Trump’s social media site quietly admits it’s based on Mastodon

To avoid a lawsuit, Donald Trump’s social media site is quietly acknowledging the computer code powering the platform comes from Mastodon.  

Trump’s “Truth Social” site now features a dedicated section labeled “open source,” which contains a Zip archive to Mastodon’s source code. “Our goal is to support the open source community no matter what your political beliefs are. That’s why the first place we go to find amazing software is the community and not ‘Big Tech,’” the site adds. 

Truth Social created the section on Nov. 12, two weeks after social networking provider Mastodon threatened to sue Trump’s platform for violating its open-source license. 

Although Truth Social has yet to launch, an early test build went live in October, and users immediately noticed it adopted several design elements from Mastodon’s software. But at the time, Truth Social made no attempt to credit Mastodon or publish the computer code behind it. 

Since Mastodon is an open-source software project, anyone can use it for free. But if you do, the software license demands the code and any ensuing modifications to your Mastodon-powered platform be made publicly available, allowing the entire Mastodon community to benefit. (This doesn’t include publishing any user data or disclosing admin access, though.)

“We release our work for free in the first place is the idea that, as we give to the platform operators, so do the platform operators give back to us by providing their improvements for us and everyone to see,” Mastodon wrote in a blog post last month. However, Trump’s social media site had claimed all of its source code was “proprietary,” and controlled solely by Truth Social.

In response, Mastodon sent a letter to Trump’s social media platform, demanding its source code be published within 30 days or face legal action involving copyright infringement. Mastodon Founder Eugen Rochko now tells PCMag he’s holding off on filing any lawsuit.  

“We haven’t received any communication back from them, but they’ve uploaded a ZIP archive of the source code, which for now seems to bring them in compliance,” Rochko said in an email. 

However, it appears the uploaded Zip archive is simply a barebones version of the existing Mastodon source code you can already find on GitHub. The archive itself is only a mere 30MB in size. Nevertheless, Rochko said the Zip archive might “become more interesting” once Truth Social finally launches.

Expect Trump’s social media platform to formally arrive in next year’s first quarter. A beta launch for the site was also supposed to take place in November, but it appears Truth Social has missed the original target date.

How to delete individual photos from a carousel on Instagram

When you post a photo dump on Instagram, or a carousel of multiple images, you aren’t anticipating that you’ll want to delete a single, individual photo from the batch. And up until November 2021, you couldn’t. If you wanted a picture gone from your grid, you’d have to delete or archive the entire carousel.

But, now, if you want to digitally cut your ex out of the picture, you can do just that.

Pick your fighter

First, you’ll need to navigate to your profile by opening up the Instagram app and clicking your photo in the bottom right-hand corner. Now, scroll down to whatever carousel you’d like to delete an individual photo from and click it.

A screenshot of my Instagram profile.

Toggling to your profile is the first step in deleting an individual photo from your carousel.
Credit: Screenshot/Instagram

Edit your carousel

Once you’ve navigated to the photo carousel you’d like to edit, click the three dots on the top right corner, next to your profile name. This will give you a few options: from “Delete” to “Archive” to “Share.” Click “Edit.”

A screenshot of the options that show up when you click "Edit" on a carousel.

Scroll down to the “Edit” option and you’re well on your way to deleting an individual photo from your carousel on Instagram.
Credit: Screenshot/Instagram

Trash that photo

Scroll to the photo you’d like to erase from the carousel, and click the trashcan icon in the top left — the icon is on top of your photo, just below your profile name.

A screenshot of a carousel of Buffy the Vampire Slayer screenshots on my Instagram profile

Find the photo you want to delete, and click on the trashcan icon in the top left.
Credit: Screenshot/Instagram

When you click the icon, a pop-up will appear, asking you if you’d like to delete that photo with a bit more information detailing what happens when you do that. Click “Delete.” Once you’re happy with your decision and done editing your carousel, click “Done” on the top right corner, and you’re all finished!

A screenshot of an individual Instagram carousel photo that I am deleting from my account.

The final step in deleting an individual instagram photo from a carousel is clicking “Delete,” and you’re done.
Credit: Screenshot/Instagram

If you delete a photo that you actually want to keep in the carousel, don’t worry — you have 30 days to change your mind. Simply navigate to your settings, click “Account,” and go to “Recently Deleted.” That will allow you to restore deleted photos. However, after 30 days, all deleted content will be gone forever.

So choose wisely.

Polestar’s next EV will be a smaller SUV

Polestar just revealed more about two of its upcoming cars: Both will be electric SUVs.

On Thursday, the Volvo spin-off company revealed more about the Polestar 4 along with a peek at its upcoming SUV, the Polestar 3, and its plans for the next three years.

At a New York investor event, Polestar CEO Thomas Ingenlath previewed the Polestar 4, which will be released after the Polestar 3’s arrival next year.

Polestar already has two cars. The Polestar 1 is a hybrid sports car that is being phased out by the end of this year, while the Polestar 2 is an electric sedan already available throughout the U.S. with 265-mile range and roughly $45,000 starting price. 

While the event’s focus was mostly on the upcoming 3 electric SUV, which has new features like autonomous highway driving thanks to built-in LiDAR sensors, the Polestar 4 was revealed as a smaller and sportier SUV. The more compact SUV will be available in 2023 with a targeted range of 370 miles on a single charge, according to MotorTrend. The auto publication compared it to the size of a Porsche Macan

Polestar’s Precept concept car, a luxury sedan similar to the Lucid Air, was revealed last month as the Polestar 5. It’s expected to arrive in 2024. The concept car is making stops at different Polestar stores (called Spaces) around the U.S. Its first stop was in NYC at Thursday’s event.

The lineup fills out Polestar’s growth plans. In 2021, the Swedish car brand sold 29,000 vehicles. It’s aiming to hit closer to 300,000 sales by 2025.

The Polestar 3, only shown in a camouflaged wrap so far, will be made at Volvo’s plant in South Carolina, making it the first Polestar made in the U.S.

Omicron messing with your mental health? Don’t let the anxiety get to you.

You’ve been here before. The flurry of headlines declare a “variant of concern.” The talking heads urge you not to panic as chyrons below them repeat the words mutation and breakthrough. And, no, you shouldn’t emotionally unravel because this isn’t a repeat of March 2020 when there were no effective vaccines and little understanding of how COVID-19 spread. The fear of the unknown, however, still has the power to knock you down. 

You thought you were done with this uncertainty, even if secretly you knew that was unlikely. You hoped the Delta variant of COVID-19 would be the prelude to the end of our pandemic nightmare. But now you’re faced with Omicron, a variant that South African scientists brought to the world’s attention around Thanksgiving, right as you were settling into being with family safely for the first time since COVID-19 began infecting and killing millions of people. The first confirmed case in the U.S. surfaced in San Francisco on Wednesday. Another case discovered in Minnesota, in a patient who hadn’t traveled internationally, suggests domestic transmission of Omicron is already underway. 

It’s reasonable to feel unnerved by this unexpected turn. There’s lingering doubt about what Omicron means for your well-laid plans: the long-delayed wedding, getting back on a dating app, returning to an office workplace. Just as you’d gotten familiar, maybe even comfortable, with the stakes of Delta, there are new questions. How well do the vaccines stand up to Omicron? Does Omicron, on average, infect more people than Delta, which is already quite contagious? Do Omicron infections really lead to only mild symptoms? 

You’d like to make decisions based on this information, but you can’t — not yet. The experts say they’ll know more about Omicron in the coming weeks. They say to keep calm, get vaccinated or boosted, and continue practicing prevention measures, like masking indoors and testing before gathering. They’re not wrong. The rational response is not to spiral. After all, you’ve been here before: The downward slide into breathless anxiety doesn’t serve you, or anyone else you love, well. But the truth is that humans are terrible at managing uncertainty. They love knowing what will, or is likely to, happen next. You’re no exception. 

So you look for ways to manage. You could play pretend, ignoring the threat of the virus because you’re exhausted from worry, like so many others. You could let the anxiety of the unknown spin you into either hyperproductivity or deep depression. The first is a type of distraction. The second is often what happens when we feel relentlessly out of control.


7 skills to help reframe negative thoughts when social media makes you feel lousy

But between the extremes there’s a calmer path. Look around and take note of what you observe. News coverage and social media content about Omicron can be alarmist. If consuming that heightens your emotions — grief, anxiety, anger — take in accurate, measured stories and commentary instead. Turn off notifications. Mute accounts that hype instead of explain. The point isn’t to feel nothing about the uncertainty, but to limit how much outside influences push your emotions to the breaking point. 

Now consider what you’ve already learned from past tumultuous periods following a new variant of concern. Did you fret over Alpha last winter and then forget it existed once Delta comprised most infections? Perhaps the choices you made following Delta are ones you can make again now, like avoiding indoor dining, masking at the gym even when it’s not required, and being particularly cautious around unvaccinated children and immunocompromised but vaccinated people. If these actions made you feel more in control of your fate and more like a good citizen, try them again. 

Make a list of things that boost your mood and do those, too. Safely socialize with people who make you laugh. Move your body with the goal of releasing the stress that’s stiffened your joints and limbs. Sleep and eat well, if you can. Be fully present when possible, and breathe. Try a meditation app, or a new meditation course, if that’s your thing. Practice the techniques experts say you should: radical acceptance, self-compassion, mindfulness. They’ll keep you grounded in the present reality rather than stuck in a circular hell of your own nervous thinking. 

Be kind to yourself when you end up there anyway, despite your best efforts. Be especially gentle if you’re a health care worker or on the front lines in another capacity, like as a cashier, flight attendant, or DMV employee. You’ve been worn down by constant exposure to risk. Some strangers you encounter only make this worse with their carelessness or callousness. You, of all people, deserve more certainty in this pandemic, not less. If that’s how you feel, simply acknowledge it. Say you wish this was finally over, because you’re not alone. 

Above all, remember that we’re not starting over again. Variants of COVID-19, including Omicron, are unlikely to fully evade the immune system, according to the experts. We know that masking can prevent infection. Rapid tests, though obscenely expensive and sometimes hard to find in the U.S., are available, as is polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing. We’re not going back to March 2020, at least not with this virus. As for Omicron, trust that you’ll know the answers to your questions soon, because you will. It’s just a matter of time.

Give the gift of portable power this holiday season

The holidays are here, and if you’re like us, that means you’ve begun your annual hunt for great deals on tech products. Pro tip: Don’t leave portable power devices off of your wishlist. EcoFlow offers some of the most eco-friendly and innovative power solutions on the market, and with some serious holiday discount deals, their portable power tech is a no-brainer. We’ve got a handy guide for choosing the best EcoFlow device — whether you’re shopping for someone on your list or snagging a device for yourself.

When you’re always on-the-go

EcoFlow RIVER mini

EcoFlow RIVER mini
Credit: EcoFlow

For many of us, the holidays mean staying on-the-move, from traveling to see loved ones to enjoying some much-needed outdoor recreation with your time off. No matter where you’re headed, the EcoFlow RIVER mini Portable Power Station (Sale: $259, MSRP: $349) is your trusted accomplice. The RIVER mini is capable of handling six devices simultaneously and charging to full in just 1.5 hours, thanks to EcoFlow’s X-Stream technology. Perfect for use with 99% of consumer electronics available, you can be confident you’ll have power for your devices — whether you’re just heading to grandma’s house for dinner or taking a camping trip in the woods to decompress from all that family time.

EcoFlow | Amazon

When productivity is your middle name

EcoFlow DELTA mini

EcoFlow DELTA mini
Credit: EcoFlow

Prefer to stay on top of work and hobbies between holiday meals? With EcoFlow DELTA mini (Sale: $899, MSRP: $999), you can charge 12 devices simultaneously through wall-style, USB, or DC outlets. Its 882Wh capacity will keep your devices charged up — or take it outdoors for use with power tools to get ahead on those home renovation projects for the new year. For ease of use, get the EcoFlow app, which offers control from anywhere once connected to the internet.

EcoFlow | Amazon

When you always want to be prepared


Credit: EcoFlow

Thirteen is your lucky number with EcoFlow DELTA (Sale: $1,099, MSRP: $1,399). Power up 13 devices simultaneously with a 1260Wh capacity power station that can keep all essential devices in your home fully charged. This powerhouse is your new standard in battery-powered generators: from refrigerators to speakers to electric drills, you can power anything, anywhere, anytime. Just the power trip you always wanted.

EcoFlow | Amazon

When you have all the answers

EcoFlow DELTA Max

EcoFlow DELTA Max
Credit: EcoFlow

The 2kWh capacity EcoFlow DELTA Max unit (Sale: $1,899, MSRP: $2,099) can handle your winter storm power outages. Need a little bit more? Easily move to 6kWh with DELTA Max Smart Extra Batteries. No matter your power pursuits, EcoFlow has a perfectly suited portable power station. DELTA Max charges up to 80% in just about over an hour and can take on multiple devices up to 3400W, thanks to EcoFlow’s X-Boost technology.

EcoFlow | Amazon

When you’re environmentally conscious

For uninterrupted charging, always turn to the DELTA Bundle (Sale: $1,499, MSRP: $2,197) and add the power of two 110W Solar Panels to the EcoFlow DELTA Portable Power Station. Improved solar charging — even when it’s cold and cloudy outside — means you never experience power issues. The panels are foldable, portable, and dust and water resistant for extended product life. And it can be fully recharged in 7-14 hours. With this bundle, you’ll be a lifelong convert.

EcoFlow | Amazon

When you want to bring it home

EcoFlow DELTA Max (1600) Bundle

EcoFlow DELTA Max (1600) Bundle
Credit: EcoFlow

No matter where you go this holiday season, you want that warmth and comfort of home. And that’s where the DELTA Max (1600) Bundle (Sale: $2,299, MSRP: $3,399) comes in. This bundle, which includes the EcoFlow DELTA Max (1600) and four 110W Solar Panels, is a whopping $1,100 off. It can power 15 devices at any given time, with a 2000W output. But with the X-Boost mode on, it can power some 2800W appliances. Add the power of four 110W Solar Panels, and it’s like you never left home.

EcoFlow | Amazon

Is not wanting to have sex with trans people transphobic? I’m trans, here’s what I think. 

“Can I ask you a personal question?”

If you’re transgender, you’re probably familiar with the feelings that question prompts. You try your best not to roll your eyes, keep smiling, nod along as you reply “of course”, hoping this time it might be something different. You find yourself looking for an exit, glancing at your phone trying to summon an excuse to get out of there. You know exactly what they’re about to ask.

One of the questions trans allies — and a few strangers — have asked me at some point is whether not wanting to have sex with trans people is transphobic. These are people who advocate for inclusion, believe in trans rights, but feel they need to draw the line somewhere: sexual desire. It’s easier to dismantle your prejudices and biases when they don’t pertain to your personal life — the uncomfortable question to ask oneself is whether your sexual desire is problematic. Being called bigoted for not wanting to have sex with someone from one particular community feels a step too far to them.

To me, what’s curious about that question is the wording. It’s rarely direct. Most of the time it’s not even a question. Sometimes it’s a declarative statement along the lines of “I could never have sex with a trans woman.” Sometimes it’s disguised as a compliment: “Your wife must really love you; I don’t know if I’d be able to.” Sometimes it’s just nodding and replying “it’s not for everyone,” as if they were describing shower sex or favouring a particular sex position. People ask these questions for a variety of reasons: they may have trans people in their lives, or feel they’ve done enough work to unpack transphobia to “deserve” an answer to more intrusive questions.

So, how did we get here? How did not wanting to have sex with human beings from one community in particular become a legitimate preference? The othering of transgender people in sexual contexts is not only in the context of dating or intimacy. It’s systemic and as such it bleeds into most interactions and environments — dating and sex is no exception. Part of the reason why people often don’t want to have sex with transgender people is that they don’t know what that sex would look like. Sometimes, they’re not even sure what trans bodies look like without their clothes.


Charlie Craggs brings urgently needed compassion to what trans teens actually go through

Then there’s the fetishisation of trans people, which is not flattering, by the way — it is a dehumanising way of reducing us to sexual objects, not subjects or participants with sexual agency. “Transgender” (often using less flattering terms) is one of the most watched porn categories, but rather than showing a desire to engage with trans people, it reveals that’s how most people see transgender people: as a porn category, a fetish. That content is created for cisgender audiences and consumption: trans people are the actors, but not the target audience. It presents trans bodies as a forbidden desire, a deviation, a fetish. And in many cases, it’s like most mainstream porn: a misrepresentation of what sex looks like in real life. This genre of porn doesn’t show how people have sex. It shows how cisgender people think transgender bodies work: trans women in it typically perform the way cisgender men would in these scenes, often taking on the dominant sexual role.

Trans people’s lived experiences differ greatly — everyone’s social and medical transition is different, and even just hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and dysphoria, for example, can have a huge impact on how trans people experience their bodies. It can affect the way they have orgasms, feel pleasure, and sometimes change their desires. Transmasculine people who take testosterone can experience “bottom growth“, and can have vaginismus — a condition that causes the vagina to tighten when you attempt to insert something into it. Many transfeminine people struggle to maintain an erection and ejaculate. And lots of trans people don’t feel comfortable having their genitals touched at all. For example, some transmasculine people have never had penis in vagina sex. Having sex with me is not largely different from having sex with any other gay man. This means that when people say they would never have sex with a trans person, they’re making assumptions about what that sex would look like, such as thinking it would involve penetration or fellatio.

You can’t know someone’s genitals based on their gender. And you can’t know someone’s genitals unless they tell you what they are. That leads us to disclosure. When it comes to trans people, one of the most daunting and harmful stereotypes is the belief that trans people are sexual predators, trying to coerce people into having sex with them by not disclosing what their genitals are, or “crossdressing” to enter single sex spaces. Laws that legitimise violent reactions to that disclosure still exist. In the U.S., 46 states still allow the ‘trans panic defense’ — when someone (usually a cisgender man) is charged with murder of a trans person (usually transfeminine), they can claim the violence was prompted by being told that ‘that woman has a penis’ or ‘used to be a man.’

This year has the highest number of deaths on record for trans and gender diverse people, most of them transfeminine people and sex workers. The statistics we hear are hammered in our brains, sometimes long before we even come out or realise we’re transgender. It’s hard to thrive when you’re afraid of being the next one. And that means we rarely take risks. When safe to do so, the disclosure happens quite early on, before entering a bedroom, before meeting up for the first time after matching on a dating app. We’d rather out ourselves than be killed. It’s always easier to assume someone isn’t safe for us than the opposite. So, what might be a simple question of ‘sexual preference’ to some is a matter of life and death for us. 


Read an extract from Shon Faye’s powerful book ‘The Transgender Issue’

When we bring up the fact we are transgender, often putting ourselves in danger, the conversation shifts to sex. Being trans often comes hand in hand with being hypersexualised and that means our genitals aren’t just discussed in the context of sleeping with someone. From my experience, I’ve discussed my genitals more often with random strangers than with romantic love interests. Due to fetishisation, curiosity, or fear, the “what’s in your pants” question always arrives early on. On dates, cisgender people wouldn’t ask that question of one another. They might not even mention sex on a first date (though bold daters might not pay much heed to such rules). Yet, that highly intrusive question somehow seems a reasonable question to ask trans people, be it online, at a bar, waiting in line for a concert, as friends, as strangers, before a date is even suggested. My answer is going to change how you perceive me. It’s going to make a difference between being, in your eyes, a “real” man or woman, or a work in progress, or just “confused” or going through a “phase”. It’s going to make the difference between being viewed as a human being or a porn category, between being someone you’d introduce to your parents and a dirty little secret.

Talking about sex is healthy. It’s useful to discuss boundaries and kinks. So what happens when there’s incompatibility? “No trans people” cannot be a preference, because the only characteristic shared by all trans people is transness. Being trans doesn’t determine what your body looks like, and it’s an exclusion that reinforces systemic discrimination. Preferences are usually related to specific physical characteristics (you might have a “type”, like a certain hair colour) or actions (oral sex, kinks). Reducing trans people to either of those categories is an oversimplification often rooted in misunderstanding or transphobia.

Think about what’s really preventing you from engaging with certain people: is it a lack of experience? Not knowing how something works? Internalised transphobia? Trauma? Understanding our desires better is the first step in unpacking whether they’re problematic.

It’s easy to think that, when discussing genitals, the answer a trans person will give will be a dealbreaker for any romantic or sexual escalation, but maybe the issue is asking the wrong question. Don’t ask me what I look like. Don’t ask me how to tell if your crush is trans. Don’t ask me if you’re transphobic. Ask me what my ideal first date is. Ask me if I want a drink. Tell me about yourself. Tell me about that ex you’ve definitely dated longer than you should have. Tell me about what you’ve always wanted to try. Ask me what pet names I like. Ask me what turns me on. Ask me what’s off the table. Ask me if we should turn off the light. Ask me if you can play with my hair. Tell me you want to kiss me. Get to know me, all of me. Ask every question but that one, and you’ll realise that maybe, just maybe, I’m a human being that’s worthy of being desired, that I’m a sexual participant with needs, wants, and agency. 

Bose Open Earbuds are the best headphones for exercise and so much more

Essentials Week spotlights unexpected items that make our daily lives just a little bit better.

There are many sensitive inches of space on or in your body. Two of the most important are known as your ear canals. Stuff earbuds like the Apple AirPods in them, and not only are you isolating from the outside world — you’re also blocking air flow, which makes your ear canal’s sweat glands churn out more earwax. 

Ear, nose, and throat doctors have called this blockage “a fertile breeding ground for bacteria” if you leave it in place for too long. And while there’s a chance you might be breeding the good kind of microbiome by having earbuds in all the time, you might also (like me) be particularly susceptible to bacterial ear infections. Doctors also note that wearing earbuds for hours at a time may damage the jaw joints that sit next to those inch-long canals.

Luckily, a new kind of earbud technology arrived in 2021 — one that doesn’t block the canals at all. Nor does it rely on bone conduction, a weird and still experimental form of transmitting sound that some users (like me) find too soft and tinny for enjoyable listening. No, the $199 Bose Sport Open Earbuds are the first headphones to use the company’s OpenAudio system. They sit far above your ear canals, and blast tunes into them from what Bose calls “precision-placed acoustic ports” — tiny speakers, basically — using the shape of the ear to augment the sound.  

That explains why Bose has been marketing its open earbuds to runners like me who find music extremely motivational yet still want to hear everything going on around them. They’re not designed for use in any situation where some small sound leakage could cause problems, such as lying in bed next to a partner who’s trying to sleep. That said, having owned and enjoyed the Bose Open Earbuds for the past six months, I can confirm that this leaves a lot of use cases where they’re better than the regular earbud model — not just exercising. 

In large part, this is because the Open Earbuds are easy to wear when you’re not listening to anything. The position of each bud at the top of the ear makes them seem more like cool black ear jewelry than headphones. My ears aren’t just open to out-in-the-world sounds, they look that way too. Which means there’s no sense of being silently judged when you walk, run, or cycle past someone. They instantly know they can call out to me if they need to. I no longer feel part of the problem of technology isolating us in wider society. 

This is why I, an Apple fanatic, never even considered AirPods as exercise headphones. It wasn’t just the stress dreams I’d have about them dropping out of sweaty ear canals (not a problem with the curly shape of the Open Earbuds, which are very secure once you practice the unusual “slide them around the back of the ear” maneuver). It was also this: What do you do when you’re sick of having AirPods in? If you’ve run for an hour to the store, say, and want to quickly grab some food as a reward? 

You could stick them in your pocket and risk losing them there, carry the charging case and risk losing that, or keep them in your ears and use the mic to “pass through” the sounds outside, which seems as weird as wearing glasses with a live video feed of what you’d be seeing if you weren’t wearing glasses. Why not just, y’know, listen to the outside?

My running headphones of choice prior to my Open Earbuds purchase was Bose’s $120 regular SoundSports. This was partly because the sound quality of all Bose headphones seems to work incredibly well for my hearing range (your musical mileage may vary, as well as your experience with Bose products in general.) But it was also because of the very simple design choice of having the buds connected by a wire at the back. Which meant that at the end of the run, I could dangle them around my neck. 

But with the Open Earbuds, I simply leave them in place. They’re just a bit too heavy to forget they’re there altogether, but they’re also not uncomfortable; I can go for a couple of hours at a time without wanting to take them off. Which tends to mean I use them while grabbing groceries on the way home from running: There’s no fear of cart collisions, and the small sound leakage effect isn’t something other shoppers could possibly hear over the noise of the store. You have to be within 6 feet of someone in a quiet indoors environment to hear them even slightly. Which has made them the perfect headphones for the COVID era: If you can hear what I’m listening to, you’re too close. 

The downside of being open

Of course, there are still plenty of instances where Open Earbuds aren’t the perfect fit. While their sound is surprisingly clear, you’re not getting all the rich, deep bass other headphone models will readily provide. If I’m listening to music or watching TV quietly late at night, I’m wearing an over-ear wired set of cans. If I’m doing chores, especially if there are distracting noises around me, I’m going to grab my favorite walking-around noise-canceling headset (the now sadly discontinued Bose QC30s, still available for $199).

The QC30s can also connect to two devices at the same time, something I wish the open earbuds would do. It’s a minor hassle to have to switch back and forth for runs where I want to take my GPS Apple Watch (on which I can now pre-load my mega Spotify running cadence playlists, or at least the first 50 tracks), and leave my iPhone at home. Which is a shame, because hitting the streets with just the watch and these Open Earbuds is the lightest, most liberating information-rich experience I’ve had in a decade of trying out running tech. 

There are other negatives worth noting. The Bose Music app, which you’re forced to use to set up the Open Earbuds, is bare-bones and inferior compared to the Bose Connect app, which worked with all older headphones. The customizable touch-sensitive sides on each earbud are apparently so sensitive to movement that I’ve turned off the ability to use them, rather than have my volume go up and down randomly while jogging. 

The magnetic charger is weird and nonintuitive, so much so that I have put the Open Earbuds on it the wrong way round more than once; unless you know to look for the blinking white light, you won’t know whether it’s charging or not. (Luckily the Open Earbuds carry a pretty decent charge for these kinds of devices, enough for eight hours of use. By comparison, AirPods only get five hours of listening time.) 

Still, the Open Earbuds are better and clearer when it comes to talking on the phone than their noise-canceling elder Bose brethren. If I know I’m going to take a long call, I’ll grab the open earbuds from their default position (on the weird magnetic charger, which I’ve placed right by the front door). They also look better on Zoom calls than ear-blocking devices, to my eyes. (I’d wear them more often if the earbuds connected to multiple devices at once.) 

And when I’m traveling alone, the Open Earbuds have become my default device to fall asleep to, because I’m a side sleeper and these things, again, do not smush into your ear canal like regular earbuds.

In fact, the biggest problem with the Bose Open Earbuds may be that name. They’re not buds at all; they’re high-powered, highly directional miniature speakers that happen to live at the top of your ears. The company needs to find a way to market that fact to more than just the exercise set. It shouldn’t be hard to emphasize just how gross regular earbuds are, with their bacteria-breeding blockages that basically require you to be extra vigilant about how long you have them in at a time. 

If AirPods feel like a relic of the past, this kind of unobtrusive headphone design could well be the future.

If AirPods feel like a relic of the past, this kind of unobtrusive headphone design could well be the future, especially if they can improve the bass end of their EQ spectrum. There’s already a massively oversubscribed Kickstarter with a similar design. We can’t wait to see, or rather hear them in action. 


AirPods (third-gen) vs. Beats Fit Pro: Which Apple wireless earbuds are the ones to get?

In the meantime, my fellow runners and cyclists will have to carry the cans, so to speak. Our numbers appear to be growing; I see a surprising amount of runners wearing them on the nearest trail to my Bay Area home. We see each other coming, we hear each others’ footsteps, we’re less likely to be enclosed in a world of our own. We spot the peculiar black ear jewelry as our own; we nod, and smile, and pass on by — quiet custodians of an ear canal-liberating revolution. 

Even more essentials

  • I love my embarrassing lumbar support pillow

  • The wild world of VRChat is a joyful antidote to these dark times

  • Tricking out your iOS group texts is worth the tiny bit of effort

The sleek Razer Blade Stealth gaming laptop is at an all-time low price

Save $500: It’s time for some fresh air while you play Call of Duty. As of Nov. 2, the Razer Blade Stealth 13 Ultrabook gaming laptop is on sale for a new low price of $1,299.99 with a 28% discount.

Cyber Monday is in the rearview mirror, but plenty of deals are still ahead of us. And since it’s still really tricky to grab a new Xbox or PS5, this deal on an ultra-portable Razer gaming laptop offers some perfect timing.

Amazon lists the Razer Blade Stealth 13 Ultrabook gaming laptop for just $1,299.99. That’s $500 off the original price and marks the best price ever on this specific model. It’s also currently in stock in case you’re ready to play Farming Simulator 22 anytime and anywhere.


Dipping your toes into PC gaming? Here are 3 laptop options for under $1,000.

Released about a year ago, the Razer Blade Stealth 13 still packs the latest tech for a better gaming experience. It includes the quad-core 11th Generation Intel Core i7-1165G7 processor and the popular Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti Max-Q graphics card. This is what allows for cutting-edge mobile gaming that’s even better thanks to 16GB of RAM and 512GB of speedy SSD internal storage.

You’ll notice the faster gameplay on the 13.3-inch Full HD display that offers a 120Hz high refresh rate for smoother gameplay along with an ultra-thin bezel. There is an option that offers an OLED touch display, but that’s currently more expensive and only offers up to a 60Hz refresh rate. You can also personalize your new laptop through the Razer Chroma keyboard that promises over 16 million color options.

Turn some heads the next time you get a little gaming in at your local coffee shop when you take advantage of this $500 discount on the advanced Razer Blade Stealth 13 laptop.

Razer Blade Stealth 13 Ultrabook gaming laptop.

Credit: Razer

Razer Blade Stealth 13 Ultrabook gaming laptop

$1,299.99 at Amazon (save $500)

Explore related content:

  • The best laptops to net you a great gaming experience

  • Need a second PS5 controller? Pre-owned picks from DualSense are $20 off at GameStop.

  • 6 of the best gaming chairs to maximize your gameplay experience