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Get Your iPhone Fix

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With the launch of Apple's iPhone just one day away (okay: 1 day, 8 hours, 48 minutes, 10 seconds according to, global phone-hysteria levels are at an all-time high. We're here to guide you through the mountains of coverage with pre-screened links to the most interesting bits.

Apple's press embargo on iPhone reviews was lifted Tuesday at 6pm, leading to a web-wide case of iPhone Mania: as reviews from the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Newsweek hit the web, millions of iPhone fans clicked madly from one article to the next. Don't have the time (or energy) to read all four pieces of phone-related journalism? Check out Gizmodo's iPhone Review Matrix, which condenses the reviews into a handy chart.

For the past week, Apple has steadily posted additional iPhone information, apparently in an attempt to keep the iPhone faithful supplied with new videos and web content every day. Some highlights: the iPhone Guided Tour is a 24-minute video showing many of the phone's features, including tantalizing close-ups of a real live iPhone (gasp!) operated by a spokesmodel in a strangely Steve Jobs-esque outfit. If that's not enough geekery for you, check out the iPhone Activation & Sync video whose most exciting fact is: you don't activate the phone at the store -- instead you take it home, plug it into your Mac or PC, and activate it through iTunes (and yes, you can even transfer an existing phone number to AT&T service from within iTunes). But wait, there's more! If you still haven't downloaded enough iPhone videos, turn your gaze to the iPhone keyboard demo, which shows you how to go from hunt-and-peck to two-thumb-typing-ninja in just a few short days.

Because I know this still isn't enough for some of us, I'll throw in links to Get Ready for iPhone, a guide to what you should be doing now in order to get up and running Friday night. You may have heard about Greg Packer, the professional line-sitter who's first in line for an iPhone at the Fifth Avenue Apple Store (he has a blog about it), but perhaps more interesting is David Clayman, who is documenting the experience of being second in line. Madness or awesomeness? You decide.

Finally, I leave you with the iPhone rate plans. The short version: sixty bucks a month minimum, two-year contract required. Start checking under the couch cushions while you browse the AT&T Coverage Viewer and find a store where you can spend your Friday waiting for the phone. And if you're not getting a real iPhone, try making your own out of paper.

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Live Smarter
Make Spreadsheets a Whole Lot Easier With This Excel Trick
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While data nerds may love a good spreadsheet, many office workers open Microsoft Excel with a certain amount of resistance. Inputting data can be a monotonous task. But a few tricks can make it a whole lot easier. Business Insider has a new video highlighting one of those shortcuts—a way to create a range that changes with the data you input.

Dynamic named ranges change and grow with your data, so, for instance, if one column is time and another is, say, dollar value, the value can change automatically as time goes on. If you do this, it's relatively easy to create a chart using this data, by simply inserting your named ranges as your X and Y values. The chart will automatically update as your range expands.

It's easier to see in the program itself, so watch the full video on Business Insider. Microsoft also has its own instructions here, or you can check out this video from the YouTube channel Excel Tip, which also has dozens of other useful tutorials for making Microsoft Excel your hardworking assistant.

[h/t Business Insider]

Marshall McLuhan, the Man Who Predicted the Internet in 1962

Futurists of the 20th century were prone to some highly optimistic predictions. Theorists thought we might be extending our life spans to 150, working fewer hours, and operating private aircrafts from our homes. No one seemed to imagine we’d be communicating with smiley faces and poop emojis in place of words.

Marshall McLuhan didn’t call that either, but he did come closer than most to imagining our current technology-led environment. In 1962, the author and media theorist (who is the subject of today's Google Doodle) predicted we’d have an internet.

That was the year McLuhan, a professor of English born in Edmonton, Canada on this day in 1911, wrote a book called The Gutenberg Galaxy. In it, he observed that human history could be partitioned into four distinct chapters: The acoustic age, the literary age, the print age, and the then-emerging electronic age. McLuhan believed this new frontier would be home to what he dubbed a “global village”—a space where technology spread information to anyone and everyone.

Computers, McLuhan said, “could enhance retrieval, obsolesce mass library organization,” and offer “speedily tailored data.”

McLuhan elaborated on the idea in his 1962 book, Understanding Media, writing:

"Since the inception of the telegraph and radio, the globe has contracted, spatially, into a single large village. Tribalism is our only resource since the electro-magnetic discovery. Moving from print to electronic media we have given up an eye for an ear."

But McLuhan didn’t concern himself solely with the advantages of a network. He cautioned that a surrender to “private manipulation” would limit the scope of our information based on what advertisers and others choose for users to see.

Marshall McLuhan died on December 31, 1980, several years before he was able to witness first-hand how his predictions were coming to fruition.


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