Category Archives: Communications

Pet Peeves – About Cell Phone Users

▪   Don’t drive with the phone plastered to the head.

▪   The phone just rang and you are expecting a very important call? If you want to check that call, please, pull off the road or into a parking lot.

▪   Texting while driving. Another NO NO!

▪   Playing with apps, checking email or messages in traffic or while waiting at a red light.

▪   Walking the dog while on the cell phone. Especially a large dog off leash. While the dog gets into trouble, the owner is chatting away not caring.

▪   In the doctor’s office talking on the phone. Please step outside to talk.

▪   Talking loud enough so everyone can hear what you are saying. If you have hearing problem then get a headset.  If the problem is signal strength offer to call back. Yes, there are some “dead zones” where signal strength is poor.

▪   Seeing a sign saying, “Please no cell phone use” and still talking on the phone.

Just a note about us: Me and my German Shepherd are people watchers. This started back in my undergraduate days for an assignment and grew into studying people.

Mobile Device Learning

In order to write this blog I observed the local Starbucks and two of the three McDonalds in New Braunfels, Texas the last few days. This small sampling is not much different observing people in Austin or San Antonio using mobile devices. What I see are Androids, iPhones, iPads, tablets and laptops. Just what are these people working on, anything from updating social media on a great drink, college students doing class work, business people connecting to home office or checking for new business. All these people are using the Internet, but are they using the full potential of the device? Smartphone as a learning device in the classroom is reality as students learn and communicate with each other. Smartphones collect real-time data for many reasons. Yet, with all the standard features and apps out there, where is there training for the common person on how to use the smartphone?

Hence, an organization using the Internet, a website and app where anyone can learn “How to Use the Smartphone”. The site would have systematic instructions on different versions of the most popular smartphones. How would all work? First, one needs a smartphone and basic understanding of how to connect to the Internet via Wi-Fi or data service. Then the person signs up for a series of “lessons” learning how to use the smartphone. The “lessons” are screen shots of the actual phone using the local language. The ideal situation would be a classroom setting using a computer as the “teacher” as the person goes through each step using the smartphone. Now the big question is who is willing to write the apps and website on the smartphone use? Maybe the companies who own the smartphone rights like Apple or Huawei. There are many organizations like the Peace Corps and United Nations (UN) who could have the “lessons” on their website in many languages. The UN is already doing good in Africa, Rio de Janeiro and other places with smartphones, this would only enhance the learning curve.

Advertising and posting on social media, the website and local merchants who sell the smartphone. The biggest advantage would be if the smartphone company places a brochure in the box with the information about the “lessons” available to the person.



Kim, J., Ilon, L., & Altmann, J. (2013). Adapting Smartphones as Learning Technology in a Korean University. Journal Of Integrated Design & Process Science, 17(1), 5-16. doi:10.3233/jid-2013-0002

Braekkan Payne, K., Wharrad, H., & Watts, K. (2012). Smartphone and medical related App use among medical students and junior doctors in the United Kingdom (UK): a regional survey. BMC Medical Informatics & Decision Making, 12(1), 121-131. doi:10.1186/1472-6947-12-121

Subramanya, S. R., & Farahani, A. (2012). Point-of-View Article on: Design of a Smartphone App for Learning Concepts in Mathematics and Engineering. International Journal Of Innovation Science, 4(3), 173-184.

UN, United Nations. (n.d.). UN News Center. Retrieved October 23, 2013, from

Copyright of Works

Entertainment, economics and copyright go hand in hand in the form of music, films, song writing, music videos, TV shows, photographs and web shows.  The profit must cover the costs of production otherwise the company or individual will loose.  Pirating films and music is wrong in every sense, yet its done every day.  The lost money from entertainment media was a major problem; that many of the big studios took on the Napsters of the world.  Is winning in court the way, or can there be other ways to protect copyright works and keep the public happy?

Some ideas are:

  • Dropping the price of the finished product
  • Legal download through companies like iTunes
  • Subscriptions to the studio’s multimedia library with limited copyrights to other professionals who would like to use the work
  • A Internet company cooperating with studios, record companies and others who hold copyrights to entertainment media legally renting copyright works to individuals and companies

How does all this affect the Public Relations person following the Public Relations Society of America Code of Ethics?  Using material with unknown copyright source can cause grief to the individual, company or organization.  Lets be frank about copyright, the creator of the work deserves the money and credit unless it is 100% sure the work is before 1923, the year the work is now public domain.   The U.S. Copyright has wonderful information online to help people with copyright problems.

Some people have used Flickr photos under the Creative Commons license.  Started and located at the Stanford Law School Center for Internet and Society.  This idea is unique to licensing copyright content.  There are no royalties, the creator is asked to place their works into the public domain under Commons Deed, Legal Code, or Digital Code, and to place the work(s) in the public domain after 14 years, as established by U.S.  First Congress in 1790.  This concept was a great idea in early 2000’s.  Now it is a different story.

Getty images is now very aggressive in sending letters out to people who assumed the Creative Commons was safe free alternative to paying for stock photos.  This has started a new wave of what is a safe copyright photo.  If a court case starts, many people will follow it, as the decision will decide the future of free stock photos and copyright law.

In the meantime, an idea is to hire a professional to do the work.  In the agreement or contract, pay the extra money so the company or organization owns all the copyright(s) to the work, yet allowing the professional to use the work in a portfolio.  As part of the agreement always give full credit to the professional, so others know who really did the work.