October 14

Technology that makes me mad

oldmanSometimes technology makes me so irritated! An update to our favorite app breaks it. Our favorite cloud-based service shuts down for no reason. And our new wonderful device catches fire in our pants.

Permit me to share some of my recent irritations in this first ever Grumpy Old Man post.

Waze Lets Me Down on Long Trips

Waze is definitely my very favorite transportation app. I’m always using it in San Diego to get to the airport, hotels from the airports, you get the picture. Earlier this month I spent a week driving through New England for three speaking engagements plus a family event. Each of the trip legs were between 1.5 and 4.5 hours and went through several towns. When I plugged the destinations into Waze, the routes were whacked and each trip was at least 30% longer than Google Maps.

Lesson Learned: Use Waze for local travel but stick with Google Maps for long hauls.

SpareOne Phones Are Too Hard to Set Up

I loved the idea of the SpareOne emergency phones, which run on two AA batteries and can be stored for many years. Some of my family members were in Baton Rouge during the recent flooding, and I spent several very worried days trying to track them down at shelters. So I decided to purchase the SpareOne phones for other family members so we can all stay in touch in case the worst happens.

The Amazon reviews warned about the frustrating setup procedure, but I figured *I* could do it. I am a nerd after all. But they were totally right. I just couldn’t figure out how to activate the phones, which are somehow connected to AT&T these days. The advertising made it seem like I could just pay $25 a year to keep them activated for emergencies, but the fine print implied that I had to pay a monthly fee. I don’t know. I fought with them for a couple of weeks and finally sent them back for a refund.

Lesson Learned: Emergencies are stressful times. We can use check in systems like Facebook and Red Cross to mark ourselves safe if our devices fail. Offline chat apps such as FireChat can also help keep you in touch during emergencies.

The Presidential Election Is Driving Me Insane

Perhaps the real reason behind my grumpiness is that the entire United States seems to be insane right now because of our crazy presidential election. Luckily I can use Social Fix to weed out the hate from my Facebook feed. You can also search for keyword blockers in the Chrome Web Store (search for “Hillary” or “Trump” or “Kardashian” to start).

Lesson Learned: I wish! If only we could learn a lesson from this year’s political mess.


on the go, organization, security, travel

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  • Would be good if there was a parameter on Waze to note that you’re car pooling.

    Have also experienced strange routing on longer trips.

  • Beth, you voiced my political frustration spot on. I agree. I just voted by mail ( much easier) & made the best choices I could. That is all any of us can do. Keep your chin up & carpe diem. Lorraine Wright in OKC, OK.

  • Google maps pulls in traffic data from Waze. It’s not nearly as detailed though. We recently went on a trip and would get alerts in Google nav from Waze users. I’m not sure if its an Android only deal, or not. I’m rocking the Galaxy S7 Edge, not one that explodes in my pocket. 🙂

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