November 28, 2022

Last week, our On Tech editor Hanna Ingber shared the story of her kid stumbled across a design app that unleashed his amazing taste in interior design. We asked your own story about the amazing ways technology can help you unleash your creativity or discover new joys.

You guys (sniffs), the response was lovely. We will share some of them today.

On Tech’s mission is to explore how technology is changing the way we live, who we are, and the world around us. We can’t ignore harmful effects, but I don’t want us to ignore miracles either.

How cool is it that we can share knowledge gathered online or easily exchange songs from our favorite decade with our parents? Also, birds! Birds are amazing. Here are some edited excerpts from what On Tech readers had to say:

Enjoy the magic of birds in daily quests:

I was walking down the driveway in the morning to get the paper back Merlin Bird ID App.

Everyday chores turned into joy. Now, instead of ignoring the sounds around me, I can focus on and recognize the birdsong that I hear. Birds change with seasonal migration patterns, so the sounds are constantly changing. It becomes some kind of meditation.

Ann McLaughlin of Carmel, CA

Bind playlist:

Very connected with my kids sharing music and playlists on Spotify. They can hear the music I grew up with, and I can hear the latest music they’re listening to. Surprisingly, we listened to a lot of the same music, old and new. Much easier than creating a mixtape.

They’re 17 and 18 now, but we’ve been doing this since they were around 13 – an age when it’s hard for parents to find ways to bond with their teens.

Jason, Corvallis, Ore.

Eliminate the perfect stress:

I’m one of those kids who can never tear off a sticker right away. I always had to wait a few minutes, even days, before deciding that my stickers would go home forever. Again, I’m hesitant to sharpen a whole new pencil unless absolutely necessary, and I only keep my marks for the most important drawings.

You’ll never find quick doodles in my sketchbook because these are on hold until I have a full vision ready. I’ve been collecting and saving these items for a rainy day, and eventually, my stickers get wrinkled, my markers dry out, and my sketchbook joins another bunch of unused, unwelcome stuff.

Then, I bought myself an iPad as a graduation present. I discovered the wonder of sketching, taking notes, doodling and coloring – all digitally.

I have an endless supply of stickers at my disposal that can be picked up and replaced at any time. I have come across infinite colors and combinations.

Soon I found myself journaling every day, experimenting with digital scrapbooking and keeping memories in one place. If I get it wrong, I can wipe it right away with a virtual eraser. I can adjust the stickers and letters however I want. My iPad became my way of doing whatever I wanted without worrying about making the wrong move.

Sydney Lin, sophomore civil engineering student at Vanderbilt University

Teaching Dad DIY Repairs:

A few years ago, my preteen son saw me getting more and more frustrated when I was trying to install new lawn mower blades. When he got back to the house, I thought he was bored. Instead, he watches YouTube on his mom’s iPad.

A few minutes later, he showed up and asked softly, “Can I try?” He did in less than a minute what I’d been trying for half an hour. ‘Until that moment, I thought YouTube was for cat videos.

The kid taught himself how to play his new ukulele on YouTube, among many other unexpected skills.

Doug McDurham of Waco, Texas

Classroom Learning Transformed by Audio Production:

I find that introducing students to podcasting opens new doors.

Students who are reluctant to participate in class discussions seize the opportunity to share their thoughts on topics of interest or research new topics. Students chose three formats for their podcasts: Storytelling, Interview, and Survey. Few projects offer this kind of freedom.

Although video apps have been around for a while, the freedom to record only their voices is liberating. They don’t have to worry about how they appear on camera – they can communicate their thoughts and ideas through voice alone. Groups are able to share audio files and edit at the same time to create the final product. What was once a classroom report has been redefined.

Lisa Dabell, a fifth-grade teacher in San Jose, California.

Opera, not so scary after all:

For most of my life, I saw opera as an art form that required incredible training and discipline. However, in my case, it didn’t work for me.

Sometime around late March or early April 2020, friends introduced us to recordings of past opera performances at the Metropolitan Opera through the company’s website and app — free, with a new one every day. Within a few days, we had a new nightly routine: eat dinner, read for an hour, then settle down to an opera.

Within a few weeks, we began to know the names and styles of some of the opera’s main actors. Within a few months, we learned the technical details of opera music, vocal training, set and costume design, and formed a preference for composers. (Sorry, folks: Wagner, no; Glass, yes.)

We thought deeply about the conflict that arises when old, flawed beliefs (misogyny, racism, etc.) embodied in “classics” meet different casting choices and new ways of thinking. We reach out to modern composers and screenwriters who challenge our assumptions about melody, story structure and plot, character development, and more.

Who knew there were so many discoveries in such an ancient art form? Of course I didn’t – I’m glad technology is bringing opera into our homes and lives.

David Moore, Sequim, Washington.

Met Opera has ended its nightly livestreams, but you can now watch and listen to past shows on Met Opera on Demand, an online streaming service offering a free trial.


Tips of the week

Brian X. Chena consumer technology columnist for The New York Times, co-authored a article This week on digital breadcrumbs can reveal personal details about people seeking abortion. Brian is here to suggest stripping some information from Google, which has a digital database of nearly everyone.

Google said this month that it would automatically delete location data when people visit places deemed sensitive, such as abortion clinics and addiction treatment centers. For example, if you set your destination to “Planned Parenthood” or “Alcoholics Anonymous” in Google Maps, the company will clear those entries.

Critics of Google say the company could but did not clear records of other types of location data, such as GPS coordinates and route information. (Google declined to comment.)

But you can exercise some control over how Google retains data about you. I wrote a column a few years ago explaining how to use Google’s auto-deletion controls, which include settings to delete web and location search history after a certain amount of time. These tips are worth revisiting.

Here’s an example of how to adjust location data settings:

  • In Google’s My Activity tool, at myactivity.google.comclick Activity controls, scroll to Location History, and then click Manage History.

    On the next page, find the icon shaped like a nut and click Auto delete location history. You can set data to be deleted after three or 18 months.

  • There’s also an option for those who simply don’t want Google to create their location history. On the My Activities page, click the activity controls, scroll to Location History and turn the switch to the off position.

  • Amazon told regulators it could change: To wrap up a three-year antitrust investigation in Europe, Amazon is proposing to stop collecting non-public sales data about independent merchants selling through Amazon and allow them to sell through the Prime program without using FBA. My colleague Adam Satariano reports on Amazon’s proposal and why Europe is at the center of big tech scrutiny.

  • Human Trafficking Behind Online Fraud Scams: Vice News report Online schemes that offer business or romantic partnerships as an excuse to extract money from victims sometimes come from industrial-scale scam centers in Southeast Asia that imprison and abuse workers.

    More: Nikkei Asia wrote Abusive workers last year about online gambling and fraudulent activities in Cambodia.

  • Instagram has many features: Here you can see what friends are doing, watch short videos from strangers, buy NFTs or gadgets sold by influencers, message other people, and probably write notes soon (for some reason). reason). The Junk Day newsletter writes that Instagram is a “Don’t know what it’s supposed to be. “

    Relevant information from On Tech: What is Facebook? Another huge app from Meta!

lemur!lick honey! From fruit! These little guys really know how to enjoy their treats.


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