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

Dating

Quarantined man asks neighbor on a date through a drone, posts video on TikTok

Coronavirus can’t stop love

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Image by GadgetMatch

Needless to say, today is the worst time to go on a date. With social distancing in full effect, getting naughty in bed is a risky proposition. Regardless, even with physical distances, humans will always find a way to get intimate.

In New York, a man just upped his game in the coronavirus dating scene. Jeremy Cohen, a resident of Bushwick, invited his next door neighbor out on a date in the most creative way in the quarantine era.

In Brooklyn, rooftop antics and parties are commonplace. Recently, Cohen spotted his neighbor, Toni Cignarella, dancing alone on the rooftop next door.

“I looked out on the street, saw this girl dancing. I needed to say hi to her,” Cohen said in an NBC New York report. They waved at each other, but Cohen wondered how they could contact each other.

Of course, with the distance today, everyone needs to get creative. Cohen sent his number through a small drone. Naturally, his smooth moves didn’t go undocumented. Throughout the whole process, Cohen filmed the whole thing and posted the video on TikTok. (Where else? He also posted it on his Instagram.)

After Cignarella’s yes, the two went “out on a date.” Specifically, they had dinner on their respective rooftops and talked through FaceTime. Cignarelli commented that it was the “coolest thing anyone’s done for [her].”

Currently, the TikTok video already has 30 million views. Even then, Cohen’s cute gesture is a ray of hope in today’s desolate times.

SEE ALSO: 4 ways you can use TikTok to help during the COVID-19 crisis

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Accessories

Huawei Sound X with hi-end audio launches

Will work seamlessly with the P40 series

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Huawei is slowly but surely venturing out into more and more devices. After wearables, the company is now showing off a hi-end speaker — the Huawei Sound X.

It’s never easy to describe sound on text but Huawei claims the Sound X “will revolutionize high-end acoustic technology with sonorous audio that leaves an enduring, life-altering impression on the listener.”

It was made in collaboration with Devialet — a global audio brand known for its High-Fidelity products.

It’s not a smart speaker in the way that there’s a voice assistant integrated like the Google Home or the Amazon Echo, but it does have some ‘smart’ qualities.

For instance, it will work seamlessly with your Huawei P40 series phone. Gently tapping your phone against the Sound X transmits audio to the speaker.

The audio, Huawei says, is lossless and low-latency and can be tweaked thanks to a proprietary EMUI 10.1 multi-device control panel. Think of like Huawei’s own version of Apple’s AirPlay.

Another thing that Huawei is proud of about the Sound X is how compact it is compared to other speakers that promise to deliver the same level of hi-end audio. It’s able to deliver 60W of bass despite being relatively smaller than other speakers with the same capability.

The company says the “exterior design was inspired by the golden dome of the black, glazed surface hints at the robust sound that seems to emanate from a bottomless well.” But it really just reminds of Darth Vader from Star Wars.

The press photos even have the Sound X in this red room of sorts. Screams Sith to me.

Imagine playing the “Imperial Death March” on this thing! Whether you see the resemblance or not, it does kind of look cool.

SEE ALSO: Huawei P40 Series with ‘visionary photography’ now official

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Accessories

Qualcomm’s new chipset could bring noise-cancellation to budget earbuds

Expect affordable earbuds soon

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Qualcomm unveiled two new Bluetooth audio chipsets intended for use in truly wireless headphones. For the end consumer, this could provide active noise cancellation (ANC), voice assistant support, and more.

It has unveiled two new chipsets — QCC514X (premium tier) and QCC304X (entry-level line). Both shall support Qualcomm’s TrueWireless Mirroring technology that requires connecting via Bluetooth to just one of the earbud. It’s useful as it will allow either earbud to be used alone without interruptions.

The new chipsets will also produce better battery life – offering up to 13 hours of playback based on a 65mAh battery, according to Qualcomm. Usually, active noise cancellation consumes more battery power.

The dedicated noise cancellation hardware integrated into the chipset enables super-low latency leak-through of the outside environment. It enables genuinely natural awareness of the surroundings. It’ll also come handy when you’re onboard a flight or trying to concentrate in an office environment where ambient noise is higher than usual.

The chips also bring voice assistant support with them, but the premium QCC514X features always-on voice support. Meaning you won’t have to manually long-press a button to summon the virtual assistant. With direct support in the entry-level chipset as well, it’ll make this feature more widely available in affordable earbuds as well.

Qualcomm has also promised “premium wireless sound and voice quality.” The smartphone industry started omitting the 3.5mm headphone jack in favor of USB-C or wireless earphones. The wireless options have often been quite expensive, and with wired ones, you either have the opportunity to charge your phone, or listen to music or watch a movie. More affordable options should automatically start solving this dilemma.

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