from the desk of Rich on Tech
Can you believe we’re already at the end of 2020? What an oddly fast/slow year. I mean, it feels like yesterday that I was leaving the newsroom to “work from home” for just a few weeks in mid-March. I’ve been home ever since and life has never been the same.
It seems like there is hope for things to return to somewhat normal soon (I’m talking months, not days, but still) but I think many of us are going to miss certain aspects of our pandemic lockdown lifestyles. The pandemic has given us an introspect we might have missed. It makes us realize this big old world of ours isn’t so automatic after all.
The world needs each and every one of us to contribute something to the greater good - whether it’s our work, raising a family, helping others in tough times or just having the will to continue to move forward even in the most challenging of circumstances.
Personally, I’ve focused on a positive attitude and producing TV segments, social media content and podcasts that are useful, timely and somewhat of an escape.
Finally, a bit of personal news. CES 2021 recently announced their plans for a virtual show and revealed that I’ll be one of the “news desk” hosts for their virtual show coverage, along with some of my favorite folks in tech. I’m looking forward to that!
Let’s get started, shall we?
Secret discounts for teachers, students and more
Everyone loves a good discount and this story idea actually came to me through a viewer. Anna W. wrote to me and asked if I knew about a website called ID.me. She said she just saved $20 monthly on her Verizon bill thanks to a teacher discount she secured through the site.
I did some research and found that there are several sites that offer discounts to certain communities - including teachers, students, first responders, medical and more.
I found some excellent discounts through these sites including 10% off at Zappos, 10% off at Lowes, 20% off at Nike and more.
See the segment using the link below and let me know if you find a discount for you!
Tech experts share their stocking stuffer gift ideas
We’re getting close to Amazon’s shipping deadline of December 23 for delivery by Christmas Day, so there might be some time to grab one of these techy gift ideas.
I wanted to do something different this year, so I polled some of my tech friends and asked them for their recommendations under $50.
They have some excellent suggestions, and this turned out to be one of the most popular segments of the year!
You can see their picks below:
Since we’re talking tech gifts, I’ve been keeping an ongoing list of my tech gadget picks here:
Best and worst gadgets for protecting your privacy
It started with a smartphone and now many of us have connected gadgets in our homes with things like cameras, microphones and even GPS built-in.
But not so fast says the Mozilla Foundation. They took a look at over 100+ popular gadgets to see which ones protect our privacy best and which are the worst.
Their report is called “Privacy Not Included” and it’s pretty eye-opening. Bottom line: buy stuff from the companies you trust and be careful with the companies that don’t respect your data.
See the full list of the best and worst gadgets here:
A new way to workout at home
If you’re trying to stay in shape at home, Apple has a new way for you to do it. It’s called Apple Fitness+ and it’s a new video workout program designed around the Apple Watch.
Yes, you do need an Apple Watch (series 3 or later) to unlock the feature, which costs $10 a month for the entire family. There are excellent classes in a variety of categories including HIIT, strength, core, yoga, cycling, rowing, treadmill and more.
I’ve been loving this - it’s all well done and there are always 3 instructors in every class so you can follow the one that matches your skill level. Everyone gets a free month free and recent Apple Watch buyers get three months free.
You can find Apple Fitness+ in the “Fitness” app, just be sure to update your iPhone and Apple Watch to the latest software to see it.
Rich on Tech Podcast
In my podcast, I talk about the tech stuff I think you should know about and answer the questions you send me.
This week I talk about hosting CES 2021's virtual show; a review of Apple Fitnes+; Samsung promises better video and photo quality, more foldable phones in 2021; HBO Max comes to Roku; Apple TV+ comes to Chromecast with Google TV; Malicious Chrome extensions; Apple Privacy labels; Google Pay $21 signup bonus.
Listeners ask about a program to update their address book, a replacement for Google Play Music Manager, how much RAM to get on a new MacBook laptop, whether to buy an unlocked phone; canceling cable for YouTube TV and getting holiday backgrounds on Zoom on iPhone.
Listen to the episode below, and if you have a question for me to answer on the show, hit the “contact” link at the top or leave a voicemail using the mic button in the lower right-hand corner of the page.
You can put a Baby Yoda in your space thanks to Google augmented reality
You should really check out the Blob Opera
Recent media appearances
I recommended a great little travel projector for JohnnyJet’s blog
I went on Leo Laporte’s This Week In Tech show to talk about the week’s tech news
I went on Daily Mail TV to talk about taking a digital detox
I went on Daily Mail TV to talk about getting good lighting for your Zooms
Tweet of the week
Math seems to be hard for this website. Apple’s new headphones are expensive but not THAT expensive. The headline was soon changed after my Tweet.
That’s all folks!
This is the last newsletter of 2020. I just want to say a sincere thanks for being with me on this tech journey. I’m close to 100,000 followers on Instagram, a number I never imagined would grace my little profile. If you’re not following me there, please do so and tell a friend.
Have a fantastic holiday and a Happy New Year!