Latest iOS Update Will Block Notifications When You’re Driving

Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Distracted driving is dangerous—the CDC estimates that eight people die in the U.S. every day in a car crash with a distracted driver, and 1161 are injured. While plenty of states have laws against texting and driving, for many people, the temptation of that smartphone notification is just too much.

Apple is taking steps to reduce that temptation, though. The company announced today on June 5 that the new iOS 11—set for a Fall 2017 release—will have a “Do Not Disturb While Driving” function, according to The Verge.

The function will be activated through Bluetooth or WiFi data, according to The Verge, though it’s not clear yet how that will work. (Perhaps if you hook your phone up to your car speakers through Bluetooth, then it will know you’re on the road?) When your phone senses you’re driving, it automatically goes into a special Do Not Disturb mode, blacking out your screen while you’re in motion. If anyone sends you a text, iMessage will respond with an automated message saying you’re on the road.

You can choose specific contacts to exempt from this function, so you can still get emergency messages. If your phone mistakenly thinks you’re driving but you're just a passenger in a vehicle, you can also exit out of the Do Not Disturb mode.

Your phone is always fighting for your attention, but it’s a lot easier to avoid temptation than to resist it, as recent studies have found. So software designed to keep you clueless about the texts that await you at every stoplight could make a huge difference, making the roads safer for everyone.

[h/t The Verge]

Looking to Downsize? You Can Buy a 5-Room DIY Cabin on Amazon for Less Than $33,000

Five rooms of one's own.
Five rooms of one's own.
Allwood/Amazon

If you’ve already mastered DIY houses for birds and dogs, maybe it’s time you built one for yourself.

As Simplemost reports, there are a number of house kits that you can order on Amazon, and the Allwood Avalon Cabin Kit is one of the quaintest—and, at $32,990, most affordable—options. The 540-square-foot structure has enough space for a kitchen, a bathroom, a bedroom, and a sitting room—and there’s an additional 218-square-foot loft with the potential to be the coziest reading nook of all time.

You can opt for three larger rooms if you're willing to skip the kitchen and bathroom.Allwood/Amazon

The construction process might not be a great idea for someone who’s never picked up a hammer, but you don’t need an architectural degree to tackle it. Step-by-step instructions and all materials are included, so it’s a little like a high-level IKEA project. According to the Amazon listing, it takes two adults about a week to complete. Since the Nordic wood walls are reinforced with steel rods, the house can withstand winds up to 120 mph, and you can pay an extra $1000 to upgrade from double-glass windows and doors to triple-glass for added fortification.

Sadly, the cool ceiling lamp is not included.Allwood/Amazon

Though everything you need for the shell of the house comes in the kit, you will need to purchase whatever goes inside it: toilet, shower, sink, stove, insulation, and all other furnishings. You can also customize the blueprint to fit your own plans for the space; maybe, for example, you’re going to use the house as a small event venue, and you’d rather have two or three large, airy rooms and no kitchen or bedroom.

Intrigued? Find out more here.

[h/t Simplemost]

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Tenino, Washington, Is Loaning Residents Wooden Money to Boost Its Economy

Pixabay, Pexels
Pixabay, Pexels

Like many places around the country, Tenino, Washington, has taken a financial hit during the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead of writing checks to residents in need, the town is printing its own money on wood in an effort to boost the local economy, CNN reports.

Any Tenino resident living below the poverty line can apply for a wooden currency loan. To qualify, they must prove they lost money as a result of the pandemic, but as town mayor Wayne Fournier told The Hustle, “we’re pretty open to what that means.”

One wooden note is worth $25, and qualified candidates can receive up to 12 of them per month—the equivalent of $300. The dollars look unique, with a retro design and a Latin inscription that roughly translates to “We’ve got this handled.” But the special money serves a larger purpose: The notes are only valid at local businesses, which ensures spenders keep the cash within the local economy instead of giving it to major retailers. When a transaction has been made, business owners can take the currency to City Hall and exchange it for real U.S. currency.

This isn't Tenino's first time enduring economic hardship. By 1931, America had entered the Great Depression, and the town's local Citizens Bank had frozen all accounts. Tenino responded by printing its first run of wooden dollars that year. That original program, which was funded by the local Chamber of Commerce instead of the town government, allowed residents to exchange up to 25 percent of their bank deposits for the wooden notes.

Today the bills from the 1930s are collector's items. The town had that part of its history in mind when it launched its new alternative currency program; the wooden dollars circulating today were even printed using the same newspaper press used to make the wooden money 90 years ago.

[h/t CNN]