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Fun Size for 7/1/21: Amazon Prime Day's 10 Best-Sellers

Open a new Windows

Among the new features to anticipate when Windows 11 rolls out later this fall are a new front-and-center Start Menu, custom wallpaper for virtual desktops, auto HDR for gaming, Android apps and more. But CNET had higher hopes and lists what’s still missing.

Windows 11 is a free, optional upgrade for Windows 10 users. Can’t wait to play? Windows Insiders can download the beta now.

Everyone loves a bargain

Amazon Prime Day ended on June 22, though there may still be some good deals available, according to Wired. Of more interest, Rolling Stone has the Top Ten most popular items sold on Prime Day. If you missed out, don’t fret — Black Friday is just five months away.

A piece of your mind 

Cloud storage has a long way to go to compete with the miraculous storage capacity of the human brain. This video maps one square millimeter of donated cortex that holds a mind-boggling 1.4 petabytes of information. Google and Harvard, collaborating on a digital map of the human brain, are running into a data storage issue, since this scrap of tissue is just one-millionth the volume of the human brain.

Sharing isn’t caring 

Mobile payment apps like Venmo, Cash App and Paypal (which owns Venmo) offer convenience for both buyers and sellers. Mashable warns, however, that these services can extract a serious privacy toll. A step-by step guide shows how to stop sharing details about your purchases with friends and other parties, though Venmo believes “that’s all part of the fun.”

Why is everything so complicated?  

This CES-inspired list of frustrating, tech-based questions from The Verge is a couple of years old, but most of them are still unanswered. Like: “How come I need three remotes to watch Netflix on my TV?” “Why can’t I buy a Kindle book on my iPhone?” “What’s the difference between Roku and Hulu?” See how many questions you can answer — or identify with.

Fact-checking watchdog seeks loving home 

The Duke University Reporters’ Lab set out to make a dream come true: to fact check politicians’ statements in real time. Project Squash (named for the nutritious vegetable) displays fact-checks seconds after pols utter a claim — but it’s far from perfect. After four years, developer Bill Adair shares Squash’s successes and failures with Poynter in hopes others will take up his torch.

Today in Black history 

Juneteenth is now a federal holiday and to mark the occasion, on June 19 Google unveiled a new feature for Google Assistant. Now users can ask any Assistant-enabled device “Hey, Google, what happened today in Black history?” and get content curated by Google with help from civil rights activist and scholar Dr. Carl Mack.

Curtain up on new performing arts library 

From the New York Times: Broadway actor and writer Harvey Fierstein confessed that he visits libraries for research — and pleasure — as he announced a $2.5 million gift to create a Public Library Theater Lab at New York’s Lincoln Center library. “Live theater is live theater — you do it and that’s it,” said Fierstein. “Without a library collecting this stuff, our whole history disappears.”

It’s too darn hot 

Some Texans got an unpleasant HAL-like experience during a recent heatwave when their smart thermostats refused to lower the AC. Turns out the consumers had signed up for (and then forgot) a program that gave the power company permission to hijack their thermostat to reduce strain on the grid. According to Marketplace, these smart-thermostat remote-access programs exist around the country, so check your contract.

Ooh, shiny! 

NY Times tech columnist Shira Ovide wants to shock you with some numbers, like the fact that only 14% of shopping is online, and that Americans spend just 6% of their viewing time watching Netflix. Her point is that journalists love novelty and may over-report on new trends and technology, giving us a skewed view of the world. Still, these new initiatives can lead to lasting changes in how we work and live, she says.