RESOLVE TO MAKE LIFE EASIER: Tech Timesavers
California, (January, 2012) – With the New Year brings a new dedication to do everything better. For us NERDS our resolution is to utilize technology to make life easier. With precious few minutes to waste in the day, it seems like certain technological “advances” actually cause us to waste more time than they save. So NERDS found some great resources to turn the tables and have your tech tools work for you again.
Keep track of your phone: Have you ever had that “Doh” moment… of having your phone in your hand while you’re looking for it? While for some we realize this might be an extreme case, everyone has misplaced their phone between the couch cushions or under the seat in your car at some point or another. If you don’t have another phone handy to call your waylaid device, there are sites that will call your phone for you. As awesome as this service sounds, we guard cell phone numbers like it’s the direct line to Santa, so the idea of handing it over to a website and trusting that it won’t end up on some telemarketer’s list makes NERDS cringe. Instead, try installing the free Google Voice (www.google.com/chat/voice) plug-in which allows you to make calls (even video chat) from your Gmail account to any phone number, all for free. Just login into Gmail and click the Chat drop down on the left and choose the “Call Phone” option to ring your wayward cell.
Regular Purchases: Just like you NERDS have discovered that there are certain products we buy on a regular basis: toothpaste, coffee, shampoo… you get the idea. Recently, we discovered that Amazon’s “Subscribe and Save” (www.amazon.com/gp/subscribe-and-save/details ) feature will allow you to have these staples shipped to your door automatically at customized intervals. You can cancel the auto-delivery at anytime, but we’ve grown really fond of things magically showing up in the mail just as they start to run low. On top of this time-saving convenience, you’ll get a discount every time the item ships to you just for signing up for scheduled delivery. Win-win!
On hold forever: Do you find it incredibly frustrating to wait on hold for endless wasted minutes while the automated service mockingly tells you how important your call is to them. Low and behold, there’s an app for that. FastCustomer (www.fastcustomer.com) is a free application for iPhone or Android users that, once installed on your Smartphone, you can use to wait on hold for you. Just launch the app, select the company you want to contact from their list of over 2,000 customer service numbers, and FastCustomer will place the call and wait on hold for you. When a representative is reached, you’ll get a call-back on your phone from an 800 number, allowing you to eliminate the time spent getting increasingly agitated while waiting for someone to help you. We bet you and the service rep will both appreciate it!
Password Protection: Finally, NERDS has talked a lot about the importance of maintaining unique passwords and not using the same ones over multiple sites in the past. However, we know this has led to countless times where you’ve had to run through the process of getting a username or password reminder sent to you because you forget the unique and different passwords. This can lead to a strong temptation to keep a document with all logins saved somewhere, despite the fact that we realize this is dangerous too. Instead, this year we’ve resolved to install and use LastPass (https://lastpass.com/). Their free application can be installed on any desktop computer and be accessed anywhere you have an internet connection. Every time you go to a website you can launch the application to login for you, or create a unique, virtually un-hackable password. Data is encrypted and stored on their server, allowing you to access your stored logins from anywhere with the one password you create at LastPass. Their premium version ($12/year) gives you the ability to install the app on your Smartphone, or integrate the password locker with a USB drive or YubiKey for multi-factor authentication.