Your Guide to the New Virtual Life

Since Melbourne has yet to normalise from the COVID-19 outbreak, and self-isolation is still the norm, it has become clear how necessary technology is today.

This necessity has seen much of Australia working from home and the need to be informed of the latest technology ‘hacks’ be it websites, programs or apps that might make life that little bit easier.

So in the spirit of staying informed, here is our must-have list of new (and old!) tech to use to your advantage this isolation period:

At home – Entertainment

Free TV Streaming

The first and most basic service anyone who likes TV should know about is the free-to-air streaming services offered by all the free to air channels. Key choices are ABC iview and SBS On Demand.

Paid streaming services

Almost anyone who likes watching TV will know the ‘Netflix and chill’ slogan or have a subscription of some kind. Apple TV or Amazon Prime Video are new options but can easily use up all your data.


Few people seem to know about Kanopy but it deserves a much bigger audience than it has, firstly because it is free but it also because it has thousands of quality films, documentaries and art house productions on offer. It is available through your library or university membership.

At home – Arts At Home

Free Museums/Galleries

There are now hundreds of galleries worldwide providing virtual tours. Equally there are as just as many providing virtual exhibitions as well – here are some choice high profile international ones to view: the British Museum, Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), Tate Modern London, Picasso Museum, Melbourne’s own NGV, MASP Sao Paulo, Uffizi Gallery in Florence, etc. Or otherwise just check if your local gallery has a virtual tour/exhibition – it probably does now!

Free Musical Performances/ MSO and Andrew Lloyd Webber

Truthfully there are hundreds of livestream and virtual concerts to watch, with everything from billboard, to the Grammys and the Arts Centre Melbourne offering concerts and music. Maybe just see what your search engine finds.

Free Music Downloads Archive

The under 20's have known for a long time that free music is the way to go but you should know that there are hundreds of free music sources available with the Free Music Archive just one of many.

At home – WFH (Working From Home)


Nearly everyone by now has used this software for an impromptu meeting – unfortunately the security on it’s dodgy and was getting fixed. Zoom has undoubtedly taken the work meetings to a more pleasant video level. For meetings, Skype still remains very popular too.


After Zoom, TeamViewer seems to be the next popular choice for meeting software. Luckily it is easy to use and install, two of the key components of using anything from home.


Many small businesses and organisations are today using Asana ( is another popular one) providing software that helps to track, manage and connect work projects and assign them to different people in your team. Easy to use, these are also good on your phone as well as laptop.

Phone Apps


Unknown to many of us, the classic board games have an online equivalent. Games such as Risk, Uno and Monopoly are available, though some may come at a cost. Facebook games still remain incredibly popular regardless of their dodgy privacy policy.

Stay-in-touch Apps

Houseparty seems to have boomed in these times of isolation and seeing that it is a way to hangout with friends on video its little wonder why. Tiktok is the new popular app on the block, enabling people to make short music videos.

Self-care Apps

There is a crowded market for this but one of the most popular is Headspace, which is a comprehensive meditation app. Calm and Happify are also, like their names, effective and work with backgrounds, colours and techniques to assist and centre individuals. Mindshift is another great option designed for teenagers and young adults.

While there are many types of technology that might assist you in your isolation bubble during the lockdown, most will come down to a process of testing and going through a trial and error process, so remain open to trying new things and test away!