Have Chromebook, Will Travel

October starts Tuesday, and I think you'd be hard-pressed to find someone more happy with that than me. October means two things for this girl: fresh-baked pumpkin seeds and new Pixels. I've been trying to keep my head above water with these Google Pixel 4 leaks — to say nothing of all the other leaks we've been seeing about Google's next Pixelbook a new Google Home Mini, and more — and even leaving the Pixel alone, this week was chock full of news from Amazon and OnePlus.

Amazon's fall event this week brought an impressive array of new and updated products, and while some of it does seem a bit ridiculous, two of the smaller products announced grabbed my attention. The Echo Dot with Wall Clock is something that makes a great deal of sense, smart speakers with clocks on them have been few and far between, even on the Assistant side, but they work wonderfully. I only hope it sees the same bundling and sales incentives the regular Dot gets. I think the Echo Glow is also going to fill a lot of stocking this Christmas because while it's 85% frivolous, it's an inexpensive addition that's compact and just plain cool.

Verizon is offering the Pixel 4a for just $10/mo on new Unlimited lines

The OnePlus 7T was unveiled this week, too, and Jerry's right, it's going to be really tough to recommend a $900 Pixel 4 over it when OnePlus has a lower price, more sensible design, and has kept up with software just as well as Pixel phones have.

To wrap up the week behind and the week ahead:

This Chromebook will last for years

  • I really want the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2, and Andrew's review only compounds the urge, but at the same time, I bought a Galaxy Watch Active 1 less than six months ago and can't believe Samsung put out two in a year.
  • Most of the Chromebooks we saw at IFA go on sale in the next few weeks — and more just keep coming — but the biggest Chromebook news of the week was the news that the Lenovo C330 will get supported until 2025, which makes the best deal in laptops an absolute steal.
  • I've had the Samsung 45W USB-C Fast Charger for over a week and have charged empty-to-full multiple times, and I haven't managed to get above 36W yet. I'm still doing a bit more troubleshooting, but something's hinky here.

Now, I'm going to go gut me a pumpkin and bake some seeds. October's a busy month and I need the protein and fiber. I've been refining my recipe for years, and here's where it stands this year:

Seeeeeeeeeeeeeds!

Ara's Perfect Pumpkin Seeds

  1. Gut a good sized pumpkin and separate the seeds from the stringy strands and pulp, even the little seeds that didn't quite grow, if you can (these underdone seeds end up being the Scooby Snacks of seeds, as they tend to become plump little butter bombs during baking).
  2. Rinse the seeds in a colander under cold water until you've got as much of the guts off as you can.
  3. While seeds drain in the colander, microwave a 1/2 cup of water in a container big enough for the seeds and brine for two minutes.
  4. Stir one tablespoon of picking salt into brine until completely dissolved, then stir in drained pumpkin seeds.
  5. Cover and brine seeds for 2-3 hours.
  6. Drain seeds in colander again. Do NOT rinse the seeds, simply let the excess brine drip off while we prep the sheet pan.
  7. Line the bottom of a baking sheet with one layer of paper towels and then one half-folded tea towel.
  8. Unfold tea towel, spread seeds in an even layer across the towel, then fold over the top half of the towel and press gently on the towel to ensure contact and help precipitate the drying phase.
  9. Let seeds sit in cool, well-circulated place for 30-40 minutes before pulling back the towel.
  10. When the seeds look mostly dry, peel seeds off the tea towel and put seeds in a measuring cup. If you have more than 1 1/2 cups of seeds, split into two batches for baking. We want to ensure we don't overcrowd the seeds in the oven.
  11. For each cup of seeds in your batch, melt half a stick of butter (4 oz) in the microwave and stir in 1/2 tablespoon of pickling salt until mostly dissolved.
  12. Add seeds to butter and stir thoroughly to coat.
  13. Replace paper towels and tea towel off baking sheet with parchment paper.
  14. Spread seeds in an even, single layer across the parchment paper.
  15. Heat oven to 330. Don't do this ahead of time so butter can set up a little on the seeds and won't evaporate quite as quickly.
  16. Bake seeds in middle rack of the oven. Check ever 3-5 minutes (you can go 10 minutes at the beginning), checking and rotating the pan to ensure even cooking without burning.
  17. When the seeds are just turning from golden brown around the edges of the pan, turn off the oven and use a foil ball to crack oven door while keeping the oven light off. This allows the seeds to coast the rest of the way and can help bake out excess moisture without burning the seeds.
  18. Once seeds look deep golden and butter looks mostly or entirely gone, pull seeds from the oven.
  19. Transfer seeds to a large plate lined with paper towels to wick away any remaining moisture, and eat some once they're cool enough to not burn your mouth. Seeds should last about a week and be shared with anyone and everyone.

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