TechKNOW Tomorrow – Fast Food Delivery Apps

Image by Kai Pilger via Unsplash.

As long as COVID-19 continues to spread rapidly, most of us are self-quarantining in order to stay safe for the coming months ahead. But months without stocking up on groceries is unrealistic (if not impossible), and in our consumer-driven world that’s largely dependent on fast food, lasting without it will most certainly be a challenge.

Most fast food restaurants across the country are either temporarily closing or preventing seating arrangements at their locations, meaning drive-throughs are practically the only option for ordering food. But even that puts us at risk of contracting COVID-19 at the checkout window. You might be wondering if there is a safer option.

There is. Fast food delivery apps have been all the rage over the last couple of years. Through an app, you can safely order and pay for your food from the comfort of your own home. Most apps allow numerous options for restaurant and customization choices. So how does it work exactly? Let’s take a look at a few apps that work locally.

SkipTheDishes

Here’s one that’s exclusively Canadian. SkipTheDishes offers a wide variety of restaurants to choose from such as McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Pizza Hut, and City Light. Choose the restaurant that you want to order from, scroll down, and then select the meal. Like most delivery apps, SkipTheDishes gives you additional customization options such as cutlery and condiments.

While the app usually has multiple payment options, users are temporarily restricted to online payments to reduce contact with the outside world. This means that it’s a lot safer than going through a drive-through! Depending on your device, here are the Android and Apple links.

DoorDash

Similar to SkipTheDishes, DoorDash offers a lot of restaurants to choose from when ordering food. The same customization options are available for users, though with a different selection of restaurants. While there are some fast food options like Harvey’s and A&W, DoorDash also features fine dining restaurants such as Montana’s and Swiss Chalet.

If there’s one downside to DoorDash, it’s that they don’t have safety protocols in place for workers or customers… yet. That said, you can leave special instructions within a ‘Notes’ section, which could be used to tell the delivery driver to leave it on your front step after knocking. This should grant you some peace of mind in the coming months. Check out the Android or Apple app if you’re interested.

Image by Engin Akyurt via Pexels.

Instacart

Definitely the “freshest” delivery app on the list (excuse the pun), Instacart is quite new to Newfoundland. So new, in fact, that few have even heard of it. That said, Instacart has recently started offering service in St. John’s and it might not be long before you can start having food delivered. Unlike the fast food options on the list, Instacart is aimed at delivering fresh groceries to your door, which sounds like an excellent idea in a time of crisis like this one.

Instacart allows you to choose from multiple grocery stores and items from the comfort of your home. After you purchase the goods, someone will deliver the items to your doorstep within 24 hours. Unfortunately, some items might be more expensive than they would be in stores, but if safety is a concern, a bit of extra money is a small price to pay (literally). Again, check out the Android or Apple app if this sounds intriguing to you.

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While there are other fast food delivery apps, most of the local ones only offer service for a single restaurant (e.g., Domino’s Pizza – Android and Apple links here). Beware of using these apps as they may not have safety policies in place for you or their workers. Always be sure to do your research before ordering food from anywhere. We hope this was helpful!

At techKNOWtutors, we realize that adapting to technology isn’t easy. Although most services have closed, we remain open – digitally – to answer your internet-related questions. If you need help with improving your digital literacy, send us an email at techknowtutors@cscnl.ca or join our Facebook group and send us a message.

Better yet, sign up for one of our online classes that we offer for FREE every week! Until then, stay in the techKNOW.

TechKNOW Tomorrow – How to Spot Fake News

Image by Connor Danylenko via Pexels.

COVID-19 is officially a pandemic. The “fake news” that’s already been circulating about it has been dubbed an infodemic.

You’ve likely heard the phrase “fake news” multiple times if you’ve ever heard Donald Trump spew random sentences vehemently. But what is it exactly? As defined by the New York Times, “fake news” is any false article that’s “deliberately fabricated to deceive readers, generally with the goal of profiting through clickbait. Clickbait is content whose main purpose is to attract attention and encourage visitors to click on a link to a particular web page” (2016).

To add, these fake articles tend to be disseminated, swiftly circulating across social media platforms like wildfires with their eye-catching headlines and oddly punctuated messages. People see these articles and are encouraged to share them without even analyzing the message or the sources behind the message.

Okay, so how do we determine if a source is “fake news” or actually true, then? tKt’s advice is to follow this chart explicitly.

Image by IFLA via Wikimedia Commons.

If the source of an article is your online friend or a politician’s tweet, then you should definitely question the source immediately. If you can identify several spelling mistakes, punctuation errors, or text in ALL CAPS, then the article in question is likely clickbait. Additionally, it may help to follow the guidelines in this article if you’re uncertain about a story’s source.

Sometimes an article might look like it’s from a legit source, but it’s not at all. After all, if a scamming website can be set up to look like your bank’s secure site, who’s to say that “fake news” can’t masquerade as a legitimate news source such as CBC or The Globe and Mail? Remember to analyze everything with scrutiny and follow your gut if something doesn’t feel right.

As an example, where should you go for legitimate news on updates to the COVID-19 pandemic? Trusted sources like CBC and The Globe and Mail would be great places to start, as would official government channels like Health and Community Services NL and gov.nl. This way, you can avoid similar-looking websites that are out to deceive you and suspicious links that friends might send to you.

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Luckily, techKNOWtutors doesn’t spread fake news; we just share internet and technology facts. Although most services have closed, techKNOWtutors remains open – digitally – to answer your internet-related questions. If you need help with connecting to loved ones or even setting up an account with a service like Skype, send us an email at techknowtutors@cscnl.ca or join our Facebook group and send us a message!

Better yet, sign up for one of our online classes that we offer for FREE every week! Until then, stay in the techKNOW.

TechKNOW Tomorrow – Apps for Managing Remote Work

During this pandemic, you might find yourself working remotely from home for a while. For some, this is a dream come true; for others, it’s a logistical nightmare. How do you remain productive for a full shift? How do you continue to work as a team? How often do you take breaks? The questions go on and on.

Thankfully, there are numerous apps and websites that can answer any of these questions, helping you to stay on track with the growing demands of the workplace while remaining sane. Let’s dive right in!

Microsoft Outlook

Microsoft Outlook is one of the best apps out there if you’re looking for a way to manage your workload, schedule breaks or appointments, and keep in touch with your team. Paired with Microsoft Teams, it allows you to email, call, or instant message your colleagues within its broad set of features.

Both programs are available through multiple different methods: mobile apps like the ones on your phone and tablet (for Android or Apple), downloadable programs on your desktop or laptop computer, or even inside an internet browser such as Google Chrome or Apple Safari. We’ll be using an internet browser for this example. Just click this link, sign in, and you’re good to go. So how exactly do you schedule breaks? Click the Calendar icon located in the bottom left corner of Outlook. Then click “New Appointment” near the top, which will lead you to this screen.

Microsoft Outlook Calendar

From here, choose your Start and End times like I did, click “Make Recurring” if you’d like it to schedule breaks for you on multiple days, and then click “Save and Close”. This gives you a notification – or a pop-up – several minutes before you take your break. This way, you’ll never skip a break or miss a work meeting while you’re working from home!

Okay, so what’s the downside? Well, Outlook’s email and calendar client is free to use in a web browser, but not to download. This makes it kind of clunky and cumbersome if you’re not a Windows computer user. Also, scheduling breaks via the Pomodoro method (more on this in the next section) is irritating, to say the least. There are some alternative apps and websites to Outlook that you can use on phones or tablets, however…

Tomato Timer

Instead of downloading an app, just bookmark the page for Tomato Timer! It’s 100% free, for one. It follows the Pomodoro technique, which illustrates how frequently you should take micro-breaks in order to reach maximum efficiency and productivity.

Tomato Timer

Each hour consists of 25 minutes of work, a 5-minute break, 20 minutes of work, and then a 10-minute break. This keeps you focused on your work tasks, yet prevents burnout as the hours continue. It also sports a very simple user interface. Once each countdown hits 0, a watch alarm will beep and let you know it’s time to step away from your desk for a few… or when you unfortunately have to return to it.

Google Calendar

If you’re looking for an alternate app to Outlook that you can get on your phone or tablet, look no further than Google Calendar. The interface is a lot more simplistic than Outlook’s and the app is thankfully free. Scheduling events and breaks is quite easy! The only downside is that it isn’t available for home computers like laptops and desktops. Here’s the Apple device link and the Android device link if you want to give it a shot!

Google Calendar

When I Work

Perhaps one of the most robust tools for scheduling frequent breaks or meetings is When I Work. Although this can be a paid app, there’s a free version that supports necessary features such as communicating with your immediate team members and scheduling breaks or work hours. The link above brings you to the website. For tablet or mobile users, there’s an app depending on your device (Apple or Android). One issue with When I Work is there are a ton of ads in the free version, so keep this in mind if you give it a shot.

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So hopefully this helps ease your mind about scheduling, productivity, and communication. Although most services have closed, techKNOWtutors remains open – digitally – to answer your internet-related questions. If you need help with connecting to loved ones or even setting up an account with a service like Skype, send us an email at techknowtutors@cscnl.ca or join our Facebook group and send us a message!

Better yet, sign up for one of our online classes that we offer for FREE every week! Until then, stay in the techKNOW.