Get Tech-Smart

By Pam Dillon

Remember watching the TV show Get Smart? Bumbling Maxwell Smart, Agent 86 for the counter-espionage organization CONTROL, was always trying to talk on his top-secret shoe phone. Only problem? It rang at the most inopportune times, like when he was in the hushed audience for a symphony concert.

Back in the 1960s, when that spy comedy was a hit, the famous shoe phone was considered an outlandish, James Bond-style gadget. Now? People wander around all the time answering calls on their watches or chatting on the phone, hands-free, using Bluetooth earbuds.

In an era when self-driving cars are on the horizon and artificial intelligence is the new big thing, it’s hard to keep up with the latest tech and easy to feel, every once in a while, like a standout bumbler.

That’s why I’m introducing this new column, Get Tech-Smart. We can learn together. Send your questions, about anything from social media platforms and fun apps to devices and gadgets, to I’ll get them answered in a way we can all understand. And if you have advice or expertise to share, please get in touch.

Personally, I’m a tech Luddite. The clock in my car is accurate for six months of each year and if you want to know the time, don’t glance at my stove. I don’t yet have a smart home, let alone a particularly smart lifestyle. Both my smart car and my smart thermostat are smarter than I am (I haven’t figured them out yet) and I’m not totally convinced having a fully connected, “smart” life is all that wise.

What about privacy and the risks of hacking or scams? I have friends in the fifty-five-plus crowd who early adopters, with all the tech toys, and others who don’t trust online banking.

That’s why I’m looking forward to getting accurate, reliable, up-to-date information from different sources so we all can make informed decisions. And what about the pros and cons of different online sites, services and products? Let’s find out.

I also want clear, easy instructions to get more tech-savvy and comfortable using various devices. I’m not the only one in this. At the hugely successful Fifty-Five Plus Lifestyle Show that took place in the EY Centre a few weeks ago, thousands of people enjoyed the festivities and stopped by the Coyle Media Group booth to enter some amazing contests, including one for a $14,000 Danube Delights River Cruise. Most people, though, didn’t know how to use their smartphones to scan the QR codes so they could enter all the contests quickly and effortlessly.

Problem solved: Look to this column, Get Tech-Smart, in the July/August issue to find out about QR codes and how to use them. You’ll be ahead of the game and ready to get the very most out of the upcoming fall Fifty-Five Plus Lifestyle Show slated for September 15 and 16 at the EY Centre. Since 2023 marks the 35th anniversary of Fifty-Five Plus magazine, the show promises to be spectacular—QR codes, entertainment and all.