LG Stylo 6 review: Stuttering and lag all but ruin LG’s cheap Galaxy Note alternative

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If you’ve ever been to a prepaid carrier store in America, there’s a good chance you’ve seen one particular LG phone: the Stylo. As much as LG has struggled to gain notoriety for its high-end smartphone (despite some of them being totally decent), the Stylo has remained shockingly popular among consumers, and is now into its sixth generation. I reviewed the Stylo 5 when it was released last year, and I thought it was a decent option for anyone looking for a Galaxy Note-style device on a budget.

LG has now released the Stylo 6, and equipped it with a truly massive 6.8-inch display, Android 10, and the same capacitive stylus (versus the digitizer stylus on Samsung’s Notes) as usual. However, the latest entry is a much weaker product than the Stylo 5 was, probably in large part because of a decision to go with a MediaTek chipset versus the Snapdragon the last version was equipped with (read: this phone is slow).

Design, hardware, what’s in the box

The LG Stylo 6 is big. Like, really big. At 6.74 inches tall and 3.06 inches wide, it’s larger than Samsung’s Galaxy Note10+ (6.39 x 3.04″) and even the gargantuan the Galaxy S20 Ultra (6.57 x 2.99″). This is the largest phone sold by a carrier in the USA today. I’m personally not a fan of giant phones since single-handed use becomes impossible, but that’s entirely subjective.

This is the largest phone sold by a carrier in the USA today.

The screen is a 6.8-inch (diagonal) 2460×1080 IPS LCD, with decent enough colors and contrast for a budget device. There is a shadow effect around the camera notch, but every phone with an LCD screen and a camera cutout has the same issue to varying degrees. Speaking of the camera notch, it’s definitely on the larger side, but I’m not too worried about lost screen space with a display this massive.

The Stylo 6 follows an aggravating trend in budget phones by using a textured plastic to emulate the look and feel of glass. This glossy finish makes the rear case a magnet for fingerprints and smudges. The edges of the phone also have this same texture, making the phone rather slippery. As comically large as the Stylo 6 already is, buying a case that provides more grip is probably a good idea. The Stylo’s fingerprint sensor generally didn’t have issues reading for me, but it’s placed so high up on the phone that I sometimes had to reposition my hand to reach it.

The power button is on the right edge of the Stylo 6, while the left side has volume controls, a combination microSD and SIM card slot, and a dedicated Google Assistant button. Unfortunately, while you can disable the Assistant button if you want, there is no way to re-map it to perform other functions. Google Assistant is already easy enough to open from the navigation bar, so it would have been nice to use the button for opening apps, controlling music playback, or as a shutter key for the camera.

On the bottom of the Stylo 6 you’l find a single speaker, a USB Type-C port for charging, a headphone jack (take that, Galaxy S20), and the all-important stylus. Unlike last year’s Stylo 5, the stylus is now spring-loaded (fancy!) like the Galaxy Note’s, so pushing the end with your finger will pop it right on out. This is a genuine improvement, and it’s kind of baffling that it took LG this long to do it, though my fingernails are nonetheless thankful.

The Stylo’s stylus is still capacitive, meaning there are no internal electronics for palm rejection, pressure sensitivity, and other features you might find on Galaxy Note phones. It’s just a simple metal pen with a ballpoint tip.

In the box, you get the Stylo 6, a wall adapter, a USB Type-C cable, and various instruction manuals. The included power brick is labelled as ‘Fast Charge,’ but in my testing, the charging speed seemed to max out at 9W. LG says the Stylo 6 works with MediaTek’s “PumpExpress 2.0” charging standard, which isn’t nearly as popular as USB Power Delivery or Qualcomm Quick Charge, so there aren’t as many adapters and batteries that support the technology. I was able to reach the same 9W speed with my Qualcomm QuickCharge accessories, though.

Performance, software, battery life

Last year’s Stylo 5 was equipped with a Snapdragon 450 processor, which certainly wasn’t the fastest chip in the world, but it was enough to provide a good experience with most apps. This year, LG has switched to a MediaTek Helio P35 processor, which is supposedly faster than the SD450 on paper, but we know that means basically nothing with a MediaTek chip. But be it the switch in chipset manufacturer or LG’s software optimization (or both?), the Stylo 6 has serious performance issues.

The Stylo 6 has serious performance issues.

The Stylo 6 sometimes works just as well as any budget phone I’ve used, and then — for no apparent reason — it will frequently slow down to the point of being legitimately unbearable. No Android phone is completely free of performance hitches; for example, it can take a few seconds to catch up with notifications after being in sleep mode, and rotating the screen can cause the UI to drop frames and stutter. On the Stylo 6, these actions take substantially longer than they do on other budget phones. The inconsistency in performance is the worst part, as I’m often left waiting a second or two wondering if a button tap or navigation gesture actually registered.

Performance aside, the software experience isn’t really anything to write home about. It is based on Android 10, so you get Google’s new gesture navigation, improved privacy controls, and universal dark mode, but LG’s custom skin is a strange mix of Samsung’s One UI and Apple’s iOS. I am glad to see LG added scheduling for dark mode, though.

Just like last year’s Stylo 5, there are a handful of software features designed for the stylus. When you take the pen out of the phone, an action bar appears with options to create a new memo, capture part of the screen as a GIF, draw on top of a screenshot, and so on. Even here, though, lag was a bugbear: the stylus menu frequently took over a second to appear once the stylus was out of the phone. Whether this was because of the phone’s general performance issues or the internal stylus detection was unclear.

Battery life, at least, is very solid. I could get about two days of regular use out of the Stylo 6, thanks to its large 4,000mAh battery and low-power processor.

Camera samples

The Stylo 6 has two rear cameras: a 13MP f/1.8 main lens, and a 5MP f/2.2 ultra-wide. There’s also a 5MP depth sensor, which is supposedly used to improve portrait mode.

The main camera can capture some decent photos, given you have enough light, though the color balance isn’t perfect. For example, in the last photo, the sky is almost entirely white. Not the worst camera for a little over $200, though.

Left: Regular camera; Right: Ultra-wide camera

The ultra-wide camera, unfortunately, is not very good. There’s just not enough resolution to capture a quality image, and photos taken with it look extremely grainy. It’s pretty much only there so LG can say the Stylo 6 has dual rear cameras (or three, if you include the depth sensor that doesn’t actually capture images).

Should you buy it?

LG Stylo 6


No. Last year’s Stylo 5 was a decent choice if you really wanted a budget Android phone with a stylus, but the Stylo 6 is much tougher to recommend. The stylus is neat, and it does have a massive screen if you’re into that, but the Helio P35 processor in this phone (and perhaps LG’s lack of software optimization) makes the Stylo 6 frustrating to use. There are plenty of other phones in the $200 price range that will run much better, like the Moto G Fast.

LG also has competition for budget stylus phones in 2020. The Moto G Stylus was just released in the United States, will probably get Android 11 someday (Update: The Stylo 5 is getting Android 10, so there’s hope for the Stylo 6 and A11), and is much faster and more responsive. While it is substantially more expensive at $300, it’s such a massively better phone that you’d be silly to choose the Stylo 6 just to save $80. The Moto G Stylus is also available right now as an unlocked device that works on all major U.S. carriers, while the Stylo 6 is currently only sold at certain prepaid carriers (though an unlocked model will probably arrive in a few months).

In the end, I don’t really see any compelling reasons for most people to buy the LG Stylo 6. Perhaps if you can get an exceptionally good deal on one (like, free), this phone will hold you over until you can afford something better. But the performance issues are extremely unlikely to be resolved by software updates, and we just don’t think MediaTek’s budget Helio chips make any sense to choose when Qualcomm alternatives are readily available at the same price point (albeit without a stylus). LG goofed on the Stylo in 2020—hopefully they’ll see the error of their ways and correct course on the next iteration.

Buy it if:

  • You really like LG.
  • You can get the Stylo 6 at a steep discount.

Don’t buy it if:

  • You want a decently-fast phone.
  • You don’t like massive phones.

What’s an Intelligent Manual Transmission or iMT?

Hyundai has just released details of a new gearbox option for the Venue. Marketed as iMT or an ‘Intelligent Manual Transmission’, the gearbox sure has generated a lot of curiosity and more than a few questions. Well, we’ve got your answers. 

What is iMT? 

Simply and quite accurately put, the iMT is a ‘clutchless manual’. Yes, at its heart it’s just a regular manual gearbox but without a clutch pedal.

How is iMT different from an AMT? 

While an automated manual transmission (AMT) and an iMT are both regular manual gearboxes, in an AMT, the actuators and motors change gears and operate the clutch for you. In function, then, it’s fully automatic. Software, of course, governs when and how the shifts happen. 

In an iMT, on the other hand, the software and actuators only control the clutch while you have to manually shift gears. In effect, an iMT sits sort of half way between a regular manual gearbox and an AMT.

What are the benefits of an iMT? 

In this way you have complete control over what gear your car is in and you don’t have to rely on the software getting it right. Thus, in situations like coming down a slope or overtaking, you have full control over the gearbox and you know the car will not second guess you. And this is of course without the headache of operating the clutch. 

Another advantage is that by using fewer parts than an AMT (as there are no actuators for the gears required), the cost of an iMT is also closer to that of a regular manual.

Won’t an AMT in manual mode do the same?

Yes it will. However, as the iMT uses the same gear shift pattern as a standard manual gearbox, it’ll be familiar and help keep track of the gear you’re in; the software won’t change gears on its own either so you are always in control. In an AMT or regular auto, you could lose track of the gears while manually shifting via the plus-minus lever or the paddles, especially if the gear-changing software second guesses you and shifts automatically.

How should I drive it? Do I need to lift off the accelerator when changing gears? 

No, you don’t need to lift off the accelerator when shifting gears, but just like an AMT it will help smoothen things if you do. You drive it just like a manual; shift gears when you need to. There’s no clutch pedal though, which means if you’re used to a manual, you’ll need to get used to keeping your left leg still while you shift. 

Is this something new? Is Hyundai the first with this? 

Not really. Globally, clutchless manuals have been around for a while now. Ferrari had one on the Mondial in the late 80’s-early 90’s, where the company wanted to provide the joy of shifting through its famed gear-gate but without the need to operate a heavy clutch. 

In India, Hero Honda launched a version of its Street Step-Thru moped with a similar system. For cars, aftermarket clutchless kits have also been around for a while too. Perhaps you’d have seen them advertised at the back of old Autocar India issues. 

upcoming Sonet back at the Expo this year. However, the Venue with the iMT will likely be the first to hit the market. ” data-reactid=”35″>Interestingly, Kia also announced the same system for its upcoming Sonet back at the Expo this year. However, the Venue with the iMT will likely be the first to hit the market. 

Can an iMT shift gears automatically also?

Not in the case of Hyundai’s unit. But there are other gearboxes that do this. Thus you can shift gears yourself and be completely in control or, if you like, just leave it entirely to the system. There is typically a switch on the gear lever or the dashboard that allows you to have control over this. 

Are there any drawbacks of an iMT? 

Yes. Just like an AMT, gearshifts aren’t as smooth as the system relies on a single clutch that has to be modulated by an actuator. On a side note, this is where a dual-clutch auto transmission comes in – in principle, it is similar to a regular manual gearbox, but comes with two clutches to enable quicker, smoother shifts.

So how is a dual-clutch transmission different from other autoboxes? 

As we’ve said above, a dual-clutch auto transmission works on a similar principle to a regular manual. However, it has two clutches and input shafts – one handles all odd gears and the other, even – thus when one gear is engaged and its clutch is transmitting power to the wheels, the other clutch is already ready to engage the next pre-selected gear. While one clutch is disengaging, the other is already engaging. Thus keeping shifts quick and smooth. 

Traditional auto ‘boxes – often referred to as torque convertors – and CVT’s on the other hand, are completely different in construction. While a manual, iMT, AMT and DCT, use helical gears on input and output shafts with a mechanical clutch, a traditional auto ‘box uses an entirely different construction, called a planetary gear system, and a fluid clutch called a fluid coupling or more accurately, in an automobile’s case, a torque convertor. The clutch being a fluid device ensures that the engine does not stall when the car is stationary.

A CVT, again, is something entirely different too. It uses two cones (input and output) with a belt connecting the two. By moving the belt across the varying diameter of the cones, different ‘effective gear ratios’ are achieved. For a clutch CVTs use either fluid coupling or even a centrifugal clutch device.

Gearboxes explained
Manual iMT AMT Dual-clutch CVT Traditional AT
Gearbox construction Input & output shaft Input & output shaft Input & output shaft Two Input & one output shaft Dual cones Planetary gears
Clutch Single Single Single Dual Fluid coupling-torque convertor /Centrifugal Fluid coupling-torque convertor
Gearshifting Manual Manual Auto Auto Auto Auto
Clutch work Manual Auto Auto Auto Auto Auto

Automatic cars under Rs 10 lakh” data-reactid=”51″>Automatic cars under Rs 10 lakh

Insofta Cover Commander 6.6.0

Cover Commander

Cover Commander creates professional, custom-designed three-dimensional virtual boxes for your software, e-books, iPhone/iPad apps, manuals, DVD and CD boxes, CD disks, cards, and even screenshots. Just a few mouse clicks – that’s all it takes to get the job done. Extensive light, shadow, and reflection controls at your disposal will enable you to create an image of just about any complexity and view the final picture as it is being made in the real-time preview window.

Cover Commander

Reasons to go with Cover Commander:

  • Get your cover designed in just a few mouse clicks – Box, Box with disc, Disc, Screenshot, Curved screenshot, Book, Thin book, Manual, Vista box, Card, Spiral book, Monitor, TV, iPhone 5s/5c, iPad, iPad with cover, Blu-ray box, Blu-ray with disc, DVD box, DVD box with disc, CD box, CD box with disc.
  • Let the built-in wizards do the dirty work for you and focus on the artistic details of the cover.
  • Create multiple projects, parse multiple images – with a single command (batch mode).
  • Save the result image with transparent background and use the picture for the complex web or print designs.
  • Save the light, shadow, and reflection settings under a unique name and use those settings in other projects.
  • Set the result image size (up to 4000×4000) and margins in pixels.
  • Draw your customer’s attention with an animated box, cover or screenshot.
  • Cover Commander does not require 3D accelerator to render 3D objects.
  • Don’t pay more than what it actually costs to create a great cover. Create additional covers at no cost at all!

Cover Commander 6.6.0 changelog:

  • Added support for Asian languages for 3D text (Japanese, Chinese, Korean).

  • Added Minimal White and Minimal Dark styles for devices.

  • Added a status bar in the internal image viewer.

  • Added Japanese, Hungarian, Slovenian languages.

  • Fixed several bugs.

Download: Cover Commander 6.6.0 | 44.5 MB (Shareware)
Link: Cover Commander Home Page

Get alerted to all of our Software updates on Twitter at @NeowinSoftware

No more slaves and masters: Twitter engineers BAN whole range of terms in fight for ‘more inclusive language’

Twitter’s engineering team will systematically purge a list of offensive terms from its source code and internal documents in the name of political correctness. Terms like “master” and “slave” will go, as will gendered pronouns.

“We’re starting with a set of words we want to move away from using in favor of more inclusive language,” Twitter Engineering announced on Wednesday. 

Among the terms to be terminated are “whitelist” and “blacklist,”“master” and “slave,” which will be replaced with “allowlist” and “denylist,” and “leader” and “follower” respectively. Gendered pronouns like “guys” will be swapped with gender-neutral terms like “folks” and “y’all,” while the terms “man hours” and “grandfathered” will have their patriarchal connotations expunged, and will be replaced with “person hours” and “legacy status.”

Even “dummy value” was deemed offensive.

The company is putting some serious muscle behind the effort, and will develop “warning tools” to comb through its source code for offending words. Internal documentation, FAQs, readmes and design manuals will all be sanitized, and Twitter will even develop a browser extension to root out any problematic stragglers.

Though the change comes amid a nationwide breakdown on all things racial, the plan has apparently been in the works since January, and is the brainchild of a black programmer who was offended when he read the line “automatic slave rekick” in a page of code. Now, with the higher-ups on his side, the programmer described the new changes as “a small step,” stating that his goal is to “eventually adopt inclusive language across Twitter.” 

Some Twitter’s users were aghast, marveling at the list’s Orwelian overtones. 

Yet the social media giant is not the only tech firm to embrace a new, woke lexicon. The developers of the Python programming language removed the terms “master” and “slave” in 2018, while programmers at Apple, Google, and Microsoft have recently brought in similar changes.

Twitter, however, has committed itself in earnest to the progressive cause since the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May. The company has promised donations and free advertising to Black Lives Matter, instructed brands on how to tweet about racism, and compiled an instruction guide for white users, telling them how to leverage their “voice and privilege to amplify Black and Brown communities.”

Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!

RAVPOWER PD Pioneer 20000mAh 65W Power House REVIEW

A worthy option for remote power, but needs updates to product information.

In the world we currently live in, you have to be flexible — adaptable — and you have to be ready to work remotely at a moment’s notice. So, what happens when you have to grab a laptop with only 20% left to work in a remote location? We all know that 20% goes really quickly and then you are left with a brick and no way to continue working. This is what the RAVPower PD Pioneer 20,000mAh 65W 2-Port Power House was designed for. 


The Power House is a large capacity portable battery that is built specifically to charge laptops. It offers a 2-prong AC outlet with a power supply on/off indicator. This AC outlet is designed for devices that require up to 50W of power. With the 65W Power House you also have the option to charge two devices simultaneously. The charging tower houses a large capacity battery of 20,000mAh, which is enough to charge  an iPhone 11 Pro 6.5 times. The 65W Power House features advanced protection and keeps connected devices from overcharging, short circuiting, and power surges. The USB-C port provides 5V/3A of output power delivery to connected devices. 


Capacity: 20,100 mAh (according to product page on RAVPower.com)
1 x USB-C input/output port (5V/3A)
1 x USB-A output port (5V/2.4A)
1 x AC Outlet
Dimensions: 7.4 x 6.8 x 3.4 inches
Weight: 1.85 pounds


The Power House comes in a standard RAVPower white and green box. There is no image or illustration of the product on the box, but the name “RAVPower PD Pioneer 20000mAh 65W 2-Port Power House” is printed on the front. The box doesn’t provide a lot of information about the product, but it does include the model number and some contact information for RAVPower. Inside the box, you will find a travel case (semi-hardshell) that contains the Power House, USB-C charging cable, travel pouch, and user manual. 


Usually, this is the point where I leave the unboxing process and move into the testing phase of my reviews. But, with the Power House, I had a few quality control issues that were discovered and because it mainly has to do with how the item was packaged and/or listed on RAVPower’s website, I thought this was the best place to discuss. 

User Manual: As I began writing out the device’s details and features, I was looking at the user manual that was included with the Power House. At one point, I flipped it back to the cover and noticed that the user manual actually belonged to the 80W version of the RAVPower Power House charger. What is particularly deceiving is that both versions of the Power House have the same model number (RP-PB054). 


Lack of DC Charger: As I was reviewing the information on the product page for the 65W Power House I noticed that the information on RAVPower’s website about the 65W Power House indicated that the devices come with a DC charger. “The 19V/1.6A DC input allows for faster recharging than almost any other portable charging device.” It does not. The way you recharge the device is to plug in the USB-C cable into the USB-C port and then plug the other end into a wall charger (not included). 


What’s Included List: The list of items included in the package varies depending on the source. The product page for the 65W Power House does not include any list while the 80W version does. The user manual for both versions of the Power House do list out items, but they are incorrect. The 65W user manual (found online through RAVPower’s website) states that it should come with 2 Micro USB cables and the 80W user manual doesn’t mention the storage case. As it turns out the list from the 80W Power House product page on RAVPower’s website is correct. 

  • 1x RAVPower Portable Power House (RP-PB054)
  • 1x USB-C to USB-C Cable (60cm/23.6in)
  • 1x Carrying Pouch
  • 1x Storage Box
  • 1x User Guide

Capacity: The box, user manual, and product all indicate that it’s a 20,000 mAh capacity, but the product descriptions on the RAVPower website state it is a 20,100 mAh capacity battery. 



One of the things I was first struck by was the size of this device. Yes, it is designed to be able to charge laptops, but I still found its case to be extraordinarily large. It measures more than 6 inches high and weighs almost 2 pounds. To me, that’s not the most ‘portable’ battery. Now, I do want to know that the Power House has an internal fan to help keep its heat regulated. The fan kicks on when a device is connected and begins charging. There don’t appear to be any specs about the fan or its operation in the user manual or on the product page. I do like that there are two different LED indicators on this devices — one to indicate the power level (5 blue LEDs on the side of the tower) and one to indicate the AC outlet on/off operation. I like the easy access there is to the ports and outlet and the soft feel of the exterior of the charging tower. 



When it comes to function of the the Power House, I’ve been pretty impressed. In order to charge a device, you simply plug it into one of the ports (USB-C or USB-A) and the device will automatically start charging. As I noted above, the fan will also kick on inside the case of the Power House. To use the AC outlet, you do have to press/hold the Power button for 3 seconds until the green on/off indicator light comes on. Once you are done charging from that outlet, you simply press/hold the Power button again until the light turns off. 


Charging the Power House was a little bit of a challenge at first because there is no wall adapter included with the unit. According to the 65W manual, a 24V/1A power adapter is required to charge the Power House. The 80W manual states that a 30W PD 3.0 charger is required. I pulled out the RAVPower PD Pioneer 90W 2-Port  USB-C Wall Charger and attempted to charge it directly from a wall outlet. The Power House never got above 40% according to the LED indicators. Even though the 90W wall charger should have provided more than enough power for this task, I pulled out a 65W wall charger with PD and the Power House charged right up. 

When it came to charging devices, I decided to try charging my 2016 13-inch MacBook Pro. This machine requires a 61W power adapter and it was on the compatible list on RAVPower’s website. So, I charged the Power House to 100% and then plugged my laptop in to charge using the USB-C port first. I let it charge for approximately 60 minutes and then calculated the charging rate at 0.52% per minute. I did notice around the 43 minute mark that the power indicator on the Power House dropped to 4 and then 11 minutes later, it dropped to 3, which meant the battery was between 41-60% power level. 


Next, I plugged the laptop into the AC outlet using a wall charger and charged it for approximately 32 minutes. During that time the LED indicator dropped to level 1 meaning there was 20% or less battery life left. The charging rate was much better with the AC outlet at 0.9% per minute. While I was charging the laptop, I was still working on it, but I wasn’t doing anything that was too power-hungry. I was doing moderate tasks like word processing, internet browsing, and listening to music. I also had a USB-C hub plugged in with two dongles attached for my wireless keyboard and mouse. While these things might have affected the charging rate, I don’t think it would have dragged it down too badly. 


Despite the quality control issues I found when it came to product details, the Power House is an intriguing charging device. It does what it is designed for — charging laptops – but it does seem a bit large for extensive travel. I do appreciate the built-in fan to help dissipate heat (and it works!), which I’m sure contributes to the size of the device. While I would like to recommend this to people who frequently work remotely, I’m hesitant to do so because of the inaccuracies of the information available on the product. If RAVPower can reevaluate the information provided for the device and ensure that it’s all accurate, then this is a wonderful option for travelers and those who work remotely. 

For more details, visit RAVPower, Facebook, and Twitter.

Spas are reopening amid COVID-19: Here are the rules

Spas are reopening amid COVID-19: Here are the rules

coronavirus pandemic, nonessential businesses, including spas, are beginning to reopen. But many are wondering, "Is it safe?"” data-reactid=”23″>With America still on the road to recovery amid the coronavirus pandemic, nonessential businesses, including spas, are beginning to reopen. But many are wondering, “Is it safe?”

When most people think of a visit to a spa, feelings of relaxation immediately come to mind. However, the fears induced by the reality of COVID-19 have forced many spas to pivot or upgrade their offerings under new guidelines.

Will deep tissue massages, skin-enhancing facials and body treatments still be a thing? The short answer is yes, but staff and clients alike are approaching these beloved services with heightened awareness.

The CBON Group, Canada’s largest supplier of professional infection control products, said in a statement.” data-reactid=”26″>”One thing consumers do know is that they will likely be encountering a very different world when salons and spas start once again to take appointments,” Jeff Alford, the president of The CBON Group, Canada’s largest supplier of professional infection control products, said in a statement.

restrictions provided by the state Division of Consumer Affairs.” data-reactid=”30″>Gov. Phil Murphy advised that day spas in New Jersey could open on June 22 under restrictions provided by the state Division of Consumer Affairs.

Some of these restrictions include reopening the premises to facilitate social distancing, establishing protocols for scheduling of client appointments and prescreening and temperature checks for staff and customers.

MORE: Nail salons are reopening: Here’s what to know and how to stay safe” data-reactid=”32″>MORE: Nail salons are reopening: Here’s what to know and how to stay safe

“Even before you book an appointment, you should be aware of what measures your salon or spa are taking to keep you safe while in their care,” advised Alford.

He suggested that it’s best to check company websites, social media channels or email notifications for announcements surrounding changes in policy that might include required face masks, restrictions in services, reduced or extended hours and more.

Alford also suggested looking for any signage or posted letters that are visible to customers at your spa before entering. “This will let you know that policies are being universally applied to everyone,” he said. “Remember, the risk of infection does not just come from within the facility, but also from other patrons.”

MORE: Here’s how hair salons are reopening amid COVID-19” data-reactid=”37″>MORE: Here’s how hair salons are reopening amid COVID-19

Once you arrive, it’s best to check in if reception is providing hand-sanitizing options as well as PPE, such as masks or gloves.

“If these measures are not in place, you may need to ask yourself why and what other precautionary steps are not being taken to keep you safe?” said Alford.

La Prairie Spa at the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills, told "GMA." "We have rewritten all of our training manuals to include our adjusted measures and have scheduled training days for the team before we reopen so they can feel confident and comfortable with the new safety practices."” data-reactid=”41″>”We are following the guidelines set out by the county and implementing extra precautionary measures and sanitation protocols,” Amanda Raich, spa director at La Prairie Spa at the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills, told “GMA.” “We have rewritten all of our training manuals to include our adjusted measures and have scheduled training days for the team before we reopen so they can feel confident and comfortable with the new safety practices.”

La Prairie Spa has also announced that guests and team members must wear masks, and have installed plexiglass dividers at reception and adjusted locker spacing for social distancing. Access to steam rooms has been prohibited for the time being.

Self-serving stations at the facility have also been eliminated. Each guest will be given their own amenity kit full of La Prairie products and individual spa snacks to enjoy.

For those looking to get a massage anytime soon, many of these services will still be available in most places.

“Since the closure, we’ve implemented updated brand standards that every franchisee is required to follow based on our work with third-party experts on industrial hygiene and occupational health,” Massage Envy CEO Beth Stiller told “GMA.” “They also helped us develop a specific plan for the franchisees to follow when reopening their independently owned and operated franchised locations based on CDC guidance and taking into consideration CDC’s geographic risk assessment for the coronavirus.”

Other plans for the popular massage franchise include requiring each location to meet enhanced mandatory cleaning and disinfection protocols for treatment rooms and equipment used in services, as well as ensuring proper hand hygiene and linen-changing protocols are followed while also complying with requirements related to personal protective equipment.

PHOTO: Massage Envy announces new guidelines for reopening amid COVID-19. (Massage Envy)

Charlotte-based Urban Med Spa has bounced back with an immediate return of approximately 80 to 90% of pre-COVID revenue. Founder and licensed esthetician of Urban Skin Rx and Urban Med Spa Rachell Roff also told “GMA” many guests have applauded how the spa has adapted.

“In addition to strict social distancing guidelines and meticulous cleaning/disinfectant practices, we now require and provide face masks upon entering the building, have moved to virtual check-in via cellphone so that guests can wait from the comfort of their cars, take temperature checks upon arrival and strictly enforce a stay home policy for any employees and/or clients who’ve not felt well recently,” she said.

Urban Med Spa has also shut down waiting rooms to limit the number of clients in the building at one time.

PHOTO: Spas share reopening plans amid COVID-19. (Urban Skin Rx)

Dermalogica, told "GMA" that the company’s skincare-dedicated spaces created a Clean Touch 12 principals of enhanced service safety, which feature touch centric treatments in the most sanitary environment possible.” data-reactid=”77″>Heather Hickman, senior director of education at Dermalogica, told “GMA” that the company’s skincare-dedicated spaces created a Clean Touch 12 principals of enhanced service safety, which feature touch centric treatments in the most sanitary environment possible.

Through the Clean Touch initiative, Dermalogica staff has access to courses outlining sanitary protocols they will receive a certificate for upon completion.

Dermalogica locations will have new protocols for skin therapists amid COVID-19. (Dermalogica)

“Our focus is to deliver much-needed touch, connectivity and innovative skin services in an environment that still feels warm and welcoming but with very visible elevated hygiene standards,” said Hickman.

She added, “As an industry and as a brand, we have always cared about both skin health and client health. Every precaution is being taken to ensure your skin is taken care of in the safest way possible. It may look a little bit different, but the results in your skin health will be the same.”

Spas are reopening amid COVID-19: Here are the rules originally appeared on goodmorningamerica.com” data-reactid=”92″>Spas are reopening amid COVID-19: Here are the rules originally appeared on goodmorningamerica.com

Canon Has Officially Dropped ‘Master’ and ‘Slave’ Terms

Since the global response for Black Lives Matter, many industries, including photography, have been shifting for the better. So, it’s welcome news that Canon has officially dropped their master/slave terminology.The terms “master” and “slave” used to be and in some cases still are commonplace in photography, especially when it comes to flash units. A master flash gun usually controls the trigger of another flash gun called the slave. This technique is used to synchronize multiple off-camera flash devices and is commonly used instead of wireless (or wired) triggers to either save time or money.Godox XProN TTL wireless triggerFlash guns set to master can be used to trigger other flash guns set to slave mode where wireless triggers, like this Godox XProN TTL, aren’t used.I spoke recently about my reservations with the master/slave terminology and some other issues I had with specific terms within the photographic community. I’ve since been in touch with Canon who confirmed, much to my surprise, that they’ve actually dropped the master and slave terms. In fact, they dropped them around the end of 2017. Here’s what a Canon Europe Spokesperson had to say:Canon started to phase these [terms] out since the end of 2017. [In] all new products and materials, these terms are no longer used. Products released before this time, and still available, will still have the term as it’s often a physical part of the LCD display so can’t be changed by firmware etc.So, why then wasn’t I aware of the terms being changed? I’m sure this is news to most of you as well. Well, they went on to say that the terminology change isn’t yet immediately obvious to most customers because the terms are mostly used with flash guns, which are presumably less popular than the cameras and lenses. To compound this issue, the most popular flashes were launched pre-2018, so when customers use the manuals, the terms are still there.Canon Speedlite 600EX II-RT flash gunThe popular Canon Speedlite 600EX II-RT speedlite was released in 2016, before Canon officially dropped the terms “master” and “slave.”Many photographers buy used gear, so will also not notice the terms change either on devices or in manuals for a little while, until the newer models start to drop in price and are more widespread in the secondhand community. But until then, at least it’s good to know that Canon has dropped the terms. Who knows, maybe old manuals and flashguns will become more museum pieces, holding historic knowledge for the photographic community at large?

Give Trump credit for the First Step Act — but not for much else on criminal justice issues

Trump’s record brims with proposals and policies that enrage civil rights activists and negatively affect African Americans. With diverse groups of demonstrators in every state taking to the streets to protest police violence and systemic racism, it’s time to look at the administration’s record on criminal justice issues.

There is good news.

Trump signed the bipartisan First Step Act in 2018. Among other things, it aimed to lessen the overincarceration of black people and the racially disparate impact of federal criminal justice practices by reducing some mandatory minimum sentences. The Bureau of Prisons was instructed to improve and expand inmate rehabilitation programs and prohibit the shackling of pregnant prisoners.

The Brennan Center for Justice, a nonpartisan law and policy institute, called the measure “a major win for the movement to end mass incarceration.” Trump gushed over the legislation, saying it gives “countless current and former prisoners a second chance at life and a new opportunity to contribute to their communities, their states and their nations.”

But for civil rights analysts, what the First Step Act gives doesn’t make up for what Trump has taken away.

“The administration loves to take credit for signing the First Step Act into law,” said Connor Maxwell, who until Tuesday was a senior policy analyst at the Center for American Progress, “but in reality [the Trump administration] has undone decades of progress and contributed to the national crisis we’re in now.”

Among the administration’s actions riling civil rights and criminal justice advocates:

●The Justice Department’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention diminished a research program that sought to eliminate the overincarceration of black and Latino youths compared with their white counterparts. States receiving grants no longer have to provide specific data on black and brown youth arrests and convictions to determine whether there is “disproportionate minority contact” with law enforcement. Instead, state officials — according to the Marshall Project, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization focusing on criminal justice — are asked less detailed questions that fail to specifically address the problem. A Justice Department statement said a research unit was moved from one office to another “to improve coordination and support the development of a coherent and broad research agenda.”

●The juvenile justice office also withdrew training manuals used by local officials to reduce racial disparities in the name of cutting regulations, the Marshall Project reported. The Justice Department said that a tool to monitor youth contact with law enforcement was removed from the agency’s website “based on new legal guidance” and that data collection requirements were simplified.

●A 2017 Trump executive order allowing police departments to get federal military equipment. The order overturned a policy President Barack Obama implemented after an uproar against the use of what he called “militarized gear” against crowds protesting the police killing of Michael Brown, an unarmed African American teen in Ferguson, Mo. Trump, referring to his executive order and other actions later that year, said he “promised to restore law and order to our country. . . . We will spare no resource in fighting, so that every American child can grow up free from violence and fear.”

●The sharp reduction of the Justice Department’s “pattern and practice” investigations of certain police departments to determine how often they use force, what kind of force and whether that force is used excessively against black people.

●The slashing of the use of consent decrees, court-approved agreements between the Justice Department and local police agencies accused of excessive force, often against black residents. The agreements were designed to reform police practices and improve community relations.

Investigations can lead to decrees. The Trump administration has initiated one pattern-and-practice investigation and no consent decrees. Attorney General William Barr told CBS News that “you can actually get more focused change and more real change by working in more collaboration with the police. . . . We are working with police departments to address use-of-force policies, personnel policies, standards and practices . . . without the collateral effects that some of these consent decrees have,” such as having “police pull back” from their duties.

Vanita Gupta, who led pattern-and-practice investigations and consent decrees as head of the Justice Department’s civil rights division in the Obama administration, rejects that. “The Trump administration’s record on the criminal legal system reform is abysmal,” said Gupta, now the president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.

Although the First Step Act moves away from mandatory minimum sentences, she cited the administration’s encouragement of the toughest possible penalties, its plans to increase private prison use and other factors as counters to Trump’s praise for the law.

“Trump himself has also called for police to rough up suspects, threatened protesters with military response and has halted police reform and accountability for unconstitutional conduct,” she said.

The widely touted First Step Act “is an anomaly against the backdrop of how his administration . . . has systematically undone almost all existing federal reform efforts,” Gupta added. “The First Step Act doesn’t erase any of this long record of dismantling criminal justice reform.”

Splatoon 2 gets a fan-made instruction booklet

We unfortunately live in an era where instruction booklets are a rarity. Most companies ship games without any physical manuals, instead opting for digital guides that you find in-game. The older gamers out there, myself include, certainly miss the days when you had a physical booklet to flip through to learn a little bit more about your experience. Thankfully, some fans are willing to go the extra mile to indulge the nostalgia.

Nintendo fan Nosey Tengu teamed up with 13 other Splatoon 2 super-fans to create an instruction booklet for the game. The project took about a year to put together, and was certainly a labor of love. The booklet slots right into your Splatoon 2 box, so you can pretend it came along with the package from day one!

If you’d like to grab one of these instruction booklets for yourself, you can hit up Nosey Tengu on Twitter via DM. He’s been giving them away for free, but he does accept donations via Ko-fi to recoup production and printing costs.

I built my own camera with a Raspberry Pi 4

a hand holding a camera © Photo by Becca Farsace / The Verge

It’s always been a dream of mine to put my vintage camera lenses to work again, so when the Raspberry Pi Foundation put out a camera system that supported C- and CS-mount lenses, I knew I had to get one and turn it into a custom digital camera. There was only one thing standing in the way: my total and complete lack of coding knowledge.

My plan was to put the new Raspberry Pi High Quality Camera inside the body of a toy 35mm camera I had, giving me a way to use my vintage lenses without having to pay for processing film.

a hand holding a cell phone: The Becca Cam: a camera made with the Raspberry Pi HQ Camera mod. © Provided by The Verge The Becca Cam: a camera made with the Raspberry Pi HQ Camera mod.
a close up of a hand holding a cellphone: I used a 3.5-inch touchscreen for the viewfinder. © Provided by The Verge I used a 3.5-inch touchscreen for the viewfinder.
a hand holding a small camera: The USB-C power cable comes out of the top, next to the mini push button switch used for triggering the shutter. © Provided by The Verge The USB-C power cable comes out of the top, next to the mini push button switch used for triggering the shutter.

The Raspberry Pi is a super tiny computer that is highly programmable. People have used these to program everything from smart mirrors, to portable arcades, to COVID-19 case counters, and even super smart, super techie greenhouses. They are tiny boxes that — if you know how to code — can do pretty much anything.

For my build, I used the $50 HQ Camera Mod, a Raspberry Pi 4 computer, a USB-C portable 10,000mAh charger, a 3.5-inch touchscreen, jumper wires, a mini push button switch, the body of a Ninoka NK-700 35mm camera, and two vintage C-mount lenses.

a hand holding a remote control: The Raspberry Pi HQ Camera mod with the 16mm C-mount lens. © Provided by The Verge The Raspberry Pi HQ Camera mod with the 16mm C-mount lens.
a hand holding a cell phone: A Raspberry Pi 4 computer. © Provided by The Verge A Raspberry Pi 4 computer.

The plan was simple: plug in the HQ camera board to the Raspberry Pi, program the system to take photos using a button, and then place all of the components into the gutted body of a toy, 35mm camera I found in my basement. Carrying out the plan was, well, not as straightforward.

The official Raspberry Pi Camera guide is free online and filled with code for programing different functions like stop-motion photography or setting up a security camera. But I quickly realized that, for an amateur like myself, copying and pasting code into a terminal was a game of chance, and one in which I had very little luck. Most code returned error messages, and on the off chance the code yielded the results I wanted, I had absolutely no idea how or, more importantly, why it worked.

After phoning many friends and reading the HQ Camera’s user manual upward of 50 times, I was able to program my camera to take photos using a button, which allowed me to assemble the camera’s hardware and ultimately get me out in the world taking photos. I added an external battery pack to power the system and a 3.5-inch touchscreen for previewing and operating my camera’s software.

But even that didn’t go to plan. Tune into the video for more setbacks and my rapid decline in self confidence.

Outside of the hellscape that is coding as a complete beginner while also creating a nine-minute video alone during a pandemic, Raspberry Pi’s HQ Camera mod is extremely capable for its size and the $50 it costs. There are endless possibilities with these tiny computers, but for now, I’m happier seeing what everyone on Reddit comes up with rather than trying to create something of my own.

Photography by Becca Farsace / The Verge