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15 Items for a Smarter Kitchen

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Using these items can help make cooking just a little bit easier.

1. Tfal Optigrill, $159

Depending on where you live, you might not have space for a true grill, or be allowed to use one. And even if you did, knowing when stuff is properly cooked can sometimes be a challenge. Enter the Tfal Optigrill. This apartment-friendly device takes the guesswork out of grilling: It uses sensors to perfectly grill everything from burgers and chicken breasts to sausages and fish and even paninis, making it a lot less likely that you’re going to give yourself—or those you’re cooking for—food poisoning. Take a hamburger, for example: Want it done rare, medium, or well? The Optigrill beeps at each stage so the meat is just how you like it.

Buy on Amazon

2. Gunter Wilhelm 7” santoku knife, $65

You might be thinking that $65 is a lot to spend on a single knife, but trust us: It’s worth it. The Santoku is great for mincing, slicing, dicing, and chopping, and the dimples create air pockets that keep food from sticking while you cut. Plus, it’s made with an alloy of high carbon and stainless steels, so it will last forever (and if something happens to go wrong, the knife has a lifetime warranty). Also comes with bragging rights: Tell your friends you’re using the same brand of knife as professional chefs and the people who cook for the President, and they’re sure to be impressed.

Buy on Amazon

3. Pop Chart Lab Cooking Measurements Tea Towel, $16

Converting measurements while you're cooking can be a pain. Keep this towel on hand to make it easier. (Plus, it's nice to look at!)

Buy on Pop Chart Lab

4. Quirky Mocubu Cutting Board, $24

This cutting board also functions as an organizational device, storing foods you’ve already chopped in handy drawers underneath until you’re ready to use them.

Buy on Amazon

5. Adjustable Rolling Pin, $20

Sure, you can guesstimate the thickness of your dough. Or you could buy this rolling pin, which has discs you screw on to the ends so you can roll to exact thickness; measurements etched into the pin itself help you nail the width, too.

Buy on Amazon

6. Slip-on Bowl Spout, $7

Stop drips and spills with this handy little device, which slips onto bowls for easy pouring.

Buy on Amazon

7. Perfect Bake, $50

Baking is an art, of course, but it’s also a science. Brookstone’s Perfect Bake™ App-Controlled Smart Baking is a scale that connects to an iPad app to help you nail those recipes every time. It not only guides you through each recipe, but helps you determine what you can make based on what ingredients you have on hand.

Buy on Amazon

8. Compact Folding Bookstand, $27

Whatever you choose to read your recipe off of—a cookbook, your iPad or iPhone, a single piece of paper—this will hold it all. If you’re using your iPad, outfit it in these sleeves to keep the screen flour- and grease-free.

Buy on Amazon

9. Paperchef Parchment Cooking Bags, $8

Make like the French and cook “en papillote,” or “in parchment" with these bags, which can be used in the oven, on the upper shelf of BBQs, and even in the microwave. It won’t just enhance food’s natural flavors, but also make cleanup a lot easier!

Buy on Amazon

10. Onion Goggles, $20

It’s one thing to put metaphorical sweat and tears into a meal. It’s another entirely to do it because you’re crying from chopping onions. (Here’s why they make you cry, by the way.) These goggles will keep you from shedding tears, and might also be useful if you’re taking a road trip in a motorcycle sidecar.

Buy on Amazon

11. Grape and Tomato Cutter, $10

Slicing grapes and tomatoes the old fashioned way takes forever. If you’re not interested in doing the two plates-and-a-knife method, as demonstrated by this brilliant dad, pick up this handy device.

Buy on Amazon

12. Nesting Bowls, $195

If space is at a premium in your kitchen, consider investing in this set of stainless steel nesting prep bowls, which also includes a colander, a mesh sieve, and measuring cups. (There’s also a plastic set for half the price.)

Buy on Amazon

13. Lifefactory Glass Food Storage, $17

These glass containers serve as both food storage and bakeware—even the silicone sleeve can go in the oven! Comes in three sizes: one cup, two cup, and four cup.

Buy on Amazon

14. Pancake Batter Dispenser, $10

Making pancakes has never been this clean: Load the batter in the stainless steel dispenser, hold it over your griddle, and squeeze the handle. Goodbye wasted batter, hello perfectly round pancakes!

Buy on Amazon

15. Cuisinart Combo Steam and Convection Oven, $300

Another smart combination device for small spaces, this oven broils, bakes, and toasts. There’s no oil, so your dishes are healthier, and steam heat cuts cooking time by 40 percent. You can even proof bread in this bad boy!

Buy on Amazon

BONUS: Hedley & Bennett Commis Apron, $83

No chef should look like a hot mess when he leaves the kitchen. Keep it clean and stylish with this apron.

Buy on Amazon

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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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Hoversurf

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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