AT&T Is Now Blocking Robocalls by Default, a First for Cell Phone Providers

Tero Vesalainen/iStock via Getty Images
Tero Vesalainen/iStock via Getty Images

Nothing gets under the skin quite like robocalls, those irritating and persistent attempts to sell questionable services and perpetuate moneymaking scams. A recent Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ruling finally paved the way for cell phone carriers to block the calls by default, rather than requiring consumers to opt into a blocking service to stop them.

Now, AT&T is doing exactly that. But if consumers want to block all robocalls, they’ll still have to pay a little extra.

AT&T just announced an expansion of its Call Protect service that will automatically block robocalls suspected to be fraudulent free of charge. Users are also free to manually block individual numbers of known spam callers. But if a consumer wants to automatically block all robocalls, even those from legitimate businesses, it will cost an additional $4 a month.

Call Protect was previously an opt-in feature: Users had to change their phone settings in order to take advantage of it. Due to the FCC ruling, AT&T can now activate Call Protect on all phones.

The benefit is expected to be available to all new AT&T service sign-ups, with existing users added in the coming months. If you don’t want to wait, you can download Call Protect as an app or turn it on via your AT&T account.

While AT&T is the first carrier to make the blocking feature a default, other cell phone providers offer similar functionality. T-Mobile’s Scam Block service blocks likely spam calls, while Verizon’s Call Filter and Sprint’s Premium Caller ID apps perform essentially the same function.

It’s expected robocalls will continue to face an uphill battle in an effort to reach consumers. The FCC also mandated that providers verify calls at the network level before reaching the consumer using a framework known as SHAKEN/STIR, or Signature-based Handling of Asserted Information Using toKENs and the Secure Telephone Identity Revisited standard. Clunky? Maybe. But the standard allows for carriers to catch suspected spam or fraud calls before they reach the consumer. All cell phone providers must implement it before the end of the year.

While nothing is likely to ever completely eliminate robocalls, at least we're making progress.

[h/t ZDNet]

This 'Smart' Bed Accessory Will Rock You to Sleep

Damir Khabirov/iStock via Getty Images
Damir Khabirov/iStock via Getty Images

Unlike other consumer goods, mattresses have largely remained exempt from the wave of “smart” home technology. Some mattresses, like the Tempur-Pedic or Sleep Number bed, offer options to adjust their incline or firmness, but the rest are not terribly sophisticated.

Adiva is looking to change that. The company is currently promoting the Adiva One, a “smart” bed accessory that claims sleepers can benefit from a slight rocking motion similar to movement that soothes babies. The device fits under the four legs of a bed frame and gently agitates the mattress while you sleep. Adiva asserts this calming motion can promote deep sleep. Motion sensors clipped to the mattress track the sleeper’s movement, allowing the device to make adjustments on the fly.

Because the attachments fit under furniture legs, they can also be placed under a sofa, in the event you wanted to produce a calming motion while binge-watching television.

Adiva appears to be basing its philosophy on a 2011 study published in the journal Current Biology, which examined the role of a gentle rocking motion like that of cradling a baby or sleeping in a hammock. In the study, 10 volunteers napped on beds that were either stationary or rocked slightly. The shaken sleepers reported a comfortable nap and the study’s authors reported deep sleep was induced more quickly in the shaken subjects versus the stationary ones. The sample size was small, however, and with limited research available on sleep oscillating devices, you might want to opt for the Adiva One with cautious optimism. It works for babies, so it might work for you, too.

The Adiva One is currently being funded via an Indiegogo campaign, where early adopters can purchase the device for $1428, or 53 percent off the expected retail price of $3075. The device is expected to ship beginning in April 2020.

[h/t Digital Trends]

The 8 Best Horror Movies to Stream on Amazon Prime Right Now

A24
A24

Streaming services offer a wide variety of movies, but for October, nothing else but some horror will do. If you’ve gotten your fill of spooky content from Netflix, check out these eight films currently available on Amazon Prime that are guaranteed to send a chill down your spine.

1. Hereditary (2018)

A slow burn that eventually catches fire, Hereditary sees Toni Collette as a mother struggling with her mother's death. When her kids begin experiencing strange visions, Collette will have to face some of the demons lurking in her family's past.

2. Child’s Play (1988)

Chucky will be your friend ‘til the end. Unfortunately, the end might come prematurely and gruesomely in this horror classic about a doll possessed with the spirit of a serial killer (Brad Dourif) who gets adopted by a child and his mother. Pint-sized terror ensues.

3. Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

Mia Farrow experiences a highly complicated pregnancy in this eerie and atmospheric film that continues to shock more than a half-century after its release. While carrying her first child, Rosemary realizes that her high-rise neighbors are taking an unusually strong interest in her offspring.

4. Black Christmas (1974)

Margot Kidder leads a cast of co-eds who find their holiday break less than relaxing when they begin to get picked off by a rampaging killer. Bob Clark directed this 1974 classic, which helped establish the slasher genre as we know it and served as an inspiration for John Carpenter's Halloween. (Nearly 10 years later, Clark would direct a very different kind of holiday-themed classic: A Christmas Story.)

5. Goodnight Mommy (2015)

Looming dread saturates every frame of this stylized Austrian film that sees twin 9-year-old brothers struggling to cope with their mother, who’s come back from a plastic surgery appointment heavily bandaged and acting so oddly that the brothers begin to suspect she may not be their mother at all. An effective third-act twist might compel you to pass the recommendation on.

6. Pumpkinhead (1989)

Special effects legend Stan Winston directs this tale of a grieving father (Lance Henriksen) who targets the teenage gang responsible for his boy’s death by conjuring a vengeful creature.

7. Diabolique (1955)

Two women working at a French boarding school—one married, the other a mistress—decide to put their mutual problem out of his misery. Unfortunately, his demise is only the beginning of their troubles. This moody French film based on a novel was nearly filmed for an American audience by Alfred Hitchcock, but director Henri-Georges Clouzot snapped up the rights first. The result so impressed Hitchcock that he decided to up his game with the classic Psycho (1960). If it impressed the Master of Suspense, it’s worth a look.

8. Trilogy of Terror (1975)

Disclaimer: Only one segment in this made-for-television anthology is worth watching, but it’s a killer. Karen Black stars in three stories, all penned by Richard Matheson (The Twilight Zone), with the third, “Amelia,” the standout. As the title character, Black is a single woman under the thumb of an overbearing mother and hoping to further a relationship with a history professor. She buys an African artifact as a gift for him, then spends the next 25 minutes running for her life when it gains sentience. Pair it with Child’s Play for a great double feature.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER