You Can Now See How Much Time You Spend on Facebook and Instagram

iStock
iStock

"Digital well-being" is a buzz phrase getting more play in recent months, as the tech field continues rolling out responses to cautions about excessive use of social media. In addition to staring at screens before bed potentially affecting sleep, poring over your friends' Facebook feeds might be making you depressed, while constantly updating your own profile might indicate you're a narcissist.

Now, Facebook is introducing a new feature that might help curb some of that over-indulgence, as TechCrunch reports. The company recently announced that it's implemented a way for users to monitor their daily usage in minutes. Labeled "Your Time on Facebook" on Facebook and "Your Activity" on Instagram, the function informs you of how much time you've spent enjoying cat videos. (And presumably, how much less time you've spent with your actual cat.) If you activate "Set Daily Reminder," the software will notify you when you've exceeded whatever allotted time you've set for yourself browsing the site. You can also mute notifications for a set time in order to minimize disruptions.

As TechCrunch writer Josh Constine points out, there are some drawbacks. The new feature doesn't tell you how much of your time is spent actively participating in social media—posting, liking, and interacting—and how much is spent passively scrolling content, or what some have dubbed "passive zombie feed scrolling." It's also not a prominent feature; users have to go to "Settings" and then "Your Time on Facebook" to configure the option and evaluate their data.

Obviously, neither Facebook nor Instagram will cut you off once you've reached your self-imposed limit. You'll have to do that yourself.

Wondering how you stack up compared to the rest of the population? In 2016, Facebook said that their average user is logged in to Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger for roughly 50 minutes a day.

[h/t TechCrunch]

The Pope's Swiss Guards Are Now Outfitted in 3D-Printed Helmets

Franco Origlia/Getty Images
Franco Origlia/Getty Images

The Popemobile isn't the only innovative piece of gear used by the Pope and his posse. Though they still look traditional, the outfits worn by the Swiss Guard now include a high-tech piece of headwear designed by the 3D-printing design team at HP, Fast Company reports.

Members of the Swiss Guard, the Vatican's private army, wore the same helmet for more than 500 years. The steel hat is branded with the crest of Pope Julius II (the "mercenary pope" and the guard's founder) and embellished with a red feathered crest for special events.

Though it made for an iconic look, the original helmet had some practical issues. After baking in the Sun for hours, the metal would heat up and burn the guard's heads. Steel also isn't the most comfortable material to be wearing on your head all day, and because it rusts so easily, it doesn't make sense to wear it in the rain.

The updated helmets from HP solve these problems while maintaining the style of the old headgear. They're made from PVC plastic, which means they're lighter and resistant to UV rays. They're also water-resistant and don't need to be polished constantly to prevent rusting.

The hats are even more affordable than their more traditional predecessors. It costs $1000 and takes 14 hours to 3D-print each PVC helmet, while it took $2000 and 100 hours to forge a single steel one.

Interested in learning about more Papal upgrades? Here are some of the stylish rides the Pope used to get around in recent decades.

[h/t Fast Company]

This Smart Ink Poster Changes According to the Weather

Typified
Typified

With detailed weather data available at a glance on smartphones or on the Weather Channel 24 hours a day, checking the forecast has never been easier. But Typified, a Melbourne, Australia-based company, believes that some people would rather hang their weather forecast on the wall than look at their phone or television. Typified is currently enjoying a successful round of funding on Kickstarter for its Weather Poster, a mountable “screen” that depicts current weather conditions.

Look closely, though, and you’ll see it’s not really a screen at all. Instead, Typified is using paper and digital ink to create a dynamic display that can react to the changing weather with a Wi-Fi connection.

The silk-screen printed poster has a simple layout, with three weather icons—rain and snow, cloudy, or sunny—that correspond to four-hour intervals throughout the day. Using input from a tiny built-in computer, the ink in the icons changes color from blue to white to indicate current conditions and the forecast.

Typified is betting that people aren’t looking for another high-tech display for their home or office—the poster, which emits no light at all, is unobtrusive, and lightweight enough (3.4 pounds) to be hung on a wall with adhesive strips.

Buy one for yourself on Kickstarter, where a pledge of $135 earns supporters one Weather Poster and two years of free weather forecasts (subsequently $7.50 per year). The campaign runs through March 4, and the poster is set to be shipped to backers in July 2019.

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