TechKNOW Tomorrow – COVID-19 Tips and Updates

It’s a stressful time for us all. As the coronavirus spreads, non-essential services across Canada are shutting down and people are left in a state of pandemonium. Most of us are doing our best to maintain distance from the rest of the people in our lives. But as we physically isolate ourselves from the world, it’s vital that we remain connected to each other digitally. How exactly do we do that? By following the tips outlined in this article, of course!

COVID-19 Tips

  1. Make sure you stock up on any essentials. Newfoundland and Labrador may call a state of emergency in the near future. It’s best to pick up whatever you need from grocery stores as soon as possible. This includes food, water, prescription drugs, soaps, animal food, kitty litter, etc.
  2. Be aware of the people around you. If you have elderly neighbours or sick loved ones who are unable to pick up food, offer to lend a hand. See a nearly empty shelf of red meat? Save some for other people who need it.
  3. Self-isolate yourself physically. This means remaining indoors for the majority of the pandemic. Only leave your home if it is absolutely necessary. The same goes for family.
  4. Wash your hands relatively frequently. This is more effective than using hand sanitizer, though you can’t go wrong with either. See this post from the CDC for more details.
  5. Keep in touch with friends and family online. It’s important to speak to friends and family digitally if you can’t be near them. Call or text them regularly. Make video calls through Facetime or Skype. Send messages, pictures, or tweets on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Humans are social beings by nature; it’s how we connect that has to change.
  6. Don’t rely on social media for your facts and updates. Did a friend of yours post a home remedy for coronavirus? Did they post that the travel ban has been lifted? It’s likely not substantiated by any evidence. Use trusted online resources such as the federal government’s website and news channels such as CBC to discover the truth about COVID-19.
  7. Check online resources on COVID-19 daily. Canada has numerous resources for keeping yourself up to date on the status of the virus in Canada. Here are some websites you should visit daily:
    A) The Government of Canada’s official COVID-19 web page.
    B) COVID-19 Symptoms and Treatment.
    C) Non-essential travel ban updates.
    D) Numerous resources from Infection Prevention and Control Canada (IPAC).
    E) IPAC’s Facebook page.
    F) IPAC’s Twitter Page.
Image by Stefen Tan via Unsplash.

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Follow these tips and you should hopefully minimize the risk involved with this pandemic. 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 – The Future of Retail and Grocery Stores

As technology advances, people are not only forced to adapt to rapid changes in forms of communication, but also to major transformations to the fabric of society itself. It started with cell phones and texting, and has moved to automated restaurant kiosks and self-checkouts at drug stores.

Now things are about to shift even further.

Amazon developed a plan back in 2016 – Amazon Go – to open numerous retail stores across the U.S. with a new technological focus. Now that plan has become a reality. At these stores, shoppers can pick up any items that they want and walk right out of the store without waiting in a line to be checked out. It sounds a lot like shoplifting when you think about it. It’s the future of physical shopping, offering a convenience never before seen for consumers.

As if that wasn’t enough, Amazon just upped the ante by opening the first Amazon Go Grocery store. Fresh produce, delicious snacks, and dairy products are at a consumer’s fingertips without the hassle of waiting in line. And while this technology is still in its infancy, we could see stores like this one across the entire country within the next few years. We need to be ready for that.

So how does it work exactly? Let’s take a look.

How to Shop at Amazon Go Stores

When you enter an Amazon Go store, you’re greeted with a sight much like the gates seen at a subway station. You’re asked to download the Amazon Go app and scan the QR code, which can be retrieved from Apple or Google depending on your device. After scanning yourself – and family members, if applicable – everyone can go their own way and the app will keep track of any items taken off of the shelves by each person.

Image by Amazon via Financial Times.

From then on, you shop much like you would at any other store. Looking around, employees will be present answering customers’ questions and stocking shelves, but none will be on cash registers; there aren’t any in the entire store! Hundreds of cameras can be spotted on the ceilings, though they’re not there to catch shoplifters. Instead, the cameras exist to keep track of the inventory on the shelves. Through tracking software and item recognition, no stock will go missing.

Even more fascinating than this is what happens when you pull an item off of a shelf. The store’s sensors recognize that the item has been taken by you and puts it into your virtual cart on the app. Put the item back on the shelf and it leaves your virtual cart. In fact, you can put the item back on ANY shelf and your virtual cart will recognize it.

Finally, when you have everything you want to purchase, just leave the store. It sounds suspicious, like you’re stealing it all, but you are charged after leaving the store. All purchases are made through your Amazon account moments after you leave the store. It might even sound terrifying, but it’s actually quite safe. Amazon Go Grocery stores work pretty much the same way: walk in, grab your food, and walk out. It’s that simple.

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There you have it. Shopping in Canada’s about to change with convenience in mind. Is it scary? Maybe a little, but this technology is here to make our lives easier. And while there will be less personalized cashiers available, those workers will still exist and be invaluable as they develop new skills and help us enter the digital age.

Don’t have an Amazon Account? We have a course for Online Shopping with techKNOWtutors that will teach you the basics. During our drop-in sessions, we can even help you set up an Amazon account.

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 – Changes to Tim Hortons’ “Roll Up The Rim to Win” Sweepstakes

Tim Hortons’ famous promotional event, “Roll Up The Rim To Win”, is back for another year of awesome prizes. This time, however, there’s a twist – most of the event takes place digitally. In order to cut costs and be environment-friendly, Tim Hortons is moving most of their rolls to their app so that Canadians can join their rewards loyalty program and better adapt to frequent changes in technology.

The event takes place from March 11th to April 7th, a much shorter timeframe than those of previous years. The first two weeks will have the traditional Tim Hortons physical cup rolls Canadians are accustomed to, though supplies are limited. If you’re a winner, just tear it off and redeem your prize at your local restaurant. After those two weeks pass, rolls are exclusively handled by the app.

Tim Hortons is changing the value of digital rolls, too. A physical cup only has one chance to win, while a digital roll includes both the app roll AND the one on the physical cup. For the first two weeks of the promotion, participants get two rolls.

In a bid to protect the environment, Tim Hortons is also including a special triple roll for customers willing to bring in their reusable cups. Reusable cups give participants three digital rolls for each hot beverage purchased. Moreover, the company is also giving away 1.8 million reusable cups at participating locations across the country on March 10. These cups are rolled out on a first come, first served basis.

Tim Hortons Roll Chart

Tim Hortons CMO Hope Bagozzi admitted in a statement that the digital app allows Tim Hortons to learn more about customers’ purchases and buying habits, but that data will not be shared with any outside individuals or organizations.

For any digital rolls, the Tim Hortons app for iPhone or Android is unfortunately mandatory. If you have a winner, the app must be scanned in one of their local restaurants.

Signing up with the Tims Rewards program has its benefits, of course.  Purchasing drinks during and after the event grants a free beverage after every seven purchases. Everyone wins during the event!

Let’s take a look at the prizes this year:

  1. More than 17 million coffee/food prizes
  2. 45,000 $25 TimCards
  3. 200 Samsung 55” Smart 4K TVs
  4. 150 $1000 CIBC Prepaid cards
  5. 100 40,000 AirMiles Reward Miles (enough for a trip for two)
  6. 10 2020 Hyundai IONIQ Electric or Hybrid Vehicles.

Another good thing is that Tims is disposing of the frequent “Please Play Again” rolls. Now, all participants will be entered into a weekly $100,000 draw every time they lose. This is, again, only available with the app.

Image by Calgary Reviews via Flickr

So if you’re not onboard with changes to the sweepstakes, give it a shot; you might be pleasantly surprised how much you learn about mobile apps if you do!

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.