What’s new in tech
A new meaning for the ‘home office’
“Confronted with relentless busyness, some modern households are starting to run more like offices,” said Taylor Lorenz and Joe Pinsker in The Atlantic, and they’re co-opting office software to help. One mom of four in Illinois set up an account with Trello, a web-based project-management tool, “to keep up with chores, to-do lists, shopping, and homework.” Such productivity tools might be useful in the increasing number of households with two working parents, where they can help coordinate who’s in charge of what areas of the domestic domain. But they can be taken too far. One dad set up a home Slack account with “custom-built little tools within the program that would let members of his family add an item to the grocery list,” among other tasks. After a few months, though, the kids “gravitated toward apps that were more fun.”
Coaches for the screen-time wars
“A new screen-free parenting coach economy has sprung up” to serve parents trying to curb their kids’ screen addiction, said Nellie Bowles in The New York Times. In Seattle, Gloria DeGaetano “launched the Parent Coaching Institute, a network of 500 coaches” charging up to $250 an hour to offer various remedies. Some are “absurdly basic,” like getting kids to be around more kids who are playing on jungle gyms or jumping rope. Another increasingly popular prescription is for groups of parents to band together to “make public promises to withhold smartphones from their children until eighth grade.” Other coaches are advocating for whole lifestyle changes. “I tell a lot of parents to get a dog,” says one.
Google’s in-camera interpreter
Google Translate updated its “instant camera” feature, and the results are amazing, said Stacey Leasca in Travel + Leisure. “For those unfamiliar with the service, you can start by downloading the Google Translate app.” Then simply point your phone camera at foreign text and—voila!—it will be instantly translated into English. This makes ordering off a foreign menu or scrutinizing a sign for directions while traveling abroad much easier. Google recently increased its supported languages to more than 100. So instead of “just being able to translate French or Arabic into English, travelers can now translate Belarusian into Igbo or Irish into Persian.” A new auto-detect feature will automatically detect the language captured in the camera, which helps when traveling in a region with multiple languages.