How We (Millennials) Use Tech to “Adult”!

millennial using cellphone
Many millennials use technology to help with everyday “adulting”.

There is no question that access to technology is a major mark of the millennial generation. And, being on the young end of the millennial spectrum, it’s especially hard for us to remember a time without things like the internet. So it makes a lot of sense that we’re so comfortable integrating tech into our adult lives. In fact, we do most of our “adulting” with technology.

It’s not that we need different things than the generations before us. We still want happy relationships, good jobs, financial stability and much more… it’s just that the way we do or achieve these things is different… often because of tech! Keep reading to see all the ways we (millennials) use technology to help us “adult”. read more

4 Things to Consider Before Buying New Headphones

Apple EarPod Headphones

Like all personal devices and gadgets, your choice of headphones is deeply personal and dependent on what you’re using them for. But, it’s good to know different options and trends before you spend money on them.

So, we’ve created a list of things that we think are the most important to consider before purchasing one of the most-used tech accessories in the market. The list also includes some headphone features that are newer trends that you should know about!

Keep reading to learn more before you buy your next pair of headphones…

1. Style

There are three main headphone styles that you can buy, and they all have various pros and cons. The style you choose has a lot to do with personal preference and use. These three main styles are:

  • In-ear:

These are your typical earbud-style headphones, probably the most popular due to cost efficiency. Earbuds are also the most portable style, since they’re so small. You can easily wrap up earbuds and throw them in a bag for your daily commute, for exercise, or for any other day-to-day use.

The cons? Earbuds typically don’t have as great sound quality as over-ear or on-ear headphones. They also don’t cancel noise as well since they don’t cover your whole ear. Although, Apple is rumoured to be working on noise-cancelling AirPods… we’re curious to see how well these will work!

  • Over-ear:

Over-ear headphones cover your entire ear, and are known for having the best sound quality. This is because of their large surface size. They also have the best noise-cancelling capabilities, since they cover your entire ear. You can have a truly immersive experience with over-ear headphones. Great for travel or for working in noisy environments. And if you’re a gamer, you’ll probably want to invest in the over-ear style so you can immerse yourself in the game.

The cons? Over-ear headphones are big and more difficult to carry around day-to-day. This could limit how often you use them. They are also generally more expensive than the other styles. For a good pair, you’re probably looking at spending a few hundred dollars, minimum.

  • On-ear:

On-ear headphones sit on top of your ear, so they’re larger than earbuds but smaller than over-ear styles. This style is very middle ground in many ways. On-ear are generally more compact than over-ear headphones, so easier to travel with. They also give you a better sound quality than earbuds, but don’t completely block you from the outside world – some people like this and some people don’t.

The cons? If you’re looking for noise-cancelling, these probably aren’t your best option. Over-ear headphones will almost always have better noise-cancelling capabilities. On-ear can also be uncomfortable, since they’re pressing against your ears.

2. Wired vs. Wireless

Just like with headphone style, wired vs. wireless headphones has a lot to do with personal preference and what you’re used to. Here are some pros and cons for both styles:

  • Wired:

With more and more devices losing the headphone jacks, a lot of people feel forced to choose wireless headphones. But, there are still pros to wired, as well as tricks to continue using them. Wired headphones typically have the best sound quality, because they’re directly connected to the device. And, you can still use them on a jack-less device with a headphone dongle or with Lightning/USB-C connected headphones.

The cons? Wires can get in the way, especially if you’re exercising with them. They also tangle easily, which can be problematic if you’re throwing them in a bag everyday. And, as much as Lightning/USB-C headphones are an option, the market for them is small so you don’t have a lot of good options.

  • Wireless:

As much as audiophiles and headphone enthusiasts are pushing wired, the mass market will likely continue transitioning to wireless. So, in the near future, you’re going to have more variety if you’re looking to buy wireless headphones. They’re also great because you don’t have to worry about tangled, inconvenient wires.

The cons? You have to charge your wireless headphones, which can be a nuisance… especially if you forget or don’t have your charger on hand. Their sound quality (for now) also isn’t quite as good as wired. Although, this may change as tech companies invest more in their wireless headphones.

3. Smart Assistant Feature

This may or may not be a surprise, but you can now get headphones that trigger your device’s smart assistant without you interacting with your device.

For example, if you double tap your AirPods, the gesture triggers Siri. Then you can ask her to turn up or down the volume or skip, pause or play a track. It’s rumoured that Apple is working on having Siri always on in the next generation AirPods. This means you can give her commands anytime, even if your hands are full simply by saying “Hey Siri”.

Google’s Pixel Buds have similar capabilities with Google Assistant. As voice commands become more popular, it will probably become hard to find headphones without this feature. But for now, it’s just a consideration if easy access to your smart assistant is important to you.

Brand-Specific to Your Device

There are lots of headphone brands out there, at differing price ranges and capabilities. Because of this, you don’t need to stick with Apple EarPods if you have an iPhone, or with Pixel Buds if you have a Pixel.

But,

there are definitely benefits to using the headphones created by your device’s brand read more

Our Top 5 Free Productivity Apps to Stay Focused, Efficient and Connected

productivity apps
Productivity apps are designed to keep you on track and organized.

 

Most of us have busy lives, and most of us have at least some kind of tech… whether that’s a laptop, a tablet, a smartphone or something else.

So, why not use your tech to make your life a little bit easier by being more organized and efficient? And that’s the point of productivity apps!

Keep reading for a list of our top 5 favourite productivity applications. Hopefully you’ll discover an app that makes your busy life a little more productive…

1. Trello

Trello is a really great app for project management. It’s like a virtual bulletin board for organizing your personal or professional projects, trip or event planning, and anything else that includes multiple tasks or goals.

You organize your board into lists – for example, you could divide your board up into stages like “to do”, “in progress” and “complete”. And then, you add cards (tasks or steps) under each list. So if you have a task in the “to do” list, once you get started, you can move the task into the “in progress” list.

Trello is simple to use and allows you to visualize everything you need to do to complete a project. Plus, you feel a lot of satisfaction when you start to see your cards end up in the “complete” list.

You can sign up for free and get access to all the basics – definitely good for personal use. Or, there are two upgrade options for more features like board personalization, quicker customer service and more board organization capabilities. These are good options for professional projects or big companies.

2. Apple Notes

This might be surprising, since Apple Notes doesn’t seem like an exciting app. But the reality is, we use Apple Notes everyday and it really does make our life easier.

So what makes Apple Notes such a great productivity app? It’s collaborative and makes day-to-day tasks like errands or taking meeting notes so much more efficient.

Create to-do lists, build tables, take notes or scan documents right into the note with the built-in scanner.

Plus, easily share your notes with other people for collaboration (we use this feature for our grocery or chores list all the time). And when someone else updates the note, you get a notification!

Notes is compatible with the Apple Pencil if you’re using the iPad. So, take meeting or class notes with the Apple Pencil, and then conveniently email out your note directly from the app. This is great if you need to send out your notes quickly to a large group or to someone who doesn’t use Apple devices!

And best of all? It’s pre-installed on your iPhone, iPad and Mac! If you haven’t already integrated Apple Notes into your daily routine – it’s definitely the time to start!

3. Sling

Sling is an excellent scheduling app if you need to schedule and keep track of shifts. This app is great for both team managers and team members, and helps ensure a well-functioning team.

If you’re a manager: easily schedule shifts, manage vacation time, and track employees hours and time. Plus the app tells you if you’re double-booking!

If you’re a team member: get alerts about your next shift, plan ahead by viewing the upcoming schedule and other people’s vacation time, and see tasks that your manager has assigned to you.

One of the greatest features is a chat where you can keep in touch if someone’s running late, sick or needs to trade shifts. The chat feature helps eliminate the need for email inbox overload, and keeps everyone accountable –  managers and team members!

4. Microsoft Outlook App

Outlook is by far our favourite email app on our iPhones and iPads – even more than Apple’s Mail app. It’s free, and it’s simple to use.

We find that Outlook is a well-designed app that doesn’t interrupt your workflow or make older emails difficult to access. And, you can choose how your emails sit in your inbox. You have options like organizing them into threads, or using the “Focused Inbox” feature. This helps filter out emails that clutter up your inbox.

Probably our favourite feature: switch between multiple accounts really conveniently! A great feature if you want to have your work/school and personal emails in one place.

And finally, there is a calendar directly in the app! So, plan appointments and book contacts into meetings or events easily.

Microsoft Outlook increases productivity by being super user-friendly and decreasing wasted time with your email inbox!

5. Slack

Slack is a popular communication tool for small-to-medium sized teams at school or work. The apps allows you to create organized chat channels for different teams/projects. This is great if you have multiple projects going on within your team.

With Slack, share files with a group, use voice or video calls to better collaborate, and search your chat history for important keywords. File sharing is simple with the drag-and-drop capability (none of that search-and-upload time suck).

Overall, this tool is an awesome tool to make communication really efficient and helps with organization. It’s free for a basic account, but you can upgrade for more storage and other premium features.

The only watch-out: all that easy access to the GIF keyboard can really destroy your productivity if you’re not careful 😉

Long Story Short

These are some of our favourite productivity apps that help us work efficiently and be overall more productive. They’re also free, which is super helpful!

What are your favourite productivity apps? Let us know in the comments below!

 

Interested in more apps? Check out our 5 favourite apps for travel here.

 

 

 

4 Reasons Not to Replace Your Laptop with an iPad Pro… Yet.

iPad pro 11"
The new 11″ iPad Pro is considered powerful enough to replace your laptop.

With the new, powerful iPad Pro released this fall, there is lots of debate around whether or not it’s enough to use as a laptop replacement.

From what we can tell, it’s very possible, but not necessarily a seamless transition. This all depends on what you use your laptop for, but our recommendation is to wait while Apple sorts out a few things first.

Keep reading to see our top 4 reasons not to replace your laptop with the iPad Pro… yet!

  • Weak File Management

The weak file management system on the iPad Pro is one of the main reasons it is hard to adjust to an iPad as your laptop replacement. Apparently, you need a completely open mind in order to adjust to file management on the iPad Pro.

On a Macbook, you can easily access all your files through the Finder app in your dock. And, when you plug in a hard drive, a Macbook will bring up the hard drive in the Finder app automatically. That way you can easily view and transfer the files onto your laptop.

Currently on the iPad Pro, you can connect a hard drive (but only wirelessly), but the Files app won’t pop up and let you view your files. You actually have to view your files through the hard drive manufacturer’s third party app. So all of your files can’t actually live in one place. They’re spread across apps.

Another downfall of the iPad’s file management system is the inability to zip and unzip folders. Yes, you can preview the zip folder’s contents, but you can’t do anything with it. So if someone sends you a zipped folder, there’s not much you can do with it.

  • Lack of Pro 3rd Party Software

At the moment, a lot of programs are only available as an incomplete, mobile version on the iPad Pro. For example, you can’t access all the features on Photoshop for the iPad that you can on the desktop version. Photoshop is set to launch a full version of its software in 2019, but it is not available…yet.

This is true for a variety of programs. Apple’s own popular video editing software, Final Cut Pro, is not yet available on the iPad. There are some 3rd party alternatives being developed but none are as feature-rich.

The lack of Pro software that exists for the iPad is a definite reason to wait before replacing your laptop with the iPad Pro.

  • No Split View for Same App

While you can use split view to see two Safari tabs at once, you can’t view most other apps twice in split view yet. This means you can’t open the same application side-by-side in two windows. You can only use the multitasking feature for two different applications.

In our opinion, this is the most unfortunate for emails, messaging, notes read more

Top 5 Accessories for Apple Devices

Anker PowerCore+ Portable Charger
The Anker PowerCore+ 20100 is our favourite portable battery

Whether you’re looking for an accessory to accompany your new Apple product, or a gift for a friend… look no further! Here is our list of top five accessories (and brands) for Apple devices:

1. Anker: Portable Charger

We’ve been using the Anker PowerCore+ 20100 portable charger for about a year now, and we love it. If you’re looking for something tiny and light that fits in a small bag, this is probably not the product for you. But, if you want a powerful, durable portable battery – definitely go with Anker’s PowerCore+ 20100!

On this battery, you can charge up to three devices at once – both USB and USB-C compatible! Depending on how many devices we charged at a time, it’s lasted up to five days without needing to charge the battery.

We’ve taken this charger camping, on group road trips, and on small planes without plugs, and it’s saved our life every time. This portable battery is also great if your bedroom or office doesn’t have many plugs, or if they’re in inconvenient places. You can still charge your iPhone or iPad close to you overnight or while you work with it!

We love Anker’s Powercore+ 20100 portable charger, and we think you will too!

2. Mophie: Wireless Charging Base

Since Apple released the iPhone X in 2017, newer iPhone models have wireless charging capabilities. While wireless charging is still slower than plugging your iPhone to a fast-charging cord, wireless is a lot more convenient!

Our favourite wireless charger for the iPhone is Mophie’s Apple-optimized wireless charging base. The design is sleek and compact, it’s functional, and it’s made with a non-slip finish so you don’t have to worry about your iPhone slipping off. When we bought it last year, it was over-priced, but now you can find the charging base at a more reasonable price.

While we await the AirPower mat, Mophie’s wireless charging base is absolutely a great option!

3. Speck: iPhone Cases

Speck is one of our go-tos for iPhone cases. We normally order them off of Amazon.

Speck’s cases are very protective… they feel almost as indestructible as an Otterbox case. The cases we’ve used fit very securely on the iPhone, and cover the edges so your screen is safer if you drop it facedown.

Plus, Speck iPhone cases come in many sizes and designs. You can get a case that really matches your style and personality!

4. Apple: Apple Watch Magnetic Charging Dock

The Apple Watch Magnetic Charger is one of the neatest little gadgets we’ve used. Yes, it is made by Apple, and therefore a little on the pricy side. But, it’s handy both as a charger and as an alarm clock!

At night, place your Apple Watch on the charger and it will automatically act as an alarm clock. When you tap the nightstand, the

watch will show you the time, in a special “nightstand mode” read more