On Episode 474 of the Waves of Tech, we kick off the new year not talking about CES (at least not yet) but about some tricks, trends, and taxation. Many Google Maps users are pretty familiar with the basic features, but we are sharing 6 hidden tricks that are not well known. A big push to update technology in the United Kingdom healthcare system is underway and hours of time are set to be saved. An upward trend of paying for tax preparation software and not paying for professional work is begging the question of how well technology can help us. Finally, SpaceX launched another round of Starlink satellites but the astronomy profession is raising valid concerns over the deployment.
Google Maps Hidden Tricks
Every navigation app has some hidden tricks and secrets within their settings. Google Maps is no different. The good thing is that we are here to share the hidden gems that will improve your planning and your trip. Navigation apps are moving beyond just ETAs, directions, and road closures. They are expanding to help with other travel related tasks.
- Use Google Maps offline and download maps prior to setting out on the road
- Live Tour presents a visual perspective on your destination from a street view
- Incorporate gas station, coffee shop, and restroom breaks into your travel plans
- Go into Incognito Mode to keep your travelling secrets safe from other Maps users
User Log-ins are Wasting Time
The United Kingdom’s National Health Service is known for its favorable opinions among residents and doctors. However, several medical professionals in the system are bogged down with having log-in fatigue and plagued with countless log-ins that are wasting time. Outdated tech and log-in functionality also means slower response times in technology infrastructure.
- Some hospitals are updated tech to incorporate a uniform, singular log-in function
- Preliminary tests show saving 130 hours of staff time a day simple from the switch
- Hours can then be dedicated to patient care, billing, diagnosis, training, and more
- Some hospitals are still relying on fax machines to communicate with health offices
Tax Software vs. Accountant/CPA
There has been an incremental rise in the use of tax preparation software over the past 10 years, since the introduction of TurboTax, H&R Block, and TaxSlayer programs. Using a paid service is often faster, easier, cheaper, and timely. However, using a professional may provide better financial insight and result in a larger return. The battle of tech versus human continues.
- Comfort, reliability, and familiarity factor into choices made by paying customers.
- Liberty & Jackson Hewitt are big financial management firms in the tax software game
- New players on the block like Credit Karma Tax are making a slight impact now
- Plenty of tech-based options exist to users, which overall is the best for everyone
SpaceX Starlink Satellites
Back in November 2019, we shared on the Episode 467 that SpaceX launched 60 additional Starlink satellites into orbit. This week, SpaceX continues their goal of providing worldwide service bringing that total to 180 satellites in orbit. However, not everyone in the industry are pleased with the light pollution being caused by these orbiting units.
- Astronomers are pushing back on launches due to the illumination of the night sky
- Many are calling for SpaceX to redesign these satellites to be less visually disruptive
- The FCC has approved the launching of over 7,000 units, creating a growing concern
- The cost of a clear night sky should not come at the cost of internet access
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