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Home News 6 important tech tasks you should get over with while social distancing

6 important tech tasks you should get over with while social distancing

Coronavirus has left us all cooped up indoors indefinitely with our gadgets and hours of free time. There are several ways people have been taking advantage of this. Many are catching up with their watchlists, some are picking up hobbies, revisiting side projects they had long abandoned, and more.

But there’s one other worthy use of this social distancing time you should consider: All those boring, essential tech chores you’ve been dreading and putting off for ages. Here are a few tech-savvy tasks that should be at the top of your list.

1. Digitize physical documents and photos

Most of us have a drawer somewhere in the house brimming with receipts, documents, old pictures, and other physical documents we’ve been hoarding forever. It’s high time you gave this archive a digital upgrade. Digitizing these will allow you to access as well as find them easily and secure a backup for when you accidentally lose an important one.

Unlike before, you don’t need a dedicated scanner for this either. Your camera-equipped smartphone will do just fine — with a little help from a handful of apps.

To create a digital archive of your documents, you can install a scanner app like Microsoft Office Lens (Android | iOS). It offers a host of features that will let you quickly scan a document such as automatic edge detection and sharpness enhancements. You can then upload these images to your cloud storage of choice.

For Polaroids and older pictures, you should download Google’s PhotoScan tool. The app takes advantage of Google’s clever algorithms to capture a near-perfect and glare-free digital replica of your printed photograph. When you’re done, sync them with a photo management service like Google Photos or Apple Photos to merge them with the rest of your media library.

2. Get to inbox zero

Inbox zero is not a myth. The reason you find yourself sifting through an endless pile of emails every day is because of those spammy newsletters, subscriptions, and more you likely don’t even remember signing up for. So instead of simply deleting non-essential emails to unclog your inbox as you would normally, utilize your social distancing time to identify recurring unwanted messages and unsubscribe permanently from them.

On Gmail, there are a number of ways to do this. At the top of subscription emails beside the sender address, you will have an unsubscribe button. For other kinds of junk emails, you can either mark them as spam or straight away block the sender from the option available under the three-dot menu.

After you have taken care of the spam once and for all, you can try installing third-party tools like Sortd to quickly get through emails.

Sortd turns your inbox into a Trello-like project board where you can sort your messages based on each of their priority and attend them accordingly. This interface gives you a better perspective of your inbox instead of overwhelming you and saves you from wasting time on the emails that don’t matter, at least for the moment.

3. Back up computer and phone data

Your phone and computer matter more in your life than ever. Therefore, it’s important that you have backed up their drives in case they break down. All major operating systems like MacOS, Windows, iOS, and Android come preloaded with tools you can employ to create a local backup in a jiffy. And yes, you will be able to continue using the device while it backs up.

Alternatively, if you’d like to actively upload your computer files onto the cloud, you can install an app like Google Backup and Sync. It enables you to keep your desktop’s data synced with your Google Drive storage. You also have the option to specifically pick folders and only upload, for instance, your most important files.

4. Review your digital subscriptions

Subscriptions dominate the internet and you need one for just about everything from music to cloud storage. However, like many, it’s possible the role of a few of your subscriptions has faltered in your lifestyle but they’re still taking a chunk out of your monthly budget.

So another use of your social distancing time is hunting down these unwanted subscriptions and cutting them off your bank account. While you can manually review your statements, there are a handful of services you can adopt to speed up the process.

Savings app, Trim is one of them. It combs through your bank account to figure out where you can save money which also includes finding all the recurring subscriptions you’re paying for.

5. Update your privacy settings

With our lives increasingly shifting to the online world, it’s all the more imperative for you to keep an eye on the privacy policies of the services you use and periodically check in on your security preferences.

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Your first order of business should be to ensure you’ve two-factor authentication enabled on all of them. Nearly every platform like Facebook or Google has this facility and turning it on adds an additional layer of security to your accounts. You can find them by heading into their privacy settings.

Next, we recommend reviewing the third-party apps you’ve linked to your primary Google or Facebook profiles. These links are a critical security risk for your data and more often than not, end up compromising your private information. You can also go through a platform’s privacy settings to understand what you’re giving up for the free service and where you can cut back access.

6. Set up a password manager

In an online-first world like the one we’re living in today under lockdown, a password manager should play an indispensable role in your digital arsenal. It will allow you to set complex, different passwords for each of your accounts and you only have to remember the master key.

The majority of password managers have clients for all operating systems which means they’ll automatically sign you in the apps and websites irrespective of the device you’re on.

Password managers like 1password or Dashlane are also markedly more secure and sophisticated than the one that comes built-in with a browser or your phone. If you have been already using the latter, you can easily export them to a standalone password manager. To know which suits your needs best, drop by our compilation of the best password managers.


Nixplay Smart Photo Frame review

The Nixplay Smart Photo Frame, available in a variety of sizes, is a Wi-Fi digital picture frame that displays your favorite images. Similar to traditional picture frames you can hang it on a wall or prop it up on a table. Unlike the one on your grandmother’s wall, it can cycle through more than 2,000 pictures.This is the sort of product you’d gift to parents and grandparents as you can send photos or playlists directly to them. Additionally, it might be a good product for new parents, newlyweds, or college students who might want to keep an eye on things back home. It works just as well to give one of these to someone as it would be to receive on.There are a different sizes and finishes available so it ought to be no problem finding the right fit for your home. And because of its flexibility, you can move it to different rooms or environments without hassle.The 10.1-inch version features a 1280 x 800 HD image that’s bright, easy to see from a variety of angles, and works in both landscape and portrait orientation. As one might expect from a device like this in 2020, there is support for Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.The built-in motion sensor is able to identify whether there are people in the room which means it automatically turns itself off.Configuration and SetupSetting up the Nixplay Frame includes creating an account, pairing your frame to it, and adding photos. Using the mobile app you can manually add photos, but we found it easier to manage it from the website.Once logged in, you can pair your social media accounts with their respective library or albums. That includes Google Photos, Facebook, Instagram, Dropbox, Flickr, and Verizon Cloud.It’s also in this dashboard where you can set up timers to turn on and off the frame. Additionally, you can shuffle the playlist, opt to display a clock, adjust the transitions between photos, and more.If you’re purchasing one of these for a family member or friend, you’ll be able to set it all up and essentially make it a turn-key gift. All you’ll have to do is set it on the right Wi-Fi network.We appreciate that you can make as many adjustments that you can, especially to keep things updated. There’s no need to insert a microSD card or plug into the frame. Anything done in the cloud is automatically updated.As for the Google Assistant stuff, it’s more or less just being able to turn the frame on and off using your voice. It’s handy, but not necessary. Amazon Alexa appears to have a little deeper integration with options to pull up specific playlists. 1 of 4 The viewing angles on the frame are really good and we found it to provide sharp color and high contrast. Some of the transitions do feel a tad dated, however, they are quick. Fortunately, you can opt for longer delays between changing and decide which transition you want.Where to BuyYou can learn more about the Nixplay Smart Photo Frame at the company’s official website. There, you’ll find it available to purchase for about $180. A limited time discount sees the company taking $27 off, bringing the total to just $153.There are also other sizes to choose from, ranging from 9.7-inches up to 15.6-inches. From the looks of it, there are often chances to save on your frame. Be it centered around a holiday or just an instant discount, it pays to look.

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