These Smart Storage Containers Will Tell You When Food Is About to Go Bad

Ovie
Ovie

Reducing food waste often means keeping track of the expiration dates of the many perishable items sitting in your fridge. Smarterware, a new line of smart food storage containers from Ovie, is designed to eliminate this hassle. The containers keep track of your food's lifespan and clearly signal when groceries have passed the point of no return, as designboom reports.

The Smarterware line, which Ovie debuted at CES last year, works using SmartTags that track how long food has been in your fridge. These small trackers fit into the lids of Ovie's containers. They can also be attached to generic storage containers or food packaging using the Ovie Connect, a circular holster you can stick anywhere, or the Ovie Clip. The kit also includes a hub that allows the SmartTags to connect to the mobile app or a smart home system like Alexa or Google Home.

All you have to do to track your food is seal it in the Smarterware, slip one of the SmartTags onto the lid (or attach the Ovie Connect or Clip to other food packaging), and press the SmartTag. You'll be able to use the Ovie mobile app or your smart home assistant to record what food you're saving. The system can then estimate how long the item will last, based on Ovie's database of typical food spoilage times, and begin its countdown to the expiration date.

An Ovie Smartware container with leftovers
Ovie

As time goes on, the colored ring of the SmartTag will change to alert you to the food's condition. When the ring around the SmartTag is lit up green, the food is safe to eat. Yellow indicates that the food is approaching its expiration date, and red means it's likely spoiled.

Smarterware's technology makes it so you don't even need to peek inside your fridge to see what food is OK to eat. Ovie will send a notification to your phone when an item is about to go bad. In addition to working with home assistants like Amazon's Alexa, the smart storage system integrates with recipe apps and grocery apps, so if you aren't sure what to make with the produce in your fridge, it can suggest recipes for you.

On average, most Americans end up throwing away an estimated 20 percent of the groceries they buy annually, costing the average family of four approximately $1500 a year. If that statistic applies to you, the Smarterware starter kit's $130 price tag could quickly pay for itself.

After raising nearly $65,000 on Kickstarter last year, Ovie is preparing to ship out the first Smarterware products in spring of 2019. You can preorder yours today at Ovie's website.

[h/t designboom]

6 Fun Backgrounds to Use on Your Next Video Call

You might be stuck in the living room, but it doesn't have to look like it.
You might be stuck in the living room, but it doesn't have to look like it.
Ridofranz/iStock via Getty Images

If you’re struggling to find a perfectly decorated wall in your house to serve as the backdrop for your video calls with friends, family, and coworkers, we have good news: Video conferencing platform Zoom lets you customize your very own virtual background.

To do it, log into your Zoom account, go to “Settings” on the left side of your screen, and choose the "Meeting" tab. Scroll down to the “In Meeting (Advanced)” section, and then scroll down farther to make sure the “Virtual background” option is enabled. After that, open the Zoom application on your desktop, click on the “Settings” wheel in the upper right corner, and go to “Virtual Background.” There are a few automatic options, but you can choose your own image from your computer files by clicking on the plus-sign icon.

Now, the only thing left to do is decide which image will best set the tone for your next video call. From the New York Public Library’s Rose Reading Room to Schitt’s Creek’s Rosebud Motel, here are six of our favorites.

1. The Rosebud Motel lobby from Schitt’s Creek

schitt's creek rose motel lobby
It's not the Ritz-Carlton.
CBC

You can imagine that David is just out of frame, doing his best to carry on a silent—albeit with lots of expressive gesturing—conversation with Stevie at the front desk. (More Schitt's Creek backgrounds here.)

2. Carl and Ellie’s house from Up

carl and ellie's house from up
Balloons not included.
Walt Disney Pictures

If you’re hoping to create a calming atmosphere, look no further than the cozy little sitting room where Carl and Ellie grew old together in 2009's Up. (More Pixar backgrounds here.)

3. The attic study from Knives Out

knives out attic study
Nothing bad has ever happened here.
Lionsgate

If your own study isn’t quite teeming with intriguing souvenirs and leather-bound volumes, feel free to borrow this one from the mansion in 2019’s Knives Out. (More Knives Out backgrounds here.)

4. The USS Enterprise from Star Trek

star trek's uss enterprise bridge
A great way to get your coworkers to fess up to being huge Trekkies.
TrekCore.com, Twitter

Blame your spotty internet connection on the fact that you’re traveling through the galaxy at the speed of light with this background from the bridge of Star Trek’s USS Enterprise. (More Star Trek backgrounds here.)

5. The New York Public Library’s Rose Reading Room

new york public library reading room
You reserve the right to shush any coworkers who forgot to mute themselves.
New York Public Library

Bibliophiles who can’t make it to the library can still pay a virtual visit to the sumptuous Rose Main Reading Room at the New York Public Library’s iconic Fifth Avenue location. (More New York Public Library backgrounds here.)

6. The Werk Room from RuPaul’s Drag Race

rupaul's drag race werk room
Sashay away from the screen if you're taking a bathroom break during the call.
VH1

Dazzle your coworkers by calling in from the vibrant room where all the magic—and most of the drama—happens on RuPaul’s Drag Race. If you happen to be decked out in an ensemble made entirely of things you found at the Dollar Store, even better. (More RuPaul's Drag Race backgrounds here.)

You Can Now Order—and Donate—Girl Scout Cookies Online

It's OK if you decide to ignore the recommended serving size on a box of these beauties.
It's OK if you decide to ignore the recommended serving size on a box of these beauties.
Girl Scouts

Girl Scouts may have temporarily suspended both cookie booths and door-to-door sales to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be deprived of your annual supply of everyone’s favorite boxed baked goods. Instead, you can now order Thin Mints, Tagalongs, and all the other classic cookies online—or donate them to local charities.

When you enter your ZIP code on the “Girl Scouts Cookie Care” page, it’ll take you to a digital order form for the nearest Girl Scouts organization in your area. Then, simply choose your cookies—which cost $5 or $6 per box—and check out with your payment and shipping information. There’s a minimum of four boxes for each order, and shipping fees vary based on quantity.

Below the list of cookies is a “Donate Cookies” option, which doesn’t count toward your own order total and doesn’t cost any extra to ship. You get to choose how many boxes to donate, but the Girl Scouts decide which kinds of cookies to send and where exactly to send them (the charity, organization, or group of people benefiting from your donation is listed on the order form). There’s a pretty wide range of recipients, and some are specific to healthcare workers—especially in regions with particularly large coronavirus outbreaks. The Girl Scouts of Greater New York, for example, are sending donations to NYC Health + Hospitals, while the Girl Scouts of Western Washington have simply listed “COVID-19 Responders” as their recipients.

Taking their cookie business online isn’t the only way the Girl Scouts are adapting to the ‘stay home’ mandates happening across the country. They’ve also launched “Girl Scouts at Home,” a digital platform filled with self-guided activities so Girl Scouts can continue to learn skills and earn badges without venturing farther than their own backyard. Resources are categorized by grade level and include everything from mastering the basics of coding to building a life vest for a Corgi (though the video instructions for that haven’t been posted yet).

“For 108 years, Girl Scouts has been there in times of crisis and turmoil,” Girl Scouts of the USA CEO Sylvia Acevedo said in a press release. “And today we are stepping forward with new initiatives to help girls, their families, and consumers connect, explore, find comfort, and take action.”

You can order cookies here, and explore “Girl Scouts at Home” here.

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