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Inside Nokias Super-Fun Feature-Phone Nostalgia Trip

Let’s all agree that this has not been a year of feel-good stories in tech. Whether it’s Facebook privacy or YouTube algorithms, the headlines out of Silicon Valley have been a dismal parade of lapses and letdowns. So let’s take a moment to appreciate the one thread development everyone can get behind: Nokia’s perfect throwback party. You may not know the Nokia 3310 or 8110 by name, but you’d recognize them in a heartbeat. They’re two of the phones that made Nokia the dominant cell phone seller of the oughts,…

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This Gently Breathing Robot Cuddles You to Sleep

It's breathing. The chest rises and falls rhythmically, hypnotically. We guess it's the chest. Nobody's marketed a sleep robot before, and we're not even sure it's a robot. It looks like a pillowy four-pound kidney bean, about the size of a novelty prize at a carnival game. "Spooning the sleep robot during the night, you will be soothed to sleep," the sales literature claims, with "thousands of years of Buddhist breathing techniques." To bring upon sleep, breathing has to become slow and even, says Natalie Dautovich, a psychologist and sleep…

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The Inside Story of Reddit’s Redesign

On a rainy day in San Francisco, a dozen or so designers sat crammed around a conference table inside Reddit's headquarters, in a space they had nicknamed The War Room. A few soggy rain jackets dripped onto the floor, and someone mumbled a maxim normally reserved for weddings about rain bringing good luck. It was neither the first nor the last time this group would gather here to share the details of the project they'd been working on for over a year. But today was special. The designers had prepared…

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The Rules of Regramming

So you want to re-post an Instagram photo. Maybe it's a group shot from your college reunion published by one of your friends, or maybe it's a meme that you think your brother would love. On Twitter, you'd hit Retweet. On Facebook, you'd press Share. On Instagram, you'd tap … nothing, because that option doesn't exist. For its part, Instagram has deliberately resisted adding a "regram" button. As Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom put it to WIRED last year, "that decision is about keeping your feed focused on the people you…

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Review: Tecnica Forge GTX

At Outdoor Retailer in January, surrounded by the hubbub of thousands of people and products, I sat perfectly still. I couldn’t move. My feet were strapped into Tecnica’s custom heat-molding machine as I endured being fitted for a test pair of the Tecnica Forge GTX hiking boots. Tecnica First, Tecnica product manager Federico Sbrissa heated the boot’s insoles to 180 degrees Fahrenheit. When I stepped onto them with socks on, they felt comfortably warm, not hot. He strapped pads around my feet that inflated to apply 160 millibar of pressure…

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Step Aside, Wool Runners: Allbirds’ New Shoes Are Made from Trees

Footwear maker Allbirds has a new shoe out today. The company's latest design doesn't just refresh Allbirds' casual silhouette, it also utilizes a unique new material—a textile spun from eucalyptus fiber. Yes, shoes made from wood pulp. The novelty is reflected in the names of the shoes in the new collection. There's the Tree Runner, modeled after a jogging shoe, and a new spin on the low-profile boat shoe, the Tree Skipper. Both are available today on the Allbirds website for $95 in men's and women's sizes. Sole Provider Allbirds…

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The Quest to Bring 3-D-Printed Homes to the Developing World

In the low-slung hills of El Salvador, building a house is not an easy task. The land is vulnerable to earthquakes, flooding, volcanic eruptions. The roads are rugged, electricity sparse. For the past several years, New Story—a housing charity based in San Francisco—has built over 150 homes there, replacing tarps and scrap metal shelters with houses that have proper roofs and floors. It's slow, painstaking work in a country where nearly a third of the population is without shelter. About a year ago, the company wondered if there was a…

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The 4 Best Cheap Phones May Surprise You

Smartphones are ridiculously expensive, and U.S. wireless carriers like T-Mobile and Verizon go out of their way to make them seem affordable. I mean, why not buy a $950 Galaxy Note 8 if you only have to pay $0 down and $30 a month for it? Let me list the reasons why: you’re still wasting hundreds of dollars you could use to buy or save for something else that may add value to your life. It also gives your wireless carrier a lot of control over you, since you can't…

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Olympic Commentators Should Cut the Chit-Chat and Just Explain the Sport

Luge looks silly. It looks easy, too: lie down on a sled, let gravity do the work, climb the podium. In reality, of course, luge is fascinatingly complex. And, as American Emily Sweeney’s brutal crash this week made clear, it's dangerous too. A good start is crucial (that’s where the gloves with little spikes on the fingertips come in). The rule of thumb says every 1/100th of a second you lose up top compounds to 1/10th of a second by the end of the run. Aerodynamics is so important, sliders…

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How to Take Back Your Facebook News Feed

In December, Facebook announced yet another tweak to the News Feed. This time, the social network would begin prioritizing “meaningful” conversations between friends and family over stories from publishers, brands, and businesses. If this all sounds familiar to you, that’s because Facebook has made a number of similar changes in the past. I was skeptical about the latest shift. Over the last decade, my News Feed has increasingly begun to clog with life updates from hundreds of people I haven’t seen in years. Meanwhile, my closest friends—like many people’s—share less…

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How Two Guys and an Internet Forum Built a Kickass Computer

The China trip was only supposed to last 10 days. For Konstantinos Karatsevidis, the 23-year-old CEO of a new gadget maker called Eve, it was just a quick check-in to make sure production was rolling smoothly on his latest product. Karatsevidis and the rest of the nine-person Eve team have spent the last few years building the V, a laptop-tablet hybrid in the mold of the Microsoft Surface, working in remarkable concert with a teeming community of users and fans to create the exact product they wanted. All that was…

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Email Is Broken. Can Anyone Fix It?

Let's start this story at the end: You can't kill email. Attempting to do so is a decades-long tradition of the tech industry, a cliché right up there with "Uber, but for" and "the Netflix of X." AOL Instant Messenger tried to kill email. So did MySpace. Then Facebook took up the mantle, followed by Slack and Symphony and WhatsApp and HipChat. Through it all, email persists—always dying, never dead. Except email isn't dying. There are 3.7 billion users worldwide who collectively send 269 billion emails every day, according to…

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Thanksgiving Hack: Cook Your Turkey Sous Vide

Maybe you like your Thanksgiving turkey dry and bland. I get it. There’s something deeply traditional about leaving the bird in the oven for hours and hours. Maybe you like the symbolism of the turkey taking up oven space, or maybe overcooked poultry gives you an excuse to overload it with gravy. Maybe you’ve given up on bird altogether (one year, my mom served lobster for Thanksgiving. “No one likes the turkey anyway!”). If you have beloved turkey-cooking traditions, that's totally cool. But consider this: You can have a platter…

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