Get a lifetime subscription to this fun fitness app for under £30

https://mashable.com/uk/shopping/jan-15-betterme-app-deal/

Products featured here are selected by our partners at StackCommerce.If you buy something through links on our site, Mashable may earn an affiliate commission.

A lifetime subscription to BetterMe Home Workout and Diet is on sale.
A lifetime subscription to BetterMe Home Workout and Diet is on sale.

Image: pexels

TL;DR: A lifetime subscription to the BetterMe Home Workout and Diet app is on sale for £29.22 as of Jan. 15, saving you 96% on list price.


Just starting your workout journey? There’s an app for that. Too busy to exercise? There’s an app for that, too. You miss the gym and need to work out with a personal trainer to stay motivated? More than likely, there are digital fitness experts right at your fingertips. 

Regardless of where you are in your fitness journey or how much time you have to spare, we’ve found an app that can basically do it all. It’s called BetterMe and a lifetime subscription is on sale for under £30. 

Whether you’re a total exercise beginner or a certified pro, looking to lose weight or feel more at peace with your body, there are courses on this app to suit your needs. They’re all very well thought out and expert-approved, and the best part is you don’t need much to prepare for them – just your body, a mat, and some determination. You can choose problem areas to focus on, track your calories, choose nutrition plans to fit your lifestyle (keto, vegan, intermittent fasting, etc.), and even build a customised health plan. And the cool part is the work is never over. Once you finish working on one targeted area, you can choose another, and another, and another. And a personal coach feature will guide and support you along the way.

On the BetterMe app, you’re not just working out alone, either. There’s a full community with which you can connect and chat, so you can get support from others and offer it up right back. 

Typically £877 for a lifetime subscription, you can sign up for BetterMe while it’s on sale and pay just £29.22. Who needs a monthly gym membership fee anyway?

10 apps on sale to help you reach your 2021 fitness goals

https://mashable.com/shopping/jan-15-at-home-fitness-apps/

Products featured here are selected by our partners at StackCommerce.If you buy something through links on our site, Mashable may earn an affiliate commission.

Do yoga workouts and more from your living room.
Do yoga workouts and more from your living room.

Image: Yogaia

If you’ve already fallen behind on your New Year’s fitness resolutions, don’t beat yourself up. 2021 has already been a whirlwind. To help you get back on track, we’ve rounded up 10 convenient programs you can follow right at home.

Plus, all of these programs are currently on sale as of Jan. 15.

Don’t have time or equipment? No problem. TMAC FITNESS Beginner and Advanced Workouts provide quick 20-minute, equipment-free exercises at a one-time price of just $214 (regularly $3,580). That includes lifetime access to the classes, so you’ll save big on a gym membership in the long run. 

The iBodyFit Premium Diet and Workout Plan includes 400 online workouts, 40 diet plans, and daily feedback from trainers. This deal’s also a lifetime subscription, which means you’ll have full access to the app for life. Regularly $499, it can be yours for a low $49.99

It’s no secret that yoga has plenty of health benefits, and YogaDownload Unlimited makes your practice accessible at home. As a subscriber, you’ll be able to choose from over 1,500 online yoga and fitness classes, which is sure to keep you busy. Get unlimited access and downloads at just $29 for one year, a 75% markdown from the original price of $119. 

For those interested in a versatile fitness regimen, turn to The Build Your Custom Home Workout and Nutrition Plan Bundle. It includes 12 hours of content on scientific strategies for weight loss, muscle building, proper dieting, and so much more. For a limited time, the bundle is only $29.99 (regularly $1,800). 

In case you have even less time on your hands, Yogaia Interactive Yoga is a great way to ensure you get some physical activity on a daily basis. The interactive online yoga studio broadcasts over 1,000 classes that last anywhere from five minutes to over an hour. A lifetime subscription is $299 (regularly $399) for a limited time.

The Onyx app can do everything from counting your reps to correcting your form through your phone. Have it in your pocket for $79.99 (regularly $300). 

If your health goals go beyond just working out, the BetterMe Home Workout and Diet is for you. It offers personalized sets of workouts and effective meal plans that work together to help you reach your fitness goals. Grab a lifetime subscription for $39.99 (regularly $1,200) for a limited time.

Balance is the key to a healthy regimen, and The Simple Fitness and Nutrition Bootcamp is the three-in-one course bundle that can get you there. It offers three classes for a low $19.99 (regularly $189). 

Fitness Ally Premium AI-Powered Workouts delivers on-demand home fitness classes designed to make exercising accessible and convenient. Usually, a lifetime subscription costs $59, but you can snag it for 66% off at just $19.99 for a limited time.

Podcast lovers, the Auro Fitness and Wellness App was made for you. You can listen to your workout instead of watching it — the app includes over 700 guided home, gym, and outdoor podcast and music exercises. A one-year subscription is half off, which means you’ll only pay $29.99 for a limited time.

Korgs ARP 2600 M is a mini version of an iconic synth

https://www.engadget.com/korg-arp-2600-m-is-a-mini-version-of-an-iconic-synthesizer-154544098.html

Of course, this isn’t a 100-percent faithful recreation of the ‘70s modular synth. Korg expanded the feature set to make it work better in a modern music-making environment. For one, all of the control voltages have been normalized to five volts instead of 10, making it easier to integrate with other modular gear and Eurorack equipment. It also has USB host capabilities so, while it doesn’t come with a separate keyboard module, you can connect any USB MIDI controller you want and get straight to playing. Korg also ditched the original XLR audio outs and went with TS style jacks.

Unfortunately there’s no word on when the 2600 M will ship or how much it will cost. But hopefully the price is on a similar diet plan as the rest of the synth, because the $3,900 the recent reissue commanded was definitely too much for all but the most dedicated synth nerds.

This Was WhatsApps Plan All Along

https://gizmodo.com/this-was-whatsapps-plan-all-along-1846060382

Illustration for article titled This Was WhatsApps Plan All Along

Photo: Adam Hoglund (Shutterstock)

Even if you aren’t the type of person who peruses WhatsApp on a regular basis, chances are you’ve tried perusing its new privacy policy.

Emphasis on “tried.” The roughly 4,000-word tome fell under fire from countless WhatsAppers across the globe after the company told its users that they’ll be ejected from the platform unless they abide by these new terms. Some eagle-eyed critics quickly noticed that buried under the rest of the usual slop that comes with your average privacy policy, it seemed like the new terms mandated that WhatsApp now had the right to share supposedly personal data—like phone numbers or payment info—with its parent company, Facebook, along with fellow subsidiary Instagram.

Naturally, people lost it. Over the past week, tens of millions of people have apparently flooded off of WhatsApp and onto rival messaging platforms like Signal and Telegram. Elon Musk weighed in, as did Edward Snowden. Turkish authorities opened a probe into WhatsApp’s data-sharing practices, followed by Italy’s regional data authority doing the same. On Thursday, authorities in India, WhatsApp’s biggest market, filed a petition alleging that the new terms weren’t only a threat to personal privacy, but to national security as well.

What became very clear very quickly is that, while everyone agreed on being outraged, there was a bit of fuzziness on what they agreed to be outraged about.

The confusion was the natural result of WhatsApp’s bungled rollout of these new policies. By shoving a scary-sounding ultimatum in front of countless users, and by tying that ultimatum to a privacy policy that (I think we can all agree) is near-impossible to comprehend, the bulk of WhatsApp’s users were left assuming the worst: that Facebook could now read their WhatsApp messages, snoop through their entire contact list, and know every time you leave someone on “read” within the app. These rumors eventually reached WhatsApp Head Will Cathcart, who issued his own lengthy Twitter thread debunking the bulk of these claims, before WhatsApp proper did its own debunking in the form of an FAQ page.

In a shocking turn of events, WhatsApp’s attempt to set its own tarnished record straight was regarded as bullshit by its more vocal critics. And honestly, they had a point: This is WhatsApp we’re talking about. When an encrypted chat platform that’s been widely praised by people in the privacy and security space very rudely announces it’ll be sharing your data—any data—with a company like Facebook, you can understand why that would raise some hackles.

The thing is, in the years since WhatsApp co-founders Jan Koum and Brian Acton cut ties with Facebook for, well, being Facebook, the company slowly turned into something that acted more like its fellow Facebook properties: an app that’s kind of about socializing, but mostly about shopping. These new privacy policies are just WhatsApp’s—and Facebook’s—way of finally saying the quiet part out loud.

I Don’t Have All Day, Gimme The Short Version

If you’re also the type of person that solely uses WhatsApp to message friends, family, and the occasional petsitter, nothing’s changing on the privacy front. In fact, what we think of when we talk about our “privacy” on WhatsApp has been largely unchanged since mid-2016, when the company first announced that WhatsApp would start sharing some of your basic metadata like your phone number and a grab-bag of “anonymous” identifiers unless you manually opted out. (Facebook ended up pulling the opt-out button pretty soon after, but that’s another story entirely.)

Not too long ago, an anonymous developer reverse engineered the entire WhatsApp web app, and their findings are freely scannable through their GitHub. In a nutshell, if I messaged a petsitter after the 2016 updates, Facebook might be able to suss out my phone’s make and model, along with how dangerously low on juice my phone might be—but those pet-sitting conversations are entirely encrypted. None of that’s changing now.

That said, if you live in a country like India or Brazil where WhatsApp isn’t only a chatting app, but a chatting app for brands and businesses to reach their clientele, things are a bit different. Unlike the aforementioned pet-sitting conversation, chances are any conversations you might have with a given company aren’t only unencrypted, but they’re shared with way more parties than you might think.

WhatsApp’s privacy policy might be new to most of us, but this particular practice has already been the platform’s MO for years.

The WhatsApp You Know And The WhatsApp You Don’t

The backstory that led up to WhatsApp’s bungled announcements actually started around the same time Koum jumped ship from the platform that was earning him frankly grotesque amounts of cash. A few months later, WhatsApp quietly rolled out a new business-facing product that promised to milk even more revenue out of the multi-billion-dollar platform: the “WhatsApp Business API.”

As the name suggests, the Business API was geared towards businesses: airlines that want to use WhatsApp to send boarding passes, for example, or a grocery chain that wants to use WhatsApp to let someone know their order is out for delivery. These messages weren’t meant to be promotional the way, say, an ad on Instagram might be; they were meant to be transactional—kind of like a conversation you have with a store clerk when looking for shoes in your size. If the business in question answered a given inquiry within a one-day window, Facebook let them send their response free of charge.

Any message sent after the initial 24 hours comes saddled with a tiny fee—ranging anywhere from a fraction of a fraction of a cent to a few cents per message, depending on which third parties might be involved and the country a given brand is targeting. This fee gets divvied up by those parties, and–of course—by WhatsApp.

While a few outlets covered this burgeoning product as something like Facebook’s answer to the “customer support” emails and texts from days of yore, it went pretty much unnoticed by most outlets that (rightfully) saw the API as a pretty boring piece of adtech. Brands, on the other hand, couldn’t be more jazzed about the idea, and they kept on being jazzed while WhatsApp adopted new features meant to make it more commerce-friendly.

By 2020, WhatsAppers based in India weren’t only using WhatsApp to talk to their pet sitters—they were scrolling through WhatsApp-specific catalogs for new shoes, plunking their selected pair into a WhatsApp-specific cart, and then using a WhatsApp-specific payment processor to pay for their new kicks before following up with WhatApp to make sure their order arrived on time.

More brand appeal means more brands are flocking to plug into this API. In 2018, WhatsApp initially opened access to the new platform to roughly 100 hand-picked partners, like Netflix, Uber, and a few hotels and banks in regions where WhatsApp is the SMS platform of choice. Some analysts estimated that a year later, the number of enterprises plugged into the API went from 100 to roughly 1,000. At its current rate, the team said, WhatsApp is on track to get close to 55,000 businesses using this API by the end of 2024, all collectively racking up a hefty $3.6 billion in messaging fees.

The thing is, it’s really hard to goad a brand to drop that kind of cash on your product when they can’t even read what their customers are saying because, again, WhatsApp’s chats are encrypted by default. This was one of the sticking points that ultimately led to Koum’s exit, according to the Washington Post: Facebook wanted to turn WhatsApp into a business-friendly platform, and WhatsApp’s team fired back that they couldn’t build that platform without weakening WhatsApp’s native encryption in some way.

They were right. But Facebook—again, being Facebook—didn’t really seem too bothered by the idea of baking a brand-sized loophole into an encrypted platform. But to trace this back which policy change ended up biting WhatsApp in the ass the most when it rolled out these new policies, you could say some of the creepiest parts actually stem from this one decision.

Asked for comment, a Facebook spokesperson emailed soon after publication and pointed to a blog post announcing WhatsApp had postponed the implementation of its new privacy policy until mid-May due to “how much confusion there is around our recent update.”

What We Talk About When We Talk About Encryption

When the sea of internet outrage reached a critical mass on Twitter dot com, Instagram head Adam Mosseri tweeted out that he was seeing “a lot of misinformation” about WhatsApp’s new terms of service. The changes people were reading were strictly related to messaging businesses on WhatsApp, which, as he reminded people, is always optional. He then linked to WhatsApp’s own FAQ on the subject, which included another mealy-mouthed explanation of how, exactly, businesses use your WhatsApp data. In reality, though, it doesn’t really say much of anything: it doesn’t touch on the exact data that these partners are hoovering up from a (supposedly) encrypted platform, nor does it even discuss what “changes” in the privacy policy specifically apply to business-based messaging.

So instead of parsing apart… all of that, let’s go straight to the source. The Business API’s source code is actually easily searchable on Facebook’s dev-facing site, which means you can also find the data points this API hoovers from WhatsApp proper, and how it could—at least potentially—bypass WhatsApp’s encryption to do so. Or if you want, you can just visit this surprisingly cogent FAQ that literally asks “Is end-to-end encryption maintained through the WhatsApp Business API?.” WhatsApp’s response, which we emphasized here is just… something (emphasis ours):

WhatsApp considers communications with Business API users who manage the API endpoint on servers they control to be end-to-end encrypted since there is no third-party access to content between endpoints.

Some organizations may choose to delegate management of their WhatsApp Business API endpoint to a third-party Business Solution Provider. In these instances, communication still uses the same Signal protocol encryption. However, because the WhatsApp Business API user has chosen a third party to manage their endpoint, WhatsApp does not consider these messages end-to-end encrypted. In the future, in 2021, this will also apply to businesses that choose to leverage the cloud-based version of the API hosted by Facebook.

In addition, if you are using HTTPS when making calls to the WhatsApp Business API client, that data is SSL-encrypted (from your backend client to the WhatsApp Business API client).

Or put another way, WhatsApp’s telling us that when we have conversations with the business or brand on the platform—and that business or brand happens to be working with a given number of third parties—the encrypted WhatsApp we’re used to using goes out the window.

I should probably clarify who these third parties actually are. Facebook calls them Business Solution Providers, (or BSP’s for short), and they’re essentially an approved set of adtech vendors whose sole responsibility is making marketing on Facebook as easy an experience as possible. If you’re advertising a hip new line of CBD gummies and only want to reach, say, dog moms on Instagram between 18 and 21 that live in the U.S. but exclusively speak Portuguese at home, there are a few dozen BSP’s that Facebook can match you up with. If you want to reach them on other Facebook properties—like, say, Whatsapp—there are 66 partners that Facebook lists off as having the key to its Business API. Even if you can’t get your hands on it, Facebook’s essentially promising that your ads will be safe in these third-party players’ hands if you promise to give them a little monetary something-something.

The encryption-busting maneuver these BSP’s are allowed to do is, as always, openly available, courtesy of Facebook. If your brain hasn’t smoothed over reading about this API until now, I’d recommend flipping through those docs. For my fellow smooth-brainers, here’s the basic gist: When a BSP or any Facebook-approved partner downloads the Business API, it comes packaged with a port that directs data from WhatsApp conversations onto an external database that this partner controls. When that partner gets buddied up with, say, a pizza place that wants to use WhatsApp for customer support, every message that they get asking about the status of their slice ends up in this unencrypted bucket, along with a slew of contact info about the person who put that request in.

A sample of some of the data these partners can get their hands on, according to Facebook’s documentation.

A sample of some of the data these partners can get their hands on, according to Facebook’s documentation.
Screenshot: Facebook (Gizmodo)

Once that data’s under a third-party’s purview, ultimately it’s no longer Facebook’s responsibility, even if it’s used to target ads on one of the company’s own platforms. WhatsApp cheerfully described this setup in yet another FAQ (emphasis ours again):

Some businesses and solution providers will use WhatsApp’s parent company, Facebook, to securely store messages and respond to customers. While Facebook will not automatically use your messages to inform the ads that you see, businesses will be able to use chats they receive for their own marketing purposes, which may include advertising on Facebook. You can always contact that business to learn more about their privacy practices.

In other words, if I’m using WhatsApp to ask this imaginary pizza place why my eggplant parm and diet coke haven’t gotten to my apartment yet, whatever data falls out of that conversation could be used to target me with more ads for parm and parm-adjacent products just about anywhere that pizza place’s trusted partner is able to do so. It’s just a happy coincidence if that means advertising on Facebook.

So just to recap, what WhatsApp (okay, mostly Facebook) is saying at this point is:

  • There’s tons of juicy consumer data in WhatsApp that marketers aren’t tapping into, but accessing it might mean paying a not-insignificant-fee to Facebook and to one of these trusted third parties (which, yep, also pay Facebook as part of terms for their title).
  • Once they have their hands on enough data, they’re free to pay Facebook again for the privilege of advertising against these same users. If you read between the lines, though, the decision to advertise on Facebook or not is pretty much made up for them before they even asked.
  • This exact cycle repeats likely thousands of times per week.
  • ???????
  • Somewhere down the line, Mark Zuckerberg gets rich enough to get those ass implants we’re sure he always wanted.

On one hand, I don’t really blame WhatsApp for flubbing this announcement. Like all things in adtech, explaining the specifics of WhatsApp’s Business API—or any of its specific data-sharing practices—is a mind-numbingly dull exercise that almost certainly couldn’t fit onto people’s lil phone screens. But by ignoring a lot of these nuances, the company’s left with hordes of people that filled this update with their own theories about what these seemingly sweeping privacy changes actually mean.

There’s got to be a happy medium somewhere. Until Facebook’s execs find where that is, they’re going to be left posting harried Twitter clips citing the same vapid privacy promises we’ve been seeing from the company until now. But if the WhatsApp debacle should teach us anything, it’s that peeling away at these platitudes can leave you with something deep-rooted and disturbing—and sometimes, older than you’d think.

Update 2:58pm ET: Added response from Facebook.

How to Manage Your Childs Pet Allergy

https://offspring.lifehacker.com/how-to-manage-your-childs-pet-allergy-1846020338

Illustration for article titled How to Manage Your Childs Pet Allergy

Photo: Yuliya Evstratenko (Shutterstock)

Discovering that anyone in the home—but particularly one of the kids—is allergic to the family pet can be upsetting. Our pets are members of our family, so discovering that their mere presence is negatively impacting the health or physical comfort of your child creates a stressful situation. But if it happens, and provided the allergy isn’t severe, there are steps you can take to ease your child’s symptoms without resorting to rehoming the animal.

If you have young kids and you’re still deciding whether to bring a new pet home—and you have a strong history of allergies in your family—you may want to wait until they’re old enough to confirm whether they have a pet allergy themselves. If an animal allergy is suspected, it’s a good idea to expose the child to the pet a few times to watch for symptoms before committing to an adoption. Keep in mind, though, that it can take months of exposure before allergy symptoms appear.

If you already have a pet that is causing your child to sneeze and wheeze, there are some things you can do to help manage the situation.

Make sure the animal really is the problem

Pet allergy symptoms are caused by proteins found in the animal’s skin cells (dander), saliva, or urine. They can include sneezing; coughing; a runny nose; itchy, red, or watery eyes; nasal congestion; itchy nose, roof of mouth, or throat; postnasal drip; facial pressure and pain; and swollen, blue-colored skin under the eyes. According to The Mayo Clinic, a child might also frequently rub their nose in an upward motion. But pets are sometimes blamed for causing an allergic reaction in kids when the offending allergen is something else entirely.

If your child is displaying allergy symptoms, it’s best to first consult with their pediatrician or allergist to have them tested to confirm what is causing the reaction. As the American Academy of Pediatrics says:

Occasionally, symptoms that seem to be caused by an animal may be, in fact, due to other allergies, such as to pollen or mold. What happens is that Fido and Felix explore outdoors, then come back into the house with a load of pollen granules and mold spores in their coats. Every time the hay fever sufferer pats the pets, he stirs up an invisible cloud of allergens that triggers symptoms.

Create an “allergy-free” zone

The child’s bedroom is the most important room to keep as clean and clear of allergens as possible, so start by keeping that room off-limits to the pet. You may also consider dust mite covers for their bedding, as dust mites are another common allergy trigger.

Beyond the bedroom, the fewer rooms you can limit the pet’s access to, the better. Maybe you can gate off the upstairs of the house, particularly if the floors on the main level have hard surfaces and the bedroom floors are carpeted. Pet dander sticks more to surfaces like carpet, drapes, curtains, and upholstered furniture than it does to hard surfaces like wood, tile, or laminate. As Beth Orenstein writes for Everyday Health:

Plus, the latter are easier to clean. For this reason, you also shouldn’t let your allergic child sleep with stuffed animals, Dr. [Mervat] Nassef, [a pediatric allergist and immunologist at NewYork-Presbyterian in New York City], adds. If you must have carpet in your child’s bedroom or elsewhere in your home, select a low-pile one and have it steam-cleaned regularly.

Even doing all of this will not fully prevent the spread of allergens throughout the home—air currents from forced-air heating and air conditioning systems will push allergens from room to room. However, you may be able to outfit them with an air purifying system or HEPA filters.

Become a total clean freak

If your child (or someone else in your home) is allergic to a pet, you will need to clean, clean, clean—and then clean some more. Pet dander is notorious for its ability to linger on any number of surfaces, so while frequent vacuuming of the floors might be obvious, you’ll also want to make sure you’re keeping walls, furniture, blinds, ceiling fans, and curtains clean. Your pet’s bed and toys should also be washed regularly.

Clean your kid, too. If your child has physical contact with the pet, such as by petting or being licked by the animal, encourage them to immediately wash their hands or any area that came into contact with the pet with soap and water. Teach them to avoid touching their eyes after interacting with the animal, and if they’ve been playing with it (preferably outside!), have them change their clothes. Showering before bed can also help reduce the amount of allergens a child brings into their bedroom at night.

Talk to your vet about food and bathing

Bathing your pet regularly can help reduce the amount of allergens it sheds. However, you don’t want to overdo it and cause its skin to dry out and shed even more dander. Aim for a weekly bath, and consult with your veterinarian about the best shampoo to use on your specific pet. Regular brushing will also remove dander—but do this outside so you don’t send the dander into the indoor air.

Your vet may also have suggestions for changes you can make to the animal’s diet that may help its skin retain moisture and reduce shedding. A diet with a balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids can support healthier skin.

Treatment or (gulp) removal

If you’ve tried all of the above and it simply hasn’t been enough to manage your child’s symptoms, you can talk to their allergist about whether there are any over-the-counter or prescription treatment options available.

Many families will consider rehoming a pet as a last resort. If your child’s allergies cannot be managed and doing so becomes necessary, The Humane Society has tips for finding it a new home.

Mix Protein Powder Into Your Yogurt

https://lifehacker.com/mix-protein-powder-into-your-yogurt-1846042865

yogurt in a bowl

Photo: Fortyforks (Shutterstock)

Protein powder is gross in most things, I’ll be honest about that. It makes oatmeal gooey, and it’s an acquired taste in almost everything but smoothies (where it’s mostly hidden by the ingredients). But there’s one dish of actual food where it’s truly at home, and that is a bowl of yogurt.

If you’re trying to get more protein into your diet, whether to build muscle or support weight loss or athletic endeavors, you’re probably familiar with the humble protein powder. There are many kinds, and personally I swear by a giant jug of unflavored whey that sits under my kitchen counter. I’ll mix it with water for a quick dose of protein to make my macros at the end of the day, or with almond milk for an easily digestible pre-workout snack. But sometimes a person just wants to eat real food.

Join me, then, in mixing the powder into yogurt. The flavor and texture are excellent, and the numbers are good, too. Here’s what I mean: the protein content of yogurt varies by brand, but let’s take for an example the 2% Greek yogurt that I have for breakfast most mornings. It has about 16 grams of protein in a six-ounce serving. Add a scoop of whey powder—mine has 24 grams of protein per scoop—and you’re up to 40 grams for the whole bowl. That’s roughly a third of the amount of protein I need in a day (accounting for muscle growth, hi, I’m a meathead) in only 247 calories. I top it with berries, honey, and sometimes nuts.

How to make protein yogurt

All you need is a bowl, some yogurt, and a scoop of protein powder. (Don’t expect to mix the two ingredients in the little cup the yogurt comes in; they won’t fit.)

The first time you try it, you may think for a moment that you have made a terrible mistake after you dump in the scoop of protein. The volume of powder rivals that of the yogurt; the powder is so dry, and the yogurt so thicc (especially if you choose a nice Greek yogurt like I do) that it may seem like the two will never meld. But keep stirring, and a miracle occurs. After just 10 to 15 seconds, the powder disappears into the yogurt and you’re left with a uniform creamy mixture.

I find the whey mellows out the flavor of the yogurt a bit, making it less tangy. In fact, I prefer the mixture to straight yogurt; it’s creamier, too. I use a plain, unflavored, unsweetened whey powder, so I can’t guarantee that this will work as well with other types or flavors of protein. But I can report that the unflavored whey mixes satisfyingly into any flavor or type of yogurt, so give it a try for your next breakfast or snack.

How to Get Your Neighbor’s Dog to Stop Barking Incessantly

https://lifehacker.com/how-to-get-your-neighbor-s-dog-to-stop-barking-incessan-1792297205

In theory, dogs are great. They’re loyal, loving companions who’ll sit with you after a hard day and tilt their head empathetically when you’re feeling down. But then, there are those dogs that love to hear themselves bark. It’s especially aggravating when your neighbor’s dog likes to bark all night long, or yaps every time you go anywhere near their house. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to make that pup clam up and get the peace and quiet you need without being a jerk.

Talk to your neighbor first

This should go without saying, but you should talk to your neighbor before you try anything else. There’s a possibility they don’t realize their dog is barking so much—like when they’re away at work—or they may be aware of the issue and working on it already. Give them the benefit of the doubt, and avoid harsh accusations since that will only make them defensive.

It’s also important you do this face-to-face. Leaving an anonymous note on their door might seem like the best way to avoid confrontation, but it’s the easiest for them to ignore. Talk to them in person and let them see who they’re affecting. Use this as an opportunity to get to know them and get on their good side so they want to resolve the issue. If you refuse to talk to your neighbors, you’re half of the problem.

If they’re inexperienced dog owners and are not sure what to do, nudge them in the right direction. Show them bark training tip resources, like these from the Humane Society, or point them to a professional dog trainer in your area. If you do the heavy lifting and give them the info, they’re more likely to give it a try.

Block the dog’s view, make friends, be present

If the dog barks every time you walk into your backyard, blocking its vision might help. The dog is probably trying to protect its territory, but if it can’t see you, there’s no danger. Put up a fence screen, or plant some privacy trees and shrubs along the property line between you and the neighbor’s yard.

Of course, it could just be the sound of you in your yard, or even your smell. If blocking the dog’s view won’t work, it’s time to kill it—wait for it—with kindness. The dog barks at you because it sees you as a danger to it and its family. So, in order to make it stop barking, you need to not be seen as a danger.

Jen DeHaan, dog trainer and founder of DOGthusiast.com, suggests you make friends with the dog. Politely ask your neighbor if you can meet their dog and maybe play with it a little. You want the dog to get used to your presence and your scent. DeHaan recommends you have the neighbor bring their dog over to your yard too, so they can get a good lay of the land and its many smells.

Food is an easy way to a dog’s heart too, but do not feed somebody else’s dog without their permission. The dog could have trouble digesting foods other dogs can, it could be on a very specifically timed diet for health reasons, or it could have allergies. The last thing you want is to make your neighbor’s dog sick. If you feel so inclined, ask the owner what kind of doggy treats they use, and ask if it’s alright for you to give them one from time to time.

Lastly, the dog might bark at you every time you go in your yard because you don’t go back there very often. It needs to get used to your presence, but it can’t if you only go out there once a week. Find a way to spend more time out there. Put on some noise-cancelling headphones and read a book, start a garden, or do your workouts in the grass. At the very least, take some old shoes, T-shirts, and socks, then place them along the fence so the dog can get used to your smell. Make your presence known so it doesn’t surprise the dog anymore.

Use a dog whistle or a sonic training device

Dog whistles emit sound in the ultrasonic range, meaning us lame-eared humans can’t hear them. But dogs can, and the sound drives them nuts. That’s why they’re useful for training. If you’ve talked to your neighbors, and their dog still won’t keep quiet, you can use a dog whistle to train them yourself from the comfort of your own home. It works like this:

  1. Get a dog whistle. You can find them online for $5 to $15.
  2. Keep the whistle somewhere you can easily get to at all times.
  3. Whenever the dog starts barking, blow the whistle.

At first, this might make them bark even more right out the gate, but your persistence will pay off. The dog will hate it—don’t worry, it doesn’t hurt them any—and eventually it will realize that every time it barks it has to hear the sound, so it will stop. There are even dog whistle apps (iOS, Android), but they may not be loud enough to use on your neighbor’s dog. An actual dog whistle will definitely be loud enough, and it’s something you could use through shared walls if you live in an apartment building.

If you don’t think you can keep up with the training, you might want to consider a sonic training device like the Instecho Sonic Birdhouse or Vicvol Ultrasonic Outdoor Bark Controller. You hang these up in a tree facing the neighbor’s yard, and every time the dog barks, it automatically emits an ultrasonic sound much like a dog whistle.

File a formal noise complaint

When all else fails, there is still the nuclear option: filing a formal complaint with your landlord, homeowner’s association, animal control or even the police if you’re in a rural area. Noisy pets often violate the terms and provisions of apartment leases and homeowner association agreements, especially if the barking is happening at night past a certain hour. And in some communities, animal services can cite people whose dogs are disturbing the peace.

Be sure to check your local laws and municipal codes. For example, the municipal code of Los Angeles defines “excessive noise” as “noise which is unreasonably annoying, disturbing, offensive or which unreasonably interferes with the comfortable enjoyment of life or property of one or more persons occupying property in the community or neighborhood, within reasonable proximity to the property where the dog or dogs are kept.”

Most cities have similar laws in place. If you file a complaint, they’ll receive a warning. If it continues, and there’s proof of the noise, they’ll have to go to court. If that’s not enough to get your neighbor’s ass in gear, you might just have to move.

This story was originally published in February 2017 and was updated on Jan. 12, 2021 to replace dead links and revise the content to match current Lifehacker style guidelines.

How to Get Your Neighbor’s Dog to Stop Barking Incessantly

https://lifehacker.com/how-to-get-your-neighbor-s-dog-to-stop-barking-incessan-1792297205

In theory, dogs are great. They’re loyal, loving companions who’ll sit with you after a hard day and tilt their head empathetically when you’re feeling down. But then, there are those dogs that love to hear themselves bark. It’s especially aggravating when your neighbor’s dog likes to bark all night long, or yaps every time you go anywhere near their house. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to make that pup clam up and get the peace and quiet you need without being a jerk.

Talk to your neighbor first

This should go without saying, but you should talk to your neighbor before you try anything else. There’s a possibility they don’t realize their dog is barking so much—like when they’re away at work—or they may be aware of the issue and working on it already. Give them the benefit of the doubt, and avoid harsh accusations since that will only make them defensive.

It’s also important you do this face-to-face. Leaving an anonymous note on their door might seem like the best way to avoid confrontation, but it’s the easiest for them to ignore. Talk to them in person and let them see who they’re affecting. Use this as an opportunity to get to know them and get on their good side so they want to resolve the issue. If you refuse to talk to your neighbors, you’re half of the problem.

If they’re inexperienced dog owners and are not sure what to do, nudge them in the right direction. Show them bark training tip resources, like these from the Humane Society, or point them to a professional dog trainer in your area. If you do the heavy lifting and give them the info, they’re more likely to give it a try.

Block the dog’s view, make friends, be present

If the dog barks every time you walk into your backyard, blocking its vision might help. The dog is probably trying to protect its territory, but if it can’t see you, there’s no danger. Put up a fence screen, or plant some privacy trees and shrubs along the property line between you and the neighbor’s yard.

Of course, it could just be the sound of you in your yard, or even your smell. If blocking the dog’s view won’t work, it’s time to kill it—wait for it—with kindness. The dog barks at you because it sees you as a danger to it and its family. So, in order to make it stop barking, you need to not be seen as a danger.

Jen DeHaan, dog trainer and founder of DOGthusiast.com, suggests you make friends with the dog. Politely ask your neighbor if you can meet their dog and maybe play with it a little. You want the dog to get used to your presence and your scent. DeHaan recommends you have the neighbor bring their dog over to your yard too, so they can get a good lay of the land and its many smells.

Food is an easy way to a dog’s heart too, but do not feed somebody else’s dog without their permission. The dog could have trouble digesting foods other dogs can, it could be on a very specifically timed diet for health reasons, or it could have allergies. The last thing you want is to make your neighbor’s dog sick. If you feel so inclined, ask the owner what kind of doggy treats they use, and ask if it’s alright for you to give them one from time to time.

Lastly, the dog might bark at you every time you go in your yard because you don’t go back there very often. It needs to get used to your presence, but it can’t if you only go out there once a week. Find a way to spend more time out there. Put on some noise-cancelling headphones and read a book, start a garden, or do your workouts in the grass. At the very least, take some old shoes, T-shirts, and socks, then place them along the fence so the dog can get used to your smell. Make your presence known so it doesn’t surprise the dog anymore.

Use a dog whistle or a sonic training device

Dog whistles emit sound in the ultrasonic range, meaning us lame-eared humans can’t hear them. But dogs can, and the sound drives them nuts. That’s why they’re useful for training. If you’ve talked to your neighbors, and their dog still won’t keep quiet, you can use a dog whistle to train them yourself from the comfort of your own home. It works like this:

  1. Get a dog whistle. You can find them online for $5 to $15.
  2. Keep the whistle somewhere you can easily get to at all times.
  3. Whenever the dog starts barking, blow the whistle.

At first, this might make them bark even more right out the gate, but your persistence will pay off. The dog will hate it—don’t worry, it doesn’t hurt them any—and eventually it will realize that every time it barks it has to hear the sound, so it will stop. There are even dog whistle apps (iOS, Android), but they may not be loud enough to use on your neighbor’s dog. An actual dog whistle will definitely be loud enough, and it’s something you could use through shared walls if you live in an apartment building.

If you don’t think you can keep up with the training, you might want to consider a sonic training device like the Instecho Sonic Birdhouse or Vicvol Ultrasonic Outdoor Bark Controller. You hang these up in a tree facing the neighbor’s yard, and every time the dog barks, it automatically emits an ultrasonic sound much like a dog whistle.

File a formal noise complaint

When all else fails, there is still the nuclear option: filing a formal complaint with your landlord, homeowner’s association, animal control or even the police if you’re in a rural area. Noisy pets often violate the terms and provisions of apartment leases and homeowner association agreements, especially if the barking is happening at night past a certain hour. And in some communities, animal services can cite people whose dogs are disturbing the peace.

Be sure to check your local laws and municipal codes. For example, the municipal code of Los Angeles defines “excessive noise” as “noise which is unreasonably annoying, disturbing, offensive or which unreasonably interferes with the comfortable enjoyment of life or property of one or more persons occupying property in the community or neighborhood, within reasonable proximity to the property where the dog or dogs are kept.”

Most cities have similar laws in place. If you file a complaint, they’ll receive a warning. If it continues, and there’s proof of the noise, they’ll have to go to court. If that’s not enough to get your neighbor’s ass in gear, you might just have to move.

This story was originally published in February 2017 and was updated on Jan. 12, 2021 to replace dead links and revise the content to match current Lifehacker style guidelines.

This Kitchen Garden System Adds Microgreens (and Alexa) To Your Lockdown Diet

https://gizmodo.com/this-kitchen-garden-system-adds-microgreens-and-alexa-1846036549

Illustration for article titled This Kitchen Garden System Adds Microgreens (and Alexa) To Your Lockdown Diet

Photo: Rise Gardens

When it comes to indoor gardening you basically have to go big or go home. Anyone who has started seedlings in the kitchen and hoped to get some basil or thyme out of the process knows that it’s easy to get a sprout but hard to get a plant. Chicago-based Rise Gardens hopes to change that.

The company makes home indoor gardens that include water controls, lights, and little seed pods that will let you grow fresh veggies in the home. Their latest product, announced at CES 2021, is an improved Personal Garden that can fit on a shelf and includes a new Alexa skill that lets you control your garden with your voice.

Priced at $280, the product lets you grow four large plants like tomatoes or peppers, or up to twelve small plants including a new microgreens offering. Plant packs cost about $10 and the company also sells nutrient subscriptions. The company also sells bigger kits including a $950 three-tier Family Model that can grow up to 108 plants per tray.

The system includes an app to monitor water and light levels and notifies you when to fertilize your veg. The Alexa skill is an interesting addition to the product. You can ask Alexa how your plants are doing and even get growing advice.

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Photo: Rise Gardens

“It will allow garden users to control the pumps and lights on their gardens and receive plant care and harvesting tips by delivering voice commands through an Alexa device,” wrote Rise Gardens CEO, Hank Adams.

Given that we’re all stuck inside, some fresh herbs and vegetables might be just the thing the doctor ordered. The fact that you can grow your own in your own kitchen is the icing on the lockdown cake.

Discovery+ Needs to Be Part of Your Streaming Life, Its That Good

https://gizmodo.com/discovery-needs-to-be-part-of-your-streaming-life-its-1845998223

Illustration for article titled Discovery+ Needs to Be Part of Your Streaming Life, Its That Good

Photo: Catie Keck/Gizmodo

Discovery’s new streaming service has finally arrived.

The company’s official entrance into the streaming wars brought all of Discovery’s assets under a single roof, with everything from true crime to reality TV to nature documentaries. Discovery+ is home to tens of thousands of episodes from legacy broadcast channels like HGTV, the History Channel, A&E, Food Network, and more. And it’s not just old stuff, either—Discovery says it plans to bring more than 1,000 hours of original content to the platform in its first year, with more than 50 exclusives available on the service at launch. That’s a fairly good haul of content to offer potential subscribers right out of the gate.

But the service charges for both its ad-free and ad-supported tiers, which cost $5 and $7 per month, respectively. Do you really need to add another paid streaming service to your portfolio, particularly when so many others launched last year? Maybe not. But I’d encourage anyone to give Discovery+ a shot before writing it off. Not only were its natural world originals and exclusives a huge draw for me, personally—as well as all you other David Attenborough heads out there—but Discovery+ delivered an excellent product at launch that will, at the very least, introduce something new to your limited premium content options.

Now, I’m not sure what your own quarantine content diet has been like, but I’ve survived mostly on mindless reality TV binge-watching (I know, I know) and a lot of documentaries about the natural world and space phenomena. I’ll watch it anywhere I can find it: Netflix, Apple TV, PBS, whatever. If this sounds like you, reader, I have some great news: Discovery+ is a smorgasbord of exactly this kind of thing, thanks to both Discovery’s own assets and exclusive BBC programming, which includes Planet Earth, Blue Planet, Serengeti, and The Mating Game. Attenborough also narrates the Discovery+ original A Perfect Planet, a five-part series from the same folks behind Planet Earth. This alone should be reason enough to at least activate one of multiple free trial offers the service is currently running.

But that’s not everything. I was honestly surprised by how much variety was represented on launch day and how easy it was to find stuff to watch by genre or channel. Homepage rows make finding new originals, featured content, trending series, and your personalized watch list easy. I do wish the service made finding 4K content a little easier. Right now, 4K is limited to a handful of natural world series like Blue Planet II and Planet Earth II on platforms that support it. But we should expect to see more 4K content hit the service eventually—potentially even this year.

In terms of support, Discovery+ had a refreshingly smooth rollout on most major platforms, including Xbox, Fire TV, Roku, Apple, Android, Samsung smart TVs, and Chromecast, including its latest version with Google TV. I am currently testing a Vizio OLED TV, and while I wasn’t able to open the app on the TV itself, I was able to cast Discovery+ to the TV from my iPhone 11. I asked Discovery whether it planned to add support to other smart TVs running proprietary software, including LG and Vizio, and while the company didn’t have anything immediate to share, it sounds like Discovery is working on expanded support.

Illustration for article titled Discovery+ Needs to Be Part of Your Streaming Life, Its That Good

Photo: Catie Keck/Gizmodo

Each of Discovery’s dozens of brands have their own bubble in a slider on the homepage, as do content categories like lifestyle, adventure and exploration, paranormal and unexplained, documentaries, as well as science and technology, among others. It was immediately clear to me that rather than simply smashing a bunch of seemingly unaffiliated brands together and hoping it works (cough HBO Max cough), Discovery put a lot of thought into organization and design. It just works.

Now, you may be wondering how, with tens of thousands of episodes available at launch, Discovery sorts through all of its various brands and titles to serve you something to watch. The company uses its own proprietary algorithm that takes a number of factors about your watch habits into consideration, and while it does consider page views, the company wouldn’t comment on specifically how its system works. But as far as user-specific content recommendations go, it does help that Discovery+ made user profiles available immediately. Five profiles are supported per account, and the service allows for up to four concurrent streams. That means that one subscription could cover just about everyone in an average household.

And as for its originals? You’ll probably know before you subscribe whether you’re a Chip and Joanna Gaines superfan—and there must be many because Discovery leans into this marital enterprise very hard—or the kind of tinfoil hat-wearing dork who’ll tune in for a new Project Blue Book series (it me). But I was pleasantly surprised at the number of titles I’ll definitely be adding to the watch list that I so desperately need to get me through what’s left of winter. (I am hesitant to admit that these titles include a paranormal joint called Amityville Horror House, but listen, we’re all doing our best right now.)

Discovery+ isn’t going to replace your Netflix subscription, and Discovery’s own leadership has said as much. But Discovery+ is, as CEO David Zaslav described it recently, a “perfect complement” to your primary portfolio of cordcutting solutions. And who knows! It may just surprise you. As streaming launches go, this one is thoughtfully exceptional.

README

  • This newly launched streaming service unites all of Discovery’s assets under one roof, including HGTV, the History Channel, A&E, Food Network, the Discovery Channel, and more.
  • Discovery+ is the exclusive home for BBC’s nature programming, including a brand new series from David Attenborough.
  • Each profile supports up to five user profiles and four concurrent streams.
  • Both subscription tiers are paid, with one offering ad-supported content for $5 per month and another without ads for $7 per month.