Phone Home

I used to love coming home just to ask, “Did anyone call?” That was before cell phones. Now you know the answer because all of your calls go directly to your individual cell phones.

Even though everyone we know has a cell phone, the landline is still very much alive and well. The Wall Street Journal just reported that 44% of all households still own traditional at-home phones. This is a high number considering most people complain that they get way too many solicitations on their phones at home. They find it annoying to keep answering calls from commercial enterprises or people running for political office.

We still have a landline, with many extensions, because we just can’t depend on cell service. We get a lot of interruptions, or the calls just drop. That doesn’t work well when we are on business calls, or we need to have serious conversations.

It’s amazing to learn how many areas around the United States don’t have decent cell service. The Hamptons and Silicon Valley are notorious for poor service. We also can’t forget about emergencies like hurricanes, snowstorms, mudslides, earthquakes, floods, and fires. It’s always good to have a backup.

The Wall Street Journal has more to say about this subject. Click here.

Smile, You’re On Surveillance Camera

The last two DigiDame posts were about how technology is being used to monitor our every move. Today, I got a real scare when the New York Times sent me an alert about how “China is using facial recognition and artificial intelligence to identify and track 1.4 billion people.”

Just look at the photo from the Times. It shows exactly how the Chinese authorities are keeping records of all of their citizens. It’s very unnerving to know that 1.4 billion people have cameras watching them all the time. I worry that the rest of the world may also be going in this direction.

We are living in times when we just don’t know what’s going to happen next. I often question if technology is giving power to the wrong people. One of my new clients will be introducing smart glasses that will be able to track your emotions and intentions. The purpose is to help people understand what the other person is thinking. I don’t know how well the glasses will work, but I do know that technology is going to change our lives in ways we never imagined.

Check out the New York Times story.

A Device That Could Make You Hot Or Cold

Everyone who knows me, knows I’m always cold. I’m the only woman in the universe who went through menopause with a wool sweater on. I never had night sweats or perspired through my work or party clothes. Some days I wanted to. I was always chilled.

I’ve been cold my whole life. My mother thought there was something wrong with my circulation. The doctors told her I was fine. When Eliot and I moved in together, he promised to keep our New York City apartment steamy hot. He did, but I still had complaints. If he walked past me while I was watching TV, I felt a draft. The apartment temperature was 90 plus degrees.

Even though I now live in Miami Beach, where every day is broiling, I still have to deal with freezing supermarkets, restaurants and movie theaters. I continue to carry a sweater on my arm and socks in my purse, if I need them.

I recently heard of Embr Wave, a wearable personal thermostat that helps you feel more comfortable indoors. I found a story about it in Business Insider.

You wear it on your wrist and it takes three minutes to make you feel five degrees warmer or cooler.

Embr Wave is all about skin temperature. When you are cold, your body temperature doesn’t really change. Your skin temperature does. The company claims that if you put something warm against your skin, Embr Wave heats you up.

It makes sense to me. It’s similar to when you wipe your hands on a hot towel. It warms your whole body.

The idea for Embr Wave was created at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2013. A recent Kickstarter campaign raised $630,000. The company’s goal was $100,000. Intel and Bose also became major investors so this product must be good. It better be. It is priced at $300. That may seem like a lot to you. To me, there is no price I wouldn’t pay for comfort.

Meet The Press, Our Style

If you were anywhere near this crazy foursome last night in North Beach, Miami, you would have heard a loud and lively conversation about how our smart TV’s are now screening everything we watch, and then sharing that information with our other Internet devices. We are now being monitored from our TV sets, cell phones, iPads, virtual assistants and other smart appliances.

The reason? To help advertisers identify exactly who we are and precisely what we would like to buy.

Meredith Stark (L), a former CBS TV executive, was the first to mention a story she read in the New York Times yesterday morning that talked about how a company, called Samba TV, was tracking 13.5 million TVs. Samba funding was provided by Time Warner, Liberty Global and Mark Cuban.

Regulators and privacy groups are outraged about how we are being targeted, manipulated and judged by the shows we watch. Meanwhile, this practice marches on. I must say some folks like being targeted because they get what they want faster. Others are scared that their every move is being captured.

Which one are you? We all had mixed opinions even though we all agreed that we are being controlled more and more. That could lead to some very strange times ahead.

Read the story in the New York Times.

Former Home Owners Could Be Spying On You

Don’t ever trust anyone who sells you a home with smart appliances. This holds true for renting Airbnb’s, vacation homes, or even a friend’s house. There are no guarantees that the people who initially set up smart home appliances aren’t watching you.

Watch the NBC news report in the YouTube video posted above. It explains that you should always erase all former settings in order to safeguard yourself from peeping toms. User names and passwords should always be changed. If you continue using the names and passwords, then you are taking chances.

I’m not being cynical. I’m being practical. Too many people who sell homes, or even landlords who rent, like to check up on their current and former properties. Don’t let anyone intrude on your life. They are breaking the law.

Good luck!

Seven Minutes In Heaven

If you can spare $250,000, you may be one of the first to take a ride in space.

Blue Origin, SpaceX and Virgin Galactic are the first space flight companies that want to take you for a ride. All three have famous owners with sizable egos so you are going to be wooed.

Think twice before you let Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk or Richard Branson convince you. The ride may last 15 minutes but your body is going to take a bit of a beating. You are going to experience, a roller coaster feeling during take off, weightlessness during the ride, and then a drop landing with a parachute.

There is no bathroom on board so do your business beforehand. I guess I’m going to have to read about it because I have no interest in going. Feeling seasick is a big issue for me, so I will just be a spectator. Click below to read a story which will give you a good understanding of what to expect.

How to Get Great Fireworks Photos with Your Phone

Photos by Eliot Hess

How To Get Great Fireworks Photos With Your Phone

The following story appeared on the tech site Techlicious.

The co-owner, Suzanne Kantra, did a remarkable job detailing how to get the best fireworks pictures ever. Enjoy

Suzanne Kantra July 03, 2018

Click here.

Eliot Hess Photography

The Monet Gardens


“Every time I see a special flower that is all in bloom, or a garden all dressed up, I think of Claude Monet. I wish I could share the view with him. I wonder what he would have said.

“That’s why it was so thrilling to recently visit his house and gardens in Giverny, France. I got to see first hand what inspired him to become the founder of French Impressionist paintings.

“It was such a privilege to photograph his outdoor treasures and understand his love of nature.”

Isn’t This Adorable?

There is something about this houseboat that is calling my name. I just love the look of it. It’s available in two different styles. It would be so nice to have a houseboat that’s not too big to manipulate, yet comfortable enough for sleepovers.

I live right next to a marina. I see boats all the time. I’m not really interested in fast or fancy ones. I would just like a comfortable houseboat to float around in and spend some time on the water, especially overnight. It could be a great inexpensive second home.

The Le Koroc three-float pontoon houseboat is priced around $61,000 and is from a Quebec design firm called Daigno. It’s considered a tiny houseboat.

At 5,640 pounds, the Le Koroc is light enough to tow with a medium-sized pickup truck or SUV. It’s also said to be easy to move on land. It measures 26-foot long by 8-foot 6-inch wide.

Read more about the details of this tiny houseboat in Digital Trends. Click here.

Let me know if you are thinking of buying one.

Be sure to watch the above video for a complete demonstration.

Smartphone Secrets

Before I get into today’s topic, I urge you to read yesterday’s DigiDame. I wrote it so early yesterday that I forgot to post it in time for the email blast. I don’t want you to miss the New York Times story I was referring to. It is a good read. Check it out here.

I do some work with I saw this slide show and felt you should see it too. You may not realize the pitfalls of using a smartphone so much. Proceed with caution.