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Google Assistant Can Now Read the News to You

Google has added a new way for your Google Assistant to deliver the news. It’s called Your News Update, and it pulls news stories from a number of different sources from around the world. The upshot is a news update personalized to your location and interests.

From News Briefings to Your News Update

As you may already be aware, Google Assistant can already read News Briefings to you. However, the current system makes you choose particular news sources. So, you can hear the hourly news update from NPR, then CNN, followed by The New York Times.

Your News Update pools these resources and more to create a news update which includes stories from a number of different sources. So, you may hear world news from Reuters, then local news from CBS, followed by entertainment news from Billboard.

How to Listen to the News on Google Assistant

Google offers more details on The Keyword. The company states that Your News Update is “a smarter way to listen to the news hosted by the Google Assistant.” And it’s all thanks to collaborative efforts with news publishers over the past two years.

These news publishers are the key to Your News Update, and Google has roped in dozens of them. Participating partners include USA Today, The Washington Post, Fox News Radio, Cheddar, The Associated Press, Politico, Al Jazeera, and The Motley Fool.

To start receiving Your News Update, open Google Assistant and go to your Settings. Then, under the You tab, click News > Change Your Playlist Format. Tick Your News Update and you’re all set. Then you just need to say, “Hey Google, play me the news”.

How to Find News Sources You Can Trust

Your News Update is currently only available in English in the United States. However, Google is promising to expand internationally in 2020. In the meantime, we can at least recommend the best news sites you can trust


12 Best News Sites You Can Trust




12 Best News Sites You Can Trust

Want the best news sites around? This list of top-ranked news sites kill fake news stories and publish credible content.
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. Because the truth IS out there.



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What Is a Data Breach and How Can You Protect Yourself?

If you follow security news, you’ve likely heard people talking about big companies suffering data breaches. And you might worry about how these breaches can affect you as a user.

So what is a data breach? That’s what we’ll explain below, with advice on how to protect yourself from future breaches.

Security Incident, Security Breach, Data Breach: What’s the Difference?

What is a data breach - security incident

The general term for a company or organization being hacked or attacked digitally is a security incident. This covers a wide range of issues like malware infection, phishing attempts, distributed denial of service attacks, and employees losing equipment or having it stolen.

A security incident may or may not result in the organization’s security being compromised. If attackers are successful in compromising the organization’s security, that is called a security breach.

A data breach is a specific type of security breach. This is where attackers successfully access data that they should not have been able to access. Typically, attackers will achieve a security breach, and then steal data resulting in a data breach.

But there can be other types of data breach too. For example, an organization may accidentally leave sensitive data in an insecure location. If people can access data they shouldn’t be able to, that’s a data breach.

What Are Examples of Some Famous Data Breaches?

One of the biggest data breaches in recent years was revealed in 2018. Hackers had attacked Facebook and were able to steal information about 30 million users. They performed the attack through Facebook developer APIs (application programming interface) and were able to obtain information about users such as their names, genders, and hometowns.

Another famous data breach happened to Equifax in 2017. Equifax is a large credit reporting company and holds data on a huge number of Americans. The hackers were able to gain initial access to the company’s systems through a consumer complaint web portal using a well-known vulnerability.

Then they used the web portal to access other parts of the network. They found usernames and passwords stored in plain text (which is a huge security mistake


How to Tell If a Site Stores Passwords as Plaintext (And What to Do)




How to Tell If a Site Stores Passwords as Plaintext (And What to Do)

When sending your password to a website, it isn’t always done securely. Here’s what you should know about plaintext passwords.
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). They then used these passwords to steal data such as names, addresses, Social Security number, and dates of birth. In total, the breach potentially affected up to 145 million people.

Banking and credit card company Capital One also suffered a data breach in 2019. Hackers were able to steal the names, addresses, credit scores, and Social Security numbers of over 100 million customers.

The company had misconfigured a web application firewall, and a hacker was able to exploit this to gain access to the system. The hacker was a software engineer who had previously worked for Capital One’s web hosting company, Amazon Web Services.

How Do Data Breaches Happen?

What is a data breach - how data breaches happen

There are many ways that data breaches can happen. According to a report by Kastle Systems, the most common cause of data breaches is hacking, followed by poor security. Hackers used malware in nearly 50 percent of data breaches. They used social engineering in a quarter of breaches.

Hackers can introduce malware to a target’s computer through techniques such as email spam


How to Spot Unsafe Email Attachments: 6 Red Flags




How to Spot Unsafe Email Attachments: 6 Red Flags

Reading an email should be safe, but attachments can be harmful. Look for these red flags to spot unsafe email attachments.
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. An email will trick a user into clicking a link which downloads malware onto their device. Another way to hack a system is through social engineering attacks like phishing. This is where hackers set up a fake website and trick users into entering their username and password into the site.

The hackers can then copy those usernames and passwords and use them to access secure systems.

Sometimes, affected organizations make mistakes which result in data breaches. For example, an employee may lose their company computer or have it stolen. If cybercriminals get their hands on that computer, they can use it to access the company’s systems.

Or, as seen in the case of Equifax, an organization may have poor security practices such as storing passwords in plan text. That makes it easier for hackers to steal data.

Affected by a Data Breach? Here’s What to Do

With so many companies suffering data breaches, the likelihood is high that you may be affected by one. Therefore, a great resource to find out if your information has been part of a breach is the website HaveIBeenPwned.com. You can enter your email address into this site to see if you have been affected by a data breach.

If your information has been included in a data breach, don’t panic. Firstly, check which sites are responsible for the breach. Now, go to each of those sites and change your password straight away. This should be enough to protect you in most cases.

Sometimes, you’ll need to take more drastic action. This would be if the breach has affected your bank, for example, or if very sensitive data such as your Social Security number has been leaked. In these cases, you may want to freeze your credit


How to Prevent Identity Theft by Freezing Your Credit




How to Prevent Identity Theft by Freezing Your Credit

Your personal data has been compromised, but your identity not yet stolen. Is there anything you can do to mitigate your risks? Well, you could try freezing your credit — here’s how.
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, start using a credit monitoring service, and/or check your credit reports to ensure no one is doing anything suspicious under your name.

If you believe someone else has opened an account under your name, contact the institution’s fraud department and let them know.

How Can You Protect Yourself From Data Breaches?

What is a data breach - how to protect yourself

In order to protect yourself from data breaches, there are a number of steps you can take:

  • Use strong passwords. Your passwords should ideally be a mix of numbers, letters, and special characters. Also, you should never reuse the same password for multiple sites or logins. Finally, never share your passwords with anyone.
  • Use HTTPS when browsing the web. Using HTTPS ensures you connect to sites securely


    What Is HTTPS & How To Enable Secure Connections Per Default




    What Is HTTPS & How To Enable Secure Connections Per Default

    Security concerns are spreading far and wide and have reached the forefront of most everybody’s mind. Terms like antivirus or firewall are no longer strange vocabulary and are not only understood, but also used by…
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    . This makes it harder for hackers to intercept your data.
  • Be on the lookout for spam, phishing, and other suspicious communications. Be careful what you click on, especially if you received an unsolicited email message or are browsing a less-than-reputable website.
  • Keep your devices and software up to date. Updating operating systems and other software can be a pain. But it’s a vital way to protect yourself from attacks. When a security vulnerability is disclosed, companies will update their software to protect against the vulnerability. If you don’t update, you leave a big hole in your security.
  • Check your credit reports regularly. If you think someone might have stolen your data, they could use it to take out a credit card in your name. So you might want to use a credit monitoring service. This will send you alerts if the company detects suspicious activity on your accounts.

Take Steps to Protect Yourself From Data Breaches

With this information, you can be ready for the possibility of a data breach. And by following the steps outlined above, you can make it less likely you’ll be a victim of a data breach in the future.

If you work with data as part of your job, you should also consider how hackers could target your organization. To learn more, see our data handling tips to avoid security breaches at work


5 Data Handling Tips to Avoid Security Breaches at Work




5 Data Handling Tips to Avoid Security Breaches at Work

Concerned that you might inadvertently cause a security breach at work? Check our data handling tips to ensure you stay secure!
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How to Change the Netflix Playback Speed

Have you ever wanted to change the Netflix playback speed? Allowing you to watch films and TV shows more quickly? YouTube offers variable playback speeds, but Netflix doesn’t officially support this feature.

Netflix HAS experimented with variable playback speeds, but given the reaction from filmmakers it’s unlikely to be rolled out to a broader audience anytime soon. So, in this article we’ll show you how to watch Netflix faster.

Netflix Experiments With Variable Playback Speeds

Netflix has been testing variable playback speeds. This allows consumers to view content slightly faster (1.2x) or much quicker (1.5x). It also offers slower options (0.5x and 0.7x), perfect for those who love analyzing their favorite media. Audio pitch is altered to suit the new speed you’re watching at too.

This feature has only been tested as an experiment, confined solely to some viewers using the Android Netflix app. However, it has caused a lot of controversy.

Directors and writers argued that they craft their products a certain way, and they don’t want viewers messing with that. Peyton Reed (Ant Man), Brad Bird (The Incredibles), and Judd Apatow (Girls) have all spoken out about the idea, agreeing that it takes away from the filmmakers’ intentions.

As such, Netflix assures users that it’s “sensitive to creator concerns”. And it won’t be rolling the feature out to anyone else until it’s received feedback on the experiment.

Netflix’s experiment into variable playback speeds allowed users to watch Netflix faster and slower, depending on their needs. Netflix cited films with subtitles as one reason why people may want to watch content more slowly.

There are also valid reasons why people may want to watch content more quickly. For example, maybe you want to watch slow TV (check out our guide to slow TV


Netflix and Really Chill: A Quick Guide to Slow TV




Netflix and Really Chill: A Quick Guide to Slow TV

Slow TV is a strange phenomenon you may not understand, with people watching hours of footage of really boring activities. It’s strange, but is it worthwhile? Let’s find out…
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) but not quite as slowly as other people.

Slow TV programs generally happen in real-time and offer a range of beautiful vistas. But if you want to watch the train journey from Bergen to Oslo without needing to set aside seven hours of your life, it makes sense to speed Netflix up.

How to Change Video Playback Speeds on Netflix

To change the Netflix playback speed, your best option is to install a plug-in on Google Chrome. Just click Add To Chrome then Add Extension. So which plugins do we recommend?

1. Video Speed Controller

variable netflix playback google chrome plug-in extension

Video Speed Controller is the best option on offer because it allows you to vary speeds by tiny increments. Normal 1.0 speed is the default. By hovering over the left-hand corner of your screen, you can click the plus or minus buttons to increase or decrease the playback speed of Netflix.

If you’re not sure you can watch content at much higher speeds, try 1.1x speed. On a 60-minute video, you’ll save 6 minutes.

Video Speed Controller controls the speed of any HTML5 video and has handy shortcuts to rewind or fast-forward content.

Download: Video Speed Controller

2. Video Speed

google chrome variable netflix playback plug-in extension

Only interested in speeding up videos? Then this extension is the one for you. Its options range from 1.25x speed to 2x speed. The latter is a good option if you’re studying a film you’re not especially interested in. It’s not a particularly nice experience, but it could be useful in some situations. It’s good for viewing documentaries too—though only if you’re a fast learner.

Video Speed also works on HTML5, so it’s great for YouTube or Vimeo tutorials and online courses that use Wistia.

Download: Video Speed

3. SpeedUp

Netflix variable playback google chrome extension plug-in

This is a similar add-on which gives you control over videos on all websites. You’re not confined to Netflix; SpeedUp can also be used on other streaming platforms like Hulu and Amazon Prime.

Contrary to what its name implies, SpeedUp can also slow down content. It’s less intensive than Video Speed Controller, so to vary playback speed, it presents you with nine buttons, ranging from 0.75x to 2.25x. Once again, the 1.10x option is a good way to save time without compromising quality.

Download: SpeedUp

Why Would You Change Netflix Playback Speeds?

When discussing its experiment, Netflix revealed that it was testing the feature because variable speeds “has been frequently requested by our members”. But why would anyone want to watch a movie or TV show faster—or slower—than it was intended to be consumed?

There’s controversy, but other services offer this already. Few creators criticize YouTube for allowing viewers to speed content up. Similarly, DVD and Blu-ray players typically have this functionality. You can listen to podcasts on some podcast players too, meaning you can fit a whole episode in during your commute.

watch streaming platform TV shows films faster slower

Playing Netflix content at faster speeds makes more sense for TV shows rather than movies. Netflix is synonymous with binge-watching, so speeding up content means you can power through a season in record time. So, if you’re desperate to watch the next episode of Daredevil, changing the Netflix playback speed to 1.5x means you can watch it during lunch.

Is the difference that significant? Just divide the episode or film length (in minutes) by the speed. At 1.5x speed, you can watch a 60-minute show in 40 minutes. A 10-episode series, with each episode consisting of 60 minutes, saves you 100 minutes when viewed at 1.2x speed. The difference in viewing experience between normal speed and 1.2x speed is virtually unnoticeable.

And we all experience movies differently. Intentions can differ even between writers and directors; of course consumers will interpret a production in juxtaposing ways. So variable playback speed can also be seen as a way of making content more accessible.

The ability to change the playback speed on Netflix can aid those on the autistic spectrum, who may find that variable speeds makes watching content more fun and fulfilling.

Should You Change Netflix Playback Speeds?

If you’re reading this you’ve clearly decided to explore the possibility of changing the playback speed on Netflix. And while Netflix currently doesn’t offer this feature, we’ve shown you how to do it using browser extensions.

As to whether you should, it’s up to you. There is a risk of ruining a great movie by rushing through it, but if you have a genuine need to speed up or slow down Netflix, go ahead. We’re not here to judge.

Just remember than whatever Netflix playback speed you settle on, you should take regular breaks. After all, streaming movies can be bad for you


Why Streaming Movies Is Bad for You




Why Streaming Movies Is Bad for You

However much we love streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video, they’re not always a force for good. Here are three reasons why streaming movies can be bad for you.
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Spotify Launches Your Daily Podcasts Playlist

Spotify has launched another personalized playlist in the same vein as Discover Weekly and Release Radar. It’s called Your Daily Podcasts, and, unlike all of the previous personalized playlists Spotify has released, this one is all about podcasts.

Spotify Adds Podcasts to the Music Mix

Spotify is obviously full of songs you can listen to whenever you want. However, sometimes you don’t know what music you want to listen to. Which is where Spotify’s capacity to surface music you’re likely to enjoy comes into play.

The streaming service aids music discovery in a number of ways, but it’s now keen to help you discover new podcasts as well. In June 2019, Spotify launched Your Daily Drive


Spotify Launches “Your Daily Drive” for Commuters




Spotify Launches “Your Daily Drive” for Commuters

Spotify has launched a new playlist for commuters called Your Daily Drive. However, you don’t have to be a commuter to listen to it.
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, with a mix of music and podcasts. And now it’s launching a playlist dedicated solely to podcasts.

How to Listen to Your Daily Podcasts

Your Daily Podcasts is a personalized playlist packed full of podcasts. As with the music playlists, Spotify will analyze your listening habits. Then, based on your streams and follows, Spotify will make recommendations accordingly.

You’ll see classic episodes of podcasts you follow, the next episodes of podcasts you listen to, plus new podcasts based on your listening habits. And with so many great podcasts around these days, finding the best new podcasts is half the battle.

As detailed on For The Record, Your Daily Podcasts is available to Spotify listeners who have “listened to at least four podcasts in the past 90 days”. It’s available in the US, UK, Germany, Sweden, Mexico, Brazil, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

How to Add Podcasts to Spotify Playlists

Spotify has invested heavily in podcasts in recent years. So it’s no surprise to find the streaming service trying to get more people to listen to more podcasts. Whether this strategy will work as well as it does with music remains to be seen.

Even if none of the podcasts Spotify recommends to you through Your Daily Podcasts appeal, you can also add podcasts to Spotify playlists


You Can Now Add Podcasts to Spotify Playlists




You Can Now Add Podcasts to Spotify Playlists

Spotify now lets you add podcasts to playlists. These can be new or existing playlists, and contain a mix of music and podcasts.
Read More

yourself. Which means you can create the perfect blend of music and podcasts to suit any occasion.





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Røde’s Most Versatile Shotgun Microphone Ever: The VideoMic NTG

The Røde VideoMic range has been a favorite of DSLR videographers and amateur filmmakers for over a decade, producing great quality sound in a compact and affordable package. The newly announced VideoMic NTG brings the broadcast-quality audio technology of Røde’s profession NTG line into a versatile and convenient VideoMic package.

It’s available today initially in the US for $249, with other regional pricing and availability to follow.

High Specs

What can you expect from the Røde VideoMic NTG? Here are some of the standout features:

  • The same Annular Line Tube Technology from the newest NTG5 microphone and low self-noise; providing highly directional pickup and near-flat frequency response for as natural-sounding audio as you can get.
  • Auto-sensing TRS and TRRS 3.5mm output, eliminating the need for adaptors when switching between DSLR and mobile devices.
  • USB output, with optional headphone monitoring.
  • Built-in rechargeable battery for 30+ hours of use.
  • Lightweight and rugged aluminum body (94g), enabling it to be comfortably used on any size camera or a boom pole.
  • Infinitely variable gain control, enabling you to precisely match audio levels to the input characteristics of any camera.

Of course, the VideoMic NTG also retains the features that make the rest of the VideoMic range so useful. This includes a switchable high-pass filter (75/150Hz) to remove low-end background noise, and a high-frequency shelf boost to counteract the effects of using foam and furry windshields.

If that wasn’t enough, the user favorite -20dB safety channel feature from the VideoMic Pro+ has been integrated, which turns your stereo channel recording into a dual mono recording, with one channel at 20dB lower volume than the other. This works as a backup, ensuring you’ll always have a clean audio channel if the other experiences clipping from unexpected high volumes.

Røde's Most Versatile Shotgun Microphone Ever: The VideoMic NTG R DE VM NTG PACKAGING PROFILE RGB

Lastly, the real quality of life improvement might be the auto power-on and off feature, which syncs to your camera’s power. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve forgotten to turn off my VideoMic, only to come back next to time to a dead battery; or worse, forgotten to turn it on and been left with no audio at all!

Versatility

For mobile devices, DSLRs, or even connected to your laptop or desktop over USB, the VideoMic NTG delivers professional sound quality at an affordable price. It can be mounted on-camera with the included shock absorber, attached to a boom, or held on a pistol grip. Whether it’s for podcasting interviews, live streaming, or filmmaking, the VideoMic NTG looks set to be Røde’s most versatile mic yet. We can’t wait to get our hands on one.



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The 8 Best 4K Streaming Devices for 2019

With Netflix, Apple TV+, Disney+, we really are in a golden age of streaming. And to make the most of it, you need a great streaming device to access them all.

But which one is right for you? We can help you out. Here are the best 4K streaming devices available today.

If you’re tied into the Apple ecosystem, then the Apple TV 4K is probably the best TV streaming device for you. It’s rammed with features; there’s 4K HDR video and Dolby Atmos sound, multi-user support, and you get a Siri-enabled remote for voice controls. The box works with all major services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu.

Apple even throws in a full year of Apple TV+ for free. On top of that, you can play games through the Apple Arcade service using your Xbox One S or PlayStation Dual Shock 4 controllers. As for downsides, it’s pricey, of course, and YouTube support is limited—it can’t do either 4K or HDR.



Nvidia Shield TV Pro


Nvidia Shield TV Pro

Buy Now On Amazon

Apple doesn’t have a monopoly on premium streaming gear. The Shield TV Pro is ridiculously powerful. In fact, the Shield TV Pro may even be the best streaming device available today. It offers everything you’d expect, plus a whole lot of unique features on top. Most interesting is that the box uses machine learning to upscale 720p and 1080p videos to 4K, and reviews suggest it’s really good at it.

The Shield TV Pro runs Android TV so you can add apps like the Kodi streaming player, and it’s compatible with both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. If that’s not enough, you also get access to Nvidia’s GeForce game streaming service. While the box only has 16GB of storage, you can use a USB flash drive or hard drive to add as much extra storage as you need.

Don’t want the gaming options? The slightly cheaper Shield TV, with its unusual cylindrical design, might be a better choice.



Amazon Fire TV Cube


Amazon Fire TV Cube

Buy Now On Amazon
$119.99

The Amazon Fire TV Cube is a 4K streaming box and an Amazon Echo smart speaker with Alexa into a single glossy box. It provides high quality video streaming, with support for the latest formats like Dolby Vision and HDR10+.

You can even use the box to control your TV or soundbar, plus countless other compatible smart home devices. It offers all the main streaming TV services, including Apple TV+. You can watch local videos, too, by connecting your own USB flash drive.



Xiaomi Mi Box S


Xiaomi Mi Box S

Buy Now On Amazon
$59.99

If you want the benefits of Android TV but don’t have the budget for an Nvidia Shield TV, the Xiaomi Mi Box S is the device for you. It supports the full range of streaming services, works with Google Assistant, has a Chromecast built-in, and is certified for Netflix UHD. You can also install your own choice of apps and games.

While it shares its looks with the Apple TV, the lower price does mean lower specs, with some compromises. Some users suggest it can be a little laggy, especially when playing 4K content. Maybe it’s a better choice if you’re happy to stick to 1080p content instead.



Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K


Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K

Buy Now On Amazon
$49.99

The Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K is one of the cheapest 4K UHD streaming devices, and is may be the best 4K streaming device for most people. It’s a tiny stick but packs lots of power. There’s 4K HDR support, along with Dolby Vision, and Dolby Atmos. The Fire Stick 4K also has improved Wi-Fi performance over previous editions.

You get access to the full range of streaming services, including Prime Video, Netflix, YouTube, and Apple TV+, plus many more add-on channels, and rentals via Amazon. The impressive package is completed with Alexa integration, the ability to control your smart home devices, and support for many Android apps and basic games.



Roku Streaming Stick Plus


Roku Streaming Stick Plus

Buy Now On Amazon
$42.95

As good as the Fire TV Stick 4K is, it does heavily prioritize Amazon’s content and services. For a platform-agnostic alternative, you want the Roku Streaming Stick Plus. This Roku unit makes a strong claim to be the best 4K streaming device available right now. It comes with a voice remote and long-range Wi-Fi, which Roku says results in four times the coverage you’d normally expect.

For content, you get 4K HDR support, as well as 4K upscaling for 720p and 1080p videos. All the main channels and services—both free and paid—are here. Among the interesting extras is the Roku mobile app. It includes a clever private listening mode that lets you use headphones to listen to shows through your phone. You can set the volume to your preferred level without disturbing anyone else in your house.

Unlike the other devices here, Google’s Chromecast Ultra needs a smartphone to set up and control. It works with any Chromecast-enabled app. This includes options like Netflix and Hulu, all the way to video player apps like VLC, so you can cast the movies stored on your phone. The Chromecast Ultra is a dongle that hangs from the back of your television.

This design works well for TVs that have cramped HDMI ports. It’s also a great choice if you have slow Wi-Fi. There’s an ethernet port in the power adapter that lets you use a fast, stable wired connection instead. The Chromecast Ultra works with the Google Stadia games streaming platform. If gaming is your thing, it’s a no-brainer.



Roku Premiere Plus


Roku Premiere Plus

Buy Now On Amazon
$40.98

A cheaper alternative to the Streaming Stick Plus, the Roku Premiere Plus is a basic player with 4K HDR support and Roku’s trademark simple interface that makes it so easy to just plug in and use. The Premiere Plus is a very small dongle that hangs loose like a Chromecast, but also comes with a couple of pieces of velcro-lined tape that you can use to stick it to the side of your TV.

It has a basic voice remote and supports all the major streaming services, just like the other Roku products. Unlike the more high-end Roku streamers, it doesn’t offer the neat 4K upscaling option. You also don’t get the enhanced Wi-Fi performance. But if you’re on a tight budget, these compromises shouldn’t be deal-breakers.

The Best 4K Streaming Device for Your Home

There’s a lot of competition for the best 4K streaming device for 2019 and beyond. Deciding which one is right for you will depend mostly on your budget and whether you’re tied into a particular ecosystem by companies like Apple or Amazon.

Once you’ve made your choice, you can further upgrade your 4K viewing experience by picking up one of the best budget soundbars


The Best Soundbars for Audiophiles on a Budget




The Best Soundbars for Audiophiles on a Budget

Soundbars are a great way to upgrade your home audio experience. Here are the best affordable soundbars.
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How to Message Recruiters on LinkedIn the Right Way

When searching for a job, at some point you’ll need to contact the company you want to work for. And that may mean you need to message recruiters on LinkedIn.

This can be a nerve-wracking experience, especially if you’re not used to doing it. However, using LinkedIn’s “InMail” service is actually easier than you might think.

In this article, we’ll explain how to message LinkedIn recruiters the right away—along with some do’s and don’ts for email etiquette as a whole.

Why You Should Message Recruiters on LinkedIn

How to Message Recruiters on LinkedIn

While anxiety-inducing, the act of reaching out is beneficial in helping you narrow down your search. This is because it lets you decide which companies and positions you want to apply for. It also gives you a good idea on what skills you need to improve in order to advance.

Think of cold emailing like a crucial aspect of career research. Maybe you’re interested in applying for a particular job, just not right now, and you want to know the interpersonal skills that the company searches for in potential candidates.

The practice of cold emailing can also help you get over the fear of emailing itself. By doing it a lot, you’ll learn how to write really good pitches.

When you message a recruiter on LinkedIn you’ll be using a service called LinkedIn InMail. In order to use InMail effectively, you’ll need a LinkedIn Premium account.

While you can message people without a Premium account, the big stipulation is that you need to be connected to them. If you’re reaching out to recruiters, the chances are high that you’ve never talked to them before.

Once you sign up for a Premium account, you’ll be given a set number of InMail credits: five messages per month.

If you want to know more about this service, here are some reasons why LinkedIn Premium is worth it


3 Reasons Why LinkedIn Premium Is Worth Paying For




3 Reasons Why LinkedIn Premium Is Worth Paying For

Should you upgrade to LinkedIn Premium? If you aren’t sure what the benefits are, or whether they’re worthwhile, here are reasons why LinkedIn Premium may be worth it for you.
Read More

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The Do’s and Don’ts of Email Etiquette

The Best Way to Write a Cold Email

Before we show you how to use InMail, we should probably go through a few key “do’s and don’ts” when emailing people. These simple steps will keep you on a recruiter’s good side, and potentially increase your response rate:

Do:

  • Be conversational, approachable, positive, and enthusiastic. You don’t need to be overly casual, but a stiff opener is to your detriment. Get across the idea that you’re genuinely excited to learn more.
  • Make sure that you mention the post, person, or reason that prompted you to reach out to this recruiter. It tells them why you’re emailing, and makes it clear that you’ve thought your approach through.
  • Keep things short. Not only are long emails hard to read, but recruiters and hiring managers are busy people. They won’t have time to read essays.
  • Be polite and courteous. Again, you shouldn’t be stiff, but keep in mind you’re approaching strangers.
  • Think of cold calling like a networking opportunity. There’s no reason for this hiring manager to offer you a job on the spot. Better to play the long game and use it as a way to learn more about the company.

Don’t:

  • Pressure someone to give you a job. You’ll come off as entitled or needy.
  • Get angry if no one responds to your email. Sometimes that one-on-one communication isn’t meant to be.
  • DON’T SPAM. When you email someone, wait about one business week for them to respond. If they don’t reply, you can try sending off one more email to ask for a follow-up. If they don’t respond after that, don’t contact them. They’re clearly not interested in talking to you.

Now that you know the do’s and don’ts, let’s look at LinkedIn InMail.

How to Message Recruiters on LinkedIn

How to Message a Company on LinkedIn

First, make sure that you’re logged into your Premium account. Next, go to the profile page of the company that you want to contact.

While you can search for individual employees by name, there’s a high chance you won’t actually know the names of the recruiters you need to reach out to. By going to a company page, you’ll have to weed through a lot less, which makes your search easier.

For this article, let’s say you want to work at MakeUseOf. When you log onto the company page, click on the link that says See all [#] employees on LinkedIn.

Once you’re on the list, scroll through it.

Find the Right Person to Contact

When you’re scrolling through the list, you want to look for people whose job titles indicate that they are directly involved in the hiring process. These people will have up-to-date information on the company and the skills you’ll need in order to apply.

Additionally, you need to find employees you can actually send LinkedIn inMail to. Not everyone is open to them.

Once you find the right employee, click on their InMail button:

How to Use LinkedIn InMail to Message People

After you click the InMail button, a screen will pop up where you can compose your message.

Write Your Email

At the top of the message box, you’ll see the name of the employee, their picture, and their position at the company. Beneath that, you’ll see a section for your header, along with the email body.

At the bottom of the message box, there will be a line that shows your current InMail credits count. There’s also additional formatting options and a big blue button that says Send:

Send a Message to Someone on LinkedIn

Once you’re in the message box, you can compose your email. When doing so, make sure you keep in mind our list of do’s and don’ts for email etiquette.

After you’re done with your message, you can adjust it by using additional formatting tools located in the bottom left-hand corner of the message box. These tools are seen here in red:

Add a Picture to a Message on LinkedIn

Here, you have the option to add photos or attachments. However, because you’re reaching out to someone for the first time, we recommend that you don’t include them. They could lead your message to be marked as spam.

After you’re done formatting, press Send. And that’s it. That’s all you have to do to message a recruiter or hiring manager from a company. From here, it’s just a waiting game to see if they respond.

Does It Pay to Message Recruiters on LinkedIn?

Does Messaging Recruiters on LinkedIn Work

Yes, it does! Using InMail to contact recruiters actually works.

LinkedIn has its own set of tips for writing a good InMail on LinkedIn Help, and when I was reaching out to prospective employers myself, almost every single one of them emailed back.

By following our guide to messaging recruiters on LinkedIn you too could elicit a high response rate.

LinkedIn Profile Tips to Guarantee Success

Despite the prospect of cold calling being somewhat scary, it’s actually very useful. But messaging recruiters is no guarantee for career advancement. If you find you’re having no luck with it, there are other things you can do to get ahead.

With that in mind, here are the essential LinkedIn profile tips to guarantee success


7 Essential LinkedIn Profile Tips to Guarantee Success




7 Essential LinkedIn Profile Tips to Guarantee Success

If you’re struggling to get noticed, these LinkedIn profile tips will help you attract recruiters and guarantee success.
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3 Ways to Run Windows on Your Mac

Looking to run Windows on your Mac? There are a few different ways you can do it, each with its own pros and cons.

The best solution depends on what you want to use Windows for. Do you want to play video games? Need to use a specific Windows-based app? Or do you want a portable Windows system you can boot from any Mac?

We’ve explained all the ways you can run Windows on Mac below. Take a look to find out which method is best for you.

1. Dual Boot macOS and Windows Using Boot Camp

Boot Camp installation window setting partition size for Windows and Mac

Boot Camp is a built-in Mac utility you can use to install Windows. It partitions your hard drive into two sections, with Windows on one side and macOS on the other.

We call this a dual boot system, because you can boot into either macOS or Windows. But you can’t use both operating systems at once, which means you need to reboot your Mac whenever you want to switch.

The upside is you get great performance on both operating systems because it only needs to run one at a time. In some cases, a Mac running Windows through Boot Camp is faster than a dedicated Windows computer.

A dual boot system is the best option if you want to play computer games, edit videos, render graphics, or perform any other resource-intensive tasks.

How to Get Windows on Your Mac Using Boot Camp

With a Mac and an internet connection, you already have everything you need to install and run Windows using Boot Camp. Although, if your Mac came out before 2015, you also need to create a USB Boot Camp installer


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Before getting started, make sure you have at least 64GB free on your startup disk. You need this much space for the Windows operating system and any content you want to use with it.

When you’re ready, download the latest version of Windows as an ISO disk image from Microsoft’s Download Windows 10 page.

Next, open Boot Camp Assistant. You’ll find it inside Utilities in the Applications folder on your Mac, but it’s faster to search with Spotlight (Cmd + Space) to open it. Follow the on-screen prompts to partition your hard drive, download Windows support drivers, and install your dual boot system.

When the Boot Camp installation finishes, restart your Mac and hold Option while it powers up. It should give you the choice to boot into macOS or Windows.

Boot Camp Windows or macOS option screen

2. Run Windows in a Virtual Machine on Your Mac

Parallels running Windows on a MacA virtual machine (VM) runs Windows inside macOS. There’s no need to partition your hard drive and no need to reboot your Mac whenever you want to switch operating systems.

Using a VM means both Windows and macOS are running on your Mac at the same time, so the performance isn’t as good as a dual boot system. However, the added convenience of using Windows apps alongside macOS apps is usually enough to make up for that loss.

You’ve got a few different VM options if you want to install Windows on your Mac:

Parallels and VMware Fusion are premium services that make it easy to install and run Windows with a bunch of Mac-friendly features. VirtualBox is more complicated to set up and has fewer features, but it’s free.

How to Install a Windows Virtual Machine on Your Mac

Setting up VirtualBox takes a little bit of time and effort, but you can use our comprehensive VirtualBox guide


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to walk you through it.

Otherwise, Parallels and VMware Fusion are quick and easy to set up. Parallels is generally considered the best option for running Windows on a Mac, but both apps offer a range of attractive features. Take a look at our overview of Parallels


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Need to run Windows apps on a Mac? Here’s our look at Parallels Desktop, one of the best software solutions for the job.
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to see what you get.

Buy a license or download a free trial for the software of your choice. Then follow the on-screen instructions to install and set up your Windows VM.Parallels installation on a Mac downloading Windows 10

3. Run Windows To Go From an External Drive Using WinToUSB

Windows To Go booted from USB external drive on a Mac

Windows To Go is a feature that lets you install a Windows system on an external hard drive, which you can then boot into from any Mac. The immediate benefits are that it doesn’t take up any space on your internal hard drive and it offers a huge amount of portability.

Using Windows To Go is similar to a dual boot system, except Windows runs from an entirely different drive instead of a separate partition. That means you still need to reboot your Mac whenever you want to switch operating systems.

Unfortunately, Windows To Go systems are limited by the data transfer and read/write speed of your external drive and the port they’re connected to. They also take a bit of setting up.

Ideally, you should use a USB 3.0 drive with a write speed of at least 50MB/s. You also need to make sure you connect it to a USB 3.0 port on your Mac for the fastest connection.

USB 3.0 micro cable

How to Install Windows To Go for Mac on an External Drive

While Microsoft deprecated the official Windows To Go feature in 2019, you can still use an equivalent setup thanks to third-party software. Nowadays, the easiest way to install Windows To Go on your external drive is with WinToUSB.

This free app is Windows-based, so you need to use a Windows computer or a VM to temporarily install it on your Mac. If you don’t have a Windows machine handy, we suggest you use the free trial of Parallels or VMware Fusion for this.

You also need to download support files from Boot Camp to ensure your Mac hardware works with Windows. Open Boot Camp Assistant in macOS and select Action > Download Windows Support Software from the menu bar.

Download Windows Support Software option from Boot Camp menu bar

When the support files finish downloading, copy and paste them into your VM.

Now connect your external drive and open Disk Utility on your Mac. Erase and reformat the drive as macOS Extended (Journaled) with a GUID Partition Map scheme. Once that’s done, eject and reconnect it to your VM.

Windows To Go external drive format settings in Disk Utility

In your VM, download the Windows ISO disk image and install WinToUSB.

Right-click the Start button to open Disk Management and select your external drive. Here, right-click the primary partition of the drive and click Delete volume, then right-click again and create a New simple volume. Set the file system to NFTS.

Open WinToUSB and select your external drive as the destination for Windows. Choose your boot and system partitions and select Legacy mode for the installation.

WinToUSB installing Windows To Go on an external hard drive

After WinToUSB installs Windows on your external drive, use File Explorer to copy across the Windows Support folder from Boot Camp Assistant.

Finally, restart your Mac and hold Option while it powers on to boot Windows To Go from your external drive. Open the Windows Support folder and go to Boot Camp > Setup.

This installs the necessary drivers for Windows to work with your Mac.

Use Windows Apps on Mac Without Installing Windows

Dual boot systems, virtual machines, and a Windows To Go setup are the best ways to run Windows on your Mac. But these are all a lot of work if you only need to use a single Windows app.

If this is the case for you, take a look at compatibility layers, like Wine or Crossover, instead. They let you run Windows apps from your Mac


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without installing the entire operating system.



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Feeling Depressed? Here Are the Top 4 Good News Websites

If you turn on the news or scroll through it on your phone, you’ll be bombarded with fear-inducing and often upsetting headlines. Mainstream news tends to focus on conflict, disaster, scandal, and politics, not subjects commonly thought to make us feel good.

Many people are left feeling overwhelmed by this onslaught of negativity. But, there is an alternative—you just need to know where to look.

If you need help getting a daily dose of good news, we can help. Here are the five best positive news websites.

Positive news---a website with only good news

One of the most prominent good news websites is Positive News. Founded in 1993, the organization aims to produce independent positive news stories.

They refer to this type of writing as constructive journalism, which doesn’t focus on negative and conflict-ridden headlines. Positive News is a quarterly magazine, as well as an online publication.

In 2015, the company launched a crowdfunding campaign titled #OwnTheMedia. This turned Positive News into a co-operative, essentially making each of the 1,500 backers a co-owner of Positive News. This is an unusual model for journalism and keeps the publication accountable to its vision.

The site publishes stories on a wide range of topics, including society, environment, lifestyle, science, and economics. Positive News is a UK-based organization, so some stories do have a more British slant to them. However, they are aware of this and have an entire section devoted to global positive news stories.

Good News Network website

A common theme among positive news websites is their longevity. The Good News Network has been operational since 1997 and has amassed an archive of over 21,000 positive news stories.

The so-called Good News Guru, Geri Weis-Corbley, has been at the helm since founding the site. Like Positive News, Good News Network has its own regional slant, covering some of the best positive news in the USA.

If you want to support the site, you can become a member by donating. Good News Network is also an excellent choice for those on-the-go, thanks to the site’s mobile apps for Android and iOS.

Instead of opening your regular news app, or Facebook, while in line at the grocery store, tap open the Good News Network app instead. If you really can’t avoid social media, then try out these obscure social media apps for when you get bored


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as well.

For those who prefer their news in podcast form, the site also produces the Good News Gurus Podcast. They also acknowledge that good news doesn’t end at the US border, so the site has an entire section dedicated to positive world news. There’s even a Spanish language section of the site.

Unlike some positive news websites, Good News Network is not a non-profit organization. This is because they want to show that you can be a viable and profitable business while still focusing on the positive things in life.

The Optimist Daily positive news website

While other positive news websites tend to take a slower approach to journalism. The Optimist Daily is focused on the here and now. The site’s aim is “to accelerate the shift in human consciousness by catalyzing 100,000,000 people to start each day with a positive solutions mindset.” The site doesn’t aim to be an alternative to the mainstream news.

Instead, it wants to be a positive outlet, where people can get the good news of the day. That doesn’t mean you have to stop reading traditional news altogether, though. You can use the most trustworthy news websites


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to scratch that itch. The site is provided for free thanks to its subscribers, known as Emissaries.

Some phrases used to describe the site sound like they were taken from a new age self-help guide. But, beneath the flowery language, their mission is the same as other positive news websites; to spread good news today and minimize negativity.

The Optimist Daily doesn’t just focus on good news, though. It also has a substantial archive of personal development tips and techniques, too.

r/UpliftingNews feel good news subreddit

Reddit isn’t a website that people associate with good news. The site is more commonly linked with controversy for its more infamous subreddits. However, Reddit can offer you good news for a change.

The Uplifting News subreddit describes itself as “a place to read and share positive and uplifting, feel-good news stories.”

The subreddit first launched in 2012, and the community is now 15.2 million strong. The moderators do an excellent job of keeping the discussion focused and, for the most part, good-natured. When things do veer off into less desirable territory, other users encourage each other to stay focused on the positive and not descend into squabbling.

Although, if you want to read only good news, you can opt to ignore the discussions and use the subreddit as a place to discover positive news stories instead. With such a diverse membership, the site is also a great resource for positive world news, too.

If you’re new to the site, you may want to check out the best Reddit sites and apps for beginners as well.

The Happy News positive newspaper website

Although we’ve covered some of the best positive news websites, you may still be wondering if there are any good news newspapers out there. Fortunately, there are. The Happy News is a quarterly newspaper by British writer and illustrator, Emily Coxhead.

The 32-page newspaper launched in 2015 after a successful Kickstarter campaign. Since then, it has delivered on its promise to give readers something to smile about. News items are arranged chronologically by month, and each issue is centered around a specific theme.

There is even a section called Everyday Heroes, which takes a look at some of the most inspirational people and organizations, as nominated by The Happy News readers. The newspaper is available as a subscription and can be shipped worldwide.

The Best Good News Website for You

If traditional media is to be believed, we live in a world that is frightening, scary, and dangerous. It can be exhausting to turn on the news each day and be presented with some of the most upsetting and negative news stories. It doesn’t have to be this way, though. These positive news websites (and one good news newspaper) offer feel good news and can help give you a happier outlook on the world.

Even with these positive news websites in your life, you may be after more ways to make your day brighter. In which case, try out these positivity apps to boost your spirits


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10 Gift Ideas for the Science Fiction Fan in Your Life

When it’s time to find a gift for any science fiction fan, the task might be harder than it seems—especially if you aren’t invested in the genre yourself.

But don’t worry, we’re here to help. Here are several great gift ideas for any science fiction fan in your life.



The 2001 File: Harry Lange and the Design of the Landmark Science Fiction Film


The 2001 File: Harry Lange and the Design of the Landmark Science Fiction Film

Buy Now On Amazon
$41.44

Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey is easily one of the best films ever made and a science fiction classic. The 2001 File: Harry Lange and the Design of the Landmark Science Fiction Film is a must-have for any fan of the film.

The book takes a deep-dive into art director Harry Lange’s creation. Before hitting Hollywood, Lange spent time at NASA. And he used that experience to help create the iconic look for the film.

Some of the technology dreamed up by Lange, like an international space station, personal computers, and flat-screen tablets, have gone from science fiction to reality. The book features Lange’s designs, concepts, roughs, and photos, along with a look at the finished product.



Star Wars Patent Poster Prints


Star Wars Patent Poster Prints

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$18.99

After a fun gift idea for fans of a galaxy far, far away? There are four different Star Wars Patent Poster Prints in this set. There is an 8-inch by 10-inch print of an X-Wing, Snow Speeder, TIE Fighter, and AT-AT Walker.

Each of the iconic vehicles is remade to look like a patent application. The prints don’t include frames, but that will allow your recipient to better tailor the art to fit their home. Each one is printed on archive paper that has a small bit of gloss that looks great anywhere.



Doctor Who River Song Diary


Doctor Who River Song Diary

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$19.99

Any Doctor Who fan should instantly recognize the River Song Diary. River Song uses the book to keep track of her interactions with the Doctor. And Whovians can carry their own version with this Doctor Who River Song Diary.

The book features a faux-leather hardcover made to look like the TARDIS. Inside there are 200 blank and unlined pages, along with a bookmark ribbon so you can keep track of your adventures through time, or anything else.



Jurassic Park Raptor Claw Fossil Bottle Opener


Jurassic Park Raptor Claw Fossil Bottle Opener

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$14.71

After a long day at work, it’s a blast to open a frosty beverage with the Jurassic Park Raptor Claw Fossil Bottle Opener. The 5.5-inch opener is scaled to match the original prop from the series. Made with zinc alloy, the opener will stand the test of time and always be a conversation starter.



Fantasy & Science Fiction Magazine


Fantasy & Science Fiction Magazine

Buy Now On Amazon
$44.00

Since its inception in 1949, Fantasy & Science Fiction Magazine has been a great way for fans of the genre to read new and interesting material. The magazine was the original publisher of classics like Stephen King’s Dark Tower and Daniel Keyes’s Flowers for Algernon. And you can give a annual gift subscription to the bi-monthly magazine in both print or Kindle form.



Amazon Kindle Paperwhite


Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

Buy Now On Amazon
$129.99

Speaking of the popular e-reader, the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite opens up a world of sci-fi books and much more to any gift recipient. The e-reader is waterproof and features a 300ppi adjustable backlit screen that looks sharp in any environment, day or night. And, unlike a tablet or smartphone, the device’s battery can provide weeks of use on a single charge.

You can select a version with 8GB or 32GB of storage. There are also two color choices; black or blue. The Kindle Paperwhite comes with a free, three-month subscription to the Kindle Unlimited subscription service. That offers free access to more than one million books and thousands of audiobooks.



Star Trek Enterprise Pizza Cutter


Star Trek Enterprise Pizza Cutter

Buy Now On Amazon
$24.99

Pizza, the final frontier. Any fan of Star Trek will definitely love this Star Trek Enterprise Pizza Cutter. The kitchen gadget takes the shape of the USS Enterprise from The Original Series. The cutter is made with a laser-etched stainless steel blade, while the body is zinc alloy and chromium-plated.

When you’re done exploring strange new crusts and toppings, the cutter is hand-wash only. But that’s a small price to pay to boldly go where no pizza has gone before.



Terraforming Mars Board Game


Terraforming Mars Board Game

Buy Now On Amazon
$45.00

When it’s time for game night, the Terraforming Mars Board Game is a great out-of-this-world choice for any sci-fi fan. Designed for one to five players, the game is set in the 2400s when humans have begun to terraform the red planet by raising the temperature and oxygen levels and bring oceans to life.

You’ll play as a corporation and work together with other players in the terraforming process. But, whoever does the best work will receive victory points for specific achievements. When the process is complete, the player’s corporation with the most victory points wins.

The game board features an accurate map of the Tharsis region of Mars, where the first Viking lander touched down on the planet. There are more than 230 cards to play with and a rulebook to help new players.



Out of Print The Handmaid’s Tale T-Shirt


Out of Print The Handmaid’s Tale T-Shirt

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Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale is a classic dystopian novel that has gained even more popularity thanks to the Hulu series. And if you’re looking for a gift for a fan of the book or show, take a look at the Out of Print The Handmaid’s Tale T-Shirt. The unisex shirt, made from 100 percent cotton, features the cover of the book.

There is also another option with the phrase “Nolite Te Bastardes Carborundorum” from the horrifying world. Alongside the The Handmaid’s Tale shirt, Out of Print also has a range that covers other classics like 1984, Catch-22, Animal Farm, and Brave New World.



Alien Xenomorph Salt and Pepper Shaker Set


Alien Xenomorph Salt and Pepper Shaker Set

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$15.99

Spice up any meal with the Alien Xenomorph Salt and Pepper Shaker Set. The pepper features an open Xenomorph, while the salt shaker is a closed egg. They’ll add a fun touch to your kitchen table without having to worry about a Chestburster interrupting a meal.

The Best Sci-Fi Gifts

One of these science-fiction gifts should put a smile on anyone’s face, whether they’re a hardcore super-fan or just have an interest in the genre.

And if you’re looking for even more ideas, take a look at some awesome toys under $100 that are perfect as gifts


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