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5 Unique Ways to Celebrate Birthdays Online

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No birthday goes uncelebrated on the internet. Before you blow the candles and cut that cake, check these websites and guides for a happy birthday.

In a world where everything is going digital, why not birthday celebrations too? From virtual birthday parties on video calls to apps that pump up the special day, the internet has it all. You can get a free Happy Birthday song, create a fake newspaper with your details, or check out intergalactic happenings on your birthday.

1. How to Host a Virtual Birthday Party on Video Chat Apps Like Zoom

Check these guides for tips and tricks to host a virtual birthday party celebration on zoom or video call

The first thought that pops into one’s head about an online birthday celebration is to do a birthday party on a video call. How do you do that though? And is it any fun? Well, a few people tried it, and they’re sharing tips and tricks to have an entertaining remote birthday party video call.

  1. How to Celebrate a Birthday During the Coronavirus Showdown by The New York Times
  2. How to Celebrate a Birthday While Social Distancing by Refinery29
  3. I Threw a Virtual Birthday Party and 46 People Came, Here’s What I Learned by Inc.

All three posts are worth reading and offer a range of advice, hacks, and tips. They have a few common words of wisdom for virtual birthday parties.

First and foremost, allow for some advance planning for participants. Ensure most people know each other. Have a common activity, like a drink or food you can all eat at the same time, or a fun dress code like party hats. And whoever hosts the party should have a few topics they can involve all people in, or ask them to prepare in advance.

Naturally, a virtual birthday celebration isn’t going to be as fun as a real one. But if circumstances dictate such limitations, then you can still have a merry old birthday. All you need then is Zoom or any of the great Zoom alternative video chat apps.

2. 1 Happy Birthday (Web): Free Birthday Song, Movie Clips, Trivia, and More

1 Happy Birthday has a free custom birthday song with your name in it

1HappyBirthday.com has a customized birthday song maker. Search for your name on the website, and if it’s listed, download the free song wishing you a happy birthday. It’s not the usual Happy Birthday song, but a different peppy and lively number.

The collection of names is surprisingly large, including odd ones that you might not easily find. In our search, we found most of the MakeUseOf staff’s names.

Apart from the song, every bit of audio you want related to birthdays, you’ll find on this site. In Movie Birthday Wishes, you’ll find famous quotes from movies as audio clips that you can play or download. It collects pop-rock birthday songs, Spanish and Mexican birthday songs, and lyrics for all of them.

1Happy Birthday also hosts a bunch of mini birthday games. Enter any birth date to find exactly how many days, weeks, months, or years old that person is. Get random information and trivia about things that happened on your birthday. Or play the “Younger or Older” game if you like pop culture.

3. My Birthday Hits (Web, Spotify): Playlist of the #1 Hit Song on Every Birthday

My Birthday Hits creates a playlist of chart topping songs on your birthday each year

Would you like to know which song was topping the charts on the day you were born, or every birthday after that? My Birthday Hits has the answer. And it will quickly create a playlist of all these songs on Spotify.

Key in your birth date and the website generates a grid of the #1 song in the USA on that date each yet. Click any song to open it with an embedded YouTube video, and a bit more information about how long it stayed at the top. My Birthday Hits also throws in the top movie and the top book of that year, if you’re interested.

At the bottom of the results page where you input your birthday, you’ll find playlist options. You can copy-paste a text file of all songs, and search and add them to a playlist in your favorite music streaming app. Or grab the Spotify track list and add it to a playlist. It’s a little time-consuming, but the end result is fun.

My Birthday Hits has a catalog of hit songs going back to the 1940s. So if you’re less than 80 years old, you’ll get a list of every hit on your birthday (or any special date).

4. What Did the Hubble See on Your Birthday? (Web): Space Events on Your Birth Date

What did the Hubble Telescope see on your birthday? Check NASA's mini-site for a galactic birthday celebration

We’re just a tiny speck in our galaxy, let alone the whole universe. But while we’re exploring the Earth, the Hubble Telescope is exploring the Milky Way, constantly photographing events for over 30 years. What if something cool happened on your birthday?

This official NASA mini-site lets you find the universe’s highlight on your birthday. You can only filter by month and day, not by year, which is a bit of a bummer. But you’ll quickly forget about that limitation as the site brings up a galactic event with a colorized photo.

The image comes with a short description educating you about its significance. You can also visit the Hubble site link to learn more about it, as well as related trivia. On a day when many consider their own mortality and meaning, it’s marvelous to get this big picture perspective.

5. The Birthday Times (Web): Create a Fake Newspaper Birthday Gift

Create a fake newspaper of your birth date at The Birthday Times

Newspaper pages are a cool way to commemorate birthdays. The Birthday Times lets you create a fake newspaper page from the day you were born, but goes a long way in trying to look authentic. It’s filled with little things to bring that era alive while customizing it to you. Add your name and birth date, with the year, to begin.

The Birthday Times has 10 elements, starting with a big headline announcing your arrival. Then the US President of that time visits you, followed by a wrap-up of news events of that year.

Other elements of that year include a sports event, the Academy Awards, musical hits, and even an ad of that era. Surprisingly, more than all the words, the ad provides a unique and cool feel for the era that’s hard to replicate.

You can purchase a PDF copy of this newspaper front page for $3.99, or have it printed and sent to you for $5.99. You can’t change the text, but if you want to customize the newspaper, you could try making your own through free templates like Make My Newspaper.

What About Birthday Gifts?

Online birthday celebrations are great, but the gifts get a little difficult. Sure, if you ordered them well in advance to ship in time, that works.

But if it’s last-minute or unavailable, you can send a cash gift online in a creative way. It’s a nice compromise that still looks and feels like a gift, not the digital equivalent of cash stuffed in an envelope.

Read the full article: 5 Unique Ways to Celebrate Birthdays Online



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This might be the real reason why the PS5 dev kit has such a wild design

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  • The PS5 news that you were waiting for has been delayed due to the ongoing protests in the US, but Sony will hold an event soon.
  • The PlayStation 5 design might not be unveiled at the show, but a new Sony patent reveals an intriguing detail about an already confirmed PS5 console.
  • The PS5 development kit that leaked last year may have had an essential purpose for Sony, new documentation reveals. The dev kit may have been used to test the cooling system that Sony might use in the final design.

Microsoft unveiled the Xbox Series X design in mid-December during a gaming event, in a surprising move for the industry. But Sony failed to respond, keeping the PlayStation 5 design still secret. The company just postponed the PS5 event it had scheduled for this week, in light of the ongoing protests against police brutality. But we were never expecting the PS5 design to be shown during the online-only keynote. Sony’s marketing strategy differs from Microsoft, and the PS5 design reveal could come later down the road. We do know how the PS5 development kit looks like thanks to a flurry of leaks from last year. A patent revealed a console design unlike anything Sony made so far, and all the leaks that followed confirmed the existence of such a product. We even wondered whether that’s actually the PS5 design that Sony will eventually choose for the console, as the PS5 dev kit was a lot more elaborate than previous PlayStation test units. Why would Sony go through all the trouble of building that unusual PS5 case and ship it to developers if it wasn’t going to use it? And why would Sony patent the contraption? It turns out there may be a reasonable explanation for Sony’s wild PS5 dev kit design, and it’s all coming in the form of a different patent.

The folks at Dutch blog LetsGoDigital discovered a new Sony patent that describes a crucial functionality detail for the PS5 dev kit design, and that’s the elaborate cooling system of the device.

Leaked photo shows two PS5 dev kits featuring the same design that Sony patented. Image Source: Twitter

We speculated a few months ago that the PS5 dev kit design might show the actual PS5 design — from our post at the time:

The V design serves two purposes. First of all, it’s an indication you’re looking at the PS5, with “V” being the Roman numeral for 5. Secondly, the V architecture might help with cooling. That whole elaborate design seems to favor the quick intake of air, which would run through the device and cool down the high-end hardware. It also should help dissipate heat more efficiently.

The new Sony patent does indicate that the V-shaped PS5 dev kit is supposed to house two cooling systems, one placed in each arm of the V, as seen in the following images.

Schematic from Sony patent describing cooling technology for PS5 dev kit. Image Source: Sony via LetsGoDigital

Here’s how Sony describes the cooling elements of the console:

An electronic device has a plurality of cooling fans for supplying air to a heat sink. The plurality of cooling fans create air flows that pass through the heat sink from a first side of the heat sink toward a second side of the heat sink. The heat sink is disposed oblique to the left-right direction and the front-rear direction of the electronic device. An exterior member has an intake port formed along the first side of the heat sink and oblique to the front-rear direction and the left-right direction. […]

A heat sink is disposed on a microprocessor mounted on a circuit board. A cooling fan is disposed upstream of the heat sink, and a power supply unit is disposed downstream of the heat sink. Air sent out from the cooling fan passes through the heat sink, passes through the power supply unit, and is discharged to the outside.

We already know that both the PS5 and Series X will share similar hardware, and both consoles will need robust cooling systems. That could very well be the reason why Sony went for that stunning dev kit design to test it all out.

Schematic from Sony patent describing cooling technology for PS5 dev kit. Image Source: Sony via LetsGoDigital

A Bloomberg story in mid-April indicated that the PS5 cooling system would be more expensive than usual, because of the new hardware:

Most of the components for the console have been locked down, the people said, including the cooling system, which is unusually expensive at a few dollars per unit. Typically, companies would spend less than a dollar, but Sony opted to lavish more on making sure heat dissipation from the powerful chips housed inside the console isn’t an issue.

A report in early April said that Sony was encountering serious cooling issues with the PS5 design and that Sony was considering a redesign. Insiders disputed those rumors at the time.

Schematic from Sony patent describing cooling technology for PS5 dev kit. Image Source: Sony via LetsGoDigital

The new patent does make it clear that Sony had been aware of the cooling requirements for the new CPU/GPU components, and has been looking at ways to increase the airflow in the console. The real purpose of the PS5 dev kit may have been to test the heat dissipation system that Sony created for its next-gen consoles. The final PS5 design might look nothing like the dev kit, but it could still incorporate a version of the cooling tech described in the patent. We’ll have to wait for teardowns of the PS5 to see how the cooling system looks like.





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Arctic river runs red following devastating Russian fuel spill

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Furious Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered a state of emergency after a devastating fuel spill occurred in the Arctic.

Environmentalists say it is the worst such accident to happen in the Arctic as over 20,000 tonnes of diesel burst from a fuel tank at an industrial site.

The diesel reservoir collapsed at a power station outside the northern Siberian city of Norilsk last Friday, releasing 15,000 tonnes of fuel into a river and 6,000 tonnes into the soil, according to Russia’s state environmental watchdog.

The fuel was being stored there to ensure a continuous supply to a nearby power plant in case of an interruption to gas supplies.

Putin angrily criticised the delay in a cleanup operation because the authorities weren’t notified. However, Norilsk Nickel, the company that owns the collapsed fuel reservoir (through a subsidiary) insists it notified the proper agencies immediately.

An aerial view of the site of oil products spill into a river outside of Norilsk, Russia. (Credits: EPA)

Greenpeace Russia said the accident was the ‘first accident of such a scale in the Arctic’ and comparable to the Exxon Valdez disaster off the coast of Alaska in 1989.

Russia’s Investigative Committee said a power station supervisor has been detained and will be charged shortly as it conducts three probes into environmental pollution and safety violations.

The Ambarnaya River, which is affected by the spill, feeds into Lake Pyasino, a major body of water and the source of the Pyasina River that is vitally important to the entire Taimyr peninsula.

Russian fisheries agency spokesman Dmitry Klokov said restoring the polluted water system would take ‘decades’.

Rescuers working at the site of oil products spill into the Ambarnaya river outside of Norilsk, Russia. (Credits: EPA)

Rescuers working at the site of oil products spill into the Ambarnaya river outside of Norilsk, Russia. (Credits: EPA)

A rescuer pumping out pollutions from a large diesel spill in the Ambarnaya River outside Norilsk (Photo by YURI KADOBNOV/Marine Rescue Service/AFP via Getty Images)

A rescuer pumping out pollutions from a large diesel spill in the Ambarnaya River outside Norilsk (Photo by YURI KADOBNOV/Marine Rescue Service/AFP via Getty Images)

‘The scope of this catastrophe is being underestimated,’ he told the TASS news agency, adding that most of the fuel had sunk to the bottom of the river and already reached the lake.

Marine rescue service has put up six oil containment booms in the Ambarnaya River to stop the diesel fuel going into the lake and was using special devices to skim off the fuel.

But the clean-up mission is being hampered by the lack of roads in the area and windy weather that has already caused blocks of ice to breach the barriers, releasing more fuel towards the lake, and forcing responders to reposition them, Malov said.

‘It’s swampy territory, and everything can only be delivered there on all-terrain vehicles,’ Malov said, predicting that the collected fuel will have to stay on site until the winter in special tanks.

Putin is furious at the delay in cleanup operations (Reuters)

Putin is furious at the delay in cleanup operations (Reuters)

Norilsk Nickel said the accident possibly occurred because the ground under the fuel reservoir subsided as the permafrost melted due to climate change.

WWF expert Alexei Knizhnikov said that while climate change does affect permafrost, the accident wouldn’t have happened if the company followed the rules.

This photograph released by the Marine Rescue Service of Russia shows a rescuer as he pumps out pollutions of a large diesel spill in the Ambarnaya River outside Norilsk. (Photo by YURI KADOBNOV/Marine Rescue Service/AFP via Getty Images)

This photograph released by the Marine Rescue Service of Russia shows a rescuer as he pumps out pollutions of a large diesel spill in the Ambarnaya River outside Norilsk. (Photo by YURI KADOBNOV/Marine Rescue Service/AFP via Getty Images)

By Russian law, there should be a containment structure around any fuel reservoir that would have kept most of the spillage on site, he said.

‘A lot of the blame lies with the company,’ he added.

The difficult terrain prompted some officials to suggest the collected fuel should be burned off at the scene, but Russia’s environmental watchdog chief Svetlana Radionova on Thursday ruled this out.



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How to Wi-Fi Unlock Your Android Phone With Smart Lock

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Because our phones have so much personal information, most people are horrified at the thought of someone fiddling with their phone. Even worse is what could happen if you lose your smartphone completely.

Thankfully, modern devices come with multiple security options. Protecting your device while out and about is easy. But what about when you’re safely at home? Manually unlocking your phone each time you want to use it is a pain.

Android Smart Lock lets you keep your phone unlocked at all times, under certain circumstances. But can you keep your phone unlocked when connected to your home Wi-Fi network? Let’s take a look.

What Is Android Smart Lock?

Android Smart Lock first hit devices with Android 5.0 Lollipop. The Smart Lock feature allows you to specify certain circumstances where the device’s lock screen security will remain off.

You can enable and configure these options by heading to Settings > Security > Smart Lock (this may differ slightly depending on your device). Enter your PIN, then you can select the Smart Lock option you want.

It’s possible to use multiple Smart Lock methods in conjunction, too. Here’s how they work.

On-Body Detection

With this option, after unlocking it once, your Android device will remain unlocked as long as it detects motion, such as you holding or carrying the device. Your phone will lock automatically again when put down.

On-body detection poses some security issues. The lock mechanism doesn’t always activate immediately after you put the device down. Furthermore, it can sometimes take longer if you are in a car, train, bus, or other forms of transportation.

Trusted Places

Use this option and your Android device will remain unlocked while in the vicinity of a specific location. Once you enable Trusted Places, your device will detect its location using GPS. If the signal shows you are within the range of a specified location, it will unlock.

There are three Trusted Places modes:

  • High Accuracy: Uses your phone’s GPS, Wi-Fi connection, provider network, and more to maintain an accurate location.
  • Battery Saving: Trusted Places will use less power-intensive location tracking tools, such as your Wi-Fi connection or mobile network.
  • Device Only: Uses only GPS to update the location of your device.

Trusted Places is a handy unlocking tool. Like the other options, though, it has limitations. For example, if you live in an apartment building, Trusted Places finds it extremely difficult to differentiate between your apartment and your neighbors’ residences. Since the GPS location is almost the same and the range for the unlocking can cover multiple apartments, your device might stay unlocked outside your home.

Although Trusted Places can take your Wi-Fi connection into account, you cannot tell your phone to stay unlocked when it connects to a certain network. However, there are workarounds for this that allow you to unlock your phone when connected to a Wi-Fi network. We’ll cover more on these in a moment.

Trusted Devices

You can keep your Android device unlocked if it has a connection to a separate trusted device. For example, you could set your smartwatch, in-car Bluetooth speakers, or fitness tracker as a trusted device. Then, while the two devices share a connection, the Android phone will remain unlocked.

Trusted Devices uses a Bluetooth connection to check Smart Lock status. If the Bluetooth connection between your devices drops for any reason, Smart Lock will disable, and your device will lock.

Voice Match

On certain Android devices, if you use Google Assistant, you can use the Voice Match option to keep your Android phone unlocked. Smart Lock recognizes the tone and inflections of your voice to create a unique unlocking tool.

If you switch on Voice Match, “OK Google” becomes the unlock tool. Check out our guide on how to use Google Assistant to lock and unlock your phone, plus the handy video walkthrough. Unfortunately, Google removed this option in Android 8 Oreo and above, but it still works on older devices.

How to Unlock Your Phone When Connected to Wi-Fi

One glaring Android Smart Lock omission is the option to keep your device unlocked when you connect to a specific Wi-Fi network. You can work around this issue with the Automate app; here’s how to keep your Android device unlocked when connected to Wi-Fi.

Automate is a user-friendly Android automation app. You can it for our intended purpose of staying unlocked on Wi-Fi. First, download the Automate app.

Now, open Automate. Given the nature of the service (it automates everything on your device), you must accept the permissions.

Select More Flows from the options, then search for disable screen lock on home wifi. The version you want is the creation of user p s, as you can see in the below image. Select Download, then head back to the Automate homepage.

Next, select the Disable screen lock on home wifi flow from the list, tap the blue pen icon in the bottom-right, then hit the circuits icon just above. This opens the Automate flow edit screen.

Tap the third box on the left, When Wi-Fi connected. Input the Wi-Fi network’s SSID in the box. Alternatively, select Pick Network, then select the Wi-Fi network from the list.

Now, you can Start the Automate flow, and your device will remain unlocked while connected to the Wi-Fi network you specified.

If there’s another Wi-Fi network you want to stay unlocked on, you can duplicate the Automate flow by tapping the three-dot menu and selecting Duplicate. Then in the duplicated flow, switch out the Wi-Fi network SSID for another one.

Is Smart Lock Secure?

Android’s Smart Lock is a handy tool in the eternal battle between security and convenience. Using Smart Lock is a security compromise, but is it one worth making? That depends on the situation.

When you’re at home, why not keep your device unlocked? Finding your phone suddenly locked is infuriating at times. Think about if you’re cooking from a recipe or following a DIY tutorial. You glance away for a moment, only to find you need to unlock your device at a critical moment.

The key is finding the correct Smart Lock use that suits you. Unlocking your device when you connect to your home Wi-Fi is a great option for most people.

Whatever you do choose, make sure you use some form of security on your Android device. Here are some of the best Android anti-theft apps to get you started.

You Can Unlock Your Device Automatically

Now that you know how to unlock your device automatically when you join a Wi-Fi connection, you can consider automating other tasks on Android. Automate is a great free app with countless community-made automation flows.

That said, Automate isn’t the only Android task automation tool. Tasker is a paid automation app that is much more powerful than Automate. Check out these Tasker tricks you can use to automate more on your Android phone.

Read the full article: How to Wi-Fi Unlock Your Android Phone With Smart Lock



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