Pass the Corona slowdown time at home with these fun online activities!

Looks like we are going to have “too much time on our hands” for the next few weeks or more. Anyone who lives in Israel for over a decade has experience during national emergencies. There is no better place to be right now than Israel.

For the first few days, I watch a lot of news. Eventually I need a break – even for an hour or two at a time. Meanwhile, we have some time to pass..

Here are some fun activities that you can do online while you are at home.

Check out the lesser known music streaming services

You know all about the big streaming services. How about the obscure streaming services where you can hear songs that haven’t been overplayed?

Soma.FM is my vote for “best kept secret on the internet”. This donation supported streaming site has channels such as Heavyweight Reggae, Groove Salad, Secret Agent, Lush, Bagel Radio and more. I’ve discovered sub-genres of music that I never knew existed. Sound quality isn’t as good as on the paid services, but Soma’s eclectic hand-picked songs create terrific ambience at home.

If you’re from Florida, maybe you’ve heard of Trop Rock. Trop Rock is a mix of rock, country, reggae, calypso and a few others. You may remember Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville and the not-kosher classic Cheeseburger in Paradise. Beachfront Radio and Radio Trop Rock cover the genre well.

Twitch isn’t just for video games

Twitch is where video game fans watch their favorite streamers play and chat. Video game streamers are sort of like college radio DJ’s – they do their thing while chatting with an audience. Lately, Twitch has gone way beyond games. There is the Art channel, where budding artists draw and create while streaming to audiences. There is Music & the Performing Arts, Podcasts and much more.

The best way to experience Twitch is to try a few channels, view the popular streams for 10-20 minutes and see what you like. I think the non-video game part of Twitch has a huge future in it (video game streaming is already creating millionaires). Some people are making a living putting on makeup, playing old video games and drawing things at home. Maybe the Coronavirus time at home will inspire Jewish cooks to start streaming.

If you want something on in the background – more than a screensaver but less intense than the news – Twitch may be just the answer!

DIY with YouTube

Maybe this is a sign from above that it is time to declutter your home. YouTube has helped me immensely over the years when it comes to fixing things, DIY (do it yourself) and decluttering. Try some creative searches and you will discover new ways to store things.

Unlike 10 years ago when YouTube was “younger”, in 2020 you can find helpful information about everything in your home. Whatever it is you are looking to do at home, give YouTube a “deep search” and you will find videos covering every angle.

Cool – and useful open source projects

As a startup nation, many of us love technology. There are thousands of open source projects out there. Do a search for “open source alternatives” or “xyz open source” where “xyz” is something you are interested in. There are open source text editors (I’ve used Notepad++ for years), messengers, media players (VLC is popular) and even a few Office alternatives.

One program, Audacity, is a popular open source audio editor. I’ve used it to create ringtones from songs. Another lets me convert music between FLAC and WAV. If you haven’t checked out the open source “world” in a few years, it has advanced to the point where there are quality, stable alternatives to commercial products.

Not only is open source software free, it is often more secure. Instead of storing your notes and random thoughts in the cloud, open a simple text file. That is the essence of open source – simplifying our lives.

Enjoy passing the time and good health to all of you!

About the Author
Kenny Sahr is a startup marketing executive. His first startup, founded in 1996, was featured in Time Magazine and on 60 Minutes. Kenny moved to Israel from Miami, Florida. In his spare time, he is an avid music collector and traveler.
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