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10 Cool Hacks for Amazon's Dash Button

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Amazon

In 2015, e-commerce giant Amazon debuted the Dash button, a Wi-Fi-enabled, adhesive-mounted panel that allows users to reorder popular household items like Tide detergent or Glad trash bags simply by pressing it. Rather than risk forgetting items at the store, the company hoped the immediacy and convenience of the button would translate into more sales.

Perhaps it has—Amazon is shy about sharing those figures—but like any piece of technology, users have found plenty of alternative uses for the device. Check out 10 ways the Dash has been repurposed.

1. AN ACLU DONATION BUTTON

ACLU via Twitter

Washington native Nathan Pryor recently told NBC News that his frustrations over the current political landscape compelled him to rework his Dash button into a device that would allow him to donate $5 to the American Civil Liberties Union every time he pressed it. Pryor said he lunges for the button whenever he feels frustrated at policy changes in government.

2. FRESH COFFEE NOTIFICATION

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Busy offices know they have some responsibility to make staff aware when a fresh pot of coffee is waiting for sleepy employees. While intra-office social media software makes for an easy method of updating employees, the Nelson Cash marketing firm in New York opted for an upgrade. When a worker finishes brewing a new batch of coffee, they can push a modified Dash button, which will then send an alert via Slack, notifying everyone that caffeine is now available.

3. A WIRELESS DOORBELL

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Wireless doorbells are widely available, but few (if any) are as economical as the $4.99 sticker attached to the Dash button. (Amazon will even credit that amount to your account, making the hardware essentially free.) The clever people at Not Enough TECH have posted step-by-step instructions for making a wireless doorbell you can mount near your front door that will send an alert to your mobile device whenever someone pushes it.

4. INSTANT PIZZA DELIVERY

Beware: this hack is not for those lacking in self-discipline. Pizza aficionado Brody Berson wrote code for his Dash button that sends his delivery and payment instructions to his local Domino’s Pizza location’s online ordering form. In a split second, a hot pie is on its way to him. Berson speculates you could write code for Jimmy John’s or any of a number of other fast food delivery sources.

5. COOLING DOWN A TESLA S

Who wants to climb into a scorching hot electric car? Not Michael Donnelly, proud owner of a Tesla S, who tweaked his Dash button to pre-set his car's air conditioning preferences. By depressing the button, Donnelly can activate the AC in his car; another button press lowers the temperature to his preferred setting. Because the car is electric, the engine doesn’t need to be on in order to control its climate. 

6. CONTROLLING HOUSEHOLD LIGHTS

Philips

Light switches are so 20th century. Blogger Dan at The GhostBit wrote a script for his Dash that allows him to power on his wireless LED Philips Hue light sources in his household. Cool? Very. But keep in mind that the Dash needs to find a network address every time it’s pressed, so there’s a three-second delay between button depression and illumination.

7. TRACK BABY POOP

iStock

Cloudstitch founder Ted Benson saw the Dash as an opportunity to better understand his newborn’s needs. Instead of investing in expensive baby tracking data software, Benson configured his Dash so it would create a spreadsheet entry every time he pressed it, which he did to log his baby’s nap times, awakenings, and poops.

8. CALL AN UBER

Coder Geoffrey Tesserand posted this script for the Dash, which allows him to push a button that activates a request for an Uber ride to meet him at his home. Tesserand thinks it’s particularly helpful for those who need to request a near-daily pick-up and don’t want to go through the hassle of unlocking their phone and using Uber’s app to repeat the same destination location every day.

9. SEND A TEXT

iStock

Yes, texting is already a very, very simple task. But if you’re prone to repeatedly sending brief messages like “I’m home” or “On my way,” you can use code that allows you to send these generic missives via SMS text messaging.

10. RICKROLLING

Sending unsuspecting parties footage of Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” has become one of the internet's favorite pastimes. One Dash user posted code that allows users to launch their own Rickroll at the press of a button. It will never let you down.

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8 of the Weirdest Gallup Polls
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Born in Jefferson, Iowa on November 18, 1901, George Gallup studied journalism and psychology, focusing on how to measure readers’ interest in newspaper and magazine content. In 1935, he founded the American Institute of Public Opinion to scientifically measure public opinions on topics such as government spending, criminal justice, and presidential candidates. Although he died in 1984, The Gallup Poll continues his legacy of trying to determine and report the will of the people in an unbiased, independent way. To celebrate his day of birth, we compiled a list of some of the weirdest, funniest Gallup polls over the years.

1. THREE IN FOUR AMERICANS BELIEVE IN THE PARANORMAL (2005)

According to this Gallup poll, 75 percent of Americans have at least one paranormal belief. Specifically, 41 percent believe in extrasensory perception (ESP), 37 percent believe in haunted houses, and 21 percent believe in witches. What about channeling spirits, you might ask? Only 9 percent of Americans believe that it’s possible to channel a spirit so that it takes temporary control of one's body. Interestingly, believing in paranormal phenomena was relatively similar across people of different genders, races, ages, and education levels.

2. ONE IN FIVE AMERICANS THINK THE SUN REVOLVES AROUND THE EARTH (1999)

In this poll, Gallup tried to determine the popularity of heliocentric versus geocentric views. While 79 percent of Americans correctly stated that the Earth revolves around the sun, 18 percent think the sun revolves around the Earth. Three percent chose to remain indifferent, saying they had no opinion either way.

3. 22 PERCENT OF AMERICANS ARE HESITANT TO SUPPORT A MORMON (2011)

Gallup first measured anti-Mormon sentiment back in 1967, and it was still an issue in 2011, a year before Mormon Mitt Romney ran for president. Approximately 22 percent of Americans said they would not vote for a Mormon presidential candidate, even if that candidate belonged to their preferred political party. Strangely, Americans’ bias against Mormons has remained stable since the 1960s, despite decreasing bias against African Americans, Catholics, Jews, and women.

4. MISSISSIPPIANS GO TO CHURCH THE MOST; VERMONTERS THE LEAST (2010)

This 2010 poll amusingly confirms the stereotype that southerners are more religious than the rest of the country. Although 42 percent of all Americans attend church regularly (which Gallup defines as weekly or almost weekly), there are large variations based on geography. For example, 63 percent of people in Mississippi attend church regularly, followed by 58 percent in Alabama and 56 percent in South Carolina, Louisiana, and Utah. Rounding out the lowest levels of church attendance, on the other hand, were Vermont, where 23 percent of residents attend church regularly, New Hampshire, at 26 percent, and Maine at 27 percent.

5. ONE IN FOUR AMERICANS DON’T KNOW WHICH COUNTRY AMERICA GAINED INDEPENDENCE FROM (1999)

Although 76 percent of Americans knew that the United States gained independence from Great Britain as a result of the Revolutionary War, 24 percent weren’t so sure. Two percent thought the correct answer was France, 3 percent said a different country (such as Mexico, China, or Russia), and 19 percent had no opinion. Certain groups of people who consider themselves patriotic, including men, older people, and white people (according to Gallup polls), were more likely to know that America gained its independence from Great Britain.

6. ONE THIRD OF AMERICANS BELIEVE IN GHOSTS (2000)

This Halloween-themed Gallup poll asked Americans about their habits and behavior on the last day of October. Predictably, two-thirds of Americans reported that someone in their house planned to give candy to trick-or-treaters and more than three-quarters of parents with kids reported that their kids would wear a costume. More surprisingly, 31 percent of American adults claimed to believe in ghosts, an increase from 1978, when only 11 percent of American adults admitted to a belief in ghosts.

7. 5 PERCENT OF WORKING MILLENNIALS THRIVE IN ALL FIVE ELEMENTS OF WELL-BEING (2016)

This recent Gallup poll is funny in a sad way, as it sheds light on the tragicomic life of a millennial. In this poll, well-being is defined as having purpose, social support, manageable finances, a strong community, and good physical health. Sadly, only 5 percent of working millennials—defined as people born between 1980 and 1996—were thriving in these five indicators of well-being. To counter this lack of well-being, Gallup’s report recommends that managers promote work-life balance and improve their communication with millennial employees.

8. THE WORLD IS BECOMING SLIGHTLY MORE NEGATIVE (2014)

If you seem to feel more stress, sadness, anxiety, and pain than ever before, Gallup has the proof that it’s not all in your head. According to the company’s worldwide negative experience index, negative feelings such as stress, sadness, and anger have increased since 2007. Unsurprisingly, people living in war-torn, dangerous parts of the word—Iraq, Iran, Egypt, Syria, and Sierra Leone—reported the highest levels of negative emotions.

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11 Times Mickey Mouse Was Banned
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Despite being one of the world’s most recognizable and beloved characters, it hasn’t always been smooth sailing for Mickey Mouse, who turns 89 years old today. A number of countries—and even U.S. states—have banned the cartoon rodent at one time or another for reasons both big and small.

1. In 1930, Ohio banned a cartoon called “The Shindig” because Clarabelle Cow was shown reading Three Weeks by Elinor Glyn, the premier romance novelist of the time. Check it out (1:05) and let us know if you’re scandalized:

2. With movies on 10-foot screen being a relatively new thing in Romania in 1935, the government decided to ban Mickey Mouse, concerned that children would be terrified of a monstrous rodent.

3. In 1929, a German censor banned a Mickey Mouse short called “The Barnyard Battle.” The reason? An army of cats wearing pickelhauben, the pointed helmets worn by German military in the 19th and 20th centuries: "The wearing of German military helmets by an army of cats which oppose a militia of mice is offensive to national dignity. Permission to exhibit this production in Germany is refused.”

4. The German dislike for Mickey Mouse continued into the mid-'30s, with one German newspaper wondering why such a small and dirty animal would be idolized by children across the world: "Mickey Mouse is the most miserable ideal ever revealed ... Healthy emotions tell every independent young man and every honorable youth that the dirty and filth-covered vermin, the greatest bacteria carrier in the animal kingdom, cannot be the ideal type of animal.” Mickey was originally banned from Nazi Germany, but eventually the mouse's popularity won out.

5. In 2014, Iran's Organization for Supporting Manufacturers and Consumers announced a ban on school supplies and stationery products featuring “demoralizing images,” including that of Disney characters such as Mickey Mouse, Winnie the Pooh, Sleeping Beauty, and characters from Toy Story.

6. In 1954, East Germany banned Mickey Mouse comics, claiming that Mickey was an “anti-Red rebel.”

7. In 1937, a Mickey Mouse adventure was so similar to real events in Yugoslavia that the comic strip was banned. State police say the comic strip depicted a “Puritan-like revolt” that was a danger to the “Boy King,” Peter II of Yugoslavia, who was just 14 at the time. A journalist who wrote about the ban was consequently escorted out of the country.

8. Though Mussolini banned many cartoons and American influences from Italy in 1938, Mickey Mouse flew under the radar. It’s been said that Mussolini’s children were such Mickey Mouse fans that they were able to convince him to keep the rodent around.

9. Mickey and his friends were banned from the 1988 Seoul Olympics in a roundabout way. As they do with many major sporting events, including the Super Bowl, Disney had contacted American favorites to win in each event to ask them to say the famous “I’m going to Disneyland!” line if they won. When American swimmer Matt Biondi won the 100-meter freestyle, he dutifully complied with the request. After a complaint from the East Germans, the tape was pulled and given to the International Olympic Committee.

10. In 1993, Mickey was banned from a place he shouldn't have been in the first place: Seattle liquor stores. As a wonderful opening sentence from the Associated Press explained, "Mickey Mouse, the Easter Bunny and teddy bears have no business selling booze, the Washington State Liquor Control Board has decided." A handful of stores had painted Mickey and other characters as part of a promotion. A Disney VP said Mickey was "a nondrinker."

11. Let's end with another strike against The Shindig (see #1) and Clarabelle’s bulging udder. Less than a year after the Shindig ban, the Motion Picture Producers and Directors of America announced that they had received a massive number of complaints about the engorged cow udders in various Mickey Mouse cartoons.

From then on, according to a 1931 article in Time magazine, “Cows in Mickey Mouse ... pictures in the future will have small or invisible udders quite unlike the gargantuan organ whose antics of late have shocked some and convulsed others. In a recent picture the udder, besides flying violently to left and right or stretching far out behind when the cow was in motion, heaved with its panting with the cow stood still.”

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