Lifestyle

How to disinfect your tech from the coronavirus

Here are a few tips to live by

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Time for a good boy and girl check! Have you been washing your hands for 20 seconds? Rubbing your hands raw with dollops of hand sanitizer? Covering every cough and sneeze? In today’s risky times, keeping yourself and others safe from the coronavirus is of paramount importance.

That said, for all the safety precautions hammered into us today, you’re likely missing one of the dirtiest, nastiest, and most bacteria-infested objects we use every single day: our smartphones. For dozens of moments every day, smartphone users fiddle with their screens with potentially unclean fingers, speak and spit into the microphone, and lend them to our friends and family.

Once a surface is contaminated with a disease, it can survive on that surface for several days to more than a week, according to this study of different coronaviruses. Our smartphones are gross.

The same even applies to other technology we use today: headphones, laptops, wearables. Given how serious we’re taking our own health, it’s time to finally lay the smackdown on those disgusting diseases plaguing our technology. Here are a few tech tips to sanitize your technology against viruses.

Wipe your phones.

Naturally, the simplest way to keep your phones clean is to wipe them clean. Of course, if you’ve read the backs of smartphone-cleaning cloths and solutions, you’ll know that wiping your phones isn’t as easy as wiping a smear from a window. Using the wrong material can damage your delicate daily drivers.

First off, use a cloth, especially those tailored for screens. Though phones are usually scratch resistant today, a coarser cleaning material — like a paper towel or a rougher cloth type — can cause small abrasions on your pristine screen or leave damaging residue. The same goes even more for third-party screen protectors, which aren’t rated for abrasions

Secondly, use the right solution. Abrasions aren’t the only thing you have to worry about. Most smartphone brands advise against alcohols because it ruins protective films on the phone. However, for our current situation, viruses constitute a greater threat than smartphone damage. You can use 70 percent isopropyl alcohol for the job, as Apple has suggested.

If you want a compromise between maintaining the intricacies of your phone and dealing with the virus, go for warm water and soap. Alternatively, you can use disinfecting wipes to save the trouble of wetting cloths.

Regardless of which you choose, wet your cloth with the solution and wipe thoroughly but lightly. You don’t want to break your phone from exerting too much pressure. Likewise, be careful around more delicate parts, like the camera lenses and open ports.

Clean your supplementary tech.

Smartphones are nasty. Your other devices are just as nasty. Consider the earphones that you stick into your eardrums every day. Or the smartwatch that catches all your sweat from the gym. Or the Amazon smart ring that nestles on your hand as you go through our daily routine.

As you wipe your daily drivers, your other devices could be festering nastier things from your dried bodily functions. Apply the same amount of caution to your other devices, especially after use.

If you take your wearables and earphones to the gym, wipe them down as you would the bench you used. Your sweat (and other people’s sweat, for that matter) can harbor disease. This includes the canals on your budded earphones or underneath your watch. However, as you did on your phone, take care over sensitive areas, like your watch’s screen or the wires of your earphones.

Keep wipes handy for public tech.

Now, let’s talk about the tech that you don’t own. Even today, it’s perfectly normal to use public computers, laptops, or chargers. If you’re in school or in an office, using these devices is probably even a requirement. If your institution hasn’t implemented telecommuting yet, you might be forced to use them at the risk of infection.

That said, keep a cleaning item handy when you’re out in public. You’ll never know when you’ll handle items touched by someone else. Most disinfecting procedures today only encompass doorknobs and stairways. Unfortunately, other items might be at risk as well.

On the other side of things, avoid lending your devices to other people during this time. In less trying times, device lending is a common thing. Unfortunately, with dangerous infection rates, having other people — even those you know — might not be a good idea.

Don’t spread misinformation from your devices.

Unfortunately, the most damaging thing today, apart from the coronavirus itself, is the misinformation infecting social media today. As important as physical disinfection is today, it’s also important to keep the insides of your phone free from the terrible disease of misinformation.

While it’s tempting to share every coronavirus-inspired post on every single chat group you belong to, consider how accurate the information is first. Was the information written by an expert? If not, was there adequate research involved? Is it proposing an all-too-radical position contrary to what experts are saying?

Caring for others is, of course, one of the hallmarks of being human in the face of crisis. Sadly, care itself can be misguided with fabricated and hyperbolic truths. While you care enough for your fellow human being, misinformation can cause more harm than good. Fortunately, along with care, rational discernment is also part of what makes us human. For all the steps listed above, the coronavirus isn’t our only enemy in this dreadful time. We need to fight misinformation, too.

We are now in the middle of tough times when even our devices can become our enemies. It’s time to rise up higher as a species. Though we can’t work on a cure or a vaccine ourselves, we can do our part by making sure we’re clean both for ourselves and others. While we’re at it, let’s make sure that the right information reaches the right people.

SEE ALSO: 5 things to do while stuck indoorsPhoneSoap Go: A portable device that will sanitize your smartphone


As general rules, the CDC or The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention listed these to help with preventing the spread of COVID-19:

  • Stay home when sick
  • Cover coughs and sneezes
  • Frequently wash hands with soap and water
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces

Accessories

Redmi Earbuds S are the most affordable TWS offering

The price is unbelievable

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In India, Xiaomi’s Redmi division looks after the affordable segment while Mi-branded products are for the premium segment. On the side, POCO is now an independent brand. Continuing with the new strategy, Redmi today announced the launch of their new TWS earbuds, the Redmi Earbuds S.

Just a couple of weeks ago, the Mi True Wireless Earphones 2 were announced in the country but they are far from affordable. To bridge this gap, the Redmi Earbuds S has been unveiled. It’s worth noting that they are the same as the Redmi AirDots S, which were launched in China earlier.

The Earbuds have 7.2mm drivers and are IPX4-rated for water resistance. The individual buds weigh only about 4.5g each. The company’s marketing has focused on how good their bass is, but we’ll be able to confirm that in our review later.

For connectivity, it leverages SBC codec, a commonly used protocol via Bluetooth. However, a low-latency mode has also been added to aide gaming. The earbuds are said to deliver four hours of playback on a single charge and the case can extend this to 12 hours.

The Earbuds S also has a physical button on either side to control media playback or skip tracks. The gaming mode can be triggered by pressing the function key thrice.

The Redmi Earbuds S will cost INR 1,799 (US$ 23) and will go on sale starting May 27 via Mi.com and Amazon.

These earbuds are an entry-level option for someone who’s looking for a pair of TWS earbuds. Instead of rich features, the point of this product is to offer an affordable option to the end-user.

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Apps

YogiFi is a yoga mat that corrects your form in real-time

Your personal yoga instructor

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Many of us are coming up with new routines as we stay indoors. If you’re finding it hard to find a physical activity that you can do in a limited space, yoga is something you can try.

Practicing yoga may look easy, but doing it right can be pretty challenging, especially when you’re only following a YouTube video. YogiFi is an AI-powered yoga mat that provides guided instructions and real-time corrections on your poses.

The sensors on the mat tracks your yoga sequences and tracks your vitals before and after each session. This lets you track your progress so you can feel more motivated the next time you hit the mat.

It comes with a companion app that offers 25 programs. You can select your personal trainer and set your goals.

YogiFi is live on Kickstarter and is currently available for backers at US$ 199.

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Features

Peloton vs excuses: Mind tricks that can help you squeeze in a workout

For those struggling to keep a routine

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If anyone tells you that having a personal gym at home will remove all barriers to working out, they’re lying.

The Peloton bike packs an insane amount of tech that should help me stay on track, so I should have no excuses not to exercise, right? With it I can do live and on-demand spin classes, strength training, yoga, even meditation and sleep courses. Having it at home also means not needing to make time to travel to the gym. And yet, despite all of this, I still find reasons to shun fitness on the daily.

If you’re like me who typically gets a good week of workouts and then hits a slump when life happens, I’ve compiled some tips that you might find useful. Here are some ways I tricked myself into working out more regularly whenever I struggle to do classes on my Peloton.

Find the time that makes sense for you

After doing your workouts for a while, take note of when you enjoy it the most. For me, sweating it out in the morning works best. If I tell myself that I’ll workout later in the day, it just never happens. I’m just not someone who enjoys exercising in the afternoon or evening as much.

Make it habit

While some people make plans, I just tell myself that I’ll work out everyday and figure it out later.

Peloton has workouts that are as short as 10 or 15 minutes. Even when pressed for time, 15 minutes is just that — 15 minutes. 

Those days I end up not exercising I would just consider recovery days. Our muscles need time to rest after all.

Take a scenic ride

Another trick I do is telling myself to do 10 minutes of a scenic ride. This is an option on the bike if you don’t feel like doing a class. You can ride at your own pace while the monitor shows beautiful landscapes and cities.

What usually happens when I do this is I end up doing an additional 10 minutes of arm workout. Often, I’ll feel warmed up and ready for a regular class afterwards.

Warming up at my own pace without any pressure to perform gets me in the right mindset to actually do a full workout. There are lots of other warm up rides available, too, but they’re usually pretty tough. Picking something that has no pressure eases me in.

Low impact doesn’t mean low effort

When I discovered the low impact ride, I wondered why I hadn’t been doing them all along.

I’m an old lady, or at least my body feels that way. I’ve gotten injured a few times riding the bike: the tendonitis in my thumb flared up, and the muscles that aren’t used to being used so much protested.

You still get a great workout when you choose low impact, but you’ll never achieve a personal best — and that’s perfectly okay.

Put the leaderboad away

Now we’re going to dip into the tech side of things. The leaderboard pushes you to get your personal best, which is great. But when I don’t want to work out, I’ll tell myself that a 45min class will be more doable if I take the leaderboard away. As a competitive person, I always get horrified at my performance when I check it because I don’t push myself nearly as hard apparently.

Pick a class with a gimmick

Peloton offers so many kinds of classes with different genres of music. I’ve done Guns N’ Roses as well as Madonna rides. Jess King has a show tunes series, and there are rides with a DJ.

Whenever I don’t feel motivated to exercise, I think of it as entertainment first and that’s how I trick myself into doing a full workout.

Save classes that made you feel good

When you save classes that made you feel good, you’ll be reminded of that feeling when you see it again on the monitor.When struggling to pick a class, I choose from a bunch of saved classes that I don’t mind doing again.

If I can’t bring myself to face a new challenge, doing one that I’ve already smashed is the best way to go!

Lower the instructors voice

If you have classes where you loved the soundtrack, save them and then choose to have more music and less instructor. It’s amazing how much having motivational music blasting helps.

Forgot how to change the audio mix? Hit the volume button on the right hand side of the display and then change the mix. You have to do it each time as it always resets back to an even mix of music and voice.

Find more tips and tricks on how to maximize your bike here.

Do a class with weights

Doing weights is challenging, but it gives your legs some rest. A 45-minute class is sometimes better than 30 minutes because I know I’ll get breaks to do weights.

Pick your feel-good instructor

Sometimes, picking an instructor that fits your your mood is all you need. When I just want to do a feel good class, I pick Cody because he’s like my gay best friend and his classes are always entertaining. Seeing instructors have a bit of a hard time with the workout is also the energy that motivates me to give the workout everything that I got.

Should you be taking workout advice from someone who struggles with working out? Probably not. Was this entire article about how to work out a little less hard? Maybe.

It would be unfair to say that fitness isn’t a big part of my life. I actually spend a lot of time thinking about working out more than working out itself. It’s one of my favorite past times.

Keeping a consistent workout routine is what I’m struggling with right now. These mind tricks have at least helped me get my ass on the bike and squeeze a workout in even when I don’t feel like it. And for someone who isn’t a disciplined fitness freak, that’s all that matters.

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