A reader had this to say in response to my article about my new Amazon Echo smart speaker:

Looks Mickey Mouse and no home should not be without one. Would love to get one but as a 86 year old would find it too hard to operate may be there should be a law that people over the age of 85 should be banned from using all this new technology.”

First, I want you to know that I’m officially dumping the words “cool” and “sweet” in favor of “Mickey Mouse.” I would tend to disagree about the tech thing, though.  I feel like anyone who could handle the Depression and WWII shouldn’t be too worried about a tiny speaker. Honestly, setting this thing up was easier than attaching antenna leads to my old black and white TV and moving the antenna around. It’s way easier to use than my 8-track player and 100 times easier than changing a typewriter ribbon.


Actually, I think an Echo would be awesome for someone with some seniority in this life. At this point, I figure you deserve a break. Not only can Echo play music on demand when you ask, it can also read news headlines, send messages, make phone calls, and do things like turn the lights on and adjust the temperature. For someone with mobility issues, it could be a gigantic help. Setting up was so easy it stunned me. Using it consists of just saying “Alexa do….whatever.”

Folks who are a bit shy of smartphones might have some hesitancy about setting it up, but it would be super-easy for a friend or family member to help. In fact, I’d suggest it as a great gift if a family were to get an Echo and a couple of smart wall sockets to make life a little easier for someone who could use a little help.

Thus far in my life, it’s worked out that the older I’ve gotten the more technology I’ve been obliged to learn. I think it’s been pretty good for me. And I have to say, as the years go by, the less complicated actually using the stuff is. My phone is exponentially more powerful than the first computer I used. And seriously, once you’ve used a mimeograph machine successfully, anything should be possible. What do you guys think? Should there be a cut-off point for absorbing new tech or should we just keep trying?