Dear Smartphone: Rideshare Rusty Wazes?

DEAR MS. SMARTPHONE: YOU MENTIONED A FEW WEEKS BACK THAT YOU WOULD FOLLOW UP ON USING SMARTPHONES TO GET TO WORK… WHAT GIVES? Rusty, Palo Alto

Dear Rusty:  Glad that you keep me on my toes, and I elevated your earlier post (see below).  Totally get that you want to use pooled rideshare, but it is impractical because you cannot estimate the arrival time. Uber and Lyft may have failed here, but your smartphone may come through after all!

Waze developed a carpool app that will be familiar to rideshare users…it lists the ETA,  names, star-ratings, and other standard information. Waze is now doing a nationwide rollout of the app and subsidizing new riders. Whether you are the driver or the passenger, see if this smartphone app will get you moving.

 

Waze has a Carpool App
Solving Carpool problem with a smartphone?

Dear Smartphone: Emergency + Smartphones

DEAR READERS: WE INTERRUPT OUR USUAL FORMAT TO BRING YOU THIS EMERGENCY MESSAGE!

Last week the Federal Government did an Emergency Test sending a push notification to the nation’s cell phones. The message was the butt of jokes, but at the core is a recognition of how our communication systems have changed.

If you can’t remember when the last major earthquake struck or a devastating hurricane made landfall keep in mind one thing. The majority of households have now disconnected their landline phone and depend exclusively on smartphones.

It’s time to prep your twenty-first century disaster kit.

First, there are several apps that you can install on your phone that will continue to work if the cellular system goes down. Two of the most frequently mentioned apps are FIRECHAT and ZELLO

Second, as you get prepare, think about storing an auxilary power source or two, like an extra smartphone battery and a solar charger. Redundancy can mean resilience  during a disaster, so it’s a good idea to do this for each family member’s phone.

 

 

Dear Smartphone: Should Voice Command?

DEAR MS. SMARTPHONE: WHAT IS YOUR OPINION ABOUT USING THE VOICE COMMANDS ON THE SMARTPHONE(LIKE SIRI)INSTEAD OF THE KEYBOARD? I HAVE A FRIEND WHO USES THE VOICE COMMANDS ALL THE TIME AND I FIND THIS UNUSUAL. Fran, Albany

Dear Fran: This is one of those questions that deserves an up or down vote from fellow readers. There are situations where hands-free helps:  for example,  if you are in the car alone or helping older people navigate a  rideshare app.

Siri talks back
photo: Jefferson Graham, USA Today, 2017

There are other times when voice-overs are annoying: say you are in a crowd of people and your friend  returns a text. Unless your friend is ‘all thumbs’  or vision impaired, Continue reading “Dear Smartphone: Should Voice Command?”