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I spied on my cat with a GPS tracker

If you want to know where our cat, Timmy, is — right now, this very moment — my spouse and I can always tell you. We love this party trick: pulling out a phone and opening an app called Tractive, which uses GPS for what was clearly its highest purpose: tracking feline travels. On the screen, an icon of Timmy’s fussy cat face hovers over a real-time map of our neighborhood. “See, here he is,” we like to say. “Exact...

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Vending machines will sell you (almost) anything

Vending machines used to be simple: minor vice, immediate gratification. You put some coins in a slot, decided what snack, candy, or soda you wanted, pulled a knob, and on a good day, watched your item robotically move forward and drop to the bottom of the machine. On a bad day, your ingestible got caught between the glass and metal coil and sadly stayed there. But yesterday’s candy machines are today’s everything machines,...

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How ‘Match.com for roommates’ could save seniors from homelessness

In the middle of the night in October 2021, Brenda Rose was up with her sick dog, Hazel, searching the web for housing in Portland, Oregon. For 15 months, Rose, 62, had been living on the city’s streets in an RV. The pandemic had wiped out her photography business, and she could no longer afford her rent. When her RV broke down, she was feeling “at the end of her rope.” “I didn’t think I would get to retirement age and not...

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How to Keep Technology from Ruling Your Child’s Mind

In this video blog, I answer an important reader question:   How much access to technology do you give your children? At what point should kids get their own cell phones, computers, etc?     My kids’ access to technology: My oldest son didn’t get a cell phone until he was well into his thirteenth year. Most of his peers already had cell phones for years at that point. They play video games maybe a couple hours per month when...