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The Tech Magic That Unleashed Your Best

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Last week, OnTech editor Hanna Ingber shared the story of her kids who came across a design app that unleashed his amazing taste for interiors. Asked for your own story about how technology can help unleash your creativity and discover new joys.

Everyone (Sniff), the reaction was wonderful. I’m sharing those choices today.

Here at Tech’s mission is to explore how technology is changing our lives, our way of life, and the world around us. The harmful effects cannot be ignored, but I don’t want you to lose sight of the wonders.

How wonderful it is to be able to share the knowledge you’ve gathered online with your parents and easily exchange your favorite 10-year songs. Also, BIRDS! Birds are so wonderful. This is an edited excerpt from what some OnTech readers had to say:

Enjoy the magic of birds during your daily tasks:

When I took a walk on the driveway to get the newspaper in my morning, Merlin Bird ID App..

Daily chores are a pleasure. Instead of ignoring the sounds around you, you can now focus on the song of the bird you are listening to. As birds change according to seasonal movement patterns, the sound changes constantly. It has become a kind of meditation.

Ann McLaughlin, Carmel, California.

Combine playlists:

Sharing music and playlists with kids on Spotify is very connected. They can hear the music I grew up in and I can hear the latest music they are listening to. Surprisingly, we listen to a lot of the same music, old and new. It’s a lot easier than making a mixtape.

They are now 17 and 18 years old, but we’ve been doing this since we were 13 years old. This is the age at which it is difficult for parents to find a way to connect with teens.

Jason, Corvallis, I.

Remove the perfect pressure:

I was one of the kids who couldn’t remove the sticker right away. I always had to wait a few seconds or even a few days before deciding on a sticker’s eternal home. Similarly, I hesitated to sharpen a new pencil, unless absolutely necessary, and reserved markers only for the most important paintings.

They were set aside until I prepared my complete vision, so I never found a simple graffiti in my sketchbook. I’ve always collected and stored these items for special occasions and big ideas, but in the end the stickers wrinkled, the markers dried, and the sketchbooks were unused and unloved. I joined the mountain.

And I bought my own iPad as a graduation gift. Discover the wonders of sketching, taking notes, scribbling, and coloring all digitally.

The stickers were endless and could be quickly picked up and replaced. I came across endless colors and combinations.

Soon, I wrote a daily journal entry, tried digital scrapbooking, and realized that I kept all my memories in one place. If I made a mistake, I was able to get rid of it immediately with a virtual eraser. I was able to adjust the stickers and letters to my heart’s content. My iPad can now do whatever I want without fear of doing the wrong thing.

Sidney Lin, a sophomore at Vanderbilt University majoring in civil engineering

Educate Dad with DIY Repairs:

A few years ago, my preteen son saw my growing frustration when I failed to install a new lawn mower blade. When he returned home, he thought he was bored. Instead, he was watching YouTube on his mother’s iPad.

A few minutes later he appeared and quietly asked, “May I try?” He achieved what I was doing for 30 minutes in less than a minute. “Until that moment, I thought YouTube was for cat videos.

This is the same kid who self-taught how to play a new ukulele on YouTube and many other unexpected skills.

Doug McDurham, Waco, Texas

Learning in the classroom transformed by audio production:

By introducing podcasting to students, we found that a new door was opened.

Students who hesitated to participate in classroom discussions accepted the opportunity to share ideas about topics of interest and research new topics. Students chose from three formats for podcasts: storytelling, interviews, and surveys. Very few projects, if any, have provided this kind of freedom.

Video apps have been available for some time, but the freedom to record only audio has been released. They didn’t have to worry about how they would look on the camera — they were able to convey their thoughts and ideas with just their voice. The group was able to share the audio file and edit it at the same time to create the final product. The old class report has been redefined.

Lisa Dabel is a fifth grade teacher in San Jose, California.

Opera, after all, not so intimidating:

For most of my life, I respected opera as an art form that required an incredible level of training and discipline. But as far as I am concerned, it wasn’t for me.

At some point in late March or early April 2020, a friend told me about recordings of past opera performances at the Metropolitan Opera for free every day through the company’s website and app. Within a few days, we had a new nightly routine. Eat dinner, read for an hour, and then settle into the opera.

Within a few weeks, we began to learn the names and styles of the major opera performers. Within a few months, we learned about the technical details of opera music, vocal training, set and costume design, and formed a preference for composers. (Sorry, everyone: Wagner, no, Glass, yes.)

We pondered the conflicts that arise when the old and flawed beliefs embodied in “Canon” (misogyny, racism, etc.) encounter diverse casting choices and new ideas. We touched on modern composers and scriptwriters who challenged our assumptions about melodies, story composition and plots, character development, and more.

Who knew that there was a lot to discover about such venerable forms of art? I certainly didn’t — and I’m very happy that technology has brought opera to our homes and lives.

David Moore, sequim, wash.

Met Opera has ended its nightly stream, but you can now watch past performances on Met Opera on Demand, an online streaming service that offers a free trial period.


This week’s tips

Brian X. ChenNew York Times Consumer Technology Columnist, paper This week, we’re talking about digital bread crumbs that may reveal the personal information of people seeking abortion. Brian has a suggestion here to strip some information from Google, which has a digital database for almost everyone.

Google announced this month that people visiting potentially sensitive locations, such as abortion clinics and addiction treatment centers, will automatically delete their location data. For example, if you set your destination to “Planned Parent-Child Relationship” or “Alcoholism Anonymity” in Google Maps, the company will remove those entries.

Google critics said the company was able to clear other types of location data records, such as GPS coordinates and routing information, but not. (Google declined to comment.)

However, you have some control over how Google retains data about you. A few years ago, I wrote a column explaining how to use Google’s auto-delete control. This includes settings to delete web and location search records after a period of time. The tips are worth revisiting.

The following is an example of how to fine-tune the position data settings.

  • With Google’s My Activity Tool, myactivity.google.com,[アクティビティコントロール]Click and[ロケーション履歴]Scroll to[履歴の管理]Click.

    On the next page, find the nut-shaped icon,[ロケーション履歴を自動的に削除する]Click. You can set the data to be deleted after 3 months or 18 months.

  • For those who don’t want Google to create a record of their location history at all, there is also an option for that.[マイアクティビティ]On the page[アクティビティコントロール]Click and[ロケーション履歴]Scroll to the switch to the off position.

  • Amazon tells regulators that it may change: To end the three-year anti-monopoly law investigation in Europe, Amazon has stopped collecting private sales data about independent sellers selling through Amazon, and the Prime program without using Amazon’s logistics services. Proposed to sell through. My colleague Adam Satariano reported on Amazon’s suggestions and why Europe was at the center of Big Tech’s scrutiny.

  • Trafficking Behind Online Scams: Secondary news report Online schemes that offer business or romantic partnerships as an excuse to withdraw money from victims may come from industrial-scale fraud centers in Southeast Asia that imprison and abuse workers.

    Details: Nikkei Asia I have written About workers who were abused for online gambling and fraud in Cambodia last year.

  • Instagram has so many features: See what your friends are doing, watch short videos from strangers, buy NFTs and dudads sold by influencers, send messages to others, and perhaps take notes right away. It’s a place to write (for some reason). The Garbage Day newsletter says InstagramAn app that doesn’t know what it’s already.. “

    Related from Ontech: What is Facebook? Another overloaded app from Meta!

Lemur!Licking honey!! From fruits! These little guys really know how to enjoy their treats.


We want to hear from you. What do you think of this newsletter and what else do you want us to explore?You can reach us ontech@nytimes.com.

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