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?”

Dear Smartphone: Teen Phone Costs Mom

DEAR MS. SMARTPHONE: MY EX IN-LAWS DECIDED TO GET MY 13 YEARS OLD DAUGHTER THE NEWEST PHONE FOR HER BIRTHDAY. MY IN-LAWS ARE WELL OFF AND DID NOT CONSULT ME. MY PROBLEM IS THE COST OF THE MONTHLY PLAN. I AM A DIVORCED MOM AND I STRUGGLE TO MAKE ENDS MEET. I DON’T WANT TO DISAPPOINT MY DAUGHTER OR MY IN-LAWS. Cindy, LaBrea

teen phone bill
Paying for a Teen’s Phonebill

Dear Cindy: It’s too late, but your in-laws should have consulted you since as a parent, you are the grown-up when it comes to both money and  screen time. But, back to the finances: you could  ask  your 13 year-old help out financially Continue reading “Dear Smartphone: Teen Phone Costs Mom”

Dear Smartphone: A European Holiday with or without iPhone?

DEAR MS. SMARTPHONE: I’M ABOUT TO EMBARK ON MY FIRST EUROPEAN VACATION AND I’M STRUGGLING WITH THE DECISION WHETHER OR NOT TO BRING MY iPHONE. WHILE I DO WANT TO ENJOY MY VACATION I’M NERVOUS ABOUT FOLKS NOT BEING ABLE TO REACH ME. WHAT SHOULD I DO? AZ, Sausalito

Dear AZ: I would not let a phone dictate the plans for my dream vacation! But, since it’s a long dull ride back and forth, you might want to get wifi service for the duration of the plane (or boat) trip. That way you won’t come back from your holiday and feel swamped with catch-up. I am sure that before you leave you will post an out-of-office message on all of your communications, and ask a colleague to serve as a back-up too.

smartphones and time-off
Should I bring smartphone on a special holiday vacation?

If you can’t pull yourself entirely away from work or home matters, then set a time each day to catch up on texts and email. Are you worried that  phone time might cut into holiday time? Here is an earlier posting about that!