Tech To Be Grateful For
Written by Julia Loten
We’ve all had moments of hating technology when our screens glitch or our smart devices fail to do just what we want them to. We’re worried about websites tracking us across the Internet and our devices listening to our conversations. I know I get unreasonably frustrated when Siri, a system that is supposedly recording me for data collection, doesn’t remotely understand when I ask her a question. But technology is still helpful and becoming more and more so. Just think about how reliant we are on these devices we are so suspicious of. Whether it’s cooling us down in extreme heat or protecting us from the dangers of the Internet, small tech products and software can help us in big ways.
If you’ve ever heard of camfecting, you know that it’s definitely on the drawback side of modern tech. Essentially, it is the practice of hackers’ gaining access to the camera of your computer or tablet by way of sending you malware disguised as safe links or apps. Camfecting software is used on the open markets and sold through the dark web. [Read this article for more info] Lee London’s webcam covers were created to solve the problem of being unknowingly watched by hackers by sliding over the web camera when you’re not using it. While camfecting continues to happen, we can prevent being seen with webcam covers like these.
Portable Air Conditioner
If you just can’t get an A/C unit and don’t have central cooling, sometimes fans just aren’t enough. With summer heat waves seeping around the U.S. and so many of us working from home, it’s almost essential that we have some sort of cooling device. This portable air conditioner has three settings (cooling, dehumidifier, and fan) and a timer so you can be comfortable in your own space, following your schedule of when you leave and come home.
If you still use cash on a daily basis, kudos to you. However, money-sending apps such as Venmo and Cash App have really changed the game when it comes to get-togethers with friends and family. Going to dinner with a friend no longer has to be an awkward so-who-wants-to-pay situation, or making the waiter split the check 6 different ways. Sending funds can be as easy as pressing some buttons to pay via your bank card to someone else’s Venmo balance. The friend can then transfer the balance to their bank account. It can be totally free if you’re willing to wait a few days for the funds to transfer to your bank (otherwise there is a small percentage fee for an instant transfer).
Okay, this one may seem pretty simple, but can you imagine not being able to shoot a text to your spouse to pick up something extra at the grocery store or to quickly inform your friends that you’re running a little late? You can get in touch with people you haven’t seen in months without having to plan on a time to call. You can send photos and videos back and forth, or maybe share a news article with your family group chat. Whether via iMessage, WhatsApp, GroupMe, or any of the multitude of messaging apps, you can connect with anyone within seconds as long as you have some sort of Internet connection. Instant communication does have its drawbacks however; maybe sometimes you wish you were simply unreachable. Either way, messaging is something we might not usually find ourselves thanking software engineers for.
Personal Safety Devices
Another tech advent that has been such a game-changer is personal safety devices. Small but powerful objects like the Birdie are helping women in particular feel so much safer in daily life. As women, we shouldn’t have to live in fear when we’re merely walking to the grocery store or heading home at night. Pepper spray can be scary to use, as who wants to hurt someone who might not be a threat after all. But the Birdie doesn’t hurt anyone, it just warns others that its carrier is alert and draws attention to what might be a dangerous situation. When activated, the Birdie emits a 130 dB alarm (that’s LOUD) and a flashing light to ward off anyone who might be aiming to harm the carrier. Merely carrying around the Birdie can help anyone feel safer, as you know that help is just a click away. Especially venturing back into the world after a year of being inside, we’re especially grateful for an opportunity of safety in public spaces.
In short, technology sometimes gets a bad rep'. But look at the positive side, there are safety devices, financial and communication efficiencies that have actually saved time, added value to our days, and improved lives.