Apple Is Rewarding the Teen Who Discovered the Group FaceTime Bug With Money for College

iStock.com/Preto_perola
iStock.com/Preto_perola

Last month, Apple users learned of a security bug that allows people to eavesdrop on conversations through Group FaceTime. The Group FaceTime feature, which makes it possible to FaceTime multiple callers at once, received an update that fixes the flaw on Thursday, February 7. Now, Apple wants to reward the teenager who helped bring the problem to its attention.

As Reuters reports, the tech company is giving 14-year-old Grant Thompson money for his education and providing additional compensation to him and his family. Grant and his mother Michele discovered the bug—which made it possible for callers to listen to audio on the other end of the line even if the recipients didn't answer—during a FaceTime call. Realizing what a serious privacy breach this was, Michele reached out to Apple to get it fixed, becoming seemingly the first user to alert the company.

Unfortunately, the tech giant doesn't offer regular customers a simple way to report such problems, and it took Michele more than a week to finally contact someone who could help. Apple says it plans to improve the system that handles these reports in order to avoid similar situations in the future.

In addition to the undisclosed amount of cash that will be rewarded to the Thompsons, Apple also thanked "Grant Thompson of Catalina Foothills High School" in the release notes for the software update.

[h/t Reuters]

This Outdoor Lantern Will Keep Mosquitoes Away—No Bug Spray Necessary

Thermacell, Amazon
Thermacell, Amazon

With summer comes outdoor activities, and with those activities come mosquito bites. If you're one of the unlucky people who seem to attract the insects, you may be tempted to lock yourself inside for the rest of the season. But you don't have to choose between comfort and having a cocktail on the porch, because this lamp from Thermacell ($25) keeps outdoor spaces mosquito-free without the mess of bug spray.

The device looks like an ordinary lantern you would display on a patio, but it works like bug repellent. When it's turned on, a fuel cartridge in the center provides the heat needed to activate a repellent mat on top of the lamp. Once activated, the repellent in the mat creates a 15-by-15-foot bubble of protection that repels any mosquitos nearby, making it a great option for camping trips, days by the pool, and backyard barbecues.

Mosquito repellent lantern.

Unlike some other mosquito repellents, this lantern is clean, safe, and scent-free. It also provides light like a real lamp, so you can keep pests away without ruining your backyard's ambience.

The Thermacell mosquito repellent lantern is now available on Amazon. If you've already suffered your first mosquito bites of the summer, here's some insight into why that itch can be so excruciating.

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No Squawking, Please: A Backyard Bird Library Is the Star of This Livestream

Bird Library, YouTube
Bird Library, YouTube

Many people discovered backyard birding when they were quarantined in their homes at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Even if you have a vibrant wildlife population in your area, the Bird Library webcam is worth checking out. As Atlas Obscura reports, the bird feeder at the focus of the livestream resembles a tiny library where feathered guests can misbehave.

Librarian Rebecca Flowers and woodworker Kevin Cwalina were inspired to build the Bird Library in 2015. Located in a backyard in Charlottesville, Virginia, it features a miniature reading chair, bookshelves, and a reception desk. The decorations are even updated to match the seasons; the feeder currently sports a banner that says "Summer Reading." The main differences setting it apart from a real library are the bird seed scattered on the floor and the avian visitors.

The Bird Library attracts a diverse collection of patrons. Sparrows, cardinals, and mourning doves have been recorded perching on the librarian's desk and checking out the reading materials. The occasional squirrel has also been known to stop by.

Live video of the feeder streams on the Bird Library's YouTube page and website 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can play the video below to check in on the current guests. If the backyard Bird Library has inspired you to find birds closer to home, here's some gear for beginner naturalists.

[h/t Atlas Obscura]