The new mac OS system, Ventura, introduced in October, has a back-ground noise generator to play rain, stream, or ocean sounds. Go to System Settings, under the Apple logo in the upper left corner, and search for “background sounds” to choose and activate different ambient sounds. This might be enough of a reason to upgrade. You can, of course, search in your favorite streaming music service for white noise or ambient sound playlists that will work on any device.
Consider turning off all notifications on your phone. These are separate alerts from ring tones and texts. Letting every app provide updates is distracting and will slow productivity or keep you hooked on “just gotta check one more thing” thinking before putting down your device. Take the time to learn how to refine your notifications or learn how to disable them entirely.
OneZoom tree of life explorer (onezoom.org) lets you visualize how different life forms are related to each other, including extinct ones. Start at onezoom.org/life and move and zoom around. Learn more at onezoom.org/introduction.
Gmail users, especially those using the older view on the web, are finding that they can no longer switch back to that classic interface. The integrated view with Gmail, Chat, Spaces, and Meet on the left side of the window will also become standard for users who have turned on Chat. Through quick settings, customize this new interface to include your most important apps.
Still using Windows 7 and relying on Chrome as your browser? Google will stop supporting Windows 7 in February, at least if you want to run up-to-date versions.
Airbnb is working on a total price display update to roll out in December so you can see the true price, pre-tax. When you search, the price will be first in the search results. This may be an example of one country’s (Australia) requirements for pricing clarity, but it is being rolled out for the rest of the world.
Starlink internet service is starting to institute daytime data caps. If you use more than 1 TB of data in a month, from 7 am to 11 pm your speeds will be slowed for the benefit of others. This is on top of recent reports that their average speeds have slowed since the beginning of 2022.
Because I no longer have a short-wave radio, it was great to find InternetRadio (internet-radio.com). You may have to stumble around a bit, as its search function is not great. But it is a good alternative to Radio Garden (radio.garden—“garden” is the domain name, like .com or . net).