For some people, the holidays are all about relaxing at home. If you have extra time on your hands, do yourself a favor and organize your messy photo collection. Tap or click to see how I get the job done.
Are you visiting family? Look for your favorite old photos hanging on their walls or tucked away in albums. Tap or click for an app to scan them without any glare.
And if you laughed at the words “extra time,” I’m here for you, too. Here are a handful of simple ways to get through the holidays with a smile on your face.
The classic holiday battle: What time should you leave the house to get to your destination on time and avoid traffic?
Stop guessing and let traffic-predicting algorithms make your drive easier. Google Maps and Apple Maps offer options to help you plan your trip.
You can get a pretty accurate traffic forecast for a future date based on what the conditions are like on that day and time. Then you can fine-tune your departure time to find the ideal time to hit the road.
Here’s how to set a planned time and date for a trip in Google Maps:
Tap or click here to find out the best time to leave based on when you want to arrive — and steps to do both in Apple Maps.
Losing your bag on a flight is a drag, and it’s even worse when you have gifts tucked in your bag. Knowing where your suitcase is is easy as long as you have a tracker inside.
Apple AirTags are quarter-sized trackers that use Bluetooth from other iPhones to determine where they are. You can see the location of every AirTag associated with your account using the Find My app.
Tile trackers work similarly and are a good option for Android users.
It’s a good idea to throw one in your checked baggage. This way, you can see whether your bag makes it to your destination. But there is a time when the tracker is worthless: When your luggage travels through the airport’s inner conveyor belt system. Once your luggage is out of there, you’ll know exactly where it’s located.
I have AirTags on my keys, in my cars and on my dog. Tap or click for smart ways to get more out of these useful little trackers.
It’s not always possible to see the whole family each year. Virtual gatherings are much easier to organize since we got used to them during the pandemic.
Don’t spend a Zoom or Google Meet call wishing everyone would stop arguing about politics. Here are three simple ways to liven up your online get-together:
Jingle bell rock together: How to create and share holiday playlists with loved ones.
Ever wonder if the price you see on Amazon is the best price or — the moment you check out — that price will drop? That’s where CamelCamelCamel comes in.
It’s a price-comparison site that tracks the cost of millions of products on Amazon. You can use it to check if the item you’re considering is at a good price or if you should wait for a better deal. Here’s how it works:
To make deal hunting even easier, install the CamelCamelCamel browser extension, The Camelizer. Tap or click here for direct links to get and the steps to use it.
No one has time to go from site to site or to a bunch of different physical stores to find the best price on something. Let Google Shopping do the hard work for you. It’s easy to use and shows you prices across just about any retailer you can think of.
Here’s a nice bonus: You can even buy things right there without having to make a new account if you have payment info tied to your Google account. Select the Buy on Google filter to see your options.
Google smarts: 10 search tricks to find what you’re looking for faster on Google.
In 30 minutes, you’ll learn 1: How to find the hidden privacy report in your phone, 2: The secret to kicking moochers out of your Netflix account, and 3: My tried-and-true method for cleaning up your messy photo gallery.
Try my podcast “Kim Komando Today” on Apple, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast player.
Get more tech know-how on The Kim Komando Show, broadcast on 425+ radio stations and available as a podcast. Sign up for Kim’s five-minute, free morning roundup for the latest security breaches and tech news. Need help? Drop your question for Kim here.
Copyright 2023, WestStar Multimedia Entertainment. All rights reserved. By clicking the shopping links, you’re supporting my research. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases. I only recommend products I believe in.
The new and improved battle royale featured in Warzone 2.0 has given the already popular mode some major changes. While some additions were expected and obvious, such as maps, weapons, and contracts, others were a surprise. In the original Warzone, one of the features that set it apart from any other game in the genre was the introduction of the Gulag. This space gave players who were eliminated a chance to get back in the action by winning a duel against another eliminated player. Warzone 2.0 brings the mechanic back, but not quite in the way you remember.
The new Gulag isn’t a simple one-on-one encounter anymore. This time, you will be paired up with a teammate to face off against another team of two. This is only the first change, though, and this new Gulag has some interesting twists and mechanics that make it a lot more complicated. There’s no way to avoid getting sent to the Gulag sooner or later in Warzone 2.0, so come prepared with these tips and tricks to get back to the battlefield.
The new Warzone 2.0 Gulag will pair you up with another random player to face off against another random pair. While it is possible that you could be partnered up with someone from your squad if you happened to die at close to the same time, odds are you’re going to be relying on a stranger to help get you back to the game. This makes communication perhaps even more important in the Gulag than in a normal match since you’ve never played with this person before.
Using a mic is obviously the best way to coordinate and will be essential for a later tip, but if that isn’t an option for whatever reason, at least use the ping system to provide some sort of information to your teammate. After all, while you may be enemies outside the Gulag, for the moment, you need to trust each other to get out first.
The Gulag in Warzone was a very simple, small, and easy-to-understand layout. In Warzone 2.0, the map is much larger and even has some loot lying around to pick up in the more central locations. It will take a few times playing, but the faster you can learn all the corners, choke points, and flanking routes of the new Gulag, the better. Knowledge of the map can make the difference between starting an engagement on your terms, with the element of surprise, and getting blindsided.
On the other hand, this bigger map means you have more ways to disengage from a bad situation, so knowing where and how to best retreat will also be vital.
Finally, since every player will be dropped in with the same gear, that more powerful loot on the map is going to be a major draw and boon for the team that is able to secure it. At the same time, this makes it a perfect ambush point, so you can either risk rushing it down and grabbing it fast or camping it to try and catch the enemy while they’re vulnerable.
Just like in the first Gulag, Warzone 2.0‘s system gives everyone a random weapon to start the match with. However, one thing, at least for now, that is consistent is the Tactical gear you all are equipped with. Every player will have one smoke and one lethal grenade, and these shouldn’t be ignored.
The smoke grenade can be used either defensively or offensively. By blocking the line of sight, you can either create a smokescreen for yourself and your partner to move (somewhat) safely through an area or deny the enemy a sight line and force them to go into a less advantageous position. It can also be used as a stall tactic, but that generally isn’t advised.
Your lethal should be held until critical moments. While it is always a huge thrill to just lob a blind grenade and get a lucky kill, it isn’t something worth wasting your only grenade on. Instead, only use it after you’ve made visual contact with the enemy, either as an opening or as a way to force them out of cover.
While the change from a one-on-one duel to team battles is already a big change for the Gulag, there’s one even bigger change. In line with the new Strongholds and AI soldiers introduced in Warzone 2.0, the new Gulag also has an AI Jailer that will show up after 30 seconds have passed. Rather than fighting each other, if both teams resist the urge to kill each other and team up against this boss-level AI and win, everyone gets to return to the map.
The only reliable way to coordinate this between two opposing teams is through proximity chat, which is where having a microphone becomes even more vital. If you’re close enough to the enemy team, you will be able to hear and talk to each other to agree to a truce so that everyone can get out alive. However, this is easier said than done for two main reasons. The first is that the other team may not have mics or not know this is a mechanic and be hyper-focused on attacking you before you can even talk to them. The second is that they may use this as a ploy to trick you into lowering your guard and betraying you.
Once the Jailer shows up, it will take all four of you to reasonably take him down. This is another opportunity for one team to abandon the other and let them die. However, if everyone sticks to their word and you manage to kill the Jailer, all four players will respawn back on the map.
Whether you’re going for the kill or trying to team up against the Jailer, always be aware of the clock. We mentioned the arrival of the Jailer after 30 seconds, regardless of whether or not you and the other team decided to team up or not, but there’s also the fact that overtime has been removed for Warzone 2.0. If the time runs out and neither team nor the Jailer has been eliminated, well, you’re all out of luck, and no one gets to come back.
Patience is obviously important since playing recklessly is a recipe for disaster most of the time, but if time is ticking down, you’re better off making a risky play than ensuring you fail to win. On the other hand, if you’re confident, you can use the clock to try and bait out the enemy to risk an attack, but if neither team budges, it’s game over for everyone.
Disney continues to shake—for an “unkillable, multi-billion-dollar leviathan” definition of shaking, leastways—in the aftermath of its recent big surprise Bob Swap, with former CEO Bob Iger stepping in to take control of the company back from his successor, Bob Chapek, after the company’s board asked Chapek to resign from his leadership position last Sunday night.
Disney’s grievances with Chapek—who, among other things, alienated its vaunted animation department with statements suggesting their output was consumed only by children—were fairly varied, but many of them were aimed at the company’s heavy latest focus on streaming service Disney+, which continues to operate at a (planned for, and expected) loss. A latest earnings call, though, saw Disney under-perform company-wide on expectations—including indications that Disney+ wouldn’t start being profitable by a hoped-for late-2024 window—and which appears to have been among the last straws, with company Chief Financial Officer Christine McCarthy reportedly very unhappy with Chapek’s conduct, both on the call, and in general.
Which brings us to this interesting little tidbit, courtesy of the Wall Street Journal’s reporting on the re-Bob-ification efforts: According to “people familiar with the matter,” one of the tricks Chapek’s Disney apparently used in latest months was to have certain shows that were originally billed as Disney+ originals (including The Mysterious Benedict Society and Doogie Kameāloha, M.D.) debut instead on The Disney Channel before heading over to streaming—specifically so that the costs for those series wouldn’t go on Disney+’s ledger, thus making the service look more profitable than it actually is. Which is all a little shell-game, especially for a company this big and ostensibly successful; McCarthy, for one, was apparently “concerned” about the strategy.
The irony of all this is that Disney+ was actually Iger’s baby, not Chapek’s: The once-and-future CEO reportedly delayed his departure from the company until 2020 specifically to help get the streaming service off the ground. As a consequence, Iger conveniently missed the period over the last two years in which media giants have needed to come to terms with exactly how profitable one of these services both can be, and needs to be, leaving Chapek seemingly holding the bag in his efforts to make the company’s massive investment in Disney+ worth its while.
He specialized in the art of dog-fishing.
A mischievous UK boy is going viral after tricking his dad into buying him a puppy by masquerading as his mother on WhatsApp — even going so far to as to call him “hun.”
Photos detailing his hilarious mom-personation are currently blowing up as fans praise the boy’s ingenuity.
“I really wanted a dog, and I went on mom’s phone and wrote ‘hi hun’ — it’s a phrase mom uses,” admitted 9-year-old Noah Ley of hornswoggling his parents.
The dupe occurred while Noah’s father Kevyn Ley, 43, and mom Janine, 40, who live in Newport, South Wales, were mulling over whether or not to get a dog as a companion for their cocker spaniel named Jet. Pup-portunity knocked after the steel worker’s friend, who breeds dogs, informed him that he had an 8-month-old puppy that was available for adoption.
However, while Kevyn was over the moon about the idea, Janine seemed more reluctant about taking on another pet.
“He took me aback when he said, ‘We’ve been offered a puppy,’ ” the dental nurse exclaimed. “I was like, ‘What? Are you kidding me? We only talked about it’. He said she was ready now if we wanted her.”
The hesitant mother of three added, “I said I needed to think about it.”
Their destiny was sealed, however, when she told the kids that their father was contemplating buying another puppy — which set the wheels turning in Noah’s mind.
“I wrote a message to Kev saying ‘Noah wants another dog,” explained Janine. “Kev then asked what the kids thought.”
Little Noah, who was used to playing games on his mom’s phone, saw his opportunity to strike after Janine went off to go clean and left the phone in the room, Kennedy News reported. “Noah grabbed it and continued the conversation,” explained Janine, who didn’t realize until several hours later “that Noah had got hold of my phone and that we were getting a new dog.”
Accompanying photos show the ensuing conversation, in which the parental impressionist, pretending to be his mom, wrote: “They [the kids] are screaming their heads off lol xx. All of them want one [a dog] xx.”
“Kev just get one the kids are crying,” Noah added to complete the effect.
Thankfully, his Oscar-worthy text performance seemed to do the trick as his dad replied, “We will trial run it, it will be coming today.”
“Ok love xxx. What time? Xx What time hun? Xxx What time is the dog coming? Xxx,” Noah replied to his clueless papa.
The parents were impressed at their progeny’s ploy. “He had me. I was convinced it was Janine,” Kevyn said with a chuckle. “I got the messages and thought nothing more of it. Even the spelling was OK, apart from one word I noticed when I read back, but when you read it quickly, you don’t notice anyway.”
The flabbergasted father then quipped, “He had a lot of kisses in his messages. I thought, ‘Oh my god, she’s being nice to me for a change.’ “
Janine seconded her hubby’s sentiment, admitting: “I do say ‘hun’ a lot. Noah’s absolutely nailed it, the impersonation is spot on.”
“When I read, ‘Kev just get one, the kids are crying,’ it sounds exactly like something a grown-up would say, not a 9-year-old,” she added. “Noah was absolutely thrilled he got his own — and his dad’s way.”
Needless to say, the trial run was successful and the new dog, named Lulu, is now a permanent member of the family. “I was very pleased and excited when we got Lulu. I really love her, she gets on with Jet,” Noah fawned. “I feel really happy and excited that she’s staying.”
While his parents were ultimately happy the way things worked out, they pledge to be on guard for similar phone schemes in the future.
“To make sure I’m definitely talking to Janine in the future, I’m going to have to ring her first and say ‘Is this you?’ or have a code word,” said Kevyn.
Finance Minister Grant Robertson. Photo / Mark Mitchell
By Finance Minister Grant Robertson
I was extremely disappointed to read Kate MacNamara’s November 26 article regarding the Covid Response and Recovery Fund (CRRF). To my mind, it did not provide an accurate picture of the closing of the fund prior to Budget 2022, nor to how the remaining money was reprioritised.
First a bit of background. The CRRF was created in 2020 in the midst of the uncertainty of global pandemic.
We knew there were going to be both significant immediate responses required, as well as the likelihood of significant economic impacts that would need to be mitigated against and recovered from.
Around $26 billion was spent supporting businesses to be able to keep their staff on including through the Wage Subsidy Scheme, $13 billion supporting small businesses with low-cost loans, $10 billion for the health sector to be able to respond to COVID, $5 billion for business and science and innovation support, $4.7 billion to support people in housing, $2.85 billion to support the education sector, and $1.85 billion to support the transport sector.
The final size of the CRRF was $61.6 billion, of which $58.4 billion was allocated to response and recovery initiatives, leaving a remaining balance of $3.2 billion. This was what was reprioritised in the Budget in May.
In the article, a former Treasury official states that reprioritising the money from the fund was “an abuse of the process” and the redirection of some of that money to support the Budget 2022 new spending allowance was an “accounting trick.”
I totally reject these statements.
Prior to the Budget in May we took the decision to close the fund and reprioritise the remaining funding. This was something I specifically covered in my speech in Parliament on Budget Day.
Ms MacNamara’s article fails to make this point, and paints a picture of the fund being “raided”.
There can always be an argument about what reprioritised money should be used for, but that does not amount to the raiding of the fund or an abuse of process.
In terms of the accusation of an “accounting trick” the Budget new spending allowance is a net number, that is taking into account any savings or reprioritisation of expenditure that has already been budgeted for. This is not a trick, it is simply part of the process. If money that has already been budgeted for is redirected it does not add to the total spending of the government and therefore can be counted against new spending.
To reiterate, this has always been the case, and calling it a trick would mean every Budget where the new spending allowance includes savings or reprioritisation has been a feature would have that label.
I accept that there are different views of what the government should spend its resources on including within the CRRF, but what occurred at Budget 2022 is not, in my view, as was presented in the article.
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