Test Your Knowledge of Browser Privacy; The Amazing Benefits of Green Roofs; More in Five for Wednesday

illustration of someone incognito, with shadows and gradients

      1. Take a brief survey to find out how much you know (or don’t know) about Web browsers and their private modes. Misconceptions are apparently “significant.”
      2. And while you’re at it, review the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Surveillance Self-Defense Toolkit.
      3. New York City’s ginormous Javits Convention Center has a 6.75 acre green roof that reduces energy consumption and has saved the owners millions of dollars. There really need to be more of these in our cities.
      4. We’re several years into the smart watch lifecycle, and because of their size, watches and other wearables are still difficult to control. We’re betting we’ll see more projects like this, which turns your arm into a touchscreen.
      5. Pinterest is doing some amazing design and user experience work to make their services more accessible to those with visual impairments. Improved UX for all users isn’t just a good idea, it’s good business.

Devices That Fold, A Really Different Way to Experience Email, and More in Five for Wednesday

Welcome to Five for Wednesday, CRT Labs’ long-running (since March 2014!) series of curated tech stories.


illustration of two origami birds


      1. Rumors of foldable phones and tablets have been floating around for some time now. And while tons of things are patented that don’t wind up being built, we might see foldable form factors sooner than we thought.
      2. Smart watches can tap your wrist to, say, tell you to make a left-hand turn at the next stop light. But what if taps on your arm could “read” you your email?
      3. Estimates of the cost of cybercrime and cyberattacks reach into the hundreds of billions of dollars, which is why Microsoft President Brad Smith has started a “digital Geneva Convention.
      4. GrayKey is a device that can reportedly crack Apple device passwords fairly easily and quickly. Apple will most likely defeat this soon, but stories like this are always a good time to review your password practices. This article on GrayKey has some great security tips towards the end.
      5. If facial recognition has you a bit freaked out, you might not want to know that identifying faces from thermal imagery may be just around the corner.

Warranty Stickers Don’t Mean Anything; Fire-Detecting Wallpaper; More in Five for Wednesday

Welcome to Five for Wednesday, CRT Labs’ long-running (since March 2014!) series of curated tech stories.


illustration of peeling off a sticker


      1. Those “warranty void if removed” stickers on your computers and other possessions don’t mean a thing, according to the FCC. The upshot’s not merely aesthetic: the FCC is reminding all of us that manufacturers cannot put repair restrictions on their products.
      2. Wallpaper that contains nanowires made from two substances can detect if your house is on fire. Wow.
      3. Lots of buyers choose to buy a particular house because of the near-by amenities. This company thinks locally sourced, year-round fresh produce is one of those amenities. (This author happens to agree.)
      4. Just because we carry miniature computers in our pockets doesn’t mean we sometimes don’t need to get into our home computers from afar. Here are three of the best ways to access a computer remotely.
      5. Google Pixel phones will soon be able to send spam calls to voicemail. (Other Android devices can already do this.) Find out more here.

Increase Your Privacy, Decrease Your Carbon Footprint, and More In Five for Wednesday

Welcome to Five for Wednesday, CRT Labs’ long-running (since March 2014!) series of curated tech stories.


a photograph of an LED lightbulbs with vintage aesthetics


      1. Last week we featured a Facebook-specific browser extension designed to protect your privacy; here’s a good list of some other privacy-minded extensions.
      2. Speaking of privacy, you probably know the European Union has some strict privacy rules (they’re far stricter than those in the States). It’s going to be interesting to watch if the gap widens, and if there are any ramifications for buying and selling real estate across international borders.
      3. Sadly, a lot of tech isn’t very environmentally friendly. One way to cut down on your carbon footprint: opt out of the every-two-year smart phone upgrade cycle.
      4. Some of the tech patents recently filed by Walmart are, well, pretty out there.
      5. If you’re looking for a full-home security system, CNET has some very nice things to say about this one.