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What We’re Reading: Jan. 4 – Jan. 10

Spring is just around the corner, CES highlights, and joining the 300 club

As we’re still in the deep freeze here in Chicago, it’s sometimes hard to remember that the Spring home selling season is just around the corner. Luckily the Washington Post remembers and they had a great article this week on getting ready to sell and what to expect in 2014. One piece of advice: read your contracts and legal documents. I don’t know how often we get calls from the general public asking if they can get out of their contract or lease and they say they haven’t read it, or don’t even have a copy. Sheesh…

CES is wrapping up in Vegas. The annual Consumer Electronics Show had the usual hot gadgets, things that will never actually work, and inventions that fill a need you didn’t know you had. Now that most of the mobile phone companies take a pass, TVs are the big stars. This year was no exception with brands touting curved screens, 4k resolution and other innovations. But as New York magazine points out, televisions aren’t the must-have upgrade they once were. And companies are worried.

Also at CES, the latest in high-tech kitchens. In a few years I’m sure we’ll all be wondering how we lived without an oven controlled by your phone.

I never knew (forgot?) that with the latest cell phones and their lithium-ion batteries you don’t need to train it by fully draining between charges. Yahoo tech gives quick tips on keeping your cellphone batteries in top shape.

Speaking of shape, fitness is another hot topic this month. Time ranks 26 fitness trackers from best to worse as well as giving some good general tips.

For much of the US, this week has been brutal for weather. But it’s peanuts compared to weather in Antarctica where temps can plummet to -100! The Atlantic had a story this week on a south pole ritual that sounds more than a bit mad: On those rare days when the temperature plummets to -100, some south pole residents sit in a 200 degree sauna and then run outside around the pole wearing only their boots. Those who successfully compete the run join one of the most elite clubs: The 300 club.

Homeowners in traditionally frigid regions have learned by necessity how to avoid burst pipes. But with temperatures plunging to record lows recently, people in otherwise temperate areas have heard horror stories of frozen plumbing and the watery, expensive aftermath. The New York Times garden section has advice.

The worst effects of the polar vortex are receding, but winter is still here. Get some great tips for lowering your heating bill here.

Say it ain’t so! A Velveeta shortage is looming, according to CNN. Start thinking about your replacement SuperBowl snacks now.

Make life easier when getting foil and plastic wrap out of their boxes. Duh—I never noticed those little tabs on the boxes. A great tip already for 2014. Plus you sometimes wonder if the man in the video is speaking english…

Dave

Senior Information Specialist

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