A tech-savvy guide to staying at home during the Coronavirus lockdown
The words ‘stay-at-home’ or ‘shelter-in-place’, strike fear into the hearts of many. Hours stuck at home with no friends and no going out. No restaurants and no bars, all because of a pesky (and dangerous) virus. But in some way, the tech-lovers among us (we include ourselves in that) are perfectly suited to the Coronavirus lockdown. No leaving the house? No partying? No problem. Just hours and hours of gaming, getting to grips with new gadgets, tidying up the coding on our websites, and exploring new streaming sites. We couldn’t ask for more.
Given all that, it’s important that none of us waste the opportunity to make the most of our time at home - to extract maximum value from this unadulterated me-time. And we’ve got you covered, with our top tips as to how to make the most of your stay at home (and how to save the most money) during the Coronavirus.
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First, get your cave (home office) sorted
Over the next few months - at least as long as the lockdown lasts - you’re going to be spending a lot of time sitting in a chair, looking at a computer screen. Some of that will be working from home, and, hopefully, some of that will be gaming-related fun, but whatever it is, you’re going to want to be comfortable.
Make yourself comfortable
As such, you’ll want to get yourself a computer desk and chair set if you haven’t got one already (preferably with plenty of lumber support and maybe a footrest?). A couple of us have picked one up from Office Depot, with others casting their vote for Staples - both have coupons galore to choose from to make the purchase a little less dear.
You’ll also need something to go on the desk. A laptop will do for a couple of hours a day, but you are not going to be comfortable staring at it for 9+ hours Monday-Sunday. You should therefore think about buying a desktop monitor and keyboard - this will help your neck and back survive the coming weeks. If you’re wondering what models to get, then there is an extremely comprehensive selection (alongside helpful reviews) at all three of:
And don’t waste time with a poor internet connection
If you - like us - have got big plans for the quarantine like finally building your own website or doing some serious multiplayer gaming, then you’re going to need a better internet connection. This is easier said than done, but there are a few failsafe options around that we’d recommend. First up is AT&T, who offer 100mbp/s as their core offering at a reasonable price (even more reasonable when you use a coupon). But if that doesn’t suit you, then we recommend Verizon Fios. They operate a 100% fiber-optic network - yep, 100% - and have speeds that do not disappoint. You can also get Disney+ free with selected plans when you use a Verizon Fios coupon.
Make your house work for you
If you haven't already been doing this, now is a fine time to modernize your house. And we don't mean a new counter top. We mean investing in gadgets - like an Amazon Echo or some smart light-bulbs - that will make your home life even easier. Turning off lights, turning on music - not quite cooking your dinner, sure, but pretty close. The best places to pick up some decent kit in this area are:
Keeping yourself busy in quarantine
Now that you’ve got your cave sorted, it’s time to decide what to do in it. Thankfully, the possibilities are more or less endless. Here’s what we’re getting up to.
Time to finally sort out your website
We all know what it’s like. You start a blog or a site to document your hobby or your business and errors and bugs build up that you don’t have time to fix on a day-to-day basis. You get stuck with an old hosting platform. Well, now’s the time to fix that. Use this time to sort out a better hosting platform at GoDaddy, where you can get both fast hosting and money off with a great coupon.
Get your hands on the latest consoles and games
This is the perfect opportunity to - if you haven’t already - try out the Xbox One or PS4. Both are at the age now where they are a little cheaper than they were originally, but still have graphics and gameplay that will do it for you. Alternatively, you could spend a bit of time upgrading your PC so it’s ready for the new Microsoft Flight Simulator (which comes out this year). You can grab the Xbox from the Microsoft Store, and whatever parts you need for your computer from Monoprice.
Make sure your streaming options are on point
Although our personal favorite streaming service, DAZN, is looking a little bare right now (thanks, Coronavirus), there are plenty of good options out there for you to get into. The newest entry onto the scene is Disney+, and it isn’t just Snow White, either. You can get all the Marvel films, all the Star Wars films, and all the Pixar films, streamed straight to you. Alternatively, Hulu has a killer combination of old classics and new blockbusters.
Staying well fed and safe during Coronavirus
Our final Coronavirus essentials are pretty straightforward. You need to keep well-fed (and tastily fed, too), and make sure you're safe when you go out.
Well fed and watered
It’s important when you’re sitting on the sofa all the time to eat well. And yes, we do mean takeout. Some people are worried about whether it’s safe to eat takeout, given the circumstances. The answer is that yes it should be: most delivery businesses are taking extra precautions to ensure their orders are safe so you can order without worrying. Some of our favorite options include:
Finding a face-mask
Irritating and uncomfortable as it may be, in the next few months you're probably going to find yourself in a situation where you need to wear a face-mask. And, instead of having to continually buy yourself new disposable ones, it's worth either investing in a reusable one or going the extra mile and making one yourself. For ones to buy, Home Depot is a decent choice, as most of their DIY dust masks and the like will do the trick. But, if you're feeling like getting a new, admittedly very specific hobby, then you can also make your own: Michaels have kits you can buy with everything you'll need.