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Summer is here, with hazy, hot and humid days that can give way to dangerous storms. It’s also hurricane season — and as the Northeast has learned in the past several years, we’re not immune.   FEMA is helping people prepare for severe weather with a new smartphone app.


WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

Could Ma Bell be going the way of the telegraph? Ninety percent of New Yorkers now carry cell phones, while more than one-fifth of households across the state have disconnected their landlines, according to a newly-released Siena "smartphone" survey.

Courtesy NOAA

Information is critical during an emergency.  The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency is embracing new technology to let the public know what is going on during weather emergencies and natural or man-made disasters.  WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill spoke with MEMA Public Information Officer Peter Judge.

WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

Apple added what’s known as a "kill switch" to iPhones last September. Authorities say that has sharply reduced robberies and thefts of the popular smartphone. Now, Microsoft and Google will a kill switch to their smartphone operating systems.

A new study looks at how the caregiver-child dynamic is affected when the caregiver uses a mobile device during a fast food meal. The study is the latest to question how technology can influence childhood development.

WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

Major cities across the Northeast are experiencing a spike in robberies, driven by crimes involving smartphones. New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer are taking steps to discourage thieves from targeting the devices.

Every minute, 113 smartphones are stolen or lost nationwide, according to New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who co-founded a partnership with the wireless industry called Secure Our Smartphones. The initiative has picked up support from 30 other state attorneys general.

FuGenX CDC/Flickr

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is getting tougher on drivers who text or chat on their phones while at the wheel.  Cuomo, the father of three teen-agers, said Friday that a change will go into effect starting Saturday. The revised penalty applies to any kind of cellphone activity while driving.  Drivers will see the penalty for texting while driving increase from three points off their driver’s licenses  to five points. Cuomo told CBS New York he spends a lot of time in a car and he sees people texting while driving every day.

Matthew Pearce / Flickr

New York’s attorney general is calling on the four major makers of smartphones and the systems that run on the phones to do more to protect consumers from cell-phone thefts. He says in too many cases, the thefts are violent.