5 Best Tech Gifts for Mothers Day
“I can’t open the photo you sent me, dear. I don’t have room on my phone.”
“I’ve lost all my documents. They’re just gone from the desktop.”
How many conversations with Mom (or Dad, but this is Mothers Day) include some sort of tech support question? More than a few, if personal experience serves as any guide. But before you roll your eyes, think for a second … She taught you how to use a spoon. How to read. How to zip up after a trip to the potty. So only an ingrate would begrudge her the time to walk through getting all those pictures she shot off her phone, right?
Here are some great Mothers Day gifts you can give, regardless of your budget, that will make life easier for Mom and show her you care. And they have the added bonus of freeing you up from your tech support role.
Back up ALL the photos and get them off her phone. While iCloud is Apple’s preferred method for backing up photos, Google Photos is hard to beat for both backup AND sharing. Setup is simple using the app (available for both Apple and Android platforms) and can even be set to delete photos from your phone once they’ve been automatically backed up. Privacy concerns can be alleviated by switching Google Photos’ Location Sharing to Off.
Back up ALL the documents against the inevitable hard drive crash. Online backup, once the domain of IT wonks, has become nearly effortless for anyone with an internet connection and a credit card. Set Mom up on Code42’s CrashPlan and forget it. It’s quick, automatic, and about as close to set-it-and-forget-it backup as you’re going to find.
And if you’re already a CrashPlan Central user (which you are because you’re mad smart and you know that a computer hard drive crash isn’t a matter of “if,” it’s a matter of “when [which actually means “the least convenient, most disruptive time your drive could crash.]”) you can add Mom as a Family Member and back her machine up on your account.
Put ALL the passwords in one place. Then change them. We can all agree that the 8 1/2″ X 11″ sheet of paper with 7 years worth of passwords is a liability for everyone. So the time has come to get Mom’s password life moved out of the desk drawer and up into the secure cloud where it belongs.
The two most bulletproof options are 1Password and LastPass. Both offer near-seamless integration with Android, iOS, Windows and Mac OS, but each approaches storage of vital information differently. 1Password encrypts on your device, while LastPass encrypts in the cloud.
While you’re setting up secure, centralized password storage, you should consider updating ALL the passwords to individualized strong passwords for every site. It’s time-consuming, but it significantly lowers the chances of hacking. At the very least, consider using XKDC’s approach to creating good, strong, near-uncrackable passwords.
FaceTime your mother. Okay, this is an obvious one, but chances are good that it’s been too long. Moms. Love. Facetime. Period.
We saw it on ABC’s black•ish and we’re reminded of it every time we use it. Apple’s FaceTime and Google Hangouts have made video calling nearly effortless, assuming both caller and callee are properly set up.
FaceTime requires you both be using Apple devices, but Google Hangouts is about as close to platform-agnostic video calling as we’ve every used.
Self-serving plug time: Using our Elevator during a video call raises your laptop up high enough to all but eliminate that looking-down, double-chin thing that always seems to result from making calls from your computer.
Get Mom the hookup. Chances are better that even that Mom’s got a FitBit, or is talking about wanting to bingewatch House of Cards on something other than her iPhone screen. We’ve got a complete lineup of FitBit accessories she can use to make wearing her fitness tracker more comfortable. And if you do finally spring for that new AppleTV for her, our impact-protective Survivor Play for Siri Remote might be the thing that saves her remote from breaking when she hurls it down on the coffee table in disgust because of Frank’s refusal to see that Claire’s ambitions to run for office are nothing more than a high-stakes cry for help. But that’s another post entirely.
So that’s what we’re working on for Mothers Day. Now that you’re too old to give her macaroni art or free-hug coupons, what will you be doing for Mothers Day? Share your ideas below; the comments are open.