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Editors' Pick

The Best Holiday Gifts in 2018

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Time is running out to find that perfect holiday gift, which is why we’ve done all of the research and testing for you. Take a look at the most desirable gifts of the year that are also suitable for every budget—and even the pickiest of recipients. From selecting the ultimate gift for a loved one to finding just the right pick for a secret Santa exchange, here’s everything you need to know about this year’s top gifts:

Here are the best holiday gifts:

  1. Nisolo Mens Leather Shoes. The Nisolo brand combines the highest-quality leather shoes with sustainability. Enjoy the best in design while lightening your carbon footprint and still taking advantage of fair prices. From casual to formal, these ethically sourced shoes start at around $100.
  2. Seamless Smooth Legging. Eleven by Venus Williams offers perfect workout leggings completely seam-free and designed for both comfort and function. The sweat-wicking wonder leggings start around $75 and are guaranteed to optimize any workout, from running to yoga.
  3. Saucony Iso-2. On the hunt for your next gym or outdoor fitness shoes designed specifically for the activities you love? It’s time to re-visit Saucony and experience how skillfully designed fitness shoes can make or break your workout.
  4. Saucony Stretch and Go. If comfort tops your list of must-haves for sneakers, Saucony’s line of Stretch and Go lets you slip in and out of your new favorite pair of workout or casual shoes with ease. They’re even available in children’s sizes.
  5. DiamondClean Smart. Philips Sonicare electric toothbrushes now feature the new DiamondClean Smart brush with five modes, three intensities, and you even get brushing feedback with the app. Enjoy four brush heads and a variety of features for a whiter, healthier smile.
  6. Philips Norelco Shaver S9000 Prestige. Take advantage of the smoothest shave of your life when every hair is cut as close as possible to the skin. You’ll need fewer passes to get premium skin comfort, and prices start at just $299.
  7. Ogio travel bags. Take your golf game to the next level with this selection of travel golf bags. There are also travel accessories and apparel to choose from with this award-winning gear bag design brand.
  8. CocoRoo. CocoRoo comes in original coconut, lavender and peppermint to keep that special someone in your life moisturized and smelling great!
  9. Primus Lite. Buying from Primus Lite means getting fitness shoes that put sustainability at the forefront—right along with performance, comfort, and affordability. Recycled PET plastic bottles are used to create lightweight vegan shoes starting at $130.
  10. What a difference it would make if the world had access to safe drinking water anywhere, from home to the great outdoors. Choose from a variety of LifeStraw options and accessories including steel, original, and Flex. Every purchase ensures a child in need gets safe water for an academic year.
  11. Golf accessories. The golfer in your life is always in need of more golf accessories, and with the Golf Gift Guide you’ll never go wrong. Even if you’re not a golfer, this guide will ensure you’re shopping for the right items.
  12. State Optical Co. Choose from a wide range of luxury American eyewear that’s manufactured right in Chicago. Quality and design are at the forefront of this brand.
  13. Upright Pose products. Give the gift of better posture and reduced pain. Simply choose the Upright Pose device, sync it to the app, and posture instantly and continually improves.
  14. Ecco leather collection. Nothing compares to a gift of high-quality leather goods and accessories. Ecco specializes in menswear, women’s wear, and golf accessories for those with refined taste.
  15. Sheets, towels, and pillowcases from Miracle Brand. For those who hate doing laundry, want to reduce electricity and water usage, and adore bedding and towels that smell fresher longer, switching up the fibers can make all the difference. Explore the world of Miracle Brand products
  16. UPPABaby Vista Stroller. If you’re shopping for a parent, you’ll find scores of articles touting the “best” stroller. UPPABaby tops them all thanks to featuring the best in safety and comfort. Prices start at $899.
  17. Wilson Cabin Bag. For decades, Wilson has been the go-to destination for affordable yet high-quality leather. The Cabin Bag is a great pick for traveling, daily usage, or upgrading any current “catch-all” bag.
  18. Louisville Solo 619. The famous Louisville Slugger has no comparison, and the 619 model is a fantastic pick for the baseball player in your life. Prices start at $299.
  19. C300 Forged Irons. Only forged steel will give you the responsiveness and weight you need when tackling power holes. Great for optimizing anyone’s golf game and instantly adding yards.
  20. Roll Top Backpack. Why zip when you can roll? Customize the size of your leather bag while ensuring contents are safeguarded from the elements—all while adding a touch of style.
  21. Vintage Messenger Bag. The classic Vintage Messenger Bag is back from WP Standard and more luxurious than ever before. Two interior pockets and a suede-lined area just for laptops takes this bag to the next level.
  22. Electric smoker. You already trust Cuisinart for your bake-offs, and now your outdoor cooking skills can keep pace with this 30-inch electric smoker. It’s user-friendly, no charcoal is required, and a great option for new grillers at a starting price of $150.
  23. Meat thermometer. Knowing the temperatures of meats is a requirement for top-level cooking. This easy-to-use fork thermometer has an LED screen that allows the user to easily gauge how done the meat is for just $29.95.
  24. IQBuds Boost. Give the gift of hearing this holiday season with personalized hearing buds. They feature Ear ID, smart technology that adapts to the user. These products are designed for those who aren’t quite ready for hearing aids yet.
  25. Arc-1 Bluetooth Headphones. Aiwa headphones are a must-have accessory for audiophiles or anyone committed to a 2019 resolution of more workouts. They’re light, portable, and feature flexible sound with 20 hours of battery life.
  26. DEEBOT OZMO 930. Introducing the next generation of DEEBOTS, the revolutionary robot vacuum that switches cleaning modes automatically. Adaptive Floor Sensing technology means it can adjust instantly between mopping and vacuuming. It integrates with your other home smart tech, too.
  27. WINBOT X. If cleaning windows is one of your least favorite tasks, the EVOVACS ROBOTICS team has the solution for you (or a lucky gift recipient). WINBOT X attaches to glass and makes sure every inch is sparkling. It’s cordless and deep clean mode is available.
  28. Coway Airmega. Explore the world of Coway Airmega, a line of state of the art air filter systems featuring smart modes. Each product integrates with your current favorite smart home tech.
  29. Custom photo editing is at your fingertips with the newest console from Loupedeck. Updates and upgrades are always happening as the photography community routinely gives feedback to perfect this creative console.
  30. The Purple Mattress. The majority of American adults are chronically fatigued, and a big part of getting quality sleep is your mattress. The Purple Mattress is engineered with a comfort grid so it’s firmer where you need it and softer where you’d like. Prices start at $699.
  31. Wusthof Knife Set. Seven generations are behind the design of the chef-favorite Wusthof knives, first created in Germany over 200 years ago. Kick your cooking game up a notch with these professional knives and sets.
  32. Under Armour Eyewear. Your favorite workout gear also has an intellectual side. Tap into some of the most durable sports eyewear available from a brand you know and love.
  33. Sphere Paris basketballs. If you thought basketballs only came in pumpkin-orange, think again. Sphere Paris offers luxury basketballs for play or show. It’s a must for the baller in your life, with prices starting around $60.
  34. Organic sheets. All-organic, 300-thread-count cotton sheets make a huge difference when it comes to getting shut-eye. With prices at $100, it’s surprisingly affordable to upgrade your sleep game.
  35. Is someone in your list struggling with soups, hummus, salsas, and smoothies? Add a Fast and Furious Blender or other top-rated kitchen accessory to the mix for easier, tastier dishes.
  36. LiftMaster MyQ Garage Door. If you’ve ever gotten a mile away from home, only to wonder if you closed the garage door, you’ll fully understand the value of this app. The LifeMaster MyQ Garage Door app will let you determine the current status of the garage door, as well as view the garage cam, open and close the garage door, and open and close any connected gates.
  37. Dyson V10. Vacuum cleaners are nothing new, but the Dyson v10 promises suction of larger vacuums, as well as a 40 percent larger bin. With this new vacuum cleaner, they’ll be able to capture particles as small as 0.3 microns to keep all the living spaces as allergen-free as possible. There are four models available, each coming with free tools with registration, as well as four additional tools to help with cleaning.
  38. Taotao Powermax 150. This is a fun street-legal scooter which is fully automatic with a CVT transmission. The Powermax 150 is available in red, blue, black and orange and comes with a matching trunk for storage. The Powermax 150 has a 4-stroke, forced air cooled, single cylinder enine, as well as 150 cylinder capacity. If you live in California you’ll be glad to know that it’s UC CARB approved. The electric start and kickstart back up with ensure this scooter is always ready to go.
  39. MEGABOOM. If that special someone needs a speaker that brings serious sound, the MEGABOOM portable speaker should top your list. Available in a variety of colors, this speaker is waterproof, which makes it ideal for their outings on the lake.
  40. Harmony Elite. Harmony has become a leader in smart remotes, and the latest Harmony Elite is no exception. The Elite goes beyond merely controlling your TV and sound system to allow you to interact with your lights, thermostat, Alexa and more. You set up your preferences, customizing it to your unique environment. You can even set a command like “Good morning” that automatically turns on your lights to your preferred setting, raises your blinds, and plays the music you want.
  41. Alienware Desktop and Monitor. For the gamer on your list, there’s the Alienware Aurora Desktop, which is built for virtual reality and designed to stay cool even after hours of play. If you have the budget and want to really spoil them, the Alienware Area-51 Threadripper Edition desktop is the way to go. They’ll also need the Alienware 25 gaming monitor, which includes AMD FreeSync technology that will give them smooth gameplay and a one millisecond response time. This 25-inch monitor will bring his games to life.
  42. Winegard. The Winegard Elite 7550 and the Flatwave Amped antenna are the ideal product for any cordcutter that is wanting to save money and ditch overpriced cable. The Elite 7550 provides long range signals to be broadcast right in your home without a pesky cable box.

You’ve still got time to grab all the gifts you need for friends, family, and loved ones in your life—including yourself—before the holidays. Start shopping today and save with added end of year discounts or bundled savings with some brands and items. Start 2019 on the right foot by making your life easier, happier, and more joyful. If you want to guarantee they’ll love whatever’s in that gift bag or beneath that big red bow, stick with the top-ranked gift items of the year. With these prices and quality, you won’t be able to resist treating yourself, too. You deserve it, and the recipients of the gifts will be thrilled with your choice.

Drew Hendricks is the Lead Editor for Z6 Mag and also a contributor to a variety of other publications.

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Editors' Pick

Wave Spell Music Festival Returning to Belden, California

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 The small town of Belden, in Northern California, will host the Wave Spell music and arts festival later this month for the second year in a row.  The annual festival is held and curated by the veteran electro-jam group, Sound Tribe Sector 9, or STS9 to those familiar.   The festival begins on August 15th.

Sound Tribe, originally known as simply “Sector 9”, began their career around Atlanta in 1999 and is now based out of Santa Cruz, California, although they spend a significant amount of time on the road as one of the top touring acts in the game.

The Wave Spell festival is now in its second year, both being held in Belden-a small town on California’s Feather River with a population of only 22 people (as of 2010). With the inaugural year being a success by consensus of fans and insiders alike, there was much anticipation and delight among STS9 constituents with the announcement of another year in Belden.  Fans especially found great excitement at the idea of returning to the banks of the Feather River for Wave Spell.

In hosting the event, Sound Tribe Sector 9 will offer their own unique sound as the headlining entertainment and backbone of the weekend.  Just as they did last year, the band will play 9 sets of original music over three nights in Belden.  Among these performances, three sets will consist of completely improvised music by STS9, dubbed the “Wave Spell Sets”.  This format mimics the first year and is the festival’s namesake. 

Last year, Sound Tribe introduced the concept of their Wave Spell Sets and eventually brought them to the stage, getting an extremely enthusiastic response from their devoted fan base.  The band has presented only a handful of these improvisational performances, both at the festival and on the road, adding to the allure for their followers.

While STS9 is the main attraction in Belden, Wave Spell also boasts a heady lineup of other musical acts, as well as visual artists for festival attendees to enjoy.  Live music is promised until at least 5 A.M. every morning of the event, and early morning performances are known as “sunrise sets” suggest that music will go deep into the day.  As it did last year, the festival will also feature installations from painters as well as live painting during musical performances.  A new addition to the festival this year even offers a display of geological specimens billed as “Crystals by Isometrica”. 

The very small town of Belden, California plays host to several festivals a year.  These events take up the entirety of the town, which consists of only a few homes, a hotel/lodge, a few cabins, and a beach along the river.  The scenic grounds offer camping space for the 1,200 or so festival-goers as well as limited space for RV’s.  For a VIP experience, and at a VIP price, fans can also rent one of the cabins for the weekend or get one of the few rooms in the lodge.  The lodge is also home to a diner-style restaurant and a small convenience store where attendees can purchase supplies. 

The beach in Belden offers not only a beautiful space to relax on the river, but during the Wave Spell festival, it also provides the Beach Stage, where fans can enjoy live music throughout the day.  The beach stage is also the site for the fan-favorite “Sunrise Sets”, starting shortly before dawn and going on through the sunrise and into early morning daylight. 

Last year, in the festivals first year, the Beach Stage quickly became a favorite spot for STS9 fans, who loaded up the area of the Feather River directly in front of the stage with giant inflatable lounge apparatuses shaped like unicorns, ducks, and even a slice of pizza.  The river quickly became a large cluster of floaties, all of which were responsibly retrieved at the end of the weekend by the environmentally conscious crowd. 

The lineup for the second year of Wave Spell is almost entirely fresh.  Aside from STS9, only a few of the groups performing are returning from last year.  Among the veterans of the festival coming back is the Portland, Oregon electronic trio, Yak Attack, who were standouts at the first Wave Spell.  For the most part, however, festival-goers will experience a brand new roster of acts. 

For electronic music fans, Wave Spell submits an exciting schedule of artists and groups.  Amid the lineup of live electronic performers, a legend of the genre promises to be one of the most anticipated sets of the weekend.  DJ Mark Farina will take the stage in Belden to provide the crowd with his now iconic style of sound, dubbed by Farina as “Mushroom Jazz”.  Farina and his Mushroom Jazz have become synonymous and his sound has held the attention of the electronic music world for nearly three decades, dating back to his first Mushroom Jazz compilation in 1992. 

Over on the Beach Stage, early morning sunrise sets have become a popular fixture in the electronic music festival scene.  Often specially assembled to go along with the experience of watching the sun come up in the morning, these sunrise sets have become a favorite among fans. 

A new addition to the Wave Spell lineup this year almost seems to specialize in this type of first thing in the morning/end of the night performances.  Hailing from the San Francisco underground, Random Rab has seemingly perfected the art of the sunrise set.  A Burning Man legend in his own right, Rab seems to fully understand the important mix of laid back and beautiful along with intense and spiritual that makes for a fantastic sunrise set.  His early morning performances have become one of the most sought after in the game. 

Also returning to Wave Spell this year, diehard STS9 fans are particularly excited for solo performances from members of the headlining band.  On the festival schedule for the weekend are special solo sets from David Phipps (Keyboard/Piano) and Zach Velmer (Drums), of Sound Tribe Sector 9.  Along with Phipps and Velmer, STS9 bassist, Alana Rocklin also has something special in store for fans.  Rocklin’s previous band, Sub ID, will be reuniting for a set at Wave Spell.  This will be only the second Sub ID performance since Rocklin joined STS9 in 2014.

Wave Spell Live music festival will be held August 15-18, 2019 in Belden, California.  Tickets can be purchased at:

https://www.ticketfly.com/purchase/event/1836953

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Editors' Pick

AMCA Breach: 20 Million Victims, 19 Class Actions

[bctt tweet=”AMCA previously reported that there were only 200,000 victims in the recent breach, but their partner labs said there were more than 20 million.” username=”Z6Mag”]

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AMCA previously reported that there were only 200,000 victims in the recent breach but the company, but their partner labs said there were more than 20 million.
AMCA previously reported that there were only 200,000 victims in the recent breach but the company, but their partner labs said there were more than 20 million. Photo: cbgrfx123 | Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0
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More than 20 million and not 200,000 have fallen victim to a massive data breach that has seen medical clients using the services of healthcare billing company, American Medical Collection Agency (AMCA), to pay for their laboratory tests in different blood testing labs across the U.S. were confirmed by the SEC filings of affected medical institutions amidst the earlier claims of AMCA that there were fewer victims.

The data breach was a result of a cyber attack that aims to phish for financial information from the website of the AMCA. The exposed data belongs to Americans who paid laboratory services at several clinical and blood testing labs and institutions and used the AMCA billing portal.

What happened in the AMCA breach?

Data that were stolen from the victims include their names, phone numbers, dates of birth, home addresses, social security numbers, credit card numbers, and other bank details. The said information was auctioned off by the hacker in several financial hacking forums.

According to DataBreaches.net, the organization who first reported about the incident, AMCA officials, following the notification of the breach confirmed that their system has been compromised and has remained undetected for more than eight months. AMCA corroborated that the breach took place between August 1, 2018, and March 30, 2019.

Notifications have been sent by several of AMCA’s corporate partners and clients to their customers following the disclosure of the security breach that has seen information from millions of Americans compromised.

Related: Hospitals Only Spend 5% Of Its Budget For Cybersecurity Amidst 82% Of Them Reporting To Have Been Attacked

The list of impacted testing laboratories includes Quest Diagnostics (11.9 million patients), LabCorp (7.7 million patients), BioReference Laboratories (Opko Health subsidiary, 422,600 patients), Carecentrix (500,000 patients), and Sunrise Laboratories (undisclosed number of patients).

However, neither the AMCA nor its five clients have yet to notify ALL impacted citizens by the breach making them vulnerable to a lot of cyber crimes and their financial data could be used by anyone who gets hold of the information against the persons of those who still don’t know that their financial information is floating around the internet.

The companies involved in the breach are facing several lawsuits

Appropriately, the lawsuit came into the direction of AMCA, Quest, and LabCorp regarding the incident. More than 11 class-suite actions have been filed against the three companies for their inability to protect consumer data. The 11 lawsuits were recorded at The United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) on June 3. Since then, eight more lawsuits were filed against the companies in federal courts from New Jersey, New York, and California.

According to litigation experts, “If many cases are filed in federal court, any of the lawyers on any of those cases can file a motion with the JPML [..] to centralize the various federal cases that have been filed by sending all of them to a single judge for coordinated pre-trial proceedings.”

“Healthcare companies are especially susceptible to data breaches not only because they aggregate a tremendous amount of important and sensitive data, but also because they tend to be less focused on cybersecurity protection than other industries,” said John Yanchunis of Morgan and Morgan, one of the firms who filed lawsuits against Quest Diagnostics.

“These companies, like Quest Diagnostics, know they are at an increased risk and yet have not taken the proper steps to protect their patients’ data. We will fight for justice on behalf of those impacted by this breach,” added Yanchunis.

Lawmakers are demanding an explanation

The U.S. government, led by attorneys general from Connecticut and Illinois has also opened an investigation on the matter. Furthermore, lawmakers and other politicians have sent letters to the responding companies to ask for an explanation of why an eight-month data breach remained undetected and to demand accountability from them.

In Washington, US Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) also sent a letter to Quest Laboratories demanding the company explain its vetting process for selecting AMCA as a billing vendor, and what requirements a third-party vendor has to pass. Democratic New Jersey Sens. Cory Booker and Bob Menendez also sent letters to AMCA, Quest, and LabCorp, seeking official answers on how a breach of this severity went undetected for eight months.

“The months-long leak leaves sensitive personal and financial information vulnerable in the hands of criminal enterprises. Moreover, such breaches force victims to contend with identity theft that may lead to irreparable harm to their credit reports and financial future,” said the letter sent by the NJ senators.

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Arts & Entertainment

‘The Hunger Games’ Is Launching A Prequel And A Possible Movie

[bctt tweet=”Suzanne Collins is releasing a prequel to The Hunger Games storyline and Lionsgate is already looking forward in turning it into a blockbuster movie” username=”Z6Mag”]

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Source: Scholastic
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Almost fours years after the last The Hunger Games movie (The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part II) and almost nine years after the first book from the trilogy was released, Suzanne Collins is returning with the famed trilogy — but this time in a form of a prequel.

Scholastic, the publishing company that distributed Collins’ The Hunger Games trilogy, announced today that it is publishing a prequel novel to the series, currently untitled, which will hit shelves on May 19, 2020.

“Suzanne Collins is a master at combining brilliant storytelling, superb world-building, breathtaking suspense, and social commentary,” Scholastic Trade Publishing President Ellie Berger said in a statement. “We are absolutely thrilled — as both readers and publishers — to introduce the devoted fans of the series and a new audience to an entirely new perspective on this modern classic.”

Collins’ original Hunger Games trilogy—The Hunger GamesCatching Fire, and Mockingjay—altogether, sold more than 100 million copies and has been translated into more than 50 languages. Moreover, The Hunger Games books appeared on the New York Times bestseller list for more than 260 consecutive weeks (more than five straight years).

After writing the last installment in 2010, Collins teased in 2013 that she was working on a new series, but did not say whether it was related to The Hunger Games.

This time, the novel will be set in the world of Panem, 64 years before the events of the original Hunger Games trilogy—the morning where Katniss Everdeen volunteered as a tribute on the 74th Hunger Games. Presumably, Katniss Everdeen played by Jeniffer Lawrence will not be involved in the upcoming novel.

Based on the previous novels in the series, 74 years before the main novels, the 13 Districts of Panem already tried to initiate a rebellion against the Capital. In the aftermath of the failed attempt, 12 Districts remained to leave District 13 to rubbles. The Hunger Games was a result and served as a reminder that all the other Districts should obediently comply with the Capital’s rule.

The novel will take place 10 years after the first rebellion and will tell the story of Panem during the “Dark Days following a failed rebellion in Panem “With this book, I wanted to explore the state of nature, who we are, and what we perceive is required for our survival,” Collins told the Associated Press in the announcement. “The reconstruction period 10 years after the war, commonly referred to as the Dark Days — as the country of Panem struggles back to its feet — provides fertile ground for characters to grapple with these questions and thereby define their views of humanity.”

On other news, the Lionsgate film studio, who adapted The Hunger Games trilogy into movies, is already looking forward to the next addition to Collins’ franchise given that it received praise and public attention for producing them.

“As the proud home of the Hunger Games movies, we can hardly wait for Suzanne’s next book to be published,” said Joe Drake, chairman of the Lionsgate Motion Picture Group, in a recent statement to the Associated Press. “We’ve been communicating with her during the writing process and we look forward to continuing to work closely with her on the movie.”S

Lionsgate turned Collins’ Hunger Games novels into a series of four films, dividing the last novel, Hunger Games: Mockingjay, into a two-part finale. Over the course of the four movies, it earned almost $3 billion dollars an the worldwide box office with the last movie earning $653.4 million.

Collins helped with the movies as an executive producer and a co-screenwriter on the first 2012 movie but distanced herself after she finalized Mockingjay in 2010.

Lionsgate is also known to have produced Twilight, which is one of their platinum franchises along with Collins’ trilogy. The studio earlier licensed The Hunger Games to theme parks and live concert tours being built around the movie franchise.

Additionally, it starred Jenniffer Lawrence who played the main character as Katniss Everdeen in all of the four movies, which helped catapult her acting career in 2012.

Scholastic acquired world English rights to the prequel novel and it will publish in print, digital and audio formats in the US, Canada, the UK and Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand next year. The deal was negotiated by Rosemary Stimola of the Stimola Literary Studio for Suzanne Collins and David Levithan, VP, Publisher, and Editorial Director, for Scholastic.

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