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Why Charging Your Phone Every Night Hurts Its Battery

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A day spent snapping pictures, checking social media, and catching Pokemon tends to be rough on your smartphone's battery life. Bedtime may seem like a good opportunity to plug in your device in preparation for the next day, but according to The New York Times, making this a nightly habit could end up hurting your phone in the long run.

If you own a smartphone, it’s likely powered by a lithium-ion battery. Most phones are designed to accept currents as fast as possible (to cut down on charging time), but as the current rapidly flows from one side of the battery to the other, it corrodes the battery. While this is fine for a couple of years, it will eventually shorten your battery's lifespan.

One thing smartphone users shouldn't worry about when plugging in overnight is "overcharging." Smartphones know when they’ve reached full capacity and have special built-in chips that prevent them from absorbing any surplus charge.

The 44 percent of smartphone owners who plan to upgrade their devices as soon as possible probably won't own a phone long enough to see the effects of frequent charging. But if you plan to have your iPhone 4 pried from your cold, dead hands, Hatem Zeine—founder of the wireless charging company Ossia—recommends powering up devices with a charger meant for something less powerful (charging an iPad Pro with an iPhone charger, for example). Keeping your battery at a temperature of about 60 to 72°F is another way to squeeze every year of battery life you can get from your device.

[h/t The New York Times]

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How to Spot the Convincing New Phishing Scam Targeting Netflix Users
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Netflix may send customers the occasional email, but these messages will never ask you to provide them with personal or payment info. You'll want to keep this in mind if you encounter a new phishing scam that The Daily Dot reports is targeting the video streaming service's subscribers in Australia and the UK.

MailGuard, an Australian email security company, was the first to take notice of the fraudulent emails. While similar scams have targeted Netflix users in the past, this current iteration appears to be more convincing than most. At first (and perhaps even second) glance, the messages appear to be legitimate messages from Netflix, with an authentic-looking sender email and the company’s signature red-and-white branding. The fake emails don’t contain telltale signs of a phishing attempt like misspelled words, irregular spacing, or urgent phrasing.

The subject line of the email informs recipients that their credit card info has been declined, and the body requests that customers click on a link to update their card's expiration date and CVV. Clicking leads to a portal where, in addition to the aforementioned details, individuals are prompted to provide their email address and full credit card number. After submitting this valuable info, they’re redirected to Netflix’s homepage.

So far, it’s unclear whether this phishing scheme has widely affected Netflix customers in the U.S., but thousands of people in both Australia and the U.K. have reportedly fallen prey to the effort.

To stay safe from phishing scams—Netflix-related or otherwise—remember to never, ever click on an email link unless you’re 100 percent sure it’s valid. And if you do end up getting duped, use this checklist as a guide to safeguard your compromised data.

[h/t The Daily Dot]

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Heated Mats Keep Steps Ice-Free in the Winter
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Amazon

The first snow of the season is always exciting, but the magic can quickly run out when you remember all the hazards that come with icy conditions. Along with heating bills, frosted cars, and other pains, the ground develops a coat of ice that can be dangerous for pedestrians and drivers alike. Outdoor steps become particularly treacherous and many people find themselves clutching their railings for fear of making it to the bottom headfirst. Instead of putting salt down the next time it snows, consider a less messy approach: heated mats that quickly melt the ice away.

The handy devices are made with a thermoplastic material and can melt two inches of snow per hour. They're designed to be left outside, so you can keep them ready to go for the whole winter. The 10-by-30-inch mats fit on most standard steps and come with grips to help prevent slipping. A waterproof connector cable connects to additional mats so up to 15 steps can be covered.

Unfortunately, this convenience comes at a price: You need to buy a 120-volt power unit for them to work, and each mat is sold separately. Running at $60 a mat, the price can add up pretty quickly. Still, if you live in a colder place where it's pretty much always snowing, it might be worth it.

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