My two favourite pandemic tech options

Hovanesian is a faculty member at the UCLA Jules Stein Eye Institute and in private practice at Harvard Eye Associates in Laguna Hills, California.

Disclosures: Hovanesian reports no relevant financial disclosures.

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The global pandemic has changed our lives in so many ways.

We are planted in front of a computer far more often and for more hours. Zoom meetings for small groups have become the new norm rather than in-person meetings, and it appears likely to stay that way. I’d like to share two favorite tech solutions that have made life easier for me during this time.

John A. Hovanesian

I discovered Boomerang for Gmail long before the pandemic. It links to my personal and work Gmail accounts and allows me to “boomerang” an outgoing message back to the top of my inbox if the recipient does not respond or if I just want to be reminded to review the email at any time in the future. This is great if I want to make a request of someone and be sure they (and I) don’t forget to follow through. It’s saved me countless times on matters that might escape my attention but are important enough to make sure I follow up. Boomerang also offers a “schedule send” feature (similar to the one now built into Gmail) that allows me to send a message at a future date to make sure it lands at the top of the recipient’s inbox Monday morning at 7:55 a.m. (or whatever time I pick). I can’t imagine working without this tool. It’s $4.99 per month or free for up to 10 messages per month. is my favorite audio feature that works with virtually all conferencing apps and audio recording. It uses artificial intelligence to filter sounds coming through my computer’s microphone, removing anything but my voice. I have a clock that chimes in my office, but listeners never hear it behind my voice. It will filter out barking dogs, children’s voices and almost anything that is not my own voice. It also superbly removes background hiss, making my audio extremely clear. Krisp seems to learn over time how to do a better job. It can also remove incoming noise from other people’s audio, but personally, I turn this feature off because I love to hear the background noise causing the person on the other end to squirm with embarrassment. I’ve paired Krisp with a $179 Shure MV51 USB microphone for killer outgoing audio. Krisp is free for 2 hours of filtering per week, or get the unlimited pro service for 1 month free at this link (but sadly I get no referral perks), then $60 per year to continue.

It would be nice if we could begin having fewer Zoom meetings and more real, in-person meetings with handshakes and coffee, but meanwhile, I hope these tools will make your online interactions a little more palatable.


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