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The tech we’re thankful for: 2021 edition

November 29, 2021

The tech we’re thankful for: 2021 edition

Two years ago, I wrote a Thanksgiving list acknowledging the tech I was grateful for in a pre-pandemic era while Trump was the president. I was a tech cynic, I said, but I continued to move seat for gratitude. Nice one, past simple, ignorant me.

Now — one general elections and subsequent uprising, one pandemic, and countless Facebook scandals later — the ways tech can simultaneously snap us apart and bring us closer together is in sharper relief than ever. The tech mistrust of a tech reporter has transformed into a sort of ubiquitous public premonition about Big Tech. At the same time, the need to move, connect, laugh, or enable anything that makes us self care and joy has made priority in a way it didn’t in the work-focused before periods.

This year, I expected my colleagues to submit some thoughts about the apps, contraptions, and other devices they’ve come to cherish. What’s been their partner, their secret weapon, their solace, as they attempted to find their footing on a planet that’s forever turning?

It turns out, the things we’re all grateful for are somehow smaller, more personal, and so significant. They are signposts for the ways each of us has concluded freedom or associate in our lives. They’re principally made by passionately flawed firms, but they commit us joy. Nursing those two actualities in our thoughts concludes appreciation in this wild world. So, while we and our elected official obstruct a continuous seeing on what’s actually not working in tech, we might as well give thanks for what does, too.

Here’s the tech Mashable staff is grateful for. Happy holidays.

The Starbucks app

Bloodwork. Ultrasound. Starbucks.

That was my routine for 2021: dozens of doctor’s 7am appointments be accompanied by a Starbucks run. Being indebted for the Starbucks app may sound frivolous and basic, but in an especially challenging year, little treats produced me big sips of joy.

By pre-ordering through the app, I too suffered the included enjoy of decreasing human interaction while in an previously fragile mood. On countless mornings, the idea of shouting my line-up through a mask and plexiglass over the rucku of the place playlist after being poked by needles and probes was too much to deal with so early. So instead I’d pop my tell in from the doctor’s office and swing by to grab my cold beverage , no beings skills needed.

Maybe in 2022, I’ll start ordering at the counter again. But probably not.

— Annie Colbert, executive editor

Watch parties enabled by streaming services and Google Chat

In March 2020, six of my friends, my husband, and I, began the epic travel of watching the best seasons of Survivor. We would watch on Hulu, Amazon, and eventually, Paramount+ when the seasons became too recent. We would also use the service currently known as Google Chat, formerly labelled Hangouts Chat, and forever in my president called G-Chat, to coordinate episode start times — “ok, at 6:17, press play” — and react in real time to the blindsides, programme discussions, humiliating fails, and delicious victories. Getting together multiple times a week on G-Chat also made us more aware of what was going on in each other’s beings, give us chew on the conundrums to come up in the establish together, learn and enjoy each other’s sense of humor more, gave us space to be intense or silly or however we were feeling in the moment. Though we live in four different cities, watching Survivor together has helped the eight of us flourish closer than ever.

As the world has opened up, it’s become harder and harder to make time for these considering times. Finding a free hour on a nighttime that works in three different timezones and doesn’t overlap with dinners, exercisings, or the rest of life, has just become a taller order outside of the confines of a world-closing world pandemic. As difficult as the first time of the coronavirus was, having our Survivor sessions be fewer and farther between has moved me grateful for the time my cross-country best friends and I got to invest together in the virtual life. There’s no question that streaming services and Gchat facilitated conclude that possible. For that tech — and mainly, for that time with your best friend — I’m grateful.

— Rachel Kraus, tech reporter

Apple Watch

I have owned several fitness trackers in my life, but never an Apple Watch. That changed during the pandemic. Now, it’s hard to imagine lope without it. The always-on display on my Series 6 induces it easy to keep an eye on my progress and the time without slows down. And the Nike Run Club app tells me out loud how quickly( or slowly) I finish each mile. Goodbye forever to awkwardly staring at my wrist.

— Keith Wagstaff, tech editor


This year, I reexamined my are relevant to social media. I was becoming too devoured with likes and discourse. Every app was just another tool for professional change, a route to appraise myself against my peers and ultimately was all right about it. What I was longing for was a sense of community, a sit to exist without the constant pres to be perceived. I was necessary to just experience things again. I found that on Weverse, a scaffold that connects some of the most important starrings in Korean entertainment( and , now, UMG artists) — including world hitmakers BTS — with their millions of love from around the world.

Part fan engagement, part e-commerce, Weverse reports over 4.5 million monthly active consumers and 19.2 million total subscribers. It’s a one-stop destination for fans to interact with one another, watch exclusive videos and original sequence, read exclusive material, and actually be participating in their favorite masters. It’s not uncommon for craftsmen to comment on fans’ poles or to get into “heated” discussions, like when state members of Tomorrow X Together disagreed over whether humans have one butt or two. On Weverse, I don’t feel any influence to like or statement, or to check it all the time. I adoration disappearing unnoticed. I’m simply now for the content.

Alarmed app

Thankful for the “alarmed” app. It’s a remember and timer app where I can keep track of everything I need to do. You can stir both repeat and ad hoc remembers. Additionally, you can see both present and past reminders to look back over the things you’ve done. It’s same to a to-do list where you can feel achieved about the things you check off. Adding greenbacks can be good if you need to put in more information. It’s really simple to use and I’ve squandered it for two plus years without the specific issues.

— Gigi Wong, audience improvement& analytics

Duolingo legends and audio lessons

The Duolingo app became so much more than a language-learning game this year. For the Spanish courses, the app lent more narrations to work on comprehension, listening, and even speaking abilities. There are now interactive listening class that wait for you to say the chastise response. And even better, the Duolingo podcast incorporated onto the app. It’s attained it so much easier to practice Spanish daily and hinder my 458 -day streak going.

— Sasha Lekach, transportation reporter

Voice Messages

In words of tech, this year I must give a shoutout to voice letters. After a long day of typing for job I just have the exertion to flex my digits and leisurely type textbooks to friends. Thanks to voice senses, I don’t have to. I just speak into my phone using iMessage or WhatsApp( sometimes even Instagram) and conveniently send audio excerpts that assistance me stay in touch with my loved ones while mentally recharging my artilleries. Voice themes furnish the charm of hearing a person’s voice, and eliminate the stress of having to interact with someone in real term. A dream! They’re rightfully helping me recover from two years of text and video chat overload, and for that I’m indebted.

— Nicole Gallucci, auxiliary editor


Kids grown up fast, and when you’re an aunt who lives out of state, it can be hard to keep up with them — particularly during a pandemic that involves travel. Nonetheless, the app Caribu made a big difference, allowing me not only to video chat with my inventive nieces, but also play games with them online. At the swipe of a phone or tablet, Caribou offers a library of journals, coloring diaries, pleasure pages, and plays at their fingertips. The coolest persona is you can play collaboratively, which can mean colour at the same time, snapping the “page” of a journal, or making turns in dilemmas. We get hooked, this is why we modernized from the free test to the year subscription, ensuring plenty of playtime no matter what.

— Kristy Puchko, deputy recreation editor

Fitbit and Noom

Since the pandemic, I ought to have adhered at home living a sedentary lifestyle. Though I used to squeeze in a pair workouts or feeds now and there during the week, there was no control on the unnecessary weight I put one over and I soon went out of shape. Things have since opened up, and I have been working out more frequently, but there was not enough change. Guess what? Then I started taking the “calories in and calories out” more seriously. I count calories devoured exercising Noom, and I count calories exerted consuming Fitbit. They also count how many calories I burned during my sleep, the quality of my sleep, which practises burn the most calories in the short-lived quantity of hour, etc.

— Vatsal Popat, business intelligence

A gaming PC

The tech I’m most appreciative for is my new gaming PC that I bought a few weeks back from iBuyPower. My old computer was gradually dying, and going without a lane to connect with friends was out of the question. I’m not a very big gamer per se, but frisking video games with your best friend online the past two years has been so helpful for my mental health. I’ve became new friends, connected with old friends, and depleted countless hours talking about everything from lifetime to a silly online sport. It’s a great way to decompress after a long day, and it’s really going to come in handy this wintertime when I’m cooped up in the members of this house.

— Brian Koerber, culture editor

A waterproof digital watch

I haven’t owned a watch for as long as I’ve owned a cellphone. Until this year, that is.

That’s because in 2021 I obtained a( relatively) inexpensive waterproof watch — and I couldn’t be happier. No Apple Watch , no BlueTooth connectivity , no touch screen. Time a regular, digital watch.

I live in San Francisco, and during the course of its pandemic I started channel-surf before undertaking. That implies get up at 5:15 a.m ., packing up a vehicle, driving to a disruption, putting on a wetsuit, and finally doing the actual surfing part — before doing that all in reverse, but with Bay Area rush-hour traffic to deal with.

Having a waterproof watch implies I can squeeze in as much time as possible on the ocean and still “re coming back” at my desk and ready to go at 9am.

It’s wonderful.

— Jack Morse, elderly tech reporter

Read more: mashable.com

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