Technology That Makes Me Smile

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Photo Credit: Deborah Simard-Achak

Photo Credit: Deborah Simard-Achak

I am a pushover for really cool, innovative, disruptive companies and ideas. I can’t help it. I fall head over heels for the latest and greatest gadgets and can’t stop talking about them. There is nothing more exciting to me than a company completely changing their respective industry.

What stands out to me about companies I love are ease of use and elegance. I don’t care what the specs say, how many widgets it has or what type of processor it holds; I simply want the job done in a beautiful manner and I want it to make my life not only easier but more enjoyable as well.

Sort of like the experience of using anything from Comcast, only the exact opposite.

I wrote this article using Google Docs on an iPad wirelessly connected to an Anker bluetooth keyboard. I then exported it to Dropbox where it is saved and stored as a PDF file indefinitely. I then uploaded it to my WordPress blog right through Dropbox and pushed it out from there. Everything worked seamlessly together. Nothing broke. That’s how stuff should work together.

In no particular order, here are some things I love right now:

  • On your next trip, eschew your printed ticket and download your airlines’ mobile app. You can use it to check in, change seats, see standby lists and even upgrade yourself. I have been flying Alaska Airlines for years and rarely visit an agent anymore unless I am checking bags. (www.alaskaairlines.com)
  • Instead of a taxi nowadays, I almost always take Uber. It’s more reliable, safer and cleaner. You can also choose different levels of cars to pick you up, from SUV’s to town cars to a Prius. (www.uber.com)
  • Next time you are considering staying at a hotel, check out Airbnb. Trust me. You can also use it to rent out your house or even rooms in your house. Very cool and much cheaper than staying at a hotel in big cities. (www.airbnb.com)
  • Get rid of those old, faulty external hard drives and move your files, photos, videos and music over to Dropbox. Now you can share it with anyone and access it from anywhere at anytime. Plus, you won’t have any more nightmare about hard drives crashing anymore. (www.dropbox.com)
  • If you shave, and I know you do, check out Dollar Shave Club. You will swear off Gillette and Atra forever. Plus their video is awesome. (www.dollarshaveclub.com)
  • Need a surveillance camera but don’t want to deal with expensive alarm companies? Just buy a Dropcam. Put it in place, plug it in, then connect it to the cloud. Voila! Live monitoring over your mobile device and full backup of everything. Easy peasy. (www.dropcam.com)
  • Arranging a neighborhood get together? Perhaps it’s a last minute potluck? Evites and email lists are so 2010. Try using Nextdoor. Your neighbors will thank you. (www.nextdoor.com)
  • Have a small business and can’t afford to accept credit cards? Try Square. All you need is an iPad or iPhone. It’s already ubiquitous, from farmer’s markets to coffee shops. Bye bye cash registers and expensive credit card processing merchants. (www.squareup.com)
  • If you love music, take a look at Sonos for your home. It’s awesome. In fact, I wrote this last night while listening to Sonos stream the Grateful Dead via TuneIn Radio throughout my house. Live Phish followed. My wife was definitely not around. (www.sonos.com) and (www.tunein.com)

There are so many more I will have to save those for another day.

As a child of the 70’s and 80’s, I am old enough to remember when computers were in their infancy. I still recall my father bringing home our first Apple IIe and how we went absolutely nuts over it. Cell phones were non existent until the 90’s and the early days of the internet were simply about checking the weather and struggling to receive email over a 28.8k dial-up modem.

Every generational shift in technology creates challenges to keep up but also opportunities at learning.

As I get older, I hope I am able to stay just as passionate about emerging technologies as I am today.

Matthew Achak

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