Legacy contacts will keep memories alive, Facebook says

A reader told me he can't invite all loved ones to his neighbor's memorial service because he can only find the guy's Facebook friends. He wishes every senior would provide good contact information before they pass away.

"We neighbors had been caring for him and making arrangements for his last days, which we knew would be soon," he wrote. "However, he left no address book. He burned out on technology and had not used his cellphone in years." At least Facebook was helpful.

In fact, Facebook is so helpful, I'm tempted to let my late husband's account go on forever. But this means his old friends will continue to get birthday reminders every year and his name will still show up as a friend suggestion to old acquaintances. One solution is to memorialize his account, creating a page where people can gather to share memories and photos. Facebook suggests creating a "legacy contact." That's someone who can accept or decline friend requests, add photos and more.

For instructions, do a web search on "Memorialization Request" for Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram or other social media. You'll need a copy of the death certificate.


If you have an Amazon Echo device, you can say "Alexa, call for help" and she'll send emergency services to your door. She'll also notify up to 25 emergency contacts. Of course, you have to tell her who those emergency contacts are first, using the Alexa app.


The new $40 Amazon Echo Pop does everything the $50 Echo Dot does. It answers questions, plays podcasts, schedules alarms, sets timers and reminds you of upcoming events or chores. But since it doesn't blast out enough sound for a big room, it's recommended for smaller spaces.

I don't have the Pop, but I do have an Echo Dot and an Echo Show 5. I got the Show for half of its current $100 price through one of Amazon's periodic sales. On it, I can watch videos, view recipes, play "Jeopardy" and other games and enjoy song lyrics with my music. It also tells me the yoga pose and dog breed of the day. I can even listen to "60 Minutes" commercial-free without being a cable TV subscriber.

The Amazon Show 8 Photos Edition is coming this fall for $160, according to theVerge. It allows the Show to act as a full-fledged digital photo frame, at least for six months. After that, you'll have to renew your subscription to their PhotosPlus service for $2 a month. If you're an Amazon Prime member, however, you get unlimited photo storage and five gigabytes of video storage.


The free Google Photos app makes the star of your photo stand out against the background and appear to move toward the viewer. Find it by tapping Library, then Utilities. Now tap Create New and look for Cinematic Photo.


When you're looking at an email in a foreign language, Gmail will offer a translation. I just tried it on Korean poetry.

First I emailed myself a poem from a Korean website. The site had translated it as: "Once I am shaped as the reason of your disgust, pushing you toward somewhere not here, there will be no words, my letting-go enduring graciously." When I pasted the poem into a Gmail, a pop-up translation read: "Disgusting to see me. When you go, I'll let you go silently." I think I like this version better.

If you don't see a translation option in your Gmail, just highlight the words and "translate" will pop up.


Have you noticed the word "Memories" at the bottom of the Google Photos app on your phone?

Tap it to see photo collections that Google put together for you. It even adds titles, though you can also add your own.


I recently mentioned that all Chromebooks will get automatic security updates for the next 10 years starting in 2024. But for Chromebooks that came out before 2021, the update isn't automatic. That's because the update could cause problems for older machines. You'll have to opt in.

Currently, Chromebooks only get eight years of security updates. This can be a problem for schools, since the countdown begins when a Chromebook is certified, not when a child receives it. Because of bureaucratic delays, that might mean only four years of updates.


ChatGPT can put the results of your search into a table or bullet points, ready for your next presentation.

For example, I asked for a bulleted list on the five major hardships faced by free women in the Civil War south. It was great. I also requested a table showing the zinc, protein and calorie content for a huge variety of beans, nuts and seeds.

For best results, be specific, but not too specific. For example, if you ask ChatGPT to summarize everything it knows about Prince Harry using only newspaper accounts, it will tell you it doesn't have access to those. But you'll still get a good summary.


ModernSerial.com offers classic books serialized in the form of daily emails to help those who never seem to finish a book. Makes me want to reread "The Great Gatsby." Each one is $8.

Joy Schwabach can be reached by email at joy.schwabach@gmail.com.