Two Disasters Interrupted 


1-I’m not sure that many of my senior friends who use iPhones understand that they have to upgrade their iOS software immediately, otherwise they potentially run the risk of being a victim of security breaches.

Apple recently discovered several security mishaps that could make them vulnerable for undesirables to read their text messages, emails, contacts, and track calls. 

Read all about it in the New York Times or Huffington Post.  

2-Thank goodness for Amber Alerts. Today, I was sitting in a local coffee shop when all of a sudden the alarms went off on everyone’s smartphone. It was really weird hearing all of the sounds go off at the same time and listening to people’s reactions. Most of the customers were elderly and loudly remarking about the constant sound of the alarms.

It was upsetting  for me to hear the confusion and questions about what was going on. The alerts were being issued for a 3-year old Pennsylvania girl. The good news is that because of the miracle of the Amber Alerts, the girl was found safe just about two hours later.

Read about it in a WPIX report

The Celebration Begins

Eliot turns 70 on Tuesday. No major celebrations, just a few get togethers.Tonight turned out to be a big bonus because our friend Giselle Wolf Ungar was celebrating her birthday so a group of us went to Feinstein’s 54 Below to hear Michael Feinstein and Marilyn Maye perform. It was outstanding. We had such a great time. David Hyde Pierce sat right next to us. He will be playing with Bette Midler in Hello Dolly on Broadway next year.

Then  we went to Chuck Steffan and Ron Abel’s inside-outside condo (they have a huge terrace where more friends gathered to wish both Giselle and Eliot happy birthdays. 

Whitney joined in on the festivities.

Giselle with good friend Sal Carino

Ron and Chuck


For The Birds 

Ever since we put our NYC co-op up for sale, a flock of birds have been landing on our window sills for a few minutes of rest. In all of the 40 years we have lived here, maybe this has happened once or twice a year. 

Now, it happens several times a day. The birds brush up against the window so it sounds like they are knocking to get in. The trouble is that the windows got so dirty from the rain, that I can’t see them as vividly as I would like. 

Sometimes we get two or three birds at once. Eliot and I just stop what we are doing and watch them until they fly away. Some birds hang out for a while. I started to tape them so I can see a replay when I don’t live here anymore.

The new buyers of our co-op unit were just interviewed by the board of directors, a procedure done before the final purchase. We are getting closer to when we hand over the keys. I’ve taken digital pictures and videos of everything when this apartment was filled with furniture, and then without. It’s nice to know that my memories are in my camera roll.

The Flying Ass

Image: Getty

If you are offended by my headline, take a look at the photo above. Better yet, watch Gayle King, of CBS This Morning, on the above video talking about the shape of the world’s largest aircraft. 

It’s part airship, part helicopter and part plane. The 300-foot Airlander 10, manufactured by the British aerospace company Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV), is reported to be 62 feet longer than an Airbus A380.

I heard about the flying machine during a phone call with a blogger from London who was asking me about a virtual reality product. He told me that he felt like he was in fantasy land for the last few days because all of his reporting was about science-fiction type inventions. 

When I asked him what he was talking about, he mentioned, “The Flying Ass.” I quickly Googled it and couldn’t believe there wasn’t  more coverage on this. 

The aircraft’s recent maiden flight in Bedfordshire, England, was only for 20 minutes. However, newspaper reports that the Airlander can stay airborne for up to five days at a time. It can carry up to 10 tons of cargo at a maximum speed of 91 miles per hour.

It has a strange shape, according to several periodicals, because it is filled with air helium in the carbon fiber hull. That is supposed to “eliminate combustible hydrogen that caused the Hindenburg to turn into a ball of fire in 1937.”

My British blogger friend said that governments all over the world will be using the Airlander for commercial purposes. I couldn’t find a definite confirmation. 

You read it here first. You may be seeing a flying ass above you in the not-too-distant future. 

Conde Nast Traveler was one of a few publications to report on the Airlander. Check it out here.

A Sneak Look At iPhone 7 Features 

I have been so in love with my iPhone 6 Plus, that I just don’t know how I will ever upgrade to the iPhone  7. I want to share seven anticipated features. I wonder if you think these features are miraculous. 

If you don’t understand some of the language below, click on the New York Post link. Everything will be explained.
1. Never run out of storage.
2. Share your current location with friends more easily.

3. You can remove stock iOS apps.

4. Easily unsubscribe from mailing lists

5. Live filters for live photos.

6. iOS 10 supports inline video playback for the iPhone.

7.Read Receipts can now be toggled on a user-by-user basis.

Click here to read about the features in The New York Post. 

Words To Live By 

For some reason, the older we get, the more these words make sense.

“Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes but, when we look back everything is different.” —C.S. Lewis

“What terrifies religious extremists like the Taliban are not American tanks or bombs or bullets, it’s a girl with a book.” —Malala Yousafzai

 “Of all sad words of mouth or pen, the saddest are these: it might have been.”—John Greenleaf Whittier

“We’re all going to die, all of us, what a circus! That alone should make us love each other but it doesn’t. We are terrorized and flattened by trivialities, we are eaten up by nothing.”—
Charles Bukowski

“I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”—Albert Einstein

“Some people die at 25 and aren’t buried until 75.” —Benjamin Franklin

“A ship in port is safe, but that’s not what ships are built for.” —Admiral Grace Hopper

“Two possibilities exist: either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying.” —Arthur C. Clarke

“If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn’t sit for a month.”—Theodore Roosevelt

“You wouldn’t worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.” —Eleanor Roosevelt

“Yesterday I was clever and tried to change the world. Today I am wise and try to change myself.” —Rumi

“Another belief of mine: that everyone else my age is an adult, whereas I am merely in disguise.” —Margaret Atwood

“Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t.” —Bill Nye

“The first problem for all of us, men and women, is not to learn, but to unlearn.” —
Gloria Steinem

“The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents.” —H.P. Lovecraft

Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal.” —Martin Luther King, Jr.

 “I would venture to guess that Anon, who wrote so many poems without signing them, was often a woman.” —Virginia Woolf

“Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood.” —Marie Curie

“Give a man a mask, and he will show you his true face.” —Oscar Wilde

Height Fright  

I got a bit of vertigo when I saw this in Architectural Digest today. These are photos of China’s new glass walkway which is suspended 4,600 feet in the air.

Photo: VCG/Getty Images

Photo: VCG/Getty Images

Watch this video at your own risk

For a million dollars, I could not walk this new tourist attraction which is hanging off the side of a mountain. It’s about 328-feet-long, about the same size of a football field.

The suspended path is named Coiling Dragon Cliff and its at the top of Tianmen Mountain in Zhangjiajie National Forest Park.

I would like to meet the people who are willing to walk the platform which is 5.24 feet wide and has 99 spiral turns. I feel faint just writing about it. This is quite an innovation.

Pittsburgh’s Test Drive 

Image: Uber

Pittsburgh is making history this month. I wish I was there to witness it. Uber is putting self-driving Volvo SUVs on the road. 

I don’t think I have enough nerve to ride in a self-driving car so I am glad to hear that drivers will be on board to make sure there are no mishaps. 

Why Pittsburgh? 

Word has it that Travis Kalanick, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Uber, partnered with Carnegie Mellon University’s robotics department to research and build the best autonomous automobiles ever. 

I wonder how many riders really want to travel in a self-driving car? I bet more than we think. This is just not going to happen by chance. Uber will allow customers to decide if they want a self-driving car from their app. 

This is going to be very interesting. Good luck and safe travels.

Life Follows Social Media 

My cousin Irene and me.

Thank you cousin Irene Becker for a good laugh.

Many people of my generation do not, and cannot, comprehend why Facebook exists and why so many people participate and love it. I will try to demonstrate why Facebook is so popular by making friends outside of the social media platform using the same principles.  

Therefore, every day I walk down the street and tell a passersby what I have eaten, how I feel at the moment, what I have done the night before, what I will do later and with whom. I give them pictures of my family, my dog, and of me gardening, taking things apart in the garage, watering the lawn, standing in front of landmarks, driving around town, having lunch, and doing what anybody and everybody does every day. I also listen to their conversations, give them the “thumbs up” and tell them I like them.

And it works just like Facebook.

I already have four people following me: two police officers, a private investigator and a psychiatrist.

Irene and Allan Becker


We’re Back

Say hello to Lying On the Beach, the “beachy” podcast by Steve Greenberg and yours truly, discussing all things tech and non-tech in an ever-changing and ever-annoying world we live in. For those of you who remember, Steve and I started this podcast series 14 years ago and then gave it up. We can’t remember why.

It doesn’t matter. We’re back with tons of energy and topics. Our URL is and that’s where you can find our podcasts. We are also on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. We plan a weekly podcast, maybe more. We thank Jason Henriques for his artistic and technical direction.

 Our first episode is about Bad Behavior. More and more people all over the world are being rewarded with fame and fortune for their rude, arrogant, and inappropriate behavior. When did the rules change and how does this impact our future? Steve and Lois discuss the changes they have seen. 

We thank you for subscribing to Lying on the Beach and “liking” our  social media pages.  We hope you enjoy our gab sessions.