Nest Secure users got a surprise when Google revealed a secret microphone on the device.
Earlier this month, Google pushed an update for Nest Secure that enabled it to function as a Google Assistant smart speaker. The announcement surprised users not just because of the new feature, but because the news came with the revelation that a microphone has existed on the hardware all along.
Until then, Nest Secure never had a feature that allowed voice commands, so users who placed the security system in their home had no cause to think a microphone was on the hardware. Moreover, the microphone is not listed in any of the product descriptions or instructions. But this month users learned that their Nest Guard device — the keypad component of the Nest Secure system — has a microphone that this newest update would enable.
In a climate of rampant information collection, a secret microphone naturally makes a person suspicious. A representative for Google comments, “The on-device microphone was never intended to be a secret and should have been listed in the tech specs…That was an error on our part.” The company claims the microphone had been installed for future features, such as this.
Avast expert Luis Corrons believes that Nest Secure owners may be able to rest easy. “It is important to note,” he says, “that the microphone is disabled by default in all Nest devices. To enable it, the users have to do it themselves via the Nest app. This means that at no moment was it possible for the device to be listening.”
Avast is a global leader in cybersecurity, protecting hundreds of millions of users around the world. Protect all of your devices with award-winning free antivirus. Safeguard your privacy and encrypt your online connection with SecureLine VPN.
Learn more about products that protect your digital life at avast.com. And get all the latest news on today’s cyberthreats and how to beat them at blog.avast.com.
Security is a great deterrent, but if something bad does happen make sure your home policy is correctly set up to help you and your family in your time of need. Call Scott Lynch at (317) 886 – 0081 for your free review. Stop by our website: Scott Lynch Agency
Ms. Mattison writes great articles. In this article, she listed St. Elmo Steak House for Indiana. She states, “Unlike most of the steakhouses on the list, St. Elmo Steak House isn’t into making dry-aged beef. They’ve been serving up wet-aged steaks since 1902. If you’ve come with an appetite, try polishing off the 28-ounce porterhouse, which is so large it hangs off the plate.”
No nod to their shrimp cocktail?! I am very happy that you can now buy their Shrimp Cocktail and their Horseradish sauce in Krogers and other fine grocery stores now.
But that is not what got me to thinking. Indiana is a big state, what other great Steakhouses are out there in Indiana?
Let’s talk about engagement party ideas. Though before we even get started, I can see y’all out there cringing at the idea of more-guest-lists-more-parties-omg. I want to take a moment to hold your hand and say if you are throwing an engagement party, here are your priorities.
PRIORITY NUMBER ONE: Just make it fun. That means not being forced into planning a party fit for the Duchess of Windsor on a Jenny From The Block budget. Not being pressured to do All The Things. Not letting your stress levels overtake your excitement levels.
PRIORITY TWO: Sparkling wine!
PRIORITY THREE: Figure out what the heck you want to do. Because really and truly, often picking a theme for an engagement party makes it way easier to plan. Even if that theme is just “pizza and beer and celebrate the newly engaged couple,” you’ll know what your vibe is and what you’re doing, and the rest of
your decisions can flow from there. But hey. We’re going to do you one (or thirteen) better on engagement party ideas, to make the planning process easy.
Keep in mind: an engagement party can be as big or as small as you’d like. It can be thrown by the couple or for the couple. And, free pass, it doesn’t even need to happen at all. But if you (or the people who love you) want to throw an engagement bash, here are my favorite engagement party ideas right now to inspire the fun.
13 ENGAGEMENT PARTY IDEAS
Vintage Cocktail Party
Picnic and Bike Ride
Hygge It Up
Personalize This Thing
Food as Entertainment
Popcorn Bar and A Movie
Dessert as Decor
Is punch a theme? It should be. Make a fabulous punch or two, definitely with a decorative ice ring (aka people-pleaser extraordinaire). Or try including ultra-extra details, like garnishing with edible flowers that say, “Someone’s getting married and we’re not messing around about it.”
VINTAGE COCKTAIL PARTY
We’re talking old-fashioned cocktails here. Break out some gorgeous old-fashioned coupe glasses. Put together some old-fashioned appetizers, like cheese fondue or caviar-topped canapés or bourbon nuts. Don’t forget the elegant, ostentatious cocktail garnishes. Wear a velvet pencil skirt. Pearls. You get it.
BIKE RIDE AND PICNIC
Pack twee picnic baskets and meet at a bike rental shop, or just arrive at the picnic spot early to set out your red gingham blankets, baguettes, and strategically placed wildflower bundles. This is an easy one to keep the menu simple with bubbly wine, cheese, crackers, and some fresh fruit.
Break out the rose gold sequin dress from New Year’s Eve, and book the top-floor bar in the city center (the one with the really low mood lighting). You can even request guests wear black and white attire. There’s something about engagement parties that leans toward elegant as opposed to the garden party vibe of many bridal showers, and I say: Go for it.
HYGGE IT UP
Especially in the winter, we all want to get nice and cozy at our social gatherings. Capitalize on those warm feelings with an everything-hygge-themed event. Think: a coffee or hot cocoa bar (spiked!); bonfires outside plus the fluffiest blankets, of course; s’mores; a roaring fire; and hot toddies over good conversation.
You don’t want to attempt an engagement bash that rivals the wedding itself, so keep it casual. I love the engagement party idea of a chill beach cookout. Bring a few staples yourself, but ask guests to add in whatever they want to throw on the grill. For more fun, toss some volleyballs around, get your sangria on, and stay late enough to watch the sunset.
PERSONALIZE THIS THING
Did the couple have their first date at a zoo? Do they really love science fiction? Are they constantly traveling to France? Add in some thematic elements that will make people go, “That is so Chris and Malery.” Or, include little details about them in the decor, like photos of them as kids suspended on the strings of helium-filled balloons, or notes about why they’re a great team scattered on tables.
If your couple has more than a couple green thumbs, this could be the perfect engagement party idea. Some versions of this idea include succulent decor, seeds as favors, hanging air plants, or even cookies shaped like ferns. Consider hosting this party in a botanical garden, or even just a particularly lush stretch of public park.
Say it right with these bubbly, ultra-fun balloons. You can find cursive, metallic ones that say “love,” or purchase individual letters to spell out the couple’s name or a longer phrase (maybe try “CONGRATS LOVEBIRDS”). Set them over the dessert/food/booze tables, or line the phrase up as a trail from the front door, so that when the couple enters, they’ll be greeted with helium cheer ASAP.
Champagne towers seem to be disappearing from wedding-related events, and, if you ask me, we need to bring them back, fast. They’re opulent things, though, so save this engagement party idea for your One Big Thing at the party, and bust it out just in time for the toast for fun. It’s a memorable way to congratulate the couple.
FOOD AS ENTERTAINMENT
DIY food stations are fun, but who doesn’t like to be a little spoiled? For this engagement party idea, bring in a pro, like a sushi chef, a stellar taco truck, or even a custom cotton candy maker for an indulgent treat that doubles as something fun to do at the party. (In Honolulu, you can hire an amezaiku, or Japanese candy art expert, and they’ll whip up lollipops on the spot, shaped as animals, people, and more!)
POPCORN BAR AND A MOVIE
But okay, DIY stations are also super fun. Popcorn is so easy, and so casual, and has a million ways it can be customized. (Sweet! Salty! Nutty! Spicy!) Then, use a projector play a flick on a sheet in the backyard, a la an old-school drive-in. Make sure you pick a movie that’s short and sweet, or keep the volume turned low enough to facilitate mingling and mixing throughout the party.
If you’ve never been tubing before, this is when you and all your friends each get an inner tube, tie them to each other, and either float lazily down a river or hang out in the ocean. It’s the best thing ever. It’s the engagement party idea to win all engagement party ideas. And it should be the theme of all your next parties.
DESSERTS AS DECOR
Again, there’s no need to go All Out In Every Way. Instead, go for one or two sweet touches. For example, opt for shaped, custom cookies, in an image that resonates with the couple (maybe they love hedgehogs, are serious dog people, come from California, or love bikes) or the generic-but-always-cute chunky, stylized engagement ring. Or how cute are these donut engagement rings? Yum!
Natalie Schack is an Oahu-based brunch enthusiast, full-time glutton, and freelance writer on the side, who’s constantly pumping out pages on topics ranging from all the pretty things, to some of the not-so-pretty ones. If she’s not in bed daydreaming about birthday party themes or biking through Honolulu with her untamable, impossibly lovable, rascal of a husband, you’ll find her locked in a heated debate about this or that science fiction film, hiking *all* the mountains, or drooling over a new, sexy slice of design that found its way over to her cozy corner of the Internet.”
Make sure you tell your Insurance Agent about your new Engagement Ring. If you’d like more information about insuring your jewelry, call Scott Lynch at (317) 886-0081 or visit him on line at: Scott Lynch Agency
Even in winter, projects, repairs and hobbies must go on. And that often means you’ll be spending time in the garage. Instead of risking frost bite, consider these 12 ways to heat your garage safely and reliably in winter.
Determine Your Heating Needs
How difficult will it be to warm your garage in the heart of winter? How easy is it to get cheap heat in your garage? Consider how cold it gets in your part of the world, the square footage of your space and if you have sufficient insulation. Heat output is measured in BTUs or British Thermal Units. To get to that number you’re going to need to measure your space and think about how warm you need it to be. After you get that number you’re ready to shop for a unit!
Insulate Your Garage
Before you invest in a garage heating system, make sure your garage has plenty of insulation. Insulate garage doors where possible as well as walls and ceilings. You can easily and inexpensively add clear plastic shrink film over windows for added protection against the cold. Once you get a garage heating system installed, you don’t want all of your warm air—not to mention the money you spend on utility bills—seeping out through cracks.
You can use a forced-air unit to heat your cold garage. These heaters range in price and size and are not as pricey as an infrared heat source. Here are some factors to consider: Forced-air heaters work by blasting hot air into the room. They can be professionally installed to tie into your home’s gas or propane line, too. The downside here is if you do a lot of woodworking, for example, the forced air will blow dirt and debris around, which is a major drawback especially when you’re painting, staining and finishing projects.
A convection heater is another versatile option for a garage space heater. You can choose a unit that’s powered by electricity, natural gas or propane. These heaters operate by air convection currents circulating through the unit and across its heating element, thus heating the air around you. Depending on the type and size of your appliance, the unit could heat pretty quickly, while others take a little longer to warm a room. So, factor in how cold your garage gets and how long you’re willing to wait for it to warm up when you choose a convection heating system.
Ductless Heating and Cooling
There are many reasons to go with a ductless heating and cooling system to heat your garage. Sometimes called split systems, multi-split systems, or split-ductless systems, a ductless system heats or cools with a single unit. They’re an efficient use of energy, thereby saving you money on your utility bill. And ductless systems are eco-friendly since they meet the highest, most efficient energy guidelines. If that wasn’t enough to consider this option, they are easier to install than most HVAC systems.
Warm floors aren’t just for bathrooms anymore! They’re also great for heating garages and perfect for the part-time mechanic. If you find yourself rebuilding that classic car from the ground up, treat your toes, back, neck and more with an in-floor heating system. This is a great addition to any other heat source you have in the room. Check out how to get started with PEX tubing for your radiant heat system and get one step closer to your toasty-warm dream garage.
Add a Propane Heater
Whether the garage is the place where you tinker or you do more serious work, you’ll want to be comfortable in winter. When searching for a heat source you’ll come across many options including a propane appliance. Propane, an affordable heat source, also delivers great warmth. With a propane heater you can go big or small, depending on your needs. With this type of heater you add the fuel to the appliance and begin to instantly warm your space. The unit typically provides an automatic setting or manual ignition. Their affordability and mobility make them a great option for warming up your space.
Electric Ceiling Panels
If you’re looking for a primary way to heat your garage in winter consider the radiant electric ceiling panel. These 1-in.-thick panels mount on the ceiling and can be an energy-efficient option that heats up quickly and cools down just as fast. Plus, if your garage not only needs to function well, but look good, you can’t go wrong with these ceiling-slimming panels.
Consider a Mounted Electric Heater
Bigger than a portable space heater, a wall-mounted electric heater is among the best ways to heat your garage space in winter. Here you’re typically looking at installing a 240-volt hard-wired unit. Another plus—these heaters can be easier to install than a forced-air heating system, so you may not need to call in a professional for help. If you go with this kind of heater, here are some DIY tips for mounting a heater on a wall to help you.
Portable Space Heater
A portable space heater—like the kind used to heat up a cold room in your home—is a simple way to augment an existing heat source to better warm your garage on those super-chilly winter days. Depending on how much additional heat you’re looking for, a garage space heater comes in nearly any size to fit any budget. Plus, they’re very portable and readily available. The U.S. Department of Energy’s tips on buying and installing a heater can help you decide what type and size unit is right for your garage.
A wood burning stove is an economical way to heat your garage space in winter, if done safely. Just like you take steps to make your indoor wood-burning fireplace safe, you’ll want to do the same with your garage stove. First, check with your local municipality for the permits that may be required. Then check with your insurance company to make sure installation of a wood stove in the garage for cheap heat will not void your homeowner’s policy. After getting the necessary approvals, you can order a wood stove from your local hardware store. Once installed, don’t forget to periodically clean your chimney and flue or hire a professional. Otherwise, you risk exposure to toxic gases.
When installing wood burning stoves – check with your insurance agent for guidelines on installation that won’t void your insurance policy. Shopping for insurance in Indiana – call Scott Lynch at (317) 886-0081 or visit him on line at: Scott Lynch Agency
Enter your ZIP code to find a cookie booth sale near you: Find Cookies
Cookies Power Amazing Adventures for Girls
Sure, they’re awesomely delicious, but beyond the sweetness, Girl Scout Cookies® are an opportunity for girls to do extraordinary things.
When you make a Girl Scout Cookie purchase, you’re helping the next generation of girl entrepreneurs get an important taste of what it takes to be successful—teamwork, planning, and a positive outlook (for starters).
Proceeds from your purchase stay local and help power new experiences for her and every awesome G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ superstar who sells Girl Scout Cookies! Whether it’s a trip she’ll never forget; a science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) activity that opens her mind to a whole new world of possibilities; a service project that will change her community forever; or the opportunity to build a lifetime of memories at camp, Girl Scout Cookies make it all happen! Selling them also teaches girls essential skills they can use to be successful today and in the future—it’s a sweet deal.
Beyond that, when you support her success through the Girl Scout Cookie Program, you’re narrowing the female entrepreneurship gap by nurturing that go-getter spirit early on and equipping her with the confidence and know-how to dream big and do bigger.
Find Cookies Now
Ready for cookies? There are several ways to satisfy your Girl Scout Cookie craving.
Find a cookie booth. Locate a Girl Scout Cookie sale in your community by entering your zip code in the “Find Cookies!” tool. Then head on over for the yummy treats!
Download the app. Looking for cookies on the go? Download the Girl Scout Cookie Finder app for your iOS or Android mobile device.
Order cookies online. Do you know a Girl Scout? Ask her if you can buy your cookies from her online site using the Digital Cookie® platform, now in its fifth record-breaking year!
11 Delicious, Glorious Ways to Celebrate National Pizza Day
February is a great month because it contains a very important holiday that allows you to celebrate your one true love.
And no, you sap, we are not talking about Valentine’s Day. We are talking about National Pizza Day, which falls on February 9. (Quick note: most of these National Whatever Days are totally fake. But we’re not going to turn down the opportunity to celebrate pizza. So here we are.)
You’re probably planning to observe this important day by just scarfing down a slice after work. But you can do so much more than that to truly honor the glory of pizza. Here are some suggestions.
1. Go on a pizza crawl. Do a little research to find the best pizza joints in your city and then plan out a route. We believe in you and your pizza-eating abilities, but make sure you don’t end up in a debilitating food coma. Keep hydrated throughout the day and maybe walk instead of driving or taking public transit when possible. You can handle this. (If you live in a city like New York or Chicago, you could also check out guided pizza tours.)
3. Challenge your friends to a pizza bakeoff. If you host the event at your house, you get to be the judge. Group your friends into teams beforehand so they can strategize and shop for ingredients, and then sit back and wait for them to wow you. Taste is obviously the most important criteria here, but you should also factor in creativity, presentation, and passion. Passion is key.
5. Bring pizza to work. Since National Pizza Day falls on a Tuesday, you’ll probably be at work. Order some pizzas to the office and be a true hero. (Or just invite the people you actually like to visit the nearest pizzeria at lunchtime.)
7. Come up with Pizza Resolutions. Think of this as the first day of the new pizza year. What are you pizza-related goals for the next 12 months? Some resolutions could include: eat healthier pizza (arugula on top! do it!), expand your pizza horizons and try different styles, be better about sharing pizza with your friends, overcome your fears and try toppings you don’t think you like, etc.
8. Buy a rat and train it to drag pizza around your apartment. You’ll go viral, and then once you figure out how to monetize your virality, think of how much money you’ll have to buy more pizza!
9. Give pizza to a baby for the first time. Imagine getting to witness a human being experiencing pizza for the very first time. Consider recording the baby and, again, you could go viral. Make sure you get permission from the baby’s parents.
10. Give back to the pizza community with Random Acts of Pizza. There’s a magical section of Reddit called Random Acts of Pizza where people join together to deliver a pizza to someone in need. Help send the joy of pizza to someone who just lost their job and can’t afford to feed himself—or even just someone who’s feeling kind of lonely and could use a smile. (Just, uh, beware of con artists.)
11. Spend some quality time alone with pizza. Just you and pizza. Turn off your phone, put away your laptop, dim the lights, and remember why you fell in love in the first place.
Black History Month honors the contributions of African Americans to U.S. history. Did you know that Madam C.J. Walker was America’s first woman to become a self-made millionaire, or that George Washington Carver was able to derive nearly 300 products from the peanut? Get the story of the creation of the NAACP, famous firsts in African American history and other black history facts.
Black History Month: The celebration of Black History Month began as “Negro History Week,” which was created in 1926 by Carter G. Woodson, a noted African American historian, scholar, educator, and publisher. It became a month-long celebration in 1976. The month of February was chosen to coincide with the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln.
NAACP: On February 12, 2009, the NAACP marked its 100th anniversary. Spurred by growing racial violence in the early twentieth century, and particularly by 1908 race riots in Springfield, Illinois, a group of African-American leaders joined together to form a new permanent civil rights organization, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). February 12, 1909, was chosen because it was the centennial anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln.
Eminent Scientist:George Washington Carver developed 300 derivative products from peanuts among them cheese, milk, coffee, flour, ink, dyes, plastics, wood stains, soap, linoleum, medicinal oils and cosmetics.
First Woman Representative: Shirley Chisholm was the first African American woman elected to the House of Representatives. She was elected in 1968 and represented the state of New York. She broke ground again four years later in 1972 when she was the first major party African-American candidate and the first female candidate for president of the United States.
Self-Made Millionaire:Madam C.J. Walker was born on a cotton plantation in Louisiana and became wealthy after inventing a line of African-American hair care products. She established Madame C.J. Walker Laboratories and was also known for her philanthropy.
Population Growth: The black population of the United States in 1870 was 4.8 million; in 2007, the number of black residents of the United States, including those of more than one race, was 40.7 million.
Oscar Winner: In 1940, Hattie McDaniel was the first African-American performer to win an Academy Award—the film industry’s highest honor—for her portrayal of a loyal slave governess in Gone With the Wind.
Heavyweight Champ: Jack Johnson became the first African-American man to hold the World Heavyweight Champion boxing title in 1908. He held onto the belt until 1915.
First Lawyer:John Mercer Langston was the first black man to become a lawyer when he passed the bar in Ohio in 1854. When he was elected to the post of Town Clerk for Brownhelm, Ohio, in 1855 Langston became one of the first African Americans ever elected to public office in America. John Mercer Langston was also the great-uncle of Langston Hughes, famed poet of the Harlem Renaissance.
Into Space: In 1992, Dr. Mae Jemison became the first African American woman to go into space aboard the space shuttle Endeavor. During her eight-day mission, she worked with U.S. and Japanese researchers, and was a co-investigator on a bone cell experiment.
White House: In 2009, Barack Obama became the first African-American president in U.S. history. He occupied the White House for two consecutive terms, serving from 2009 to 2017.
Operation Song, the 2018 Hands on Nashville Strobel Award, “Civic Volunteer Group of the Year.”
Operation Song™ is a 501(c)(3) non-profit based in Nashville, Tennessee. Our mission is to empower veterans, active duty military, and their families to tell their stories through the process of songwriting.
Operation SongTM songwriting programs create an opportunity to transform service related issues, injuries and illnesses into a structured, musical outlet as an enhancement of traditional therapies and/or treatments.
Since 2012, we have written over 600 songs with veterans of WWII to those currently serving. We hold weekly workshops in Middle Tennessee and sponsor events and group retreats throughout the U.S. Those we serve need no musical background, only the desire to tell their story. http://www.operationsong.org/