Staff picks for the week of May 23, 2016

Staff Picks GeneralBefore you pack up and hit the road for Memorial Day weekend, take a look at our top tech picks for this week!

Boom makes your music sound boomin’ and/or slammin’ (Read by Camillia S.)

If you’re an audiophile, then this is the app for you. Boom for iOS adds some surround-sound quality to those flat MP3 music files on your phone. Instead of playing music through the Music app on the iPhone, you play it through Boom, which gives you a selection of effects including “3D surround sound simulation” and other boosters. If you’re like me and have been struggling to find a decent pair of headphones without having to shovel out a ton of money, then this app may be worth a try.

Pilot Bluetooth earpiece crowdfunds the dream of universal, instant language translation (Read by Camillia S.)

With enough funding, an instantaneous language translator could be hitting the market soon. It’s just like the babel fish from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, but luckily it’s a small Bluetooth-enabled earpiece and not a tiny fish that will be inserted into the ear canal. The device is a 2-in-1, acting as a pair of headphones when used together and a translator when one earpiece is used by another person. I have two opinions of the device. The first is that it makes us adults less likely to go out and learn another language. If I had a friend whose primary language wasn’t English, I’d relish the opportunity to learn. On the other hand, learning a new language can be difficult and time-consuming, so if this allows us to communicate seamlessly and quickly, then sign me up!

13, right now (Read by Heidi B.)

Thirteen years ago, I was thirteen. Growing up today is vastly different than it was in the early 2000s, but until I read this article, I couldn’t fully visualize what it’s like to come of age in “The Screen Age.” This easy-to-read feature dives into the life of a 13-year-old girl who is more or less connected to the internet every hour of the day, and her father’s struggle to familiarize himself with social media so that he can relate to his children. The story is simply written, yet makes you think deeply about technology and the way it has permeated society, likely changing it forever. Read on!

Study: Reading from a screen changes how you think (Read by Alexandria H.)

E-readers vs. books has been a topic of debate, largely based on personal preference, ever since the digital devices gained popularity in the early 2000s. But one aspect that isn’t debatable is how reading from a tablet changes how you think. A study involving 300 participants showed that those who read from a sheet of paper answered abstract questions better than those who read the same material from a device, while readers who read from a tablet did better when asked more fact-based questions. While this information may not be life changing, I do think it’s interesting and helpful to know that how you receive information makes a huge difference in how you comprehend it.

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