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Go back to school like a boss with these apps on Android

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Fall is just around the corner. Hopefully you’ve already done your back to school shopping. Now it’s time to get your phone ready for the school year. We recommend the following apps to get you started:

Takes notes together with Google Keep

You can try Evernote, we also like Milanote, but don’t underestimate Google Keep. If everyone installs the note-taking app: you’ve got a study group. Participants can take and modify notes together, in real-time, making it easy to deal with fast-talking speakers.

Schedule your studies My Study Life

This app is excellent for compartmentalizing your needs as a student away from your other planners. It features a bright functional interface, and since it’s tailored to meet your studying needs, you’ll be able to adapt all of your assignments for tracking.

Do Math with HiPER Scientific Calculator

There are a digital ton of calculators to choose from, we suggest HiPER because it’s one of the only scientific calculator options that are free and features a clean easy-to-use interface.

Learn a language with DuoLingo

Supplement your 101 courses with DuoLingo. It features support for dozens of languages in one of the more appealing applications available.

Stay off your phone with Forest

This one helps fight phone addiction by encouraging you to grow a virtual forest. When you need to be distraction-free plant a seed, the longer you keep the Forest app up on your screen without checking any other apps (Facebook and Reddit, we’re looking at you) the bigger your tree will grow.

Gain experience points and level up with Epic Win

There’s a bunch of apps that aim to turn your everyday mundane accomplishments into meaningless points, and yes they are basically just to-do lists. That doesn’t mean you can’t have fun coming up with ways to reward yourself for your epic accomplishments. Like pie, or cake, or binge-watching Community.

Let us know what apps you’re installing to prepare for the school year in the comments.

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How Slack uses a raccoon to keep distractions on Slack at bay

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Slack has undoubtedly changed how employees at many companies communicate. But more and more, it feels like Slack’s focus on immediate responses is far more distracting than the asynchronous emails it often replaces. As Slack CTO and co-founder Cal Henderson noted at TechCrunch Disrupt Berlin today, we still have to figure out how Slack can fit into many a company’s culture and how to keep Slack discussions from going off topic despite the existence of GIFs and emoji. Internally, at Slack, the company mostly uses a raccoon for doing this.

“Internally, we have this idea of the polite raccoon,” Henderson said. Whenever a conversation goes off topic, the raccoon means that it’s time to take that conversation into a different channel (or maybe offline).

Henderson noted, too, that a lot of the work that Slack is putting into machine learning is about making people more efficient and reducing the number of unnecessary messages. “There is definitely more we can do in terms of filling up people’s time so that can better separate between work and outside of work,” he said.

Henderson himself, too, uses Slack’s do-not-disturb setting to keep messages at bay during his off time, but throughout today’s panel, he noted that it’s very much up to the individual and company to set their policies. He also very much defended the existence of Slack itself.

“Something like Slack would have existed even if we didn’t build it,” he said. That’s in part due to the rise of consumer messaging in general and the fact that businesses are now comfortable with buying their software from multiple vendors, which has resulted in a situation where there is no obvious center for business software.

“Communication is the only obvious location to tie those together.”

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20 critical startup truths no one will tell you

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Some knowledge is so important, everyone assumes everyone already knows it. But they don’t, especially in the tech world where things move so fast that most people are faking. But Stripe’s Patrick McKenzie spends his time helping the payment platform’s startup customers survive, and now he’s laid out 20 crucial learnings everyone should read. Click or scroll through for tech’s dirty shouldn’t-be-secrets.

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Apple releases iOS 11.2 with ‘I.T’ autocorrect fix, faster wireless charging and Apple Pay Cash

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Apple released an iOS update in the middle of the night (Cupertino time). iOS 11.2 brings Apple Pay Cash, but the feature is not live yet. The company still needs to flip a switch on its servers to enable it.

Today’s update also enables support for faster 7.5W Qi wireless charging. If you have an iPhone 8 or an iPhone X as well as a wireless charger that supports 7.5W or more, your phone will now charge more quickly as Apple first limited wireless charging to 5W.

Some users have had some issues with the autocorrect feature. The default iOS keyboard would change ‘it’ into ‘I.T’ for no apparent reason. iOS 11.2 should fix that too.

In iOS 11, if you tap on the Wi-Fi or Bluetooth icons in Control Center, iOS doesn’t disable Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. Instead, your phone disconnects itself from Wi-Fi networks and Bluetooth accessories until the next day at 5 AM (or you restart your device, or you go to a new place for Wi-Fi).

Apple doesn’t disable those features so that you can connect your Apple Watch or Apple Pencil, enable Personal Hotspot from another device and use Wi-Fi for more accurate location features. With iOS 11.2, the icons are no longer greyed out. You’ll now see white icons to indicate that Wi-Fi and Bluetooth still work, you’re just not connected to any network or accessory.

In smaller news, iOS 11.2 brings a couple of revamped emojis, new wallpapers, a new indicator at the top right of the lock screen to help you find Control Center and better Wi-Fi and Bluetooth indications.

Releasing iOS 11.2 on a Friday night is a bit odd, but that might be because some iPhones keep rebooting themselves because of a time bug. After your device’s clock passes 12:15 AM on December 2nd, 2017, apps with local notifications crash your phone (workout or meditation apps for instance). Apple may have rushed iOS 11.2 to fix this bug. You can probably expect a macOS, tvOS and watchOS update next week.

So you should update your phone when you get a minute before you encounter this weird clock crash. Head over to the Settings app, then hit General, then Software Update.
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