Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Web Secret #377: Venmo

What do you do when you owe someone money?

Do you write them a check?

Go to the ATM to give them cash?

Buy a money order?

Purchase a gift card?

Millenials don't do any of the above - they use Venmo.

Venmo is a free app that enables you to send money from person to person through the web. Like PayPal (which owns Venmo), the Internet and mobile device-linked service connects to your major U.S.-based bank account or debit card, so it can pull funds from and make deposits into your checking or savings accounts.

Typically used for paying friends back for a bar tab, splitting up the rent check, or settling with the babysitter at the end of the night, it’s designed to take the place of any instance where you would normally use cash or a check to give someone money.

Setting up Venmo is simple, but not intuitive, so I recommend viewing this video to help you with that process.

Once you are set up, using Venmo is quick and easy.

And useful.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Web Secret 376: The Void

As I have written before, most tech and social media innovations are first used for gaming and consumer purposes.

Virtual reality helmets just recently became mainstream tools for cutting edge clinicians. A typical use will allow the wearer to experience the sights and sounds of a bar so they can learn to handle abstinence in a challenging setting.

So it is unsurprising that a monumental advance in virtual reality is being marketed for its gaming potential.

Let me introduce THE VOID:

It's the holodeck of the starship Enterprise come to life in 2015.

The therapeutic possibilities are mind blowing.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Web Secret #375: the most outrageous blog in America

This is a blog post about an X rated blog.

You have been warned.

The blog is about

a woman

of a certain age

enjoying herself

with men

under 50 - some way under 50.

It is also witty, literate, and subversive.

It will explode all of your conventional ideas about


of a certain age

enjoying themselves

with men

under 50 - some way under 50.

Honestly, I consider myself to be a worldly, edgy human being and I was shaken.

I realized that we (I) don't bat (much of) an eyelash when hearing/reading about older men enjoying themselves or even marrying younger, sometimes much younger women. But we (I) have a long, long way to go in applying that standard to women.

I know, because I was afraid to write this blog post, even though I think  it is a very important blog.

You see in addition to raw and Rabelaisian tales of her carnal adventures, the author writes about ageism, self love, and physical transformation.

Sure, others have written about ageism and dating apps, the importance of self care and the rationale for plastic surgery, and the challenges of dating when you are no longer chronologically young.

But no one, NO ONE, has come close to the honesty of this blog.

Reading it will force you to confront your own ageism and sexism.

One day our double standard for women will be long forgotten.

Until then, there is

PS. The photo is a shot of Sophie Tucker (1887-1966,) a celebrated singer, comedian, actress, and radio personality whose hay day was in the first half of the 20th century. When I saw this picture, I racked my brain to remember when I had last seen a woman over 40, and over a size 6, strike such a confident, powerful and sexy, pose. Mae West. 1932.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Web Secret #374: 4 things you can do on the Internet for free

Thank you Rohit Bhattacharya for your inspirational post "15 Cool Things You Can Do On The Internet For Free."

1. Send files up to 1GB (that's HUGE) for free from Pando

2. Get free tech support at Techguy

3. Find free wifi spots worldwide at WifiFreeSpot

4. Watch from hundreds of documentaries at DocumentaryHeaven


Thursday, July 30, 2015

Web Secret #373: ebates

Do you shop online?

Of course you do.

Would you like to get cash back for doing that?

It's not a myth - it's ebates.

The concept is simple - when you go to the store where you want to shop through its ebates link, you get cash back - a percentage of the money you spend. Earnings are paid out quarterly.

Ebates features over 1,800 online stores, from Macy's to Victoria's Secret, from Expedia to eBay and the list goes on and on.

Cash back can range from 2.5% to 6% - even more. Some stores specify the items that are eligible for cash back - eg Amazon was giving 3% for purchasing women's clothing. Other sites offer cash back on everything

Signing up takes seconds - then it's just a matter of remembering to check ebates whenever you want to buy online.

Smart shopper.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Web Secret #372: Episode recap

After the last episode of Mad Men was aired, I decided to compare notes with my Millenial children.

Turns out that they had a vastly different experience of that finale, entitled "Person To Person."

My daughter didn't realize that the Coke ad which ended the series was an actual, real ad. She thought it was created for the series.

None of my children knew what a person to person collect call was.

They could have used episode recap.

At some point during the past three years, as I have streamed more and more Golden Age of Television shows - from Mad Men, to Peaky Blinders to Black Mirror and more, I became concurrently aware that for each aired episode there were multiple posted episode recaps. These recaps are not mere summaries, and usually include sophisticated dissections of characters, plot, and context.

The fact is, many of my favorite shows are so complex, I need episode recap.

The characters in Peaky Blinders speak such thickly accented English, I miss entire paragraphs of dialogue. And how about "Game of Thrones"? Who can keep track of that plot?

In the Black Mirror series, there is an episode, "The Entire History of You," set in in the near future where most people have a 'grain' implanted behind their ear that records everything they do, see or hear. This allows memories to be played back either in front of the person's eyes or on a screen, a process known as a 're-do'.

It's episode recap for life.

Maybe not so far fetched...

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Web Secret #371: Steal this book

You read it here first - since 2008, I have been warning you about rapid technological change and its effects.

Now the popular media, not just geeks and the intelligentsia, are beginning to talk about the impending developments in artificial intelligence and other scientific areas. An article in the New York Times "Style" section (no less?!) - which typically discusses the latest runway fashion and lipstick colors - asked: "Who is making sure that all of this innovation does not go drastically wrong?"

Well the Future of Life Institute for one, an organization that seeks to “mitigate existential risks facing humanity” from “human-level artificial intelligence.”

And there are others. The Lifeboat Foundation is a nonprofit that tries to help humanity combat the “existential risks” of genetic engineering, nanotechnology and the so-called singularity, which refers to the hypothetical moment when artificial intelligence surpasses the human intellect.

Philosophers and scientists at Cambridge University formed the Center for Study of Existential Risk, with the goal to ensure “that our own species has a long-term future.”

And these are good things. Cutting edge.

But the world of U.S. mental health lags far, far behind. I lecture about social media and technology's impact on psychotherapy and employee assistance programs.

And what do people in the audience ask me? Whether or not to deliver services via video counseling!!!

People - that ship has sailed.

And while practitioners in the US remain frozen within the boundaries of their states, the rest of the world has moved on. We are no longer in a leadership position - we are lagging behind.

Some of you will remember sixties activist Abbie Hoffman who famously wrote "Steal This Book." It was all about shaking people out of their complacency, challenging the status quo, and thinking outside the box of convention.

Here is my 21st century version of that exhortation: provide video counseling!

Across state lines.

A whole lot of providers are doing it already. Have been doing it for years. Were doing it before the computer - providing counseling across state lines on the telephone. No one has been sued. Ever. Those archaic state licensing laws are going to be abolished, replaced by national licensure.


Because the Millenials and the generation behind them are going to demand, are already demanding:

1. video counseling
2. the ability to make appointments via text or by screaming into their Apple Watch
3. something you haven't even thought about yet because most clinicians are not future oriented.

It concerns me that the people who are putting together these think tanks about the future are not mental health professionals. I think we need to put our unique heads together and ponder the future of the field.

My 21 year old son believes that 20 years from now, human talk therapy will be obsolete. Most major mental illnesses will be biologically treatable. And the rest of our clients will be talking to highly skilled and responsive artificial intelligence entities who will be available to them 24/7.

Steal that book.