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Want Your iPhone to Perform at its Best? Hold it in Your Right Hand

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A lot of things can affect how well your phone is working, but it might be news to you that one of those things is your own body. A recent report (PDF) commissioned by the Nordic Council of Ministers examined the antenna performance of different smartphone models and found that both the hand you hold your phone in and the ear you hold it up to can dramatically change how well it’s picking up radio signals.

In the chart below—created by Quartz and shared by Digg—you can see some of the specifics (dBm stands for decibel-milliwatt). In brief: iPhones do not fare well. The iPhone SE, 6S, and 6S Plus all rank pretty poorly overall, and those models operate particularly poorly if you hold them in your left hand and to your left ear.

While this might seem like some 21st century subtle discrimination against southpaws, it’s actually just a failure of tech when it comes to antenna placement, which varies from phone to phone. It’s not all bad news, though. The Microsoft Lumia 640 has the best call transmission strength overall, regardless of which hand you hold it in, and some phones—like the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge—do actually work better in your left hand. In general, though, the right hand and right ear combination is your best bet for a clear call.

So next time you’re in the middle of a conversation and switch hands, only to find that the call has suddenly become a little fuzzy, it’s not just in your head. We might not be able to manually futz with the antenna like we used to, but it’s still a fickle piece of hardware.

[h/t Digg]

Know of something you think we should cover? Email us at tips@mentalfloss.com.

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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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Weather Watch
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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