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Tips and technology

Elizabeth Diffin

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Traveler hacks, comfy ergonomic chairs and other technology news.
Personal perks
Since the advent of the Keurig coffee maker, single-serve appliances have become ubiquitous. Take the Nanopresso, a portable, hand-powered espresso maker that produces high-octane coffee just like you’d get at your local java house. The lightweight device lets aspiring baristas extract maximum flavor from coffee beans just by pressing a button, whether your coffee tastes run single espresso, double espresso or hip cold brew. Best of all, all parts are designed to be easy-clean, so you won’t have to waste that hard-earned energy boost on washing the device. $80, wacaco.com.

If you’d prefer to indulge your sweet tooth over a caffeine craving, check out Wim. This countertop kitchen appliance produces single servings of trendy frozen yogurt — just by adding the milk of your choice. The dehydrated yogurt base, which comes in nine flavors, transforms into creamy frozen goodness after about 10 minutes, since the machine cools the mixture to 10 below zero Celsius in just 90 seconds. And health nuts can rejoice that Wim’s yogurt is 100 percent organic and contains 30 percent less sugar than most commercially available brands. $300, wimyogurt.com.


Getting giggy with it

When you run a small practice, outsourcing some duties is par for the course. But finding quality freelance help can be a challenge, even for the most savvy business owner. That job just got a little easier thanks to Fiverr, a website that’s designed for entrepreneurs to track down outside assistance. Freelancers offer up their services — everything from video production to branding expertise — and a starting price, and business owners can narrow them down based on delivery time, language skills and vetted “pro” status. It’s the ultimate way to take advantage of this brave new world of the gig economy! fiverr.com.



Sitting pretty
We all know that a sedentary lifestyle isn’t the best for your health (or your posture), but sitting on a stability ball isn’t the solution for everyone — or every office. Go the more traditional route with the Varier Thatsit Balans Chair, an admittedly odd-looking ergonomic seating option that provides three different configurations for stress-free comfort. The kneeling position promotes movement and lets your spine settle into its natural curve, while the active sitting position purports to increase productivity and comfort at work. And if you’re looking to match office décor, the chair comes in both natural beechwood and black. $1,400, ergoprise.com.

Not ready for such an investment? Check out the Webble, an ergonomic footrest that lets your lower body keep moving even when you’re sitting at a desk. Based on the medical advice to change posture every 20 minutes, the Webble lets you move in four distinct ways: forward and backward, side to side, in circles, and up and down. The footrest’s 360-degree range of motion is specifically designed to increase the wellness of legs, thighs, ankles and feet, improving flexibility, blood circulation and posture, while reducing muscle fatigue and pressure on your joints. And as any fidgeting kid can attest, it’s just plain fun! $150, . webblefootrest.com.

So long, lightning cables

Wireless charging is the way of the future. That reality was only made more obvious when Apple’s newest product announcements for the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X included the addition of Qi-compatible wireless charging.

But what accessories are going to best be able to take the place of lightning cables? Check out the Belkin Boost Up Wireless Charging Pad, which plugs into the wall with a 5-foot cable. Users place their iPhone on the 5-inch charging pad — with or without a phone case — and charge it up. $60, belkin.com.



World traveler hacks
When you’re always on the go, it can be difficult to keep track of what country you’re in, let alone the local logistics, like language and currency. These two items help managing world travel just a bit easier.

The Google Pixel Buds look like your typical earphones, but they’re much smarter. The wireless headphones use Google Translate technology to convert your words into 40 different languages, and translate others’ words back to your language of choice. The catch is that they’re only compatible with Google phones, so you may be tempted to switch your carrier sooner rather than later. $160, store.google.com.

Unless you have a currency exchange living in your head, you probably aren’t quite sure what the current rates are. ChangeMate is the solution to that quandary. This free app converts between more than 100 currencies and will even alert you when a chosen currency pair reaches a pre-selected rate. The app also has its own built-in calculator for on-the-go mathematics and lets you access historical data on “favorite” currency pairs. Since it works even when your device is offline, you can be up-to-date on the currency situation even before your plane touches down. Free, changemateapp.com.

So many passwords, so little time!

With the number of websites we log into each day and all their various password requirements (special characters, capital letters and numbers), it’s little wonder that it can be impossible to keep track of them all. Enter True Key, an app that auto-saves and enters your passwords on all the sites you regularly use. The catch? True Key uses your personal identifying features — your face, fingerprint or self-chosen master password — to unlock your device. It also uses high-tech encryption to make sure the only one with access to your personal info is you. Free for 15 passwords; $20 per year for unlimited passwords. truekey.com.

 

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