Phones and Handsfree

This is an image of a road as seen through a smartphone being held in a hand. It is somewhat artistic.
Flip Car/Flip Phone? Soure: Pexels

Dear Ms. Smartphone: I had a near-miss when texting. I will no longer be driving this way! It turns out that the lease on my car is about to expire so what would be a better choice when I go car-shopping? Quentin, Sausalito

Dear Quentin: I don’t do vehicle research, but I can guide you through the issue. First, when you buy a car, make sure that you put the car first, and the infotainment system second. Then, have a look at this recent posting from the AAA Foundation. Researchers from the University of Utah compared CarPlay, Android Auto, and native infotainment systems. The Utah team have been railing for years about distracted driving and smartphones so their software tests are informed and useful. BTW, they say that texting and setting a navigation system are the most cognitively demanding tasks.

Phones on Holiday

Dear Ms. Smartphone: I am on holiday and can’t find where to buy postcards or stamps.  I promised my Mom I’d send her pretty pictures, but it would be so much easier to use photos in messaging.  C.C. Reading

Dear C.C.: You didn’t mention where you are headed, but it does seem like no one sells postcards or stamps anymore.  Make sure the phone does not interfere with your vacation. Beyond that, your family and friends might enjoy sharing your adventures in real time. Postcards are bland and predictable…travel reporting does not have to be! You can always bring back some small souvenirs to replace those postcards.

Simple Phones..Busy Life

Dear Ms. Smartphone: Do you think it’s a good idea to get a second phone, like a retro model that just does text and calls? I just heard about this and it intrigued me as a way to cut back my time online. TC, Tiburon

Dear TC: There was an extended story in the Wall St. Journal on minimalist phones. The idea is that you can be less distracted and more focused with a smaller gadget. Some time ago, I suggested provisional phones for pre-teens, a similar idea. Some of the new stripped down phones cost more than $300. – nothing basic there! However, you could opt for an old-fashioned clamshell model that costs under $50. Before you do this, take an inventory of the apps you ‘Must Have.’ For me, that’s GPS, plus Uber and Lyft. I could download music to a different device, and carry a pocket flashlight, but I leave modern society without GPS and Rideshare.