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Your security cam is watching you

Security cameras were first used to record public comings-and-goings almost a century ago, but the first spy camera, or “nanny cam”, arrived in North American houses in 1992. In 2006, even more technological gasoline was thrown on the fire when the first IP (internet protocol) camera came on the scene, and the world didn’t need to store video on physical tapes anymore. Digital storage and home surveillance were a match made in security heaven. In 2023, the smart home security market size was $28.52 billion, and that amount is expected to almost double in the next five years. Home surveillance equipment is designed to help us feel safe, both when we’re home and when we’re not. Cameras can be set up to record our surroundings, or set off alarms if someone tries to enter without a key or a passcode. Some can immediately send for law enforcement. But what authority does law enforcement have over the video you take of your own property? Who does the surveillance footage you record ultimately belong to? Here's a look at how your home surveillance equipment might be compromising your security.

By Bronwyn Petry | 02.16.24

Security cameras were first used to record public comings-and-goings almost a century ago, but the first spy camera, or “nanny cam”, arrived in North American houses in 1992. In 2006, even more technological gasoline was thrown on the fire when the first IP (internet protocol) camera came on the scene, and the world didn’t need to store video on physical tapes anymore. Digital storage and home surveillance were a match made in security heaven. In 2023, the smart home security market size was $28.52 billion, and that amount is expected to almost double in the next five years. Home surveillance equipment is designed to help us feel safe, both when we’re home and when we’re not. Cameras can be set up to record our surroundings, or set off alarms if someone tries to enter without a key or a passcode. Some can immediately send for law enforcement. But what authority does law enforcement have over the video you take of your own property? Who does the surveillance footage you record ultimately belong to? Here's a look at how your home surveillance equipment might be compromising your security.

By Bronwyn Petry | 02.16.24

How elite matchmakers help the wealthy find love

It’s almost Valentine’s Day, and to celebrate, we thought we’d take a look at one of the unsung heroes of Cupid’s game: the matchmaker. Matchmaking isn’t just a plot point in a Hollywood rom-com — it’s a centuries-old industry. And over the past few years, it’s also one that’s been growing steadily, as single people get increasingly fed up with the shallowness and distraction of dating apps. Humans are returning to matchmaking for the personal touch that technology is missing. As of 2024, the matchmaking industry is valued between $1.2 and $1.5 billion annually, and 40% of all professional matchmaking services are located in the U.S. Recently there has been an uptick in wealthy professionals enlisting the help of “elite” matchmakers to make them a match. These high-end matchmakers have often been in the business for decades, and have solid success rates when it comes to pairing people up. Here’s a look at the rarified world of elite matchmakers: What they do, what they charge, and why more of the ultra-rich are signing on the dotted line.

By Bronwyn Petry | 02.07.24

It’s almost Valentine’s Day, and to celebrate, we thought we’d take a look at one of the unsung heroes of Cupid’s game: the matchmaker. Matchmaking isn’t just a plot point in a Hollywood rom-com — it’s a centuries-old industry. And over the past few years, it’s also one that’s been growing steadily, as single people get increasingly fed up with the shallowness and distraction of dating apps. Humans are returning to matchmaking for the personal touch that technology is missing. As of 2024, the matchmaking industry is valued between $1.2 and $1.5 billion annually, and 40% of all professional matchmaking services are located in the U.S. Recently there has been an uptick in wealthy professionals enlisting the help of “elite” matchmakers to make them a match. These high-end matchmakers have often been in the business for decades, and have solid success rates when it comes to pairing people up. Here’s a look at the rarified world of elite matchmakers: What they do, what they charge, and why more of the ultra-rich are signing on the dotted line.

By Bronwyn Petry | 02.07.24

Is the VR revolution finally here?

After months of anticipation, Apple’s Vision Pro launched on February 2, 2024. Industry insiders are saying this new virtual reality gadget could spark a mass-adoption of VR technology. But anyone who follows the tech industry has heard that line before. Virtual reality has been around a lot longer than you might expect, and every time it looks poised to hit the mainstream, it stumbles. How, then, is the launch of the Vision Pro (by a company infamous for its exorbitant price points) supposed to be the game changer that brings affordable, virtual reality tech to anyone who wants it? Here’s why the latest Apple offering might actually signal that virtual reality is here to stay.

By Bronwyn Petry | 02.05.24

After months of anticipation, Apple’s Vision Pro launched on February 2, 2024. Industry insiders are saying this new virtual reality gadget could spark a mass-adoption of VR technology. But anyone who follows the tech industry has heard that line before. Virtual reality has been around a lot longer than you might expect, and every time it looks poised to hit the mainstream, it stumbles. How, then, is the launch of the Vision Pro (by a company infamous for its exorbitant price points) supposed to be the game changer that brings affordable, virtual reality tech to anyone who wants it? Here’s why the latest Apple offering might actually signal that virtual reality is here to stay.

By Bronwyn Petry | 02.05.24

When will space travel be affordable?

Over a third of Americans say they’d be interested in taking a trip on a private spaceship, according to a recent survey by Pew Research. Space travel has captivated our collective imagination for decades, and in 2020, the Harvard Business Review declared that the commercial space age had arrived. While there are billions of dollars to be made in the space industry (a 2019 estimate put the number at $366 billion), and a handful of non-astronaut humans have made it to space, the cost is prohibitive, to put it lightly. In June 2023, an individual ticket for a commercial space flight on Virgin Galactic cost $450,000, which puts space tourism well beyond the reach of the average American. With three major companies — Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic, and Elon Musk’s SpaceX — gearing up to bring space travel to the masses, we were curious: When will it be possible for someone who’s not a millionaire to go to space? Many experts agree on a specific time frame when commercial space travel will become widely accessible. Here’s a look at when they think that will be, and what needs to happen to get us there.

By Bronwyn Petry | 01.22.24

Over a third of Americans say they’d be interested in taking a trip on a private spaceship, according to a recent survey by Pew Research. Space travel has captivated our collective imagination for decades, and in 2020, the Harvard Business Review declared that the commercial space age had arrived. While there are billions of dollars to be made in the space industry (a 2019 estimate put the number at $366 billion), and a handful of non-astronaut humans have made it to space, the cost is prohibitive, to put it lightly. In June 2023, an individual ticket for a commercial space flight on Virgin Galactic cost $450,000, which puts space tourism well beyond the reach of the average American. With three major companies — Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic, and Elon Musk’s SpaceX — gearing up to bring space travel to the masses, we were curious: When will it be possible for someone who’s not a millionaire to go to space? Many experts agree on a specific time frame when commercial space travel will become widely accessible. Here’s a look at when they think that will be, and what needs to happen to get us there.

By Bronwyn Petry | 01.22.24

Senior athletes in the best shape of their lives

It’s mid-January, and many Americans are powering through the first month of their New Year’s resolution to get fit. However, if you’re over 60, you might feel like you’ve missed the boat on making exercise a regular part of your routine. Here’s the good news: while you may not be able to run a marathon tomorrow (please don’t try), it’s likely easier than you think to get in shape and have fun doing it. A growing percentage of senior Americans are choosing to keep pushing themselves and testing their physical limits well into their golden years. In fact, the number of people aged 60 and older who have registered for both the 140.6-mile and the 70.3-mile Ironman triathlons has quadrupled over the past decade, from around 2,500 in 2012 to over 13,000 in 2022. It’s an encouraging trend for anyone worried about being able to stay in shape as an older adult — but obviously not everyone is going to be out there crushing triathlons post-retirement. Here’s a look at what it takes to maintain a competitive fitness level as you get older, and what you can do to help minimize your chances of being injured.

By Bronwyn Petry | 01.15.24

It’s mid-January, and many Americans are powering through the first month of their New Year’s resolution to get fit. However, if you’re over 60, you might feel like you’ve missed the boat on making exercise a regular part of your routine. Here’s the good news: while you may not be able to run a marathon tomorrow (please don’t try), it’s likely easier than you think to get in shape and have fun doing it. A growing percentage of senior Americans are choosing to keep pushing themselves and testing their physical limits well into their golden years. In fact, the number of people aged 60 and older who have registered for both the 140.6-mile and the 70.3-mile Ironman triathlons has quadrupled over the past decade, from around 2,500 in 2012 to over 13,000 in 2022. It’s an encouraging trend for anyone worried about being able to stay in shape as an older adult — but obviously not everyone is going to be out there crushing triathlons post-retirement. Here’s a look at what it takes to maintain a competitive fitness level as you get older, and what you can do to help minimize your chances of being injured.

By Bronwyn Petry | 01.15.24

The timeless popularity of game shows

Americans love game shows: the bright lights, the brain-teasing challenges, and, most importantly, the chance to win big. While the format has existed since the early days of radio, game shows truly hit their stride when televisions started showing up in more households in the mid-1950s. There were day-time game shows, literally designed with homemakers in mind (think the The Price is Right or sentimental favorite Queen for a Day), and then prime-time game shows, which were intended for the whole family to watch — like Life Begins at 80, What’s My Line, or Name that Tune. Part of the allure and timelessness of the genre has to do with its ability to distract audiences, providing both a reprieve from the evening news and a source of entertainment for the whole family. But beyond their entertainment value, there are three main reasons why as a genre, game shows have the longevity they do: low production costs, the contestants’ chances to win big, and the hosts themselves. Here’s a look at what makes game shows so successful — and what you can do to improve your chances of appearing on one as a contestant.

By Bronwyn Petry | 01.01.24

Americans love game shows: the bright lights, the brain-teasing challenges, and, most importantly, the chance to win big. While the format has existed since the early days of radio, game shows truly hit their stride when televisions started showing up in more households in the mid-1950s. There were day-time game shows, literally designed with homemakers in mind (think the The Price is Right or sentimental favorite Queen for a Day), and then prime-time game shows, which were intended for the whole family to watch — like Life Begins at 80, What’s My Line, or Name that Tune. Part of the allure and timelessness of the genre has to do with its ability to distract audiences, providing both a reprieve from the evening news and a source of entertainment for the whole family. But beyond their entertainment value, there are three main reasons why as a genre, game shows have the longevity they do: low production costs, the contestants’ chances to win big, and the hosts themselves. Here’s a look at what makes game shows so successful — and what you can do to improve your chances of appearing on one as a contestant.

By Bronwyn Petry | 01.01.24

How did Hallmark pivot from cards to movies?

Hallmark movies have become a cherished part of the holiday landscape. Starting in October, the Hallmark channel debuts a new movie every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, through the end of December. In 2023, it’s releasing an impressive 42 new offerings. We all know the formula: a career-driven woman is summoned to a small town, she meets a man, they get into a fight, sparks fly and somewhere along the way, they find their happily-ever-after. Predictable, yes, but here's the thing: audiences can't get enough of them. And they do make money — enough that even Ebenezer Scrooge would be satisfied. Recent estimates say that the greeting card conglomerate generates a third of its advertising revenue from just its Christmas movies — which works out to about $350 million. Here’s how Hallmark went from writing greeting cards to churning out festive films.

By Bronwyn Petry | 12.20.23

Hallmark movies have become a cherished part of the holiday landscape. Starting in October, the Hallmark channel debuts a new movie every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, through the end of December. In 2023, it’s releasing an impressive 42 new offerings. We all know the formula: a career-driven woman is summoned to a small town, she meets a man, they get into a fight, sparks fly and somewhere along the way, they find their happily-ever-after. Predictable, yes, but here's the thing: audiences can't get enough of them. And they do make money — enough that even Ebenezer Scrooge would be satisfied. Recent estimates say that the greeting card conglomerate generates a third of its advertising revenue from just its Christmas movies — which works out to about $350 million. Here’s how Hallmark went from writing greeting cards to churning out festive films.

By Bronwyn Petry | 12.20.23

20 book-inspired spots you need to visit

Just by turning a few pages, books have the remarkable power to transport us. For bookworms, visiting the places that inspired our favorite authors can be deeply enriching. It connects us in a more visceral way to the stories we love, as we take in the sights and sounds of the places the writers did. From the iconic Hemingway Home in Key West to the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam and everywhere in between, these sites invite you to step into the worlds of literary giants and immerse yourself in their worlds. So pack your bags and let us take you on an adventure of several lifetimes. Here are 20 of the most popular literary tourist attractions in the world.

By Bronwyn Petry | 12.19.23

Just by turning a few pages, books have the remarkable power to transport us. For bookworms, visiting the places that inspired our favorite authors can be deeply enriching. It connects us in a more visceral way to the stories we love, as we take in the sights and sounds of the places the writers did. From the iconic Hemingway Home in Key West to the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam and everywhere in between, these sites invite you to step into the worlds of literary giants and immerse yourself in their worlds. So pack your bags and let us take you on an adventure of several lifetimes. Here are 20 of the most popular literary tourist attractions in the world.

By Bronwyn Petry | 12.19.23

What it takes to become a "professional Santa"

Like Mariah Carey and awkward family dinners, shopping mall Santas are a staple of the holiday season. But what tends to be glossed over about these festive figureheads is that being a mall Santa is not just a fun hobby or a public service — it’s a job. Becoming a working Santa over the holidays means jockeying into a competitive industry and knowing how to sell yourself. Have you ever wondered about what it takes to become a professional Santa? About what’s involved in the process, and how much it costs? We looked into the steps required to transform into “the man in the red suit.” Here’s what we found out.

By Bronwyn Petry | 12.15.23

Like Mariah Carey and awkward family dinners, shopping mall Santas are a staple of the holiday season. But what tends to be glossed over about these festive figureheads is that being a mall Santa is not just a fun hobby or a public service — it’s a job. Becoming a working Santa over the holidays means jockeying into a competitive industry and knowing how to sell yourself. Have you ever wondered about what it takes to become a professional Santa? About what’s involved in the process, and how much it costs? We looked into the steps required to transform into “the man in the red suit.” Here’s what we found out.

By Bronwyn Petry | 12.15.23

5 steps to becoming a published author

According to a 2022 Thrift Books survey, more than half the respondents felt they had a great idea for a book in them — but only 15% had started writing, and only 6% had gotten halfway. The three most common roadblocks to not being able to finish were: Not being able to think of an ending Getting bored of their story The fear that, once they finished their book, no-one would want to read it However, if you have aspirations to become the next James Patterson or Danielle Steele, don’t get discouraged — there are tools you can use to overcome these pressure points and get your masterpiece in the hands of readers. Inspired by NaNoWriMo, a marathon writing competition where thousands of people try to complete a first draft during November, here are five steps you can take to write your book — and get it published.

By Bronwyn Petry | 11.29.23

According to a 2022 Thrift Books survey, more than half the respondents felt they had a great idea for a book in them — but only 15% had started writing, and only 6% had gotten halfway. The three most common roadblocks to not being able to finish were: Not being able to think of an ending Getting bored of their story The fear that, once they finished their book, no-one would want to read it However, if you have aspirations to become the next James Patterson or Danielle Steele, don’t get discouraged — there are tools you can use to overcome these pressure points and get your masterpiece in the hands of readers. Inspired by NaNoWriMo, a marathon writing competition where thousands of people try to complete a first draft during November, here are five steps you can take to write your book — and get it published.

By Bronwyn Petry | 11.29.23