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November 22, 2011

Five Technologies to be Thankful for this Thanksgiving

By Stefanie Mosca, TMCnet Managing Editor

As you sit around the dining room table tomorrow, whether it be with friends or family, don’t forget to reflect and share the things you are most thankful for. And if you are a tech-geek like the editors at TMCnet, you will most likely add a few of your favorite tech devices or services to the list when giving thanks. 

So in the spirit of Thanksgiving, here are five technologies to be thankful for this year. Just imagine how much easier the Pilgrims’ journey would have been with smartphones to let the Native Americans know to put the turkey on and GPS capabilities to navigate the Mayflower effortlessly across the Atlantic.  

Smartphones. It’s hard to imagine a life without smartphones. Whether you utilize yours for calling, texting, email, Web browsing, gaming, an alarm clock or all of the above, these devices have become an intricate part of our day-to-day routines. Originally created with the simplest form of communication in mind, voice calling, the features of cellphones have since been enhanced significantly. By adding endless capabilities to keep users connected, particularly as media continues to advance, smartphones provide a handheld, pocket-sized computer.

Tablets. The past two years have surely represented the expansion and significance of the tablet market. For consumers and professionals who have a hard time deciding between their smartphone and laptop, the tablet is the perfect happy medium. Soon after Apple’s (News - Alert) introduction of the iPad, the tablet concept took off filling the shelves of electronic stores and entering the homes and offices of consumers worldwide. Whether you use your tablet to browse the Web from the couch, or check emails from the airport, we know it can be hard to put it down, but hey, try to at least keep it off the dinner table this Thanksgiving.

Video conferencing apps. Once only used in the board rooms of corporate offices and in unison with round table discussions at small to medium-sized businesses, video conferencing has become a quick and simple way to stay in touch regardless of your location while adding an additional multimedia aspect: video. Inexpensive applications like Skype and FaceTime for the iPhone (News - Alert) provide users with an immediate video communication platform that enhances communication whether for a meeting or personal face-to-face interaction.

Social media. We are also thankful for the stalking abilities social media platforms like Facebook (News - Alert) and Twitter provide us with. Think of how lost we’d be without the ability to stalk our old college roommates’ wedding pictures (since they failed to invite you) or keep up to date on everyone your ex is currently dating. But if that’s the number one benefit you are gaining from social media, you are missing the point. Social media is more about conversations and connections created by utilizing these platforms and less about the personal, keeping tabs on people aspect. While there is no doubt they are great for keeping in touch or rehashing old relationships, you should really be thanking social media creators for providing you with a platform to consistently expand your interactive address book.

Music streaming services. Obtaining and accessing music is one process that continues to evolve and get easier with time. Attaining music once require going to the store and purchasing your favorite album, which then transitioned to downloading files onto mp3 devices and coordinating services like iTunes. Now we have entered the music streaming phase, where users can listen to their favorite tunes via Web-based or mobile applications. Utilizing a streaming service allows users to constantly add to their online library of music and instead of swapping mix CDs with friends, music streaming apps allow users to share their top picks with friends since these services have social media aspects included as well.

Happy Thanksgiving and if you aren’t utilizing the above technologies, it’s not too late to add them to your Christmas list.

Stefanie Mosca is a Managing Editor for TMCnet, with a particular focus in wireless technologies as well as mobile and IP communications. She holds a master's degree in journalism from Quinnipiac University and a bachelor's degree in communication from the University of New Haven. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page or follow her on Twitter (News - Alert) @stefaniemosca.

Edited by Stefanie Mosca

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