Good sex is the gift that keeps on giving. Whether you’re a couple hoping to get naughty in 2020 or you’re flying solo and want to treat yourself to something nice, the holidays are the perfect time to slip something sexy under the tree.
(FYI: some of the least sexiest gifts I’ve received include a bottle of men’s cologne, a battery recharger and a broom. These were all given to me by the same man. Don’t be this man.)
If you need some inspiration for the perfect gift to kick your sex life up notch, here’s a few gift suggestions inspired by my favourite products and experiences.
- Sutil Love Potions ($29.95)
My mind has always been a busy place. There’s rarely a moment when I’m not thinking about new story ideas or my to-do list. Sometimes it can be hard for me to unwind and get in the mood for sex. These “Love Potion” sensual massage oils have been a godsend. Made with a blend of essential oils, the scents work by travelling through your olfactory system to the portion of your brain that controls your heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, and sexual impulses.
Not only do these potions smell fantastic, but I do feel a little more relaxed and sensual when I use them. Apply the oils while giving or receiving a massage as part of foreplay, or rub them on your skin after the shower to add a little pep in your step.
- Pillo by Dame ($95)
Whether you struggle to find the right position during sex or simply want to get creative, this minimalist sex “pillo” from Dame can help you find exactly the right spot while supporting your body. Even better, it looks like a regular pillow so your nosy relatives won’t be scandalized if they spot it in your bedroom or under the tree. They’ll probably even believe you when you tell them it’s for using your laptop in bed. (And yes, it works great for that too.)
- The Sona 2 Cruise by Lelo ($144)
At Cedar Point amusement park in Ohio there’s this ride called the Top Thrill Dragster, where you go from zero to 200 km/h in 3.8 seconds. I like to think of The Sona 2 Cruise as the sex toy equivalent. As I’ve mentioned before, a large number of women need clitoral stimulation to orgasm. Instead of vibrations, the Sona uses SenSonic technology to stimulate the clitoris. The result is a unique sucking sensation that results in quick, powerful, knee-shaking orgasms.
- A “Nakation” ($$$)
After spending the past two years visiting as many clothing optional resorts as possible, there’s something incredibly liberating about being in a sex-positive environment abroad. If you haven’t worked up the nerve to go somewhere like Temptation in Cancun (where bikini tops are optional and tan-lines are close to non-existent), consider a getaway or even a staycation. When it comes to having great sex (either with yourself or a partner), there’s something to be said about being in a new environment, away from the responsibilities of home.
Lastly, while this isn’t the sexiest suggestion, consider doing that annoying task that you or your partner have been putting off. You know exactly what I’m talking about.
I don’t know about you guys, but it’s way easier for me to get in the mood for sex when I don’t have a million different things on my mind or cluttering up my space (dirty dishes! A couch covered in cat hair and unfolded laundry! A tower of empty Amazon boxes in the garage!) Note: I once told a partner that my biggest turn on was when he took the initiative to clean the bathroom without me asking first. I wasn’t lying.
Luxury sex toys and frolicking naked in paradise is great, but so is looking after yourself. Adulting is a form of self-care (that benefits everyone!), so do that thing that needs doing. Bonus points if it’s a chore that your partner hates to do. Cleaning up the garage and folding laundry isn’t naughty, but it’s a nice way to clear the deck for sexier things to come.
Twitter and Zoom’s algorithmic bias issues – TechCrunch
Both Zoom and Twitter found themselves under fire this weekend for their respective issues with algorithmic bias. On Zoom, it’s an issue with the video conferencing service’s virtual backgrounds and on Twitter, it’s an issue with the site’s photo cropping tool.
It started when Ph.D. student Colin Madland tweeted about a Black faculty member’s issues with Zoom. According to Madland, whenever said faculty member would use a virtual background, Zoom would remove his head.
“We have reached out directly to the user to investigate this issue,” a Zoom spokesperson told TechCrunch. “We’re committed to providing a platform that is inclusive for all.”
When discussing that issue on Twitter, however, the problems with algorithmic bias compounded when Twitter’s mobile app defaulted to only showing the image of Madland, the white guy, in preview.
“Our team did test for bias before shipping the model and did not find evidence of racial or gender bias in our testing,” a Twitter spokesperson said in a statement to TechCrunch. “But it’s clear from these examples that we’ve got more analysis to do. We’ll continue to share what we learn, what actions we take, and will open source our analysis so others can review and replicate.”
Twitter pointed to a tweet from its chief design officer, Dantley Davis, who ran some of his own experiments. Davis posited Madland’s facial hair affected the result, so he removed his facial hair and the Black faculty member appeared in the cropped preview. In a later tweet, Davis said he’s “as irritated about this as everyone else. However, I’m in a position to fix it and I will.”
Twitter also pointed to an independent analysis from Vinay Prabhu, chief scientist at Carnegie Mellon. In his experiment, he sought to see if “the cropping bias is real.”
In response to the experiment, Twitter CTO Parag Agrawal said addressing the question of whether cropping bias is real is “a very important question.” In short, sometimes Twitter does crop out Black people and sometimes it doesn’t. But the fact that Twitter does it at all, even once, is enough for it to be problematic.
It also speaks to the bigger issue of the prevalence of bad algorithms. These same types of algorithms are what leads to biased arrests and imprisonment of Black people. They’re also the same kind of algorithms that Google used to label photos of Black people as gorillas and that Microsoft’s Tay bot used to become a white supremacist.
Microsoft pledges to bring Xbox game streaming to iOS: 'we will get there' – MobileSyrup
Xbox chief Phil Spencer has promised that the company’s game streaming service will eventually come to iOS at some point in the future.
Speaking to Bloomberg, Spencer noted that there are “ongoing discussions” between Microsoft and Apple to make this happen.
“We’re committed to bringing xCloud to all mobile endpoints, including Apple’s big ecosystem,” he said. For customers out there — and I see it on Twitter all the time, people asking — they can just know we will get there. We remain committed.”
On September 15th, Microsoft launched game streaming on Android, allowing those in Canada and 21 other countries with a $16.99 CAD/month Game Pass Ultimate subscription to play more than 150 Xbox games through the cloud. This includes major exclusive titles like Halo: The Master Chief Collection, Gears 5 and Sea of Thieves, as well as notable third-party titles such as Destiny 2, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, all through Game Pass Ultimate.
However, Xbox game streaming has not yet come to iOS, despite Microsoft expressing a desire to bring the service to as many platforms as possible. The reason for this exclusion is because Apple’s App Store rules prevent all-in-one game streaming services like Xbox’s, as well as others like Google’s Stadia and Nvidia’s GeForce Now.
While Apple recently updated its storefront policies, they still prevent Xbox game streaming as it currently exists. That’s because Apple still requires each Game Pass title to be made available on the App Store through its own app. Naturally, this would allow Apple to take its standard 30 percent cut on a per-title basis, rather than a less lucrative share of subscription fees.
In response, Microsoft argued that this would create a “bad experience” for consumers. Further, the company also stated that it’s unreasonable that gaming services like Game Pass are subject to being carved up in such a way when video streaming services like Netflix and Disney+ are able to carry all of their content within the app with no further regulation from Apple.
For now, though, Spencer seems to think Microsoft will be able to come to some sort of agreement with Apple. As it stands, it’s unclear when — if at all — the two companies may strike a deal.
It also remains to be seen whether Fortnite maker Epic’s ongoing legal battle with Apple — in which it argues that the Cupertino, California-based tech giant employs unfair, monopolistic App Store practices — might result in a loosening of the App Store’s policies that could, in turn, allow Game Pass to come to iOS.
Launcher 5 lets you create custom iOS 14 widgets with different shortcuts – 9to5Mac
Launcher was one of the first apps that introduced Today View widgets when Apple released iOS 8, and now the developers behind the app are updating it with new Home Screen widgets for iOS 14 users. With Launcher 5, you can now create custom widgets for your home screen with different shortcuts to apps, contacts, and more.
Apple offers a variety of widgets with its native iOS apps, but they’re mostly based on suggestions rather than user choice. Launcher 5 lets you create your own widgets with the shortcuts you want, such as the phone number of a specific contact or your favorite playlist.
The app supports shortcuts to links, messages, FaceTime, and email. You can also add your favorite map locations to the widget, plus integration with Apple Music and the Shortcuts app. However, what makes Launcher 5 even more compelling are the customization options.
More than adding shortcuts to your home screen, Launcher 5 lets users set custom icons for each action, as well as change widgets background with colors or images. The app even allows you to change the icons or the widget’s appearance based on the time of day or location.
Launcher 5 is available for free on the App Store. However, some of the features — including the option to remove the Launcher icon from widgets — require the Pro version, which is available with a $2.99 in-app purchase.
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Twitter and Zoom’s algorithmic bias issues – TechCrunch
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