Every year brings new and exciting technology, and this year was no different. As it’s our job here at Techcitement to talk about tech that excites us, we thought we’d put a spotlight on that specific tech that we’re also thankful that exists. Whether it’s some tech that personally affects our daily lives or tech that makes the world a greater place overall, here’s what the staff of Techcitement is thankful for in 2012.
This year, I’m thankful for Wordfence. Hackers took over my little corner of the internet at Asterisk a few weeks back. It was bad. Really, really, really bad. Wordfence, a newish WordPress security plugin showed me hundreds of infected PHP files and offered a quick way to restore WordPress core, plugin, and theme files to the official WordPress repository versions. (The free version is sufficient for me, but there are some paid features that are probably awesome, too.) I finally gave up trying to sort it out and spent a weekend nuking the whole dang thing and re-uploading four years worth of images and video, but escape my fate and install Wordfence before hackers find your security holes.
WiFi has become incredibly ubiquitous over the last decade. It’s so ever-present, we forget how important WiFi has been to the advance of so many other technologies. Without WiFi, I doubt laptops would have taken over the personal computer market. Portability was much less important when you were tied down by a wire for internet access. The modern smartphone revolution was certainly helped by this wonderful invention, given the speed limitations of the original iPhone’s 2G radio. With the shift away from unlimited data, a non-cellular alternative is becoming even more important. Tablets would be inconceivable without wireless internet access. And let’s not forget how many times a good MiFi (mobile WiFi) has saved the day when a business’s internet connection went down.
So, this Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for my wireless on-ramp to the internet. Unnoticed in coffee shops and public parks, maligned for its unreliable routers, WiFi remains one of the greatest inventions of our connected lives.
My Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS7 digital is an amazing camera, takes HD video, and provides great pictures of my family. The Lumix has also contributed mightily to my family and friends having over 30,000 digital pictures. Picasa software from Google makes organizing all those digital images manageable. I am also thankful for Shutterfly’s great web software that allows me to easily create hardcover photobooks of lots of those images. My kids love looking at all of the books full of pictures of themselves and all the fun things we do.
Ever since I first saw an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation I knew I wanted a touchable, dynamic computer interface. Multi-touch has been taking off for the last few years, and now we see Microsoft pinning its hopes on the function with Windows 8 and manufacturers coming out with some striking designs to take advantage of it. I love that I live in an era where I can swipe away at a glass slab and it’s “working.” Now, all we need is a voice-interface that really works and is called Majel.
Between my inherent ADHD that renders me incapable of keeping track of small things and my three lovely children who enjoy playing with everything they can touch, universal phone chargers are a huge boon for me now with multiple wires that allow me to charge my phone. I always lose my phone charger, and when they weren’t interchangeable, that left me phoneless for days on end. At the moment, my Samsung is plugged into my computer with a white mini USB wire from who-knows-what device, and you know what? It’s working. Next up? Universal wireelss chagring. I can’t wait.
It’s hard to choose to one, so I’m going to give myriad tech I’m thankful for.
- SSDs (solid state hard drives) are the best performance improvement to PCs since sliced bread.
- Multiple monitor setups make you wonder how you ever did with just one (err, two) monitors.
- Beyond the PC, the new Roku Box is exciting as a way to easily bring digital content from your computer or the internet to your television.
- Wireless charging technology like in my Sonicare toothbrush is long overdue and can’t propagate quickly enough for my taste.
- I rarely leave home without my LG HBS-700 Bluetooth headset. It looks like no headset you’ve ever seen, sounds great for both calls and music, is easy to wear, and has a battery life of 18 hours on one hour of charging, making it my favorite technology of the year.
Next year, I look forward to USB 3.0 ports and devices becoming much more common.
How easy it is for me to take credit card payments for my small business. It used to be a complicated and expensive process to set up a business to take that a credit card payment, but now it’s a no brainer. There are so many convenient creations that make starting and owning a business easier than ever. It was ridiculously fast and simple to set up and start using the Square app on my phone so that my customers can conveniently pay me larger amounts of money all at once by swiping their credit cards on my phone. Nice job, Square. Nice Job, iPhone. You guys have now become as legendary as peanut butter and jelly.
For starters, I’m thankful for IPS monitor display panels. My work bought me a new HP ZR2440w 24″ LCD monitor in August and the screen is razor sharp. With even off-brand manufacturers starting to put IPS panels in their monitors (such as the Auria monitors at Micro Center), one of them is sure to be my next new display at home, when I can justify replacing one. I’m also thankful for the ParkNOW! app on my iPhone. With it, I can park my car in any of a number of participating parking garages by simply pulling into a parking space and scanning the barcode on the meter in front of it into the software. (For meters lacking the barcode, I can key in a six-digit code number instead.) Then, ParkNow! keeps a timer running to show how long I’ve parked and bills me the proper amount when I tap a button in the app to stop parking. It can even optionally send me text message reminders at set intervals, tallying my parking fees so far. Of course, I’d be much more thankful if parking was always free, but this is a great solution to make the process easier.
As the EIC of Techcitement, I can’t help but be most thankful for political coverage and the possible creation of male birth control. Not just because the latter would be an amazing move forward for us (and by us, I mean the human race), but because you people sure liked to talk about the subject when we did a story about it back in March. And Techcitement got quite a lot of attention for our male birth control article. I mean, a lot. We’ve also become a respected voice on topics in politics, pop culture, and societal change as we blaze a trail forward. So, I guess what I’m saying is that I’m thankful that the topic of technology is approachable from so many angles.
And that’s exactly what we’re going to continue doing. Please, feel free let us know what you’d like to see us do future stories on, whether it’s more trusted reviews on tablets, phones, or video games; business news for tech giants; opinion pieces on politics and culture; more stories on entertainment; or something wholly different.
Or simply let us know what you’re thankful for, technology-related or not, this Thanksgiving in our comments section or on our Facebook page.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.