Connections Online

  • Landline is Not a Forever Lifeline

    Landline is Not a Forever Lifeline

    In June (2024) the California Public Utilities Commission rejected AT&T’s bid to stop offering landline telephone service. Older people may be cheering this decision, but it’s hard to believe that the landline will continue to stay the same.  Still, there can be holdovers when it comes to beloved technologies. The QUERTY keyboard continues to be…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • Do TikTok and Teens Mix Well?

    Do TikTok and Teens Mix Well?

    Should TikTok and Teens mix since the US and the EU ban the app for many federal employees. How do you tell your teen to take small sips or none at all? Where does this fit into digital civics and digital literacy?

  • Rethinking Zoom and Digital Literacy

    Rethinking Zoom and Digital Literacy

    Zoom is now helping to create a new world of hybrid work. Can it also create a new future for hybrid grandparenting? What if you are missing that family time together?

  • Shared Experience of Viewing

    Shared Experience of Viewing

    Watching the SuperBowl on the TV…and with virtual friends.

  • Facetime for Babies?

    Facetime for Babies?

    Grandparents want to have more Facetime. Mom says it’s enough screen time.

  • ChatGPT writes Advice Column

    ChatGPT writes Advice Column

    Unless you have been living under a rock this winter, you have probably read about ChatGPT . If you are more prone to cast stones then you might have gone online to play with the beta release. It’s a highly responsive artificial intelligence (AI) program trained on natural language. When put to task, people can’t…

  • Meet Job Candidate in Person?

    Meet Job Candidate in Person?

    Dear Ms. Smartphone: My coworker and I disagree over the next hire for our ten person tech firm. I would like to meet the job candidate in person even if it means flying them cross-country. My coworker says it is unnecessary to meet a job candidate in person since the position is going to be remote…

  • A Better Facebook for Family?

    A Better Facebook for Family?

    Dear Ms. Smartphone: I come from a large extended family and want to keep current with things back home. So I use Facebook to see what is happening. But, I also want to cut back on the time I spend on social media so that I can do my studies. I don’t check Facebook very…

  • Apps in War

    Apps in War

    Dear Ms. Smartphone: My family lives in France and they are using apps to follow what’s happening with our relatives in Ukraine. I live here and am honestly not familiar with using apps in wartime. I have been trying to keep up with the invasion on news and Twitter but am I missing sites? I…

  • Phone at Dinner Table?

    Phone at Dinner Table?

    Is Phone Part of the Plating?

  • NoPhone Zone Party

    NoPhone Zone Party

    Dear Ms. Smartphone: I am invited to a Super Bowl party at a private club in Los Angeles and it should be a fun time. But I am wondering about the invitation. My friend says that I will need to leave my phone in a Yondr bag they provide, and the club will return my…

  • Metaverse for Dummies

    Metaverse for Dummies

    Dear Ms. Smartphone: Can you help me make sense of what is going on with all these headlines about the metaverse, say the metaverse for Dummies? This week the company Microsoft jumped in, but I was confused before then. I am middle-aged, a fan of Twitter and Facebook, and keep up with technology on my…

  • Is Texting How We Stay in Touch?

    Is Texting How We Stay in Touch?

    Dear Ms. Smartphone:  What’s going on with the holidays and so much texting and social media? I like hearing from friends who are far away, but this Thanksgiving it really got out of hand. All day there were texts and messages, plus the social media to respond to. Was everyone on their phones all the…

  • Can Emojis Make Me Seem Empathetic?

    Can Emojis Make Me Seem Empathetic?

    Will an emoji improve my relationship? Or spice it up?!

  • Zoom meetings and weird decision making?

    Zoom meetings and weird decision making?

    Why are decisions of the board so wacky and weird? Is it because of meeting on Zoom?

  • Why Use Voice Message, Not Text?

    Why Use Voice Message, Not Text?

    Dear Ms. Smartphone: When I long-distance with family in Israel they like to send voice memos instead of text. Mostly they have iPhones and they use a messaging app. It works for me. Why don’t more people here use a voice message instead of text? Len, Palo Alto Dear Len: ” Paja Escribit”– that means too…

  • Can Older People be Influencers?

    Can Older People be Influencers?

    Older people are on Facebook. Are they stoked to be social media influencers too?

  • Voice Calls on Phone

    Voice Calls on Phone

    Talk…talk…talk. ! It feels so wholesome to connect with friends near and far.

  • Should Couple Share Screen?

    Should Couple Share Screen?

    Dear Ms. Smartphone: I co-founded and run a small charity (HouseOfGoodDeeds.org) building community and helping others through altruism. We’ve been growing lately, partnering with other organizations and expanding our offerings. We have occasional small videoconferences with our organizers and volunteers, 3-5 attendees, but we anticipate bigger turnouts soon. My girlfriend is one of our main…

  • Digital Grandparents Stay Connected

    Digital Grandparents Stay Connected

    Digital Grandparents: “Move Grandma so she can see me at the State Fair…”

  • Zoom Fatigue: How to Overcome

    Zoom Fatigue: How to Overcome

    Dear Ms. Smartphone: After a meeting or two on Zoom, and even a catch-up with girl friends, I am zonked out. Sometimes I skip meals because I feel so fatigued and crawl into bed. It’s just the opposite for my son, who is now home from college. He goes on Zoom in the evening with…

  • Corona Virus, Smartphone Transmit ?

    Corona Virus, Smartphone Transmit ?

    Will touching an infected user’s smartphone help spread the Corona Virus?

  • Should Family Time Stream?

    Should Family Time Stream?

    Should families live-stream their holiday celebrations to those off-site?

  • Is Texting Wrong Here?

    Is Texting Wrong Here?

    If you have relatives who don’t say much, is texting the wrong thing to do?

  • How Often to Call?

    How Often to Call?

    Do daily phone calls to college kid interfere with independence?

  • So Lonely with Phone

    So Lonely with Phone

    Everyone is wrapped up in their phones…except me.

  • Should  My Wedding Ban  Phones?

    Should My Wedding Ban Phones?

    Dear Ms. Smartphone: I am sending a picture I saw on Instagram. It’s of a bride and groom atop a wedding cake, holding phones in their hands. I am getting married this summer. Is it OK to ask guests to come unplugged? …To not bring their phones to the ceremony? We are getting married outdoors…

  • Sending a Text on Mother’s Day Sent Wrong Message

    Mother’s Day went awry when Mom got a text…not a phone call

  • Ipads in Library?

    Ipads in Library?

    Taking kids to library…where they play on Ipads!

  • Rock, Paperless, Phone

    Rock, Paperless, Phone

    Dear Ms. Smartphone: There were no print programs or agendas at a two-day conference I attended in San Francisco. It was paperless. The daily program was listed on a phone app along with the room locations and speakers’ names. People were constantly checking their phones to decide where to go next. Since the conference was…

  • Who Drives the GPS?

    Who Drives the GPS?

    DEAR MS. SMARTPHONE: WHEN I DRIVE WITH MY BOYFRIEND HE LIKES TO USE HIS SMARTPHONE TO GIVE ME DIRECTIONS. BUT HE  TURN DOWN THE VOLUME, AND THEN FORGETS TO REPEAT SOME OF THE INFORMATION. THEN HE GETS MAD AT ME FOR MISSING TURNS! Annie, Antioch Dear Annie: It sounds like a control issue but no…

  • Dear Smartphone: Online Invitations?

    Dear Smartphone: I read your advice to Tracy about sending Christmas cards through the mail instead of online. But, curious, what’s your opinion about sending out a party invitation? Should the invite always be on paper, or is it OK to send out electronic cards for an upcoming party? RC, Cambridge Dear RC: Thanks for…

  • Dear Smartphone: Christmas Cards Obsolete?

    Dear Smartphone: Christmas Cards Obsolete?

    DEAR MS SMARTPHONE: I USED TO WATCH MY MOM SEND OUT CHRISTMAS CARDS EVERY YEAR AND IT WAS VERY TIME CONSUMING. NOW THAT I LIVE ON MY OWN DO YOU THINK I SHOULD CONTINUE THIS TRADITION? EVERYONE IS ON SOCIAL MEDIA AND I CONNECT WITH MY FRIENDS THERE. Tracy,Tiburon Dear Tracy: You mentioned that sending…

  • Dear Smartphone: Burner Phone

    DEAR MS. SMARTPHONE: I READ THAT LOTS OF PEOPLE ADMIT TO HAVING A SECOND, CONCEALED PHONE. BUT THEN MY BUDDY AT WORK ADMITTED TO HAVING ONE. Fred, Novato Dear Fred: There was a survey of 1,500 people who admitted to cheating on their spouse, and eleven percent of the cheaters said that they used an…

  • Dear Smartphone: Honeymoon Blues

    DEAR MS. SMARTPHONE: MY WIFE AND I ARE GOING TO TAKE AN OVERDUE HONEYMOON. WE GOT MARRIED LAST YEAR AND FINALLY HAVE THE TIME  TO DO THIS. MY WIFE DOES NOT WANT US TO BRING ALONG OUR SMARTPHONES. BUT I FEEL THAT WE WILL BE TOTALLY DISCONNECTED AND MISS OUT IF WE DO NOT. Old…

  • Password Passed

    DEAR MS. SMARTPHONE: MY BOYFRIEND HELPED ME DOWNLOAD SOME NEW APPS. BUT NOW HE HAS MY PASSWORD FOR BOTH THE PHONE AND FOR THE APP STORE. HE SAYS I DO NOT NEED TO CHANGE THEM IF I TRUST HIM. Lily, La Canada Dear Lily: Lots of people find themselves in this situation, and you should…