An Insane View of the Milky Way From the Edge of New Zealand

New Zealand’s South Island spans 58,000 square miles of breathtaking, verdant terrain. But nothing on the ground surpasses what’s in the sky. The region is home to the largest dark sky observatory in the world, glittering with millions of stars and spectacular views of the Milky Way.

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Photographer Paul Wilson lives on South Island and is an ardent star gazer. He spends countless hours traveling to far-flung corners of the island to point his camera at the heavens. “New Zealand’s great with dark skies,” he says. “If you get out of any city, you can see the Milky Way here.”

Wilson fell in love with the cosmos (and photography) four years ago, when some astrophotography friends encouraged him to give it a try. He now makes multiple long-exposure images, stitching them together to create one enormous photo sometimes more than 500 megapixels. Wilson typically shoots between February and November when the nights are longer, cross-referencing light pollution charts with Google Maps to locate the best stargazing spots. It’s how he found Hickory Bay, about two hours south of Christchurch where he lives. “It’s very remote,” he says. “Once when I was out there, a farmer popped out in his underwear to ask what I was doing.”

He nabbed this particular shot of the bay on a still, clear night in February. It was about 3:30 am, the tide was going out, and the Milky Way was just beginning to rise in the eastern sky. Wilson hooked his Canon 1D X Mark II up to a panoramic mount and tripod on the edge of the wet sand. He made 25 20-second exposures—five down and five across—to capture the entire scene. Later, he digitally stitched the photos together in the program Autopano Giga.

The final 113-megapixel photograph captures the galaxy shimmering above a tumbling shoreline and reflected in the dark water. It’s brighter and more detailed than what you’d see with the naked eye. But for Wilson, the real thing is no less magical. “When you’re under the Milky Way you feel really insignificant,” he says. “I’d hate to live somewhere I couldn’t see it.”

24 Best WordPress Themes for Bed and Breakfasts

Are you seeking to produce a sleep and breakfasts website on WordPress? There are numerous WordPress themes designed to work specifically for bed and breakfasts. In this article, we now have hand-picked some of the best WordPress themes for sleep and breakfasts you could try.

Best WordPress themes for sleep and breakfasts

Developing a Bed and Breakfast Website with WordPress

WordPress is employed by several thousand bed and breakfasts, resort hotels, lodges, spas, and other businesses within the hospitality industry.

Its flexibility, design choices, and integrations allow it to be the perfect device to construct contemporary mobile friendly websites.

Before getting started, first you will need to ensure that you are using the right platform the work (WordPress.org). See our comparison of WordPress.com vs WordPress.org to realise why we suggest self-hosted WordPress.org.

Next, you’ll should signup for the WordPress hosting account. This is how your website files are stored.

We suggest utilizing Bluehost since they’re among the largest hosting companies on earth and an formally suggested WordPress hosting provider.

Luckily for us, they will have decided to provide WPBeginner users 60per cent discount on hosting with free domain name + SSL. Click to begin with Bluehost.

After signing up for web hosting, you’re now willing to install WordPress. Visit our detailed guide on how to produce a internet site, and you’ll be up and able to go very quickly.

Given that you are prepared, let’s glance at some of the best WordPress themes for bed and breakfasts that can be used on your own site.

1. Dreamy

Dreamy

Dreamy is really a beautifully created WordPress theme for bed and breakfasts, spas, resorts and resorts. Having a modern and stylish design, Dreamy is sold with extensive scheduling functionality with prepared to make use of templates.

In addition includes beautiful sliders, climate widget, extremely customizable website, and 100+ shortcodes. It is extremely very easy to setup and customize with theme options panel.

2. Milos

Milos

Milos is designed especially for hotels, sleep and breakfasts, and restaurants. It really is tested to operate beautifully with third-party booking plugins and websites. The homepage comes with a modern design with a fullscreen slider plus call to action.

It’s very customizable with limitless color settings, space page templates, social media marketing menus, and much more. Inside additionally locate a restaurant menu administration system to showcase break fast and dining options available at your sleep and breakfast.

3. Parador

Parador

Parador can be an elegant WordPress theme for sleep and breakfasts, hotels, and comparable businesses. It comes with an built-in college accommodation scheduling system which allows people to book rooms directly. You get stunning templates for room pages with photo galleries and sliders.

Inside you will find testimonials area, social media integration, customized logo design support, and unlimited colors. All theme options can be simply configured using theme options panel and customizer.

4. Riverside Resort

Riverside Resort

Riverside Resort is another great WordPress theme for resorts, bed and breakfasts, and hotels. It has a booking type enabling your visitors to book rooms or solutions without making your website. It also makes it easy to include room explanations and picture galleries.

Riverside Resort includes ready-made templates for spa, meetings, and spaces. You can make use of the 1-click installer to import the demo content. It offers custom widgets for social media, weather, Google Maps, contact page, and much more.

5. Sundance

Sundance

Sundance WordPress theme is another excellent choice for a bed and morning meal website. This has custom map, climate, and contact us widgets that one can spot towards the top. It has a spaces part, allowing you to definitely include available accommodation choices with pictures.

You can make use of the integrated functionality to incorporate a weblog to your site to activate together with your community.

You’ll believe it is easy to use and setup. Permits one to import demo content and use it being a starting place. All theme choices can be simply changed making use of theme settings and customizer.

6. Haven

Haven

Haven actually highly flexible WordPress theme for bed and breakfasts and resort hotels. Packed in are three ready-made demos which you install with 1-click. Each demo web site includes complete content as you are able to replace with your personal to get going. It supports external booking systems like AirBnB, Booking.com, Expedia, and much more.

Additionally has an integrated visual page builder that enables you to definitely make your own page layouts with easy drag and drop. The theme has tons of modification alternatives with layout designs, colors, header styles, back ground, and sliders.

7. Paris

Paris

Paris is just a sophisticated WordPress theme suited to accommodations, B&B, spas, and travel web sites. It comes down with a great amount of modification options that you’ll expect from the premium theme. It includes a shortcode generator, multiple sidebars, custom widgets, mega menus, and more.

It comes with an easy to use part to incorporate rooms and services. Area templates are beautifully fashioned with big picture galleries. You can easily setup by having a custom theme choices panel which also enables you to include Bing Analytics and Bing Research Console rule to your internet website.

8. Hotelia

Hotelia

Hotelia is a contemporary and effective WordPress theme for resort hotels having a great group of premium features. It features a fully practical room search feature which allows users to pick times to look for rooms. You may use Hotelia to create a custom scheduling site of your own.

It comes with a contemporary website design to setup using theme options panel. It ships with premium WordPress slider plugin and a drag and fall page builder.

9. HotelEngine Comfy

HotelEngine Comfy

Comfy is just a powerful WordPress theme for hotels, B&B, accommodations, and comparable organizations. It offers a powerful scheduling motor that enables you to effortlessly handle your property. It’s beautifully designed with a slider at the top, which is followed by your booking type, rooms, map widget, and much more.

You can easily customize and is sold with a unique custom theme choices panel. Inside you’ll additionally find multiple sidebars, color schemes, social networking integration, and much more.

10. SixtyOne

SixtyOne

SixtyOne is another easy to use and super flexible WordPress theme for B&B, resorts, and resort hotels. It comes with customizable homepage layout allowing to easily show amenities, add slider, and drag and drop widgets.

In addition possesses fully integrated scheduling request form with a custom area to add rooms, testimonials, and photo galleries. It’s breathtaking templates to display rooms, space category, contact page web page, and much more. All theme options can be easily changed utilizing real time customizer.

11. Imperial

Imperial

Imperial is really a simple WordPress theme designed for bed and morning meal, hostels, as well as other hospitality companies. It provides a testimonials section, accomodation template, multiple sidebars, and full-width page template.

Imperial’s primary feature is its simplicity and simplicity of use. The website layout includes a slider on the top followed closely by spaces and services and a footer widget area. All theme options can be found under theme customizer.

12. Courtyard

Courtyard

Courtyard is a free WordPress theme for bed and breakfasts, resorts, and spas. It has a sticky drifting navigation menu at the top, a fullscreen slider on the website, followed by your rooms and services parts.

It really is completely customizable utilizing live customizer and is effective with popular contact page plugins you wish to utilize for bookings.

13. Palermo

Palermo

If you’re looking trendy and stylish WordPress theme for B&B, resort, or hotel, then you’ll like Palermo. This superbly crafted WordPress theme features a old-fashioned two line design. The left column continues to be on display screen plus it contains your internet site logo, navigation menus, and social buttons.

It offers stunning templates for your room pages, testimonials, amenities, and photo galleries. Theme customization is a breeze with 30 look choices and style combinations.

14. Ultra

Ultra

Ultra actually powerful multipurpose WordPress company theme built to work with almost any company web site. It comes with a few readymade websites with demo content and 60+ pre-designed designs. This provides you a good starting place to create your site. It also has an built-in drag and fall builder to easily modify the pre-designed layouts as well as create your own layouts from scratch.

Despite packing numerous features, Ultra is very simple to use and comes an intuitive theme options panel. This enables you to easily setup your internet site by simply toggling buttons and entering plain text.

15. Indigo

Indigo

Indigo actually beautifully crafted multipurpose WordPress theme for company websites. It offers numerous readymade websites with demo content. You’ll install these websites with 1-click and modify them to meet up your preferences.

Indigo is simple to use and comes with modules you could simply drag and drop in your pages to add different facets. It’s translation prepared and comes with full WooCommerce support.

16. Santorini Resort

Santorini

Santorini Resort is a uniquely created WordPress theme for resorts, resorts, and sleep and breakfasts. It offers sections to easily add rooms, gallery, videos, services, and tourist attractions. It features a versatile website with widget areas, which allows one to just drag and drop content widgets to set it.

The theme also comes with a booking request type. You may want to make use of any WordPress form builder plugin to generate your kinds as well.

17. Lighthouse

Lighthouse

Lighthouse is a colorful and free WordPress theme suited to travel, hotels, B&B websites. It has elegant website landing page with a fullwidth header image. It has multiple widget prepared areas, two navigation menus, and color customization features.

It has gorgeous templates for galleries, websites, and full-width pages. All theme choices are conveniently located under theme customizer.

18. Olympus Inn

Olympus Inn

Olympus is another contemporary WordPress B&B theme. Its website comes with a beautiful large slider by having a reserving form overlay and proactive approach button. It features a very contemporary and look to it that produces your internet site standout.

Its packed with modification choices and it has parts to effortlessly add spaces, attractions, image galleries, and testimonials. The website design is simple to put together with a drag and drop layout builder.

19. Cortina

Cortina

Designed designed for B&B and hotels, Cortina is really a contemporary WordPress theme. It’s a scheduling type on all space pages. It comes down with unlimited color schemes, sidebars, and page layouts allowing you to personalize the look and look for the theme to match your brand name.

This has breathtaking templates for galleries, fullwidth web page, toggle, accordion FAQs, and tabs. Theme setup is quite simple and you’ll be capable of geting installed and operating right away.

20. Narcos

Narcos

Narcos is a versatile WordPress multipurpose theme for organizations. It has a contemporary homepage design that makes it ideal for B&B website. It offers integrated sections for testimonials, profile, solutions, and staff profiles.

The website features a fullscreen slider, parallax back ground impact, CSS3 animations, plus modular layout. Theme setup is quite easy and you’ll have a lot of choices to change anything you like. It is also used to include an on-line shop to your internet website.

21. Aegean Resort

Aegean Resort

Need bright colors and roomy design for the bed and breakfast site? Have a look at Aegean. This beautifully created easy WordPress theme is just a mix of minimalism and functionality. It includes a booking form, weather widget, location, and breathtaking templates for spaces.

It really is very easy to make use of aswell. The homepage design is straightforward to create by just adding content widgets on theme. This has multiple customized widgets for content and social media integration.

22. Existence

existence

Presence is a WordPress business theme with a built-in demo for resort web site. This resort demo has a booking form, room templates, tourist attractions area, and Bing Maps support.

It’s full of features like numerous layout choices, sidebars, header styles, 6 color schemes, and more. It really is ready for WooCommerce and that can be utilized on multilingual internet sites utilizing WPML.

23. Zermatt

Zermatt

Zermatt is a stunningly stunning WordPress theme for hotels and bed and breakfasts. This has stunning clear navigation menu having climate widget at the top. The website setup comprises of different widget prepared areas. Zermatt includes several custom widgets, which you can simply drag and drop to setup website.

In addition has beautiful sliders, picture galleries, web page templates, not to mention a booking type. You’ll like its ease of use and professional appearance.

24. Marea

Marea

Marea is made for holiday domiciles, accommodations, B&Bs, and comparable businesses. Featuring a contemporary design, this WordPress theme is filled with all of the features you’ll should quickly setup your site. It’s limitless color choices and Bing Fonts help.

You will get started with 1-click demo content installer and replace content with yours. Choose your own personal branding to personalize the theme and you’ll be ready for success.

Develop this short article assisted you see the greatest WordPress theme for sleep and breakfasts. It’s also possible to want to see our list of crucial WordPress plugins for business web sites.

In the event that you liked this informative article, then please sign up for our YouTube Channel for WordPress instructional videos. There are also us on Twitter and Facebook.

How to Create a Video Portfolio in WordPress

Do you want to create a video portfolio in WordPress? By default, you can easily embed a videos in WordPress, but you cannot display multiple videos in a portfolio style layout. In this article, we will show you how to easily create a video portfolio in WordPress without slowing down your website or writing code.

Creating a video portfolio in WordPress

Getting Started with Your Video Portfolio

The first thing you need to do is start a WordPress blog or a website. If you already have a website, then you can move to the next step.

WordPress allows you to easily embed videos in your blog posts and pages. However, it does not allow you to easily create a beautiful video portfolio out of the box.

For your video portfolio, you’ll want to display your videos in a nice grid based layout, so that more videos can be viewed without a lot of scrolling. You also need to make sure that it works on mobile devices and offers good user experience.

While you can upload a video to your WordPress site, we recommend using a third-party service like YouTube or Vimeo because videos are resource intensive, and they can slow down your site. See our article on why you should never upload videos to WordPress.

That being said, now let’s see how to easily create a video portfolio in WordPress. The goal is to create a portfolio section that not only looks great, but also works on all devices and screen sizes without any issues.

Creating a Video Portfolio in WordPress

First thing you need to do is install and activate the Envira Gallery plugin. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Envira Gallery is a paid WordPress photo gallery plugin, and you’ll need at least Pro plan to access videos addon.

WPBeginner users can use this Envira Gallery coupon to get 25% off.

Upon activation, you need to visit Envira Gallery » Settings page to add your license key. You can find this information from your account on Envira Gallery website.

Enter your Envira Gallery license key

Next, you need to head over to Envira Gallery » Addons page. You’ll see all the addons available for you to install. Look for the Videos addon and install it.

Install videos addon

Envira Gallery will now fetch and install the videos addon. After that, you need to click ‘Activate’ to start using it on your website.

Activate video addon

Now you are ready to create your first video portfolio gallery.

Head on over to the Envira Gallery » Add New page to create your first gallery. First, you need to provide a title for your gallery.

New Gallery

Envira Gallery can create a gallery of your self-hosted videos as well as videos hosted on platforms like YouTube, Wistia, and Vimeo. We recommend using third-party video hosting services like YouTube or Vimeo to avoid performance issues with your WordPress hosting provider.

After uploading your videos to YouTube or Vimeo, you need to click on ‘Select files from other sources’ button.

This will bring up the Insert Media popup where you need to click on the ‘Insert videos’ link in the left column.

Add videos to your gallery

You need to click on the Add Video button and enter the title of your video as well as paste the video URL.

You can also add more videos by clicking on the Add Video button again and repeat the process until you have added all the videos you wanted to show in your portfolio.

Once finished, click on the ‘Insert into Gallery’ button to continue.

Envira Will now show thumbnails it fetched from your videos in the Images section.

Video thumbnails

You can edit, hide, or add more items to the gallery at anytime.

Now let’s configure the video gallery a bit.

You need to click on the ‘Config’ tab and under ‘Number of Gallery Columns’ options select two or three column layout. This ensures that your video thumbnails appear nicely with adequate space between each video.

Select number of columns

Next, switch to the ‘Videos’ tab and check the box next to ‘Display play icon over gallery image’ option.

Show play button over videos

Now you can click on the publish button to make your video portfolio gallery available to WordPress.

Displaying Your Video Portfolio Gallery in WordPress

Envira Gallery makes it easy for you to add video or photo galleries anywhere on your WordPress site.

You can add it in posts, pages, as well as widget areas. For the sake of this example, we’ll go ahead and add it on a new page.

Go ahead and create a new page in WordPress and give it an appropriate title, for example: Portfolio.

On the page edit screen, you need to click on the Add Gallery button.

Add your video portfolio gallery

This will bring up a popup where you’ll see your video portfolio gallery. Click to select it and then click on the Insert button.

Insert your video gallery

Envira Gallery shortcode will now appear in your post editor.

You can now update or publish your page and visit the page to see your portfolio gallery in action.

Video portfolio preview

Clicking on each video will open it in a lightbox popup. Your users will be able to view the video without leaving your website. They will also be able to browse other videos by clicking on the thumbnails below the player.

Video lightbox popup

We hope this article helped you learn how to create video portfolio in WordPress. You may also want to see our beginners guide on how to boost WordPress speed and performance.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

Just how colors Vision stumbled on the Animals

Animals live color. Wasps buzz with painted warnings. Birds shimmer their iridescent desires. Fish hide from predators with body colors that dapple like light across a rippling pond. And all this color on every one of these animals happened because other creatures could view it.

The normal world can be so showy, it’s no wonder boffins have been attracted to animal color for hundreds of years. Even now, the questions how pets see, create, and use color are among the most compelling in biology.

Before the last couple of years, they were additionally at the least partially unanswerable—because color scientists are only peoples, which means that they can’t begin to see the rich, vivid colors that other animals do. But now brand new technologies, like portable hyperspectral scanners and cameras tiny sufficient to match on a bird’s head, are assisting biologists see the unseen. And also as described in a new Science paper, it’s really a totally new world.

Visions of life

The basic principles: Photons strike a surface—a rock, a plant, another animal—and that area absorbs some photons, reflects others, refracts still others, all based on the molecular arrangement of pigments and structures. Some of these photons find their way into an animal’s eye, where specific cells transmit the signals of these photons toward animal’s brain, which decodes them as colors and forms.

Oahu is the mind that determines or perhaps a colorful thing is a distinct and interesting form, not the same as the photons through the trees, sand, sky, lake, an such like it received as well. If it is effective, it has to decide whether this colorful thing is food, a potential mate, or maybe a predator. “The biology of color is all about these complex cascades of activities,” says Richard Prum, an ornithologist at Yale University and co-author for the paper.

In the beginning, there was light and there is dark. Which, fundamental greyscale vision probably developed first, because pets that could anticipate the dawn or skitter far from a shadow are pets that live to breed. And very first eye-like structures—flat spots of photosensitive cells—probably did not resolve much more than that. It wasn’t sufficient. “The problem with making use of simply light and dark is that the information is quite noisy, and something problem which comes up is determining where one object stops and a different one begins. ” states Innes Cuthill, a behavioral ecologist within University of Bristol and coauthor regarding the new review.

Colors adds context. And context on a scene is an evolutionary benefit. So, just like with smart phones, better resolution and brighter colors became competitive enterprises. The quality bit, the area light-sensing cells developed over countless years right into a appropriate eye—first by recessing right into a cup, then a cavity, and eventually a fluid-filled spheroid capped having a lens. For color, look much deeper at those light-sensing cells. Wedged within their surfaces are proteins called opsins. Each time they get hit with a photon—a quantum little bit of light itself—they transduce that sign into an electrical zap toward rudimentary animal’s rudimentary brain. The first light/dark opsin mutated into spin-offs that may detect certain ranges of wavelengths. Colors vision was so essential it developed individually multiple times within the animal kingdom—in mollusks, arthropods, and vertebrates.

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In fact, primitive fish had four different opsins, to sense four spectra—red, green, blue, and ultraviolet light. That four-fold ability is known as tetrachromacy, and also the dinosaurs most likely had it. As they are the ancestors of today’s wild birds, many of them are tetrachromats, too.

But contemporary mammals don’t see things that way. That is most likely because early mammals had been little, nocturnal things that spent their first 100 million years running around at night, trying to save yourself from being eaten by tetrachromatic dinosaurs. “During that duration the complicated artistic system they inherited from their ancestors degraded,” states Prum. “We have clumsy, retrofitted form of color eyesight. Fishes, and wild birds, and many lizards visit a much richer globe than we do.”

In fact, many monkeys and apes are dichromats, and discover the world as greyish and somewhat red-hued. Boffins believe very early primates regained three-color vision because spotting fruit and immature leaves led to a far more healthy diet. But regardless of how much you love springtime of fall colors, the wildly varicolored world we humans are now living in now isn’t putting on a show for all of us. It’s mostly for pests and birds. “Flowering flowers of course have evolved to signal pollinators,” states Prum. “The proven fact that we find them gorgeous is incidental, and the undeniable fact that we can see them at all is because of an overlap in spectrums insects and wild birds can easily see and those we can see.”

Covered in color

And also as animals gained the ability to sense color, evolution kickstarted an hands competition in displays—hues and patterns that aided in survival became signifiers of ace baby-making skills. Almost every expression of color in the natural world came into being to signal, or obscure, a creature to something different.

For example, “aposematism” is color used as warning—the butterfly’s bright colors say “don’t consume me, you’ll receive ill.” “Crypsis” is color utilized as camouflage. Colors acts social purposes, too. Like, in mating. Did you know that feminine lions choose brunets? Or that paper wasps can recognize each other people’ faces? “Some wasps have small black colored spots that become karate belts, telling other wasps to not try to fight them,” claims Elizabeth Tibbetts, an entomologist at University of Michigan.

But pets display colors utilizing two completely different techniques. The very first is with pigments, colored substances produced by cells called chromatophores (in reptiles, seafood, and cephalopods), and melanocytes (in animals and wild birds). They absorb most wavelengths of light and mirror just a few, restricting both their range and brilliance. As an example, many animals cannot naturally produce red; they synthesize it from plant chemical substances called carotenoids.

Others means pets make color is by using nanoscale structures. Bugs, and, up to a smaller degree, birds, would be the masters of color-based structure. And compared to pigment, framework is fabulous. Structural coloration scatters light into vibrant, shimmering colors, like shimmering iridescent bib for a Broad-tailed hummingbird, and/or metallic carapace of a Golden scarab beetle. And experts aren’t quite yes why iridescence evolved. Most likely to signal mates, but still: Why?

Decoding the rainbow of life

Issue of iridescence is comparable to most questions boffins have actually about animal coloration. They understand what the colors do in broad strokes, but there’s till lots of nuance to tease away. This is certainly mostly because, until recently, these were restricted to seeing the normal world through peoples eyes. “If you ask issue, what’s this color for, you need to treat it the way in which animals see those colors,” claims Tim Caro, a wildlife biologist at UC Davis together with organizing force behind the new paper. (Speaking of mysteries, Caro recently figured out why zebras have stripes.)

Just take the peacock. “The male’s tail is breathtaking, plus it evolved to wow the feminine. But the feminine might be impressed in a different way than you or I,” Caro says. Humans have a tendency to gaze during the shimmering eyes during the tip of every tail feather; peahens typically consider the root of the feathers, where they put on the peacock’s rump. How does the peahen find the root of the feathers sexy? No one understands. But until scientists strapped towards the wild birds’ minds small cameras spun faraway from the cellular phone industry, they couldn’t also monitor the peahens’ gaze.

Another new technology: Advanced nanomaterials give researchers the ability to replicate the structures animals used to bend light into iridescent displays. By recreating those structures, researchers can figure out how genetically high priced they’re to make.

Likewise, new magnification practices have allowed researchers to check into an animal’s eye structure. You may have find out about how mantis shrimp never have three or four but a whopping 12 different color receptors, and how they see the globe in psychedelic hyperspectral saturation. This really isn’t quite real. Those color channels aren’t linked together—not like they truly are in other pets. The shrimp most likely aren’t seeing 12 various, overlapping color spectra. “We are usually planning perhaps those color receptors are increasingly being switched on or down by some other, non-color, signal,” claims Caro.

But perhaps the most important modern innovation in biological color scientific studies are getting all the various people from different procedures together. “There certainly are a lot of differing types of people working on color,” claims Caro. “Some behavioral biologists, some neurophysiologists, some anthropologists, some structural biologists, and so on.”

And these researchers are scattered around the world. He says the reason why he brought everybody else to Berlin is really so they might finally synthesize each one of these sub-disciplines together, and transfer to a wider understanding of color worldwide. The main technology in understanding animal color eyesight isn’t a camera or perhaps a nanotech surface. It’s an airplane. And/or internet.

How to Make Your Wi-Fi Faster and Better

A gadget’s only as good as its internet connection. Few things drive you crazier than a stuttery PUBG session or an episode of Game of Thrones streaming one. Halting. Word. At. A. Time. You probably don’t think much about your router, though. And yet, by the time you’ve connected a family’s worth of phones and tablets—plus your laptop, Roku, Xbox, smart fridge, doorbell, and thermostat—you’ve stressed out that Netgear RT-X86Something you bought at Circuit City in 2008. You remember your router, right? The one stashed in a closet somewhere, forgotten until the Comcast guy tells you to unplug it.

You can do better. And so can your Wi-Fi. Luckily, getting faster internet requires nothing more than some light interior decorating and a few strings of numbers that we swear we’re not using to hack you. Or, if you’re into upgrades, you can solve your problem with one credit card swipe.

Update, Upgrade

Believe it or not, routers finally feature upgrades worth the price. Mesh networks, as they’re known, use two or more boxes to create a larger, more capable range of coverage. You can connect more devices and get internet in more places; plus, most of these new devices are smart enough to choose the right channels and bands to keep your internet running smoothly. Buy an Eero, or Google Wifi, or maybe a Plume, and in five minutes you’ll have a dramatically better home setup.

Don’t want to drop $300? OK, at least make sure you’re running the latest version of your router’s firmware. Every router works slightly differently, but a quick Google search will show you how to get in, and a quick update will ensure you’re getting the best performance and the most security.

Location, Location, Location

The short wavelengths used by Wi-Fi routers don’t do well with walls, floors, doors, couches, and carpets. Keep your router out in the open where you can see it—anything between your gadget and your router just slows things down. Put it next to the TV, not in the cabinet.

For best results, try a few places by plugging in your router, running a speed test, and finding where things work best. Pro tip: Place it somewhere high. Because of the way most antennas are designed, the stream of internet your router emits mostly travels downward. The higher you place it, then, the more directly it’ll get to you. Kitchen counters are good places, or if you’re really after that low-latency goodness, stick the thing to your ceiling. It’s like a chandelier!

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Safety First

We shouldn’t have to tell you this, because you read WIRED, but you need a password on your Wi-Fi. It’s good for keeping hackers away, and keeping neighbors from Netflixing off your bandwidth. Make sure you use AES encryption, too (it’s usually right there in the dropdown), which is both the most secure and most speed-friendly security option.

Another thing: Your probably should have two networks. One for you, one for guests. Everyone asks for the password, but you’re better off limiting the number of people and devices on your personal network to things you actually want there. Plus, let’s be real: Do you really trust your friends? If they’d text your exes just because you left your phone unlocked, they’d definitely hack you just for fun.

Plan and Prioritize

Does it ever feel like the internet’s slowest right after dinner, or when some big TV show is on? That’s not in your head. The more people online, the slower your connection. This isn’t a router change, it’s a you change. Start your big downloads right before you go to bed so they can work in relative calm, and if you need rock-solid connectivity to the DOTA servers, maybe fake a cough and head home early. Nobody’s stealing your bandwidth at 1:30 pm.

It also helps to reduce the number of devices on your network. Having dozens of things tapping into the Wi-Fi can be just as problematic as trying to play FIFA online while simultaneously torrenting the whole of The Sopranos. Plug anything you can into Ethernet, and unplug anything you have connected but don’t need (like that “smart” tea kettle you never once got to work). Make sure only the things that need internet get internet.

On most recent routers, you can even prioritize a particular device or service through the same wonky settings menu you’d use to create a password or update the firmware. It’s a hacky but handy way to make sure your games never get interrupted by someone’s Facebooking. If you have Luma or Google Wifi, you get even more granular controls—you can prioritize the Fire TV, but only for the next two hours.

Remember, though: Wi-Fi is a strangely personal thing. Performance depends on where you are, what the walls are made of, when your microwave was manufactured, and whether the guy who laid the cables did it right. You never see the speeds advertised on the box. But without trying very hard, you can make the situation much better. And with a new set of routers now, your network can be ready for the next time you come back from Home Depot with a car full of smart-home stuff. You know that’s happening soon.