Too Dangerous…

My niece just got a cell phone.  She is 10 years old.  I have no children, so I am not qualified to comment on whether this is a good idea or not.  When she was a “wee one” of about 3, I would call my brother and he would ask her if she wanted to talk to “Aunt Kelly” she would say, “Too Dangerous.” We thought that was funny.  We thought that she had a sense of humor. Even my brother and sister-in-law thought it was funny.

Well little did I know that because she lived so far away, she didn’t remember me, so I was a STRANGER in her world.  So the whole “STRANGER DANGER” thing took on a whole new meaning. We see them and talk to them often, so I am no longer a stranger to her and we spend summer vacation time together.

For the past few years, she would confiscate her mom or dad’s cell phone and shoot me off a photo or a text message and I would be thinking, “What are they talking about?”  Then I would find out it was my niece and not them.  She is quite versed in using a cell phone – she can text better than they can!

Last Saturday, I got a text message from an unknown number, but from the area code that my brother lives in.  My first text, “Hi Auntie Kelly.”  It is my niece (obviously) she has gotten her first cell phone. Within the next 2 days I must have gotten 10 text messages from her.  Then I thought “Whoops I hope my brother’s package includes unlimited texting.”  (Here’s something that will freak you out – an $18,000/month cell phone bill!)

When you get a cell phone for your kids, it is meant to be a “tool” so you can stay connected, for them it is often considered a “toy.”  Last week,  I posted on our Sephone Blog this article about Facebook Places in relation to “Privacy Settings” .  Then when I started this post, I found this one from (which is really a great site for all kinds of things.) In particular, this is about your kids telling too much information or their friends telling too much information on where they are, whom they are with, and at what time.  That may be helpful to you as a parent, but it is also helpful to bullies or predators.  Unfortunately, that is the world we are living in.

Our cell phone people (Central Maine Wireless) are the best.  They actually take the time and really help us make the phones work for what we need them for and everybody is different.  So take the time and make sure you don’t get some whopping bill because your kids usage of the phone may not be the same as yours or maybe things you cannot even imagine are happening BECAUSE of that cell phone. Here is a link that Paul shared with me about features you can apply to the phones you can buy for your kids.

Here is an old post (but a great one) to review when you buy that cell phone or even to use as a learning tool for those that have one all ready.  And have a safe and happy Fall 2010!

Your cell phone is a link to safety AND convenience

We all know people that have cell phones and they only have them “in case of emergency.”  Usually, this emergency they are talking about involves them.  They run out of gas, they break down on the side of the road, they use the phone to get help.  I know for me it can be frustrating because if YOU need their help, they don’t have their phones on, so from my point of view they may as well not have one!  But that is a another topic for another day…

But when I woke up to WABI, TV5 and Todd Simcox, he was telling us that we need to “keep an eye to the sky” for thunderstorms breaking out and the potential for some of them being severe.  That made me think about how we get our information and how my cell phone is KEY in me getting it.  So is your cell phone working for you to keep you safe?Blackberry_Curve_8330

You may take your kids to Little League or soccer practice, maybe you are at the beach or the golf course, the one thing that remains constant – your cell phone is with you, right?  Well start thinking about your phone as more than a phone.  You can sign up for weather alerts to go to your phone, keeping you in the loop with the latest warnings.  Now I am a bit crazy with my phone, (right Central Maine Wireless?) I have a mobile facebook application, I have Uber Twitter for my phone, BUT I have an app from the Weather Channel where I can always check on radar and I can use the internet to see the mobile site for WABI TV5 to stay connected to anything that is happening or going to happen.  (Make sure to check with your cell phone provider for options and if there are any additional charges for text or data services.)

This is a simple way to make sure you know when it is time to take cover, check to see if where you are going is in the warning area.  Don’t be overwhelmed, just try one tool at a time until you find one that works to help you accomplish what you need to accomplish.  I started using weather alerts because I am on the road often and I would like to know (especially in winter) what the weather is where I am going, in Maine we often have several weather changes along the way and this can be problematic when it is snowing where you start, raining at the end and freezing rain in between!  Your reasons may be different, but still these things are helpful and real time savers.

*Photo credit

Remote Access – What is in it for me?

This will be a quick post because once you start reading will be nodding your head you’ll be saying, “Hell YEAH!”

Do you buy insurance because you KNOW you will be in an accident or have something terrible happen to your home?

I doubt it. But you do buy it, JUST IN CASE…

There are a few times that knowing how to connect remotely to the office or to family is imperative.

Once may be during a family emergency and your kids or whomever is trying to reach you. Maybe that is why you have a cell phone?  But if you have to relay information to a bunch of people, your cell battery (or your personal battery just wont make it!)

Another time may be when you may just need to work from home because your child is sick with the flu.

Or  may be when you are going to a meeting and the information you were waiting for is sitting on your computer- 2 hours away from where YOU are-speeding down the highway, fearing you will be late!

If any of these scenarios sound like you, then you are no different then I am.

The difference between us, could be that I have some great business partners that have thought these situations through FOR ME and know I need support from them in trying to figure it out when I am NOT in a crisis rather than when I am in one. I  do a lot of road time.

3 things you can do to make your life “hands down” easier, less stressful and complicated.

1. If you don’t have a laptop, get one. (I am a MAC person and it works so wonderful I cannot even tell you!) If you DO have one, make sure it has a wireless modem inside it and plan ahead or ask friends/family where there may be a place – like a library or coffee shop that you can access email or other things you may need where you may be going.  Sometimes if you google the city site of the place you are going you may find a Borders, a library or a Starbucks there.

2. Know how to work your cell phone. Other than “You had me from HELLO…” so romantic but REALLY, you need to know a few simple tricks. I LOVE my friends at Central Maine Wireless -they have been so wonderful in helping me learn how I can access information I need or send information, through my phone. They also tell me what will cost me money. (Thanks you guys!)

I resisted a blackberry for a long time and now I have one, it is that little life buoy that I have when I cannot find a wireless connection or I am in a place where my cell phone (voice) has a bad connection, but my data and texting works perfectly. If you have a blackberry, go to they have real world forums and a great network of people to help – and yeah, it is FREE!

3. Facebook. I know, you may be cringing when I say that. Don’t use facebook to spy on your kids. Use facebook to connect with family and friends. My brothers graduation class has organized many impromptu BBQ’s, lunch dates, etc. JUST because somebody is in town for the weekend. If you have a family emergency where you need to connect with your relatives for whatever reason – you will be able to do it easily.  Worried about that “friend” you don’t like or feel that you know that well?  Hit IGNORE and you are all set, they dont get a note saying they are unloved, you have control over people that you care less about.

So there – of course I droaned on longer than I promised.

BUT buying INSURANCE for when you need it, is just like making sure you have remote access to your family, friends and office.

You wont be sorry!

She said "WHAT?"

I finally figured it out. I have been getting a bit frustrated with the tone of some of the email messages I have been receiving over the past few months. They seemed to be from the same people, some of the emails were fine, clear and normal, while others seem well a bit snarky. Now anyone that knows me, realizes that I can “snark it up” with the rest of them, but I was surprised by some of them honestly. I was wondering what I had done wrong?

Then I got a new cell phone. Then I saw the light.

One liner emails may often send the wrong tone and you may not even know that you are doing it. I previously had this Motorola Razor phone for about 3 years and loved it, but I hated having to text from it, so I didn’t.

If you are “text-ing” from your cell phone to someone else’s cell phone and using their cell phone number, people expect short messages – it is a cell phone.

If you have a new fangled phone like I do, iPhone, HTC, Blackberry, etc. and you are sending a text message to someone’s email address, it may land on their laptop or desktop or their phone. If they dont understand you are trying to get a quick reply off to them via text message, they may feel a bit jilted, where your normal messages may have a greeting or some pleasantries attached, most often text messages don’t.

A little advice, if you have customers that you are trying to serve, keep this in mind. Let them know your “additional way of communicating” may be a means of efficiency in replying and not poor customer service. Their business is very important to you as well as offer them the alternative NOT to have you answer them through your phone. Often their relationship INCLUDES you as well as the service you provide them. Don’t let speedy, new technology chip away at something you may have spent a long time time working at!