• Checking Phones Before Entering

    Checking Phones Before Entering

    There’s a telcom inspired reenactment of Wild West taking place. It used to be that cowboys checked their guns before entering a saloon. Now, teens and adults have to check their phones before they can enter the classroom and other venues. The company that enables this, Yondr,  has been around since 2015 but it’s getting…

  • Smartphones and Cars Blend… (or brick)

    Smartphones and Cars Blend… (or brick)

    As smartphones and cars continue to blend it seems like phones are the technology, for now, that goes the extra mile.  More than 25 years ago, Frances Cairncross, the media editor for the Economist, pronounced the “death of distance.” Cars have become the ultimate smartphone with their large touchscreens, automatic crash reporting, and collection of…

  • Electric Vehicles at Disneyland (someday)

    For as long as I can remember, Autopia is my family’s first stop at the Happiest Place on Earth, aka Anaheim’s Disneyland.  Admittedly, that’s incongruous considering we have driven forty or fifty miles on the treacherous Interstate 5 and encountered traffic snarls throughout.  But even if you loathe the car trip to Disneyland, you don’t…

  • Phones that Make Drivers Safer

    Phones that Make Drivers Safer

    It’s counter intuitive that smartphones can make driving safer and less stressful. After all, smartphones lead us to take our eyes off the road and focus attention elsewhere. Federal data from 2021 indicates that distracted driving was associated in 12% of fatal crashes and  8% in non-fatal ones. The actual rates  are higher since many drivers…

  • Electric Vehicles are Tailgating Superstars

    Electric Vehicles are Tailgating Superstars

    Tailgating should be on everyone’s mind after the LVIII Super Bowl.  It was a long party- in fact the longest Super Bowl game in history- and it also had, if you count, the fewest number of ads for new cars. There were just four car advertisements, and three of them touted electric vehicle models (EVs)…

  • A Framework for Digital Training: Provisional Licenses

    A Framework for Digital Training: Provisional Licenses

    What’s the path for teens and preteens once the Congressional hearings on social media wrap up?  Ideas are likely to come from the transportation field.  There will be talk about using guardrails to keep social media in its place and slow down users. And then there will be a push towards civic education and instruction.  …

  • The Big Freeze: Storytelling for Electric Vehicles

    The Big Freeze: Storytelling for Electric Vehicles

    Baby it’s cold outside….but the EV stories are heating up. Particularly the ones that favor the status quo.

  • Smiles or Miles: Highway Message Boards

    Smiles or Miles: Highway Message Boards

    Airline passengers are used to seeing those funny safety videos before they take-off, memorable clips of penguins tightening their seatbelts or diving for oxygen masks. But If you are traveling by car, you are going to be seeing more messages that tell you to buckle up, and fewer messages that are going to make you…

  • The Phone You Drive: Convergence 2024

    The Phone You Drive: Convergence 2024

    As columnists look back on year-end 2023, many cite how generative AI broke into the news cycle and now threatens their job security.  Generative AI is not an upstart, yet the public awareness of its advanced significantly during the past year. Another trend with AI underpinnings,  is the continuing convergence of transportation and communications.  The…

  • Does Phone Have Place at Thanksgiving Table?

    Does Phone Have Place at Thanksgiving Table?

    Dear Ms. Smartphone: I am sort of dreading Thanksgiving next week because I have an aunt who ruins the occasion with her phone habits. During dinner she keeps the phone on the table and is always checking her messages. Before dinner, when we are talking, she insists on fact-checking every name or date. It’s so…

  • The ABCs: Ban Books or Ban Algorithms?

    Should we ban books for kids…but let algorithms have free reign? A look at how tech companies and governments respond.

  • Cars That Talk

    Cars That Talk

    Autonomous cars are coming for you soon, and they will be talking. While Google cars already display your personal initials in robo-taxi mode, they lack an advance dialogue to communicate with humans outside the vehicle. That will change. There is a new literacy about to spring forth in Google’s fleet. It’s called a “tertiary language.”  …

  • Telehealth for beginners

    Telehealth for beginners

    Many doctors offices now require patients to register through an online portal. Where will it take you?!

  • Clickbait for Kids?

    Clickbait for Kids?

    Dear Ms. Smartphone: We have been eating a lot of Cheez-Its in our household because my nine -year- old wants to participate in an offer on the back of the box. It requires that we upload a picture of our purchase receipts or a QR code.  For each box we buy, they send him a…

  • Medical ID on Lock Screen

    Medical ID on Lock Screen

    My phone screen is locked. But I need to have peace of mind. How do I share my medical information and contacts in case of an emergency?

  • Smartphone for Bad Sense of Direction

    Smartphone for Bad Sense of Direction

    Dear Ms. Smartphone: Do you think it’s ok for me to take a job driving Uber or Lyft even though I have a horrible sense of direction? I feel turned around and get lost very easily. My family always makes fun of this and acts surprised if I show up on time!  I’ll have to…

  • Do Boaters Need Smartphones?

    Do Boaters Need Smartphones?

    Dear Ms. Smartphone: I was having a drink at my favorite restaurant- it overlooks the Bay and we placed our order from tablets on each table. The wait staff was taking orders from a boat tied up to the dock. They called in from a built-in device that looked like a walkie-talkie on a cord.…

  • Reposting News too Fast?

    Reposting News too Fast?

    Smartphones are useful in emergencies when the power fails. But Is it bad to be too fast when it comes to reposting? It’s important to think through the impacts..