Saturday, February 27, 2016

Family Tech: Social media may be ready to shape the political field

Do you know Pewdiepie? How about Michelle Pham?

Your sons and daughters probably do. 

Pewdiepie made $7 million in ad revenue from his Youtube videos that show him playing video games.

Michelle Pham shows how to apply makeup, and makes more than $3 million a year.

There are hosts of musicians making a living on Youtube without the need for a record label. Some comedians are doing OK without ever having been on The Tonight Show.

Millennials are not watching TV; They stream videos.

The age range that watches the least TV is 12- t17- year-olds;18- to 24-year-olds watch a bit more; and 25- to 34-year-olds watch a bit more.

The largest group of viewers is getting older.

My adult son gets excellent civics and political lessons from a cheaply made animated Youtube series called “Extra Credit,” covering video games, history, civics and reforming education. His views are shaped by that. I don’t think he’s ever watched “Meet the Press.”

The young are comfortable finding their celebrities online instead of on TV. Why not their political representatives?

Read the rest at www.FamilyTechOnline.com


Saturday, February 20, 2016

Family Tech: Create a Facebook page to reach groups, teams you are involved in - February 19, 2016

Do you have a church group, child’s athletic team, maybe a home-based business and you want to reach members, parents and customers?

It used to be I’d suggest creating a website to coordinate all the information you want to put out. While that’s still a good idea, it is always best to go where the people already are.

And today, that means Facebook, which has more than a billion and a half users. You most likely are one. Most likely a parent of every child on the team is on Facebook. 

I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook, as do many. I love how it lets me stay in contact with friends from different eras of my life and different parts of the globe that I otherwise would have lost track.

And I hate its seemingly “big brotherness.” It is never quite clear what others are seeing about me. They see the likes I make, but who sees what and why is not always clear.

And I do not see every post my friends make, as they do not see all of mine. Facebook’s algorithm for the feed is both a secret and Byzantine.

Besides your standard Facebook feed, you can also create your own Facebook page. A page can be for a business, group, team, hobby or whatever. My vet has one that lists their hours, a map to their location and interesting posts that keep their name in mind.

Read the rest at www.FamilyTechOnline.com


Saturday, February 13, 2016

Family Tech: Free online services often mean there’s no problem-solver to talk to - February 12, 2016

One of the reasons many online services are free is they are automated to the hilt.

Removing people from the process saves vast amounts of money. Microsoft charges for Office and has an army of support reps to help out on the phone. Google offers Google Docs for free, but it has no one for you to call if you cannot format your document.

What happens if you have to speak to a person? 

A friend once contacted me and said her child had been bullied at school into behaving in an embarrassing way and the bully had posted the video to Youtube. To the casual viewer, it looked like kids being goofy. It was not apparent the kid in the video had been coerced into his actions. To the child’s parent and the child when asked, it was a humiliating recording. 

Youtube has a report button, but who knew how long it would take for a person to review the flag? And you flag the video from a list of choices, such as violent, sexual content, repulsive, etc. There was no space for explaining the reality behind the video.

If you search Google, you will not find a phone number easily. There is no customer service department I could find.

Finally, I came across some legalese about Google services and buried deep in a 30-plus page document, I found a phone number for the legal department.

Read the rest at www.FamilyTechOnline.com

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Family Tech: With this crazy winter weather, think about getting a snowblower – I did - February 5, 2016

Two weeks ago we had 24 or more inches of snow dumped on us as the Blizzard of 2016 blasted through our area. And just the past weekend, temperatures soared into the 60s.

We have wacky weather.

But let’s focus on those 24 inches of snow. We may not have another snowstorm again this year. However, with climate change, past winters are no longer reliable indicators for how often we will get major storms. We will have it again, and maybe even more next time.

This column tends to focus on the high-tech and new technology for the family. Unfortunately, there is little high-tech snow-removal technology.

You’d think with MIT being near Boston, those guys would come out with some sort of magic-beam gun to send the snow far away – but alas.

We finally bit the snow bullet in our home and went with the tried-and-true technology for removing snow, a snow blower.

I’d love to say we researched them carefully and negotiated with multiple vendors before choosing the one we wanted. Nope. We went out Wednesday night before the storm and bought the only model we could find at the nearest Home Depot that had them in stock--up in Falls Church. As we left Home Depot it took us more than three hours to get home since the falling snow caused havoc on the untreated streets and highways. That was the storm before the blizzard.

Read the rest at FamilyTechOnline.com