The coronavirus pandemic has brought a lot of nasty tech surprises.
We have a problem with a perpetual scarcity of hardwarelike game driver and graphics card. Apple this year announced a major change to its data practices, including a tool to scan iPhone for child pornographywhich Critics label it an invasion of privacy. And many of us who have been trying to order high-quality masks to protect ourselves from the coronavirus have had to swim through an ocean of fakes.
However, there is a silver lining to all of this: valuable lessons to improve our relationship with technology for years to come, like becoming more savvy online shoppers and take control of our personal data.
Think of it as a New Year’s resolution, but for technology. These are my top recommendations.
Solution #1: Invest in infrastructure first.
The pandemic has forced many white-collar professionals to work from home, showing how many of us have sluggish Internet connections. That underscores how little we tend to invest in our technological infrastructure, like the network equipment and broadband services that provide internet connectivity to our devices.
When people spend on technology, they often buy gadgets before everything else. Electronic devices like video sticks were among the best-selling items on Black Friday, according to a Research report published last month by Adobe.
But we should spend on infrastructure before equipment. One in five consumers keep their router for more than four years, according to a survey this year from Consumer Reports. That’s cutting it down, wireless experts say, as we should upgrade our Wi-Fi routers every three to five years. New routers introduce new Wi-Fi standards that improve speed and engineering to reduce network congestion, making it easy for multiple devices in the home – like laptops and game consoles – to ease Get a strong internet connection.
If your router is relatively new and your connection is still weak, check with your internet service provider. The broadband plan you signed up for years ago may not be enough anymore, so consider investing in a faster plan. If your family streams a lot of videos and plays games online, shoot at about 40 megabits a second.
Solution #2: Check before you click the buy button.
If you’ve been trying to buy a high-quality mask online during the pandemic, you’ve likely encountered a fair amount of fakes. Counterfeiters have flooded the market with poorly constructed masks, one problem still today.
While online counterfeiting has long been a problem, the pandemic has made the problem potentially life-threatening for face masks. Amazon and other retailers have policies against selling fake masks, but new sellers with fake masks keep popping up. It has become a game of a mole.
Lesson? Always vet before you click the buy button. Read buyer reviews. Check out the seller and if it’s an unknown brand, research their reputation. Some online tools like Fake can scan product pages for signs of fake products and fake reviews.
Be especially careful when buying anything that could affect someone’s health, including vitamins and dog food. When in doubt, purchase these goods at a reputable brick-and-mortar store.
Solution #3: Practice self-reliance with your digital data.
Apple, has long described itself as a protect digital privacydelivers one of the biggest tech surprises of the year.
In August, the company announced a software update with a twist. The software includes a tool to scan iPhones for codes associated with a database of known child pornography. Once a match is found, an Apple employee can review the photos before notifying the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Apple’s positive intentions to prevent child abuse images from spreading are quickly overshadowed by invasive effect its content flagging system goes against the company’s pro-privacy image. In response to the backlash, Apple delayed the software feature’s release and clarified that the technology could be disabled if people choose not to back up their photos to iCloud.
The episode is a reminder that when we use cloud services, our data is at the discretion of a technology company. Lesson? We should consider changing the way we manage our data so that we are more independent from the big companies and their cloud services.
Security experts recommend using a hybrid approach to our data as best practice. That involves backing up our data to the cloud but also storing it on devices such as physical drives and miniature USB sticks. Having such a local backup ensures that you have access to your important files even during Internet problems. And if you’re not satisfied with the cloud service or are tired of paying subscription fees, it’s easy to get out because you already have a copy of your information.
According to Acronis, a data protection company, only 17% of people use the hybrid method. Don’t delay: The longer you wait to create a local backup of your data, the harder it will be to pull it out of the cloud if you decide to leave.
Solution #4: Skip online sales events.
Last month, many shoppers trying to snag Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals quickly realized something was amiss.
Many of the items that we normally buy at a discount, like new Wi-Fi routers and cheap laptops, are either not on sale or out of stock. That is largely the result of a global chip shortage and supply chain disruptionThe company has production, business and shipping activities around the world.
Wait until Black Friday to spend rarely wise, But the scarcity caused by the pandemic has made this more apparent than ever. Year-round, deals often come out as good — and sometimes better — than Black Friday promotions.
The hard part is knowing when the cool stuff will get cheaper. There are many ways to find discounts, such as monitoring websites that notify you of a sale. Our sister publication Wirecutter transaction tracking on its Twitter account and websites, for example.
Automated tools such as Camel camel camel, a website that allows you to plug in products sold on Amazon and set up email alerts about price drops, can also help track promotions for specific items. In the future, you could head off the holiday shopping frenzy and potentially skip Black Friday.
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/12/15/technology/personaltech/relationship-with-technology.html Four solutions for a healthier technological life in 2022