind of thing most people would never buy themselves but will genuinely cherish if they receive it as a gift. They can use it on books as well as envelopes.  Three months of great hardcover books delivered to their door Book of the Month A Book of the Month subscription, from $49.99, available at Book of the MonthBook of the Month has been around for more than 90 years — and it's credited with hand-selecting and helping popularize books that range from Ernest Hemingway's "The Sun Also Rises" to J.D. Salinger's "Catcher in the Rye." With your gift, your boss will get to choose between five new hardcover options the book club suggests every month. Their favorite food from across the US Goldbelly A meal from Goldbelly, prices varyNo matter where they've spent the year, you can send them their favorite foods from across the US by using Goldbelly — the company will deliver everything from Junior's cheesecake to Lou Malnati pizza to their doorstep. Or, give them a gift card so they can pick out a treat for themselves. A kit built for the work-from-home lifestyle Macy's Pinch Provisions Work From Home Survival Kit, $20, available at Bloomingdale'sIf they're getting tired of their office being in their living room, they'll appreciate this kit that takes a bit of the strain out of working from home. A conference call bingo card, desk yoga guide, and fidget cube are just a few of the quirky (yet useful) items they'll find in this set. A desk sign with a hint of humor Uncommon Goods Desk Name Plates, from $14.99, available at EtsyIf you and your boss have a humorous rapport going, they could get a kick out of this witty take on the everyday office signage. Plus, the sleek wooden and gold design let the sign speak for itself without appearing as overly kitschy.  A healthy snack subscription Love With Food/Instagram Gift a Love With Food subscription, from $7.99/monthLove with Food delivers organic, all-natural, or gluten-free snacks that serial snackers won't feel guilty about eating. The better-for-you chips, candy, and bars come from new and trending food brands, so they'll always be excited to fuel their work day.  A leather business card holder Leatherology Business Card Case, $45, available at LeatherologyFirst impressions matter, which is why they should be pulling out business cards from a handsome leather case. It has a no-fuss, invisible magnetic closure and can hold up to 20 cards. Choose from pebbled or smooth leathers in a variety of colors, or upgrade to premium leather. You can also add a monogram for an additional $10.  A soft throw to fight freezing office temperatures Amazon Eddie Bauer Sherpa Throw, $26.24 available at Kohl'sOwners of this large, cozy throw only have good things to say about it. It's plush and warm, with one side made of micro-fleece and the other made of sherpa fleece. A gift card to a popular women's workwear shop MM.LaFleur Gift Card, from $50, available at MM.LaFleurPopular women's workwear brand MM.LaFleur makes excellent pants and blazers that are definitely an investment, but totally worth the price. Its Bento Box contains these stylish and comfortable wardrobe staples to take the headache out of getting dressed in the morning.  A phone dock that also holds flowers UncommonGoods Bedside Smartphone Vase, $32, available at Uncommon GoodsIt's a pretty vase that pulls double-duty, holding both the fresh bouquet that brightens their day and the electronics that keeps them productive. There's a groove at the bottom of the stand to keep unsightly charging cords out of the way, too.  A lightweight portable keyboard Best Buy Logitech K480 Bluetooth Multidevice Keyboard, $34.99, available at Best BuyWith a slim Bluetooth keyboard, your boss can leave the laptop at home and still get work done while traveling. We like this one because it's quiet and comfortable to type on.  Their new favorite way to make delicious cold brew Blue Bottle Hario Cold Brew Bottle, $35, available at Blue BottleIf there's anything that can power them through a long workday, it's cold brew. Just combine water and ground coffee (not included), and stick the bottle in the fridge for a refreshing caffeinated treat.  A box of Korean sheet masks Facetory/Instagram Seven Lux 1 Month Gift Subscription, $19.90, available at FaceToryThe Korean sheet masks in this box are sure to bring some much-needed relief to any stressed-out boss. The brands, which often use out-of-the-ordinary ingredients, are usually difficult to find outside of Korea, but FaceTory makes them both accessible and affordable.  A delicious and unique food gift Harry & David/Instagram Make-Your-Own Four Preserve and Butter Sampler, $31.99, available at Harry & DavidMix and match jars of fig preserves, triple berry preserves, apple butter, pumpkin butter, and more to create a sweet breakfast starter kit. The size is also perfect for their desk if they ever want a small and sweet afternoon pick-me-up.  A key cable they can bring anywhere Amazon Native Union Key Cable, from $29.99, available at AmazonThis portable cable charges up Apple devices quickly and claims to be six times stronger than the standard lightning cable, boasting a 10,000-bend lifespan. The knotted cable also looks great and makes it easy to fish out the charger from their bag.  A versatile toiletry bag to bring on their travels Dagne Dover Small Hunter Toiletry Bag, $40, available at Dagne DoverDagne Dover's durable and quick-drying neoprene is most notably featured in the brand's popular backpacks and gym bags, but it's also well-suited for this small bag that organizes your boss's life on the go. It includes a removable air mesh pouch and is available in a range of dusky colors and camo patterns.  A durable suitcase Away The Mini, from $45, available at AwayAway's highly popular mini versions of its internet-famous suitcase are back. The light and stylish polycarbonate accessory can store and protect your boss' essentials like jewelry and accessories — and it's nowhere near as expensive as a real suitcase.  A beautiful vase West Elm Barro Vases, available at West Elm, from $36A vase is a pretty foolproof gift — it's just as good for the recently engaged (or recently promoted) person as it is for someone who would always prefer a practical gift over a knick-knack.And if you're looking for something more minimalist, we recommend this version.  Enjoyable, sustainable seafood and meat Crowd Cow Check out Crowd Cow's gift bundlesCrowd Cow specializes in environmentally conscious seafood and meat that doesn't sacrifice quality, all the way down to its 100% carbon-neutral packaging. If you're not sure which gift bundle is best based on your boss' dietary preferences, stocking stuffers like jerky and rubs also make great choices.*Sponsored by Crowd Cow Desk cable clips that keep cords neat and organized Amazon Shintop 6-Piece Cable Clips Set, $4.99, available on AmazonThis small but practical gift will sort out their jumble of cords for good. If you're worried that the set doesn't look significant enough, you can pair a few of these cable clips with a nice card and some candy.  An insulated tumbler Amazon Hydro Flask 32-Ounce Travel Tumbler Cup, $34.95, available at Hydro FlaskThe ergonomic comfort of a classic tall cup plus Hydro Flask's signature double-wall vacuum insulation makes this a coffee or tea vessel they'll always keep on hand. It keeps their beverage hot for up to six hours and includes a press-in lid to prevent spills.  A luxurious candle Otherland Otherland Candles, $36, available at OtherlandWith its beautiful packaging, unique scents, and special matchbox messages, Otherland turns the otherwise ordinary candle into a cherished gift. Take advantage of its limited-edition scents while they last, or find a suitable match in its diverse Core Collection.  A way to celebrate the end of Q1 Harry & David Moose Munch Premium Popcorn Classic Tin, $44.99, available at Harry & DavidSend them this assortment of sweet and savory popcorn to get the new quarter started. This particular edition contains four decadent flavors of Moose Munch: classic caramel, milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and milk chocolate s'mores.  A decorative trinket tray Bloomingdale's Jonathan Adler Hollywood Tray, $58, available at Bloomingdale'sA sturdy and stylish stoneware tray from Jonathan Adler comes in handy for holding jewelry, accessories, and stray trinkets.  A protective cover for their AirPods case Amazon PodSkinz AirPods Case Protective Silicone Cover, $4.95, available at AmazonApple AirPods: incredibly convenient, but also incredibly easy to lose and scratch up. A silicone cover is a cheap and attractive way to protect the case protecting their beloved earbuds.  The newest smart home device Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen), $34.99, available at TargetAmazon's newest version of its bestselling smart speaker has an improved sound and look. Whether they want to coordinate a smooth-sailing smart home experience or enjoy music out loud, the Echo Dot can keep up.  A reusable utensil kit that helps them cut down on waste United by Blue Utensil Kit, $24, available at United by BlueWhen they leave the office to grab lunch (or if they're into camping and hiking), they can use these stainless steel utensils instead of plastic or paper options. It folds up conveniently so it can go with them anywhere.  Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 28th, 2021

Beijing Tells Evergrande"s Billionaire Founder To Repay The Insolvent Company"s Debts

Beijing Tells Evergrande's Billionaire Founder To Repay The Insolvent Company's Debts Hui Ka Yan, founder of China Evergrande Group, had once amassed a fortune of $42.5 billion, placing him at the top of the wealth rankings for all of Asia. But 73% of that immense fortune has now evaporated, and the tycoon will almost certainly lose even more as anxious creditors, suppliers and homebuyers besiege Evergrande’s offices. Hui Ka Yan But that's not nearly enough for Beijing. In a new twist of how China may soon conduct corporate bankruptcies, Chinese authorities told Hui Ka Yan to use his personal wealth to "alleviate" China Evergrande Group’s deepening debt crisis, Bloomberg reported according to people familiar with the matter. Beijing’s "directive" - which to us sounds just a bit m,more forceful than merely "urging" - to the Evergrande founder came after his company missed an initial Sept. 23 deadline for a coupon payment on a dollar bond, and takes place as local governments across China are monitoring Evergrande’s bank accounts to ensure company cash is used to complete unfinished housing projects and not diverted to pay creditors, the people said. According to Bloomberg, the demand that Hui to breach the corporate veil and "tap his own fortune to pay Evergrande’s debt adds to signs that Beijing is reluctant to orchestrate a government rescue, even as the property giant’s crisis spreads to other developers and sours sentiment in the real estate market." Our read is slightly different: Beijing will still have to orchestrate a government rescue because while Yan's fortune has shrank to "just" $7.8 billion from its 2017 peak of $42 billion, that would be a tiny fraction of the $300+ billion in debt and other liabilities the company owes. As such, Beijing's demand is merely a warning to other oligarchs: if your company became over indebted and is suddenly no longer viable, your own fortune will be at risk. Bloomberg's notes as much, saying that it was unclear whether Hui’s fortune is big and liquid enough to make a sizable dent in Evergrande’s liabilities, which swelled to more than $300 billion as of June. The developer’s dollar bonds are trading at deep discounts to par value as investors brace for what could be one of China’s largest-ever debt restructurings. To be sure, Beijing won't have much trouble bringing its case to the people, especially those people who lost their life savings on Evergrande Wealth Management Products: Hui’s fortune is derived from his controlling stake in Evergrande and the cash dividends he’s received from the company since its 2009 listing in Hong Kong. Hui has pocketed about $8 billion over the past decade thanks to Evergrande’s generous payouts, according to Bloomberg calculations. So, flipping Beijing's new paradigm of "shared prosperity" on its head to "shared misery", it only makes sense for Yan to lose everything as his company slowly goes under. While Evergrande surprised some China watchers by pulling back from the brink of default, paying a $83.5 million coupon to international bondholders before the grace period expired Oct. 23, the next big test will come as soon as this Friday when the 30-day grace period on another dollar coupon payment comes due. A hefty wall of maturing debt awaits in 2022, with some $7.4 billion of onshore and offshore bonds coming due. It wasn't clear where Evergrande's debt repayment funds came from. Separately, Reuters reported that Hui agreed to put his own money into a Chinese residential project tied to a bond to ensure it’s completed and bondholders get paid. Unfortunately for Evergrande's lenders, even if the billionaire backstops the debt with his personal funds, it won't make much of a difference. The property giant's operations have effectively frozen, as sales collapsed 97% in the most recent period, while there has been very little help from asset sales in recent months even after Hui put stakes in once-prized arms such as his electric vehicle and bottled water units on the block. Evergrande said last Wednesday it scrapped talks to offload a stake in its property-management arm. The deal fell apart even after officials in Evergrande’s home province of Guangdong helped broker the talks. If Yan ultimately goes along with Beijing's directive he has nobody to blame but himself... and Xi Jinping of course: Evergrande and its affiliated companies were built through an aggressive mix of debt issuance, share sales, bank loans and shadow financing - funding avenues that have been largely cut off under Beijing's recent debt crackdown. As Bloomberg notes, the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development instructed local subsidiaries across China in August to supervise funds for Evergrande’s property projects in special escrow accounts, people familiar said. Under the heightened oversight, the developer’s funds must first be used for construction to ensure project delivery. Evergrande has yet to finish homes for 1.6 million buyers who have already put down deposits. Its real estate sales plunged about 97% during peak home-buying season, further crimping its ability to generate funds. Ultimately, Yan may be lucky if he can get away from his troubles by just parting with all his money: his firm’s troubles are infecting the broader housing market, and the outcome could spark widespread popular anger which Beijing will be quick to redirect at the likes of Yan. For now this dire outcome seems unlikely: China’s banking regulator last week vowed to keep its curbs on the nation’s property market, even though the policies have weighed on indebted developers. While officials have told banks to speed up mortgage lending again, the central bank has indicated that contagion risks from Evergrande are “controllable” and unlikely to spread.Then again, that's what regulators said about Lehman too... Tyler Durden Tue, 10/26/2021 - 09:35.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 26th, 2021

Transcript: Sukhinder Singh Cassidy

     The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google, Bloomberg, and Acast. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here. ~~~ BARRY RITHOLTZ, HOST, MASTERS IN BUSINESS: This… Read More The post Transcript: Sukhinder Singh Cassidy appeared first on The Big Picture.      The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google, Bloomberg, and Acast. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here. ~~~ BARRY RITHOLTZ, HOST, MASTERS IN BUSINESS: This week on the podcast, I have an extra special guest. Her name is Sukhinder Singh Cassidy and she has had a fascinating career in technology, starting as an analyst in the investment banking group at Merrill Lynch before going west to join a company that ends up getting purchased by Amazon and she stays at Amazon for a while before leaving to join another startup then ends up doing well. She eventually takes a couple of roles at Google, Google Maps, and then running a couple of other projects, Google International Commerce. And from there, ends up launching a couple of more startups, all of which that have done very, very well. She talks about the process of risk-taking and decision-making and why you can’t think about the risk reward calculus in terms of one big win or lose choice. You have to think about a series of smaller incremental steps that all involve risk and eventually determine the path you take. It’s a good framework for both technology and finance. I thought this conversation was quite fascinating and I found her book to be intriguing as well, “Choose Possibility.” With no further ado, my conversation with Sukhinder Singh Cassidy. VOICEOVER: This is Masters in business with Barry Ritholtz on Bloomberg Radio. SUKHINDER SINGH CASSIDY, PRESIDENT, STUBHUB: My special guest this week is Sukhinder Singh Cassidy. She is a technology executive and serial entrepreneur. Previously, she was president of StubHub, her new book is “Choose Possibility: Take risks and Thrive (Even When You Fail). Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, welcome to Bloomberg. CASSIDY: Thank you so much for having me. Excited to be here. RITHOLTZ: So, let’s talk about your career which is really so interesting. It covers everything from finance and investing banking to technology. Let’s begin at the beginning. You started at Merrill Lynch in the early ’90s, a great time to start in investment banking. What motivated that decision to go into finance? CASSIDY: Well, a couple of things. Number one, I’d say the most more intelligently reason was because I wanted, sort of a base in financial literacy and financial analysis which I thought would be great for any career I had. And then the more emotional reason, honestly, I was at a top undergraduate business school in Canada and all my friends were doing it. RITHOLTZ: Right. CASSIDY: I was like, well, if they’re doing it, I should be doing it too. So, in some ways I call it — I call it a couple cat goal. I’m sure there are many ways I could’ve gotten financial literacy but I was bound and determined to keep pace with my rather competitive colleagues to get a job n Wall Street. RITHOLTZ: So, you head to New York, you start at Merrill Lynch. Any formative experiences stay with you years later, what do you most remember from that era? CASSIDY: Well, the first is, honestly, just the struggle to get the job, believe it or not. And I say that to people because often, when you look back on the careers of others, that they’re — they look so pretty from the outside. But from the inside, it took me a good year plus to get that job. I was rejected by a number of banks. Merrill didn’t even come to Canada to recruit. And they offered me one of those polite informational letters which said something like if you’re ever in New York City, we’d be happy to give you 15 — a 15-minute informational interview. And I remember saying to my father, I’m like, well, look at that. They just rejected me and he said, well, why don’t you take a train to get it, down to New York. You’ll never know. And I was at the end of my rope. I’d been searching for jobs for over a year. I said — as I said, determined to get this job and not successful and I took that train ride and 15 minutes turned into a three-hour interview. RITHOLTZ: Wow. CASSIDY: And then they accelerated me to the final process, which is for investment, it’s very competitive. I came down on a weekend and competed with all the sort of Ivy League American kids who had been through rounds of interviews, undoubtedly. And I got the job. So, it was a pretty sweet — it’s a pretty sweet success after a year and a half of trying. But it was very formative for me because it really informed and, I guess, my view of how often you have to choose keep choosing in order to get to the goal you want. RITHOLTZ: Keep banging away. So, what — what did you do for Merrill when you — when you get the job, what was it that they had you do? What were your responsibilities and what was the job like? CASSIDY: Well, and I think this is probably the second formative experience I had at Merrill. So, my role was financial analyst. Anybody who maybe has studied finance know that that’s really a job where you create pitchbooks. RITHOLTZ: Right. CASSIDY: The books with facts and details about different industries. I was in the financial services industry. And that was the entry (ph) that I was assigned to and you really create those books or what’s called managing directors who go out and pitch large companies on using their services, M&A services, IPO services, what have you. And so, the average analyst is spending, you know, days and nights, often through the night, toiling to create these perfect pitchbooks. So, I certainly had that experience but I ended up working for a pretty eclectic young managing director called Henry Michaels and Henry was, as detailed as they could get, pipe smoking, definitely capable of driving others crazy but he took a really deep and really interest in just teaching me about, believe it or not, the savings and loan industry. And I think he found me to be maybe a rough (ph) student and, I freely admit, after taking a year to get that job, I was bound and determined to be successful at it. So, I would, very inquisitive, very curious. And as a result, Henry kept stuffing me and putting me, I would say on the — on jobs with increasing responsibility. And so, pretty early on, I was going to meetings with CEOs that he would — he would set up and let me attend. Of course, I was carrying the pitchbook, but that didn’t really matter to me, the exposure did. And as a result, I ended up working on an IPO early, the Long Island Savings Bank. Henry kept giving me more and more responsibility. And in my second year, Merrill sent me to London which was unusual as well to send somebody that early and I got to go work on banking in the — in the European banking industry and had just an amazing experience. So, I give Henry Michaels a lot of credit. Henry, definitely, skipped a bunch of layers to teach me and I, as I said, maybe my best contribution was I was a rough (ph) student but the result was that, an experience where I’ve got a lot of exposure very quickly to kind of senior executive. RITHOLTZ: Really interesting. I have a specific recollection of the Long Island Savings Bank going IPO in the early, I want to say mid ’90s and eventually … CASSIDY: That was me. I was the analyst. RITHOLTZ: And eventually, it got acquired and then that company got acquired. And in a certain point, you just lose track. But this leads to an obvious question, all of your background is finance related, how did you transition to tech and what made you decide to leave the East Coast and the world of finance for the West Coast which has more of a technology bend? CASSIDY: Well, I — so, ironically, I made my way to the West Coast, not from the East Coast but via London because if you recall, Merrill sent me to London. And when I was in London, I had spent, maybe two years with the bank and its classic length of each program for two years and then they expect you, actually, to move on. So, analyst programs are two years in investment banks. So, I spent two years. They offered me a third and I really want to be, quote-unquote, “in industry.” Now, I had no idea what that meant but I wanted to work for one company. RITHOLTZ: Right. CASSIDY: And so, I was able to secure a role with the CFO at a company called British Sky Broadcasting, one of the biggest satellite broadcasters in the world. If you recall, this is part of the News Corporation, its kind of empire. And luckily, for me, I parted with my job in finance to a job in finance inside of a company at BSkyB and then I was promoted to working for the CEO and the COO there. So, actually, it’s probably a more dramatic story. I was promoted. I was working on the top floor for the — one of the two top bosses and I’d been there, I’ve been at BSkyB for only a year and I walked into my bosses’ office and I told them I quit. And he was shocked. And I said, two things are true, David. Number one, I have this epic promotion. I sit down the hallway from you, I get — I get lunch every day, I’m on the — I’m on the executive floor, I’m like but you don’t really use me. It’s true. My boss is very used to sort of operating like lone wolf as that as sort of effectively president of the company. And I said, number two, I think I want to head back to North America. I’ve been there for two and a half years and a girlfriend of mine, a very dear friend from Stanford Business School, I had visited her the year early — earlier and I fell in love with the weather in the Bay Area and this kind of sense of entrepreneurship. That’s true. I mean, for a girl who comes from Ontario, Canada, where it gets pretty darn cold, once you visit California, you sort of realize that it’s possible to live in good weather all year long. RITHOLTZ: Right. CASSIDY: But the other — but the other truth is I wanted to be an entrepreneur. My father, loves running some business. I had no idea how. I love the Bay Area for the weather and I sense that it was, that there were a lot of people starting companies. So I quit my job, I went skiing for three months and Whistler, and I moved to the — I moved to California and bought a car, drove up the coast from L.A. to San Francisco. Luckily, those friends of mine, their parents put me up at their very nice house in California until I found the job and I started over. RITHOLTZ: And how did you end up at Junglee? CASSIDY: If you can’t tell already, I was a fairly impatient young woman because, I moved a fair amount in that first six years of my career. I, as I said, I was looking for a job in the Valley. I found, what, unfortunately, the job I found was not nearly as positive experience as I’d hope. As you — as we just talked about, I actually had a really good experience with Merrill. I even had a good experience with BSkyB, if you look at the fact that I got responsibility, I was promoted. And I got to this, I found a startup end in Silicon Valley that was in interactive television which is we somewhat related to what I’ve just got in at Sky, which is a TV industry. And on second day on the job, my boss told me I was scaring the secretaries and I was like, what — what do you mean? RITHOLTZ: What does that mean? CASSIDY: What do you mean? Yes, what do you mean? I’m like I just come from two industries that are highly male dominated, nobody ever told me I was scary. And that began a rapid decline in our relationship. I felt like I wasn’t getting a lot of responsibility. He kept telling me I was the rookie that needed to be coached. And I quit six months later. Actually, fairly deflated, because I was, like, if this is what it means to be in Silicon Valley, I must be this meritocracy. I’m supposed to be having the time of my life. Maybe I’m not meant for this place. Luckily for me, I started thinking about getting another job and a recruiter called and pitched this idea of a company started by four Stanford Ph.Ds. in — who have this very cool technology. I took the interview I didn’t really understand fully the technology but I loved that. They were smart, they were thunderous. And so I switched, and luckily for me, I made the switch, Junglee ended up building a whole engine for shopping, for comparing prices across the Internet and Amazon bought the company six months later and that was the really the start of my career in Silicon Valley. Just a great experience. But following a very poor one. RITHOLTZ: Really — well, everything can’t all be wine and roses. Sometimes, they’re going to miss. Tell us a little bit about what it was like working for Amazon in ’98 and how closely did you work with Bezos back then? CASSIDY: Well, believe it or not, back then, it was a pretty small company. There was about 1,200 people. We were public. So, everybody got exposure to Jeff, myself included. And so, what are some of those early year — those early times like at Amazon? Well, first of all, as I said, everybody was — it was a small enough company that you could sit most of Amazon in one or two buildings, so we made a couple of moves where — we were all in the same building. Number two, we all had to work in the warehouse including like the very top executives at Amazon. Jeff and Rick Dalzell, like everybody had shifts over Christmas. You had no day job. You literally all had shifts in the warehouse which was a pretty amazing cultural feel. And by the way, that included, like overnight shifts. You work taking and packing books and music — books, CDs, and videos. That’s true. Jeff had bought the company because he, believe it or not, in 1998 still had this vision of a day where Amazon show you every product on the Internet whether or not they had it in stocks, so this early vision of marketplace. But Amazon at the time was just building out its own verticals. So, what was sit like? He was really the main champion of this acquisition of buying us for our technology. He used it to start version one of Amazon marketplace which he shut down several years later. So, he’s made many attempts at marketplace before he got the one that worked. And by the way, before the world was ready for it. So, it was pretty — it was a pretty neat look into how sort of visionary he was even early on, of course, not nearly as sort of daunting a presence as he might be now. Just like very accessible, pretty goofy, actually pretty quirky sense of humor. And I got to work with him specifically because I was one of the people selling new merchants, like people like Macy’s and others on the idea of putting their products on the Amazon’s website. So, I got to pitch a few different retailers with Jeff which was really cool (ph). VOICEOVER: ESG, it’s not quite as easy as ABC. Environmental, social, and governance factors now influence more than $20 trillion in assets. We’ll tell you how the ESG movement started and where it’s going on the OUTThinking Investor. A new podcast from PGIM. Listen today. RITHOLTZ: So, I know this is going to be a very fanboy question, but I have to ask because there’s a broader component about understanding or not the future, in the late ’90s, in the early 2000s, did you have any indication that Amazon would become the juggernaut that it became or was — that was early days. Hey, we think we’re going to be successful, we could be a real solid company, like, what was the view like from back then? CASSIDY: The view was not that we were going to become the juggernaut we are today as defined by Amazon’s not just a retailer but it’s like a dominant movie studio. It’s not just a movie studio, it owns a grocer. It’s not just a grocer, but it happens to own the largest infrastructure, backbone of the web called Amazon Web Services and other merchants, like no way was that obviously. As I said, like, literally, the days where we’re selling books, music, and video and launching new categories. And, Jeff, as I said, like, he was impressive but he was also a very accessible, funny, young, like, he’s only a few years older than I am, at best. And so no, I don’t, I mean, all the people that you think of now who’s quite famous, there was no indication. As I said, now, you might and I might say, wow, buying a company in 1998 to launch Amazon marketplace, certainly there were early inklings that he has a vision to sell a lot of stuff. As we say, hey, should I see this company becoming one of the larger retailers, sure? But it’s defined by what Amazon is today, yes, no way to connect it. RITHOLTZ: Quite fascinating. That’s quite fascinating. So, let’s talk about your transition from Amazon to your next venture, you co-founded a startup, tell us a little bit about Yodlee and what made you decide to say, well, this Amazon company is kind of fund, but let me see what I can build on my own. CASSIDY: Well, remember we were chatting about that rather restless and impatient young woman. I don’t think any of that dissolved when I was at Amazon, it was a great experience, by the way, and remember, I had never gone intending to be in Amazon, I had gone to a startup, right, which got buy — bought. And while Amazon was a great company, that’s in Seattle, it was now public and so there is me thinking, gosh, when am I going to get the chance to start my own company and I know many people listening to this podcast would be like, really, you left Amazon to start your own company? Is that a really smart decision? But in some ways, Amazon to me, still at the time, felt very big and I want to get there. So, I’m at Amazon, and remember, many of the founders of Junglee, you know, has made a lot of wealth. They’re certainly mentors of mine. They are even today. And they start angel investing in a number of companies in the valley. And knowing that I have this ambition, I’ve been at Amazon about a year and I get into the — I get a call one weekend that sort of said, hey, there’s this professor from UCSD who’s a computer science professor and he built this really cool technology that goes out of across the web and it gets all your financial information behind all of those sites with passwords and it puts them in one place. You can have an aggregated view of your financial life. And by the way, the technology is not the same as Junglee but it has some analogy. And they’re like, and they’re lucky for a business cofounder. They have all these engineers that they need someday to establish but there’s this model, raise the money. And so I got one of those inbound calls and through that network of angel investors who’s — who were the founders of Junglee. I flew down from Seattle to San Francisco for a weekend. I took one look at the technology and I’m suitably impressed. I was like, wow. You just grabbed all my credit balances and my bank balance and my brokerage balance in one place and gave me this aggregated view. Nobody can do that. It’s pretty revolutionary technology at the time. And they offered me the opportunity, at 29 years old, to become what’s called a cofounder of the company and the first business executive. And I just jumped at the chance. I love the technology, I love the fact that I would be with — they were engineers that this company do, again, very similar to Junglee but now, I was going to get a seat at the table as literally one of the executive team at such a young age and get to raise the money for venture capitalists, make the business plan. So, I said yes. RITHOLTZ: So they were really very early stage. CASSIDY: Yes. Yes, yes. I mean, it was 12 engineers in a room and as I said, I was the — I was effectively the first business leader to be hired at the company. RITHOLTZ: And so, I gave my notice at Amazon maybe a month later and moved right into Junglee and we raised $15 million from venture capitalists within a month of that and we were off to the raises. And thus, began kind of the six-year journey to build what today many would consider the pioneer in really aggregate your financial information. I’m really proud of the fact that Yodlee really did create a whole industry of companies that were able to access financial information using our services and our kind of technology backbone and build many of the financial outfit people use today. So, Yodlee, Yodlee had a 15-year run before it became public and I was there for the first five of those years. RITHOLTZ: So, let’s work our way through this chronology a little bit. You ended up at Junglee which gets acquired by Amazon in ’98. From ’98 to … CASSIDY: Ninety-nine, I’m at Amazon. RITHOLTZ: And then when do you leave ’90 — when do you leave Amazon … CASSIDY: Mid ’99. RITHOLTZ: So you were only — OK. Got you. CASSIDY: Yes. I was there a year, I mean. It was a year. RITHOLTZ: And you stayed — did you stay with Yodlee until they were acquired by Envestnet? CASSIDY: No. I stayed with Yodlee for five years and that time, I had every job under the son. I was predominantly responsible for the executives for not just raising the money, we’ve raised about a 100 million in the time I was there in several rounds of financing but I was — I was just responsible for sales and business development, selling our technology to all the banks and brokerage companies. And so, I stayed until in 2004. I (inaudible) our CEO at 2000 and he wasn’t going anywhere, by the way. So I always say the people tapped out of my own startup, like, literally I’d had every job. I’ve done sales, I’ve done marketing, I’ve done PR. I was our spokesperson, I raised money. And I — an in many ways, I was partnered very closed with the CEO and we had a great relationship. And in 2004, I was like, OK, now, what’s my next horizon? Like I’ve been here five years and I’ve done all of these roles but there’s like the company’s not growing fast enough to give me an entirely new career. RITHOLTZ: Right. CASSIDY: With set of challenges. And so that, I actually, for the first time, did what I call a more studied search, thinking I might start another company but also thinking that I wanted to find the right idea so I was pondering my next move, presuming I would start a company when I got the opportunity to start a new service at Google which, today we would call Local and Maps. RITHOLTZ: And let’s talk a little bit about Google Maps. It’s funny because it’s so ubiquitous today, we don’t even think twice about the miracle that is Google Maps. But back in the mid-2000s, did anybody have any idea of what a massive technological breakthrough G maps were? I remember playing with early versions of it and just head exploding, What was the thoughts like within Google about Google Maps? CASSIDY: Well, it’s — it’s a couple things. So, first of all, when I got the call, Google originally called me to come join them and I actually said no. And I said, gosh, you guys are also quite big. You’re 1,200 people. Remember in my work frame, Amazon is big at 1,2000 people, so is Google. And I says I’m going to start another company. RITHOLTZ: Hard pass. CASSIDY: I know. So funny. And Google called me back seven months later. They said — you said you wanted a startup opportunity. We have it. We have something greenfield called Maps and we said -they said, Yahoo! has a product called Yahoo! Maps, AOL has what they call MapQuest, Google has no product to help you search locally or find — navigate locally. Either you find goods or services locally or business — and navigate, right? Because Google Local is like search for business, Google Maps is search for a place. In fact, today, they’re very merged. Nobody thinks of them as different. RITHOLTZ: Right. CASSIDY: And I studied the landscape, I went into interview with Google and within two weeks, I said yes to the job because I was like, holy smokes, the yellow page industry, we have the time with those thick yellow books that everybody got to find places was a $23 billion industry in annual advertising. And I was like surely, if Yahoo! has a product and AOL has a product, Google should have a product and look at all the ad dollars available in those category and look at all the usage, it’s pretty antiquated. RITHOLTZ: Yes. CASSIDY: So, I said yes very quickly. And I do … RITHOLTZ: I have to point out that yellow books are $23 billion in revenue, the obvious answer is but not for long. CASSIDY: But not for long. I mean, look, digital really wiped that business over. By the way, there still yellow pages around the country and … RITHOLTZ: Right. CASSIDY: … around the globe but nobody would think of that as a juggernaut industry. So, yes, online really changed and transformed the face of local advertising fundamentally. But I would say I knew it would be big. I mean, that’s what lead me to go in that direction. I say what was unknown about Google service and you appreciate this, even by me, is I was paired with a product manager, I was the business person, meaning I had to go license the data for like, roads and businesses to put underneath inside of that service, right? All that data was not online. I had one product manager, Bret Taylor. Ironically, now the president of Salesforce. He was my — he’s my product manager and we had 10 engineers and the 12 of us build that product (ph) effectively. I did the business DLT, he guided the engineers. So, on one hand, the product could have been pretty straightforward like Yahoo!, AOL. But Google made two innovations that I think people will remember to this day. Number one, believe it or not, just putting the name of the road inside of the road, not on top of the road was one innovation. You’re like, the name of the road is like on the road. And visually, it’s just like a prettier experience and it’s — it’s like the map is less crowded that way. But the second innovation, and this I give a lot of credit to Sergei and Larry, early on, a guy named John Hanke showed Google, once we’ve launched local and maps, this cool technology that had satellite imagery called Keyhole and Larry and Sergei were like, we need to buy that. We’re going to overlay that on Maps. And that was the innovation, right? Overlaying satellite technology on top of maps, like hey, you can’t give me any credit as a business p person for seeing that, that was really product vision. And in that case, led by the founders. I mean, Bret like the product too but from what I recall, Larry and Sergei was really gung-ho on buying the compo and overlaying satellite technology on top of Maps. And that’s an example of sort of one of the things I admired about Google. They didn’t really care about how it would make money, it was just a very cool and differentiated in — it turns out, very useful feature to have Google Earth on top of Google Maps. But with no commercial application, just super cool, at least not then. RITHOLTZ: Well, eventually, right? Eventually. CASSIDY: Yes. But not — but like when we laid over — overlaid it, I was like, ok, I guess that this cool. I’m not going to (inaudible) to anybody but what a — what a great kind of product feature and like kind of great vision. So, those are some of the finer experiences about building Maps and then Local as well. RITHOLTZ: You mentioned the integration of Local with Google Maps. I have a suspicion that a lot of people don’t realize how tightly integrated it actually is. What — I was in pre-pandemic, I was in Paris, and we were looking for a specific restaurant and you just punched restaurant in and Google Maps knows where you are and it just shows you on the Maps, it populates all the restaurants of that type in that area. And it’s absolutely seamless and I’ve showed that the people who are much, much younger than me and they’re like, I didn’t know I could do that with Google Maps. It’s almost like a surprise feature, when really, it’s a core part of Google Maps. It’s on an Easter egg. CASSIDY: Yes. Absolutely. And to be honest, when we started the product local in maps with different things, you could type in to the Search Box, like movie theater near me and you would get literally a listing of results. Today, of course, they’ll show you the results on a Google Map as the preferred way for you to see those results. RITHOLTZ: Right. CASSIDY: I guess you could get a listing if you want but every Google search result has a map embedded and like you, I actually often do all my local searching on Google Maps. I don’t even go to the main Google website. I can, but I just go to, like, Google Maps, and I type in, like restaurants near me, and I get all of them with the reviews and the results. And so, look, very, very, very fun product to have launched into the system (ph). RITHOLTZ: So, what led you to leave Google to start Joyous? CASSIDY: Well, remember, I have one more big chapter at Google that’s probably ironically even bigger than my Local and Maps chapter because I’m — I’m at Google. We’ve launched Local and Maps and what’s happening is people are saying to me, well saying to my boss, he was the cheap business officer at Google, um, hey we have all these products that need us to license data, like we want to have — we want to have a library product, we want to have a solar product, we want to have a shopping product. By the way, we want to have a video product. So, I’ve ended up building a team that is all the licensing for all these other data, types of data that we want to put online. And so, I’m running that team, my team’s gone — I’ve gone from being individ.....»»

Category: blogSource: TheBigPictureOct 25th, 2021

What the History of Money Says About Its Future

We may be on the cusp of a currency shift now When Franklin Roosevelt told his economic advisers he was about to take the U.S. off the gold standard, they freaked out. The President was leading the country into “uncontrolled inflation and complete chaos,” one of them said. Another said it was “the end of Western civilization.” Roosevelt’s aides weren’t wild-eyed reactionaries; their view was conventional wisdom. The gold standard, almost everybody agreed, was the natural way to do money. Under its rules, anybody who wanted to could trade in paper money for a fixed amount of gold. In the U.S., $20.67 got you an ounce of gold, year in and year out. That unchanging value was the whole point of the gold standard. Take away the gold, and money would obviously be just worthless paper. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] This worldview turned out to be completely wrong. Clinging to the gold standard was part of what created the Great Depression in the first place. Leaving it in 1933 was an essential step toward economic recovery. So why were Roosevelt’s advisers, and most of the leading economists of the day, blinded by their devotion to gold? There’s this thinking error we almost always make with money. The way money works at any given moment feels like part of the natural order, as with water or gravity. Any alternative to the way money works seems like some absurd game. Paper money not backed by anything? That’s like expecting water to flow uphill! Then some political or technological or financial shock comes along, and suddenly there’s something new: paper money backed by metal, or paper money backed by nothing, or simply numbers on a screen. Pretty soon, we get used to the new money. It comes to seem like the natural state of things, and anything else is foolishness. We may be on the cusp of one of those shifts now. It’s impossible to say for sure how things will play out, but history provides some deep insights into what should make us hopeful about the future of money—and what should scare us. Money Is Technology Around A.D. 100, a Chinese court official ground up a mash of mulberry bark, rags and fishnets, and invented paper. A few centuries later, someone—maybe a Buddhist monk who was tired of writing the same sacred text again and again—carved a sacred text into a block of wood and invented printing. A few centuries after that, a merchant in the capital of Sichuan set out to solve another problem: the money his customers were using was terrible. It was mostly iron coins, and it took a pound and a half of iron to buy a pound of salt. It would be the modern equivalent of going grocery shopping with nothing but pennies. So the merchant told his customers that they could leave their coins with him. In exchange, he gave them a claim check—a piece of paper that could be used to retrieve the coins. People started using the claim checks themselves to buy stuff, and paper money was born. It was a huge hit. Pretty soon, the government took over the business of printing paper money, and it spread throughout China. In an era when there was no mechanized transport, the ability to move value around on a few pieces of paper—rather than a wagon full of metal coins—was a breakthrough. Read More: The U.S. Is Losing the Global Race to Decide the Future of Money Paper money relied on paper and printing, which were a kind of technology. But paper money itself also was a new technology—a tool that made trade easier. This led to an increased exchange of ideas and more economic specialization, which in turn meant people could grow more food and make more stuff. Paper money helped China get richer. At the same time, that new technology came with risks—it meant rulers could print lots of money, which sometimes led to ruinous inflation. Today, new technologies allow us to move money using the supercomputers in our pockets. In the coming years, technology will drive even more dramatic changes in money, as the full impact of crypto-currencies becomes clear. Like paper money, these new technologies will continue to bring new opportunities, efficiencies and risks. Money is both public and private One key dynamic to watch as digital currency evolves is the tension between the government and private firms, a theme that runs like a golden thread through the history of money. Consider the case of America in the mid–19th century, when almost any bank could print its own paper money. The $2 bill from Stonington Bank in Connecticut had a whale on the front; the $5 bill from the St. Nicholas Bank of New York City had a picture of Santa Claus. At one point, private banks were printing more than 8,000 different kinds of money. This was still the era when paper money was a claim check for gold or silver. If a bank went bust, the valuable claim check was suddenly just a piece of paper with a picture of Santa Claus on it. This presented a problem for merchants who faced customers using thousands of kinds of money. How could they know which banks were sound? For that matter, how could they tell real money from counterfeit? Publications called banknote reporters sprang up to solve both problems. They were little magazines that listed bills from all around the country, with brief physical descriptions and recommendations for whether to accept the money at full value or, in the case of shaky banks, at a discount. That world disappeared around the time of the Civil War, when a new federal tax on paper money drove most of the old banknotes out of existence. But even as the variety of paper money declined, money created by private banks persisted. Even today, banks create new money out of thin air every time they make a loan. This money, stored as balances in checking and savings accounts, is not so different from the paper money banks used to print. Well into the 20th century, depositors in the U.S. could lose their money when a bank went bust—just like their ancestors who were left holding worthless pieces of paper. It was only in the 1930s, when the federal government started insuring most bank deposits, that this risk disappeared. In other words, modern banks create money that is in turn guaranteed by the federal government. Is this money public or private? It is both! Read More: Thinking of Investing in a Green Fund? Many Don’t Live Up to Their Promises, a New Report Claims The original dream of cryptocurrency was purely private money—a currency that needed neither governments nor banks. And although this remains a technical possibility, it’s striking that more than a decade after Bitcoin was invented, almost no one uses crypto-currency in the ordinary way people use money—to buy stuff in everyday life. If crypto-currency does become ordinary money, it probably won’t be as some purely private libertarian money, but as the kind of public-private hybrid that money has almost always been. In fact, regulators have started to crack down on so-called stablecoins, a type of crypto-currency designed to substitute for our existing money. Stable money is risky money What should we worry about when we worry about the future of money? Sure, there are plenty of new cryptocurrencies whose values fluctuate wildly from week to week. But if we’re worried about broader risks—to the economy, rather than just to speculators—maybe we should focus on stablecoins. Rather than promising overnight wealth, many stablecoins offer stability with the claim that each virtual coin will be worth exactly $1 today, tomorrow and forever. As more and more people trade a growing number of crypto-currencies, stablecoins such as Tether and USD Coin have exploded in popularity. And in the history of money, we often find the promise of boring stability is ultimately more risky than the promise of quick riches. Money-market mutual funds are a telling example. They were invented in the 1970s, and the idea was to offer something that seemed like a bank account but paid higher interest. As Bruce Bent, the inventor of the money-market fund, said again and again, “The purpose of the money fund is to bore the investor into a sound night’s sleep.” Even the name is dull. Money-market funds worked like banks. Investors put money in. The fund then lent that money out, collected interest and paid some of the interest back to the investors. People and companies put trillions of dollars into money-market funds for safekeeping, and it seemed a lot like money in the bank—put a dollar in, take a dollar out, plus interest. But, unlike bank deposits, money-market fund investments were not guaranteed by the federal government. In September 2008, the investment bank Lehman Brothers went bankrupt. As it happened, a large money-market mutual fund had lent $785 million to Lehman Brothers—and the bankruptcy meant that the fund might not get that money back. Investors in the money-market fund started demanding their money back. But the fund couldn’t deliver. In the parlance of money-market mutual funds, it “broke the buck”—investors could no longer take out a dollar for every dollar they put in. The moment an asset that seemed safe suddenly seems risky can be profoundly destabilizing. Overnight, investors started trying to pull hundreds of billions of dollars out of money-market mutual funds. It was like a bank run, and as often happens in a run, the money-market funds weren’t going to be able to come up with all the money. Within a few days, as part of an effort to prevent a broader economic collapse, the federal government stepped in. The most popular stablecoins work a lot like these funds. When people buy stablecoins, some of the companies that run stablecoins turn around and invest that money. When people want to redeem their stablecoins for dollars, the creators of the coins have to sell off those investments. If the investments lose a lot of money, or if everyone suddenly wants to redeem their stablecoins at once, stablecoins might prove unstable—investors might suddenly be unable to get a dollar out for every dollar they put in. Regulators know this. And over the past few months, some of the most powerful economic officials in the country have suggested that stablecoins may soon come in for stricter regulation. The rise of stablecoins, and the government’s response, is the history of money and the future of money playing out in the present: a new monetary technology that brings new benefits, new risks and new fights between public and private interests......»»

Category: topSource: timeOct 15th, 2021

The 5 best thermometers in 2021

A reliable thermometer can accurately tell if you or your child are running a fever. We rigorously tested 10 of the top brands; here are the 5 best. Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky Every household should have an accurate digital thermometer and know how and when to use it. The CDC recommends checking your temperature before heading to work, school, or other public places. Our top pick, iProven's DMT-489, reads accurately in 1 second and can be used in-ear or on forehead. This article was medically reviewed by Benjamin Hoffman, MD, professor of pediatrics at Oregon Health and Science University. Having an accurate thermometer on hand can help tell you how severely the body is in distress - whether it's confirming that you or your baby is ill enough to need a doctor or the hospital, or if your systems are safe after being exposed to dangerous weather.A fever also one of the key symptoms of COVID-19, and many businesses, school, gyms, and other public places as you to confirm you don't have one before entering. (It's worth noting that influenza usually produces higher fevers than common colds, and not everyone with COVID19 even spikes a fever.) Luckily, getting a quick temperature reading is remarkably easy and safe these days. But the biggest variable among thermometers you can buy is really just: Is it accurate? That's why I tested 10 leading thermometers, in addition to speaking with many experts and parents on which type of home thermometer is best and other FAQs on therometers and fevers.Here are the best thermometers to check for a fever:Best thermometer overall: iProven Forehead and Ear Thermometer DMT-489Best thermometer on a budget: Vicks Comfort Flex ThermometerBest infrared non-contact thermometer: iHealth No-Touch Forehead Thermometer PT3Best thermometer for daily testing: Kinsa Quick Care Smart ThermometerBest thermometer for kids: Exergen Temporal Artery Thermometer with Smart Glow How we tested thermometers Molly Hebda/Insider I reached out to a number of pediatricians for their expert opinion on thermometers and read journal articles, "Consumer Reports," customer reviews, and even spoke with 20 parents about their temperature-taking experiences.I narrowed it down to the top 10 thermometers and tested each myself nine times over the course of three days on myself and my two kids, as well as a handful of times on my sister and two of my nieces, one of whom is an infant. I also handed off two of the infrared thermometers to Cindy Mrotek, owner of A.C.E Behavior Solutions, an essential business screening adults and children with special health care needs upon entry, for testing over the course of one week.I looked at each product's speed, size of display, mute options, memory recall, batteries, warranty options, and storage containers. I also looked hard look at:Accuracy, precision, and readability of thermometer instructions: You have to use a thermometer correctly for an accurate reading, so I evaluated the information on each product's box and inside its user manual from a health literacy perspective, including how helpful and easy to read the instructions were. Models varied, with some having a quick guide with pictures (great), information in Spanish (big bonus), or a QR code for video instructions, while others had print so tiny you need a magnifying glass to read it.  Cost and availability: Since thermometers are an essential part of an at-home health kit, they need to be affordable. Some on our list are the price of two cups of coffee, while others are upwards of $30, but we also layout how you can save money on a thermometer by using your health savings account or flex spending account.  Best thermometer overall Molly Hebda/Business Insider The iProven Forehead and Ear Thermometer DMT-489 is highly impressive with an accurate instant read in just one second, versatile use, and comprehensive instructions on quality packaging. Pros: User friendly, easy to read, nice storage pouch, precise, can be used either contactless or in-earCons: Cap to change methods difficult to snap on, no probe covers The iProven DMT-489 infrared therometer is two-in-one, as it allows you to switch from reading via an in-ear probe or a forehead setting, the latter of which is safer for infants under 3 months old.It was highly accurate in my tests, reading within 0.5-1.0 degrees again and again for forehead readings and within 0.5-0.8 degrees for ear mode. It also displays the temperature within one second.There are separate buttons for "head" and "ear," and to change from one to the other, you need to snap on or off the top cap of the thermometer, which I found a little difficult but still doable.To get an accurate ear temperature,  you have to insert and place the probe top correctly, so be sure to read the instructions thoroughly. It took me a couple of tries to feel confident taking my own temperature this way.I liked that it has a fever alarm and color temperature indication to take the guesswork out of interpreting the readings. The manual also includes a very comprehensive comparison table on how to interpret measurements based on age and method. The thermometer can also store up to 20 past readings for easy comparison. The devices comes with two AA batteries, a soft pouch for storage (great for travel and diaper bags), and cleaning instructions. It also comes with a two-year limited warranty and the option of an extended year warranty for free. Best budget thermometer Molly Hebda/Business Insider The Vicks Comfort Flex Thermometer was the most affordable of the thermometers tested, easy to use, and has a large digital screen with color-coded readings to indicate fever.Pros: Affordable, multiuse, precise, large digital display, comes with probe coversCons: Very loud beep, must turn off and on between readings, colored fever alerts misleading, coin cell battery is more annoying to replace The Vicks Comfort Flex Thermometer is easy to use right out the box: There's only one button and you have the option to use the device orally, rectally, or under the arm. Its runs on an included coin cell button battery.I found the large digital display to be the easiest to read of all the thermometers I tested. It also beeps the loudest of the group, which is especially helpful for seniors with visual and hearing impairments, but also could be a nuisance for some considering the beeping lasts a full eight seconds.The LCD screen uses a color temperature indication alongside displaying the actual number, which is generally helpful but fever isn't the same for everyone so this could be alarmist if you run hot.The precision and repeatability of the thermometer was quite good in my tests and only varied by about 0.5 degrees. Although the box says the Vicks Comfort Flex Thermometer takes 10-12 seconds to read your temperature, I found it was actually much quicker with a response time of 5 to 6 seconds orally and 6 to 7 seconds rectally. It is a little annoying that you have to turn it off and back on to take a second reading, and it is  only able to recall the last reading you took. But I did like that this model comes with 100 disposable probe covers and a protective holder, along with a one-year limited warranty and instructions in English and Spanish. Best infrared non-contact thermometer Molly Hebda/Business Insider The iHealth No-Touch Forehead Thermometer PT3 reads in just one second and makes it easy to accurately take anyone's temperature while being socially distant. Pros: Fast reading, precise, no beeping, helpful content in user manual  Cons: Vibration may be missed, prone to user error, doesn't work well for kids that won't sit stillPrior to testing the iHealth No-Touch Forehead Thermometer PT3 myself, I'd already seen it in action for pre-screening at both my dentist's office and my daughter's daycare. It seemed like a good product that offered quick readings.When I tested it myself, I found that first impression held up. Instead of a beeping alarm, the device vibrates once it has a reading, which also lights up the LED display. This is nice if you don't want a loud noise, and upon testing, I found the precision and repeatability varied only by 0.5 degrees. I also had Cindy Mrotek, whose business A.C.E Behavior Solutions screens people upon entry, try it out and she said the iHealth was a faster read compared to other infrared thermometers. However, she added it was a bit difficult to use on kids that can't sit still. I myself found the device woudn't read if it was too far away from the skin.The iHealth comes with a user manual in English and Spanish, a quick guide with pictures, two AAA batteries, and cleaning instructions. It also has a one-year limited warranty.  Best thermometer for daily testing Molly Hebda/Business Insider If you're tech-savvy and looking for a great smart thermometer, the Kinsa Quick Care Smart Thermometer can be used three ways and even allows you to contribute to public health research. Pros: Diverse way to read temps, can support multiple family members and keep temperature records separate, has great app features, contributes to public health research  Cons: Needs app to work, does not include probe covers,Every morning, I have to self-certify that my kids are free of COVID-19 symptoms before sending them off to school. A smart thermometer like the Kinsa — which stores all the readings for each individual family member on my phone and helps me monitor their baseline temperature — makes that daily routine much easier to manage.The Kinsa Quick Care Smart Thermometer connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth and uses an app, which I found easy to set up. I then created profiles for each member of my family, which includes inputting their birthdays to help the app's algorithm provide appropriate care instructions person to person. You can also add notes, symptoms, and track medication doses within the app.After each reading, the thermometer displays not only the temperature but a happy, neutral, or sad-face emoji corresponding with fever status.You can check the temperature orally, under the armpit, or rectally (they also make a separate model specific for in-ear use). Although the box says the response time is 8 seconds, I found it to read a temperature between 2 to 3 seconds when used orally. The precision varies between 0.8 and 0.5 degrees.Kinsa sits in a really unique space for both thermometers and smart equipment contributing to public health: As Hilary Brueck, Insider's Senior Health and Science reporter, has laid out, the smart thermometer has helped forecast outbreaks of both the coronavirus and the flu, including detecting fever spikes weeks before hospitals and clinics start to see an influx of patients. It's an added bonus that using this stellar, versatile, and accurate thermometer can help contribute to predicting COVID hotspots. Best thermometer for kids Molly Hebda/Business Insider The Exergen Temporal Artery Thermometer with Smart Glow was the most accurate and consistent out of all the thermometers I tested and has over 80 peer-reviewed clinical studies to back up its use on children. Pros: Most precise tested, suitable for all ages older than three monthsCons: Unintuitive, dim display, plastic cap to protect the sensor easy to lose Next to rectal thermometers, temporal artery thermometers are the most reliable way to get an accurate reading on children and babies over 3 months of age. (Use a rectal thermometer on infants under 3 months.) With the Exergen Temporal Artery Thermometer, a gentle stroke across a child's forehead captures the naturally emitted heat waves coming from the skin over the temporal artery to give a reading in 2 to 3 seconds. It can store up to eight readings. When tested repeatedly, the Exergen thermometer delivered the most consistent and precise results of any model tested on myself and my kids — within 0.3 degrees.However, unlike other models with backlight displays, the Exergen has a relatively small LCD display screen with a dim readout. It may be hard to see if you are in a dark room. However, unlike others, this thermometer wasn't as intuitive to use, despite having instructions printed directly on the back of the device, I wasn't sure if I was correctly stroking the top of the unit across the forehead. But the instruction manual had a QR code which led to videos demonstrating how to use it, which was helpful. The model comes with a 9V battery already installed, cleaning instructions, and a five-year limited product warranty.Read our guide to the best thermometers for babies and children for additional options. What else we considered Molly Hebda/Business Insider What we recommendBraun Thermoscan 7 Ear Thermometer ($38): This is a fantastic in-ear thermometer with much peer-reviewed research to back it up, and not only do we recommend it but many parents I spoke with already own it. The downsides are it takes 10 seconds to read a temp, and it's the most expensive option I tested — especially when you factor in the disposable lens filters that need replacing for accuracy and hygiene.Dr. Talbot's Infrared Forehead Thermometer, Non-Contact ($19.89): This device has comparable precision and speed to the iHealth and is designed for contactless reading of infants over 3 months, including adults. I liked this device and it was easy to operate, but it's more expensive than the iHealth and was difficult to change the settings using only the trigger. Kinsa Smart Ear Thermometer ($39.99): The Kinsa is super sleek and easy to use on yourself, which can be tricky for the ear. I also found the app to be tremendous in terms of content with very helpful instructions. Even though the readings only took a second, the precision tended to vary by 1.5 degrees.What we don't recommendCVS Health Flexible Tip Digital Thermometer ($18.49): This unit was disqualified because did not function at all. Vicks SpeedRead Digital Thermometer with Fever InSight ($9.72): Despite being called "SpeedRead," this device took 8 seconds to deliver a reading — slower than its cousin, the Vicks Comfort Flex, our best budget thermometer. Plus, I found the SpeedRead to have a metallic taste. What we're looking forward to tryingExergen Temporal Artery Thermometer Original ($42.99): We were unable to test this due to an inventory shortage at the time we were evaluating thermometers for this guide. Which type of at-home thermometer is best? Your basic digital thermometer options to choose from are: Single-use stick thermometer (marketed for rectal only) Multiuse stick thermometer (rectum, mouth, or armpit)  Tympanic thermometer (ear) Temporal artery thermometer (forehead)Tympanic and temporal thermometer (ear and forehead) Infrared non-contact thermometer (forehead)  Though there's plenty of apprehension about no-contact thermometers, a column in Ask a Pediatrician by Dr. Elizabeth Murray, an official spokesperson for the AAP, addresses those concerns directly. Murray says that "the claims about their danger are false … It is the infrared energy coming from the person that is being gathered by the thermometer, not infrared light being projected to the person."All thermometers sold in the United States must meet federal standards and are already calibrated for home use at the time of purchase. FAQs Which type of thermometer is the most accurate?Dr. John Vann, a pediatrician in Omaha, told Insider that only a rectal temperature offers a true outpatient reading. "Everything else is an estimate," he said."Luckily, the exact number is not usually as important as how the patient looks," he adds. Which is to say, there are other indicators of how severe someone's illness or condition is other than an optimally-accurate temperature reading. There are also reliable methods for checking your temperature even if you don't have access to a thermometer.No matter if you opt for an infrared thermometer or a strictly ear-based model, it's important to know fever isn't the same for everyone and that it varies by age, gender, and time of day, among other variables. Using a thermometer at various times of the day when you're feeling well gives you an idea of what's normal for you, or your baseline temperature. Which is the best thermometer for home use?Among at-home thermometers, medical research hasn't determined an exact correlation between oral, rectal, ear, armpit, and forehead temperature measurements. But Kaiser Permanente notes that an ear (tympanic) temperature is 0.5 to 1 degree higher than an oral temperature and a forehead (temporal) scanner is usually 0.5 to 1 degree lower than an oral temperature. What is the best thermometer to use for COVID?The best thermometer for COVID is really just one that is accurate and reliable. That means any of the thermometers on our list are great for checking for COVID symptoms. That being said, if you're using the thermometer on more than one person, it's best to use a contactless reader to not cross-contaminate. In that case, we highly recommend the iHealth No-Touch Forehead Thermometer PT3 or the Exergen Temporal Artery Thermometer with Smart Glow, both of which proved to be accurate and reliable in my tests.Can I use my HSA/FSA funds to buy a thermometer?If you have an HSA or an FSA account, know that over-the-counter digital thermometers are eligible for reimbursement without a prescription. Here's how it works: If you pay with cash or credit card in a store or online, you can request a reimbursement from your HSA/FSA account. Different plans have different requirements on what's needed for reimbursement but usually, a copy of your thermometer receipt will be enough.There are HSA and FSA-specific retailers, like the HSA Store and the FSA Store that make shopping for items that qualify for reimbursement really simple. According to both websites, when shoppers use an HSA or FSA card to pay, they typically don't have to submit receipts; purchases on these websites automatically substantiate. It is worth noting, however, that the thermometer options available on these websites are limited and cost more than other retailers. What counts as a fever?Many Americans think anything over 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit is a problem, but what constitutes a fever is actually different person to person.Rik Heller, a biomedical engineer and thermographic expert, tells Insider, "Age, gender, and even time of day impact normal body temperatures." Some children's temperatures especially run higher than others, points out Dr. Jesse Hackell, a practicing pediatrician with New York-based Pomona Pediatrics. Any reading of 100.4 F or higher in a baby younger than 3 months is reason to call the pediatrician. "Another reason to call is if the fever persists for more than 24 hours in children younger than two and more than three days in a child 2 years of age or older," he said.Meanwhile, older adults tend to have lower baseline temperatures than younger adults; sometimes fevers in the elderly are completely absent.To figure out what's a fever for you, you want to find your baseline temperature (i.e., what's normal for you) by checking your temperature at various times of the day when you are feeling well. At the end of the day, how you or your child is acting and feeling is the best indicator of a fever over the number on a thermometer, multiple of our doctors say. Our expert sources Jesse Hackell MD, FAAP, chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Practice and Ambulatory Medicine and a practicing pediatrician with New York-based Pomona Pediatrics, a division of Boston Children's Health PhysiciansJohn Vann, MD, FAAP, a pediatrician at Omaha Children's Clinic in Omaha, NebraskaDr. Jenifer Johnson, a family medicine physician and internist at Westmed Medical Group in Westchester, NYRik Heller, a biomedical engineer and thermographic expert who founded the clinical-grade thermometer company, WelloCindy Mrotek, business owner of ACE Behavior SolutionsAP News. Infrared thermometers used for COVID-19 testing do not pose risk to pineal gland. July 28, 2020Consumer Reports. Thermometer Buying Guide. September 23, 2016NASA. Ingestible Thermometer Pill Helps Athletes Beat the Heat. January 8, 2007EPA. Mercury Thermometers. June 26, 2018CDC. How COVID19 Spreads. October 5, 2020Business Insider. Coronavirus temperature scans are nothing more than pandemic security theater. In some cases, they're dangerous.Mayo Clinic. Thermometers: Understand the options. September 15, 2018HealthyChildren.org. When to Call the Pediatrician: Fever. November 21, 2015HealthyChildren.org. How to Take Your Child's Temperature. October 12, 2020HealthyChildren.org. Are Infrared Thermometers Safe? October 15, 2020New York Times. Can Smart Thermometers Track the Spread of the Coronavirus? March 18, 2020Kaiser Permanente. Fever Temperatures: Accuracy and Comparison. June 26, 2019HSA Store websiteFSA Store website Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 14th, 2021

The 5 Best Thermometers in 2021

A reliable thermometer can accurately tell if you or your child are running a fever. We rigorously tested 10 of the top brands; here are the 5 best. Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky Every household should have an accurate digital thermometer and know how and when to use it. The CDC recommends checking your temperature before heading to work, school, or other public places. Our top pick, iProven's DMT-511, reads accurately in 1 second and can be used in-ear or on forehead. This article was medically reviewed by Benjamin Hoffman, MD, professor of pediatrics at Oregon Health and Science University. Having an accurate thermometer on hand can help tell you how severely the body is in distress - whether it's confirming that you or your baby is ill enough to need a doctor or the hospital, or if your systems are safe after being exposed to dangerous weather.A fever also one of the key symptoms of COVID-19, and many businesses, school, gyms, and other public places as you to confirm you don't have one before entering. (It's worth noting that influenza usually produces higher fevers than common colds, and not everyone with COVID19 even spikes a fever.) Luckily, getting a quick temperature reading is remarkably easy and safe these days. But the biggest variable among thermometers you can buy is really just: Is it accurate? That's why I tested 10 leading thermometers, in addition to speaking with many experts and parents on which type of home thermometer is best and other FAQs on therometers and fevers.Here are the best thermometers to check for a fever:Best thermometer overall: iProven Forehead and Ear Thermometer DMT-511Best thermometer on a budget: Vicks Comfort Flex ThermometerBest infrared non-contact thermometer: iHealth No-Touch Forehead Thermometer PT3Best thermometer for daily testing: Kinsa Quick Care Smart ThermometerBest thermometer for kids: Exergen Temporal Artery Thermometer with Smart Glow How we tested thermometers Molly Hebda/Insider I reached out to a number of pediatricians for their expert opinion on thermometers and read journal articles, "Consumer Reports," customer reviews, and even spoke with 20 parents about their temperature-taking experiences.I narrowed it down to the top 10 thermometers and tested each myself nine times over the course of three days on myself and my two kids, as well as a handful of times on my sister and two of my nieces, one of whom is an infant. I also handed off two of the infrared thermometers to Cindy Mrotek, owner of A.C.E Behavior Solutions, an essential business screening adults and children with special health care needs upon entry, for testing over the course of one week.I looked at each product's speed, size of display, mute options, memory recall, batteries, warranty options, and storage containers. I also looked hard look at:Accuracy, precision, and readability of thermometer instructions: You have to use a thermometer correctly for an accurate reading, so I evaluated the information on each product's box and inside its user manual from a health literacy perspective, including how helpful and easy to read the instructions were. Models varied, with some having a quick guide with pictures (great), information in Spanish (big bonus), or a QR code for video instructions, while others had print so tiny you need a magnifying glass to read it.  Cost and availability: Since thermometers are an essential part of an at-home health kit, they need to be affordable. Some on our list are the price of two cups of coffee, while others are upwards of $30, but we also layout how you can save money on a thermometer by using your health savings account or flex spending account.  Best thermometer overall Molly Hebda/Business Insider The iProven Forehead and Ear Thermometer DMT-511 is highly impressive with an accurate instant read in just one second, versatile use, and comprehensive instructions on quality packaging. Pros: User friendly, easy to read, nice storage pouch, precise, can be used either contactless or in-earCons: Cap to change methods difficult to snap on, no probe covers The iProven DMT-511 infrared therometer is two-in-one, as it allows you to switch from reading via an in-ear probe or a forehead setting, the latter of which is safer for infants under 3 months old.It was highly accurate in my tests, reading within 0.5-1.0 degrees again and again for forehead readings and within 0.5-0.8 degrees for ear mode. It also displays the temperature within one second.There are separate buttons for "head" and "ear," and to change from one to the other, you need to snap on or off the top cap of the thermometer, which I found a little difficult but still doable.To get an accurate ear temperature,  you have to insert and place the probe top correctly, so be sure to read the instructions thoroughly. It took me a couple of tries to feel confident taking my own temperature this way.I liked that it has a fever alarm and color temperature indication to take the guesswork out of interpreting the readings. The manual also includes a very comprehensive comparison table on how to interpret measurements based on age and method. The thermometer can also store up to 20 past readings for easy comparison. The devices comes with two AA batteries, a soft pouch for storage (great for travel and diaper bags), and cleaning instructions. It also comes with a two-year limited warranty and the option of an extended year warranty for free. Best budget thermometer Molly Hebda/Business Insider The Vicks Comfort Flex Thermometer was the most affordable of the thermometers tested, easy to use, and has a large digital screen with color-coded readings to indicate fever.Pros: Affordable, multiuse, precise, large digital display, comes with probe coversCons: Very loud beep, must turn off and on between readings, colored fever alerts misleading, coin cell battery is more annoying to replace The Vicks Comfort Flex Thermometer is easy to use right out the box: There's only one button and you have the option to use the device orally, rectally, or under the arm. Its runs on an included coin cell button battery.I found the large digital display to be the easiest to read of all the thermometers I tested. It also beeps the loudest of the group, which is especially helpful for seniors with visual and hearing impairments, but also could be a nuisance for some considering the beeping lasts a full eight seconds.The LCD screen uses a color temperature indication alongside displaying the actual number, which is generally helpful but fever isn't the same for everyone so this could be alarmist if you run hot.The precision and repeatability of the thermometer was quite good in my tests and only varied by about 0.5 degrees. Although the box says the Vicks Comfort Flex Thermometer takes 10-12 seconds to read your temperature, I found it was actually much quicker with a response time of 5 to 6 seconds orally and 6 to 7 seconds rectally. It is a little annoying that you have to turn it off and back on to take a second reading, and it is  only able to recall the last reading you took. But I did like that this model comes with 100 disposable probe covers and a protective holder, along with a one-year limited warranty and instructions in English and Spanish. Best infrared non-contact thermometer Molly Hebda/Business Insider The iHealth No-Touch Forehead Thermometer PT3 reads in just one second and makes it easy to accurately take anyone's temperature while being socially distant. Pros: Fast reading, precise, no beeping, helpful content in user manual  Cons: Vibration may be missed, prone to user error, doesn't work well for kids that won't sit stillPrior to testing the iHealth No-Touch Forehead Thermometer PT3 myself, I'd already seen it in action for pre-screening at both my dentist's office and my daughter's daycare. It seemed like a good product that offered quick readings.When I tested it myself, I found that first impression held up. Instead of a beeping alarm, the device vibrates once it has a reading, which also lights up the LED display. This is nice if you don't want a loud noise, and upon testing, I found the precision and repeatability varied only by 0.5 degrees. I also had Cindy Mrotek, whose business A.C.E Behavior Solutions screens people upon entry, try it out and she said the iHealth was a faster read compared to other infrared thermometers. However, she added it was a bit difficult to use on kids that can't sit still. I myself found the device woudn't read if it was too far away from the skin.The iHealth comes with a user manual in English and Spanish, a quick guide with pictures, two AAA batteries, and cleaning instructions. It also has a one-year limited warranty.  Best thermometer for daily testing Molly Hebda/Business Insider If you're tech-savvy and looking for a great smart thermometer, the Kinsa Quick Care Smart Thermometer can be used three ways and even allows you to contribute to public health research. Pros: Diverse way to read temps, can support multiple family members and keep temperature records separate, has great app features, contributes to public health research  Cons: Needs app to work, does not include probe covers,Every morning, I have to self-certify that my kids are free of COVID-19 symptoms before sending them off to school. A smart thermometer like the Kinsa — which stores all the readings for each individual family member on my phone and helps me monitor their baseline temperature — makes that daily routine much easier to manage.The Kinsa Quick Care Smart Thermometer connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth and uses an app, which I found easy to set up. I then created profiles for each member of my family, which includes inputting their birthdays to help the app's algorithm provide appropriate care instructions person to person. You can also add notes, symptoms, and track medication doses within the app.After each reading, the thermometer displays not only the temperature but a happy, neutral, or sad-face emoji corresponding with fever status.You can check the temperature orally, under the armpit, or rectally (they also make a separate model specific for in-ear use). Although the box says the response time is 8 seconds, I found it to read a temperature between 2 to 3 seconds when used orally. The precision varies between 0.8 and 0.5 degrees.Kinsa sits in a really unique space for both thermometers and smart equipment contributing to public health: As Hilary Brueck, Insider's Senior Health and Science reporter, has laid out, the smart thermometer has helped forecast outbreaks of both the coronavirus and the flu, including detecting fever spikes weeks before hospitals and clinics start to see an influx of patients. It's an added bonus that using this stellar, versatile, and accurate thermometer can help contribute to predicting COVID hotspots. Best thermometer for kids Molly Hebda/Business Insider The Exergen Temporal Artery Thermometer with Smart Glow was the most accurate and consistent out of all the thermometers I tested and has over 80 peer-reviewed clinical studies to back up its use on children. Pros: Most precise tested, suitable for all ages older than three monthsCons: Unintuitive, dim display, plastic cap to protect the sensor easy to lose Next to rectal thermometers, temporal artery thermometers are the most reliable way to get an accurate reading on children and babies over 3 months of age. (Use a rectal thermometer on infants under 3 months.) With the Exergen Temporal Artery Thermometer, a gentle stroke across a child's forehead captures the naturally emitted heat waves coming from the skin over the temporal artery to give a reading in 2 to 3 seconds. It can store up to eight readings. When tested repeatedly, the Exergen thermometer delivered the most consistent and precise results of any model tested on myself and my kids — within 0.3 degrees.However, unlike other models with backlight displays, the Exergen has a relatively small LCD display screen with a dim readout. It may be hard to see if you are in a dark room. However, unlike others, this thermometer wasn't as intuitive to use, despite having instructions printed directly on the back of the device, I wasn't sure if I was correctly stroking the top of the unit across the forehead. But the instruction manual had a QR code which led to videos demonstrating how to use it, which was helpful. The model comes with a 9V battery already installed, cleaning instructions, and a five-year limited product warranty.Read our guide to the best thermometers for babies and children for additional options. What else we considered Molly Hebda/Business Insider What we recommendBraun Thermoscan 7 Ear Thermometer ($60): This is a fantastic in-ear thermometer with much peer-reviewed research to back it up, and not only do we recommend it but many parents I spoke with already own it. The downsides are it takes 10 seconds to read a temp, and it's the most expensive option I tested — especially when you factor in the disposable lens filters that need replacing for accuracy and hygiene.Dr. Talbot's Infrared Forehead Thermometer, Non-Contact ($20): This device has comparable precision and speed to the iHealth and is designed for contactless reading of infants over 3 months, including adults. I liked this device and it was easy to operate, but it's more expensive than the iHealth and was difficult to change the settings using only the trigger. Kinsa Smart Ear Thermometer ($40): The Kinsa is super sleek and easy to use on yourself, which can be tricky for the ear. I also found the app to be tremendous in terms of content with very helpful instructions. Even though the readings only took a second, the precision tended to vary by 1.5 degrees.What we don't recommendCVS Health Flexible Tip Digital Thermometer ($18.50): This unit was disqualified because did not function at all. Vicks SpeedRead Digital Thermometer with Fever InSight ($10): Despite being called "SpeedRead," this device took 8 seconds to deliver a reading — slower than its cousin, the Vicks Comfort Flex, our best budget thermometer. Plus, I found the SpeedRead to have a metallic taste. What we're looking forward to tryingExergen Temporal Artery Thermometer Original ($35): We were unable to test this due to an inventory shortage at the time we were evaluating thermometers for this guide. Which type of at-home thermometer is best? Your basic digital thermometer options to choose from are: Single-use stick thermometer (marketed for rectal only) Multiuse stick thermometer (rectum, mouth, or armpit)  Tympanic thermometer (ear) Temporal artery thermometer (forehead)Tympanic and temporal thermometer (ear and forehead) Infrared non-contact thermometer (forehead)  Though there's plenty of apprehension about no-contact thermometers, a column in Ask a Pediatrician by Dr. Elizabeth Murray, an official spokesperson for the AAP, addresses those concerns directly. Murray says that "the claims about their danger are false … It is the infrared energy coming from the person that is being gathered by the thermometer, not infrared light being projected to the person."All thermometers sold in the United States must meet federal standards and are already calibrated for home use at the time of purchase.  FAQs Which type of thermometer is the most accurate?Dr. John Vann, a pediatrician in Omaha, told Insider that only a rectal temperature offers a true outpatient reading. "Everything else is an estimate," he said."Luckily, the exact number is not usually as important as how the patient looks," he adds. Which is to say, there are other indicators of how severe someone's illness or condition is other than an optimally-accurate temperature reading. There are also reliable methods for checking your temperature even if you don't have access to a thermometer.No matter if you opt for an infrared thermometer or a strictly ear-based model, it's important to know fever isn't the same for everyone and that it varies by age, gender, and time of day, among other variables. Using a thermometer at various times of the day when you're feeling well gives you an idea of what's normal for you, or your baseline temperature. Which is the best thermometer for home use?Among at-home thermometers, medical research hasn't determined an exact correlation between oral, rectal, ear, armpit, and forehead temperature measurements. But Kaiser Permanente notes that an ear (tympanic) temperature is 0.5 to 1 degree higher than an oral temperature and a forehead (temporal) scanner is usually 0.5 to 1 degree lower than an oral temperature. What is the best thermometer to use for COVID?The best thermometer for COVID is really just one that is accurate and reliable. That means any of the thermometers on our list are great for checking for COVID symptoms. That being said, if you're using the thermometer on more than one person, it's best to use a contactless reader to not cross-contaminate. In that case, we highly recommend the iHealth No-Touch Forehead Thermometer PT3 or the Exergen Temporal Artery Thermometer with Smart Glow, both of which proved to be accurate and reliable in my tests.Can I use my HSA/FSA funds to buy a thermometer?If you have an HSA or an FSA account, know that over-the-counter digital thermometers are eligible for reimbursement without a prescription. Here's how it works: If you pay with cash or credit card in a store or online, you can request a reimbursement from your HSA/FSA account. Different plans have different requirements on what's needed for reimbursement but usually, a copy of your thermometer receipt will be enough.There are HSA and FSA-specific retailers, like the HSA Store and the FSA Store that make shopping for items that qualify for reimbursement really simple. According to both websites, when shoppers use an HSA or FSA card to pay, they typically don't have to submit receipts; purchases on these websites automatically substantiate. It is worth noting, however, that the thermometer options available on these websites are limited and cost more than other retailers. What counts as a fever?Many Americans think anything over 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit is a problem, but what constitutes a fever is actually different person to person.Rik Heller, a biomedical engineer and thermographic expert, tells Insider, "Age, gender, and even time of day impact normal body temperatures." Some children's temperatures especially run higher than others, points out Dr. Jesse Hackell, a practicing pediatrician with New York-based Pomona Pediatrics. Any reading of 100.4 F or higher in a baby younger than 3 months is reason to call the pediatrician. "Another reason to call is if the fever persists for more than 24 hours in children younger than two and more than three days in a child 2 years of age or older," he said.Meanwhile, older adults tend to have lower baseline temperatures than younger adults; sometimes fevers in the elderly are completely absent.To figure out what's a fever for you, you want to find your baseline temperature (i.e., what's normal for you) by checking your temperature at various times of the day when you are feeling well. At the end of the day, how you or your child is acting and feeling is the best indicator of a fever over the number on a thermometer, multiple of our doctors say. Our expert sources Jesse Hackell MD, FAAP, chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Practice and Ambulatory Medicine and a practicing pediatrician with New York-based Pomona Pediatrics, a division of Boston Children's Health PhysiciansJohn Vann, MD, FAAP, a pediatrician at Omaha Children's Clinic in Omaha, NebraskaDr. Jenifer Johnson, a family medicine physician and internist at Westmed Medical Group in Westchester, NYRik Heller, a biomedical engineer and thermographic expert who founded the clinical-grade thermometer company, WelloCindy Mrotek, business owner of ACE Behavior SolutionsAP News. Infrared thermometers used for COVID-19 testing do not pose risk to pineal gland. July 28, 2020Consumer Reports. Thermometer Buying Guide. September 23, 2016NASA. Ingestible Thermometer Pill Helps Athletes Beat the Heat. January 8, 2007EPA. Mercury Thermometers. June 26, 2018CDC. How COVID19 Spreads. October 5, 2020Business Insider. Coronavirus temperature scans are nothing more than pandemic security theater. In some cases, they're dangerous.Mayo Clinic. Thermometers: Understand the options. September 15, 2018HealthyChildren.org. When to Call the Pediatrician: Fever. November 21, 2015HealthyChildren.org. How to Take Your Child's Temperature. October 12, 2020HealthyChildren.org. Are Infrared Thermometers Safe? October 15, 2020New York Times. Can Smart Thermometers Track the Spread of the Coronavirus? March 18, 2020Kaiser Permanente. Fever Temperatures: Accuracy and Comparison. June 26, 2019HSA Store websiteFSA Store website Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 14th, 2021

25 Secret Santa gifts under $25 they"ll actually want to keep

If you're doing Secret Santa, do it right. Check out our list of Secret Santa gifts that won't get regifted, all under $25. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. Uncommon Goods You don't have to spend a lot on Secret Santa gifts to find something that's still special. We rounded up 25 fun gifts under $25 that they'll actually really like. Check out all of our gift guides for even more inspiration, including White Elephant gift ideas. Sign up for Insider Reviews' weekly newsletter for more buying advice and great deals In theory, Secret Santa is a great idea. In practice, it can be a little underwhelming. You could end up with that cozy scarf your best friend knew you wanted - or, you could end up with lackluster socks from your neighbor that will definitely end up in your re-gift pile.Whether you're responsible for getting a gift for someone you know really well or someone you barely do, get them a gift they won't relegate to the storage closet. If you're spending money, make it count with something they'll actually want. Don't worry, we already did the grunge work and found 25 gifts that your secret Santa recipient will love. We've got everything from the more generically-appealing, like chocolate for your sweet coworker, to the more personal, like a portable cheese melter for your cheese-obsessed friend. Plus, they're all $25 or less, so scroll with abandon.Most of these items are available with expedited shipping, and some should arrive within a few days' time, so don't stress too hard if you've left it to the last minute - just remember that the sooner you order, the better your chances of a timely arrival.Keep reading for all 25 Secret Santa gifts under $25: A LED ring light for video calls and pictures Amazon UBeezie 10" LED Ring Light with Tripod, available at Amazon, $21.99Secure the best lighting for your friend that always needs to be camera-ready. This luminous ring light is the perfect solution for getting the best angles whether it's video calls or content creation posts. The ten-inch ring light comes with a desk tripod stand, 360 degrees of adjustable phone angles, and three lighting modes with 11 brightness levels. A healthy popcorn maker Best Buy Bella 12-Cup Hot Air Popcorn Maker, available at Best Buy, $14.99This popcorn maker makes movie night at home much more easier and enjoyable as they never have to leave their spot. This must-have item pops 12 tasty cups of healthy, homemade popcorn with no oil required. A reusable bag that's cute and sustainable Baggu Standard Baggu, available at Baggu, $12If they hate single-use plastic, they'll love this cute, reusable bag. It comes in a variety of fun colors and patterns and the simple style makes it a go-to choice for bringing to the gym, grocery shopping, or even to use like a purse. Lip balm inspired by "Schitt's Creek" Beekman 1802 Rose Apothecary Tinted Lip Balm, available at Beekman 1802, $8Any fan of "Schitt's Creek" will love getting to feel like they shopped at David's chic general store, Rose Apothecary. Part of a limited edition collection, this tinted lip balm is made from natural goat milk and botanicals, and fittingly scented with the signature Beekman 1802  fragrance, Heirloom Rose.  A portable cheese melter Amazon Boska Holland Partyclette Melting Pan, available at Amazon, $16.99Melted cheese can make pretty much every meal better. If you don't believe us, check out this video to see the gooey goodness in action.  A small speaker they can fit in their pocket Amazon Rokono Bass + Mini Speaker, available at Amazon, $19.22 This speaker isn't the best in the world audio-wise (for that you'll have to spend a bit more), but for less than $20 it's a great choice. Give it the friend that values convenience, since this thing is so small they fit it in their pocket and can literally take it anywhere.  A healing Himalayan salt lamp Amazon Mineralamp Glow Salt Lamp, available at Amazon, $19.97Himalayan salt lamps have recently become a big trend in home decor, but they're also said to have healing properties that can potentially help purify the air around them. Whether they believe in the health benefits or not, anyone can enjoy the warm glow and aesthetic appeal of this hand-carved, 100% pure Himalayan salt lamp. A set of reusable straws Crate & Barrel Stainless Steel Drinking Straws, available at Sur la Table, $14.95 (set of 6)For those trying to make a positive impact on the planet, give them these reusable straws so they never have to rely on the wasteful plastic ones again. Use these for cocktails, lemonade, frozen coffee drinks, smoothies, and more. A carry-on cocktail kit to make flights a little more bearable Uncommon Goods Old Fashioned Carry-On Cocktail Kit, available at W&P, $24This kit fits right in their carry-on bag and has all of the fixings for two Old Fashioned cocktails. All they need to do is add whiskey or rye. This cocktail kit can be enjoyed at any altitude, but it will most definitely make for a fun flight activity, and help inspire future travels when the time is right.  A five-year journal that asks the big questions - and little ones, too Urban Outfitters One Question a Day Journal, available at Amazon, $14.59A gift for your ambitious friend who's always asking where you see yourself in five years. Help them answer this question for themselves, with a daily journal that poses a new question each day for five years. A letter board they can leave fun messages on Amazon Felt Letter Board, available at Amazon, $20.99This is a fun message board and a great piece of home decor all in one. They'll love using this to display mantras, messages for roommates, or just to show off some random thoughts. It comes in plenty of colors, so you're sure to find one that fits their space and aesthetic.  A french press coffee maker for their morning brew Amazon OXO Good Grips Shatterproof French Press, available at Amazon, $20.99A French press makes it easy to enjoy delicious, rich coffee every morning. It's not as quick as a Keurig (you have to let the grounds steep for a few minutes), but the results are worth the wait. Plus, they'll love that they can fill it with their favorite beans.  A face mask that calms red and irritated skin Nordstrom Mario Badescu Azulene Calming Mask, available at Amazon, $18This light, refreshing face mask is made with botanical ingredients that calm irritated skin. It's delicate on skin and will leave it looking more hydrated, even, and refreshed.  A spice set for rescuing bland pizzas Uncommon Goods Pizza Rescue Kit, available at Etsy, $15All pizza is not created equal. That's why the pizza aficionado in your life deserves this pizza rescue kit. With three flavorful spices, this set will transform even the most "meh" slices to something delicious. If you're not sold, it was made by New Yorkers — and they know good pizza.  A best-selling book for foodies Amazon "Salt Fat Acid Heat," available at Amazon, $16.67Home cooks will love honing in on their craft with this book. Don't expect just a recipe book, though. The vivid illustrations in this one help explain how to master cooking techniques by looking at those four important elements that are in everything we cook and eat.  A diary for sports, music, or movie lovers Uncommon Goods Ticket Stub Diary, available at Uncommon Goods, $14A great gift for anyone who is constantly attending shows, concerts, or sports games — and never throws away their tickets. Instead of keeping them hidden in a shoe box or desk drawer, they can use this diary, which has plastic sleeves to fit all different kinds of tickets as well as open margins on the sides where they can scribble notes to remind them of each event.  A tracker for keys, wallets, bags or any other important items they’re prone to lose Amazon Tile Mate, available at Tile, from $24.99Your forgetful friends and family will be so thankful for this gift. They can place this tracker in their wallet, purse, or phone case to make sure they never lose their things, because if they do, the Tile app makes it easy to retrace.  A cute set of planters Amazon Mkono Modern Succulent Planters, available at Amazon, $21.99 for threeHelp them add some greenery to their space with these cool concrete planters. Add some small plants if you want to complete the gift.  A mini, portable pinball machine Urban Outfitters Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, available at Amazon, $21.99This pint-sized pinball machine brings all of the fun and nostalgia of their favorite retro arcade game. It even comes with a keychain, so they can take it with them wherever they go. A cozy beanie for impending chilly days Urban Outfitters Loose Knit Beanie, available at Urban Oufitters, $15It's that time of year when everyone needs a cozy hat. With a classic cable knit, this one is as cool as it is comfortable. A cheese-making kit for chefs and foodies Thrive Market Mozzarella and Ricotta Cheese Making Kit, available at Thrive Market, $24.99The only thing better than cheese is cheese that you made with your own two hands. Cheese fiends will love the chance to make their own favorite Italian cheeses. Plus, once they learn they'll be armed with cheese-making knowledge to last a lifetime — now that's a gift that keeps on giving. A mini waffle maker for the cutest breakfast ever Urban Outfitters Dash Mini Waffle Maker, available at Target, $12.99This miniature waffle maker is adorably small and will look super cute in their kitchen. Plus, it makes for a delicious, easy breakfast. A unique hot sauce blend for an adventurous eater Uncommon Goods Gochujang Sriracha, available at Sur La Table, $9.95Give them a gift to take their hot-sauce habit to the next level. The blend of Thai sriracha and Korean gochujang is sweet, spicy, and unlike anything they've ever tasted before. A shower beer holder for mid-rinse brews Uncommon Goods Shower Beer Holder, available at Uncommon Goods, $15Shower time might not seem like the most opportune moment to crack open a cold one — that is, until now. This silicone beer holder sticks to tile (or any other glossy surface), so they can always have their favorite brew by their side, whatever time it is.  A catch-all inspired by their favorite animal West Elm Llama Trinket Dish, available at West Elm, $23.40Everyone could use a catch-all to collect the small odds and ends around the house. Llama lovers will love using this cute trinket dish modeled after their favorite animal. A set of cool coasters that's worthy of Instagram Society6 Blue Aqua Agate Coaster, $12.79 (set of 4), available at Society6Let's be real — nobody wants water stains and rings on their nice tables, but admittedly, telling guests to put down coasters first isn't the coolest move. These agate-style coasters are practical, but also add a nice aesthetic, so you'll actually want to leave them out to be used. A history lesson with their cup of tea Uncommon Goods Tea Leaf Reading Set, $23, available at Uncommon GoodsGive tea lovers the chance to try something new every day with this tea leaf reading kit. It comes with a mug, loose leaf tea, and of course a lesson that explains how to read different symbols. A convenient phone grip for texting on the go Amazon PopSockets Grip, starting at $9.97, available at AmazonThey might seem unnecessary at first, but PopSocket Grips are extremely useful. They can use them as a kickstand to prop up their tablet and to comfortably hold their phone while reading on the subway. It's a very useful way to spend $10 (or less.) An adult card game that will make parties a lot more interesting Amazon Cards Against Humanity, $25, available at AmazonIf they don't already own Cards Against Humanity, you owe it to them. It's a fun party game that always leaves everyone cackling, and I'm not the only one that thinks this — the game has over 29,000 5-star reviews on Amazon. A cute mug that lets them track their travels Uncommon Goods Color Map Mugs, $25, available at Uncommon GoodsNo matter what they're sipping on, they'll love doing so in this mug that they can completely customize. With the included markers they can color in the destinations they've been to or want to go to, for a map of the world that's unique to them.  A scratch-off bucket list to spur their next adventure Uncommon Goods 100 Things To Do Scratch Off Poster, $15, available at Uncommon GoodsThis bucket list suggests 100 unique activities to look forward to once they're safe again — from little things like "take a cooking class" to big ones like "see the Northern Lights." They can scratch each box off after they complete it to reveal a colorful image. It's a cool poster to have hanging and a definite conversation starter. A faux plant desk organizer for much needed greenery and tidiness Amazon Kikkerland Potted Pen Phone Stand, $12, available at AmazonIf they're stuck inside an office all day, they could benefit from the sight of something green. This plastic plant isn't as good as the real deal, but it adds some much-needed color and works as desk decor, plus it functions as a phone stand and organizational tool. A stylish cheese and pastry board Amazon mDesign Modern Marble Round Pastry Board, $21.99, available at AmazonFor the entertainer, this elegant marble cheese or pastry serving board will make for a great addition the next time they host a wine and cheese night. To complement the board, you can also pick up a matching wine bottle chiller. A hilarious coffee table book Uncommon Goods "F in Exams," from $7.93, available at Uncommon Goods or AmazonThis is a great gift for the person who can laugh at the little things in life, or for anyone who works as a teacher. It's a collection of hilarious wrong test answers that is sure to keep them laughing. A bestselling body moisturizer Nordstrom Kiehl's Creme de Corps, 2.5-ounce, from $11.90, available at NordstromHelp them treat their skin right with Kiehl's beloved, and super-hydrating Creme de Corps, another one of our favorite remedies for dryness. A sweet snack they'll enjoy eating Uncommon Goods Decadent Chocolate Fondue, $24, available at Uncommon GoodsSweeten up their holiday season with this incredibly easy-to-make chocolate fondue. All they have to do is heat up the stoneware containers (which are pre-filled with chocolate) and find some fruit for dipping. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 11th, 2021