This Week’s Upgrades for Your Life

Be Where You Are

It’s really amazing to the sum total of human knowledge and a global communication device fit into your pocket, isn’t it? If we’re being honest, it’s sort of addictive…we’ve all seen that table of friends enjoying a night out with their smartphones, silently scrolling through their Snapchat.

You may have even been part of such a group, in which case you know the whole thing can go a little too far sometimes. Surprisingly, portable electric fun can even make it harder to focus at work, which is why I found this Lifehacker article pretty helpful. Turns out “Do Not Disturb” mode can be used to save you from yourself in a number of situations, if only for a little while.

More Show, Less Dough

If you’re looking to get the most possible value out of your streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon, a tablet is definitely the way to go. Just save a few programs using the “Watch Later” feature and your 8 hour flight just became a movie marathon.

I like to have a tablet specifically for streaming so I don’t have to take my office iPad or smart home control panel out into the world, and this piece from PC Mag spotlights the models on the market that offer the most bang for your buck.

At Home With Siri

I was really excited for the release of the Apple HomePod, the manufacturer’s answer to the Amazon Echo, but the early reviews are less than glowing.

Apparently the sound quality is fine–”superb,” according to TechRadar--but if you’re used to dealing with the intuitive Alexa, Siri’s limited functionality in the device leaves something to be desired. Nothing that can’t be patched, I suppose.

Still, if you’re full ensconced in the world of Apple, the HomePod is an essential addition to your arsenal, featuring a streamlined setup and automatic pairing with compatible devices. May be smart to wait a few weeks, in any event.

Your Laser Mouse is Cool, But…

If you’ve managed to make it through the last 5 versions of Windows without becoming one of those Power Users the menus speak of, it’s not too late to unlock your true potential.

This handy guide from Windows Central can help you discover nifty keyboard commands that make interfacing with your PC easier than ever before. It’s like a basic spellbook for computer nerds.

The Last Word

Well, that’s pretty much everything I have for this episode. Thanks as always for allowing me into the inbox that you actually check, and for making time in your week for this little labor of love. Have a great week, and don’t forget to go outside every so often, just to get a little fresh air and existential perspective.

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