“Techsgiving” in Lancaster County: The Tech We Are THANKFUL for is…

November 23, 2016
Lindsay M. Schoeneberger

As the supplies of candy dwindle in our homes from the Halloween harvest, our attention turns to the day of giving thanks. After running across Affinity Consulting’s awesome annual collection of Tech for Which We Are Thankful, I was inspired to survey our blog’s authors for their tech favorites. Here is some of the tech we are grateful for (and yes, we have lots of tech here in the heart of Lancaster’s farm country):

From Matt Landis: I’m thankful for 1Password, which is a password manager app that helps me keep track of over 175 usernames and passwords for various services. 1Password allows you to create complex passwords based on criteria that you set (for example, 15 characters consisting of 3 digits, 4 symbols) and keeps track of them. All of these passwords are stored behind one master password on your smartphone, tablet or computer. Since I’m all in on the Apple ecosystem, instead of using my master password, I can access the 1Password app using my fingerprint via Touch ID. 1Password also includes support for services that use two-factor authentication for additional security options. Cybersecurity is something everyone should take seriously in 2016. A simple place to start to protect against getting hacked is to create unique, complex passwords for the accounts, products and services that you use both at home and at your business.

From Aaron Marines: The tech I am most thankful for right now are the apps and technology that helps manage my family’s hectic schedule. Having two very involved teenagers, my wife and I rely on the tech resources of the Hempfield School District to help academically.  Many times per week I use Sapphire to keep track of grades, assignments and school schedules.  My kids use apps like Schoology and Naviance to find homework, study guides, power points and other materials.  They even submit homework – like science fair progress reports and tests for band and orchestra – on those apps.  I get morning announcements and district messages on my phone and computer.  My family also uses scheduling apps – we are using Cozi right now – to track all of our calendars.  We even have different shopping lists, so that when the kids finish a box of something, they can put it on the shopping list instead of just putting the empty box back in the cabinet.  That last part is still more theory than practice, but we are moving in the right direction.

From Lindsay Schoeneberger: Call me old fashioned, but I am (still) thankful for my iPhone. It keeps me organized, heading in the right direction at the right time, and most importantly allows me to keep in touch with family and friends near and far.  I mean come on, it combines every piece of technology I need to get through a hectic day and it still knows how to play the music that keeps me sane.

From Rose Krause: I wholeheartedly agree with Lindsay’s sentiment with regard to the iPhone and I could name a host of iPhone apps that make my life easier every day.  However, one of my favorites is Waze.  For those of us who travel routes 30, 283 or 222 in Lancaster every day, this app is invaluable and helps me determine if I need to adjust my route to work or home. Waze accesses my calendar, checks traffic conditions and gives me a reminder when I should start driving to my next destination.   And, as a bonus for a child of the eighties who still remembers getting my first radar detector and keeping track of how many times it saved me from a speeding ticket (and the two times it did not), I enjoy working with all of my fellow “Wazers” to help each other avoid speed traps.  If you haven’t tried it yet, take a moment to download it before you hit the road this Thanksgiving.

From Aaron Zeamer: I am an avid reader of the news, often checking multiple news sites throughout the day and now that the recent election is over (I think), I can express my sincere appreciation for  the app Flipboard.  Flipboard is a news aggregation app, which in plain English means that it collects news and social media posts and puts them in one convenient location.  The app asks your preferences regarding topics, news sources, and social media content and then pulls articles and information from those sources or on those topics and places them in a magazine format that you can “flip” through on your device.  Coming off an election where fake news has dominated the headlines and, according to some, may have impacted the outcome of the election, I am thankful that I have a convenient and reliable app which accesses the news I trust and want to read.  After all, as far as I am concerned, the country should rely on only one source of real news…. see this story if you’re interested in generating some interesting conversation at your Thanksgiving gathering.

From Craig Russell: As a courtesy to the profession, I am thankful for shark tracker.

From Holly Filius: Being technologically challenged, the technology I am thankful for is not so cutting edge as my colleagues, whose offices I like to refer to as “Silicon Valley” because these guys are so accomplished when it comes to technology and the law, you can’t help but be impressed. By the way, anyone reading this who has a legal issue that involves technology or anything even remotely associated with it, would be remiss to not tap into Matt and Brandon’s expertise. I digress. So, I am thankful for my hands free thingy in my car. Maybe it is called Bluetooth, maybe it is some Siri relative. I don’t know. What I do know is that it allows me to call people in my car while I am driving without me having to hold my phone. It is early 2000s probably, but I have finally caught up and I love it. It is also great because it frees my hands up for me to do more important things than dialing and holding my phone, like putting on my makeup.

As for me, a resident of RKG’s aforementioned “Silicon Valley,” I am incredibly thankful for my new Google Pixel smartphone. Any phone upgrade can be exciting, but having access to the latest release of the Android operating system has been fantastic. One of my favorite features is the improved Google Assistant and voice commands. Lumos, anyone? The Pixel has also allowed me to kick my old cell phone plan and run on Google’s straightforward Google Fi network instead. And I just got my Daydream VR headset in the mail…

So as you gather with friends and family for Thanksgiving, take some time to share the tech for which you are thankful. Maybe also share the tech you are not thankful for… it never hurts to jump start your holiday shopping list for December.

Brandon Harter is an attorney and technology guru at Russell, Krafft & Gruber, LLP, in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He received his law degree from William & Mary Law School and advises clients on issues of Business Law, Civil Litigation & Dispute Resolution, Municipal Law, and Information Technology & Internet Law.