All posts in “Tech”

Southwest offers free mileage points when you let a stranger rent your car

It’s rare to get airline points outside of credit card plans, tedious consumer surveys, or, you know, booking flights and flying. So a new offer from Southwest Airlines and car-sharing app Turo feels like the ultimate cheat.

Starting this week, if you either book a car through the car-sharing platform or rent out your car on the service, you get points on Southwest’s reward program, Rapid Rewards. 

The program offers 2,000 Rapid Reward (RR) points for your first Turo car booking and then 500 RR points for every trip after your first. The big doozy is 10,000 Rapid Rewards points for signing up as a host and having someone book your car for a rental. 

A one-way Southwest flight to San Diego from San Francisco this weekend starts at about 9,000 Rapid Rewards points. The Turo offers end on Oct. 15.

Last year, Lyft rides were available through the Southwest app, but those ride-hail trips didn’t earn you miles or reward points.

Usually airlines throw in deals for traditional car rentals through agencies like Hertz when you book a flight, but this is encouraging a new way to get around: Renting a stranger’s car. 

Try it, you might like it. 

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What could Elon Musk’s Hyperloop stations look like? This VR video shows you an idea.

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The future of high-speed transport has been hypothetically realised in a new rendered VR video of Elon Musk’s potential Hyperloop stations, from the experience of travelling in a pod to the actual features of the station itself.

Musk’s SpaceX revealed the in-depth concept video on Tuesday, which was created by computer graphics companies INDG and AltSpace for Delft Hyperloop, the team that’s been developing a virtual model for the transport system at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands.

The video uses Amsterdam as an example of a potential underground station connected to a sprawling Hyperloop network of European cities. Delft presents a minimalist interior design, with green and black pods arriving at platforms beneath what looks like a wooden-ribbed ceiling. 

After choosing their destination, passengers check-in before entering their required platform through airport-like gates and down escalators. The platforms would contain digital information boards and a few benches.

Inside the “light and spacious” pods, overhead skylights “simulate the outside environment, making it feel like you’re sitting right outside.” The pods are divided into different sections: “the social section “where you can enjoy your trip with friends and family,” and separate compartments at the far end of the pods “where private meetings can be held during the trip.”

It’s all hypothetical, and we won’t be seeing these pop up anytime soon, but it looks slick.

Take a look at the pickup truck emoji that could arrive in 2020

Look through the emoji menu and there’s delivery trucks, cars, taxis, articulated lorries, buses, headlights, and other ways to get around. 🚗🚚🚛🚕🚍

But where’s the pickup truck?

Ford, the U.S. automaker behind the popular F-150 full-size pickup truck, petitioned the Unicode Consortium back in 2018 to add a pickup truck emoji. The organization manages what words become picture graphics used in our texts, tweets, status updates, emails, and more. On World Emoji Day (yes, there’s a day dedicated to emoji, and it’s today) Ford showed off the proposed image that could make its way onto phone and computer screens.

Trucking along.

Trucking along.

Image: ford 

The next update in 2020 (the 230 new emoji for 2019 were announced back in February) could include the pickup truck. It was short-listed as an emoji candidate as a 2020 addition. There are already more than 3,000 approved icons available.

In a tongue-in-cheek video voiced by actor Bryan Cranston, Ford mocks the car reveal process, while including some of the design elements that went into the new emoji that will be free to use (hopefully 🤞, as Ford noted) online and on mobile devices.

[embedded content]

Although Ford is pushing for the pickup, the emoji design is brand-less. The American automaker said it didn’t combine efforts with other brands like Chevy or Ram, and this was the first time Ford got involved in the emoji scene. The Unicode Consortium said it couldn’t comment on individual proposals, but did share the official proposal submitted last year for the pickup icon. It includes several tweets from Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson jonesing for a pickup emoji.

While the truck community is excited about the possibility of typing with the icon, the pickup can also be used to mean other things, just like how the eggplant and peach took on different meanings

Keep on truckin’.

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Pick up a pair of leather neckband headphones for over 40% off

Just to let you know, if you buy something featured here, Mashable might earn an affiliate commission.
With a battery life of 8 hours, the Klipsch R5 Bluetooth headphones can keep up.
With a battery life of 8 hours, the Klipsch R5 Bluetooth headphones can keep up.

Image: Klipsch

TL;DR: Save $52.05 when you get the Klipsch R5 Bluetooth neckband in-ear headphones on sale for $66.95.


There are only two types of people in this world: Apple AirPod enthusiasts and those who think AirPod enthusiasts look like absolute idiots. Some people just don’t like the look of Q-tips hanging out of their ears.

Fortunately, if you fall into the latter category, you can still enjoy the magic of Bluetooth listening without looking like a dweeb. Try these Klipsch R5 Bluetooth neckband in-ear headphones on for size.

The Klipsch R5’s stand apart from the sea of plastic Bluetooth headphones with a hand-stitched edge-treated leather neckband that rests against your skin. It’s so light you’ll barely feel it, but to others, it looks sleek and sophisticated. They’re also just about as comfortable as a pair of headphones can be. You’ll get five pairs of ear tips with the R5s, so you can personalize your listening experience and ensure they won’t fall out. 

Of course, a pair of headphones is only as good as its sound, and the Klipsch R5’s definitely stack up. With Bluetooth 4.2 aptX and AAC, you’ll get seamless, high-quality audio playback. And neither sweat nor rain will disrupt your jams, thanks to the IPX-4 water resistance rating.

Typically $119, you can save 43% and get these high-class leather neckband headphones for just $66.95 now.

What you need to know about viral FaceApp’s privacy policy

You might want to think twice before you use viral selfie app FaceApp.

The two-year-old app, which lets you alter photos of your face, once again shot to the App Store’s top spot this week after celebs and others began sharing doctored photos of themselves. Like some of Snapchat’s popular face filters, you can change photos of yourself so you appear older or younger, or “swap” genders. 

It’s a familiar gimmick at this point – and not one that’s new for FaceApp— but the app has gone viral all the same. It’s currently one of the most downloaded apps for both iOS and Android, as #faceappchallenge posts have taken over social media.

But with the sudden surge in popularity have come new questions about privacy, and whether FaceApp is doing enough to protect users’ data. 

Some have questioned why the app, which has been out for years, suddenly went viral all over again seemingly overnight. Others have pointed to the fact that the app requires a data connection, suggesting that might be indicate the app is surreptitiously grabbing users’ photos. (Multiple security researchers have said there is no evidence that the app is sweeping up entire photo libraries.)

And, in some corners of Twitter, people have pointed to the app’s Russian origins — FaceApp is owned by a company, Wireless Lab, that’s based in St. Petersburg — as a sign of something nefarious.

While there’s as yet no evidence to support these claims, some other concerns are less far fetched. 

In a post-Cambridge Analytica world, in which thousands of people had their personal data misused because of a seemingly innocuous personality quiz, people are rightfully wary of the numerous ways their data could be accessed or exposed by an app developer.  

And we don’t need to look far to find examples of photo apps taking their users’ photos for uses far beyond what’s required for their own apps. 

Earlier this year, NBC reported that Ever, a popular photo storage app, was using its users’ photos to train facial recognition software it then sold to law enforcement. IBM was also found to be using Flickr photos to train facial recognition applications without permission from those in the photos. And last year, PopSugar’s viral “twinning” app inadvertently leaked data.

FaceApp’s privacy policy doesn’t exactly offer many assurances, either.

In addition to photos generated via the app, FaceApp’s privacy policy states that it also collects location information and information about users’ browsing history. “These tools collect information sent by your device or our Service, including the web pages you visit, add-ons, and other information that assists us in improving the Service,” the policy says.

And though it states that “we will not rent or sell your information to third parties outside FaceApp,” it explicitly says that it shares information with “third-party advertising partners,” in order to deliver targeted ads. 

FaceApp CEO Yaroslav Goncharov has not yet responded to questions about the company’s privacy policy. But this type of privacy policy isn’t necessarily unusual, though it is definitely vague. It’s also yet another example of how tech companies quietly vacuum up information about their users in ways that aren’t immediately clear. 

It also doesn’t help that FaceApp doesn’t exactly have the best track record. The app was widely criticized for “racist” selfie filters that lightened users’ skin tones in 2017, soon after it launched. A few months later, the app sparked even more outrage when it unveiled a series of “ethnicity change” filters

If anything, the latest controversy about the app’s privacy practices is a sign that we might finally be starting to learn from Cambridge Analytica and so many other data privacy nightmares. Yes, the viral app of the moment might be irresistible, but there are reasons to think twice before giving up access to your information. 

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