Zoom improves security with automatic password protection and waiting rooms

After facing heavy criticism for the way it handles privacy and security, the video conferencing service Zoom is making a few very necessary updates. 

Beginning April 5, all meetings going forward will have automatically enabled password protection and waiting rooms. The password protection makes it so you need a password to enter a meeting even if you already have the meeting ID, although those who enter a meeting via a link will not need to enter the password. The waiting room allows the hosts to selectively admit people who are waiting to enter a meeting, so if they see a name they don’t recognize, they can choose not to let them have access.

It has recently become popular to “Zoombomb” meetings by entering a meeting in progress with just the meeting ID. These meeting IDs can be easily found, so giving people additional security right out of the gate can keep meetings from getting interrupted by strangers.

Both of these features were already available in Zoom, but now that many more people are using the platform to communicate during the coronavirus outbreak Zoom has opted turning these features on automatically.

Of course, this doesn’t fix all of Zoom’s issues with privacy and security, which include the platform mining data from users’ computers and the fact that meetings aren’t fully encrypted, which leaves users basically open to the public privacy-wise, The Intercept reported.

In the context of everything wrong with the platform, enabling two privacy features for users that were already available on the platform is about the smallest step Zoom could take, but the platform has admitted to many of its privacy and security and pledged to fix them.

‘This is not mythology’ Archaeology find in ancient Israel ‘matching’ Bible story revealed

The team, led by Dr Scott Stripling, were digging in Shiloh, which is believed to be the ancient city of Samaria mentioned in the Old Testament. According to the text, Joshua and Eleazar divided the ancient land between the 12 tribes of Israel, and Shiloh became one of the leading religious shrines. More than 2,000 years on, archaeologists are making remarkable discoveries that may prove the stories of the Bible to be true.

Speaking in 2018, Dr Stripling said: “This is the first capital of ancient Israel and it’s a sacred spot because the Mishkan was here, the Tabernacle, where people came to connect with God.

“We’re dealing with real people, real places and real events – this is not mythology.

“The coins that we excavated today, we’re talking about coins of Herod the Great, Pontius Pilate, Thestos, Felix, Agrippa the First, Agrippa the Second. 

“The Bible talks about these people, we’ve got the image right here.”

The team also uncovered a trove of pottery in the ground, which Dr Stripling believes could be a match with that used in the Wedding at Cara.

He added: “This one was from yesterday, it’s been washed already, you see the same form right out of the ground, these are the handles from the stone vessels.

“Remember Jesus’ first miracle at Cana, they were stone jars full of water.

“Once we learn the pottery, we can use it as our primary lead of data.

“You can read the Bible, you can walk the Bible, but the ultimate is to dig the Bible.”

READ MORE: Stonehenge breakthrough: Hidden monuments ‘changing view’ of site exposed in radar scan

End of the world: When will the Rapture happen? What does the Bible say?

Many Christians believe the end of the world will be marked by many cataclysmic events, such as war and natural disasters. Before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, scripture says the Antichrist will rise to deceive the world during a period known as the Tribulation.


But before this happens, a biblical scholar known as The Bible Memory Man, told the Rapture will happen first.

Professor Tom Meyer, who memorised more than 20 books from the Bible, said: “The Rapture, which is the first event that kicks-off the beginning of the end, has no signs that precede it.

“It is imminent and can happen at any second.

“It is true that Christ gave a chronological order of end times events, or signs of the times, for the seven-year tribulation, also called the 70th week of Daniel, but these events do not begin until sometime after the Rapture of Christians.”


End of the world: The Christian cross

End of the world: When is the Christian Rapture expected to take place? (Image: GETTY)

End of the world: Three crosses at sunset

End of the world: Many Christians await the return of Jesus Christ (Image: GETTY)

Professor Meyer is a college teacher and author who can recite significant portions of the Bible from memory.

During the Rapture, he said Jesus Christ will supposedly appear in the skies but he will not yet descend to the Earth.

Professor Meyer then said Christ will take all of the dead Christians with him to heaven.

Living Christians will then be snatched or carried to the heavens in the blink of an eye.

However, the Bible does not specify when this event will occur.

Neither does the Bible specify how much time will pass between the Rapture and the Tribulation.

Some Christians have suggested the ongoing .

It is imminent and can happen at any second

Tom Meyer, the Bible Memory Man

Professor Meyer said: “The Rapture comes without warning, so you won’t see it coming.

“What is happening in the world now isn’t new; it has happened before

“And that which will happen in the future – other wars, plagues, famines, earthquakes, etc. – has already happened in the past.


End of the world: The Holy Bible

End of the world: What does the Bible say will happen at the end of the world? (Image: GETTY)

End of the world: Man holding the Bible

End of the world: Do you believe what the Bible says about the Rapture? (Image: GETTY)

“Those who are wise recognize that these terrifying events, like the Coronavirus, only last a ‘season’ or remain for a time.

“Global pandemics, like we are all currently suffering through together, are a wake-up call to the world to get right with God now through Jesus, the Jewish Messiah before it is too late.”

So what exactly does the Bible have to say about the Rapture?

Paul’s first epistle to the Thessalonians reads: “For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call, and with the sound of the trumpet of God.

“And the dead in Christ will rise first; then we who are alive, who are left, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so we shall always be with the Lord.”

Another passage is found in Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians.

The passage reads: “We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed — in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.

“For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.”

Nostradamus quatrains: Three prophecies of plague people think are about coronavirus

Nostradamus is the 16th-century mystic and physician whose writings have inspired for decades. Many people have flooded social media in recent weeks with claims the French prophet supposedly predicted the crisis. Although there is no evidence to back claims of Nostradamus’ divinity, some people are convinced Nostradamus was the real deal. 


One person said on Twitter: “This is #WorldWar3 #coronavirus vs the rest of the world #nostradamus might have predicted just this.”

Another person said: “If you never read or even heard of the book of Nostradamus you should look into it… he’s predicted so many things… including the coronavirus.”

A third person Twitter user said: “I have to dig out my Nostradamus books and check but I’m sure he predicted Trump being president and Kushner speaking about Coronavirus as a sign the end of the world is around the corner. #Coronavirus #apocalypse2020”

Nostradamus penned his supposed prophecies in the form of quatrains, or four-lined poems.

Here are three quatrains that mention plague.


Nostradamus quatrains: People in hazmat suits

Nostradamus quatrains: Did Michele de Nostredame predict the COVID-19 pandemic? (Image: GETTY)

Nostradamus quatrains: Tweets about coronavirus

Nostradamus quatrains: Many people believe Nostradamus was a powerful prophet (Image: TWITTER)

Century V, Quatrain 63

Nostradamus wrote: “From the vain enterprise honour and undue complaint,

“Boats tossed about among the Latins, cold, hunger, waves,

“Not far from the Tiber the land stained with blood,

“And diverse plagues will be upon mankind.”

The passage comes from Les Propheties, which is a collection of prophecies published by Nostradamus in 1555.

The book is divided into chapters called Centuries, each containing 100 quatrains.

Century II, Quatrain 19:

Nostradamus wrote: “Newcomers, place built without defence,

Nostradamus’ writings are exploited in a number of fallacious ways

Brian Dunning, Skpetoid podcast

“Place occupied then uninhabitable:

“Meadows, houses, fields, towns to take at pleasure,

“Famine, plague, war, extensive land arable.”

As with all Nostradamus prophecies, the passage is incredibly vague and does not mention any specific details.


Coronavirus symptoms: Signs of COVID-19 explained

Coronavirus symptoms: Signs of COVID-19 to look out for (Image: EXPRESS)

Nostradamis quatrains: Doctors in hazmat suits

Nostradamus quatrains: Coronavirus has become a global pandemic (Image: GETTY)

Century II, Quatrain 6:

Nostradamus wrote: “Near the gates and within two cities

“There will be two scourges the like of which was never seen,

“Famine within plague, people put out by steel,

“Crying to the great immortal God for relief.”

Nostradamus’ naysayers do not believe any of these passages hold clues about the future.

According to Brian Dunning, host of the Skeptoid podcast, people have only linked Nostradamus’ writings to specific events only after they happened, never before.

In his opinion, anyone who claims to have interpreted Nostradamus’ writings has done so with a great deal of hindsight.

He said: “Nostradamus’ writings are exploited in a number of fallacious ways.

“Ambiguous and wrong translations, ‘creative’ interpretations, hoax writings, fictional accounts, and the breaking of non-existent codes within his quatrains all contribute to a vast body of work, all of it wrong, and many times the size of everything Nostradamus ever actually wrote.”

Christmas Lights Are Back: People Try To Brighten Spirits Amid Coronavirus Fear

It’s beginning to a look a little like the most surreal Christmas anyone’s ever seen.

About 100 million Americans are now under instructions to shelter in place to stop the spread of the coronavirus outbreak. And some are responding in an unusual way: by putting up their holiday lights. 

In an effort to raise spirits, seasonal decor is emerging from garages, sheds and closets for a rare spring appearance. Over the weekend, Hallmark Channel even broke out its Christmas movies

Brian Earl, host of the Christmas Past podcast, said the holiday got lost amid impeachment news and a calendar that had the fewest days possible between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

“So what we’re seeing now feels to be equal parts do-over of 2019 and grabbing at something that feels warm and comforting,” he said. 

In response, Earl brought his podcast out of hibernation and began posting “Christmas in Quarantine” episodes. He also displayed some of his own decorations at his home in the San Francisco Bay area. 

Here’s a look at some other heartwarming displays from people hoping to bring a little holiday cheer to what’s shaping up to be a dark year:

Which tablet to buy for your kid: These are the best right now

Comparing tablets from Apple, Amazon, and more to find the best combo of freedom for kids and control for parents.

All products featured here are independently selected by our editors and writers.If you buy something through links on our site, Mashable may earn an affiliate commission.

Kids are device-hungry nuts these days. Seriously, WTF happened to Sesame Street and a book before bedtime? But we digress.

Technology has changed a lot since you were small. Your kids have probably mastered the features on your iPhone better than you have due to constantly asking to play with it. And when you do eventually get it back, it’s a sticky mess covered in slobber and other unexplainable slimes. But in the age of touch screens and constant connectivity, there’s not really a way to say “no” without feeling like a parent from the dark ages. Even the animals in Zootopia have smartphones. (Seriously.)

Enter kids’ tablets, the happy medium between giving your kids the access to tech that they want, without turning them into a technology zombie. (You know what we’re talking about — those kids who have their faces glued to a smartphone while they get pushed around in a stroller. It’s weird, right?)

Kids’ tablets go far past keeping them occupied during a long car ride (though they also do that, which is nice). Researchers at the Joan Ganz Cooney Center, an independent research lab focused on emerging education technologies, have done numerous studies involving tablet learning with kids from ages 1-7. In this story on Amplify, executive director Michael H. Levine explains that while technology itself isn’t a huge game changer, “tablets in particular have the potential to open up the world’s rich store of information to willing minds and expert instruction.”

Essentially, when a kid gets to use a fun touch screen and doesn’t feel like vocabulary words or numbers are being forced down their throat, it makes them a hell of a lot more excited to learn. Kids are actually interacting with content (especially when games or characters are involved), making the learning experience richer and more memorable. 

And yes, we said age 1 up there — even a toddler with developing motor skills can use a touch screen, and young kids can show what they know and how they learn with a finger swipe. That’s never been possible before.

Other Cooney Centre projects, including one entitled “Learning: Is there an app for that?” have found that kindergarten through third grade students who used tablets at school saw higher test scores than those who didn’t use tablets (specifically early literary assessments). They were also able to recognize 20% more vocabulary words due to an improved ability to recognize sounds and represent sounds as letters. Tablet learning is the new Sesame Street, y’all.

Okay, tablets are good — but how do you choose the right one?

Most tablets made specifically for kids will already be equipped with built-in parent accounts, timers, and pre-selected websites or apps that are strictly for kids. Easy enough.

General purpose tablets aren’t a bad choice at all — many sites name the iPad as one of the best tablets for kids even though it’s technically for everyone. These won’t have the same built-in parental controls as tablets specifically for kids, so you’ll need to get creative if you’d rather your kid not have unlimited access to the internet. Apple and Android have features that can filter or block content and prevent purchases, but the closest thing you’ll be able to get to close monitoring is by installing parental control software.

Things to keep in mind: Screen resolution (depending on the amount of movie watching and gaming they’ll be doing), storage (they’ll probably have more apps than you do), intensity of parental controls (for obvious reasons), and rugged-ness (because kids are basically adorable destruction machines).

Here are the eight best tablets for kids you can get right now:

Worry-free guarantee • Dolby Atmos speakers • Kid-specific FreeTime is continuously expanding • Super customizable parental controls
Amazon Prime is basically required • Youtube is hard to censor • Battery life isn’t actually that good
Amazon has outdone themselves with an ultra durable version of the Fire HD Tablet that can take whatever kids throw at it.

1. Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition Tablet

Amazon has outdone themselves with an ultra durable version of the Fire HD Tablet that can take whatever kids throw at it.

  • Resolution:
    1280 x 800
  • Storage:
    32 GB
  • Battery life:
    12 hours
An A+ choice in the world of kid tablets is the Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition, the version of the infamous Fire Tablets made exclusively for kids. It’s equipped with one free year of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited and a headache saving two-year worry free guarantee.
Education stuff: Instead of rummaging through an overwhelming app store to find a few kids’ apps, Amazon FreeTime Unlimited is Amazon’s all-in-one subscription service made specifically for kids ages 3-12. It offers over 25,000 kid-appropriate books, movies, TV shows, and educational apps and games with character favorites from Disney, PBS, Nickelodeon, and more. After the first free year, you’ll need an Amazon Prime membership to enjoy all of the perks. 
In September 2018, Amazon expanded FreeTime and FreeTime unlimited to include over 1,000 Spanish books, videos, and games.
Parental controls: Parents can set time limits in general or for certain apps, which will automatically block access when the time is up. Amazon knows 12-year-olds don’t want to see the baby stuff, and that 3-year-olds don’t want to see the reading stuff. Age Filters ensure that your kid only sees age-appropriate content so that you don’t have to constantly monitor what they’re looking at. Parents can also give children selected access to extras like Netflix or YouTube in Freetime. Though a word of caution on YouTube, as the site has been having difficulties keeping controversial content off the site.
Durability and specs: The Kid-Proof Case and worry-free guarantee totally changed the market of kids tablets. The colorful cases were made to withstand drops, spills, tugging, what have you — but if something does happen to break, Amazon will send you a new tablet with no questions asked. Specs aren’t anything to be marveled over, but like, it’s a kids tablet. A quad-core processor up to 1.3 GHz, 10 hours (maybe) of battery, and the HD screen are quite enough for movies and games. Plus, Dolby Atmos speakers!
Amazon customer Tommaso Trinchieri writes:

“My three-year old loves it. We got him one just before a trip and it was perfect to keep him occupied. The Freetime is great as all the apps are age appropriate and no need to worry an app is not appropriate (the most frustrating thing with other tablets in downloading an app that is too advanced and my kid getting frustrated). The case is thick yet lite, perfect weight and size for his little hands (and nice to know it has a replacement warranty).”

Overall, the Fire HD 8 Kids Tablet has a 4.3 out of 5 star rating. Choose from a bright blue, pink, or yellow case for $129.99 here.

Computer-like specs • Price and apps aimed at teachers and students • AR capabilities • Apple Pencil compatibility
Priciest option • No built-in parental controls or kids’ content • No kid-proof case
This computer-like tablet will be your kid’s go to for digital books, art, and educational games.

2. 9.7-inch iPad

Apple’s most affordable option has computer-like features and will likely last for your kid’s whole school career.

  • Storage:
    32 GB, 128 GB
  • Resolution:
    2048 x 1536
  • Battery life:
    10 hours
Buying for an older kid or advanced learner? Apple’s newest version of the classic iPad is more affordable than ever and a versatile option that the whole fam can share. There’s obviously no kid stuff pre-installed, but if you are buying it for a little one, Apple has multiple kid-proofing options that can be set and then lifted as they’re grown out of. It’s not the cheapest in the bunch but is Apple’s cheapest iPad. Designed specifically for education, it’s a tablet that can adapt to your child for years to come. With its release came 200,000 classroom-friendly apps targeted at teachers and students.
Educational stuff: With general purpose tablets, content is up to the user. The App Store has a massive amount of free educational apps and a way more robust selection than most of the kid-specific tablets: Find apps for core skills like math, reading, and science, or hone in on more specific interests with apps for biology, language learning, or test prep. Kids are also guaranteed to be psyched about the iPad’s augmented reality capabilities and AR apps, allowing them to immerse themselves in the world around them (or planets outside their world, or the ocean below their world). There’s even AR frog dissection.
Parental controls: Nothing is built in, so you’ll have to get hands-on with the kid-proofing. In your iPad’s settings in the Restrictions tab, you can put a virtual lock on any app or make functions off-limits (Safari, the App Store, iMessage, and Facebook are a few you may consider hiding). The “Allowed Content” tab has options for movies or websites, where you can disable specific URLs or allow only G-rated movies to play. (If monitoring kids’ usage more closely is a must, installing parental control software like Kaspersky Safe Kids or Qustodio is a quick fix for an extra security boost.)
Durability and specs: Basically a mini computer, the iPad is decked out with technical details and basically blows the others out of the water. It features a bigger 9.7-inch Retina display, a 64-bit architecture (AKA it’s extremely fast), 32 or 128 GB storage, and Wi-Fi and cellular options. As for durability, it doesn’t come with a case at all. If your iPad will be in the hands of little ones, there are tons of protective kid-proof cases that you can buy separately. You’ll also want a tempered glass screen protector.
Amazon customer Jessica Mia writes:

I’ve never owned an ipad before but since getting an iphone I thought I’d spoil myself and plunge into the apple world. Upon opening I was really surprised at how great it looked, very light and it was super easy to set up (this coming from the least tech savvy person you’d ever meet). I also use this for school and it comes in handy having a digital copy of my textbooks, starting projects on it, or word documents. This is just all around a great product, it got to me before expected and was handed directly to me, so no worries of someone getting my new investment. I highly recommend!

Overall, the 9.7-inch iPad has a 4.8 out of 5 star rating. The MSRP is $329.99 to $429, but the WiFi-only model can frequently be found on sale for as low as $249.99 for 32 GB model and 128 GB for $398. Shop it in gold, silver, or space grey here.

Comes in blue, purple, or pink • Only Kid-Proof Case with built-in stand • Expandable storage • Worry-free guarantee
Battery dies quickly • Tiny, quiet speakers • YouTube is difficult to censor
Energetic kids are no match for the new Fire 7’s improved protective case and Amazon’s worry-free guarantee.

3. Amazon Fire 7 Kids Edition Tablet

Energetic kids are no match for the new Fire 7’s improved protective case and Amazon’s worry-free guarantee.

  • Resolution:
    1024 x 600
  • Storage:
    16 GB
  • Battery life:
    7 hours
Nobody does kids’ tablets like Amazon does, and the all-new Fire 7 Kids Edition Tablet is just an extension of that expertise. 
Educational stuff: In September 2018, Amazon expanded FreeTime and FreeTime unlimited to include over 1,000 Spanish books, videos, and games. As we wrote earlier, Amazon FreeTime Unlimited is Amazon’s subscription service made specifically for kids ages 3-12. Over 20,000 kid-appropriate apps with characters from Disney, Nickelodeon (to feed the Peppa Pig obsession, of course), and more are at your fingertips — saving parents from having to comb through an entire App Store. The first year is free, and an Amazon Prime membership is the ticket to a subscription after that.
Parental controls: Everything mentioned about parental controls and Amazon Free Time with the Fire HD 8 is the same with the new Fire 7 — same age filters and time restrictions, same optional blocking of apps like YouTube or Minecraft, and same easy switch between kids’ profiles. However, we’ll always reiterate how seriously amazing and intuitive FreeTime is. It keeps an eye on your kids’ usage so you don’t have to, and the kid content is so genius that kids don’t even realize they’re learning or being monitored.
Durability and specs: The addition of a built-in stand to prop the case up seems like a minuscule physical upgrade, but it’s actually such a smart way for kids to integrate the educational technology into playtime. Now coloring, watching TV, or following on-screen instructions can be hands-free, thus combining playtime with learning even better than before.
The Fire 7 sees a slightly lower resolution than the Fire HD 8 and doesn’t have Dolby Atmos speakers. Upgrades to the Fire 7 include expandable storage to 512 GB and the ability to use Alexa with parental controls on.

Supports 1st gen Apple Pencil • Uses same, lightning-fast chip as iPhone XS • Amazing high-res graphics for the cost • Massive storage capacity
Boring two-year-old design • Mediocre cameras
The iPad Air finally finds its sweet spot with an affordable balance of specs, speed, and price.

4. iPad Air

Consider it the diet iPad Pro: The 2019 Air is speedy and packed with power that lasts all day.

  • Storage:
    64 GB, 256 GB
  • Battery life:
    10 hours
  • Resolution:
    1920 x 1080
Meet Apple’s best bang for your buck — and no, this isn’t the same as the iPad Air 2. Sitting between the entry-level iPad and the power-hungry iPad Pros, the newest iPad Air is having some serious middle child syndrome. Though the physical design wouldn’t make you do a double take, it’s home to brisk response speeds, a gorgeous display, and a really decent price tag. Even older kids won’t feel lame having to share this with their parents.
Educational stuff: All iPads are general purpose, so parents (or kids, if they’re old enough) will choose which apps to download. Conveniently, the App Store is home to thousands of education-related apps for all age groups and interests, from simple math and reading to biology with augmented reality or college test prep.
Parental controls: There’s not really an all-encompassing “kid mode” for iPads, so it’s up to parents to mess with settings or install parental control software. At the least, the iPad’s Restrictions tab lets you put a virtual lock on any app or make functions off-limits (Safari, the App Store, iMessage, and Facebook are a few you may consider hiding). Even if a responsible, older kid doesn’t need usage monitored 24/7, this is handy to keep them from getting distracted during homework hours.
Durability and specs: Schoolwork may actually be enjoyable with these crisp visuals and no-lag screen — you’re basically getting Pro speeds for a fraction of the price. The Air’s rapid responsiveness is thanks to the A12 Bionic chip, the same processor that powers the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR. There’s no ProMotion like the Pro, but the crispy retina display, p3 wide color palette, and 1,920 x 1,080 resolution is still stellar. Hold it up to the traditional iPad or a Fire HD tablet and see the difference in visuals.
The newest Air feels sturdy enough to travel with but light enough to not weigh down a backpack. Its 11-hour battery life will last through long projects or switching between family members. Apple itself doesn’t do much in terms of durability, so get a case and tempered-glass screen.
Amazon customer Jon writes:

“The iPad feels solid and light. I opted to spend the extra money for the 256GB because I know the 64GB will not be sufficient in the long run. Screen looks fantastic. You buy an iPad because you want it or you buy it for someone because they want it. The Air is the one to get.”

Overall, the 2018 iPad Air has a 4.8 out of 5-star rating. Depending on your storage capacity and whether you want cellular connectivity or not, you can get the iPad Air for anywhere from $499 to $779. Get it in silver, gold, or space grey here.

Expandable storage • Great for entertainment with Dolby surround sound • Metal frame and tons of protective cases available • Kid Mode is controlled by a PIN
No S-Pen or DeX support for laptop mode • No flash on camera • Slower than the S4
It’s not Samsung’s best display, but parental controls and great battery life make it a top choice for families on a budget.

5. Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.1

Kids will love the interactive learning in Kids Mode and parents will love having a totally separate interface.

  • Storage:
    32 GB, 64 GB, 128 GB
  • Resolution:
    1920 x 1200
  • Battery life:
    10 hours
Getting your kid his or her own tablet may still feel unnecessary. The purchase becomes infinitely more justifiable if it’s a tablet the whole family will use. 
The Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.1 remains one of Samsung’s most well-rounded, reliable tablets for kids and adults, and is easier to make kid-friendly than the newest Galaxy Tab S4.
Educational stuff: Kid Mode is designed specifically to morph fun and learning while easing kids (7 or younger) into a tablet or computer-like user interface. Described as “your child’s first digital playground,” kids can make characters and use them as avatars in games, and get access to over 3,000 Galaxy Apps for Kids including ones for language learning and STEM. Most fun of all, there will be appearances from cartoon characters from your kid’s favorite TV shows and movies.
Parental stuff: Everything is accessed through a PIN code that will keep your child from exiting Kids Mode, and Parental Control Mode lets you set limits to your child’s usage and customize the content they can see. Of course, there’s a completely different interface for parents, and different family members can have their own ~adult~ account.
Specs and durability: Truth be told, the Tab A doesn’t have the specs of an iPad or premium Samsung tablet. The 1920×1200 resolution is fine for playing games, reading comics, or watching stuff, but 10 inches is pretty huge regardless. Entertainment is really turned up with Dolby Atmos surround sound. Memory is expandable to to fit all those kid apps and games plus your apps and music, and 10 hours of runtime makes sure no one has to lose a turn. Possibly the best news for parents of young kids is that the Tab A has a thin, metal frame rather than a fragile glass back like some other Samsung tablets.
Amazon customer T-Hughes writes:

“This may be a budget tablet but it doesn’t feel like it. Zippy in every application and I comfortably ran PUBG in high settings, nice to have expandable storage, screen is beautiful and the colors pop. Battery life is great compared to some tablets I’ve used in the past, I’ve done normal usage (streaming, games, browsing) for a day and still had charge left. Camera is decent for a tablet, about the quality of a Galaxy S5 so not bad.”

Overall, the Galaxy Tab A 10.1 has a 4.3 out of 5-star rating. Get the 32 GB model for $229.99, the 64 GB model for $279.99, or the 128 GB model for $329.99 here.

Ultra customizable parental controls • Educational books and games with Samsung Kids service library • Durable
Obnoxious green color option • Measly memory • Pricey for OK specs
Ideal for parents who want to watch kids’ behavior like a hawk, *without* the kids feeling restricted.
Another reliable choice is the Samsung Galaxy Tab E Lite Kids Edition, with the iconic lime green rubber case, a specially curated educational app library, and amazing parental controls. (Yes, that bright green is the only color option right now. Sorry.)
Educational stuff: One of the best features of the Tab E Lite is the Samsung Kids service library, filled with specially curated educational games and books that align with STEM and U.S. Common Core standards. Kids can access hundreds of trustworthy apps like National Geographic, Dreamworks Animation, and Sesame Street (YES). The Google Play Store is still available for kids to access — with parental supervision, of course. The coolest part? The Tab E Lite automatically adapts to your kid’s age, so content will grow with them. (And when Samsung Kids service is turned off, parents can use this tablet like a regular Samsung device.)
Parental controls: Parents can set time limits and hand pick apps for their kids, and then watch their progress on the main dashboard. (It’s basically watching them like a hawk, without them feeling restricted.) Everything is ad-free and in-app purchases are automatically off-limits, so you can be sure they’re not going to any site they shouldn’t be.
Durability and specs: The Tab E Lite features a 7-inch screen 1024 x 600 sceen, 2.0 MP rear-facing camera, up to nine hours of battery life, Wi-Fi connectivity, and a quick 1.3 GHz Dual-Core processor. It comes with a lightweight, durable bumper case that makes the tablet easy to grip and hard to break. Its 8 GB memory is pretty small, so you’ll want to invest in a memory card.
Walmart customer Travelchic writes:

I bought [this] tablet for my grandsons 3rd birthday. Now he has his own specific childs backpack for it and it goes everywhere with him. He is learning his numbers, colors, shapes, the alphabet, plus a lot more. Definitely one of the best purchases i have made for him.

Overall, the Kids Tab E Lite has a 4 out of 5 star rating. Get it for $129.99 here, and subscribe to the Samsung Kids service for $4.99/month here.

Shatterproof screen • LeapFrog Academy with personalized learning • Kid-friendly web browser
Poor battery life • Less-than-stellar screen
Large icons, specially curated internet access, and a shatterproof screen makes this great for kids 6 and under.

7. LeapFrog LeapPad Ultimate

Large icons, specially curated-for-kids internet access, and a shatterproof screen makes this great for kids 6 and under.

  • Storage:
    8 GB
  • Resolution:
    1024 x 600
  • Battery life:
    5 hours
Best for preschool aged children, the LeapFrog LeapPad Ultimate is a great starter tablet for kids not-so-accustomed to mobile device life. It’s equipped with a navigation arrow button to assist with the touch screen, a super cute interface, and parental controls are already built in.
Educational stuff: The LeapPad Ultimate is pre-loaded with activities in core mathematics, reading, and science skills, with interactive options in music, puzzles, logic, and creativity to get a head start on critical thinking (separate game cartridges are also available for purchase). The tablet also gives access to the LeapFrog’s new learning subscription service, the LeapFrog Academy. One extra nice thing about the LeapFrog curriculum is its just-for-me technology: Leapfrog follows your kid’s process and automatically adapts the games to match his or her skill set and learning speed. (There isn’t access to video content like Youtube or Netflix, which can be good or bad — depending on what you want your kid to see and how busy you’d like to keep them.)
Parental controls: LeapFrog has pretty much thought of everything with this one, so parents can pretty much sit back — but there is a password-protected parental control feature where parents can customize kids’ experiences, set time limits for playing and for how long they have to wait between playing. The kid-friendly web browser can only go to specific websites, pre-selected by learning experts at LeapFrog, and parents in the reviews love that they can feel safe letting their kid play without constant supervision.
Durability and specs: Your preschooler can enjoy a front and rear facing camera, 480p video recording, five hour rechargeable battery, stylus, and 1024 x 600 7-inch shatter-safe touch screen (not extremely HD, but will a 3-year-old notice?) The Ultimate is LeapFrog’s most durable LeapPad yet, with a rubbery, shock-absorbent case and bumper edges to protect against kids being kids.
Amazon customer Lisa Perkins writes:

“My six year old LOVES her LeapPad. She is practicing reading, writing, typing, counting. I love that she gets the support she needs but doesn’t HAVE to use. Battery life is strong, lots of choices for games that are kid friendly and safe. I love the simplicity of the plug and play game cartridges that support specific subjects.”

Overall, the LeapPad Ultimate has a 4 out of 5 star rating on Amazon. Get it in pink or green with prices starting at $88.83 here, and check out extra game cartridges here.

Under $100 • Great pre-downloaded kids’ apps and free games • Free lifetime subscription to Kurio Genius
Wimpy battery life • Slower operating system
Poor battery life but impressive amount of pre-downloaded content and parental controls for under $80.

8. Kurio Xtreme Next Tablet

A decent amount of pre-downloaded content and parental controls for balling on a budget.

  • Storage:
    16 GB
  • Resolution:
    1024 x 600
  • Battery life:
    6 hours
The Kurio Xtreme Next Tablet is a Walmart best seller and an impressively quality “balling on a budget” option. It’ll cost you just $79, so if you’re still on the fence about the whole tablet thing, this is a safe choice that won’t break the bank if things go astray.
Educational stuff: This Android tablet is armed with a *free* lifetime subscription to Kurio Genius, an internet filtering system that covers over 1.8 billion websites in 200 languages — all curated by experts so you don’t have to worry about doing the monitoring yourself. Pre-downloaded apps include YouTube Kids, top Google Play games, and educational content. Plus, for the first year, Kurio’s Surprise-A-Week program delivers a new game, app, or e-book to the device for free (that’s 52 new things).
Parental Controls: The password protected Parental Area features time limits, app management, and the ability to create up to eight different child profiles at once. And, thanks to Kurio Genius, parents can let kids surf the web with peace of mind that they’re not on sites they shouldn’t be. With parent supervision, kids can also access the entire Google Play store of over one million apps. If you have any issues, Kurio offers 24/7 live customer support.
Durability and specs: Similar to the cases above, the Kurio Next comes with a shock-proof, spill-proof bumper case to keep the device safe during extreme play. The 7-inch HD display features a blue light filter to reduce eye-strain, so you can feel comforted knowing your kid’s eyes aren’t melting. The tablet is also equipped with 16 GB memory, a front and rear facing camera, and Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities.Walmart customer happycustomer writes:

My granddaughter (2 1/2 yrs) loves it. I love how it protects her from the internet. She likes several of the pre-loaded games but I like that I can download additional games from the playstore. I did a lot of research before choosing this one. I will say I’m not as impressed with the battery life, but for the amount of time she uses it, its fine.

Overall, the Kurio Next Tablet has a 3.4 out of 5 star rating. Get it for $79 here.

Big Tech drastically reverses course on coronavirus ad policies

When tech companies roll out new policies, it’s usually after long periods of meticulous internal discussion and review. Big reversals aren’t the norm. 

Then Covid-19 hit.

As the looming threat of the coronavirus began hitting the U.S. in February, many tech companies started to roll out new ad policies.  

Google banned most nongovernmental Covid-19 advertising in early February. YouTube followed suit shortly after, demonetizing videos about the coronavirus so its advertisers wouldn’t see their ads placed on unpleasant coronavirus content. 

Both companies, owned by Alphabet, classified the coronavirus as a “sensitive topic,” which is typically reserved for things like school shootings or natural disasters — short-term events that bad actors could capitalize on to earn money from Google’s advertising partners.

It’s clear now that coronavirus is no short-term event. It has completely altered daily life for nearly everyone around the globe. 

How can you ban users from monetizing content when jobs have suddenly become so scarce? How can you ban advertisers — some organizations trying to share important information about the virus — from reaching as many people as possible?

They couldn’t. Google and YouTube have both since reversed course on their coronavirus policies.

“As the COVID-19 situation evolves, we’ve been adjusting our enforcement to ensure that we are protecting users while prioritizing critical information,” said a Google spokesperson in a statement to Protocol, which first reported on the Democratic Party’s objections to Google’s coronavirus ad ban.

Google added that it realized “that COVID-19 is becoming an important part of everyday conversation” and was working on opening its ad networks back up to coronavirus-related advertisements. 

YouTube began allowing certain channels on its platform to monetize coronavirus content in mid-March. It has since rolled that ability out to all of its monetization partners, as long as they follow the company’s guidelines on misinformation, pranks, and distressing content.

Twitter also announced new ad policies tailored to Covid-19 in March. The social microblogging platform had a broad ban on promoted tweets about the coronavirus. This was before the pandemic caused people across the U.S. to self-quarantine in order to combat the coronavirus. 

This week, Twitter reversed course and allowed accounts to promote tweets mentioning the pandemic.

Many of these bans were rolled out with combating misinformation in mind. Facebook, for example, announced in February that it was banning coronavirus-related ads that promoted false cures and other Covid-19 disinformation. 

The following month, the social networking giant banned medical mask ads on Facebook and Instagram in an attempt to stop price gougers. The company has been unsuccessful in stopping this.

Even as the coronavirus hit U.S. soil, Big Tech underestimated the scope of what was about to happen. They rolled out policies that seemed to be the result of good intentions, and went on like the world would carry on as usual. They were wrong.

Shocking unemployment graph and GameCube’s intro music fit together perfectly

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A graph tracking unemployment in the United States somehow works with the iconic GameCube intro music. And seems to highlight our current state of dread with a surreal flair.

Last week, 6.6 million Americans, a 3000 percent increase, filed for unemployment as the coronavirus pandemic continued to devastate the economy. On Thursday, evolutionary anthropologist Dorsa Amir tweeted an animated graph that shows the massive jump alongside data from 1965 to earlier in the year. She also posted it on a data appreciation subreddit

“We’re dealing with truly staggering numbers here,” Amir tweeted, emphasizing the jaw-dropping increase in unemployment so far. 

These are bleak numbers we’re looking at, and with no clear estimates for how long this pandemic will last, it’s likely to get even worse. YouTube creator Peerluxe added a little whimsy to the depressing data, syncing the graph with GameCube’s memorable opening theme song. 

The coupling makes the sharp increase in unemployment even more pronounced, but at least it’ll make you laugh — before you cry.