You never thought you’d see the day when computers fit in the palm of your hand, and your car practically drives itself. But, it’s happening. Technology is changing everything, and it’s taking place all around you. Even the smallest things are getting a tech makeover.
Some of those things are downright amusing. They make you scratch your head and wonder, “Why?” And yet, once you’ve tried them, you’ll wonder how you ever did things the “old fashioned” way.
So, let’s take a quick trip down memory lane, and highlight some of the best low-tech activities that have received high-tech makeovers. Here are our top three:
Remember when Post-it Notes were the biggest thing that ever happened to note taking? Well, things have changed since then. While you might still see Post-its in the supply cupboard at the office, you probably won’t see them anywhere else. Because really, why bother? There’s no need.
Laptops, tablets and smartphones make jotting down ideas easier than ever before. But, if you still prefer to use that old pen and paper, there is a product out there that’s the best of both worlds. The Wacom Bamboo Spark will transform the way you sketch, write and share your thoughts with others.
The Bamboo Spark uses a smart folio and smart pen to convert handwritten notes into a digital format - all at the press of a button. You don’t need a special (or expensive) type of paper to make it work. Just write as you normally would, then press the button to save your notes in the cloud, or send them to your phone or tablet.
You can get a Bamboo Spark for around $160.
Paper airplanes, building blocks and Barbies used to be staples of toy boxes everywhere. And, in a certain sense, they still are. They’ve just gotten a lot smarter. Kids don’t fly paper planes anymore, they fly drones with remote controls. Building blocks come with their own activity apps. And when you talk to your Barbie doll, she’ll sync to your Wi-Fi and say “Hello” back.
There are many more examples. Scooters are now hoverboards, bikes balance on their own and basketballs have apps that record how you play. So, growing up may have been fun when you were a kid, but it’s even better now.
Smart toys have transformed the toy industry. They’ve even created their own category, which falls somewhere between a video game and a toy. To be considered a smart toy, a product must have three interconnected elements: a video game (or application interface), one or more connected objects and a distribution platform with display.
Just a few years ago, smart toys began trickling into the market. But now, they’re moving full-force. In fact, according to a study of the current market, the smart toys industry is expected to reach 8.4 billion dollars by 2020.
Before “Netflix and chill” was officially a thing, people would meet, ask each other out and start dating. In fact, the term for it used to be “courting.” It involved careful planning and coordination: what time to show up, what to wear, what to bring.
Dating these days typically starts online, or through an app. And some of these sites, like Grindr and Tindr, require no former knowledge about a person’s background to deem them a possible “match.” Swipe left, or swipe right. That’s how it’s done. Just “like” someone’s profile, exchange texts for a while, and maybe (eventually) you’ll meet over coffee. Then again, maybe not.
When relationships actually do make it to the next level, they’re still challenged by some technological faux-pas. Skyping, texting and social media posts just make being in a relationship more confusing. When should you update your relationship status on Facebook? Should you dig up dirt on your partner’s ex by peeking through their phone? And, when it comes to break-ups, should you tell them in person, via email, via text, or through a Facebook post?
If you’re cold-hearted enough, there are even apps that will break up with someone for you. Binder, for example, lets you select the reason you’d like to break up, then sends your ex a text setting them loose.
If you’d like to soften the blow, you can ask that an audio message be delivered instead. Just imagine receiving the following message in a soothing, robotic voice: “Your boyfriend doesn’t love you anymore, he hates your face, he thinks you’re a bore.”
Fortunately, this app is only available in Scotland.
On the Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show, Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com. Kim also posts breaking tech news 24/7 at News.Komando.com.