Facebook May Become An Old Age Home

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/73e/34894369/files/2014/12/img_1635.png Image: BIA Kelsey

I used to follow many more teenagers on Facebook. I started to notice, about a year ago, that fewer of them were posting on a regular basis, but I didn’t pay much attention to it.

Then, about two months ago an 18 year old friend confided that she had to get off Facebook because her mother and grandmother were stalking her. “Excuse me?” I didn’t quite understand. She said her family knew too much about her life and posted embarrassing remarks under her comments or photos. She wanted her independence so she decided that Facebook was not for her.

CNET, a tech site, just posted information by research firm Frank N. Magid Associates which claims more and more teens are abandoning Facebook. “The percentage of teens ages 13 to 17 who use Facebook in the United States fell to 88 percent this year from 94 percent in 2013.

Magid Associates said that teens are now using Instagram (owned by Facebook) and messaging apps like Snapchat. They feel those platforms are safer and trustworthy. Facebook’s has had a number privacy problems over the years. I think they were hacked a few times.

I’m willing to bet that teens are leaving Facebook for the reasons I stated above which has nothing to do with the Facebook’s infrastructure. The other social media platforms don’t really provide the stage that moms and grandmothers can view.

I have to admit that Facebook was much more exciting when more younger people participated. Everyday I got to witness trends in pop culture that I would be otherwise clueless about. It’s turning out that I just may have to get more active in other social media platforms if I want to stay informed.

The Newest Digital Bodyguard

I wish the world had products like this when we owned a second home in Montauk, and then Quogue. Instead I spent 25 summers walking around at night looking for bogeymen, or the gang of Hell’s Angels, who I thought would kill us. I grew up in an apartment building so living in a home was foreign to me.

Of course, if I owned the Withings Home product during that stretch of time, things might have been different. I really needed a security system that was more than the typical home alarm that many of us had in those days. The Withings Home unit is a smart HD camera that monitors indoor surroundings beyond anything you ever encountered before. For example, it has a 135-degree wide-angle zoom as well as night-vision capabilities.

A friend told me about the Withings Home unit, but then I Googled it. CNET, the tech site, had a great description. Read it here.

Its super-sensitive sensors detect motion and noise and recognizes the presence of people. It will even pick up a whisper sound and alert you. The same unit monitors temperature, humidity levels and air quality.

Retailing at $219.00, it will be available shortly. Let me know if you buy one and how well it works.

The Final Word on Saving Your Wet iPhone or Tablet


It’s amazing that more people don’t drop electronic devices into their bathtub, toilets, sinks, swimming pools, jacuzzis, and ocean. Americans take their mobile products with them everywhere. Oh, the stories I have heard.

I’m no one to talk. A few years ago I took my iPhone and iPod into that bathroom with me when I was going to hand wash some of my clothes. Stupidly, I placed both devices on the edge of the sink while my clothes were soaking.

I forgot that I brought my wireless products into the bathroom with me, and went on to do other chores in my apartment. A little later I had to make a phone call and went back to the bathroom to get my iPhone. It wasn’t there. I hunted the entire apartment for my devices. At that point, I was in a full blown panic attack

I decided to finish my hand wash and then I would hunt again. I can’t begin to describe the horror I felt when my hands went into the soapy water and touched my electronic devices. Somehow, they fell in. My whole life flashed in front of me. I literally drowned my contacts and files.

If I knew then what I know now, I wouldn’t have panicked as much. I strongly suggest to read this
CNET story that gives by blow by blow description what you should do if your mobile products ever get submerged in water.

First tip: turn all products off. No time to waste. The CNET story spells out the rest .


Lose Weight by Sucking the Food Out of You

Pump and Dump

Pump and Dump


I really felt that I was in the twilight zone when I learned that there was an apparatus for treating obesity by extracting food right out of your stomach. I knew that I had to delve further into this right away so that all my readers could be among the first to know about AspireAssist. The do-it-yourself stomach pump was developed by Dean Kamen, the same inventor who created the Segway.

I have included two videos that show you how the tube gets professionally put in your stomach and then how you can suck the food out yourself. Gross? Not really. It all makes sense. I can draw two conclusions right away. One, you will be thin for the rest of your life. Two, you may not live very long. I am not a medical person so I have no idea what I am talking about other than to say be sure to seek medical advice before you dare to think about doing this.

CNET, a tech news site, quoted Kamen who said the procedure is “minimally invasive.” The 20-minute procedure involves being fitted with a removable stomach valve and a tube that leads from the top of the stomach to the valve’s outside port. Users wait a half hour after eating before starting the elimination process. They go to the bathroom and attach the AspireAssist to the port. An estimated third of the meal is drained out through the apparatus into the toilet.

The body reportedly still absorbs the calories it needs to function. Early trials show that patients lost about 45 pounds the first year using AspireAssist. Those who aspirated on a regular basis and adhered to a healthier food plan lost much more.

Don’t rush out to buy this yet. The AspireAssist is available in Europe but it has not been approved for sale in the United States yet.

The Tech Bloggers Grow Up




One of the biggest scandals at International CES happened between CBS and the Dish Network. CBS owns CNET, one of the most popular tech news sites. The Dish Network makes the new Hopper DVR, the device that allows you to record up to six channels at once and automatically skip commercials in primetime TV on ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC.

At every International CES, CNET presents the Best of CES Awards to all of the most innovative companies for their genius inventions. This year, CNET recognized the Dish Hopper DVR as one of most important innovations.

At the last moment, CBS stepped in to prevent CNET from presenting the award to Dish. Apparently, CBS doesn’t like that the Hopper allows viewers to skip through commercials in programs that they record.

Gary Shapiro, president of the Consumer Electronics Association, which produces International CES, said CBS is practicing censorship due to their pending lawsuit against the Dish Network. He said he hopes CBS will reconsider.

CBS Corporation bought CNET Networks for $1.8 billion in 2008. Former CNET properties are now part of CBS Interactive.

The reason why I find this development so interesting is because years ago tech bloggers were the cowboys in the wild west. They made up the rules as they went along. Now, many of the writers for CNET (no longer considered a blog but rather a tech news site) have to live by the rules of the corporate world.

CNET produces some of the best news and information in the digital world. It is going to be interesting to see how their future develops now that they are reporting to the suits.

Presidential Debate Generated 10 Million Tweets

The difference between the senior generation and those in their 20s, 30s and even 40s, is that by the time the Presidential debate was over, the under 50-crowd knew exactly how well each candidate did. I didn’t, because I wasn’t on Twitter. I had to wait for the analysts and news reporters to tell me how the entire debate played out. I had my own ideas but i was clueless what others thought.

Not the Twitter crowd. They were tweeting away within their own Twitter circles making remarks about everything from the color of the candidate’s ties, to their haircuts, body posture, eyeball action, and of course, remarks. President Barack Obama and former Governor Mitt Romney generated 10 million tweets, which made it the most tweeted political event ever.  CNET, a tech blog, reported that the issues and the fact-checking as each candidate made his statement, got the most tweets.  The two biggies were Obamacare and Medicare. Many gave their disapproval of Jim Lehrer. Some tweets where cheering Jim on to close down the debates until the candidates stuck to the rules.

The wonderful thing about Twitter is that it got the younger crowd very involved in the Presidential race, something that was never a draw before. Twitter allowed them to micro blog, so they could actually report the news. They also gave their opinions as the comments were being made. A lot of educators believe that interaction on Twitter  engages and teaches more than sitting idly by in a classroom.

It comes as no surprise that the biggest Twitter star was Big Bird from “Sesame Street.” CNET reports that  there were more than a quarter of a million Tweets calling out the Bird after Governor Romney said that he would cut Federal Funding for PBS.

Mashable, another major online tech newsletter, reported that even teens got in on the act through their mobile devices. Some tweeted, but a lot were texting. Yesteryear, most young folks didn’t even know who was running for office. Now half of young adults, 18 to 24, said they have been involved in Presidential discussions. That is good news considering 16.8 million teens become eligible to vote in this election.

You Have To Learn To Stretch Yourself

Part Two Of My Interview With David Carnoy Just Weeks Before His Book, “The Big Exit,” Debuts Nationwide

I know David Carnoy as a tech editor at CNET. I also know that he writes mystery books, but I never quite figured out how he does both. When does he find the time? I finally got around to asking him and then I got the biggest shock of all. David told me he has four kids under the age of eight, two of them twins. His wife works full time as a major executive for one of the country’s largest banks. They have an active social life and split their time between Manhattan and a country home.

I was amazed! I have friends who have been trying to write non-fiction and/or fiction books for years. Their excuse for not completing them, is that they just don’t have the time. What they really mean is that they are too afraid to tackle the project, afraid of rejection, or just too lazy. I loved the words that David used when I asked him a few times how he manages. “You just have to learn to stretch yourself.” Wow, how powerful are those words? When I told David that I was overwhelmed by his answer, he didn’t seem to understand why I was so amazed.

“When you are born to write, you write,” he further articulated. “John Grisham said you have to be dedicated to write at least four hours a day. Michael Crichton wrote every day till noon and then quit.” David believes writers have to build up their stamina just like runners. You get to a point where you are writing five to seven hours a day. This is a good lesson to all of us who are quick to lay blame on not having enough time to write. “I get up at 4am every day and I write till my other responsibilities kick in. I try to get three pages written each day. I also write at night after the kids go to sleep. I have been known to lock myself in a closet to get work done. I have been doing this since high school. While ‘Knife Music’ and ‘The Big Exit’ are the two books that everyone knows me by, I have been writing novels for more than 25 years.”

I also asked David if he could see himself as a full time novelist. He was quick to answer that CNET is very important to him. “This is something I have been doing for a long time. The demands of the job keep me involved in the tech business and keep me disciplined. I also learn a lot each day and that is a very important foundation to everything else I do. My goal is not to become a full time writer but rather a bestselling author.”

One of the greatest challenges most self-published authors have is being self-disciplined. “I even have trouble. I sometimes think to myself that I should have written more by now. You can never be too disciplined. That is where the biggest struggle comes in. When you publish digitally and you don’t have someone looking over your shoulder reminding you of deadlines, then you really have to be extraordinary to make it work. Other than that, this is a time in our lives where everyone is in control of their own destiny. Let’s see who makes it.”

The Tech Industry Is Getting A Murder Mystery

David Carnoy

Scoop! You are reading about this long before anyone in the tech industry finds out that one of their own is about to debut a Silicon Valley murder mystery that almost sounds all too real. That’s what makes it so perfect. David Carnoy, Executive Editor at CBS Interactive (he oversees reviews of home entertainment products at CNET), is less than a month away from telling the rest of the world that his next crime novel takes place in Menlo Park, CA, headquarters of Facebook. While there is no connection to Facebook, “The Big Exit” does involve a start-up with many twists and turns that make you feel like you are a member of this innovative and creative industry.

Carnoy admits that he was drawn to the tech industry for his second thriller because of his day job. “I just couldn’t ignore it. I grew up in Menlo Park and I write about tech every day of the week. It was just a natural.” One of the reasons I wanted to write about Carnoy’s second novel, is because his journey to become a successful author is one that teaches all of us about the powers of the Internet.

Carnoy’s first novel, “Knife Music” (about the medical field), was a self published e-book generating about $500.00 a month when an agent spotted the sales activity. He pitched the digital book to The Overlook Press who was impressed that an unknown, first time author was creating such a buzz. The tech writer admitted that unbeknownst to Steve Jobs, Apple helped create the PR attention he needed to get the word out. In addition to selling it online through Amazon’s Booksurge, which is now Createspace, and in print, Carnoy tried to offer the book as an app. It got rejected by Apple because the mystery contained curse words. When the media heard about the rejection, a number of reporters wrote stories about Apple’s publishing criteria, which was hot news back in 2009. The book finally made it into the app store after Carnoy removed the profanity.

That helped spread the word. There is an important lesson to learn here. It doesn’t matter if you self-publish online or get picked up by a traditional publisher, you have to have a hook in order to sell books.

Currently, “Knife Music” has sold 50,000 e-book copies and 5,000 hard copies. Carnoy also believes that more and more agents are scouting online, self-published bookshelves, for the next best sellers. He encourages all to take those manuscripts out of the closets, brush them off and convert them to self-published books.

The next installment of my report on Carnoy talks about the discipline needed to be a first time online novelist.


I have to admit this in the first line of my post. I listen to audiobooks. I listen to them on my iPhone, iPad and iPod, whatever device is accessible at the time.  It has changed my life. I never would have experienced James Michener, Mark Twain, William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Walter Issacson, Stephen King and lately, Joyce Carol Oates, if I didn’t belong to Audible and other audio book clubs. You can poo poo me all you want. I can hear you now, “There is nothing like sitting down with a book and reading it yourself page after page.”  Let’s not get into a discussion about printed books versus eBooks at this time. We can save that for another discussion.  Yes, reading a book with your own interpretation and visual sense is a very satisfying and rewarding experience. I still read books and I also read several newspapers each day (okay maybe peruse). Also, six online blogs (Huffington Post, Mashable, AllThingsD, The Daily Beast, CNET, Tech Crunch) and countless news, entertainment and specialty magazines. There isn’t enough hours in the day to cover all this, do my job, shower, dress, make phone calls, see friends, exercise, watch TV or a movie, read and post on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

However, there is always time for an audiobook. I listen while I am on the treadmill (yes I know it doesn’t show), in the car, the subway, on a flight to wherever, waiting for my doctor, a business appointment that is always late, in the middle of the night when I can’t sleep, when I knit, on the beach, in the park and during long walks. It is just marvelous. It is a different kind of experience than reading the book yourself. Frankly, I think you capture more. You hear stuff your eyes can’t capture, especially from the authors who read their books themselves. I remember when I listened to Harry Markopolos reading “No One Would Listen, A True Financial Thriller.” That was his book about trying to get the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to take a meeting with him so he could expose Bernie Madoff. I almost fell off the treadmill when I listened to the part about his paranoia that Bernie was going to have him killed. He bought a gun, barricaded his home and was always on the lookout for thugs.  I was laughing a little too much. What was very serious to Harry was somehow humorous to me, since we all know that Harry was not even on Bernie’s radar screen most of the time. I don’t think you could have picked this up through the written word. Maybe, but it was pretty remarkable hearing Harry describe his emotions.

I also don’t feel I would have grabbed the highs and lows of what Joyce Carol Oates describes in her book “A Widow’s Story,” the immediate experiences of widowhood. I felt her 13 months of pain, anguish, terror and depression. Very few authors write like Oates. She describes peeling an onion like an exhilarating experience. You don’t want to miss a word. I tried reading her in the past, but didn’t have the patience to comprehend what she had to offer. I can do it now because I’ve learned to appreciate her every word. I was so involved in her story, that I got very upset when I found out that she had remarried  13 months later, but had left that out of the book. Her publisher defends her in a story in the New York Times, saying that her subsequent life had nothing to do with what she went through after the death of her husband, Raymond Smith. Hmmm!

I can go on and on about the virtues of listening to an audio book, but I have gone way beyond the limits of how long a blog post should be. Tomorrow I will tell you about the intricacies of belonging to an audio book club and other personal experiences I’ve had listening to James Michener and even,  I hate to admit, Steven Tyler.