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Tips and Technology

Jackie McGoey

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Make your life easier with a device subscription, follow-up system and music to improve focus.
Zoom forward

Zoom forward

Even as work life returns in some regions to a semblance of its pre-pandemic self, video conferencing is here to stay. And while Zoom has been working well, the company has still found ways to improve the app for its more than 300 million daily users. Zoom for Home – DTEN ME takes the Zoom you’ve gotten to know up close and personal on laptops and mobile devices and upgrades it to a 27-inch touchscreen. It includes three wide-angle cameras for higher resolution calls, an eight-microphone array for crisp audio, and can be used independently or as a second monitor. $600, zoom.us.

Hot mic

Desk-to-go

Avoid awkward situations while working from home with the MuteMe Illuminated Mute Button. It acts as a visual signal to let your roommates or family members know when to stay quiet. The button glows red when you’re muted and green when you aren’t. $39, muteme.com.

Surprises abound

Surprises abound

Subscription boxes have risen in popularity in the past few years, and their offerings run the gamut of interests. If you’re a tech gadget lover, the Gadget Discovery Club Tech Subscription Box will beckon you with its promises to send you smart home devices, music tech, wearable tech, smartphone gadgets and more. The only caveat? You don’t know what you’re going to get. But maybe that’s half the fun? $40 for a one-month plan; $396 for a 12-month plan ($33/per box), gadgetdiscoveryclub.com.

On the right track

On the right track

An external trackpad can make using your laptop much more convenient and comfortable by swapping jerky wrist movements for fluid swiping and scrolling. Plus, working with one is just like using a phone, tablet or touchscreen laptop, so you’ll master it in no time.

If you own a Mac or Chromebook, the Apple Magic Trackpad 2 is a great option. With its large surface area (6 inches long by 4.5 inches deep), it easily recognizes clicks and taps, supports plenty of multitouch gestures and scrolls as smooth as butter. Plus, it’s equipped with a rechargeable battery that will last as long as two months. Available in silver or space gray. $129, apple.com.

Windows users will love the Brydge W-Touch Wireless Precision Touchpad, an aluminum touchpad that supports precision drivers, gestures such as pinch to zoom and multi-finger swipes. Measuring in at 5.5 by 3.3 inches, it’s also wireless and recharges over USB-C. Expect one month of battery life before it will need to be recharged. $99.99, brydge.com.

Jog your memory

Jog your memory

When you get into the thick of a busy workday, it’s easy for things to be overlooked. Followupthen is a simple reminder system using a flexible email address. Cluttered inbox making you stressed? Forward emails to Followupthen and schedule the date and time you want it to reappear. Worried you’ll forget important details or a must-do task? Sign up for SMS alerts. Dealing with a forgetful email recipient? Set follow-up reminders for yourself or for them, if they don’t reply in a certain amount of time. Free for individuals; $9/month for teams, followupthen.com.

Let the music play on

Control your distractions and see a boost in productivity with Focus@Will. The app uses personalized focus music — chosen by neuroscientists and music producers — to help you get more stuff done and retain information, even when you’re stressed and under pressure. After just 20 minutes of listening, you’ll reach a hyper-focused state, and the music helps keep you there for three hours. An integrated productivity tracker and timer provides a record of how successful your sessions are. $69.99/month, focusatwill.com.

Hybrid office must-have

Hybrid office must-have

It seems counterintuitive to what we’re taught about germs, but common desk spaces are usually cleaner than individual desks. The reason being that shared spaces are cleaned more thoroughly and more regularly. With that idea in mind, Proxyclick Desk Booking is helping employers safely welcome their teams back into the workplace. The cloud-based sign-up system allows employees to book a desk prior to arriving at work. Employers can set the number of desks that are available on any given day, seamlessly enforce social distancing, and easily keep track of who is using which desk and when (helpful for sanitizing and for contact tracing). $100/month, proxyclick.com.

Work smarter, not harder

Work smarter, not harder

Securely attach a second bag to the handle of your suitcase and move with ease through the airport with the Travelon Travel Bungee ($17). The bungee works with both single- and double-handle luggage systems. Have even more to carry? The Travelon Multi-Bag Stacker ($15) allows you to pull up to three pieces of luggage at once. Say goodbye to awkward bag juggling as you race through the terminal to make your flight travelonbags.com.

 

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