Phony Phone Calls

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Some sort of bug is hitting cells phones. If this happens, you are better off knowing about it in advance, even though there is nothing you can do to correct the situation.

A friend of mine is going through it right now. He spelled out the details for us.

Two days ago, I got off a plane, disabled the airplane mode on my cell, and suddenly discovered I had 40 plus voice messages. I didn’t recognize any of the incoming calls. Not one of the numbers were in my contacts.

“After listening to a few of the voice mails, I realized the some of the messages were similar. ‘Hey you called me? What is this about? You called? I’m calling you back. Who is this? Why did you call me?’

“It seems, even though I was 35,000 feet in the air, (with my iPhone in airplane mode) my cell phone was being used to call random people.

“I called AT&T and was told that this was indeed becoming a big problem. They didn’t know if it was a prankster or just some weird virus. The only thing they could say was that they had nothing to do with it and there was no way of stopping it. My only options were to learn to live with it or change my phone number.

“It’s been two days, and my phone keeps ringing with angry or confused callers. I changed my outgoing message to explain the problem so now I get fewer voice messages. It’s very frustrating. I love my iPhone but I feel like I am being attacked.”

The reason why I devoted space to this situation is because my friend’s phone is still making random calls. I am helping him by asking folks if they ever heard of a mishap like this one? If so, please share what you know. My friend needs a cure, quick..

Chairless Chair

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IMG_0399.JPG Noonee Images

Lucky us. We just may be the group of seniors who will never need a cane or walker to help us get around. All we will have to do is snap our fingers and our legs will lock into a sitting position.

I know that sounds far-fetched, but a start-up in Zurich, called Noonee, has developed a device that is a wearable exoskeleton. Wikipedia defines an exoskeleton, as a “mobile machine consisting primarily of an outer framework (akin to an insect’s exoskeleton) worn by a person and powered by a system of motors or hydraulics that delivers at least part of the energy for limb movement.”

Noonee calls their device a “Chairless Chair” because it is a wearable exoskeleton that can support various positions, The device’s frame is constructed of aluminum and carbon fiber. It weighs approximately two pounds.

It is currently going into trials with various factory workers who stand on their feet for long hours. Noonee will give them the ability to press a button, and “puff,” they will be sitting in the Chairless Chair.

It’s not inconceivable that the Chairless Chair will be a reality a few years from now. Till then, take a lot of vitamin D.

Learn more about the Chairless Chair at Engadget, a tech site.

A Facebook Friend

IMG_0358.JPGStephen Sorokoff with his wife Eda, (far right).

Many people don’t realize it, but if you belong to Facebook, your online friends become your virtual family. You live their lives with them everyday. Most of the time you know more about your Facebook family than the ones you are related to.

Stephen Sorokoff is one of my Facebook friends. I know him better than he knows me. The only reason we are connected is because we have mutual friends, Chuck Steffan and Ron Abel ( pictured in the center of the above photo). I’m not even sure if Stephen is aware that we follow each other on Facebook.

It doesn’t matter. I enjoy all of Stephen’s postings because he lives life to the fullest. He is my ideal of how a senior can have it all: work, play, lots of time for family. Sorokoff prospered in the textile business and then reinvented himself as a writer and photographer for show biz magazines. If there is a concert, a cabaret act, a Broadway Show, or nightclub performance, you will see the Sorokoffs in attendance. He posts his comings and goings everyday so we can all enjoy his passionate and entertaining journeys.

I was very surprised today to learn that Stephen was taking a break from Facebook. His reasoning is understandable, but it’s a rather sad statement on the rest of the world.

This is what Stephen Sorokoff said on Facebook. “I think I will leave FB for a while. I just don’t have enthusiasm about posting enjoyable activities while at the same time following the evil that exists on our planet. The insanity and speciousness of our world is getting to me. It was David Pearl first, and now another journalist beheaded.

“There is a lack of understanding of Israel’s predicament to defend itself against these types of terrorists. I used to ask my now deceased father how the world did not understand and did not have the courage to stand up to Hitler. I cannot understand how the world is letting people who only want to eliminate us obtain the Atomic bomb.

“Women and children are being buried alive. Where are the indignant letters? the editorials? the marches? It just doesn’t seem right to be posting about nice times and I certainly don’t want to start debating FB friends about these issues. Check my friend Roy Niederhoffer’s page for that. He’s way more intelligent and better at this than I am. There are no grey areas or root causes for me. The show must go on and I’ll be back when I feel better.”

Any comments on what you just read?

Thank you

Table Manners

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Photo by zoonabar posted on flickr with Creative Commons license
I want to start an awareness campaign on the Internet that calls out pricey restaurants who rush patrons through so-called dining experiences. For the last two years, I have noticed that waiters have become exceedingly aggressive removing plates, napkins, and glasses before meals are completed, We feel totally frustrated by this situation.

Tonight, Eliot and I, once again had to suffer through another humiliating dinner. We went to the new Mexican Restaurant, Porfirio’s, in South Beach. The restaurant was supposed to be upscale and well-appointed. Instead of savoring the delicious delectables this eating establishment had been touted for, we got the bum’s rush.

We were were out of there in a little over a half an hour. There was only one other couple in the restaurant at the same time. The over-active waiters kept switching our plates, playing with the floral arrangements on the table, and sponging the table-top over and over. I kept thinking, “Take that dirty rag away from me.”

Another strange situation. Our waitress encouraged us to order appetizers, when all we wanted were entrees. She felt our main meals were not going to be enough. We agreed to share the guacamole. Just as were dipping our chips in the green stuff, more food appeared, Apparently, the restaurant offers a free starter to newcomers. Why didn’t she tell us this before? We had too much food.

Eliot and I are not shy. We could have blown a whistle and yelled “stop.” We were not in the mood for a confrontation. Now we regret it, so we posted a negative review on Porfirio’s website. Let’s see if we get some satisfaction.

Beep, Beep, Get Back In Your Lane !

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Image of Automobile Warning Signs By Eario

I couldn’t be happier today when I learned that we all may be required to have warning systems in our cars that prevents us from having collisions. I have no idea why this wasn’t instituted years ago. I guess the technology wasn’t ready.

VOXX, Audiovox of Hauppauge, Long Island, is one of the first to venture into the aftermarket with a lane departure/forward collision warning system for $549.

That may seen like a lot of money but I think it’s a bargain to keep us alive. Personally, I think drivers on the road are getting worse and worse. We all know the perils of texting while driving, but what about those young folks who speed up and cut you off when they want to change lanes?

The I-95 in south Florida is a complete danger zone. In my opinion, women in their 20s and 30s, are the most offending culprits. They think they are race car drivers swerving in and out of lanes, I am not exactly sure why, but they speed up and switch into your lane just as they get to your front fender. It’s enough to give me a heart attack.

I always fantasize about conducting a citizen arrest. I told Eliot I want to buy the right type of video camera to capture their road behavior and then zero in on the license plate. Every time I get a chance to check out who is driving one of these maniac cars, it turns out to be a young girl smoking a cigarette while she is yaking on the phone,

Many automobiles today have all kinds of warning devices already built-in. For those who don’t, the VOXX system “beeps to let you know if you are leaving your lane (without using your turn signal) so it can alert a drowsy driver or a teen who is not paying attention. It also beeps to let you know if you are closing in on the car ahead too rapidly.”

Coincidentally, a research report was released today by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimating that “the technology could eventually prevent 592,000 left-turn and intersection crashes a year, saving 1,083 lives. The agency said it will begin drafting rules to require the technology in new vehicles.”

The kind of technology the agency is talking about uses a radio signal to “continually transmit a vehicle’s position, heading, speed and other information. Similarly equipped cars and trucks would receive the same information, and their computers would alert drivers to an impending collision.”

The part I love the most about this technology is that “a car would see when another car or truck, equipped with the same technology, was about to run a red light, even if that vehicle were hidden around a corner. A car would also know when a car several vehicles ahead in a line of traffic had made a sudden stop and alert the driver even before the brake lights of the vehicle directly in front illuminate. The technology works up to about 300 yards.”

Click here to learn more about the VOXX system.

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge


There’s a new trend on social media that has become a big fundraiser for ALS, the debilitating neuro-degenerative disease. You probably know it as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

It’s very exciting to watch friends, family, and well known personalities take the “Ice Bucket Challenge.”

You can’t scroll Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram without seeing someone getting doused with ice water and then nominating others to do the same. Those who refuse to take the challenge are asked to make a donation to the ALS charity of their choice.

Pete Frates, 29, Beverly, Mass., along with his family, helped to make the “Ice Bucket Challenge” go viral. Frates has lived with ALS since 2012. He is working with The ALS Association’s Massachusetts Chapter. Frates was a Division 1 college athlete with Boston College Baseball.

Using the hash tag #IceBucketChallenge, the challenge has attracted thousands of followers. The ALS Association announced “it has hit $10 million in donations. Specifically, as of Saturday, August 16, 2014, The ALS Association has received $11.4 million in donations compared to $1.7 million during the same time period last year (July 29 to August 16). These donations have come from existing donors and 220,255 new donors to The Association.”

Be sure to watch the videos. You will be surprised who you will see.

A Stool For Your Stool

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This is not a digital product but I thought you would be interested in it. The stool you see my feet on is positioned to help me get the best results when trying to eliminate waste.

Steve Greenberg, the Innovation Insider, gave me this as a gift. When he first showed it to me today, I thought it was a stool to help me shave my legs in the shower.

After 10 incorrect guesses, he told me it was a stool that will help me make a better #2. I thought he was goofing, but apparently not.

The makers of easyGOpro claim “human bodies are anatomically designed to eliminate in the squat position, a 35 degree angle. Ailments such as constipation and hemorrhoids are the result of incorrect toilet posture. If you elevate your feet to achieve the natural squat position, it will be much easier to eliminate.”

I have only tried it once and it worked splendidly. I don’t trust beginners luck, so I will keep testing it. I will report my success rate in a few days.

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Tom Hanks Debuts iPad Typewriter App

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Years ago, when our PR agency worked for Casio, we sent out a bunch of new digital watches to well known personalities, hoping to grab a photo op of one of them wearing the timepieces. Tom Hanks was one of the recipients. Several weeks after the watches were sent out, I received a personal thank you note from the super star.

Two things surprised me at the time. One was that the actor actually took the time to compose the note. The second, was that Tom Hanks had his own personalized stationery engraved with “THanks.” Get it? Tom Hanks used the T of his first name combined with his last name to spell out “thanks.”

I thought it was so clever that I stared at that note for years. It wasn’t until this morning that I realized there was something else that was very special about the document. It was written on a manual typewriter. I never thought much about it until I learned today that Mr. Hanks collects manuel typewriters. To celebrate his passion, he recently introduced an iPad app that functions as a typewriter.

Hanks wants to give iPad writers the feeling and sound of using a manual typewriter. He worked with hitscents.com to create the Hanx Writer app. Hanks claims the app “provides the ease and speed of an iPad with the sound and pace of a manual typewriter.”

Hanks is providing a free typewriter app for all, the Hanx Prime Select. USA Today did a comprehensive description of the upgrades.

Wearable Electronics Can Save Your Life

I often hear negative comments from friends about the proliferation of mobile devices in our society today. People our age like to complain that wearable or mobile technology is the reason why there is a lack of social graces today among the younger set.

We have to understand that wearable technology is going to save more and.more of our lives. These little gizmos provide real time information that was never truly monitored before. One of the greatest achievements is that the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF) has teamed up with Intel to collect real-time information on movement, tremors and sleep 24 hours a day.

Instead of frequent visits to the doctor’s office, the wearable monitors provide minute-to-minute data so medications can be better administered. The MJFF claims that, in many cases, Parkinson’s can be controlled if doctors could accurately determine what meds are needed when.

To get a personal account of what I am talking about, watch the above video.
Engadget, a tech site, ran a more in-depth story on this.

Apple Picking

The fashion industry is about to have a major impact on the tech industry. As pointed out by Complex.com, the lifestyle and entertainment site, Apple has hired a number of high level executives in recent years to get the company ready for the next phase in their product lineup.

No one is sure what Apple’s next big move, is but check out the talent below for a clue.

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Image Business of Finance

Paul Deneve
Former CEO of Yves Saint Laurent
Now works on special projects with Tim Cook, Apple CEO.
Hired July, 2013

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Image Deep Apple

Enrique Atienza
Former CEO, Levi’s
Now Apple Director of Sales, West Coast
Hired April, 2013

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Image HighSnobiety

Ben Shaffer
Former Innovation Kitchen Studio Designer at Nike
Now Apple Product Designer of Wearable Technology
Hired September, 2013

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Image Business of Fashion

Angela Ahrendts
Former CEO Burberry
Now Apple Senior VP of Retail and Online
Hired October, 2013

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Image 2 Ocean Vibe

Patrick Pruniaux
Former VP of Sales at Tag Heuer
Now Involvement with Apple iWatch
Hired: July, 2014

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Image Titter

Musa Tariq
Former Director of Social Media at Nike
Now Apple Digital Marketing Director, Retail Chain.