Lifestyle

Tech resolutions to add to your 2019 list

It’s that time of the year again!

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The new year is just around the corner, and you know what that means! It’s time to bring out the pens and paper (or open up the notes app on your phone) and start thinking about what you want to do or not do in 2019. Only time will tell if we actually go through the whole year doing the things on our list, but it’s always good to have one to start the year on a positive note.

Now, resolution lists usually include things like eat better, work out more, save money, and the like, but we thought we’d put together some stuff that you might also want to consider for your own resolutions. All of these are tech-related, but some of them point to a non-tech resolution. Here we go!

Set some parts of the day as “no-phone” chunks

We spend so much time each day on our phones, that there are times when bonding with friends, family, or even ourselves become silent events lighted up by screens. Perhaps it would be a good idea to set moments like meal times and 30 minutes to an hour before bed as “no-phones” time to be more present with those we are with or even just ourselves.

Here’s a tip: Charge your devices away from the bed so you’re not tempted to check.

Do a social media cleanse every now and then

In one way or another, social media can get pretty toxic. There’s bound to be a negative side to being able to see into everyone’s business at all times of the day. It should do you a whole lot of good to take a week or so every few months to just unplug from all social media, live in the moment, and enjoy life.

Disconnect from people

In line with social media toxicity, there are probably people you are connected to whose posts make you want to roll your eyes every time you see them on your timeline. Or maybe there are people you follow or follow you that make you wonder how you’re friends in the first place. Now’s the time to look at your lists of friends, followers, and follows and do a little purge.

Protect your devices

You might laugh reading this. This seems simple enough, doesn’t it? But we’ve seen so many people with smashed screens and nicked devices that I thought this might be good to add anyway. If you haven’t already, you should show some love for your phone by going to the store and picking up a tempered glass screen protector and phone case for this essential device.

Use an app to help with your workout goal

After all the celebrations, it’s back to trying to shed those holiday pounds. We know how hard it can be to figure it out on your own, so why not enlist the help of some apps? Here are a few you could check out: Nike+ Training Club, Skimble’s Workout Trainer, and Freeletics Bodyweight.

Practice some self love (with the help of some apps)

A few months ago, we put up an article listing some meditation apps that could help you with your inner peace. In 2019, why not utilize one or more of these apps to start a habit of meditation? You may spread love to those around you, but shouldn’t forget to also show yourself some love. For the ladies out there, also check out this app called Clue, and help yourself by tracking your cycle.

That’s it! We hope you’re enjoying your holidays, and we wish you a merry Christmas and a happy new year ahead!

Her GadgetMatch

Why Instagram is doing the right thing by removing the like count

We need to change this ugly culture we created

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Instagram used to be a space where you can get inspiration to nourish your creativity. It was also a place to connect with people through disappearing photos and videos called Stories. However, the platform took a different turn throughout the years and became an arena — a battlefield where people show off who has the most perfect life.

People started curating their feeds to make them stand out. The age of curation dawned upon Instagrammers, bearing unto the world themes and grids to reflect the user’s personality and aesthetics. Instagram fuelled perfectionism, too.

What used to be a space to share mundane moments of your everyday life became a place where you show your glamorous life which, frankly, only happens every once in a while for most users. Admittedly, I also succumbed to the perfectionism and the pressure. I would post only the photos where I looked like I was having the time of my life. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with putting your best foot forward, right?

Increasing cases of depression and anxiety

Apparently, not everyone thinks the way I do. In a study published in 2017 by the Royal Society for Public Health in the United Kingdom, social media — particularly Instagram — is a major contributor to the increasing cases of depression and anxiety among the youth today. The rise of influencers and other people with seemingly perfect lives made a lot of users feel inadequate.

“What used to be a space to share mundane moments in your everyday life became a place where you show your glamorous life which, frankly, only happens every once in a while for most users.”

RSPH Chief Executive Shirley Cramer said, “it’s interesting to see Instagram and Snapchat ranking as the worst for mental health and wellbeing – both platforms are very image-focused and it appears they may be driving feelings of inadequacy and anxiety in young people.”

Technology companies’ response

With this worrisome situation on the youth’s mental health, companies made an effort to help through technology. There’s Android’s Digital Wellbeing feature which tracks the amount of time you spend on social media, although it still requires a conscious effort to break your social media addiction.

In the crusade against depression and anxiety caused by social media, Instagram recently made a daunting move. The social media giant has started testing the removal of like counts in some countries, removing the user’s ability to see how many likes have been racked up by a certain person in their feeds.

People in dire need of too much validation, fret not. The feature will let you still see who liked your posts. Think of it as your usual form of public affirmation, but you get it in private.

Just like our stories, only we can see who viewed and reacted. In this scenario, only we can see who liked our posts. While this recent move can put a dent on someone’s ego especially when they crave external validation, this can have real benefits for some users’ mental health.

In a country like the Philippines, where social media consumes a chunk of Filipino’s time, Instagram is a big contributor in rising cases of mental illnesses plaguing today’s youth like the common cold.

The social media age has created a culture where people value their smartphones, social media accounts, and the content they create rather than socializing offline and establishing real-life connections. The youth measure their self-worth through likes and other forms of metrics that it’s taking a toll on their mental health.

If this is the ugly culture we developed, Instagram is doing the right thing of removing the like count. At the very least, they can stop other people from comparing their worth and relying on external validation to feel better.

“I personally don’t mind if the feature comes here or not, but I’m sure a few of my friends would care.” — Patricia Medina, a medical practitioner in the Philippines

However, some people won’t be able to accept the upcoming feature should it arrive in the Philippines, similar to how we all panicked when Instagram removed our ability to see the viewers of our stories after 24 hours. Despite the outcry, we adapted and got used to it.

Likes are not the only measure of influence

It may be hard to believe, but Instagram is on the right track. Aside from tackling mental health and fixing the problem their app posed in our society, they’re reshaping the marketing and advertising industry. Some influencers might be affected by the like count removal, particularly those who buy fake likes and followers, as well as those who became walking billboards for brands and agencies.

But for content creators like Ceej Tantengco, removing the like count won’t have much of an impact, rather it will reinforce her influence among her audience. “The brand partnerships I tend to get are with sustainable fashion and brands running women empowerment campaigns. These brands are less about pure numbers and more about connecting with brand ambassadors who truly share their cause and can speak about it with sincerity,” Tantengco said.

“The chase for likes has led to a sort of cookie-cutter templating of content based on what the algorithm rewards or what is easiest to generate likes. We live in a world where a selfie gets 800+ likes and a photo of what book the person is reading gets only 50. But like-bait content isn’t always the most thoughtful, and we need to be careful to not equate the number of likes to whether the brand message was communicated effectively,” Tantengco added.

On the other hand, Castro Communications PR Director Janlee Dungca is unbothered by the like count removal. Dungca, who works primarily with content creators and influencers, will still approach a campaign based on a brand’s goals and objectives. Likes aren’t the only form of visible metrics available since comments still count as a way to measure engagement rate.

Macro-influencers — accounts with more than 100,000 followers — tend to have higher reach but lower engagement, thus she opts for micro-influencers whose accounts range from 10,000 to 50,000 followers to get higher engagement for the brand.

“We live in a world where a selfie gets 800+ likes and a photo of what book the person is reading gets only 50.” — Ceej Tantengco

With this sudden change in the marketing landscape, people — not just influencers — might be more keen on engaging with other people through comments. People might start to make an effort to share their thoughts and interact, rather than just dropping an emoji of fire, heart, or a star-eyed face.

Additionally, people might not be as conscious of what they post anymore. Tantengco affirmed, “this move is great for people with advocacies because we can speak about them without worrying so much about ‘how do I package this to get the maximum number of likes’ and just say what we want to say. This feels very freeing.”

Moving forward, we might start to see posts of what people really care about again should Instagram proceed with removing the like count forever. There will be people though who will try to game the algorithm by leaving comments on each other’s posts and uploading video clips instead of still photos for validation as Instagram has not said anything about removing the view count.

Nonetheless, the future is bright for Instagram. I can’t wait to see moments where people embrace their natural selves and flaunt the things they’re passionate about again.

Illustrations by MJ Jucutan

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Apple Card under investigation for gender discrimination

It’s biased against women

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Gender equality is a tacky issue among tech companies especially with accusations of discrimination becoming more frequent in the recent years. Microsoft and Google have been accused in the past for discriminating against women. Now, it’s Apple’s turn.

This began when developer David Heinemeier Hansson tweeted that his Apple credit card line was 20 times higher than his spouse even though they filed joint tax returns. His wife also has a better credit score and has had credit in the US longer than him.

Hansson blames the higher credit line to Apple’s biased algorithms. Tech companies often use algorithms for automating tasks, but they are also prone to bias. In this case, Apple used algorithms to determine how much credit a person would receive.

After finding out the bias, he reached out to Apple’s customer service. The reply is worse than the incident itself, with representatives telling Hansson that they couldn’t do anything to correct the algorithm’s sexist bias.

Not an isolated case

Hansson and his wife’s Apple Card incident isn’t an isolated case. Apple’s co-founder Steve Wozniak reported a similar incident where he got 10 times higher credit. Other people dismissed the incident, saying that their spouse got the same credit as theirs.

New York’s Department of Financial Service already said that it will investigate the incident and Apple Card. Goldman Sachs, the provider of Apple card, is under investigation as well. In response, they denied that their algorithms discriminate against women. Apple has not yet provided any public statement regarding the incident.

The incident is a first for Apple Card. Launched in early 2019, Apple promised that it will provide a simpler way to manage finances. It’s made of titanium and managed through the Wallet app.

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Lifestyle

Level Up Joy: Jollibee Katipunan provides a glimpse of the future

Modern tech innovations + cool vibe

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Want to catch a glimpse of how Jollibee stores will look like in the future? Jollibee Katipunan reopened its doors this November 5 featuring a fresh and modern concept that will entice both the young and the old. Plus, it features never before seen tech innovations that really screams future.

Kiosks, charging stations, and more

Jollibee Katipunan is the first “Level Up Joy” store that combines modern technology and innovation with the alagang Joy experience. “We’re happy to know with the Level Up Joy, we’re ushering a new era of total and modern customer joy experience with our patrons,” said Jollibee Philippines assistant VP and head of brand communications Arline Adeva.

Jollibee is surely ushering a new era with their first Level Up Joy store. Customers don’t have to wait in line anymore with self-order kiosks which was first introduced to Jollibee stores last 2018. With the kiosks, customers can order at their own pace and customize their orders according to their preferences.

For on-the-go customers, Jollibee Katipunan has wireless charging stations so they can just put down their phone and charge while eating their favorite langhap-sarap meals. With these stations, comfort and convenience is surely guaranteed as customers stay connected while enjoying their meals.

Also, Jollibee Katipunan now has a contemporary and fresh cool vibe that is surely Instagram-worthy. It features brightly colored digital menu boards, sleek lighting and fixtures, vibrant murals. All the while keeping the yellow and red hues that define a Jollibee store. Stepping inside makes one feel the modern vibe while basking in the nostalgic feeling.

Delivery also levels up in Jollibee Katipunan with new electric bikes rolling out. Jollibee hopes to replace all of its delivery fleet with an e-bike in the future, and it’s roll out in Katipunan is a sure start. The company is committed to bringing joy not only to people but also to the environment.

“Trust that Jollibee will really be among the forefront of tech innovations. Because we owe it to our customers to delight them and offer more convenience when they go to our restaurant,” said Adeva.

Looking ahead

The future is exciting for Jollibee. With the unveiling of its first Level Up Joy store, the company is embracing the future with technology and innovations. But it doesn’t want to stop at Katipunan. Other Jollibee branches will also be upgraded to Level Up Joy stores.

With Jollibee opening its 1000th store, it is gearing towards a vision of dominating locally and growing globally. Recently, it acquired The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf as part of its expansion. However, even if the company is now a bigger brand than it was 40 years ago, it keeps its joy experience which the company came to be known for.

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