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Is It Cheaper to Own a Car or Use Uber? This Calculator Lets You Know

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As our thoughts on transportation evolve, it’s important to look at options beyond car ownership, especially as ride-hailing apps become a bigger part of our future. Depending on the type of car you buy and your lifestyle, there’s a chance that it could be cheaper to rely solely on services like Uber and Lyft for your commute and errands rather than buying a vehicle for yourself.

The online calculator Ride or Drive looks at both the cost of buying a new car and the fares associated with ride apps, and figures out which option is best for you. It’s simple: Ride or Drive looks at the cost of the vehicle, loan term, interest rate, fuel efficiency, and other factors to get a gauge on how much a vehicle purchase will set you back over the years. Then it considers how many trips you take per day, the duration of each, and the annual mileage you accumulate.

The last part, according to the calculator, is the “most critical consideration”: How do you value your time? For this section, the calculator asks “How much would you pay to not be stressed driving around town? How much would you pay to catch up on email, read a book, or take a nap?” Basically, how much would you be willing to pay to save the time and aggravation of driving?

The monetary value of catching up on emails, doing some light work, or even taking a nap in a Lyft or Uber varies from person to person, so this section isn’t quite as black and white as the others. But as the calculator stresses, it’s important to the fundamentals of its calculations.

“The value of your time is something that I don’t think most people account for at all when it comes to transportation,” Todd Davidson, part of the Ride or Drive team, told Fast Company. “People might understand it in the sense that they realize how long it takes them to get to work, but I’m not sure people are really internalizing what an alternative might be and whether or not it would save them money.”

Ride or Drive screenshot
Screenshot from Ride or Drive

If your car is less expensive, more fuel efficient, and you get a good deal of use out of it, chances are that buying a vehicle is your best bet, as Fast Company points out. However, Uber or Lyft might be the better choice for people who don’t have long commutes or have their eye on a gas guzzler.

A car’s cost is about more than the sticker amount slapped on the windshield at the dealership. It’s about gas, maintenance, mileage, insurance, and—yes—even your time. So seeing all of these costs visualized on the calculator’s graph at the end can help people make a more informed decision on the cheapest way to get around.

[h/t Fast Company]

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Stop Your Snoring and Track Your Sleep With a Wi-Fi Smart Pillow
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REM-Fit

Everyone could use a better night's rest. The CDC says that only 66 percent of American adults get as much sleep as they should, so if you're spending plenty of time in bed but mostly tossing and turning (or trying to block out your partner's snores), it may be time to smarten up your sleep accessories. As TechCrunch reports, the ZEEQ Smart Pillow improves your sleeping schedule in a multitude of ways, whether you're looking to quiet your snores or need a soothing lullaby to rock you to sleep.

After a successful Kickstarter in 2016, the product is now on sale and ready to get you snoozing. If you're a snorer, the pillow has a microphone designed to listen to the sound of your snores and softly vibrate so that you shift positions to a quieter pose. Accelerometers in the pillow let the sleep tracker know how much you're moving around at night, allowing it to record your sleep stages. Then, you can hook the pillow up to your Amazon Echo or Google Home so that you can have your favorite smart assistant read out the pillow's analysis of your sleep quality and snoring levels the next morning.

The pillow is also equipped with eight different wireless speakers that turn it into an extra-personal musical experience. You can listen to soothing music while you fall asleep, either connecting the pillow to your Spotify or Apple Music account on your phone via Bluetooth or using the built-in relaxation programs. You can even use it to listen to podcasts without disturbing your partner. You can set a timer to turn the music off after a certain period so you don't wake up in the middle of the night still listening to Serial.

And when it's time to wake up, the pillow will analyze your movements to wake you during your lightest sleep stage, again keeping the noise of an alarm from disturbing your partner.

The downside? Suddenly your pillow is just another device with a battery that needs to charge. And forget about using it in a place without Wi-Fi.

The ZEEQ Smart Pillow currently costs $200.

[h/t TechCrunch]

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Learn to Tie a Tie in Less Than 2 Minutes
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For most men—and Avril Lavigne-imitators—learning to tie a tie is an essential sartorial skill. Digg spotted this video showing how you can tie one the simple way, with a tabletop method that works just as well if you’re going to wear the tie yourself or if you're tying it together for someone else who doesn't share your skills.

The whole technique is definitely easier to master while watching the video below, but here's a short rundown: As laid out by the lifehack YouTube channel DaveHax, the method requires you to lay the tie out on a table, folded in half as if you're about to loop it around your neck.

With the back of the tie facing up, you loop over each end, then twist the thinner of the two loops around itself so it ends up looking like a mini-tie knot itself. You'll end up nestling the two loops together and snaking the thin tail of the tie through the whole thing. Then, essentially all you have to do is pull, and you can adjust the tie as you otherwise would to put it over your head.

Unfortunately, this won't teach you how to master the art of more complicated neckwear styles like the fancier Balthus knot or even a bow tie, but it's a pretty good start for those who have yet to figure out even the simplest tie fashions.

[h/t Digg]

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