BEAT THE SUMMER HEAT WITH THESE 5 COOL TECH ACTIVITIES
Let's be honest, not everyone likes summertime for the heat, tans and summer bod hype. Some of us would rather relax, cool off and escape the suffocating temperatures that descend upon us during the summer months. Temperatures, I might add, are already at record highs, and according to weather.com, are only going to get hotter!
So for those of us who want to beat the heat, here's a list of fun summertime tech activities that will help you avoid sunburn, sweat, overheating phones and awkward looks from those people who, unlike most of us, spent all winter getting their bods in perfect summer shape.
1. BUILD A MOBILE APP
“If you build it, they will come.” It was true in the movie Field of Dreams and, if you have a great idea, it’s true in the world of mobile apps. So why not spend this summer bringing your idea for “an app that helps you locate the nearest ice cream truck” to life?
To start, you’ll need to get your hands on a piece of app building software. You can find the top 10, according to Mashable, right here. Some even offer 30-day trials so you can dip your toes before jumping into the deep end of app development.
Once you’ve selected your preferred software, head on over to YouTube and do a simple search for “how to build your own app.” Scroll through a litany of tutorials and see which works best for you; there’s even one that will teach you how to make an app just like Uber’s.
For those that are a little more idea-centric, and a little less tech savvy, there are several sites designed to help you get your idea up and running. The aptly named “Good Barber” is head and shoulders above the rest offering beautiful templates and advanced features like social networking and Geofencing.
2. LEARN A NEW LANGUAGE
Nope, not Spanish or German, rather one that is far more ubiquitous.
Coding, as it is commonly known, is not only the language of computers, it’s the language spoken by pretty much everything that runs on electricity. Sites like Code Academy offer great tutorials that will teach you to code for free, right from the comfort of your own home!
So, this summer instead of learning how to say “where is the pool” in Spanish, dive head first into the world of coding. There’s nothing cooler than being able to tell your friends you speak fluent “Python.”
Cool facts about coding:
1. Many of the people who shaped our digital world started out by coding games for fun. For example, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, the co-founders of multinational technology company Apple, began their coding careers as teenagers when they created the arcade game Breakout.
2. Spacecraft often run using old-fashioned computer systems because engineers are confident their programs do the job well, while making a new one is risky, and expensive. NASA’s reusable spacecraft, the Space Shuttle, went into space using a computer designed in the 1970s, and it had less code than most of today’s cell phones!
3. There are programming languages, such as “Subskin” that have only one instruction so no excuses : )
No matter what your level of immersion, attention span or spending habits are, there's a coding language for you, and unlimited possibilities of where you can take it.
3. BUILD A WEBSITE // BLOG
Don’t have time to learn to code? Don’t sweat it. Sites like Wix & Squarespace will do all the heavy lifting for you. With simple drag and drop templates you can create a gorgeous new website in the time it takes to finish an iced coffee. There’s absolutely zero coding experience required, all you need is a cool idea, and a computer. Speaking of cool, be sure to check out this article by Design Milk on “10 beautiful modern websites made with Squarespace.”
“Writing is the only way I have to explain my own life to myself.”
― Pat Conroy, My Reading Life blog
If you’re a person who has a way with words, then a blog is a great way to share your voice quickly and stylishly. Wordpress is still the gold-standard and offers an abundance of amazing themes. Check out some of the best blog templates right here.
4. TURN AN OLD LAPTOP SCREEN INTO A STAND ALONE MONITOR
Waste not. Want not.
If you’re like us, you’ve probably got at least one old laptop lying around, collecting dust on a shelf or there are plenty of used one's out there prime for the taking. Well, rather than braving the heat to properly recycle that paperweight, why not turn the LCD into a beautiful second screen? Studies have shown that using two monitors can increase productivity anywhere from 20-30%, and they are especially helpful if say...you’ve recently decided to learn to code...hint..hint!
You can find the full tutorial right here complete with an easy to follow instructional YouTube video. So what are you waiting for? Get yourself a nice shiny second screen, no sunscreen required.
5. BINGE ON THIS PLAYLIST OF TED TALKS ABOUT BREAKTHROUGH TECHNOLOGY
Turn the AC up, the lights down, and settle in for 14 tech-focused TED talks that will absolutely blow your mind. Sure, we’ve all heard about Google’s driver-less car, but do you know how it actually works? Or perhaps levitation is more your speed, well, let Boaz Almog show you how his super-thin superconductor can levitate something 70,000 times its own weight. Or, maybe you just want to impress your friends with some free or cheap Wii remote hacks like turning it into digital whiteboard. Great for teachers and students alike that will be sure to wow onlookers.
Not only will you be doing your body a solid by staying out of the heat, you’ll be doing your brain a favor by helping it stay sharp. According to Dr. Daniel G. Amen, MD “because our brains are designed to prune away unused synaptic connections, our cognitive skills tend to dip after we graduate from college or retire from work. To stay sharp as a whip, continue to challenge your brain on a daily basis. Each time you learn something new…your brain will either change the structure of its neurons (cells) or increase the number of synapses between your neurons, allowing them to send and receive information faster.”
Best of all, each talk is no longer than 20 minutes making each topic as digestible and refreshing as an ice cold lemonade.