I pre-ordered a $76,900 Tesla Cybertruck. Here’s each step I took to reserve one.

Tesla CybertruckTesla Cybertruck
Tesla Cybertruck. 
  • Tesla unveiled its Cybertruck pickup truck in November.
  • The vehicle starts at $39,900, and it costs $100 to make a refundable reservation.
  • Production for the two most expensive Cybertruck trims is expected to begin at the end of 2021.
  • Near the end of December, I pre-ordered the $69,900 “Tri Motor AWD” trim with the $7,000 “full self-driving” add-on.

While the unusual design of Tesla‘s Cybertruck pickup truck polarized observers when it was unveiled in November, the electric-car maker has received at least 250,000 $100 refundable pre-orders, CEO Elon Musk has suggested.

Near the end of December, I pre-ordered the vehicle’s most expensive trim, though the $100 reservation fee is the same regardless of the trim you choose.

These are all of the steps you need to take reserve a Tesla Cybertruck.

After clicking “order now,” I was taken to a page that listed the three available trims. I reserved the “Tri Motor AWD” trim and added what Tesla calls “full self-driving” capability.

Tesla Cybertruck reservation


After clicking “buy now,” I entered my contact information and credit card number.

Tesla Cybertruck reservation


The refundable reservation costs $100.

Tesla Cybertruck reservation


After placing my reservation, I was taken to the following page.

Tesla Cybertruck reservation


I also received a confirmation email.

Tesla Cybertruck reservation


After making an account and logging in, I was able to access a page with information about my reservation.

Tesla Cybertruck reservation


My account also gave me the option to reserve a different trim or cancel my order.

Tesla Cybertruck reservation


CBD is Here to Stay: 10 Mind-Blowing Health Benefits of CBD Oil

Over the last 5 years, the popularity of CBD products has skyrocketed throughout the consumer marketplace.


DECEMBER 30, 2019 09:16

Over the last 5 years, the popularity of CBD products has skyrocketed throughout the consumer marketplace. CBD is supposed to be a legal and safer alternative to traditional marijuana while possessing many health benefits too. You can purchase products like CBD gummies or CBD oil for anxiety, pain, and inflammation relief.

In case you didn’t know, CBD is a type of cannabinoid that is extracted from a cannabis plant. It is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that doesn’t make you high or alter your brain functionality at all. The cannabinoid that does make you high is THC, which is found in the leaves of a cannabis plant. There is no THC in any of the CBD oil products for sale.

Okay, so you’re probably thinking, “If CBD doesn’t make me high, then what is the point of taking it?” Well, the benefits of cannabinoids go far beyond altering brain functionality. In fact, the human body possesses an endocannabinoid system which works with the natural cannabinoid receptors in the brain and immune system to reduce pain, inflammation, and other things which jeopardize your internal homeostasis. At the same time, you still maintain full control over your brain functionality.

Below are the top 10 health benefits of consuming CBD oil products. Although gummies are good too, most people respond better to the CBD oil instead. Just a few drops of oil underneath the tongue in your mouth and you should feel the results quickly.


1) Alleviates Depression and Anxiety

According to the World Health Organization, over 300 million people in the world suffer from depression. A large percentage of these people also suffer from anxiety too. These are two very serious mental disorders that can ruin the quality of someone’s life. However, several medical researchers have found that CBD can reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety in people. It even helps fight social anxiety and public speaking anxiety too.


2) Reduces Pain

CBD gets the most attention because of its ability to reduce pain. In fact, it can reduce everything from the physical pain caused by arthritis to the neuropathic pain caused by multiple sclerosis. If you have an inflammatory disease which is causing you pain, then try some CBD oil and you should see that pain dissipating in no time.


3) Viable Drug Addiction Treatment

Drug addiction affects various brain circuits that cause you to develop a dependency to drugs like heroin and morphine. CBD works to correct the brain circuits responsible for stimulating the addiction so that you don’t have a dependency on those drugs as much anymore.


4) Prevent Diabetes

CBD is believed to prevent a condition called insulitis that destroys pancreatic beta cells. Since insulitis is a big cause of Type I Diabetes, preventing insulitis can help prevent diabetes too. But for people who already have diabetes, CBD can lower the side effects of the disease like memory deficits and neuroinflammation.


5) Reduces Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is a big cause of cardiovascular diseases, strokes, and heart attacks. If you were to take one dose of CBD oil each day, then you’d find yourself with lower blood pressure. That means you’d have a lesser chance of getting a heart attack, stroke, or heart disease.


6) Fights Insomnia

Do you have trouble getting to sleep? If so, then CBD might be your answer to reduce insomnia or any sleeping difficulties that you may experience. This is linked to CBD’s ability to reduce anxiety and worries that cause you to stay awake.


7) Eliminates and Prevents Acne

The anti-inflammatory properties of CBD help lower the production of sebum in the skin. As you may know, sebum is natural oil produced for the skin. When excessive amounts of sebum are produced, it causes acne to form on the surface. That is why you get those unattractive pimples and blackheads. But if you consume CBD oil and lower the production of sebum, then your visible acne will clear up fast.


8) Prevents and Reduces Alzheimer’s Disease Symptoms

Neuroinflammation is a big contributor to the development of Alzheimer’s disease. CBD can work to prevent and reduce neuroinflammation by shielding neurons from the free radicals that try to destroy them. This means you’ll have a lesser chance of dealing with Alzheimer’s disease or its symptoms.


9) Antipsychotic Effects

CBD has been found to lower psychotic symptoms in people suffering from various types of mental disorders, such as schizophrenia and psychosis. The results have not been proven for all types of mental disorders, but people with these disorders have reportedly gotten relief from CBD oil.


10) Helps Fight Cancer

The anti-inflammatory properties of CBD help give it anti-tumor effects as well. If you’re worried about developing a cancerous tumor in your brain, lung, colon, breast, or prostate, then try CBD oil consistently. It can even prevent cancer from spreading if it already exists.

Interactive robotic cat hits Kickstarter

Although the MarsCat features OLED eyes, it actually sees through a camera in its nose
Although the MarsCat features OLED eyes, it actually sees through a camera in its nose
Elephant Robotics

There’s a good chance that you’re already familiar with Sony’s aibo robotic dog, which was recently reissued. However, what if you’re more of a cat person? Well, that’s where the new MarsCat is designed to come in.

Developed by China’s Elephant Robotics, the MarsCat autonomously moves about its owner’s home utilizing 16 motorized joints. Along with simply walking around, it will also randomly perform activities such as playing, sleeping, and even burying imaginary waste in a litter box.

Besides its servos and battery pack, some of the robot’s other onboard electronics include a nose-mounted camera, a depth-sensing laser, a microphone, a speaker, six capacitive touch sensors, and a Raspberry Pi microprocessor. Utilizing these, it can reportedly recognize objects such as three included toys, plus it’s able to avoid obstacles and respond to several voice commands.

The MarsCat will be available in multiple colors

The MarsCat will be available in multiple colors
Elephant Robotics

In fact, each MarsCat develops a distinct personality based on the manner in which its owner interacts with it over time.

For example, the more often that the user talks to the robot, the more frequently it will meow at them. Other determining factors include the user’s tone of voice, and the number of times that they handle the MarsCat. All told, the bot’s personality will end up varying between six character traits: enthusiastic vs aloof, energetic vs lazy, and social vs shy.

Electronically-inclined users will be glad to know that the device is open-source, meaning that they can create and share new software and hardware hacks. One three-hour USB charge of the robot’s battery should reportedly be good for two to five hours of runtime, depending on the activity level.

As previously mentioned, the MarsCat is currently the subject of a Kickstarter campaign. A pledge of US$649 will get you one, when and if they reach production. The planned retail price is $1,299.

You can see the robot in action, in the video below.

Source: Kickstarter

MarsCat: A Bionic Cat, A Home Robot

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Apple Suddenly Exposes Radical New iPhone Details

Following leaks over battery power5G, and pricing, two radical iPhone features have been published by Apple. Not only are the screens going to fill more of the front of the phone, Tim Cook and his team are going to hide away the cameras and sensors under the screen.

Details on the new design cues come from the team at Let’s Go Digital. Images published over a series of design patents confirms that Apple us working on a number of new features. Ilse Jurrien has more:

“Apple Inc. has applied for three notable design patents in Japan, showing an iPhone without notch. The documentation was published by the JPO (Japan Patent Office) on December 23, 2019, and includes four images per patent (123)… for a new smartphone design without a notch and without Face ID. Instead the new iPhone incorporates an in-display fingerprint sensor and an under-screen camera.”

Today In: Innovation

Of note is the almost bezel free design and the lack of a notch.

The former matches up with a number of leaks, including the 3D model of the iPhone 12 Pro sourced by Macotakara. The screen eschews the more rounded corners of the current iPhone models are hark back to the square design of the iPhone 8. Meanwhile the bezels have been reduced as far as currently possible.

The latter, while part of the design, has bigger implications. There is no sign of any ‘pop-up’ camera, so the forward facing cameras and FaceID technology is either tightly packed under the small upper bezel, or (and this is more likely) mounted underneath the screen itself. Given the speaker cutout is on show, I suspect that mounting underneath the screen is the key technology here.

It’s worth noting that numerous Android handsets have under-screen fingerprint readers (optical and ultrasonic methods), and both Oppo and Xiaomi have demonstrated under-screen cameras during 2019. It should not come as a surprise that Apple is working on a similar idea for all of its forward facing sensors.

Genuinely I’ve no idea. Although the features have been demonstrated, getting them into a mainstream handset with millions of sales is not an easy matter. There’s no hints (as yet) of such progress in the supply chain. We might see demo handsets with this tech at MWC in February, but reaching the market?

Apple’s expected reveal of the iPhone 12 in September is nine months away. Will the competition get to market in that window, or can Apple launch some genuinely new technology with this next-generation design? It is already promising 5G in all of the handsets, adding a larger screen and ‘invisible’ cameras may be the trump card Tim Cook and his team need to see a super-cycle of sales emerge


I am known for my strong views on mobile technology, online media, and the effect this has on the public conscious and existing businesses. I’ve been following this spa.

ProtonMail takes aim at Google with an encrypted calendar

ProtonCalendar by ProtonMail

Above: ProtonCalendar by ProtonMail

Encrypted email provider ProtonMail has officially launched its new calendar in public beta. The move is part of the Swiss company’s broader push to offer privacy-focused alternatives to Google’s key products.

ProtonMail has been talking about its plans to launch an encrypted calendar for a while. But starting from today, all ProtonMail users on a paid plan will be able to access ProtonCalendar, and it will be opened to everyone when it exits beta in 2020.

By way of a brief recap, ProtonMail was founded out of Geneva, Switzerland in 2013 by Andy Yen, Jason Stockman, and Wei Sun — academic researchers working on particle physics projects at CERN. ProtonMail promises users full privacy via client-side encryption, which means nobody can intercept and read their emails. ProtonMail has increasingly positioned itself as the antithesis of Gmail, insofar as Google has the ability to scan the content of users’ emails to help personalize other products in the Google product lineup.

ProtonCalendar isn’t the first new product to emerge from ProtonMail — it has previously launched a VPN service — but it signals the start of a suite of new offerings that will include a cloud storage service to rival Google Drive and office software similar to Google Docs.

“Our goal is to create and make widely accessible online products [that] serve users instead of exploiting them,” said ProtonMail CEO Andy Yen.

From emails to calendar

ProtonMail hasn’t set out to reinvent the wheel in terms of the features and format of ProtonCalendar. It sports a clean interface with views by month and day, color-coded event types, and so on. It is also tied to a user’s ProtonMail email account.

Where ProtonMail is really looking to differentiate itself is by putting privacy at the heart of ProtonCalendar — the company said it encrypts event title, description, location, and participants so neither third parties nor ProtonMail itself can peruse the contents of calendar entries.

ProtonCalendar also speaks to ProtonMail’s ambitions in the business realm — the company doesn’t yet offer a full-fledged enterprise product, but it does market a Professional subscription tier that offers some features and functionality aimed at businesses. Any company enticed by encrypted email will also likely be interested in similar privacy-focused products, including calendars, cloud storage, and documents.

Moreover, public trust in “big tech” is at an all-time low, due in large part to the countless data breaches, abuses, and scandals that have emerged in recent years, which may put ProtonMail in a strong position. In fact, it has been profitable for some time already and has garnered roughly 20 million users since its launch back in 2014.

“Like ProtonMail, ProtonCalendar is engineered to put user privacy first, and in that respect we are the polar opposite of Google,” Yen added. “With the launch of ProtonCalendar beta, we move one step closer to providing a full suite of services [that] can replace Google for users who want more control over their data.”

How to Turn a Raspberry Pi Into a NAS for Whole-Home File Sharing

If you want a network-attached storage device but aren’t ready to invest in one, make one with a spare Raspberry Pi. Here’s how to turn a simple board into the brains of a NAS for file sharing.

My house is incredibly neat and organized, but when it comes to my digital life, the word “hoarder” comes to mind. If that sounds like you, a network attached storage device—or NAS for short—is the perfect investment to make your files wirelessly available on any device in your home. But these devices can get expensive, so one option to save money: You can build one yourself for cheap with a Raspberry Pi at the core.

What’s a NAS?

Network-attached storage allows you to share files from one, always-on device throughout your house. With a NAS on your network, you can use it to store your movies and play them from multiple Kodi boxes, store backups on it from your PC, or use it as a BitTorrent box that seeds your files 24/7.

Sure, you could do all this with your main PC, but a NAS is lower-power, and it is designed to be run day and night, even if your desktop is out of commission. Once you start using one, it’s hard to go back.

There are plenty of ready-built NAS devices out there, from companies such as Synology, QNAP, and Asustor. Just buy one, pop in a hard drive, and you’re off to the races. But they can get expensive quickly, and if you aren’t sure whether a NAS is for you, it’s hard to justify the investment—especially if you want something that can grow with your storage needs.

Synology DiskStation DS1019+

The Raspberry Pi, on the other hand, is such a versatile little board that it can act as a cheap trial NAS that—once you grow out of it—can be repurposed for something else. It isn’t as rock-solid as, say, a Synology NAS unit, and RAID doesn’t work particularly well on the Pi if you want data redundancy. You’ll want to make sure that any important data on your Pi-based NAS is also backed up elsewhere.

However, it’s a great project if you have a Pi lying around and want to see what NAS life is all about. Then, once you’re hooked, you can upgrade to a purpose-made Synology or QNAP model that fits your long-term needs.

What You’ll Need…

A Raspberry Pi with all the trimmings: Obviously, you’ll need a Raspberry Pi for this project, along with the requisite accessories: a power supply, a microSD card, and a mouse, a keyboard, and a monitor for the initial setup. Any of the recent-model Pis should work for this project, and you can read more about the other accessories in our guide to getting started with the Raspberry Pi.

A hard drive (or two, or three): Unless you’re sharing just a few files, your microSD card probably isn’t enough storage for a NAS. You’ll need some drives to fill up with your movies, music, or other files you want to share among devices. A standard external drive will do the trick in most cases, though you may need one that plugs into the wall separately—or a powered USB hub—since the Pi may not be able to supply enough power to all your drives. If you want a cleaner setup, you can use an internal drive designed for network attached storage, too, but that would require a case.

Akasa Raspberry Pi 4 Case With Thermal Kit

A NAS-friendly case (optional): If you want your system to have a clean look, it may behoove you to get an enclosure for your Pi and drives, so it isn’t just an octopus of wires and disks. For example, Geekworm makes a board called the X820 that allows you to dock a 2.5-inch internal hard drive, connect it to your Pi, and mount it all in a trim little case. Or you could use an external hard drive enclosure with multiple bays, using one bay for the Pi and the other for your disks.

For now, I’m just using a standard Raspberry Pi case with a USB external drive Velcroed to the top, but if you’re willing to get creative, the world is your oyster here. Once you have all your components in hand, it’s time to get your NAS up and running.

How to Set It Up

There are special operating systems like Openmediavault that turn your Pi into a NAS, but for a beginner setup, I actually recommend regular old Raspbian—it’s flexible, easy to use, and good enough for sharing a few files over the network. Start by installing Raspbian as described in our beginner Raspberry Pi guide.

I recommend hooking up your Pi to your network via Ethernet for fast file transfer, but Wi-Fi will do in a pinch. Once you’ve booted up Raspbian for the first time, designated a new password, and downloaded all your updates, connect your hard drive to one of the Pi’s USB ports.

You’ll see it show up on the desktop, but we’ll be doing most of our work in the Terminal from here on out. (If you prefer, you can SSH into your Pi and perform these commands from another PC.)

Note that, before continuing, we’ll need to erase the drive you attached, so if you have important files on it, you’ll have to store them somewhere else before transferring them to your Pi-NAS.

From a Terminal window, run the following command to see the disks connected to your Pi:

sudo fdisk -l

Find the external drive you want to use for your files—in my case, it’s a 128GB drive called “WhitsonsExternal”—and note its path. In the screenshot below, the 128GB drive plugged into my Pi corresponds to /dev/sda1. (Make absolutely sure you note the correct drive, as we’re about to erase it!)

raspberry pi

To erase and format your flash drive for Linux usage, run:

umount /dev/sda1
sudo mkfs -t ext4 /dev/sda1
sudo e2label /dev/sda1 WhitsonsExternal

Remember to replace /dev/sda1 with your own drive’s path, and WhitsonsExternal with whatever you want to name your drive. Formatting will take a few minutes, especially if you have a large drive, so be patient.

Raspberry Pi

Once it’s finished, reboot your Pi, and you should find that your external drive appears automatically, ready for action.

Now it’s time to share that drive on your network, so you can add your files and access them from any device in the house. To do this, we’re going to use a tool called Samba, which is an open-source implementation of Windows’ SMB/CIFS file sharing protocol. It’s not your only option for sharing files, but it’s easy to set up and compatible with just about any system you might have on the network, so it’s what I recommend.

Raspbian doesn’t come with Samba installed by default, so you’ll need to make sure your repositories are up to date and install it with the following commands:

sudo apt update
sudo apt upgrade
sudo apt install samba samba-common

The installer will ask you if you want to modify smb.conf to use WINS settings from DHCP. Choose Yes and press Enter.


Now you’ll want to edit that configuration file yourself, to share your drive. Run:

sudo nano /etc/samba/smb.conf

Then, from the command-line text editor that appears, use your arrow key to scroll to the bottom of the document. You’ll want to add a block of text that looks something like this:

path = /media/pi/WhitsonsExternal/
writeable = yes
create mask = 0775
directory mask = 0775

In your version of this, MyMedia would be the name of your share (name it whatever you want) and /media/pi/YourHardDrive would be the mounted location of your drive. (You may need to open up the file manager and head to /media/pi/ to figure out what it’s called.)


When you’re done, press Ctrl+X to exit nano, pressing Y and Enter when asked if you want to save the file.

Finally, you’ll need to create a password for Samba so you can see your share from other machines. (There are ways to configure Samba without requiring a password, but this generally isn’t good security practice, so I recommend adding a password.) To add a password to the existing Pi user, run:

sudo smbpasswd -a pi

Enter your desired password when prompted—it doesn’t have to be the same as your user password on the Pi itself, but it can be—and press Enter.


You can add other users with sudo adduser jeff, where jeff is the user you want to add, and run sudo smbpasswd -a jeff to give that user their own password. This isn’t strictly necessary, but it can be useful if you have multiple people in your household to whom you want to give different read and write permissions on certain shares.

Once that’s all done, run the following command to restart Samba:

sudo systemctl restart smbd

And everything should be ready to rock. Head to your Windows PC, open a File Explorer window, and type \\raspberrypi\MyMedia in the address bar (replacing MyMedia with whatever your share is called). If you press Enter, you should be able to enter your Samba username (pi) and password and see your shared drive. You can do the same on a Mac by opening Finder and clicking Go > Connect to Server, typing in smb://raspberrypi when prompted.

This just scratches the surface of what you can do with a Pi-based NAS. As your storage needs evolve, you can add more drives and shares, add more users with different permissions, or set up a RAID array to avoid data loss in the event of a hard drive failure. Once you get to that point, though, it will likely be worth spending a little more on a dedicated NAS device for better performance.

AWS Officially Launched Its Quantum Computing Service

It seemed as if AWS was lagging behind Google, Microsoft, and IBM when it comes to quantum computing but they’ve finally taken a step forward with their latest announcement.

AWS has officially announced the preview launch of its first-ever quantum computing service known as Braket. However, AWS is still not building their own quantum computer. Instead, they chose to partner with IonQ, Rigetti, and D-Wave in providing computing services through the cloud.

The Purpose Behind Braket

There is no doubt that Braket is an innovative computing service that will surely leave an impact on development processes. The tool can be used to build quantum algorithms and create basic applications. These same applications can later be tested in simulations on AWS or other computing hardware from the company’s partners.

“D-Wave’s quantum systems and our Leap cloud environment were both purpose-built to make practical application development a reality today and, in turn, fuel real-world business advantage for our customers,” said D-Wave’s chief product officer and EVP of R&D, Alan Baratz. “Amazon’s Braket will open the door to more smart developers who will build the quantum future, and the forward-thinking executives who will transform industries.”

It was a smart move for AWS to decide to move forward with innovating in the quantum computing space without actually creating their quantum computer. By partnering up with firms that can provide the necessary hardware, AWS found a way to leave an impact in this field without insane amounts of time and funding that would be spent in building a computer.

“By collaborating with AWS, we will be able to deliver access to our systems to a much broader market and help accelerate the growth of this emerging industry,” said Chad Rigetti, founder and CEO of Rigetti Computing.

The main purpose behind Braket is to provide developers easy access to all the tools they need through a single and simple interface. On the other side, Braket allows its partners to gain a wider reach and recognition, which is something they wouldn’t find easily without AWS.

AWS Focuses on Accessibility

It is also important to address that AWS is not planning to install this quantum hardware in its own data centers. They are only seeking a unified way to access the machines and hardware that their partners already offer. In that sense, AWS can be considered the middleman of this quantum computing scenario.

Moreover, AWS has also announced the launch of the AWS Center for Quantum Computing and the AWS Quantum Solutions Lab. This innovation will provide a solution for researchers who want to collaborate around the new quantum technology.

“We believe that quantum computing will be a cloud-first technology and that the cloud will be the main way customers access the hardware,” said Charlie Bell, the senior vice president, Utility Computing Services, AWS. “With our Amazon Braket service and Amazon Quantum Solutions Lab, we’re making it easier for customers to gain experience using quantum computers and to work with experts from AWS and our partners to figure out how they can benefit from the technology. And with our AWS Center for Quantum Computing and academic partnerships, we join the effort across the scientific and industrial communities to help accelerate the promise of quantum computing.”


Ilker is the CEO & Co-founder of Botanalytics, conversational analytics company based in San Francisco.