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Thursday, December 9, 2021

The Finest Tech Items That Aren’t Devices

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My favourite vacation tech reward doesn’t require batteries or software program updates. It’s not even a gadget, although it was made with know-how.

Are you able to guess what it’s?

Just a few years in the past, my spouse experimented together with her iPad and a digital stylus to make digital illustrations. Utilizing Procreate, a drawing app, she loaded a photograph of our beloved corgi, Max, as a reference to hint over earlier than embellishing the picture with a polka-dot bow tie and a cartoonishly lengthy tongue. I appreciated it a lot that I picked a background colour that may complement our dwelling and uploaded the illustration to the app Memento, a printing service that assembles your photographs in a pleasant body earlier than delivering it to your door.

A big, framed portrait of Max now hangs as a centerpiece in our lounge in all its two-dimensional glory. It makes me smile and is all the time a dialog starter when we’ve friends over. That’s greater than I can say about different tech items that I’ve obtained through the years, resembling video video games and good audio system, which solely introduced short-lived pleasure.

Any such gifting train — tech-adjacent presents that don’t contain {hardware} or inconsiderate Finest Purchase reward playing cards — could also be particularly welcome this yr. That’s as a result of we live in a pandemic-induced period of shortage pushed by a world chip scarcity and provide chain disruptions which have made standard items troublesome to purchase. (Anybody attempting to purchase a sport console for the final yr understands this ache.)

So right here’s a listing of concepts for tech items we may give with out really shopping for tech, from the presents you may create to experiences that may final a lifetime.

Final week, I informed a buddy I had a particular current for her: I might repair her iPhone downside.

She had complained to me about her five-year-old iPhone SE. The system may not take pictures or set up software program updates as a result of almost the entire system’s information storage was used up.

So earlier than she left for her Thanksgiving trip, I met her for lunch and walked her by means of the method of backing up pictures to an exterior drive earlier than purging all the photographs from the system. Then I plugged her cellphone into a pc to again up all her information earlier than putting in the brand new working system.

She was thrilled to have this downside fastened earlier than her journey. She will be able to now take a lot of pictures on trip. Plus, a brand new Apple software program replace has a instrument to add a digital vaccine card to the iPhone’s pockets app, which makes vacation journey barely much less traumatic within the pandemic.

For individuals who are considerably tech savvy, this will function a template. Hearken to your family members’ complaints about their tech and supply the reward of fixing the issue. If it’s a sluggish Wi-Fi connection, see for those who can diagnose the difficulty to spice up speeds. If it’s a short-lived cellphone battery, take into account taking them to a restore store to get the battery changed for a small sum.

In some methods, this beats giving a brand-new gadget as a result of it spares them the trouble of studying easy methods to use a brand new piece of tech.

Other than the instance of the digital illustration of my canine, there are many different methods we will use tech to create for family and friends.

For one, I’m a fan of picture books that may simply be created with net instruments. Just a few years in the past, a colleague’s Secret Santa reward for me was a calendar she made utilizing Google’s picture books service. She created it by pulling pictures from my canine’s Instagram account and compiling them right into a calendar — every month was a special picture of Max posing subsequent to an entree cooked by my spouse and me. I used to be delighted.

Generally, photo-printing companies supply good methods to show digital pictures into bodily keepsakes within the type of old-school, massive prints and even mugs and Christmas ornaments. (Wirecutter, our sister publication that evaluations merchandise, examined two dozen photo-printing companies and highlighted its favorites.)

Earlier than the pandemic upended our lives, my spouse purchased a DSLR, the kind of digital digital camera utilized by professionals, with the purpose of studying extra about digital images. Then the lockdowns occurred, holidays was staycations and the digital camera ended up residing in a drawer.

My plan for a vacation current for my spouse is a two-hour digital images lesson with a photograph studio in San Francisco that takes college students on a stroll throughout the Golden Gate Bridge whereas instructing the basics of images. (Hopefully she doesn’t learn this column.)

What would your family and friends wish to study? We’ve got loads of choices for potential reward lessons, for the reason that pandemic drove many lecturers to supply digital instruction on-line, together with for cooking classes and exercise routines. The reward of data goes a good distance and generally offers again, like when the recipient of on-line cooking classes makes use of that newfound data to make you dinner.

The pandemic might have uncovered us to extra display screen time than we may ever think about enduring, so an ideal reward this yr may be something that takes our consideration away from tech.

That may very well be renting a cabin in an space with no mobile service, tickets to a play, a winter hike and a picnic — something that offers us respite from our inevitable return to screens.

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