Fairfax Tech Column

Fairfax Tech Column

07.7.2017 Fairfax Tech Column 50


Today is a tricky day for me. My wife’s birthday – 29 again! Of course for me, I can’t think of anything better as a present than some technology. Over the years my wife has received some fantastic birthday presents. Home automation external access to control the home via a smartphone; a robotic lawnmower; a virtual reality headset; an automated carpet cleaner; wireless phone chargers; latest home theatre upgrades; the list goes on. My wife is very good at controlling her emotions and, although I know she is incredibly excited by all of these technology related presents she has received, she has done very well to contain her excitement and hasn’t screamed with excitement or hollered for joy. In fact, some days she has said nothing at all!

Today will be different. I have a multi-pronged all-day approach.

I have been researching how people go about their ‘digital day’ so I am going to stage my presents throughout the day to match what people generally do during the day.

In the morning the number one activity is to check the weather followed by looking at e-mails and then catch up on any news from overnight. That piece of information was my first inspiration. As any technology junkie would do, we have a weather station at home. This is a standard device that features external sensors that communicate with the internal panel to give various readings such as temperature; wind; barometric pressure and rainfall. This model is a couple of years old though and doesn’t have the ability to view the readings via a mobile phone. It sounds so archaic but you have to actually walk to the kitchen to look at the readings. Present number one will be an upgraded weather station that does the same as our current one but will allow the unit to connect to the home Wi-Fi and from there my wife can use her mobile to look at readings at the home from anywhere in the world. I am sure my wife will have to let out a small yelp of excitement with that news.

By mid-morning, our main activities are online banking; e-mails still at number two and searching the Web. I couldn’t see a lot of improvement to be made in these areas so I moved onto lunchtime. The top three digital activities are searching the Web; e-mails still at number two and then looking at social media. It is probably refreshing to see that surveys reveal the majority of people don’t check on their social media throughout their morning at work and actually wait until lunchtime. Here is my next opportunity to impress my wife. With different social media channels to keep an eye on, it can make it time-consuming to go from one app to another to make sure you are up to date with all of those channels. A single platform or app to manage all social media sounds like a great present. There are various tools on the market – Hootsuite is probably the best-known – so I will choose one of those for the lunchtime present. The excitement keeps building!

By mid-afternoon, top digital activities turn to recipe inspirations and how-to videos followed by online shopping. Easy – an app will take care of that one. I think I will even be able to find a free one. There are a huge number of recipe apps in app stores that approach the problem from various angles and help you cook up a storm every night. Images get the taste buds tingling – and give you something to aspire to.

I am on a roll here.

By evening our top activities are, understandably, live streaming of television shows and movies; gaming and online shopping. What a great way to finish the day. A new release nostalgia game. I wonder if game manufacturers have started to run out of ideas as so many past classics are being re-released. The latest is Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy which was only released last week. The original game was released in 1996 and was an instant hit complete with the exclusive use of a capella singing throughout. The latest release captures that same feel but with a modern gaming graphics.

I can hardly wait – a day of technology – all for my wife’s benefit of course – I am sure she will be so excited by the end of the day that she will hardly be able to even talk to me!

Mathew Dickerson