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A New Phone!

I’m proud to tell you that my father just got a new cell phone: a flip phone. Sigh.

He is perfectly aware of the smart phone technology — he has an iPad and knows how to use it. But he maintains that when it comes to a phone, all he wants is … a phone. He wants it to ring when someone calls him, and he wants to store a few numbers and know how to find them. That’s all. Really?


I have to respect that.

The flip phone is smaller and more compact than a smartphone. It does have a camera if he absolutely needs to take a picture. He doesn’t want to text or email when he’s driving, gardening, cooking, or playing golf. So a flip phone is perfect for him.

Why am I sharing this family story? As a reminder that it doesn’t matter what kind of mobile phone you have as long as you keep it charged and keep it with you. You must have a working phone with you to make use of it.

I don’t want to think about my dad — or any of you — in an emergency situation without a way to get help. Or even without a way to tell your spouse/family/friends that you are running late, at the store, in traffic, or changing your plans.

Keep whatever phone you have with you — and keep it charged. Just don’t try to text my dad.

On The Way Out — Part II

Last week I wrote about the imminent demise of the CD as medium for data storage. What else is likely to become obsolete?

Faxing! We just don’t need it anymore.

I’ve written about this before but it bears repeating; brush up on your scanning skills!

It is more efficient to scan a document and attach it to an email than it is to fax it. It is certainly more convenient to receive a document attached to an email wherever you are than it is to have to be at the machine to receive a fax.

And there is more…


  • increases the price of the “all-in-one” printer
  • requires a dedicated phone line (or coordination between one phone line and your voice mail)
  • demands you know/store a unique fax number or call the recipient to alert him/her it’s coming
  • uses paper (including a cover sheet)
  • leaves you with a hard copy that you may not have needed to print


  • requires scanning a document (single and multiple pages)
  • requires attaching the document to an email
  • requires downloading, saving, and opening an attachment.

If you are ready to purchase a new printer, you may consider buying one without the fax function. If you have a dedicated fax line, you may no longer need it.

The scanning/attaching option saves money and paper and is often more convenient.

And it might soon be your only option.

On The Way Out

If you store data or listen to music on CDs, be prepared … CDs are soon going the way of the record album, the 8-track, and the cassette. The next computer – or car – you buy may not have a CD player.

The CD is still a marvel: a simple-looking disc that is able to store an incredible amount of data. But it is vulnerable. It can break, scratch, or even melt. It is being replaced by more stable hardware … and even no hardware at all.


When was the last time you bought an album on a CD? If you haven’t already purchased music by downloading it from the internet, you soon will. You can purchase one song or the whole album. The music is available for all of your devices and it is stored in your internet-based account for downloading at a later date. Once you download music into your phone, you can listen to it through your car’s speakers.

New Software

We’ve all bought new software that comes in CD form and loaded it into our computers. Like music, software is now purchased and downloaded from the internet. Some software companies even charge you an additional fee if you want them to send you the discs.

Data Storage

If you have used CDs to back up your documents, pictures, and financial information, you might want to move that data to a USB storage device (an external storage device that plugs into your computer via USB plug) or consider an off-site internet-based back up service. If you just need to transfer a few pictures or documents, use a USB “thumb” drive.

CD use will phase out slowly but it will phase out. Best to be ready.

Stay tuned for next week’s ITmail about another familiar function that has already begun to disappear.

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