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Airbnb Is Working On Its Own Branded Apartment Complex

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What’s one surefire way to make sure you’re not annoying your neighbors with a constant stream of Airbnb guests? Live in an Airbnb-branded building, where all your neighbors are also renting out their apartments.

That’s the future the home-sharing company is dreaming of: Airbnb says it’s teamed up with Newgard Development Group to create a branded apartment complex with 324 units in Kissimmee, FL.

Dubbed “Niido Powered by Airbnb,” the concept could be a hit with hosts who want to travel — and use the money to fund those trips — or just anyone looking to for some help with the rent.

“As​ ​the​ ​cost​ ​of​ ​living​ ​increases,​ ​apartment​ ​renters​ ​are​ ​under​ ​intense​ ​financial​ ​pressure,”​ Harvey Hernandez, chief executive of Newgard said in a statement.

The company notes it also provides tourists with “unique​ ​listings​ ​that​ ​come​ ​with​ ​a​ ​set​ ​of amenities​ ​and​ ​conveniences​ ​specifically​ ​designed​ ​for​ ​travelers,” like keyless entry and shared common spaces, which are both handy to have when you’re sharing your home.

Residents have to sign annual leases, and will then be able to share either individual​ ​rooms​ ​or their​ ​entire​ ​units for up to 180 days per year. Anyone renting out their place will have access to a new Niido app that’s integrated with Airbnb. Not only will it support things like guest check-in, but it enables tenants to order up things like cleaning and linen service from a “MasterHost” on the property.

Anyone who chooses to share their homes will also be part of Airbnb’s Friendly Buildings Program, a revenue-sharing initiative aimed at helping landlords, tenants who rent out their homes on Airbnb, and their neighbors get along.

“This​ ​partnership​ ​shows​ ​how​ ​landlords,​ ​developers​ ​and​ ​Airbnb​ ​can​ ​work​ ​together​ ​to​ ​create​ ​value​ ​for everyone​ ​and​ ​better​ ​serve​ ​tenants,”​ ​said​ ​Jaja​ ​Jackson,​ ​Airbnb’s​ ​director​ ​of​ ​global​ ​multifamily​ ​housing partnerships.​

There will be more to come, as the two companies say this is just the first of a chain of Niido buildings they’re panning for the southeastern U.S.

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11 days ago
They would call it a "hotel", but that wouldn't be "disrupting the old economy".
Bellevue, WA
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Are The Social Security Number’s Days Numbered?

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Though we may treat our Social Security numbers like confidential information, those nine digits are just about everywhere: Your bank, school, cable company, phone company, and more probably have this information, and may not be storing it securely. In a world where everything from fast food chains to massive global accounting firms are vulnerable to cybercrime, some are wondering if it’s time to say goodbye to the SSN.

That’s apparently option officials in the Trump Administration are weighing in the wake of rampant data breaches, such as the one suffered by credit reporting agency Equifax.

Bloomberg reports that Rob Joyce, special assistant to the president and White House cybersecurity coordinator, floated the idea of replacing the SSN as a way of proving one’s identity.

“I feel very strongly that the Social Security number has outlived its usefulness,” Joyce said during a cyber conference, as reported by Bloomberg. “Every time we use the Social Security number, you put it at risk.”

How’d We Get Here

A lot has changed in the 81 years since the SSN was created, from the way the numbers are used to the risks associated with the wrong person getting their hands on your information.

According to the Social Security Administration, the SSN was developed in 1936 as a way to track U.S. workers’ earning to determine their Social Security benefits. Since then, more than 454 million numbers have been issued.

The card was never intended to serve as a personal identification document, as it does not establish that the person presenting the card is actually the person whose name and SSN appear on the card, the SSA notes.

However, over time, the convenience and simplicity of the number has created a more wide-spread use by both government and private agencies.

In the 1940s, the government began requiring federal agencies to use SSNs for the purpose of identifying individuals in new records. With the creation of computers, the uses of the number increased.

In the 1970s, the SSA studied the use of the SSN for non social security uses. The resulting report suggested that using the nine-digit number as a national identifier wasn’t a great idea.

But that didn’t stop the government or private companies from requiring the number be used for a number of programs, including eligibility for Department of Veterans Affairs benefits, eligibility under Housing and Urban Development programs, as well as, for a time on driver’s licenses, death certificates, and other materials.

“Unfortunately, this universality has led to abuse of the SSN. Most notoriously, the SSN is a key piece of information used to commit identity theft,” the SSA points out.

Possible Options

For now, there isn’t a plan in place to change the SSN system, but the administration is looking into “what would be a better system” to not only identify consumers, but also protect them from hacks.

One possible option could be a “private key,” perhaps like a token or other physical item.

The token, similar to a credit card chip, would be embedded with a long cryptographic number. Once the token is presented, consumers would have to enter a PIN to enable its use, Joseph Lorenzo Hall, chief technologist at the Center for Democracy and Technology, tells Bloomberg.

While it would be an expensive and timely endeavor to change the SSN system currently in use, Joyce says it needs to happen.

“It’s really clear, there needs to be a change, but we’ll have to look at the details of what’s being proposed,” Joyce said.

Another possibility is the use of a blockchain technology to create a nearly impossible to duplicate DNA fingerprint identifier.

The number could then be stamped on all important documents used by the individual.

It’ll Take Time

If the use of SSNs is going to change, it won’t be quick.

“You’d need to change a lot of existing public law,” Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, tells Bloomberg. “There would need to be extensive hearings and study about the consequences. It’s a complicated issue.”

Calls For Change

The Trump Administration isn’t the first group to look for or call for changes related to the use of SSNs.

In May, the Federal Trade Commission hosted an Identity Theft workshop focusing on how the fraud has evolved and what can be done to address it in the future.

Eva Valesquez, CEO of the Identity Theft Resource Center, noted during the panel discussion that the SSN should not have the level of important or weight that it is currently given.

“They are being used for something they were not designed for,” she noted. “In the perfect work we wouldn’t use as the main identifier.”

She pointed to the need to put a system in place that would allow for more verification of consumers’ identity.

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19 days ago
Sure, until the new numbers get compromised.
Bellevue, WA
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Bill Gates Now Using an Android Phone ‘With a Lot of Microsoft Software’

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I say this with no snark intended: who would have guessed 10 years ago that Bill Gates would be using a personal computing device running a non-Microsoft OS? Or really, an OS that didn’t have “Windows” in the name?

I wonder what’s more popular among Microsoft employees — iPhone or Android? I’m guessing iPhone.

While I”m at it, it occurs to me that Apple is the only company left where all its employees are using only systems made by their own company. Microsoft employees need to use phones running iOS or Android. Google employees need to use MacOS or Windows (there might be some administrative jobs where they can use Chromebooks, but I doubt there are any engineers or designers getting by with Chrome). But at Apple, it’s MacOS on your PCs, iOS on your phone and tablet, WatchOS on your watch, and even tvOS on your set-top box. Microsoft use to have a slogan “Windows everywhere”. Apple doesn’t have one OS that runs everywhere (although it’s close with iOS — WatchOS and tvOS are really just offshoots of iOS with different UI layers), but there is a sort of cultural “Apple everywhere” mindset that I worry could lead to the sort of insularity that blinded Microsoft in the early ’00s.

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27 days ago
No surprise. Microsoft is no longer in the phone business. And Android is more similar to the Microsoft business of an OS that runs on hardware from multiple vendors.
Bellevue, WA
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Chipotle Ditching Chorizo To Focus On Queso


Less than a year after Chipotle added chorizo sausage to its menu, the fast-causal Mexican chain is ditching the protein option and turning its focus toward its new — not entirely loved — queso.

Chipotle confirmed to CNBC today that it would remove chorizo from its menu following speculation that it was considering cutting the item in light of sluggish sales.

The protein option — which joined chicken, steak, sofritas, and carnitas as a burrito, salad, and taco topping — accounts for just an estimated 3% of Chipotle’s sales.

Chipotle’s Chorizo Choice

Chipotle added chorizo to its menu in Oct. 2016 after more than a year of testing.

The chorizo is made with “responsibly raised” chicken and pork, and seasoned with paprika, toasted cumin and chipotle peppers, and then seared on a hot grill to give it a perfect char.

Adding Chorizo to the national menu has been a long time coming for Chipotle. The company initially added the meat to the menu in Kansas City in June 2015. Select restaurants in Washington, D.C., Ohio, New York, Colorado, and California received chorizo in June 2016.

The company had previously planned to rollout the option nationally sooner, but noted on an earnings call last year that the launch had been postponed because of the company’s ongoing food safety crisis.

Queso Over Chorizo

The decision to remove chorizo from the menu was made around the same time the company decided to roll out queso nationally.

“While we really liked the chorizo — and many customers did too — the efficiency of our model has always been rooted in part, in doing just a few things so we can do them really well,” Chris Arnold, spokesperson for Chipotle, tells CNBC.

Whether or not Chipotle can do queso well remains to be seen. The initial reaction from customers hasn’t been great.

Still, the Arnold noted last week that it was prepared for the lukewarm reviews, “we knew there would be some who didn’t like it based on the simple fact that ours is different, largely because it’s not made with artificial ingredients.”

“That’s OK,” Arnold told Consumerist. “Others love it. And it’s performance in testing has been sufficiently encouraging that we opted to roll it out national.”

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35 days ago
Still waiting for Chipotle to Focus on Food Safety.
Bellevue, WA
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3 public comments
35 days ago
..why not both?
35 days ago
Fuck 2017 man.
Cary, NC
35 days ago
For real.
35 days ago
Sadness. I no longer have a reason to eat at Chipotle.
Overland Park, KS

Review: Sonicare's DiamondClean Smart is a Premium Toothbrush That Connects to Your iPhone

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Philips recently released the DiamondClean Smart, a new iteration of its top-of-the-line toothbrush with all the bells and whistles.

Not only does it connect to your iPhone using a Bluetooth connection to help you brush better than ever before, but it's also been redesigned to decouple brushing mode from intensity. There are new smart brushes for more tailored brushing, additional modes to meet different needs, and other small refinements that bring overall improvements.

I've been using Sonicare toothbrushes for more than 10 years, and for the last five, I've had a DiamondClean. This new DiamondClean toothbrush is going to make your teeth whiter, healthier, and squeaky clean, but with prices that start at $230, it's not cheap, and the app is sometimes more gimmicky than helpful. All in all, though, you're not going to find a better brushing experience.


The DiamondClean Smart adopts design elements from the original DiamondClean, but it also introduces both new and refined features. The brush is sleek with clean lines and the traditional look of the DiamondClean, but instead of a single button to turn it off and on, there are now two buttons.

The top button continues to function as an on/off button, but there's now a second button that controls the intensity. Below the two buttons, there are a series of LEDs denoting the different brushing modes, and at the bottom, there's a light-up base that fits into the charger.

Philips sells the new DiamondClean Smart in a range of colors, but the one I tested is white with silver accents and gold lettering at the top. The mix of gold and silver is a somewhat odd choice, but it looks elegant on the bathroom counter.

A small metal prong at the top of the toothbrush base holds the brush in place, and the brush head can be popped off the top so you can switch brush heads. If you're familiar with Sonicare toothbrushes, you know the brush heads need to be changed out on a regular basis - approximately every three months.

Brush heads for the DiamondClean Smart come in a range of different styles to meet different needs and are priced at about $10 each, but you can often find them cheaper in bulk on sites like Amazon. The brush heads aren't cheap, but each one lasts for several months. And with this Smart model, the app will let you know when it's time to replace a brush.

All in all, the DiamondClean Smart's body is a lot like the DiamondClean and I have no complaints. Philips has used this design for years, and it works well. It's ergonomic, easy to hold, and it looks great on the countertop. Unlike some of the other Sonicare brushes, there are no grooves -- it's all one solid piece -- which means there's no mold and little toothpaste buildup. It stays clean, as a toothbrush should.


There are five brushing modes, each with a different duration and intensity to achieve specific brushing goals. The modes are as follows: clean, white+, gum health, deep clean+, and tongue care.

Switching between modes can be done without turning the brush on by pressing the second button. After selecting a mode, the brush is turned on by pressing the power button, and the intensity can be changed by pressing again on the power button.

Each mode offers a different brushing time and intensity. Clean, for example, lasts for two minutes, while gum health adds additional time to allow you to focus specifically on your gums. I tend to use the gum health mode and the clean modes more than anything else as part of my general cleaning routine, but the other modes come in handy when I want a longer brushing experience or more focus on my front teeth.

It's nice to have different modes that can meet a wide range of brushing needs, and if your dentist is like mine, they can suggest the best brushing modes based on the state of your teeth and where you might need improvement.

The DiamondClean Smart also has a new set of features dedicated to tongue care. There's a tongue care mode that specifically works with the tongue care brush to make sure you're also brushing your tongue for the freshest breath. This tongue care setup is new to the Smart and wasn't available in the previous DiamondClean models.

Brushing Experience

The toothbrush itself offers quiet operation. It's not silent by any means, but it's lower pitched than the original DiamondClean and nearly inaudible outside of the bathroom when you're brushing your teeth.

With the DiamondClean Smart, regardless of which brush mode you choose, brushing is divided into sections so you can make sure you're getting all of your teeth clean. Brushing is broken up as follows: bottom right, bottom middle, bottom left, top right, top middle, and top left. The brush will buzz when it's time to move on to a new section so no teeth go without a full brushing.

To keep you from applying too much pressure, the base of the brush will flash when you're brushing too hard. Brushing too hard can damage your gums, so this is a nice feature if you're someone who doesn't pay attention to how much pressure you're putting on your teeth when brushing.

As for the overall brushing experience, the DiamondClean Smart is unparalleled. Two minutes with this toothbrush and my teeth are as clean and as shiny as if I've just been at the dentist. If you haven't used a Sonicare before, there is a world of difference between how clean your teeth feel compared to brushing with a manual brush.


Brush Heads

Philips ships the DiamondClean Smart with a selection of smart brushes. Smart brushes have a small chip that communicates with the DiamondClean Smart to let it know what kind of brush is attached. Through this connection, the DiamondClean automatically selects the optimal brushing mode and intensity to go along with the brush head, but you can change it if you want.

The DiamondClean Smart will also work with "dumb" brush heads that do not have the smart chip capabilities -- you'll just need to select mode and intensity on your own.

Each smart brush has unique properties to address a specific issue in the mouth. There are brushes for plaque control, gum care, and whitening, all with different designs and brush hardness. The gum care brush, meant for your gums, is the softest of the bunch, while the plaque control and whitening brushes have firmer bristles.

Charging Cup

The DiamondClean Smart, like the DiamondClean, uses inductive charging. It charges in a glass cup that's connected to a charging base, so when it needs to be charged, you just stick it in the cup. Philips suggests this cup can also be used for rinsing, but I've never really used it for that purpose. It does get toothpaste goop in it, so plan to wash it out on a regular basis.

Design wise, the cup is a high-quality thick glass vessel that's similar to any drinking cup, and its design has been tweaked to be slightly more round than the cup that shipped with previous DiamondClean models.

When charging, the DiamondClean Smart toothbrush has a few new features - it makes an audible sound when it's placed on the charger so you know it's in the proper position and the base glows more brightly when it's first stuck in the cup. These are welcome changes because it is difficult to tell when the standard DiamondClean brush is charging. There's no confusion with the DiamondClean Smart.

The charging cup method is simple and convenient because you just have to drop your brush in the cup when you're done with a brushing session, but it can be a hassle if you prefer to keep your toothbrush tucked away in a medicine cabinet or a drawer because it's a little bit bulky.

Travel Charger

The travel charger is meant to store and charge your toothbrush when on a trip. It's made from a quality soft-coated plastic, and inside, there are cutouts for the toothbrush and two additional brush heads. At the bottom of the travel charger, there's a built-in cable that can be plugged into any USB-A port for charging purposes. When not in use, the cable tucks in underneath a piece of plastic that hides it from view.

This travel charger is an upgraded version of the travel charger that comes with the standard DiamondClean. That version does not include a built in cable.


You can use the DiamondClean Smart entirely without the app, but this is a "smart" brush, so it is designed to be used with the Philips Sonicare app. The toothbrush connects to your iPhone using Bluetooth, and with the app, you can see your progress brushing your teeth in real time.

Simply open up the app, remove the DiamondClean from the charger, and press the power button to start a brushing session. The app displays a model of a set of teeth on the display, and as you brush, it keeps track of how much time you spend in each area, lets you know if you're moving the brush too much, and makes sure you aren't applying pressure.

Essentially, it walks you through brushing your teeth step by step, making sure each tooth is adequately cleaned. To track where the brush is in your mouth, there's a built-in accelerometer in the base of the DiamondClean Smart. The tracking works well for the most part, but it can only track a single quadrant at a time, and depending on how you hold the brush, it might not register. I seem to hold the brush in a way the DiamondClean doesn't like when brushing my top teeth, so it sometimes doesn't pick up the correct amount of time I've spent brushing in a specific area.

When each brushing session is done, the app lets you know which areas you missed and adds extra time to the timer so you can go back and get those areas. It also asks if you've brushed, rinsed, and brushed your tongue, and records that data.

In addition to monitoring each brushing, the app also stores data over time on your brushing habits so you can see how you've improved. If there's an area that hasn't received enough cleaning time or has been subjected to too much pressure or scrubbing, it'll show up in your progress chart so you can rectify the problem.

The app's tracking features are useful, but I'd like to see more expansive charts and graphs that let me see data like how many times a day I brushed, how long I brushed, areas I missed, and more. At the current time, figuring out this data just from a picture of a set of teeth is a little difficult.

Along with tracking your brushing habits, you can also set specific goals in the app and get reminders to brush. Goals include fresh breath, gum care, whitening, plaque removal, and more. There are also options in the app to designate problem areas like plaque buildup, bleeding, gum recession, and cavities, and the app will then guide you through giving those areas extra attention. Finally, the app can be used to share your brushing progress with your dentist and order additional brush heads.

As far as the app goes, I don't necessarily think it's something people are going to want to use day in and day out. It's useful for getting into a brushing routine and learning how to brush, but it can be a hassle to open up an app and monitor your brushing when you're in a hurry to get out the door.

Unfortunately, if you're not using the app, the brush is not fully tracking your brushing sessions and collecting complete data, so the app is a requirement if you want to monitor your dental health over time. There's also some kind of points system, but this doesn't feel fleshed out at all, and I'm not sure what the points contribute to.

All in all, I'd really like to see some improvements to the app's design, the data tracking, and the way that data is displayed, but it's useful for establishing and maintaining good brushing habits.


There are three distinct DiamondClean Smart models. The unit I tested is the DiamondClean Smart 9500, but there are also 9300 and 9700 models, all of which have different accessories and different prices. All of the models share the same general design and features, however.

The Sonicare 9300 is $230 and comes in four colors: white, black, pink, and a blue gray shade. While the higher end models have five brushing modes, the 9300 has four, doing away with the tongue brushing mode that pairs with a tongue brush. This model ships with three brush heads (plaque control, whitening, and gum care), and it does not include a travel charger with a built-in cord (it requires a separate charging cord like older DiamondClean models).

The Sonicare 9500 is $270 and comes in black, white, silver, and pink. It has five brushing modes and ships with four brush heads: plaque control, whitening, gum care, and a tongue brush. It also comes with a higher-end travel charger with a built-in cord.

The Sonicare 9700, priced at $330, is identical to the Sonicare 9500 but it comes in an exclusive "lunar blue" color and instead of four brush heads, it includes seven: three plaque control, two gum care, two whitening, and a tongue brush. It also includes the high-end travel charger with built-in cord.

Aside from the number of brushes, the travel charger, and the lack of a tongue brush mode on the Sonicare 9300, all of the DiamondClean Smart models are identical in function, so you can save some cash if you don't need the tongue brush or a more convenient travel charger.

Bottom Line

The DiamondClean Smart 9500 that I tested is priced at $270, with additional brush models available for $230 and $330. That's a lot to ask someone to pay for a toothbrush when you can pick one up at the drugstore for $2, but this kind of upfront investment has the potential to save you money at the dentist in the long run. Even adding in the cost of replacement brushes over time (and you will need to replace them every 3 months), it's more affordable than dental work.

As a longtime Sonicare user, I freely recommend them to anyone and everyone. These brushes offer a much better clean than you can get with a standard brush, they're gentler on the gums, and they're great at encouraging you to brush for an ideal amount of time. With better mouth maintenance, you have a much better chance at keeping your mouth healthy and free from cavities, plaque, gingivitis, and other problems.

The DiamondClean Smart in particular is an excellent choice if you have troublesome areas in your mouth, need reminders to brush, or simply want to track your brushing habits. With the new design, brush heads, and separate intensity modes, this is one of the most advanced brushing experiences you can get, but at the same time, it's foolproof. Stick the brush in your mouth, move it where the app tells you to, and you're guaranteed a complete clean. It comes with extra brush heads, a travel charger, and all the features you could possibly need.

I think in the long run, most people aren't going to want to hassle with the app two or three times a day, but it's nice to have it there if you need it. I tend to use it at night rather than in the mornings and afternoons, and while I'm not getting a complete tracking experience, I have enough data to know if there are any ongoing problems I need to address. I do wish the app offered up better tracking over time and was able to collect data without being open.

If you don't need an app to motivate you to brush properly, Philips has a much wider range of more affordable Sonicare brushes that are worth checking out, but if you want a top-of-the-line brushing experience, the DiamondClean Smart is the brush to get.

How to Buy

The Philips DiamondClean Smart models can be purchased from the Philips website. The 9300 Series is priced at $229.99, the 9500 Series (the model in the review) is priced at $269.99, and the 9700 Series is priced at $329.99.

All of the models can also be purchased on Amazon, often for lower prices than Philips offers.

Note: Philips provided MacRumors with the Sonicare DiamondClean Smart free of charge for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was received. MacRumors is an affiliate partner of Amazon and may earn commissions on purchases made through links in this article.

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52 days ago
How about No.
Bellevue, WA
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'8mm Vintage Camera' Available for Free as Apple's App of the Week

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Each week, Apple chooses an "App of the Week" to highlight in the App Store, making it free to download for seven days. This week's pick is a camera app called 8mm Vintage Camera, which is normally priced at $1.99 on the iPhone and iPad.

8mm Vintage Camera is a photo editing app that's been around for awhile, but this is the first time that it's been made available for free since its 2010 launch.

The app is designed to capture the "beauty and magic" of old school vintage movies using a selection of virtual lenses and films that include 1920, Noir, 60s, 70s, Sakura, XPro, Siena, Pela, Indigo, Tuscan and Two-Color. Apple's App Store editors had this to say about the app:
Shooting movies on film may be a dying art, but just because we live in the digital age doesn't mean we have to abandon our analog past. We get warm, nostalgic fuzzies from 8mm Vintage Camera's grainy, flickery film filters and lens effects, conjuring up memories of vacation travelogues screened in wood-paneled basements. It's not just about old-school kicks, though--this powerful suite of tools can give any video an authentic period look.
When capturing video with 8mm Vintage Camera, you can see the live effect displayed right in the app. It supports up to 1080p HD video recording and includes features like a jitter button to imitate frame shakes and a sound switch to add a projector sound.

8mm Vintage Camera can be downloaded for free for the next seven days, and after that, a new App of the Week will be chosen. There are separate versions for iPad and iPhone. [Direct Link: iPhone] [Direct Link: iPad]

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53 days ago
Brilliant. I look forward to an app that reproduces the charm of a tin-can telephone.
Bellevue, WA
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