It’s easy to talk about eco-friendliness. We’ve all been doing it for decades. Some of us haven’t moved beyond adding a recycle bin for plastic and aluminum. Even that is no great boast in states like Oregon, that require such measures.
Some have taken it a step further by making home improvements such as adding solar panels, ceiling fans, and low-flow shower heads. This is a significant step. The environment thanks you for taking it seriously.
Tech users can be very inconsistent when it comes to their green aspirations. One moment, they are proudly driving a Prius, and drinking a Soylent shake. The next moment, they are checking their Facebook wall on an octa-core Xenon beast without irony, or regard to environmental hazard.
We could all do a lot better. We can start by not buying machines more powerful than we need, turning off the monitor when not in use, Using our technology longer, and using our devices to cut down on the unnecessary use of other resources. Here are five apps that will help us with the latter:
Digital Sign In
Going paperless is a giant task with massive implications. There is a reason why after all these years, we are no closer to it than the day it first became a talking point. While a paperless reality will likely not happen in our lifetimes, we can all move a little closer to the goal by using devices like smartphones and tablets for digital sign ins.
With the right check in app, your business can dispense with the paper sign-in sheet that clearly advertises the name of every visitor to your business. This gets thorny in the case of a medical facility like an abortion clinic. It will often reveal information about insurance status as well. By going paperless, one secures HIPA compliance, and the privacy of your visitor’s personal information. Over time, you will save more than a few trees as well.
While we’re working towards the paperless office, why not use our digital devices to sign and mark up documents. There are many apps that do this task remarkably well. By far, the most popular and well regarded of these apps is PDFpen by Smile. Since its earliest reviews, PDFpen continues to be the choice for people who need to get things done.
PDFpen Scan+ 2.0
If this sounds a lot like the last app, that is because it is made by the same company. Rather than saving paper waste, however, it saves you from purchasing, maintaining, and using an unnecessary office machine: namely, the scanner.
For simple scanning tasks, you can skip the scanner altogether by using any number of apps right from your iPhone. What sets PDFpen Scan+ apart from the others is that it also comes with a very capable OCR. This combination of productivity tools used to cost several hundred dollars on a PC. Now, you have equivalent functionality in your pocket at all times for about the price of a cup of coffee.
Streaming online TV has always been hit or miss. It still is to this day for reasons beyond the control of content providers. But if you happen to be in a place where there is strong and reliable wifi, why not watch the big game on the small screen? Not every game of college hoops is worth the wattage of the 65” TV with full surround sound. WatchESPN won’t replace your cable package anytime soon. But it does give you another eco-friendly option for enjoying the big game.
Want to save energy? How about a polar bear? With the MyEarth app, you can save a virtual polar bear while learning how to save real energy. It is a new app that was all the rage on Earth Day. It helps you track your own energy habits in a number of categories, and helps you improve as you learn. Look, there are polar bears. What more needs to be said?
Saving energy is not a game; it’s a lifestyle. We can all contribute by simply using the devices we carry everyday.