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Now You Can Dial Your Own Telephone! (1954)

In this instructional AT&T film from 1954, host Susann Shaw explains how to dial your own telephone. This was, of course, to ease the transition from operator-assisted calls to dial service. It's bizarre to hear someone explain what a dial tone is, what a busy signal is, and how to dial a telephone -- though in fact all of these things will probably exist only in "classic movies" for kids being born today. Listen for the 1950's-era dial tone around the 2-minute mark and the busy signal around 6:50; they're both vaguely menacing. There's also discussion of the infamous "party line."

From the film's description:

The dial telephone was new at this point, although the two-letter, 5-number system was still commonplace. This film even has to explain what a ringing and busy signal sound like!

This film opens with the demonstrator pointing out the importance of correctly using the dial telephone. Correct dialing techniques are demonstrated, with an emphasis placed on the following:

1. Be sure of the right number

2. Wait for the dial tone

3. Refer to the number while dialing

4. Turn the dial until the finger hits the finger stop

5. Avoid confusing the letter "O" with the "0"

6. The difference between ringing and busy signals

At one point Shaw says: "You'll always find operators ready to help, whenever you need them!" Well...maybe in the 50's. Enjoy:

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How to Spot the Convincing New Phishing Scam Targeting Netflix Users
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Netflix may send customers the occasional email, but these messages will never ask you to provide them with personal or payment info. You'll want to keep this in mind if you encounter a new phishing scam that The Daily Dot reports is targeting the video streaming service's subscribers in Australia and the UK.

MailGuard, an Australian email security company, was the first to take notice of the fraudulent emails. While similar scams have targeted Netflix users in the past, this current iteration appears to be more convincing than most. At first (and perhaps even second) glance, the messages appear to be legitimate messages from Netflix, with an authentic-looking sender email and the company’s signature red-and-white branding. The fake emails don’t contain telltale signs of a phishing attempt like misspelled words, irregular spacing, or urgent phrasing.

The subject line of the email informs recipients that their credit card info has been declined, and the body requests that customers click on a link to update their card's expiration date and CVV. Clicking leads to a portal where, in addition to the aforementioned details, individuals are prompted to provide their email address and full credit card number. After submitting this valuable info, they’re redirected to Netflix’s homepage.

So far, it’s unclear whether this phishing scheme has widely affected Netflix customers in the U.S., but thousands of people in both Australia and the U.K. have reportedly fallen prey to the effort.

To stay safe from phishing scams—Netflix-related or otherwise—remember to never, ever click on an email link unless you’re 100 percent sure it’s valid. And if you do end up getting duped, use this checklist as a guide to safeguard your compromised data.

[h/t The Daily Dot]

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Heated Mats Keep Steps Ice-Free in the Winter
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Amazon

The first snow of the season is always exciting, but the magic can quickly run out when you remember all the hazards that come with icy conditions. Along with heating bills, frosted cars, and other pains, the ground develops a coat of ice that can be dangerous for pedestrians and drivers alike. Outdoor steps become particularly treacherous and many people find themselves clutching their railings for fear of making it to the bottom headfirst. Instead of putting salt down the next time it snows, consider a less messy approach: heated mats that quickly melt the ice away.

The handy devices are made with a thermoplastic material and can melt two inches of snow per hour. They're designed to be left outside, so you can keep them ready to go for the whole winter. The 10-by-30-inch mats fit on most standard steps and come with grips to help prevent slipping. A waterproof connector cable connects to additional mats so up to 15 steps can be covered.

Unfortunately, this convenience comes at a price: You need to buy a 120-volt power unit for them to work, and each mat is sold separately. Running at $60 a mat, the price can add up pretty quickly. Still, if you live in a colder place where it's pretty much always snowing, it might be worth it.

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