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6 nifty keychain gadgets that will make your life a little bit better

If your keychain holds nothing more than your keys, then you’re doing it wrong. 

Revamp your everyday carry situation by scooping up these limited-time deals on unique portable accessories, like lightweight carabiners and a key tracker-slash-organizer. You’ll save up to 52% on your purchase so long as you act quickly.

Pocket Samurai Titanium Keychain Knife

Armed with a stainless steel Tanto blade shaped in the classic katana form, the Pocket Samurai keychain knife aims to help you accomplish tasks with the dexterity of a legendary Japanese warrior. It’s available in two different finishes — black and gray — each of which is ultra-durable, and comes with a built-in money clip for added convenience. 

Collective Carry Glowing Vials

With a Collective Carry Glowing Vial equipped, your keychain is lit… literally. After a mere 10 to 15 minutes of sunlight exposure, these nifty, self-sustaining light sources can illuminate dark places for hours on a single charge.

Key Titan KT5 Carabiner

A modern, everyday version of one those rock-climbing doohickeys, the Key Titan KT5 Carabiner is a Grade 5 titanium tool that features two clipping areas — one for your keys and one for hanging the unit — to prevent accidental drops. Among its many innovative features is a suppression ring that shushes your jingling keys and a concealed bottle opener.

KeySmart Leather

This sleek key organizer can carry up to 10 keys within its stylish, durable leather exterior. Plus, it’s compatible with all sorts of cool add-on accessories like USB drives, bottle openers, and more; just visit the KeySmart website to upgrade your gadget. 

KeySmart Pro with Tile Smart Location

The KeySmart Pro expands upon the functionality of the original KeySmart organizer by integrating Tile™ Smart Location technology, thus making lost keys a thing of the past. Simply sign up for an account on the Tile™ app and you’ll be able to use your phone to ring or locate your keys on a map within moments. 

Bomber Carabiner Paracord Keychain

This ain’t your average keychain: Bomber’s ultra-strong gizmo is constructed from one-and-a-half meters of 550-pound, military-grade emergency braided paracord so that you’re fully prepared for virtually any survival situation. Oh, and each keychain comes with a lifetime guarantee that guarantees its durability. 

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Do You Have Astigmatism? Some Use These Viral Twitter Photos To Diagnose Themselves

Do you know what astigmatism is? A succinct post on Twitter sums up the common medical condition in two photos.

If this viral tweet from @UnusualFacts is to be believed, there are many people walking around with no idea they’ve been living with astigmatism their entire lives.

Viral Tweet Demonstrates Living With Astigmatism

The Twitter post showed two side-by-side photos of the road at nighttime with one of the photos displaying bright flares from the lights and the other without the flares. It supposedly shows how an eye with astigmatism sees the world compared to a “normal” eye.

View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter

Unusual Facts@UnusualFacts6

Astigmatism is when the cornea is slightly curved rather than completely round..

With astigmatism, light focuses on several points of the retina rather just one point. This is what people with Astigmatisms vs without.

As of writing, the tweet has more than 55,000 likes and 23,000 retweets. Plenty of people on Twitter reacted to the tweet, freaking out about finally understanding the way they’ve been seeing the world all their lives.

the new designer@hinatoes

wowwww… artists with astigmatism who draw the world as they see it vs artists without astigmatism drawing the world as they see it,,, warring over which depiction is accurate when all along it’s been like this

Mi@MamaKekkin

Holy shit I thought everyone saw the lines, when I was litttle I would squint to make em longer to entertain myself, thought that was normal

Tama@TamashiiHiroka

astigmatism makes it so hard to drive at night

The Reality Of Astigmatism

The tweet may be intriguing, but is it accurate?

According to the American Optometric Association, astigmatism occurs when the cornea or the lens of the eye is irregularly shaped. As a result, light cannot focus on the retina and vision becomes blurred.

The photos on Twitter isn’t quite the right way to see the astigmatism, though.

“Yes, it’s possible that someone can see blur that streams off an object, but the way that the picture was created, it really looks more like glare of lights,” Dr. Samuel D. Pierce, president of the American Optometric Association, explains to BuzzFeed News. “Astigmatism is not a source of glare, it’s a source of blur.”

Pierce says that people can more accurately take note of their astigmatism by simply looking at a full moon. There are many types of astigmatism, but people with any type will be able to see small and blurry ghost moons. It could be above and below the actual moon, on the sides, or at other angles.

It is true that there are plenty of people in the world who can relate to this condition. AOA reveals that most people actually live with a certain degree of astigmatism, but a very slight degree do not usually require treatment or affect vision seriously.

Students and faculty express privacy concerns over new voice technology

Emerson Launch unveiled its first voice assistant, Em, and a study app called Voicelet, both available via Amazon voice-enabled technologies, on March 21.

As the new programs launch, administrators are discussing how to incorporate Amazon Echo Dots, a voice-controlled device, on the Boston campus to promote Em and Voicelet. Some faculty members and students feel concerned about the voice assistants potentially invading their privacy. At this moment, the college has not installed Echo Dots around the campus.

Voicelet mirrors Quizlet, a website designed to help students learn material through games and virtual flashcards, except the program works with voice-enabled technology, and currently only contains study material for program developer Assistant Professor Maria Scott’s Intro to Public Relations class.

Emerson was the only non-engineering school to receive a fellowship from Amazon last August, alongside nine other colleges across the country. Amazon granted Emerson the Echo Dots on campus, Dean of the School of Communication Raul Reis said in an interview. Sanjay Pothen, director of Emerson Launch, could not provide any specific details about the grant.

Emerson administrators have discussed using the Echo Dots in public areas on campus, including the Visitor Center, WERS, the Dining Center, and common rooms.

Russell Newman, assistant professor in the Interdisciplinary Studies Department, said in an interview that the problem of potential privacy invasion was not due to the voice technology, but the tech giants that profit off of accumulating profiles on its users.

“This isn’t a technological problem; this is a social one that requires social solutions, like new regulations and new policies,” Newman said.

Reis said Emerson Launch staff members talked with different departments about their interest in acquiring Voicelet and developing other functions with voice technology. Newman and several other faculty members created a committee in late March to begin developing guidelines on how to interact with the Echo Dots in a safe way to protect privacy.

Emerson will not install any Echo Dots on campus until they receive further results from Emerson Launch and the faculty committee releases the guidelines, Reis said.

Ian Mandt, executive treasurer of the Student Government Association, said in an interview that he and a small group of SGA members talked to Pothen this semester about protecting students’ private information if the Echo Dots are installed around the campus.

“We wanted it to be pushed back more long term,” Mandt said. “I think before these devices can be placed, the issues of privacy have to be addressed.”

Scott said she believes the Echo Dots do not pose much of a danger in leaking personal information. She said she tested how much the Echo Dots could hear by speaking out loud about three subjects to the Dots in her home for a whole day. She found that no advertisements regarding the three subjects she talked about appeared on her phone. When she tried the same experiment on her phone, relevant ads appeared.

“I was relatively convinced that this [Dot] listens to me far less than the iPhone,” Scott said.

Students can access Em either by using an Echo Dot or through the Amazon Alexa phone application. Em and Voicelet are “skills” on voice-controlled devices, and they function like the apps on a phone, Pothen said. Em can provide information about on-campus activities, office addresses, sporting event schedules, the academic calendar,  and play the college’s radio station WERS, Pothen said. Users can ask questions after activating Em by saying “Alexa, launch Em.”

Pothen had groups of Emerson students come up with 150 frequently asked questions about Emerson in the fall 2018 semester. Emerson Launch coded the answers into Alexa and the students gave the voice assistant a gender neutral name—Em.

While Emerson Launch provides technical help, Scott and public relations graduate student Frida Rostoker work on the content for Scott’s Intro to Public Relations class.  They test the accuracy of the Dots and how much the content in Voicelet helps students study by gathering feedback from the 25 students in Scott’s class.

Scott said in an interview that students can practice true or false and multiple choice questions on Voicelet when studying. It also has flash card mode, which Scott designed to help students learn key words and definitions from their textbook.

Voicelet also works with multiple users. After recording every player’s name, Alexa asks each player a question. Voicelet removes each student that answers three questions wrong. Each Voicelet folder can contain 15 to 25 questions, Scott said.

Scott started using Voicelet in her classroom this semester with her 25 students. She said about half of them said Voicelet helped them study better. Scott plans to continue using Voicelet in the next academic year, when she anticipates having about 50 students in two different sections of the course. She said she hopes to use this larger sample size to update Voicelet and maximize its effectiveness.

Scott and Rostoker also hope to establish a structure for professors who wish to use Voicelet for their own classes and course material.

“What we would give them is a spreadsheet that basically has all these different tabs … and then they just have to literally fill in the blanks,” Scott said.

Reis said Emerson’s history as a school of oratory fits well with voice technology.

“We want to be able to give skills to the students if we think something is going to become very prominent, and want to be able to leverage the history that we have with voice,” Reis said.

Reis also said he thinks Emerson could lead the discussion on voice technology and the related ethical and human interaction issues, such as paraphrasing information too complicated for the technology to process.

“We don’t want this to be all technical discussions with computer science; we want this to be human discussions, too,” Reis said.

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IBM — what should we expect from technology?

“What should we expect from technology,” asks the SVP and chief marketing officer of IBM, Michelle Peluso?

This was the motivation behind her and IBM’s Dear Tech, campaign.

It seeks to ask the questions that need to be addressed as technology’s impact on our social and business lives only becomes more pervasive: is tech going to work everybody, or the few? Will AI create social good, or harm workers livelihoods?

“It’s the right time to have a conversation about what we can expect from technology,” said Peluso during a Q&A with the CMO of Okta, Ryan Carlson, at Oktane19 in San Francisco.

IBM — the 108-year-old technology brand

The first point of discussion centred around the core values of a technology company that has been around for over 100 years.

“How do you retain what’s special,” asked Carlson?

Peluso identified three areas. It’s important for “us to stay at the forefront of innovation and ask questions surrounding what technology matters and what is hype,” she said. This all comes down to research.

The second area surrounds ensuring IBM continues to be industry experts. And, this requires hundreds of thousands of consultants in hundreds of different fields.

The final area concerns trust and responsibility — “how do you usher in new technologies and prepare society,” asked Peluso?

“The brand is an expression of these three areas,” she continued.

Brand and culture should be inextricably linked. And, there is something fundamental about the IBMer — “we’re always looking towards what’s next,” said Peluso.

But, are values do not change. Regarding inclusion and diversity, IBM “established equal pay rules in 1930s and a non-discrimination policy in 1950s,” according to Peluso. They were certainly pioneers in this regard.

“My job is to be a steward of this ethos and maintain it, but also drive change. The conversation now is even more important than back then,” she said.

It certainly is, and while diversity covers many areas, from a gender perspective, the number of women in tech is falling.

In general, a large number of organisations do not see diversity as a priority; despite the obvious business benefits and knowledge that it is the right thing to do — to break stereotypes and get more minority groups into the tech industry.

Advancing women still not a priority for global organisations — IBM

IBM study reveals that advancing women is still not a priority for 79% of global organisations, and the gender gap will persist until 2073 if this trend continues. Read here

Digital transformation

At the beginning of the internet era, digital transformation surrounded how do you change the customer experience, or as Peluso described it, “the periphery of the company”.

Companies have been playing catch up with this idea for the last 20 years.

Now, companies are taking an inward-outward approach, whereby they can digitise workflows and internal operations.

“This is much more interesting and much harder work,” explained Peluso: “how do we take advantage of the data we have,” she asked?

The term, no doubt, has been dramatically overused. But, if we were to classify digital transformation: the first iteration would be changing the customer experience and the second is “how do we change ourselves”.

Tim Berners-Lee on the World Wide Web: “it seemed like a good idea at the time”

Tim Berners-Lee reflects on his invention, the World Wide Web, how it has changed and how it must be corrected. Read here

The responsible use of tech

Organisations must use technology responsibly, because of the amount of personal data that has been collected. “It is the fundamental difference now,” continued Peluso.

Organisations now have so much more information on each of us and our environment, with biometric data, for example.

Those who harness this data will lead the way, but ethical challenges arise. And with this, IBM has come up with ethical parameters that must be respected, according to Peluso: “AI must augment and not replace, AI models must be transparent, traceable and must have positive societal impact. The data is your data.”

Trust at Oktane19: the new frontier in technology

At Oktane19 in San Francisco, Information Age explores the importance of trust and identity in supporting continued technological innovation. Read here

The CMO role at IBM

At its best, marketing “has the intuition of humanity, the graceful understanding of what people need and want,” eloquently put Peluso. “Now, the marketers role is being backed by science and data. This matches that intuition with the powerful use of data.”

At IBM, she leads 10,000 people. And was charged with combining tech and software engineering into marketing.

The ambition was to go full scale into agile as a discipline.

“We needed to change the whole operation of marketing and even reimagine the office space,” she said.

“There was a huge amount of structural change, with six months required agile training.

“Many struggled and we lost plenty of marketers,” Peluso honestly conveyed.

However, once agile was instilled as a discipline, employee engagement skyrocketed. And, marketers with agile training are invaluable.

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EU launches blockchain association to accelerate distributed ledger technology adoption

At a ceremony today at the European Commission in Brussels, politicians, corporations, and a wide range of blockchain startups signed a charter to create an association whose goal is to promote the regulatory and business reforms needed to boost adoption of distributed ledger technologies.

The International Association of Trusted Blockchain Applications (INATBA) grew out of months of forums and roundtables held by the commission to create a strategy around the emerging technology. As the adoption of blockchain continues across a wide range of sectors, the European Commission has made it a priority, studying the potential impact and encouraging it across a number of initiatives.

The INATBA is one such initiative. The official charter was signed today at an event hosted by European Digital Commissioner Mariya Gabriel and Roberto Viola, the EC’s Director General of Communication, Networks, Content, and Technology.

The signees — more than 100 organizations — range from corporate giants such as Anheuser-Busch and Accenture, to some of the most influential distributed ledger startups, such as ConsenSys and Berlin-based IOTA.

“Developing a regulatory framework around distributed ledger and blockchain technologies is essential to their widespread adoption and growth,” said Dominik Schiener, cofounder and co-chair of IOTA Foundation. “We have established our own Public Regulatory Affairs team to lead this effort and are excited to be one of the founding members of INATBA. The strength and size of this association, as well as the support of the European Commission and other governments, only further shows the future limitless potential for distributed ledger technologies.”

INATBA’s mission will be to facilitate and promote DLT-related technologies by organizing forums where regulators and policymakers can interact with corporations and startups to develop the necessary regulatory incentives for the technology to evolve. In signing the charter and joining the association, the founding members agreed to a broad range of goals such as creating interoperability guidelines and standards, promoting transparency, and emphasizing inclusiveness.

The INATBA grew out of the EU Blockchain Industry Round Table, a European Commission-hosted group that studied the conditions needed for distributed ledger adoption. In April 2018, 27 EU member states signed a blockchain partnership declaration, agreeing to cooperate on related topics. And the Commission has created an EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum to boost innovation in the field.

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Bitcoin price is surging again – you should probably ignore it

Bitcoin spiked briefly above US$5 000 on Tuesday, a level it hasn’t reached since it crashed spectacularly in November. The surge pulled up other cryptocurrencies, too. But have no fear of missing out: whatever the explanation, there’s no good reason to turn bullish on crypto.

If you go to crypto websites or follow the market’s opinion leaders on Twitter, it’s clear this universe has been captured by near-euphoria in recent days. “I’ve never been more bullish about crypto than I am right now,” TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington, who runs a crypto investment fund, tweeted on 29 March.

It’s hard to understand, though, what that optimism is based on, unless you’re willing to buy “macroeconomic” explanations put forth by crypto ideologues. Former Goldman Sachs analyst Brendan Bernstein, for example, opined recently that a “perfect storm” was brewing that would favour bitcoin: the rise of democratic socialism in the US, the government’s growing interest expenses, continued money-printing and strain on the pension system from retiring baby boomers. But why would investors see bitcoin as a better safe haven than other, more traditional investments?

There has been no good news about cryptocurrencies lately — they aren’t acquiring greater acceptance as investments or payments, and the crypto experiments of central banks, governments and major companies haven’t moved beyond dabbling. There’s been bad news, though — more big hacks, more dying currencies, more pump-and-dump schemes (sometimes, the extinctions and the schemes go together).

In a recent presentation to the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Bitwise Asset Management, a company that would like to create a crypto exchange-traded fund, said 95% of crypto trading volume reported by the most popular source of such data, CoinMarketCap, was fake or “non-economic”. The fraud is taking place on dodgy exchanges, which are used for pumping and dumping or simply report huge volumes to inflate their importance. According to Bitwise, $1.2-billion in bitcoin was traded in the last 24 hours. That includes the period when the $5 000 bounce occurred.

Anyone’s guess

Bitcoin is a tiny market compared to global forex trading volumes of about $5-trillion/day. And even Bitwise, which argues that the better exchanges are well-surveilled and that the volumes there are real, cannot guarantee its numbers are free from distortions.

Given the small real trading volumes, any number of events could have caused Tuesday’s spike: a “mystery buyer” who placed a $100-million bitcoin purchase order on multiple exchanges, or even trading bots going crazy over an April Fools’ Day story saying the SEC has approved two crypto exchange-traded funds. It could be neither: perhaps enough retail investors saw all the optimistic tweets and drove the market up, which sparked a frenzy based on the fear of missing out, as sometimes happens in small, wild markets.

It doesn’t really matter. The spikes and the unjustified bursts of optimism are best ignored. Without the hype that often accompanies cryptocurrency spikes, more of the questionable “coins” would die out faster, more dodgy exchanges would fail and more scammers would move on. Meanwhile, work could continue on ironing out the underlying blockchain technology’s kinks and finding some real-world applications.  — (c) 2019 Bloomberg LP

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Liquid crystal technology could prevent idiots from distracting pilots with laser pointers

On the long list of things you should never, ever do, shining a laser pointer at an airplane is definitely very close to the top. They might seem harmless when you’re using a laser pointer to play with your cat, but the bright beams the tiny tools produce can be detrimental to a pilot’s orientation, and even cause vision damage when they strike a cockpit.

Literally thousands of reports of laser pointer “attacks” on planes are reported by pilots every year, and the idiots that do this kind of thing just don’t seem to be taking the hint. Now, researchers have developed a way for pilots to battle back against laser-wielding morons with a new windshield technology that essentially kills the lasers before they can cause a problem.

“Liquid crystal technology could prevent idiots from distracting pilots with laser pointers”Continue reading

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Tech Tips for Holiday Travel

MISSION, Kan., Dec. 17, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — (Family Features) As another busy travel season approaches, road-weary parents and families can hold on to holiday cheer a little longer by counting on tech as their preferred travel companion.

Every year, tens of millions of travelers brave planes, trains and automobiles to celebrate year-end holidays and exchange goodwill with family and friends. Consider these ideas for using tech to make this year’s travel a little easier.

Electronic Entertainment
Nearly every parent is wary of excess screen time, but holiday travel is a good time to set aside those concerns. Hours of chaotic travel, unfamiliar scenery and overall disruption to typical daily schedules can wreak havoc on kids. One way to keep those stressful feelings at bay is entertainment, and there are plenty of options that can serve as aides to keep kids calm and collected when travel gets tiresome. Handheld video games, portable DVD players and tablets can all be customized with kid-friendly content to make it from point A to point B with your sanity intact, or to simply enjoy an uninterrupted hour catching up with loved ones.

Savvy Smartphones
It‘s a trend on the rise: More than 70 percent of U.S. travelers responding to Google Consumer Insights agreed they “always” use their smartphones when traveling to research activities or attractions, locate shopping areas and restaurants, or look up directions.

For value-conscious travelers, a smartphone like the Alcatel 7 offers robust talk time, nonstop streaming and lightning-fast charging. Up to 28 hours of talk time makes it ideal for connecting with family and friends down the street or around the globe, and after just 22 minutes of charging, it can be used for up to six hours. With more than 10 hours of nonstop streaming in a single charge, kids won’t have to miss out on any social media stories or updates from their favorite vloggers while waiting for grandma‘s pecan pie to cool. Sleek and compact, the phone also features a large six-inch Full HD+ display and dual cameras that let you shoot in portrait mode. Learn more at .

Power Up
You’ve heard the tongue-in-cheek adage that technology is great when it works. One thing is sure: it won’t work if it isn’t properly charged. Take time to lay out all your devices and their respective charging equipment before you pack your bags. Fully charge all devices, install new batteries and, when you’re done, stash the cords and extra batteries in your carry-on bag where you can access them easily later.

Connectivity Crashes
If you’re planning to rely heavily on your tech devices while traveling, be sure you’re aware of any potential connectivity issues that may limit your access to certain apps and features. Remember that in certain areas signals can be spotty. If there’s essential info you may need, download it directly into your device so you can retrieve it with or without a good connection.

Protective Care
Away from home, you’re likely to encounter situations and environments that put your family’s tech devices in precarious places. Even a suitcase with liquid toiletries can pose a hazard, but a simple plastic bag can prevent damage from spills en route. Before you embark on your trip, also take steps to safeguard your tech devices with screen protectors and snug-fit covers or cases.

Michael French
 

About Family Features Editorial Syndicate
A leading source for high-quality food, lifestyle and home and garden content, Family Features provides readers with topically and seasonally relevant tips, takeaways, information, recipes, videos, infographics and more. Find additional articles and information at and .

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at

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Acura Tech Tip: Tire Fill Assist Activation

Models:
2014-current Acura vehicles

The Acura Tire Fill Assist system on some Acura models is designed to help drivers set the correct tire pressure by flashing lights and horn. But, it can activate when you are servicing the vehicle.

1. Start the vehicle and stop near the lift or bay where you are inflating the tire. Shift into Park (P) and turn off the vehicle.

2. Restart the vehicle. The tire fill assist system is activated for five minutes.

3. Fill the tire. The system beeps and the hazard lights flash once every 4 seconds as tire pressure changes while below the correct pressure.

4. When the correct pressure is reached: The system beeps and the hazard lights flash continuously for 5 seconds. Stop filling the tire.

If you overinflate: The system beeps and the hazard lights flash twice every 3 seconds.

Courtesy of Mitchell 1.

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What the Tech: Consumer hacks


When you hear someone say “computer hack”, you immediately think of the worst. Stolen identities, stolen credit cards or passwords. Some hacks are good though, the ones that make life easier.

Like this one: if you’re a parent who wants their kids to read more, use the television. Find a TV show, or better yet a movie. Whether that’s on DVD or Netflix it doesn’t make a difference. Turn on closed captioning or subtitles and turn down or even mute the sound. If kids want to know what’s happening in the movie, they’ll have to read the subtitles. I’ve found this works a little better with the sound turned so far down you can just barely hear it. That way, when there’s music or sound effects, you’ll be able to hear just enough to understand what’s happening. Low volume is more engaging for kids than turning off the sound completely.

If you find yourself visiting the same website or websites several times a day, you can make it a lot easier on yourself by creating an app for the site. Go to the site’s home page then tap the share icon. You’ll find it at the bottom of the screen using the Safari browser and at the top of the screen in a Chrome browser window.

After tapping share you’ll see several options and one of them is “add to home screen”. If you do that you’ll create a shortcut but the phone will place it on the home screen alongside other apps. For all intents and purposes you’ve just created an app for your favorite websites. In fact, some apps that you install on your phone are nothing more than shortcuts to the mobile version of their website.

You can also use that technique with some apps that use a lot of data or take up a lot of storage. Facebook is notorious at those things. To save space you can create a Facebook app and placing it on your homescreen. Then you can delete the Facebook app. Don’t worry, if it turns out to be something you do not like, you can re-install the Facebook app and you won’t lose any data or photos etc.

If you’re watching videos or listening to music through YouTube, you know it isn’t always quick and easy to adjust the volume. Instead of tapping the volume bar and holding the mouse clicker down to slide it, just hover the mouse pointer over the volume slider. You’ll be able to control the volume with the center wheel of the mouse. If it doesn’t work the first time, click anywhere on the slider and it will work from then on.

You can also use that center wheel to open links in new a new window. Just hover over a link you want to open and click the center wheel. The link opens in a new window so you don’t lose any work in other windows that are open.

Call these hacks or shortcuts, they can make life easier.

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