8 Technologies We're Thankful For - InformationWeek

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11/25/2015
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8 Technologies We're Thankful For

Thanksgiving is about giving thanks, remember? So, let's express appreciation for the technologies that make our lives better. These are the gadgets, apps, and tools that have earned our eternal gratitude.
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GPS
Before GPS devices were affordable, we used paper maps and travel guide books, all of which perpetually were out of date. Maps would never fold up into a nice, neat package after you initially unfolded them. Also, because you couldn't read a map while driving, they were completely useless to a car driver who lacked a human navigator in the front passenger seat. ('Honey, I think that was our turn.')
Plus, paper maps trapped us into a single route (which might be a metaphor for our lives as well). I grew up taking vacations based on AAA Trip-Tiks, which gave turn-by-turn directions. They were wonderful at, say, helping my parents find a campsite two states away. But if a construction delay forced an alternate route, you were utterly lost. You didn't dare stray from the highlighted path because you had no idea how to return. So much for serendipity.
Now, you and I blithely follow directions to an obscure BBQ restaurant in a dodgy neighborhood, trusting that the GPS will return us to our hotel safely, even if we mistake Exit 11-B for Exit 11-A. Yes, life is better.
There are plenty of technologies and tools that build on GPS that I appreciate, too. Among them are location-based review sites such as Yelp ('Find a Jewish deli near here.'), Uber ('Where's the car? It should be here by now ... Oh, the map shows it three blocks away.'), mobile apps that help me find the closest bank ATM, and flight-tracking software that alerts me when a plane is arriving late.
(Image: Esther Schindler)

GPS

Before GPS devices were affordable, we used paper maps and travel guide books, all of which perpetually were out of date. Maps would never fold up into a nice, neat package after you initially unfolded them. Also, because you couldn't read a map while driving, they were completely useless to a car driver who lacked a human navigator in the front passenger seat. ("Honey, I think that was our turn.")

Plus, paper maps trapped us into a single route (which might be a metaphor for our lives as well). I grew up taking vacations based on AAA Trip-Tiks, which gave turn-by-turn directions. They were wonderful at, say, helping my parents find a campsite two states away. But if a construction delay forced an alternate route, you were utterly lost. You didn't dare stray from the highlighted path because you had no idea how to return. So much for serendipity.

Now, you and I blithely follow directions to an obscure BBQ restaurant in a dodgy neighborhood, trusting that the GPS will return us to our hotel safely, even if we mistake Exit 11-B for Exit 11-A. Yes, life is better.

There are plenty of technologies and tools that build on GPS that I appreciate, too. Among them are location-based review sites such as Yelp ("Find a Jewish deli near here."), Uber ("Where's the car? It should be here by now … Oh, the map shows it three blocks away."), mobile apps that help me find the closest bank ATM, and flight-tracking software that alerts me when a plane is arriving late.

(Image: Esther Schindler)

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Angelfuego
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Angelfuego,
User Rank: Ninja
12/19/2015 | 9:37:52 PM
Re: Many thanks - untethered
@mejiac, I do the same, I just carry my keys, cell phone, debit card, and identification. I usually hold it all in one hand, if I don't have any pockets. I don't have a need for a pocketbook. I feel like pocketbooks just get filled up with a bunch of unnecessary stuff to lug around. In the rare occasions that I use a pocketbook, I use a small clutch bag just containing my identification, keys, debit card, and phone.
estherschindler
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50%
estherschindler,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/4/2015 | 3:38:46 PM
Re: Social Media?
Each of us has a different experience with social media. In my case, reconnecting with my high school friends (some of whom I knew since first grade!) was a good thing. I discovered that both they and I had changed since then. And that most of them decided I wasn't as much of a dork as they remembered.

You can tune your social media feeds so you can minimize (if not eliminate) the topics you don't want to hear about.

For me, it's been a net Plus. And not just because of cat videos.
PedroGonzales
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50%
PedroGonzales,
User Rank: Ninja
12/2/2015 | 9:46:56 PM
Re: Many thanks - untethered
I hope so as well.  Both debit and credit cards aren't secure enough.  My friend got her money stolen from her debit credit.  Sometimes unscrupulous employees clone customers' credit cards to make other purchases.  This doesn't happen with cash.  I was hoping that by the year 2000 we would have better card technology.
Gigi3
100%
0%
Gigi3,
User Rank: Ninja
12/1/2015 | 11:21:17 PM
Re: Weather App
"Weather apps are amazing. It indeed makes travel a lot easier. Also for frequent flyers there is this app that calculates the correct time you should rest, even among time differences under many time zones, so that your normal functioning biological clock isn't disturbed."

SachinEE, I haven't used weather apps for travelling but a frequent user in home town to know about the forecast and predictions.
Gigi3
100%
0%
Gigi3,
User Rank: Ninja
12/1/2015 | 11:19:36 PM
Re: Weather App
"I am pretty thankful for smartphones. Truly the best invention so far. Just think: in the future smartphones will play a major role in controlling just about anything an everything."

SachinEE, you are right Smartphone made the GPS and map technology wide popular. I believe that most of the Smartphone users had used the maps and gps atleast once in their life.
Gigi3
100%
0%
Gigi3,
User Rank: Ninja
12/1/2015 | 11:16:46 PM
Re: Navigation
"I still recall how much I used the Thomas Guide in SoCal. Funny, I used to like it. It's almost unreal that now, it's just a thing of the past. This year is the 100th anniversary of its foundation, and most likely going to a museum pretty soon."

Mak63, what's this Thomas guide? Is it something like maps and guidance system?
nomii
50%
50%
nomii,
User Rank: Ninja
12/1/2015 | 11:34:40 AM
Flight Radar

One app which I think most of you are not familiar with is flight radar. Its a very nice app where you can check any flight in its route. You can check its real time status and its location. It was very handy for me once my family was travelling abroad and I was waiting for their arrival. I was able to get their travelling status in a wink. A great app indeed.

nomii
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50%
nomii,
User Rank: Ninja
12/1/2015 | 11:31:47 AM
Re: Weather App
@Shakeeb true. I believe that every app has some purpose. It might not be handy for one but for other it might be the best thing that can happen to him. So I am waiting for this list to grow further.
Susan Fourtané
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50%
Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Author
12/1/2015 | 7:51:27 AM
Wireless connectivity
Esther, what a wonderful collection of technologies! I am particularly grateful for wireless technologies without which I wouldn't be able to lead the kind of life I lead today, somehow of a digital nomad working from here, there, and everywhere across cafés, cities, countries. Like you, I am very grateful for the Word Processor and for the Internet, with all the knowledge and information it brings to my fingerprints. I am also grateful for claud storage. -Susan
impactnow
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50%
impactnow,
User Rank: Author
11/30/2015 | 11:26:02 PM
The future is so ....
What a great list that I am truly thankful for every day! Technology does make so much of our lives more enriching and entertaining! Imagine what this list will look like in twenty years!
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