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In Mac, you can easily take screenshot with the “Command + Shift + 3” and “Command + Shift + 4” shortcut keys. But what if you want to take a timed screenshot, say take a screenshot after a 10 seconds delay?

Mac OS X comes with a hidden screen capture tool call Grab that allows you to take timed screenshot.

1. Open the terminal.

2. Type the command:




chúng tôi can change the number 10 to the time interval you want. The “screenshot1.jpg” parameter is the filename of the screenshot. You can specify a full filepath as well.


Damien Oh started writing tech articles since 2007 and has over 10 years of experience in the tech industry. He is proficient in Windows, Linux, Mac, Android and iOS, and worked as a part time WordPress Developer. He is currently the owner and Editor-in-Chief of Make Tech Easier.

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How To Take A Good Selfie

How To Take A Good Selfie – 20+ Tricks You Might Be Missing

Selfies are one of the most popular types of photos out there. With just about everyone having a little camera in their pockets, it’s never been easier to quickly snap a photo. Looking on social media, you see everyone from your friends to favorite celebrities posting great selfies. What are they doing that you aren’t? What’s the big secret to capturing the perfect selfie?

Well, as it turns out, there isn’t some kind of natural talent required to take a good selfie. Instead, you just need to apply a few easy tricks.

To take a good selfie, make sure you:

Don’t Hold Your Camera Too Close To Your Face

Keep Your Camera Slightly Above Eye Level

Experiment With Taking Selfies From The Side

Extend Your Neck Forward

Check What’s In Your Background

Exhale To Relax Your Mouth

Try To Capture Yourself Laughing

Try Using “Portrait Mode” When Shooting With Your Phone

Try Taking A Full Body Selfie

Find A New Place To Pose In

One of the biggest lies you can tell yourself is that you aren’t photogenic. Anyone can take great selfies, but there are some tricks behind the process. Let’s dive into each of these tricks and the difference they make in your selfies.

How To Take A Good Selfie – 10 Easy Tricks

To start things off, here are 10 of the most important (and easy) tricks you can use to take good selfies.

1. Don’t Hold Your Camera Too Close To Your Face

One of the most common problems you’ll find is holding your camera too close to your face. With any kind of camera lens, especially smartphones, there’s distortion. Lens distortion is how the camera skews and alters the shapes of things it sees.

For example, if you bring your camera too close, it might make your nose look a lot larger or your face longer. Now I’m not totally certain, but I’m willing to bet you don’t want your nose and chin to look bigger than they are. By keeping your camera further away, you can easily avoid this problem.

With your camera further away, you get a more natural-looking perspective of you. Your facial features won’t be as distorted and you’ll have an easier time capturing a good selfie. This is one of the best and most effective changes you can make!

2. Keep Your Camera Slightly Above Eye Level

Have you ever opened your camera while looking down at your phone? If you’re anything like me, all you see is double chins and giant nostrils. Luckily this doesn’t have to show in selfies.

When you’re looking down, your neck shortens, your jawline is less visible, and your eyes become more closed. Together, these don’t make for a very good selfie.

That’s why keeping your camera slightly above eye level is another easy trick to begin using. With a higher angle, everything changes. Your neck lengthens and your jawline becomes more predominant. Likewise, your eyes are fully open which helps to capture a more flattering and natural look to your selfies.

Before you get carried away with this, remember to keep your camera slightly above eye level. If you start taking photos from directly above, that just ends up creating its own set of problems. Raise your camera slightly and reap the benefits of a more flattering selfie angle!

3. Try Taking The Selfie From The Side

The typical selfie is from straight on. These types of photos don’t have much life to them because there’s no depth. Looking straight on, you end up looking like a 2D figure against a background. Not very interesting if you ask me.

By taking selfies from the side, you add more depth and make your photo feel more lifelike. You’re a 3D human being, make sure your selfies show that!

To do this, just move your arm to the right or left when taking a selfie. It doesn’t matter which side, just choose your good side! Now you’ll be able to see more along the side of your face and body. This helps to make your selfies look more flattering and interesting to look at.

4. Extend Your Neck Forward

As you’ve likely heard at some point in your life, models love to make their necks look longer. Even if you don’t consider yourself a model, you are in front of the camera when taking a selfie! So using the tips of a professional model can never hurt am I right?

To extend your neck, try relaxing your shoulders and bring your chin forward. This helps to give the illusion of a longer neck, giving you a thinner complexion.

5. Check What’s In Your Background

Don’t make yourself a part of the selfie fails with people who clearly didn’t check what was in the background. Whether you’re at home or out in the town, check your surroundings before you snap a photo.

Since a good selfie is all about you, you don’t want any distractions in the background. Otherwise, people’s eyes will be drawn to your background instead. Just do a quick check and tidy anything you might deem as “distracting”. Anything that looks dirty or doesn’t fit in with the scene you should consider getting rid of.

With a clean background, you’ll have a much better selfie that nobody can point out flaws in!

6. Exhale To Relax Your Mouth

Now, this tip more applies to females who want those luscious lips in their selfies. To make your lips and mouth look as beautiful as possible, it’s important to relax them. This will help to create the most fullness in your lips that looks amazing in selfies.

It’s easier said than done to just relax your mouth. That’s why exhaling while you take a selfie is an easy trick you can use to make the process feel more natural. When you exhale, it’s easier to relax the muscles in your face and get the perfect lip pose.

7. Capture Yourself Laughing

You’re your most beautiful when you’re smiling, so try to capture yourself laughing! When you’re by yourself, this can feel awkward and forced, but there are ways to make it easy.

Try to think of a funny memory or even just try acting silly until you make yourself laugh naturally. After all, nobody is looking so who cares! As you start to laugh, capture a series of selfies so you never miss the perfect moment. Once you think you got it, go through all your photos and just select your favorite one!

8. Try Using “Portrait Mode” When Shooting With Your Phone

Since you want your selfies to be all about you, using a blurred background is the best way to do this. Since there’s nothing else in focus except you, there’s no better way to tell people exactly what to look at.

On most modern smartphones, you’ll find some kind of portrait or selfie mode that artificially blurs the background. The idea here is to replicate the effects of a shallow depth of field created with a real camera.

Although it’s not the exact same effect, the results look pretty darn realistic. Plus, it makes your selfies look as if they were shot on a professional camera!

9. Try Taking A Full Body Selfie

If you’re getting tired of the same old shoulders up type selfie, start experimenting with full-body selfies. When you’re photographing your whole body, it’s way easier to experiment with poses and get creative. Rather than just having your face as the point of interest, you have your whole body!

There are a few different ways to take good full-body selfies that we’ll go over in a later section of this post.

10. Find A New Place To Pose In

One thing that’s guaranteed to get you more likes on your selfie is to explore new places. Whether you’re on holiday, exploring locally, or just at home, find new areas to take your selfies. After all, it’s hard to take good selfies if you’ve taken every shot you can in your bathroom mirror.

By taking selfies in new locations, it’s more interesting and lets you spice it up with poses and outfits. Not to mention it’s a lot more enjoyable!

How To Pose For Selfies – 10 Actionable Tips

Now that you know what goes into taking a good selfie, let’s start talking about how to pose for selfies!

1. Don’t Be Afraid To Smile

I’ve seen way too many people who are afraid to smile in their selfies. As insecure you might feel about this one, smiling is always flattering. Don’t be afraid to smile in selfies you take from here on out.

Whether you prefer toothy smiles or a shy grin, it’s up to you. However, the trouble you might have is feeling that your smile looks “forced”. To help you avoid this, try to do something that will make you smile naturally. By trying to capture these candid moments you’ll be guaranteed to capture an authentic smile.

Over time, your perfect selfie smile will become muscle memory and you’ll be able to pose natural smiles with ease. Until you get to that point though, try making yourself smile naturally with a funny memory or wacky activity.

2. Act Silly With Burst Mode

To avoid your selfies from looking too posed, do something goofy and capture the whole moment. With burst mode on your camera, just hold down the capture button and shoot a series of photos all at once.

You can try anything from dancing around to your favorite song to just making funny faces at the camera. No matter what you end up doing, you’ll be surprised by the great candid photos you’ll capture of yourself. Even if the best photo wasn’t of you trying to do something funny, it could be of your reaction!

3. Choose Creative Angles You Don’t Typically See

You and I have both seen thousands of selfies all taken from the same angles. To make yours stand out, start getting creative with how you take them. Try setting up your camera in unique positions or incorporate other elements in your photos as foreground.

One way to help come up with more creative selfie angles is to learn about the rules of composition in photography. Your other option is to check out other people online to see what creative ideas they’ve come up with. There’s nothing wrong with emulating someone else’s selfie!



Photograph Yourself Doing Something You Love

If you want the most authentic version of you, capture yourself in the act of doing something you love. Whether that’s cooking, cycling, swimming, or hanging out with your kids, get your camera out and start selfie-ing!

Especially if you can capture a candid moment of yourself, you’re guaranteed to take a good selfie. In this case, try not to think about your pose and just do things normally as you would be.

5. Try A Feet Selfie

It’s totally possible to get tired of the same old “here’s my face” type selfie. To change things up, try your hand at the feet selfie. These kinds of shots usually show people’s feet in front of a nice view but could also be used to show off your new kicks.

This cool point of view style selfie is perfect to show off something exactly as you saw it. Well, at least how your feet saw it.

6. Take A Selfie With Two Hands

If you’re still stuck for pose ideas, try taking a selfie with two hands. The reason this helps for posing is that it frames your face and keeps your hands occupied.

7. Include Your Pets In Your Selfies

It’s safe to say that pets are the best thing you can include in your selfies. They’re adorable, fun, and an easy way to add something extra to your selfies.

Go up to your pet and try to capture their authentic reactions in your selfies. Sometimes the hilarious “why are you doing this to me” face is the perfect addition you’ve been looking for. Better yet, they’ll pose for the camera with you!

8. Angle Your Body

Going back to taking selfies from a side angle, try angling your body in poses. By angling your body slightly (around 45 degrees), your selfies will look more dynamic and have more depth. Best of all, it helps to prevent you from looking like a box, which often happens when shooting straight on.

Whether you’re taking an up-close selfie or a full-body one, this is an easy posing technique that makes a big difference!

9. Pose Your Eyes For More Interesting Selfies

When most people think about the perfect pose for a selfie, they aren’t thinking about their eyes. In reality, your eyes are often the first thing people notice about you. So why wouldn’t you want to make them look as interesting as possible?

Rather than looking straight into the camera for every selfie, start getting creative. Experiment with your eyes in different positions and play around with your eyebrow positions. You can even give yourself an emotion to portray in your eyes to really spice things up.

10. Shoot Into A Mirror

Lastly, trying shooting into a mirror to change things up with your selfie poses. It can get boring to shoot a regular selfie, but a mirror makes things more fun.

Since you’re more familiar with the perspective a mirror offers, you’ll find it easier to find the perfect poses. To start off, a smaller mirror will be easier since it won’t show as much of you. That way you don’t need to think about posing your whole body, but rather, just a portion of you.

As you feel more confident, work your way to a full-body mirror and see what you can capture!

How To Find The Best Lighting For Selfies

Once you have the perfect pose down, it’s all about lighting. Even with the perfect poses and selfie angles, the wrong lighting can totally ruin your selfies. To make sure you have the best lighting, try using the tips below!

– Use Window Light

One of the best and most readily available light sources comes from your window. By taking selfies near a window, it’s easy to get soft and flattering light in every photo.

Since sunlight is rarely shining straight into your window, the light coming through is often filtered. Rather than coming straight from the sun, the soft reflected light is all that’s usually visible. This light creates softer shadows on your face that are more flattering for selfies.

Besides the quality of light, windows are pretty darn big. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a light source any bigger than that! With so much available light, it’s easy to light up your whole face from one window. Even in a dark room, one window is more than enough light for a selfie. Just make sure you’re standing near it.

– Stay Out Of Harsh Sunlight And Opt For Shade

Since soft lighting is the name of the game when it comes to taking a good selfie, try to stay out of direct sunlight. Here you’ll find yourself dealing with really harsh shadows that can be unappealing. Worse yet, you can even suffer from the dreaded “raccoon eyes”. This happens when shadows form around your eyes from the sun being directly above you.

When you can, try to find a shady place to take pictures. Even if it’s on a sunny day, the shade will help to bring down the intensity of straight sunlight. The shade has a soft light that won’t cast unflattering shadows across your body. Best of all, this softer light will help to prevent your skin from looking oily which can happen in the mid-day sun.

– Try Moody Lighting From A Single Light Source

If you’re all about getting creative with your selfies, try using a single light source for lighting. Something like a lamp, streetlight, fire, or LED panel will do just the trick. By experimenting with a single light source, you can get creative with lighting effects.

For example, you could try lighting up half your face while the others in shadow. You could have one eye lit up while the other is dark. These little changes in lighting will totally transform your selfie and are a ton of fun to play with!

How To Hold Your Phone To Take A Selfie

Although there isn’t one perfect way to hold your phone for a selfie, there are a few things you can try. Since we all have different sizes of hands, some positions may be easier for you than others.

Whether you’re holding your phone with your right or left, make sure you have a secure hold on the outsides of your phone. That way you can’t drop it while trying to press the capture button. For most people, the thumb is the easiest finger to use to press capture. Since it will be in the most natural position to take a photo, it’s the obvious choice.

If you have tiny hands or are afraid of dropping your phone, try to use the volume button instead to take a photo. On most modern smartphones, the volume buttons double as a capture button. Rather than having to awkwardly tap on your screen, you might find these buttons easier to access.

Once you feel comfortable holding your phone, stretch out your arm, and face towards your camera. Strike a pose and start snapping away!

Should You Look At The Camera When Taking A Selfie?

It’s totally up to you whether you want to look at the camera. It mostly depends on the feel you’re going for in your selfie. Most selfies where you look directly into the camera feel more posed while looking away feels more third person. If you want the photo to feel like it was taken by someone else, try looking away from the camera.

At the end of the day, there isn’t one best place to look for selfies. It depends on the type of photo you’re going for and your creative intent. Try doing a series of looks and see which one you like best. There’s no harm in having multiple options!

How To Take Full Body Selfies

Full body selfies look great and are fun to capture, but how are you supposed to do it? Here are a few easy ways you can try.

– Use A Tripod And Timer

The best way to take full body selfies is with a tripod and delayed shutter. That means that you can leave your camera set up while giving yourself 10 seconds to get into position.

– Use A Full Body Mirror

If you have one already, a full-body mirror is likely the easiest way to take a full-body selfie. Instead of dealing with any setup or camera settings, just take a picture as normal and you’re good to go.

In the mirror, you can try to strike the same fun and wild poses you might do with a tripod and timer. The only difference is that you’re restricted to where you can go by the size of your mirror.

– Screenshot A Video

Your final option to take a full-body selfie is by taking a screenshot of a video. Set up your camera against something while recording a video. Make your way out into frame and start striking whatever poses feel right. Since it’s a video, you can go for a few minutes just vibing to whatever comes naturally.

Once you’re finished, go through the video and pause at any good moments. After you find the perfect frame, screenshot the video to save the frame as a still image. Now you can start sharing the screenshot just as you would a regular photo!

On most phones, you can screenshot by pressing the power and home button at the same time. On newer iPhones, just press the volume and power buttons together to screenshot. If neither of these options work, simply look up how to screenshot on your particular phone.

Best Mobile Apps For Editing Selfies

With the perfect selfie captured, it’s time to add a little extra flair to it. By editing your selfies, you can adjust the colors to perfectly fit your aesthetic. There are a lot of mobile editing apps out there making it hard to navigate which ones are best. To help get you started, here are a few top photo editors for selfies.

Airbrush is a simple app that’s easy to use even if you’ve never edited a photo in your life. With AI-technology it can automatically make adjustments to your selfies. Since it does all the heavy lifting for you, all you need to do is tell the app where to make changes. By swiping your finger or pinching the screen, you can remove blemishes, alter facial features, whiten your teeth and so much more!

Even if you aren’t into the heavily edited look, Airbrush lets you make subtle and realistic adjustments as well. Best of all, this app will save all your edits directly to the camera roll making them easy to find when you’re done. You can find this app on both Android and Apple devices.

As one of the most popular selfie editing apps, Facetune has an updated version called Facetune 2. This app automatically recognizes certain facial features and makes editing them easier than ever. With skin smoothing, blemish removal, and more, you can totally transform your selfies in less time. One of the cool additions to this app is that you can play around with artificial lighting effects that will take your selfies to the next level.

The downside to this app is that it charges an in-app subscription to unlock the majority of the adjustment tools. However, if you’re constantly posting selfies and know you’ll make good use of the app, this is a small price to pay. There’s a good reason why it’s so popular!

You can find Facetune 2 on both Android and Apple devices.

Unlike the other options on this list so far VSCO is less about physical alterations and more about visual aesthetic. VSCO lets you quickly change highlights, shadows, colors, and aspect ratios with just a few sliders. After you create your free account, you can start uploading and editing right away.

The beauty of VSCO is that you can stylize your photos with their easy to use presets. These act as a template to base your settings on to give your pictures a certain look. Even if you’re new to photo editing, these presets ensure you get amazing results. Once you find or create a look you really love, VSCO lets you save presets to use later. That way you can apply the same style to all your photos and get the perfect Instagram grid!

You can find VSCO on both Android and Apple devices.

Last but not least, Snapseed is another versatile and fantastic photo editor that’s perfect for selfies. Although it doesn’t have the same face retouching abilities as other apps, it makes up for it with more exposure and color adjustment options.

What’s great about this app is that it has a similar look and feel to professional photo editing programs on desktop. If you’re already experienced with photo editing, the Snapseed layout will feel very intuitive. Once you’re done editing an image, you can export it straight to your camera roll for easy access.

If you’re looking for something easy to use that gives you more manual stylized control, Snapseed is a great option. You can find this app available for both Android and Apple devices.

There’s a lot that goes into taking a good selfie. From how you hold the camera, to how you position your body, the little nuances can make all the difference. By implementing the tips outlined here, you’re guaranteed to start taking better selfies in no time. With more time and practice, you’ll have the perfect selfie down to a science!

Happy Selfie-ing!

– Brendan 🙂

How To Capture A Screenshot Of A Whole Text Thread On Iphone

Do you need to get a single shot of the entire conversation in Messages? Maybe it’s for something important like a court appearance, or perhaps you want to save a backup just in case you need it down the road.

You can certainly scour the App Store for tools. But we took the work out of that for you. Here, we’ll show you how to screenshot a whole text conversation with a screenshot-stitching tool called Picsew.

Taking multiple screenshots of your conversation and stitching them together sounds like work. But Picsew does make the process easy. Plus, we’ll give you a couple of other app options so you can try them all.

How to use Picsew

Since Picsew can stitch together most any type of similar photos to look like a single screenshot, you can use it for other apps. So aside from Messages, you may use it for Messenger, WhatsApp, or another chat communication tool.

1) Take screenshots of your conversation using the buttons on your device as you normally would. Try to move the conversation to points where they will stitch together naturally.

2) Download Picsew, open it, and tap to select your screenshots. Keep in mind the order in which you choose the photos; they will display from the bottom up in the stitched image.

3) Tap Vertical at the bottom for text messages that look like one long scrolling shot. The paid version offers the Scrollshot option, which will stitch your images automatically and Horizontal places them side-by-side.

4) Between the screenshots, you’ll see a dark yellow line with a pencil icon. Tap that to adjust the spacing between the images or remove toolbars, keyboards, and the like. This allows you to place the screenshots exactly as needed. Drag either the upper or lower image to move it and tap the checkmark to seal it in.

5) When you’re done, tap the Share button on the top right. You can tap Preview to see the finished image, which allows you to go back and change it if necessary. Or select Share to, Export to Photos, or Export to Files per your preference.

It doesn’t take long to get the hang of using Picsew. And you can play around with a few test screenshots before you work on that important one, just to see how it all works.

Picsew is free with an in-app purchase for additional features.

Other screenshot-stitching apps

A scrolling screenshot app would be the perfect solution. However, most of these apps simply capture video, which is something you can do yourself with the iPhone Screen Recording tool. And other screenshot stitching apps can be clunky or limited. But for a couple of more options that work pretty well, check these out.

Stitch It

Stitch It actually works wonderfully. It assembles the screenshots for you but allows you to rearrange them if needed. It also crops the screenshots at points that make sense, like removing toolbars.

The downside: You can only stitch three images for free. But if you plan to do this often and need more images, take a look at the in-app purchase.

Download Stitch It

StitchPics – Stitch Screenshots

StitchPics is similar to Picsew in that you have complete control over the lines between the stitched images. So it’s another great option.

The downside: The Auto stitch feature still seems to require manual adjustments, and the interface takes some getting used to; it’s not as smooth as Picsew.

Download StitchPics

If you need to create one individual image of conversation in Messages or a text thread in another chat app, hopefully, Picsew or one of the other mentioned apps, gives you just what you need.

Check out next:

Vitamin Supplements: To Take Or Not To Take

If you’re wondering whether vitamin supplements are right for you, Stacey Zawacki, a Sargent College clinical assistant professor and director of the Sargent Choice Nutrition Center, recommends a consultation with a registered dietitian. Photo by Kalman Zabarsky

News reports are filled with conflicting studies on the benefits and risks of taking vitamin and mineral supplements. The mixed messages can leave consumers wondering if buying a bottle of vitamins is a worthy health investment or money wasted. There’s good reason for the consumer confusion, says Stacey Zawacki, a Sargent College clinical assistant professor and director of the Sargent Choice Nutrition Center. The answer to “Should I take vitamins?” is never a simple yes or no.

“Everyone is unique,” says Zawacki (SAR’98, SPH’13), who provides private nutrition counseling and teaches the class Food, Supplements, and Consumer Health. Her recommendations depend on an individual’s nutritional needs, health goals, food preferences, and other factors. Does Zawacki take supplements herself? “No, I don’t,” she says. “But that really is irrelevant, because it’s a personal decision based on what I know about my needs, my life stage, and my diet.”

If you’re wondering whether vitamin supplements are right for you, Zawacki recommends a consultation with a registered dietitian. An hour-long counseling session can cost less than what many people spend for a year’s worth of tablets and capsules, and your health insurance may cover counseling costs if you have hypertension, diabetes, or another diet-driven disease.

“What I do as a first step,” Zawacki says, “is ask, ‘What are you currently eating?’” She’ll then analyze your diet, looking for possible deficiencies. If it appears you’re not getting, for example, the amount of vitamin E that the Institute of Medicine recommends for a healthy person of your age and gender, Zawacki won’t automatically send you to the drugstore for vitamin E capsules. Instead, she’ll recommend you add almonds, sunflower seeds, spinach, or other foods rich in vitamin E to your diet. Unlike pills, these foods also provide fiber, protein, and a host of other nutrients. “There’s no pill that contains all that,” Zawacki says.

And some foods contain a remarkable number of vitamins and nutrients. Sweet potatoes, for example, are an excellent source of vitamins A, B, and C, potassium, and fiber. Spinach is included on the list of recommended food sources for iron, magnesium, potassium, and vitamins A, C, E, and K. Adding just a few of these “super foods” to your regular diet can be an efficient way to fill many common nutrient gaps.

If your lifestyle, food preferences, or allergies make it unlikely that you’ll be able to meet your nutritional needs with food alone, then Zawacki might recommend a vitamin supplement. If she does, she’ll help you determine the best form of that particular vitamin to buy and the best time of day to take it to maximize absorption and avoid interactions with medications.

What if you eat a well-balanced diet, but want to take a multivitamin just in case? “There are scientists out there who disagree on whether it’s going to be helpful, harmful, or have no benefit,” Zawacki says. “I would give you all the information I can, and then it would be your choice.” If you decide to take a multivitamin, she says, choose a reputable brand (look for a seal of approval from ConsumerLab, NSF, or United States Pharmacopeia) that doesn’t include more than 100 percent of the nutrients recommended for your gender and life stage. But keep in mind, she says, “if you’re getting the nutrients you need from your diet, there’s no strong evidence that extra nutrients are going to help you.”

The Sargent Choice Nutrition Center has a list of resources here; alums can also register for nutrition counseling with Sargent’s experts.

A version of this story appeared in the 2012 edition of Impact.

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What Would It Actually Take To Have A Covid

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has notified public health officials in every state and five major cities to prepare to begin distributing a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as late October or early November, The New York Times reported on September 2. The planning documents include detailed guidance for how to roll out two unidentified vaccine candidates to healthcare workers and other groups at particularly high risk from COVID-19.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, vaccine developers have raced to bring a COVID-19 vaccine to market at unprecedented speeds. More than 150 vaccine candidates are under development, with 37 already being tested in people. This process includes three phases of clinical trials that determine whether a vaccine is safe and effective. To begin distributing a COVID-19 vaccine on such a short timeline could mean cutting short the final phase of these trials, which involves monitoring tens of thousands of volunteers who have received the vaccine candidate.

The CDC regularly works with states to come up with plans for how to carry out immunization programs, says Bruce Gellin the president of global immunization at the Sabin Vaccine Institute in Washington, D.C. “If you spend billions of dollars to develop a vaccine so you can vaccinate people, you’d better have a plan for how you’re going to [distribute] it,” he says. “You don’t want to start coming up with a plan when the vaccine is sitting in a warehouse.”

We cannot depend on herd immunity to stop the spread of COVID-19; a vaccine will be necessary to end the pandemic, says Stacey Schultz-Cherry, an infectious disease researcher at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis.

“The CDC asking states and cities to be prepared to distribute a vaccine is not a bad idea, because you’d rather have them doing it now and being prepared than scrambling at the last minute,” she says. “It’s been very exciting to see how quickly the vaccines have developed—but we absolutely cannot release a vaccine unless we’re sure it’s safe.”

Some experts are concerned that distributing a vaccine as early as the end of October would be overly ambitious. “It’s hard not to see this as a push for a pre-election vaccine,” Saskia Popescu, an infection prevention epidemiologist in Arizona, told the Times.

Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has recently said that phase 3 clinical trials for a COVID-19 vaccine could be stopped early if a Data and Safety Monitoring Board—an independent committee of physicians and other experts—determines that there is enough evidence that the candidate is both safe and effective.

Still, there are consequences to terminating trials early, says Schultz-Cherry. “The worst thing that could happen would be to release a vaccine that’s not safe…imagine for all of our vaccine programs the impact that would have on public health and consumer confidence.”

One concern is that ending trials too soon would prevent researchers from recruiting a diverse enough pool of volunteers—particularly from groups that have been hit hardest by COVID-19, such as the elderly, people of color, and people with underlying conditions—and investigating the vaccine’s effects over a long period of time. “You want to make sure that this vaccine is safe and is going to be effective in all populations,” says Schultz-Cherry.

Extremely rare side effects can go unnoticed if the vaccine is not tested over a long enough time period in a large enough group of people. To justify ending these trials early, Schultz-Cherry says, “It has to be overwhelmingly positive data.”

The CDC did not specify which vaccine candidates the states should begin preparations for. However, the descriptions in the planning documents match up well with two vaccines currently undergoing phase 3 clinical trials that each include 30,000 volunteers, according to the Times report. One vaccine, developed by the Massachusetts-based biotech company Moderna, is being tested at about 89 sites across the United States. The other, from the New York-based pharmaceutical company Pfizer, is being investigated in volunteers in the United States, Argentina, Brazil, and Germany.

Both vaccines are made of genetic material from the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2. The vaccine works by delivering messenger RNA (mRNA) that the recipient’s own cellular machinery uses as instructions to build copies of the spike-shaped protein on the surface of the virus. This spike protein, which doesn’t cause disease on its own, appears to be the part of the pathogen that the immune system responds most strongly to. “It’s basically giving your body the ability to make that [SARS-CoV-2] protein and then generate natural antibodies to it,” Schultz-Cherry says.

No gene-based vaccines to prevent or treat any disease have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration as of now. However, they are expected to be quick and cheap to design and manufacture once researchers identify the genetic sequence they need to include in the vaccine. Plus they can be easily tweaked if the virus mutates.

“So far the vaccines look promising—they look like they’re safe, and they look like they’re generating good…immune responses,” Schultz-Cherry says. Preliminary data indicates that the vaccines stimulate multiple parts of the immune system, including antibodies and T-cells.

One drawback, however, is that RNA vaccines must be stored at extremely cold temperatures to prevent the genetic material from breaking down—minus 70 and minus 20 degrees Celsius for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, respectively.

“If these are the vaccines that are going to be deployed, one of the really important reasons why logistically the states need to be prepared is because you can’t just take it to a workplace or a doctor’s office…if they don’t have the proper storage conditions,” Schultz-Cherry says. “It would be like…if I say I’m going to buy you some ice cream and I’ll bring it to you, you have to be prepared to either eat it right then or store it somewhere because it’s not going to last.”

This means that states must prepare facilities with freezers that can store these vaccines and decide where people will need to go to receive them. Additionally, they must figure out who will receive the vaccine first, ensure that they have enough syringes and other supplies, and set up databases to track who is receiving the vaccine. Both candidates are given in two doses several weeks apart, so it’s also important to communicate to people that they need to receive both for the vaccine to be effective.

“Whether it’s under an emergency use authorization or a full license, when vaccines are starting to be given to people outside of clinical trials, it’s critical that we understand how they are performing,” Gellin says. This means that, in addition to everything else, it will also be important to set up a system to continue monitoring the vaccines after they become available.

“There’s a lot to do if the results continue to look very promising and it’s safe,” Schultz-Cherry says. “It’s not insurmountable by any means, but it needs to be coordinated.”

This article has been updated.

What Is A Mac Address?

If you’ve ever gone through the settings on your home router, we’d recommend you do, as some can come with insecure default settings and passwords. You may have noticed a feature called MAC filtering or something similar. You’d be forgiven for assuming that this setting prevented Apple’s Macs from connecting to your network or restricted it so only Macs could connect to your network.

Despite the potentially confusingly similar name, MAC has nothing to do with Apple. MAC is short for Media Access Control, and a MAC address is essential in computer networking. Those of you vaguely familiar with networking concepts may assume that IP addresses are the only form of address used to communicate over a computer network. This isn’t the case, though. IP addresses are used for routing traffic between networks. Still, devices use MAC addresses to route data within a network.

What Is a MAC Address?

A MAC address is part of the layer 2 addressing scheme on the OSI model. Layer 2 is used for local communication over a single network. In contrast, layer 3, with its IP addresses, is used for inter-network communications. MAC addresses have a simple structure made up of 12 hexadecimal characters. In most cases, a MAC address will be displayed with pairs of hexadecimal characters separated by a colon “:.” For example, a MAC address may look like this “00:20:91:AB:CD: EF”. Less often, MAC addresses may be separated by a hyphen and, in some cases, not separated at all.

Note: Hexadecimal means that the following characters are allowed “0123456789ABCDEF”. These make up a base 16 system. Conveniently, this means that one 8-bit byte of data can be represented by 2 hexadecimal characters.

A MAC address is divided into two parts, split down the middle. The MAC address’s first half identifies the device’s “vendor, manufacturer, or other organization.” It is an OUI, or Organisationally Unique Number assigned, upon request, by IEEE. All network cards produced by a manufacturer will have a MAC address starting with the same six hexadecimal characters.

The second half of the MAC address is “unique” and assigned when a device is made. The quotes are necessary because, with just 12-bits of address space remaining, there are only 16,777,216 possible combinations. This means that duplicates are likely with high-volume manufacturing. Thankfully, the MAC address is only used in local connections and is never used for inter-network communications. This means that a MAC address doesn’t have to be unique in the world, just unique on the network. It is possible to have an issue, but it’s unlikely.

The Difference Between IP and MAC Addresses

Every device on a network will occasionally broadcast its MAC address to indicate to other devices that it is connected to the network. These broadcasts are never extended out of a network. For this reason, there is no risk of anyone on the internet knowing your MAC address. The information would only theoretically be helpful for someone on the same local network as you.

Note: By network, we specifically mean local network, such as your home Wi-Fi network, not your ISP network.

IP addresses are the addressing scheme used to communicate across networks. This means that your IP address could be helpful to an attacker on the internet, potentially target you with DDOS attacks. For this reason, you shouldn’t share your public IP address where possible.

Be aware, however, that you can’t really avoid doing so if you send network traffic to someone, as they need to know your IP address to send a response back. IP addresses are also globally unique, though there is the caveat to the reserved private address ranges, which are treated more similarly to MAC addresses.

Privacy Issues

One of the issues with wireless connections such as Wi-Fi is that when your device isn’t connected to a network, it tries to search for known networks to connect to. This functionality enables your mobile phone to automatically reconnect to your home Wi-Fi when you get within the range, which is useful, but there’s also a privacy issue. To do this, your device regularly broadcasts the names of all Wi-Fi networks it has been configured to connect automatically. It says, “I want to connect to these networks. Are any of you out there?”

This sounds fine until you realize your device does this with a packet that uses its MAC address. This means that a large organization with lots of Wi-Fi access points or devices to listen to Wi-Fi traffic can track the movements of specific devices around a building, city, or country. Or even internationally, wherever they have the infrastructure.

To get around this, modern devices, especially mobile devices, tend to randomize their MAC address when performing these broadcasts. This denies anyone the ability to track your movements by monitoring the movement of a single MAC address. MAC randomization is even generally enabled by default.

You may remember that we said earlier that the MAC address was hard coded when the network device was manufactured. Both desktop and mobile operating systems allow you to manually override the MAC address. This is useful and good for privacy. It does have one minor consequence, though. It means that MAC filters on Wi-Fi routers are generally easy to bypass.

A Humorous Side Note

A lot of organizations have been assigned OIDs by IEEE. Many companies will be the ones you’d expect, the actual hardware manufacturers. Many will be companies you’ve never heard of too. There are some interesting ones, though. One such interesting one is the NSA. Yes, everyone’s favorite three-letter American agency is the National Security Agency. They have the OID “00-20-91”.

Many network monitoring systems translate the first half of a MAC address into the actual textual name of the organization it represents. This is because it’s slightly more accessible for people to read and spot patterns this way. It also means that if you configure your device’s MAC address, to begin with, “00-20-91,” it will show up in any monitoring system as being from the NSA. This has been used to prank unwary system admins in companies. Technically, there is no legal restriction or issue with doing this yourself. We don’t necessarily recommend it, though, especially in corporate environments, the little prank might not be appreciated.


A MAC address is a 48-bit address used for layer 2 communications. Being a layer 2 addressing scheme, it never gets transmitted beyond the local network. However, a MAC address must be unique on a network. The MAC address has two halves. The first half identifies the device manufacturer, while the second half is a network special device identifier.

MAC addresses are assigned to a network adaptor when they are manufactured. However, most operating systems feature functionality to override the given MAC address with a custom one. MAC addresses are displayed as 12 hexadecimal digits, typically separated in pairs by colons or hyphens.

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