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Winter storm 2017: Here’s how to use the Internet when you don't have access to the Internet

If you are watching the snow, sleet, ice and rain fall as you rest in the path of the winter storm that’s heading toward New England, there’s a chance you may soon be doing it without the benefit of the electrical power or the Internet.

Strong winds and ice can take down power lines and knock out internet service.

While there’s not an app for that, there is a workaround, as long as you have cellular service.

During and after the storm, you may find that making phone calls becomes impossible, and that 3G and 4G internet service isn’t working, or at least not working well. The good news is that you may still be receiving text messages.

A story from The Washington Post offers some tips on how to use Twitter in a situation where internet service is spotty. Twitter was originally a text-based service, so it lends itself well to such a use.

Here are a few other ways to keep in touch with the outside world:

Every phone has an email address, and every provider offers something called an email “gateway.” The gateway allows you to send and receive emails via the text message function on your phone.

Here, courtesy of HumanInet, is how to find your phone’s email address:

If you’re on Verizon, it’s (as in, or if that doesn’t work,

If you’re on AT&T, it’s, or if that doesn’t work

If you’re on Sprint, it’s

If you’re on T-Mobile, it’s

(For other carriers, or to troubleshoot yours, check here.)

Once you have your gateway address, you’ll need to forward your email via SMS to that address.

To do that, go into “settings” in your phone and look for something like “add a forwarding address.” When you find that, type in your phone’s email address.

According to HumanInet, that method may not work on some phones. If you have a problem with your phone, you can use an automated forwarding service like TXTJet, they suggest.

If you want to send an email via text, you can enter you email address instead of a phone number.

If you want to get updates from Twitter accounts when the internet gets spotty, you can set up a SMS “Fast Follow.” You don’t even have to have a Twitter account to get updates from those you choose to follow.

You do this by texting “Follow (username)” to 40404. (Follow@NWS to follow the National Weather Service, for instance).

You cannot use this function to post on Twitter, only to receive notices.

To post something on Twitter, the social media company says to do this:

  • Send a text to Twitter code [40404] with the word START.
  • Twitter will reply and ask you to text YES to the Twitter short code.
  • Text your username to the same number. Do not use the @ symbol or quotation marks. Send your username ONLY. For example: larrybird
  • Next, text your password. This is case sensitive, so be sure you are sending your password correctly.

 Then you can text messages to go out on your Twitter account.

 If you can’t live without Facebook, even during a storm, activate Facebook via SMS by going to Facebook account settings and clicking “Mobile,” it’s on the left side of the page.

Turn on Facebook Message Forwarding and Notifications. After it’s set up, post by texting to 32665 or FBOOK.

You can even search Google by adding 466453 (GOOGLE) to your phonebook, then text to it to search.

Sources: Twitter, The Washington Post; HumanInet; Facebook; Google

Lego set to honor women of NASA, including Katherine Johnson of 'Hidden Figures'

Lego fans, we have liftoff.

The Denmark-based toy maker announced Tuesday that it will release a fan-designed Women of NASA set featuring minifigures of mathematician Katherine Johnson – whose story was told in the Academy Award-nominated film "Hidden Figures" – and four other trailblazers.

>> Read more trending news

Everything is AWESOME! @LegoNASAWomen has been approved by #LEGO and will soon be available in stores!!!— Lego NASA Women (@LegoNASAWomen) February 28, 2017

Science editor and writer Maia Weinstock submitted the set to the Lego Ideas competition "to celebrate accomplished women in the STEM professions," a Lego Ideas spokeswoman said in a video.

"We're really excited to be able to introduce Maia's Women of NASA set for its inspirational value as well as build-and-play experience," the spokeswoman said.

>> Watch the video here

According to its project description page, the set also features minifigures of Sally Ride, America's first woman in space; Mae Jemison, the first African-American woman in space; computer scientist Margaret Hamilton; and astronomer Nancy Grace Roman.

Lego said it is still working on the set's design and will have more details about pricing and availability later this year or early next year.

Read more here.

WATCH: SpaceX launches Falcon 9 rocket from Florida's Kennedy Space Center

SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket launched Sunday morning from Kennedy Space Center after a failed attempt Saturday.

>> PREVIOUS STORY: SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launch aborted

The rocket – which blasted off from launch pad 39A with a Dragon supply ship on top – was packed with cargo Friday that will be brought to the International Space Station. The cargo includes 5,500 pounds of science experiments, research equipment and supplies for astronauts.

>> Click here to watch the launch

Sunday's launch was SpaceX’s first in Florida since the September explosion of a Falcon 9 rocket at the nearby SpaceX Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. That launch damaged the company's pad.

There hasn't been a launch from Kennedy Space Center since 2011. 

>> Read more trending news

Astronauts lifted off from pad 39A six times from 1969 to 1972 on their way to the moon. The pad hasn't been used since the retirement of the space shuttle program.

Read more here.

Breathtaking. #rocket #SpaceX #wftv— Julie Salomone (@JSalomoneWFTV) February 19, 2017

Right on schedule, solar arrays have been deployed on @SpaceX #Dragon cargo spacecraft. Watch:— NASA (@NASA) February 19, 2017 <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script>— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 19, 2017 <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script>

SpaceX postpones Falcon 9 rocket launch over weather concerns

The launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket scheduled for Monday, Jan. 9 from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base has been postponed over bad weather.

The forecast is calling for rain for most of the week, pushing the launch date back to Jan. 14 at the earliest, industry sources confirm.

>> Read more trending stories 

The delay was also confirmed on Twitter by Iridium Communications, a SpaceX customer that is sending 10 satellites into orbit aboard the Falcon 9.

High winds and rain in forecast at VAFB. First launch of #IridiumNEXT now planned for January 14th at 9:54:34 am PST. #NEXTevolution.— Iridium Corporate (@IridiumComm) January 8, 2017

The upcoming flight is the first for the Falcon 9 since an explosion last September destroyed the rocket and its payload on the launch pad at Cape Canaveral.

The private commercial space company announced the findings last week of its investigation into the explosion. It blamed buckles in the tank that contained liquid helium for the explosion.

Is too much technology turning your kid into a digital drug addict? Expert thinks so

When it comes to digital technology, how much is too much for young children?

Kids are getting cell phones, tablets, laptops, Xboxes, and other digital technology at a younger and younger age. They’re using the technology in classes at school, then coming home and using it more.

>> Read more trending stories

Psychotherapist and author Dr. Nicholas Kardaras has written about how addictive technology can be for children, in fact he calls it “digital heroin.”

Kardaras said the sensory overload of digital technology can have a negative effect on the brain development of young children. He said it can lead to depression, anxiety, and other behavioral disorders, like attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.  

Kardaras said the brains of tech addicted kids look similar to those of drug users.  He suggested waiting until children are at least 10, before allowing them to use all the digital devices that are so prevalent these days.

Other groups, like the American Academy of Pediatrics, have said education programs and limited amounts of screen time can benefit children.

How to go live on Instagram: New feature allows users to stream live video

Instagram rolled out its “Live” video-streaming feature Monday, allowing users to go live on the photo and video sharing network.

The app is still being released, but according to the company, everyone will be able to stream live video on Instagram within the next few days.

The feature allows users to share 10-second video clips with the videos disappearing after 24 hours. You can live-stream an event using the feature for up to one hour.

Live is built on Instagram’s Stories feature. To go live with videos, you swipe right from feed to open the camera and tap the “Start Live Video” button.

You can send a notification to friends when you go live so they can tune in. And according to the company’s press release, “While you’re live, you can pin a comment for everyone to see or turn comments off altogether.”

The company first announced the feature in November.  

Here’s a tutorial to show you how to do it.


Man hacks Alexa device with talking fish, hilarity ensues

A man has given Alexa, Amazon’s virtual personal assistant device, a hilarious makeover.

Developer and instructor Brian Kane hooked up Alexa with a Big Mouth Billy Bass talking fish figure. When Kane says the usual prompt, “Alexa,” the fish’s head turns. When he asks, “What’s the weather,” the fish’s lips move as Alexa provides the weather report.

the futurePosted by Brian Kane on Thursday, October 27, 2016

>> Read more trending stories  

While the video has generated a lot of chuckles, it was created for a serious science project.

“This was made as an in-class demo on rapid prototyping for my new artificial intelligence design course at Rhode Island School of Design in the industrial design department. We're looking at AI through the lens of artists and designers, to make new experiences for people that are engaging emotionally,” Kane wrote in a message on his Facebook page.

so by now many of you have seen the fish video :)  here's the story:this was made as an in-class demo on rapid...Posted by Brian Kane on Sunday, November 6, 2016

Self-driving truck makes 120-mile trek, delivers beer

Otto and Anheuser-Busch announced Tuesday that the two companies have completed the world’s first commercial shipment by self-driving truck.

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>> Watch the video here

Otto’s self-driving truck hauled a fully loaded trailer of Budweiser beer more than 120 miles on I-25 from Fort Collins, Colorado, through Denver, to Colorado Springs.

A professional truck driver was in the vehicle for the entire route, monitoring the delivery from the sleeper berth as the truck completed the route entirely on its own, without any driver intervention.

>> Read more trending stories

The load originated at Anheuser-Busch’s facility in Loveland, Colorado, and departed for its journey from the Fort Collins, Colorado, weigh station.

This milestone marks the first time in history that a self-driving vehicle has shipped commercial cargo, making it a landmark achievement for self-driving technology, the state of Colorado and the transportation industry, according to Anheuser-Busch.

iOS 10 released today; more Siri, new iMessage, photo, music features

The newest version of Apple's mobile operating system, iOS 10, is available for download Tuesday with an impressive list of upgrades.

The free download will give Apple device owners a host of new features including the addition of popular virtual assistant Siri in most every app, and an Apple map system that offers traffic alerts and alternative routes.

Perhaps the most talked-about addition comes in iMessages where you can now send “Tapback” reactions, add larger emojis and use “emojification” in which the app looks at what you have written and allows you to substitute emojis for certain words.

>> Got a question about the news? See our explainers here  

The news app has been redesigned for easier reading, and Apple Pay is now online and easier to use.

Here are some other upgrades included in the download:

  • Apple Photos now has face recognition as well as smart grouping for location, topics and other categories. The new system is called “Memories,” and it will be done automatically.

  • Look for more 3D-touch enabled apps

  • Apple Music has been overhauled. It is easier to get to and edit. It’s easier to control what goes into your music library. You can also get lyrics.

  • Notifications have changed. You no longer have to open the app to reply,  just tap on the notification to launch the app. It’s easier to  clear all notifications now, too.

  • A new setting for your lockscreen lets you set your phone to light up when you lift it. 

  • The Control Centre has two panels now. The first shows the same quick controls, the second shows music, the app that’s playing, volume and playback controls. There  is also a drop-down to select the output device.

  • A new app call Home lets you turn on lights and unlock doors when you are away from home.

  • In iMessages, “Invisible ink” allows you to send a message or photo that remains hidden, then is revealed when the recipient swipes it.

The iOS 10 update is available for the iPhone 5 and newer,  iPad mini 2 and newer, iPad 4 and the sixth generation iPod touch.

Click here for more on what’s new and to download iOS 10.

Apple iPhone 7 has two cameras, a faster processor and no headphone jack

It’s reveal day at Apple as the company is expected to introduce the iPhone 7 to the world.

The next generation of the smartphone is rumored to have some cool new features while losing a couple of the old ones.

A major change is said to be the disappearance of an earbud jack. The move, some think, is a signal of the company’s new commitment to wireless communication.

Here’s what we expect from the announcement today:

When: The event is set for 10 a.m. local time in the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco. That's 1 p.m. ET.

What: While Apple has not said what will happen, plenty of other people have guessed. Citing “leaks” about what will be revealed, tech bloggers say look for the new iPhone to be presented, along with a possible look at a new Apple Watch. (For some rumors about  what the phone will do and new features for the watch, click here.)

How can I watch: You can tune into a live stream of the event on Apple’s website

When can I get the phone: The phone will likely hit retail stores on Sept.16 or 23.

How much does it cost: The price of the iPhone 7 is rumored to start at $649.

Live updates from the Apple event

<iframe src="//;border=false" width="100%" height="750" frameborder="no" allowtransparency="true"></iframe><script src="//;border=false"></script>[View the story "Apple iPhone 7 event updates" on Storify]

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