Kevin Hsu is a sophomore at Stanford studying electrical engineering. An avid tech enthusiast, he regularly reads technology blogs because they inspire him to think about how current technology can be applied in new ways. Kevin writes for TheDishDaily.
Visiting home this Thanksgiving break has reminded me how grateful I am for my family and friends. Being a college student in an increasingly technology-driven world, I would also like to extend my appreciation to the following companies, for delivering on the promise of technology in making our lives easier:
1) Spotify: I still remember the days when I manually managed my music libraries. The music-streaming program Spotify has made that a thing of the past. With Spotify, I am able to listen to almost any song I want for free, and the emphasis on playlists makes organization easy. I maintain different playlists for different moods I am in, like studying and relaxing. The ability to share and receive songs with friends, and discover new songs makes this the only music program I need. Because I usually have my laptop with me on a Wifi-blanketed campus, I am currently not paying for Spotify Premium. Over the summer when I was interning in the Bay area, I did subscribe for offline music during my commute.
2) Amazon: Living on a college campus, I turn to Amazon for most of my shopping needs. I used to dread online shopping because of the long shipping times, but free two-day shipping has all but erased that. What started out as a student trial of Amazon Prime turned into a subscription, and I don’t regret it at all. I am able to quickly receive items without ever having to step foot off campus. The ability to create recurring shipments for my frequently used items is especially useful. I have snacks, tissues, and toothpaste automatically arrive once every few months; that’s one less thing I have to worry about.
3) Wheelz: I don’t keep a car on campus, but for the times when I want to go off campus, I use Wheelz. This car sharing service enables me to rent a car and grab a bite or go on spontaneous adventures with friends at any time. My favorite thing about Wheelz is the variety of cars it offers. Sometimes, I like renting a Toyota Rav4 because I used to drive one, and it brings back nostalgic memories of outings back home. Other times, I try out a car I have never driven, or rent a larger car if I want to take more people. Good customer service, a well-designed mobile app with remote unlocking, and low prices make Wheelz my primary car-rental service.
4) Lastly, I appreciate the companies working to bring futuristic technologies into today’s society. As technology becomes increasingly advanced, I believe that the future lies in unobtrusively integrated devices that make our lives easier. Google’s Project Glass and driverless cars, and a new wave of wearable sensor and home automation products from companies such as FitBit and Electric Imp, are doing just that, and they have me excited for what the future of technology holds. Maybe one day, we will be able to seamlessly interact with the vast amount of information on the Internet, or self-driving cars will completely eliminate traffic– now there’s a dream.