By: William Sikkens
Host, User Friendly 2.0  Saturday’s at 5:00 p.m.

It’s 2020 and like the rest of the year, Thanksgiving will be different.  If you can’t meet with family in person this year, then technology may be able to help.

Here are some of the things modern tech has to offer this year:

1) New kitchen toys. 

If you are staying home and planning to prepare a Thanksgiving meal, it might be a good year to buy some new kitchen tech.  Your selection will range from smart kitchen gadgets to trendy new appliances such as air fryers.  Many such devices can give you step by step directions in creating a meal in your own kitchen that is very different from your ancestors.

2) Abundance of recipes

Most of us have those family traditional recipes for things like stuffing or unique family side dishes, but recent technology has given us access to everyone else’s recipes as well.  Want a new idea for something to prepare?  Just ask your smart speaker for some ideas.

3) The Photoshoot

If you are having to skip the in person get together this year you can share photos with your family.  Modern tech has given us the ability to take and retake if necessary.  You can edit and efficiently share them with your family and friends.  So no more stress about sharing those great family moments.  And don’t be shy about taking digital photos, they are not expensive like the old film processed photos.  Digital photos can be shared in minutes via emails, text messages, or social media.

4) Cyber Monday

This year’s Black Friday specials are different and are already being offered.  Cyber Monday, a new offering based on modern tech, will still be available this year.  No need to wait, stand in lines, or find things are out of stock.  Relax at home, eat some leftovers, and do your holiday shopping online.

Remember to take a few steps to be safe when shopping online.  Only go directly to a website for the store you want to shop.  Don’t click through an email or anything else.  If you can, use a credit card online and not a debit card.  This way if your number should get stolen, they don’t have access to your bank account.

5) Video Calls

Even with social distancing and restrictions on travel, get togethers can still happen with face-to-face conversation with your loved ones with the use of video calls.  Most of us already have the technology to do this with our existing computers and smartphones.  If you want to take this a step further, you can get video smart speakers with conferencing capabilities built in.  Amazon Alexa, Facebook Portal, and Google are a few examples of these types of systems.  Each system has its own method of setup, but they do work well once you have them ready and running.

From the team at User Friendly 2.0 to you please have a happy and safe Thanksgiving!

William (Bill) Sikkens has been an on-air technology expert since 2014. With an expertise in I.T., cyber security and software design he has had more than 20 years’ experience with advanced technology. Sikkens conceptualizes and designs custom applications for many professional industries from health care to banking and has the ability to explain the details in a way all can understand.  Article edited by Gretchen Winkler, who along with Jeremy Winkler are the co-hosts of User Friendly 2.0 here on The Answer Saturday’s at 5:00 p.m.

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Got a technology question or comment for Bill? Follow him on Twitter @sikkensw