Use tech to help make home time more enjoyable

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By Kim Komando, Signal Contributing Writer

For the next two weeks while everyone has a little more time at home, Kim shares her suggestions for a few ways to keep us entertained with our tech. 

Play games virtually together

Instead of firing up a game to play by yourself, break out of your shell. Truly, there are multiplayer games for everyone from “Fortnite,” “Monopoly” to “Words with Friends.” Ask your friends to name a game they like and start playing with them. Or check the charts in Apple’s App Store or Google Play for inspiration. 

I play “Scrabble” on my phone with my family. You can play with up to three people using the app or online at Pogo.com. Promise that you will not use any of the Scrabble Word Finder sites, because that would be cheating. These little gems let you enter up to 12 letters to come up with possible words.

Expand your horizons

Maybe you’re like me. With all this time at home, I’ve finally cleaned out my office, twice. I’m ready for stimulation. Here, the internet is a true goldmine, whether you want to learn a new skill or you’re ready to branch out to a different career.

CodeAcademy is the place for you to learn software development along with HTML, Javascript, Python, Ruby on Rails, and CSS for free. But if you’ve ever wanted to take a class at Yale, Stanford, MIT, or Harvard, check out OpenCulture. You’ll find free on-demand audio and video courses from the world’s leading universities. 

For all those times you couldn’t remember why something was the way it was or how to solve a math problem, every parent in the world should know about Khan Academy. It’s a good place to brush up on anything that you needed to know in school.

There are also several subscription-based learning sites. LinkedIn Learning offers thousands of classes in business, design, tech, web development, and more for $19.99 per month. Udemy is a similar site that offers a more diverse range in business and hobby classes. You pay by the class, usually under $20. 

MasterClass is different in that they offer over 80 classes from names you know for $15 per month. Wolfgang Puck will teach you how to cook, Neil deGrasse Tyson will bestow his knowledge of Scientific Thinking and Communication, or have Bob Iger give you tips on Business Strategy and Leadership. Regrettably, even though Christina Aquilera offers singing lessons, I know that’s not for me.

Keep in touch

Why watch Netflix alone when you can have a Netflix Party? After you install the Chrome Extension, play the video you’d like to watch with friends. Click “Start Party” and share the party URL to invite friends. The video is synced with your friend’s devices, and a chat box lets you all talk about the movie, or whatever, in real-time.

To stay sane, some people are using video chats that I mentioned earlier to digitally hangout with friends for after-work happy hours, birthday parties and poker games. It’s a great way to beat self-isolation and take your mind off everything.

Remember, we need social interaction for our health. So stay home and use tech to stay sane.

For information on Kim Komando on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks, visit her at Komando.com. 

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