Tech - Gadgets
By: - at February 22, 2013

Top 10 Modern Technologies That Make Life Easier

Ten Modern Guilty Pleasures I Just Won't Ever Give Up
Modern TechnologiesWe live in a world that allows so many luxuries and conveniences. Modern technology has taken on a new role to provide us with the easiest ways possible to manage our lifestyles. Everywhere you go there is somebody glued to their smartphone, and in a "my gadget can do anything" kind of world, why wouldn't they be? Even the old desktop computers have taken a backseat to electronic tablets and notebooks, and they continue to improve and become more and more affordable for the average person to obtain. Even as the country tries to pull out of a recession, our desire for convenience-technology and entertainment never seems to wane. It's crazy to think about how digital our lives have truly become, and how much more advancements there still are to come. But as a society, we are addicted. We are married to our beloved gadgets and digital devices. Here are the top ten pleasures and conveniences that I will always need to have in my life. I would like to give a special shout-out to the internet for making most of the items on my list possible!

10)  Netflix
NetFlixNow that there is no need to ever have to physically go out to rent a movie, I have no idea how brick and mortar video rental stores can even continue to exist. In the old days, we would have to browse through isles of videos, trying to find one that would be a worthwhile selection none the less. In my experience of the past, the new release movie I would want to see would nine times out of ten be all rented out. Then there was always the chance that the movie that I would end up renting would be a terrible bust. It was the chance you had to take back then. And heaven help you if you were ever late to get the video back to the rental store in time; you could easily end up paying more for renting the movie than you would spend to actually buy the video from a store. Thank God for Netflix. Now I never have to trudge out to get a video, and I have so many options to choose from right at the touch of a button. It's affordable at only eight bucks a month; who wouldn't go for that? Now if the movie we had selected to watch is failing to entertain and enthrall us, we can simply switch over to one that does.

9)  Premium Cable Channels
Premium Cable Channels, HBOSure cable is expensive enough already, but so many of the really good shows are on HBO or Showtime. Some of shows are so addicting and well written that they will put other network shows to shame. Homeland, Dexter, Shameless, and Nurse Jackie are all some of the excellent shows on Showtime that I am obsessed with. HBO also has some great programming as well such as Boardwalk Empire, Game of Thrones, Curb Your Enthusiasm and the raunchy but hilarious Eastbound and Down. If I cancelled my premium channels, I would save an extra twenty-some dollars a month, but It is worth the money to me because I feel like I'm getting more than twenty dollars worth of entertainment.

8)  DVR
DVRIsn't it crazy that just over a decade ago we were not able to rewind or fast forward the TV show we were watching. And can you believe that we used to have to pop a VHS cassette into a VCR to record anything we wanted to watch? If you wanted to record two shows at once, you were living in a dream world. That would require an entire additional TV set and VCR recorder. The DVR system is a Godsend. Now by simply pushing a button, we can record our favorite shows, watch them at our own convenience, and fast forward right through the commercials. It is an amazing device that has changed the way we watch TV. When our cable had gone out recently we plugged in our digital antenna. I can't tell you how many times I would forget and try to rewind the TV. I don't ever want to take this technology for granted!

7)  Keurig Coffee Brewer
Keurig Coffee BrewerNow that I have the almighty Keurig machine in my possession, I will never want to make another whole pot of coffee again. Some may say that it is not an economical way to drink coffee due to the fact that the K-Cups used to make the one-cup-at-a-time coffee can be quite pricey. However, I try to find the K-Cups on sale or use coupons to purchase them. I like the fact that there are so many different brands and varieties of coffee and other beverages to choose from. My particular machine has a built-in water filter which I love, and I definitely think it makes such a better cup of coffee than my old Mr. Coffee machine. It's worth the extra money per cup in my opinion not only because of the taste quality, but for the awesome convenience the Keurig machine provides. It's quick to heat up the water, you just stick whichever type of coffee K-Cup you want into the chamber, and press a button. Viola'! Fresh gourmet coffee just like that. There is no coffee pot to clean out, just the small used K-Cup to throw out. There is even a separate reusable filter you can use to brew your own ground coffee, although this way requires a little more work and clean-up.

6)  Online Shopping/Bill Pay
Online Shopping CartI remember the days when I would drive from store to store, trying hopelessly to locate a certain item that I had in mind. That was back when gas prices were still way under three dollars a gallon. Now with the price of gas, driving around from town to town can end up costing more than the item that you seek to buy. Store hours are an issue I have as well. I don't get out of work until after nine o'clock most nights during the week and most shops are already closed by then. What's a girl to do? When I discovered a few years back, I thought I had walked in through the open gates of heaven. Pretty much anything I wanted to buy was at the tip of my fingers, and often times the items were at such a great price and many things that I bought I did not have to pay sales tax. The only downside is not being able to try on clothes and shoes, but returning items has proved to be very easy and convenient. Many times online retailers will offer incentives or discounts to make purchases online as opposed to buying in-store. It is such a good feeling to see packages arriving at my doorstep and knowing the time and hassle I have just saved myself in the process. Online shopping can get to be a bit addicting though, and I can honestly say that I have spent over my budget before trying to get that online shopping "high" that it can create. Paying all my bills online has also been a great convenience to me as well. I don't have to buy stamps and send checks through the mail anymore. I can track everything right on my laptop. I don't understand why anyone would want to keep paying things through the regular mail when paying online is such an easier and less expensive alternative.

5)  eBooks
EBookI love to read. It has always been my favorite go-to pastime. When the e-readers first started to come out a few years ago, I was a little dumbfounded. "Why would people rather read a digital screen than a paper book that can be held in your hand?" I wondered. Then I got an e-reader tablet a few Christmases ago, and my thinking changed immediately. With the power of Wi-Fi, an arsenal of books were now available to me. Virtual bookstores and libraries were at my fingertips and I could easily travel and read whatever I wanted. Even reading on the e-reader is more desirable. The words are easier to see, especially with the back-light in dim lighting. There is never a need to carry around a big bulky heavy book; or multiple books for that matter. I often wonder about the fate of hard copy books in the future. I am an eBook fan for life now!

4)  Xbox
XBOX Video GameI owe a lot to my Xbox. I give it a gold star for its ability to keep my husband and daughter occupied and entertained. Don't get me wrong. Even though I am a thirty-something mom, I enjoy playing Rockband or the occasional round of a team death match in Black Ops II. But I love my Xbox for many other reasons too. There are so many applications that we run from our Xbox. We can stream movies or TV shows from Amazon Instant Video, operate our Netflix, download and listen to music, and more. I also love the Kinect for Xbox. There are so many fun games for it and I have a few that are great workouts to do and much better than going to the gym.

3)  Laptop Computer/Wireless Internet
Laptop ComputerMy laptop is my world. Writing is my life. I write many free lance articles and novels in my spare time. I used to only have a desktop pc in a spare bedroom. I hated having to sit alone in that room at the desk in the corner to do anything computer related. Then one day it broke. I was very upset and had to get a new computer. I decided to get a laptop instead of the traditional desktop variety. I fell in love. Having my old computer break down was a blessing in disguise. Now I can be online while laying on the couch next to my family and while watching TV. It is awesome! I can now take my work with me if I want, and so many establishments have free Wi-Fi nowadays. The best part was the price I got mine for. I remember when a decent laptop used to cost several thousand dollars. The prices have really come down a lot. I bought mine for under $400 and it is a really decent model. I don't know how I went so long without one!

2)  Social Media
Social Media, FacebookI love social networking sites. They play a key role in planning my weekend endeavors, they keep me in touch with people I would otherwise never see or hear from. There is always a funny or quirky post by one of my many "friends" that will surely make me laugh or put me in a positive mood. I love Facebook. How else would I be able to consistently stay in contact with a friend who recently moved two states away or my fun-loving aunt who lives in Florida? Even though some people may find it pointless and cheesy, I love looking at the pictures my mom posts of her beloved cats. What can I say? I love it when anyone posts a picture of any cat. It's those little moments in my day that I just smile and appreciate our information-obsessed modern world. And Pinterest! The ideas are now endless thanks to the power of cyberspace and idea sharing. It's never been easier to come up with great ideas for anything you want to make or do. Pictures of friends and family are so easy to share and store that I often wonder if anyone bothers to use old fashioned film style cameras and have pictures developed. Social networking is the new wave of how we chronicle our lives, and I am thankful for its awesomeness!

1)  Smartphone
Smart PhonesWow. That word pretty much sums this one up. This is just the icing on the cake here. Except for the fact that it will never be able to brew a great cup of coffee, this ultra handy device can perform just about any thing listed above. It is the vessel that allows us to live the life we want to live, and to make simple day to day needs and operations super convenient. Just to name some of the things that can be done from most smartphones: taking and editing video and pictures; web browsing; networking; GPS and maps; buying, storing, streaming, and playing music; banking needs; staying connected to work and email; games and so much more that I just don't know where to begin. Having these type of phones can become very costly but they are just a fantastic device that is definitely worth the splurge. It's crazy that we still call them phones when one of the least reasons we even need to have them is to call people on. It's even crazier that we still use the term "dial the number".

Final Thoughts
In reality, these gadgets are just the way the world is transforming and becoming a more digital-ready society. I am glad that the world has become so innovative and progressive towards science. It's exhilarating to think of what possibilities there will be in the future with all these new-fangled things, and I am glad I am part of that ride. Who knows? Maybe when I'm old and gray I will say, "Gee, remember when everyone used to use those old-fashioned, stupid dumb smartphones!"





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