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The Avengers Here’s a German trailer, featuring a few bits of new footage.

The two new scenes are dubbed, for so our non-Germanophiles, here’s the translation:
Extended Tony Stark Scene:
Tony: And following orders is obviously not my style.
Cap: And everyone knows that style is all you care about.
Tony: From all the people around here, who wears the most figure-hugging outfit?
End Scene with Tony:
Tony: I promise a stress-free environment. No suprises.
Banner: Ow!
Cap: Hey!
Tony: You really got it under control, don’t you. Whats your secret? Relaxing Jazz, Bongo Drums?
Cap: Is everything like a joke to you?
Tony: If it’s funny!

What Happens to My Gmail Account When I Die?

You use a handful of web services every day, but perhaps none holds more of your personal information than your Gmail account. So what happens to your Gmail account should you end up in that big archive folder in the sky? The folks from cloud backup service Backupify set out to find out. Here’s what they learned.
We talk a lot about data ownership in the context of retaining control of the information you create via online services. But let’s say I use a service that’s actually pretty good about keeping me in control of my explicitly stored data—Gmail, for example—does that control survive my own death?
Put more simply, can my wife inherit my Gmail account when I die?
This is more than an academic exercise: I have a number of online accounts and services that send primary notifications to my Gmail account. It’s entirely possible my wife may not be able to access my Health Savings Account or Roth IRA in a timely fashion without access to my Gmail account.
The easy answer is to leave credentials to my account in a place my wife knows to find them in the event of my untimely demise. The only problem with that plan is impersonating a Gmail user is a violation of the Gmail terms of service. Google is unlikely to know the impersonation is happening, and unlikely to care in the majority of cases, but on the off chance they find out my wife is logging into my account after my death, they can suspend or terminate the account at their discretion. This more or less obviates the whole reason for giving my wife access in the first place.
Gmail is a service, not a product, and my use of that service is non-transferrable. If I die without giving my wife my Gmail password, the account will be automatically deleted nine months after my date of last login. If I do give her the password, I run the risk of Google deleting the account the second they realize my wife is impersonating me. Google is far from alone in this, and actually has some of the more well considered data privacy and ownership policies out there.
So, is there a way to bequeath my Gmail account to my wife? After a fashion, yes.
My wife can apply for access to the contents of my Gmail account after my death, but there are some moderately strenuous legal hurdles for her to jump, not least of which is A) having received a message from my Gmail account before, B) a copy of my death certificate and C) a court order showing she’s entitled to the account. And even if she gives all of that, it’s possible Google could deny her request at its discretion.
Now, these are entirely reasonable privacy protections on Google’s part. For all Google knows, my wife may be a suspect in my murder (not that any jury would convict; I will totally have had it coming), and giving her access could muck up a criminal investigation.
Even if my wife gets the contents of my Gmail account, she won’t get the account proper. She won’t be able to send or receive mail from the account, let alone use it to confirm transfer of, say, our automatic bill payments from my account to her own. Again, that’s a perfectly reasonable stance on Google’s part, but it leaves a great gaping use case problem for those of us that employ Google Oauth to access other critical services.
My wife doesn’t care a whit about getting my Gmail correspondence, by and large, but she cares a great deal about the Picasa photos (especially the ones uploaded via Google+ through my Droid smartphone) of our daughters. Eventually, my wife can get hold of those, but it probably won’t be easy and almost certainly won’t be fast (unless she breaks the rules and simply pretends to be me).
And what if I don’t want my wife to get access to my digital data? I obviously wouldn’t bequeath her my password, but she could nonetheless apply for and possibly be granted the contents of my accounts as my legal beneficiary. If she moves quickly (as in, before the nine month deadline is up) she could get all the data I don’t want her to have.
So what’s the answer? Simple: Treat my virtual assets the same as my non-virtual ones.
If I own my data, I can establish its disposition in my will the same as I would my car, my house, my investments and my comic book collection. My online services should have the facilities and the policies to recognize any data bequests and beneficiaries I establish beforehand.
This is a use case in desperate need of address, and not just in the small-scale scenario of my wife outliving me. What happens if I die without giving my business partner rights to my Gmail account, from which I conduct occasional customer correspondence? What if my business goes under, and a creditor claims our intellectual assets as part of the bankruptcy firesale? An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and online services should have policies and processes in place before I die to establish the chain of ownership of my data.
In the future, we’ll all need to name a digital beneficiary. Online services should offer that nomination today. Until then, hope you have a good backup plan.

Hack a USB Flash Drive into a Swiss Army Knife

The Swiss Army knife is the go-to multi-tool for all types of people, but it hasn’t seen much in the way of technological upgrades over the years. Instructables user dr_weidinger wanted to add a modern twist to his, so his grabbed an angle grinder and hacked a USB flash drive onto the knife’s can opener.
You’ll need a full-sized Swiss Army Knife, a Verbatim Tuff n’ Tiny USB flash drive, an angle grinder, epoxy, sand paper, and tape to do this yourself. Grind the can opener on the knife so it fits the USB drive, sand both sides of the USB down, and use the epoxy to hold it into place. It’s a pretty simple process once you get the can opener sized right.
Swiss Army knives with USB’s are available for purchase, but at around $100 and coming in a smaller package, dr_weidinger’s solution is considerably cheaper if you already have a knife.

The Original Desktop

When we say this is “the original desktop,” it’s not because it’s the first one, or because it’s totally unique, but because Flickr userBassam Rajput has an inspiring wallpaper that encourages us to be original. The widgets and gadgets he has on his desktop, made with Samurize, Rainmeter, and more, don’t hurt either. The whole package looks great.
If you want the same look for your Windows 7 desktop, here are the tools you’ll need:
  • The wallpaper from Wallbase.
  • The Samurize system monitoring and customization engine for Windows.
  • The Equalizer Spectrum add-on for the equalizer across the bottom of the screen.
  • The Rainmeter system management and configuration tool for Windows for the weather, time, date, and clock widgets around the screen.
  • The Enigma skin for Rainmeter, which comes pre-installed.
  • The Glass2K utility for Windows to make all of the widgets and tools transparent.
  • Stardock’s Fences to keep desktop shortcuts organized and hidden.
  • RocketDock to replace the start menu with app shortcuts (currently hidden.)
  • Start Killer to remove the Start button from the taskbar.
  • MiniLyrics for the persistent player at the bottom of the screen and the scrolling lyrics next to the equalizer.
This one’s definitely a doozy, and takes a lot of utilities and applications running in the background to keep that look intact. Even if you don’t want the whole look for yourself, perhaps there are some elements that you’d like like to borrow for your own desktop. To that end, if you need a little help getting started with Rainmeter, check out our guide to getting started with itfor some tips, or head over to Bassam’s Flickr page to ask him how he did it—he’s been responsive to requests. Don’t forget to let him know how much you like his work!
Do you have a great, beautifully productive desktop of your own that you’d like to share? Go ahead and post it to the Lifehacker Desktop Show and Tell Flickr Group with a description of how you made it and it may be the next featured desktop!

Why Mobile Commerce Is on the Rise [INFOGRAPHIC]

About 30% of mobile phone users spend an average of about 27 minutes each day text messaging, using the telephone and video chatting, according to retailer CultureLabel.com. The company put together an infographic that highlights the bright outlook for the mobile commerce industry, helped along by the massive growth of smartphone adoption.
As CultureLabel looked to expand its own mobile strategy, the company compiled stats to reinforce the need to grow its m-commerce channel. According to its findings displayed in the online art retailer’s infographic, 5.9 billion out of the 7 billion people (87%) worldwide already have mobile phones. Smartphone sales are up 63.1% from 2010, and a whopping 488.5 million devices were sold in 2011.
Meanwhile, one in seven searches are made with a mobile device. More people are accessing social networking sites this way too. In fact, Facebook mobile users have quadrupled in two years from 50 million in 2009 to 200 million in 2011.
The infographic also points out that mobile commerce is expected to experience significant growth by 2015 from the six previous years — jumping 99-fold from $1 billion in sales in 2009 to more than $100 billion
Do you think mobile commerce will every surpass e-commerce? Do you think these channels will ever surpass in-store shopping sales? Let us know in the comments.

Mobile Infographic

Thumbnail courtesy iStockphoto, -bilge

New Microbial Fuel Cells Could Turn Sewage Plants Into Power Plants

Microbial fuel cells are notoriously inefficient. Electrodialysis systems are notoriously expensive. However if you combine the two and add some poo, they can turn waste water into a viable power source. The future of green energy is brown.
A research team at Penn State announced a proof of concept device that can generate 0.9 kilowatt-hours of electricity per kilogram of organic waste. The device combines a microbial fuel cell (MFC) with a reverse electrodialysis system—which separates ions in a series of membranes. On their own, MFC’s can only generate a relatively weak current, while the electrodialysis system’s multiple membranes are expensive. But by combining them, “we overcame the limitations of the fuel cell and synergistically generated energy for the reverse electrodialysis system,” said Professor Bruce Logan or Penn State.
In addition, the MFC’s in the proof of concept also act as a final cleaning stage in the waste water treatment process. Treatment plants that consume, on average, 1.2kWh per kilogram of waste, can actually produce a positive amount of current while continuing to perform their conventional function. “We certainly could take care of the whole water system: the treating and pumping of water, which currently requires substantial amounts of power,” said Logan. “We also treated the organic matter much faster.”
The secret, says Logan, lies in the fuel source for the reverse electrodialysis—ammonium bicarbonate. This compound reportedly is much more efficient than the saltwater normally employed. Between the ammonium bicarbonate and the addtiion of the MFC’s, the team was able to reduce the number of reverse electrodialysis membranes from 20 pairs to five.
The system is still in prototyping and is currently being tweaked to maximize power generation. Logan hopes to eventually use the devices to help the, “Two billion people in the world who need sanitation, including one billion who need access to clean water.” [Inhabitat – Guardian – Science]
Image: the AP

How to Allow Subscribers on Facebook

1. Account Settings

From your home or profile page, click on the drop-down menu at the top right and select “Account Settings.”
Click here to view this gallery.
Facebook‘s Subscribe option allows you to share certain content with the wider public — without having to compromise your privacy.
Through the Subscribe function, you can post public updates you don’t mind sharing with the world, but keep other, more personal updates private to your friends and family.
At the moment, the option to allow subscribers is purely opt-in, so here we show you how to enable and manage this functionality.

Take a look through the gallery above for our simple walkthrough. Let us know in the comments below if you’ve enabled subscribers for your Facebook profile — and if so, why.

How Twitter Reacted to the New iPad Announcement [INFOGRAPHIC]

It’s likely your Twitter feed has been buzzing with talk about the new iPad all week, but what does that mean? Data on Twitter can tell you who and where these tweets are coming from.

The rumors about the iPad 3 versus iPad HD have since been resolved (it’s just iPad). As you can see in this interactive chart, Twitter users seemed to have their money on the name iPad 3, which at more than 11,000 tweets, was the most talked-about. However, the iPad chatter dwarfed conversation about Apple TV, which received a little more than 2,100 tweets.

It comes to no surprise that most of the conversation originated in the U.S. and Europe, even with the additional Japanese support for Siri.

Thanks to Ross Perez and the team at Tableau Software for putting this data visualization together for us.

Twitter's Reaction to the New iPad

Getting A New iPad? Here Are the Top 25 Free iPad Apps To Get You Started [PICS]

Whether you’re waiting to snag a new iPad or purchasing a discounted iPad 2, you’ll need some apps to really make it useful. Alongside its 25 billionth app download announcement this past weekend Apple also announced what apps were instrumental in helping it reach that number.
Curious what made the list? Here’s a look back at the 25 most popular free iPad apps of all time:

1. Angry Birds HD Free