6 Pieces Of Tech We’re Jazzed About This Summer

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Feature image via Shutterstock.

Most of the time I try to make a Queer Your Tech round-up based on a theme. And sometimes that theme doesn’t exist. This is one of those times. The only thing that ties all of this together is all the weird nerdy tech stuff I’m jazzed about this summer—it’s either come out this summer or I’m using it a lot this summer or I’m prepping for its existence this summer. Are ya ready, kids?


Favorite Mobile App: Prisma

I got wise to Prisma when one of my favorite voice actors used it on his Instagram. I downloaded it IMMEDIATELY. What it does is make your photos look hand-drawn or hand painted or cartooned—basically in the style of some sort of visual art that isn’t photography. It uses AI to make this all happen in a way I don’t totally understand. Bonus queerness, the first filter’s called Femme. Here’s what that filter did to one of my Instagram photos:

Prisma is free for iOS and they opened and closed an Android beta this week (they weren’t expecting the huge influx).


Favorite Tech Accessory: Titan Charging Cable

Full disclosure, FuseChicken sent me this product for review, so I didn’t originally pay for it. But when one of the cables in our house bit the dust and wouldn’t charge my phone anymore, I probably would’ve. Reason being that this cable is long, made of steel and has a lifetime guarantee. Here is a video of someone taking a chainsaw to it:

Don’t actually do that, but ya know. I’m pretty sure it’s not gonna fray like my last one. The big con to it is that it’s heavy. The big unforeseen pro to it, though, is that I can stand it up like a snake, so I can charge my phone plugged into my computer and it makes me feel like I’m creating queer content in a futuristic cockpit at my dining room table. That also means my phone becomes a sort of secondary notification center. I’ve been missing fewer emails.

This charging cable is made for iPhone 5 and later. Grab one for $35.


Favorite Web App: TinyLetter

I’ve started up a little club among some of my friends, and the way we’re all communicating is through a tiny, private email newsletter. I’ve never had need for an email newsletter creator personally before, but I have used both Constant Contact and MailChimp for work. TinyLetter is SO MUCH EASIER. It’s paired down, so you won’t get nearly the same kind of template capability as you do on some of the bigger platforms. But it’s clean, easy to read and use, and free if you have under 5k subscribers (there are only 16 of us, so).

Try TinyLetter and send your friends adorable email newsletters while spending absolutely no money on it. Put moar queer content in the world.


Favorite Tech Conference: Books In Browsers

Okay, so y’all know I have a big lesbian crush on Lesbians Who Tech. But there are other conferences to go to that are also putting an emphasis on the queerer aspects of technology, and Books In Browsers is one of them. But that’s not all they’re talking about. Books In Browser’s theme this year is using technology to tell small stories, getting really individual and specific. From their website:

This year, Books in Browsers is moving beyond the boundaries of books in browsers to examine how images and videos, alongside text, are being adopted to form new narratives, instructional materials, and scholarship, and how this shift is reframing what we expect and how we learn.

I’m a bit biased, on account of I’m speaking at this conference, which takes place on November 3rd and 4th in San Francisco! I’m giving a talk entitled “Embodying Queerness: From Webcomics to VR.” I’ve been working on it, like, all summer and I hope I see some Straddlers there!


Favorite Casual Game: Dots & Co

Okay, I mean, aside from Pokemon Go which I’ve written about three times. Dots & Co is a new match game without the Candy Crush aesthetic that makes me want to rip my eyes out. It’s more along the aesthetic lines of Sputnik Eyes, but you match at least two dots together to move through gameboards. It’s adorable, has calming music and is perfect for standing subway rides during which I cannot pull out a book or magazine. Plus it doesn’t get so hard that I want to defenestrate my phone; I thought it was too easy at first, but the levels do really get more difficult (though not punishing).

Dots & Co is free for iOS and Android. The game has the option for in-app purchases, but you can have a lot of fun without doing so.


Favorite Come-To-Fruition Kickstarter: Jewelbots

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xr-8tYfIzsU

I’ve been following Jewelbots since last time I did a roundup like this last summer. This techie friendship bracelet works out of the box, but is a fully-programmable tiny arduino board that teaches girls to code. If they’re so inclined, they can even fly a drone with it. And I am happy to report that they’re gonna ship soon! They’ve already started shipping their alpha units. I backed it way back when, but you can actually pre-order them now! AND! I wasn’t wild about the flower charm and thought I’d have to go about printing my own substitute, but! BUT! They added an alternate robot charm for the tomboys among us. If you’ve got a pre-teen in your life (or you just want one, it’s cool, I and two other friends who are grown-ass adults ordered them), pre-order one for $49 (or get discounts when you get packs of two or three.

So what about y’all? What techie things are you all obsessed with this summer? Please let’s chat about it, Autostraddle readers have introduced me to some awesome technology over the years.

Before you go! It takes funding to keep this publication by and for queer women and trans people of all genders running every day. And support from readers like you keeps the majority of our site free for everyone. Still, 99.9% of our readers do not support. Autostraddle is fundraising right now to keep our site funded through January 2022. Will you join our community of readers in helping to keep us around?

A.E. Osworth is part-time Faculty at The New School, where they teach undergraduates the art of digital storytelling. Their novel, We Are Watching Eliza Bright, about a game developer dealing with harassment (and narrated collectively by a fictional subreddit), is forthcoming from Grand Central Publishing (April 2021) and is available for pre-order now. They have an eight-year freelancing career and you can find their work on Autostraddle (where they used to be the Geekery Editor), Guernica, Quartz, Electric Lit, Paper Darts, Mashable, and drDoctor, among others.

A.E. has written 543 articles for us.

12 Comments

  1. Maybe I’m going to use prisma for my tinder/okc/once profile picture and pretend I’m a cartoon character.
    Methinks a Roger Rabbit rewatch is in order for this noble quest.

    P.S.Fitness related tech stuff:
    Runtastic has actually been working for me in the running app department (and I’m one of those people who never ever run) and so has their biking app for keeping track of my rides.
    As trackers go the Jawbone UP 3 is BS, the First generation UP is a lot better, although that,too, only lasted a few months, and I’m rather happy with my Whitings watch atm.
    Its sleep and steps measurement is simple and decent, and it records swimming, whenever I actually find my way into water.It’s basically a watch with a little something extra: Do recommend.
    Also, I’ve been working my way through several different biking apps, and I must say, that komoot is still outranked by google maps, most times.

  2. Could you do a Queer Your Tech about small phones? My first generation Moto X feels like it’s on its last legs and I can’t find a good replacement. It’s weird that few Android makers have figured out that one feature lots of female-bodied people actually want is a small (<5 in) high powered phone, right?

    • This: “It’s weird that few Android makers have figured out that one feature lots of female-bodied people actually want is a small (<5 in) high powered phone, right?"

      My first-generation Moto X isn't on its last legs, but its battery life is getting a little iffy and I'm worried that I might have to get a new phone in the not-too-distant future. I'd second a Queer Your Tech about small phones.

  3. I know this is probably because you have an iPhone but could you please try to include windows phone a little more in your round ups and reviews? Google and Apple aren’t the only options out there you know.

  4. A second for Tinyletter. I use it for my business newsletter and it’s awesome and looks lovely. I still think it could be simpler though! Copying and pasting from the text-editor I like to write in is a bummer – you still have to make plain text and then format within the newsletter. But still. Dreading the day I hit 5k followers and have to graduate to Mailchimp or whatever!

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