What piece of technology or app do you use in your daily life or remote work life that isn’t so common, but you think others could benefit from using?
In this Slogging thread, the HN team dives into the apps and tools we use on a daily basis.
This Slogging thread by Limarc, Amy Shah, Sidra Zafar, Adrian Morales, Blake Cram, Tirtha, Gimbiya Galadima, Jessica, Iggy and Davis David occurred in hackernoon's official #fellowship-central channel, and has been edited for readability.
What piece of technology do you use in your daily life or remote work life that isn’t so common, but you think others could benefit from using?
For me, it is without a doubt, Amazon Alexa (virtual assistants in general).
When I first started working remotely I used Alexa to:
I still use it for reminders and alarms everyday. I am weary of the invasion of privacy aspect…but I’ve also kinda accepted it.
Also I have to say, the Oculus Quest might have saved my health throughout this pandemic. I couldn’t go to the gym, and I was too lazy to go jogging, so instead I played games like Beat Saber and Thrill of the Fight to stay in shape in my tiny Tokyo apartment. VR has been a lifesaver and helped keep me sane throughout all the crap we’ve been through in the past 2 years.
I even wrote an article about VR fitness games back in the days of my freelance video game writing career: https://www.keengamer.com/articles/features/opinion-pieces/5-best-vr-fitness-games-on-the-oculus-quest/
I used the Duolingo app (http://duolingo.com) for over 600 days during the Pandemic. It's free and anyone can use it, but there is a premium version available without ads. I learned German primarily. Daily I would just do one lesson for about 5 minutes. That was the extent of my commitment! Recently, someone I know took an introductory college level German class at a university, and I knew enough to help them with their homework because of Duolingo!
A lesser known language website is Yabla (https://www.yabla.com/). The company takes existing Youtube videos in other languages and adds a feature to allow you to play them back slowly or loop the videos with subtitles so you can pick up the nuances in languages. There are also games on the website to test your listening and reading comprehension. While the Yabla is not as addictive as Duolingo, it has made learning cultural aspects of a language easier. Yabla offers education in English, Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, and German.
As I am a PhD student and my research area involves biotechnology, I have to make biological illustrations for my research papers and reports. Previously, I used PowerPoint and paint to draw the biological illustrations which did not come out nicely. So, I came across this biorender app (https://biorender.com/) which has lots of pre-defined biological icons like cells, tissues, bacteria etc. This app has electrified my figures game. It comes with free version and a premium version which is paid.
Also when you are a PhD student your mental health suffers a lot. Most often students find them selves drenched in ocean of scattered thoughts and all you need is to quite your mind. To cater this I have been using a meditation app called insight timer (https://insighttimer.com/). This a free app and comes in guided and semi guided meditation sessions. It also caters stress and anxiety and is ideal for everyone during this pandemic.
I'm someone that benefits a lot from having a to-do list, otherwise things might slip my mind. The best app for day planning that I have found has to be Structured. You can plan a whole day, sync your calendars and get notifications when it is time to move on to the next part of your day. It keeps me efficient with my time, and it keeps me motivated because love checking boxes off when a task is complete.'
I love being active. At the start of COVID-19's outbreak and as quarantines and stay-in-place orders were issued, I had to be more creative to stay active as places like my rock climbing gym were no longer available. After weeks of scouring the internet for online workouts and yoga classes, I stumbled upon https://www.alomoves.com--an app with a wealth of yoga, HIIT workouts, stretching and meditation practices that I can use on my phone or on my laptop. I felt like yoga classes through video were especially hit or miss in quality until I stumbled upon Alo. The instructors communicate movements efficiently and clearly, while the video quality is professionally executed, so it is easy to follow along. The UI on the site is especially approachable in navigating their HUGE library of classes with a large range of class durations and difficulties. I can find what I need to cater to what I need in a given day. I use this app every day and it helps me get take care of my physical and mental health even while stuck at home.
Another piece of technology I've been enamored with is the https://coros.com/apex.php. I used to have a big-brand smartwatch (I won't name any names), and I was really disappointed with the lack of detail in workouts, the laughably short battery life, and pestering reminder of emails, texts and phone calls--that I went to my phone to respond to anyway. I sold my smartwatch, parted with its hefty and absolutely unused cellular plan, and arrived at the Coros. This watch gives me ridiculously detailed running data that I can nerd out over. The watch tracks my running patterns, heart rate, predicts race times, tracks recovery and training efficiency. The battery (no exaggeration) lasts almost two weeks without charging even while running around 30 miles a week. And, I still get basic texts and email notifications if I want them, so I can keep track of things I need to when I'm working. I got way more of an insight to my health without the headaches.
Very cool ideas everyone I've already checked them out. I also got a new keyboard and it's official, a mechanical keyboard makes you sound like you type faster than you actually do. Also lights on the keyboard make you feel better at videogames than you actually are.
how about you Tirtha Amy Eastland Vikram Makkar Joseph Ocasio?
I love making doodles and think with illustrations. If ever I need to plan - whether a software implementation, party planning or just random thought orientation, I use a simple http://draw.io webtool. Also on my ipad, there's an app called Tayasui sketches(https://apps.apple.com/in/app/tayasui-sketches/id641900855)
I've been using it for making anime n other art, but also to just draw random scribbles and patterns to explain an idea.
Tirtha that's awesome. Is it pretty seamless to save your creations to device or email them to yourself, post them on Instagram and things like that?
In Tayasui, you can do icloud sync, have local storage backup and pretty easy to share via email n other apps. I take backups after a piece is complete and later schedule uploads on Instagram.
http://Draw.io also allows you to save your work on Google drive, Github, Gitlab & of course, local storage.
What do you all think about this tool? https://www.remotion.com/
You think it'd help remote teams feel more "connected" ?
Interesting one Limarc the team members get to have a balanced engagement with colleagues. Another app in the same space that's getting quite popular is https://www.gather.town/
You get to customize your character and move around like those pixel art RPG indie games. 😄
The HN team loves gathertown!!
How about you: Marc Magrini Iggy Mariannah Giri Khunshan Ahmad Davis David Jessica What piece of technology do you use in your daily life or remote work life that isn’t so common, but you think others could benefit from using??
I like the concept of Gathertown. It states that I can register for free: a 30-day free registration sounds amazing. So I'll register and see the amazing features it offers.
I like using Microsoft OneNote for my daily to-do list and to take notes (love the color coding tabs).
I like using Basecamp, it's so cool and they are easy to use , no charges, I think you should try it out if you are a software engineer, lastly clickup is also one of the best project management software I've used too, you try that out..
Iggy do you have an opinion on Basecamp versus Trello or Notion?
Well, what I will say about basecamp is that it took some features from Notion, e.g real-time documentation, file upload, etc then adding on top of it is the real-time group chat feature, meaning you can communicate with the team all in the same app, in my own opinion this helps to keep the team together without having a different platform for chatting. Trello is good for productivity and I guess they are all solving different problems but just some difference .
I use Google notes to write down some article ideas I want to write or sometimes I save the link of an article I have read on my mobile phone or my laptop that I want to read more, explore and see if I can write new thing related to the article I read.