It seems as though we can’t go through the day without a technological crisis. You're trying to log into Netflix, but the site isn't recognizing your password–or worse, you don't remember your password. Then, there’s the constant barrage of spam and scammers. Or, all of a sudden, your printer doesn't connect anymore. To top it off, the internet isn't working either. I could cite more examples, and I'm sure you could too.
Having said that, sometimes it's good to take a moment and focus on some of the good things about our tech. I offer to you this summer's...
Top 10 Good Things About Technology
1. Keeping in touch with your family and friends: Not only do we get to talk to our loved ones on the phones in our pockets, but we can also video chat with them. This is especially helpful with staying connected to friends and family who live far away from us. My daughters both live outside Ann Arbor. My wife and I feel closer to them than the actual geographical distance suggests because we FaceTime with them frequently.
2. Taking pictures and video whenever you want: In the "old" days, we had to lug around separate picture and video cameras while on vacation or at our kids' plays and games. Now, that technology is always in our pockets, we can be ready to capture even the silly moments with our pets.
3. Sharing photos and memories: How convenient it is to be able to immediately send people those pictures and videos? Additionally, when my family goes on vacation, all of us take picstures during the day. Later that night, we upload them to a shared album that we all can admire.
4. Using your phone camera's "selfie mode" as a mirror: OK, so maybe this one isn't one of the world's greatest uses of technology, but it sure is nice to see if you have anything stuck in your teeth after dinner with friends.
5. Getting instant weather updates: The plethora of good weather apps available make it so easy to find out if there's a storm coming. I love checking the radar screen to see when and where the rain is, and how much time I have until I have to get off the golf course.
6. Staying healthy with a smart watch: My wife loves her Apple Watch and all the ways it helps her keep fit. She tracks her exercise activity, heart rate, and sleep patterns on it. When we go for a walk, she can tell me how many miles we've covered. Many people also love the fall detection feature that will alert someone if they take a spill and can't get up.
7. Meeting over Zoom: Speaking of staying healthy, a lot of us are able to attend exercise and yoga classes over Zoom. In addition, we can attend meetings and doctor visits without leaving the house. And how about educational lectures from Elderwise and U of M's OLLI from the comfort of our own couches?
8. Enjoying music and podcasts: I love being able to take my music with me wherever I go. Apps like Spotify enable me to access just about any album I ever wanted. I also like to listen to informative and entertaining podcasts on long drives to help pass the time.
9. Identifying nature: Ever wondered what type of tree that is growing in your yard, or if that bug on your tomato plant will destroy your crop? There are very cool apps (e.g. Seek) available for our phones that use your camera to help ID all sorts of plants and bugs. And for the amateur ornithologist, you can find apps that will identify birds (e.g. Merlin Bird ID). There are even apps that will help you find constellations in the sky (e.g. Pocket Universe). If you're naturally curious like I am, you can't live without these apps.
10. Getting answers to your questions: While we're on the subject of finding out information, search engines, like Google, have made getting answers to just about any question as easy as pie. My brother-in-law calls it, "the end of wonder." But still, what would you do if you couldn't google what time the Michigan Football game starts?