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How To Avoid Checking Email On Vacation

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"Vacation" comes from the Latin vacare, meaning "unoccupied." Seeing as we don't speak Latin anymore, you have no reason to know that. In fact, this knowledge may be displacing important information in your brain, such as what to do in the event of a mountain lion attack or how to prevent forest fires. Please take this time to forget everything you know about the Latin origins of "vacation."

Good—on to more pressing, 21st century matters. Email used to be like having an secretary whose desk you could swing by and ask, "Any messages?" Nowadays, email is more like an atmospheric gas that enters your smartphone through desublimation and buzzes your thigh to tell you, "Use this code to get 15% off your next purchase at Bed Bath & Beyond." It's always with you.

Humans aren't designed to be constantly reachable. We need alone time, which is why we have eyelids. We also invented vacation, which was intended to be a protracted absence from whatever it is we are always doing. Nowadays, that includes email. Here is an important guide to getting away from the persistent hauntings of electronic mail.

Before Vacation

Tell People Who Depend On You That You Are Going Away For A Bit: People who fall into this category include, but are not limited to: bosses; coworkers; immediate family members; roommates; dog sitters; cat sitters; constituents; teammates.

People who do not fall into this category: Facebook friends; Twitter followers.

Set Up Your Email's Automatic Vacation Responder: Here's how to do that in Outlook and here's how to do that in Gmail. If you don't know what to say, feel free to use this copy, free of charge:

Hello,

I am on vacation. I will be able to respond to your email when I am not on vacation.

Best,

Me.

Setting up one of these responses is one of the most socially acceptable forms of boasting, so please relish this step.

During Vacation

Don't Look At Your Phone: If your phone doubles as a watch, either A) buy a cheap watch (you can find one at a local drug store for under $10) or B) don't worry about the time.*

*B is not applicable if you made dinner or Jet Ski reservations. In that case, care about the time somewhat.

Don't Worry: If you left the oven on and your house burns down, the fire department will not inform you via email.

Don't Use The Hotel's Business Center: This is a glassed-in chamber of temptation. Every time you feel like going in there to check your email, go on a fanboat tour or parasail instead.

Talk To People: This is a good, non-email way to communicate that was made popular sometime before 1995.

Don't Check Your Email: This is the most important step. Use this mnemonic device to help remember: "Dean Cain Yells Excitedly Because You Are Overtly Vicious, Jeeze Don't Cry Immediately" --> Don't Check Your Email Because You Are On Vacation, Just Don't Check It.

After Vacation

Check Your Email: Or don't, actually. This one is up to you.

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Use Wi-Fi? Your Device Is at Risk in the Latest Security Breach
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Another day, another way our personal data is being compromised. This time, the latest threat to your credit card numbers, social security information, and other personal data comes from a more-than-ubiquitous source: your Wi-Fi.

As Ars Technica and The Independent report, a computer security researcher has discovered a major issue with Wi-Fi that can be used to decrypt your data. The vulnerability is the result of weakness in the WPA2 protocol that secures modern Wi-Fi networks. Hackers can steal sensitive data that has been decrypted a method called KRACK, or Key Reinstallation Attacks. While we can't know yet if hackers have actually taken advantage of the vulnerability, its existence puts every Wi-Fi-enabled device at risk.

“If your device supports Wi-Fi, it is most likely affected,” Mathy Vanhoef, the Belgium-based researcher who discovered the exploit, said. That means your phone, your computer, and even your Wi-Fi light bulbs. The hacker only needs to be within range of your Wi-Fi—not logged into your network—to take advantage of it and steal your data. However, Ars Technica reports that Android and Linux users are more vulnerable to severe attacks than Windows or iOS users.

What should I do to protect myself?

Unfortunately, changing your passwords won’t help this time around. All you can do is wait for security updates for your devices. In the meantime, treat every Wi-Fi connection like it’s the public network at Starbucks. As in, don’t go sharing all your personal data. You can make yourself safer by using a VPN. According to cybersecurity expert Robert Graham, these kind of attacks can’t defeat VPNs.

Most companies will no doubt be releasing security patches to fix this issue ASAP, so keep a look out for any available updates.

[h/t The Independent]

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Dubai Plans to Outfit Police Force With Hoverbikes
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Dubai is home to plenty of flashy fashion and architecture, and it has over-the-top police gear to match. The department already is outfitted with some of the fastest cars on the streets, including a Ferrari and a Lamborghini. Now, Autoblog reports that police officers in the United Arab Emirates city are getting hoverbikes to access hard-to-reach places.

The bikes, which were developed by the Russian startup Hoversurf, debuted in early October at the Gulf Information Technology Exposition (GITEX) in Dubai. Like Hoversurf’s Scorpion-3 hoverbike, the police version is battery-powered and uses propellers at each corner to float like a drone. The newly-released model can reach maximum altitudes of 16 feet and move at speeds of up to 43 mph. Though the quadcopter can only carry one passenger at a time, it can withstand weights of up to 660 pounds. A fully charged battery is enough to fuel a 25-minute ride.

The futuristic addition to the force’s fleet of vehicles isn’t designed for chasing bad guys. Rather, the city hopes to use it to reach out-of-the-way spots during emergencies. If there’s a car wreck at the end of a traffic jam, for example, the Scorpion hoverbike could simply fly over the congestion and reach the scene faster than the department could with cars on the ground.

While cities around the world are still figuring out how low-flying drones and vehicles fit into pedestrian areas, Dubai has been quick to embrace the technology. In 2015, the city invested in jetpacks for first responders. While it's still unclear when the gadgets will be used in an official capacity, the CEO of Hoversurf has confirmed that mass production of the bikes is already underway.

[h/t Autoblog]

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