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Anker’s PowerPort Atom is my permanent new travel companion – TechCrunch



I had fight a couple of coworkers for this thing. It’s a strange thing to fight over, I realize, but we are strange people with a strange job. And more importantly, I won. I’m plugged into the PowerPort Atom as I write this. It’s keeping my 13-inch MacBook Pro alive via the plane power outlet tightly squeezed behind my legs.

I travel a lot, and I try to travel light. Determining what goes into and what stays out of my carryon feels a bit like stocking delivery rockets for the International Space Station sometimes. But I feel pretty confident in saying that this tiny little plug just scored a permanent spot. Well, until the PowerPort Quark comes along, I guess.

One of the beauties of Apple’s switch to Thunderbolt 3/USB-C is the modularity of it all. I’m sure Apple will tell you to stick to official and officially licensed products, but the ability to mix and match these things has given us some solid options, and Anker’s right there to reap the benefit.  The products the company makes are rarely flash or sexy, but they’re often genuinely useful in a way few accessory manufacturers can claim.

As someone who has owned a lot of Apple Chargers over the years, it’s pretty remarkable what Anker has done here. I’d recently switched to Google’s PixelBook charger for travel, but that has nothing on this. Hell, the Atom is smaller than some phone chargers I’ve used over the year.

It’s small and white,  with a single USB-C port. It’s not quite as slim as, say, a standard iPhone charger, so it can get a bit tight with alongside some larger chargers (RavPower’s dual-USB charger, for instance), but it frees up a lot of space. And in scenarios like the plane I’m typing this from, you’re a lot less likely to accidentally knock it out with your leg, leaving you fumbling blindly to plug it back in.

It’s not a perfect thing, of course. It can get quite hot to the touch when charging something large. And don’t even think about charging up, say, your 15-inch Pro. With certain outlets in certain scenarios, the charging process could be downright sluggish. I can’t remember ever seeing “Estimated Charging Time: 10 hours” before.

For the most part, I’d recommend the Atom for those instances when you want to maintain a charge, rather than filling the battery up quickly. I full expect to continue to bring the full-size charger along with me for when I get back to the hotel and need to fill it back up for the night. 

In a  an ideal world, Anker would have somehow squeezed in an additional USB-C or full-size USB port to charge two devices at once, but that kind of request is probably flying too close to the sun here.  And hell, at $30, one is still an excellent deal. 

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Researchers find four big reasons people become digital hoarders



Hoarding is a behavior that’s difficult to miss — it often involves filling one’s home and other spaces with a huge number of items that end up having a major impact on the hoarder’s life. Less visible is the growing issue of ‘digital hoarding,’ an activity that involves amassing huge amounts of digital content that one may find difficult to part with.

Unlike typical hoarding, digital hoarding is the activity of collecting a large amount of digital data without deleting content over time. This amassing of information may be deliberate, such as for archival purposes, but in other cases may be more passive, with someone merely growing their data over time by failing to regularly delete it.

This can include, for example, downloading huge collections of images with the idea that they may be useful one day; in other cases, someone may never delete their emails, ending up with an inbox containing thousands or tens of thousands of messages that are hard to sort through. According to a new study, digital hoarders can be split up into four different categories.

The four types of digital hoarders fall into one of the following categories: anxiety, disengagement, compliance and collection. Perhaps the basic of the four is the compliance category, which refers primarily to workplaces in which policy or practices result in employees retaining large amounts of digital data, such as old emails and spreadsheets.

While this category isn’t as much of a big deal at the personal level, the researchers point out that it may end up being a problem for companies, particularly if they were to suffer a data breach. Following the compliance category are the collectors — the users who behave in a way that could be defined as hoarding, but without the anxiety, disorganization, or company orders that motivate other types of digital hoarders.

Rounding out the categories are disengaged and anxious digital hoarders, which refers to people who amass large amounts of digital clutter due to being unorganized or worried that deleting data may end up getting rid of something that will be important in the future. The researchers note that companies may be able to reduce digital hoarding by reassuring employees about which information can be safely deleted, but more research is necessary to determine which strategies may help reduce overall digital hoarding behavior.

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New iPhone 6 throttling lawsuit gives Apple fresh headaches in Europe



Apple faces a new class-action lawsuit over iPhone throttling, with iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s owners in Europe seeking tens of millions of dollars in damages over how the Cupertino firm dealt with degrading batteries. The tweak, pushed out in iOS 10.2.1 back in 2017, quietly capped the maximum performance of several older iPhone models, after Apple realized that they could otherwise crash if demanding apps were run.

The problem, it turned out, came down to the natural degradation of lithium-ion batteries. Over time, they’re unable to hold the same level of charge and thus deliver the same peak voltage: if the iPhone’s chipset demanded more power than the older battery could provide, it could crash and reboot.

iOS 10.2.1 fixed that by secretly throttling maximum CPU performance on phones like the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone SE, iPhone 6s, and iPhone 6s Plus with older batteries. However Apple then faced accusations that it was intentionally limiting how fast those iPhones could run, in the hope of pushing battery replacements or driving upgrades to newer models.

Class-action suits in the US followed, with Apple paying up to $25 per iPhone in an American settlement – though not admitting any actual wrongdoing. However new cases have been filed in Europe: most recently in Italy, TechCrunch reports, but in Belgium and Spain back in December 2020. A fourth suit is expected to be added to the list, as owners in Portugal lend their voices to the complaints.

The Italian class action lawsuit is a familiar one. According to local consumer protection agency Altroconsumo, Apple is guilty of planned obsolescence in how it handled iOS 10.2.1. As with the US case, it argues that Apple’s motivation in making the changes was to seed dissatisfaction with otherwise functional iPhones, and encourage upgrades to newer models.

The lawsuit is seeking 60 million euro ($70m) in compensation, or roughly 60 euro ($70) per iPhone owner enrolled in the case. iPhone 6, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6 Plus, and iPhone 6s Plus owners are invited to participate.

Apple released iOS 11.3 in 2018, with a toggle switch to control what had until then been automatic throttling behavior. Owners could check the current health of their iPhone’s battery, and then choose whether to override the CPU control. The company also offered subsidized iPhone battery replacements for those with impacted devices, bringing the price down to $29 from its usual $79.

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Coca-Cola with Coffee in cans: Different from BLAK



This week Coca-Cola with Coffee in cans launched in stores in a variety of flavors and mixes. This isn’t the first time Coca-Cola tried to launch a coffee mix drink, but it might be the most successful. Thanks to a newly formulated mix of elements and a far, far better branding scheme than with previous releases, the Coca-Cola with Coffee in cans release will likely be in your hand by the end of the month.

The branding is such that you’ll notice the Coca-Cola logo in white in a red circle on the can – not diluted whatsoever by any element that surrounds it. Below the brand you’ll see “with COFFEE” in strong, off-white lettering. Below this rests a photo of a pair of coffee beans.

At the top of each can you’ll see a flavor and a color. There’s a tag that suggests which flavor you’ll get, with a matching color if you’re getting the original (with sugar) version, or black if you’ve picked the ZERO SUGAR version.

Dark Blend will be released in original and Zero Sugar versions, the same with Vanilla. There’ll be one Caramel version that will have no Zero Sugar version – at least on launch day in the USA.

Each can will have 70 calories of drink, or zero calories for the zero sugar variations. Price is as yet unknown – but you’ll likely see a variety of cans available in stores by the end of January, 2021.

NOTE: This is the product announced back in July of 2020. We took a peek at the original plan with cans that more or less stayed the same as they’d planned back then. Cross your fingers they taste as OK as early reviews suggest.

ALSO NOTE: This is different from that time Coca-Cola released Coca-Cola BLAK, circa 2006-2008. That… didn’t taste great.

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