The phone kept ringing. Officially Linus Duncan, once the most powerful man in the state, was retired. In reality, he still served the state of Texas in a new, more frightening capacity, and I was his deputy. He always answered my calls.
Linus’ voice came on the line. “Yes?”
Leon ran up and halted next to me.
“Do you require assistance?” Linus asked.
I activated facetime, flipped the phone
Me: Do you have to flip the phone or can she just tap the back camera?
Gordon, staring at what we just typed: I don’t know. I’ve never had to do it before.
Me: Kid 1! Kid 1!
Sick Kid 1, stomping out on the upstairs catwalk: What?
Me: If I am on facetime and I want to show the other person what I see, can I switch to the back camera?
Kid 1, raising the phone and demonstrating: Yes. Here is me Facetiming. I tap this icon in the corner.
Me: Thank you.
Me, going back to the office.
I activated facetime, switched the camera, and panned the phone, capturing the device and the corpses. On the screen, Linus…
Gordon: Can she still see him if she activated the back camera?
A little later
Kid 2, walking into the office: What are you two doing?
Me: We are Facetiming.
Kid 2: You are sitting a foot away from each other.
I’ve had these EXACT conversations with my parents…Love it!
I still always have these EXACT conversations with the Bozos (what I collectively call the 2 nieces and the 1 nephew (what do you call that type of grouping except “bozos?).
May I carefully tell you, Brigitte, that when you start to slide into morematurity, like me, you must hope that you have your own version of kids or bozos to ask for help.
Me, I’m already grooming the 7yo great-honourary-niece and her 3yo brother.
Well, the most common non-gendered term for child of a sibling is nibling, so you could use that?
trailing wife says
“Nibling“? Whence is that derived, Tylikat?
I believe the initial is drawn from nephew / niece. “-ibling” from sibling.
The inverse is more debated, but because of that I tracked the derivation more closely. (I favor Entle, which is in some cases a combination of both Aunt and Uncle, though the E is a neutral vowel in the same position.) For all that I will sometimes go on about how much I like Chinese (or Turkic) pronouns for not being gendered, the familial terms are not only gendered but super elaborate and something I never got fluent with (and definitely need to drill on a bunch before I use them again!)
It’s so bad, I just tell people who aren’t my kids I’m almost phone illiterate.
John Kern says
Karen the Griffmom says
John Kern says
I have these conversations with my granddaughter!
William B says
Not two minutes before I saw this on Facebook I just checked your site.
Natasha Johnson says
Lol!! Oh the joys of technology. I have to help my parents with the iPad and their phones and I still don’t know what to do sometimes, but rest assured my 7 year old and 6 years old have it covered if we can’t figure it out ????????.
Sara haller says
I’m old too. I always fumble it somehow.
Also, you guys are so cute.
Every time I hear someone complain about having to explain something technical to their parents, I remind them that they were taught to crap in the toilet by those people, without a word of complaint
Good point – but haha – let’s be honest – as the parent of a potty training kid…I sometimes complain. When the kiddo isn’t present…????
Yes, with tears, hair pulling and added sound effects.
My 3y/o just got the hsng of it
OMG!! I laughed so hard I had to stop reading to wipe my eyes! It reminded me of how my mother-in-law harped at me to teach our first child to use the toilet and how I told her that our pediatrician told me that it wasn’t an urgent thing because extremely few children don’t figure it out before they start kindergarten because diapers are uncomfortable. He was right. When she was ready, she asked, and it took us about four weeks to get it all settled in when she was 3 years old.
But I will use your thoughts the next time I’m accused by my children of not wanting to learn some new gizmo! GREAT example!
Ruth Ray says
Since I can’t seem to see comments on the current blog unless I write one…
Sorry but I’m agreeing with others the comments are a problem.
You’re more computer savvy than I am. Never did anything with FaceTime. Sounds like you’re recovering.
Hahaha, I still haven’t been able to get my father in law to understand the difference between audio FaceTime and video FaceTime. You would think the absence of me and my husband’s face on the phone would be a easy indicator. When we call him thru audio FaceTime, he thinks the speakerphone is activated, like during a video call, then the next 10 minutes is full of “I can’t hear you” and the background conversation between him and my mother in law talking how the phone is broken. Oy with the poodles already.
I LUV the GG reference thank you
Celina Anthony says
And by the time the book is released it may have changed. LOL
Candy Daniels says
I LOVE IT!
R Coots says
Hahaha! Love it!
Bwahahaha! I hand my phone to my kid regularly for “technical assistance.” ????
Lolz, luckily not researching with real corpses
That’s awesome! ????
Fun times experimenting! I did the same with my sister’s phone when we bought an iPad
My 5 year old son and my 5 year old nephew use our phones to talk to each other, we live in NC and they live in NJ but are best cousins so they video chat every week. One day while I was talking to my mom, I wanted to show her something and I had to get my nephew and tell him show grama how to turn on the camera, take pics and send it to me. Also show grama how to video chat.
I promised not to laugh because one day soon I am pretty sure that will be me and the husband trying to chat with our grand children.
So much better than answering questions later… a la but how could she see Linus if phone flipped etc etc lol. Magic Universe + realistic details makes for IA awesome sauce. Well maybe just one of the ingredients ????
It’s the fact that I am never jarred out of the story by something glaringly wrong and easily Google-able that makes IA two of my favorite writers. I recently clicked to see more about a book on my Amazon Kindle Deals list that sounded like a mindless adventure thriller — something for which I am perfectly willing to pay $1.99. Until I read the blurb which stated that 6 out of the 7 ancient wonders of the world had been lost, and I screeched to a stop, thinking “that’s not right.” Googling “7 ancient wonders of the world” showed me that I was correct, the Great Pyramid of Giza (which I assume the blurb meant), the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, and the Temple of Artemis. The latter two were thought “lost” because they are in Turkey, which the English weren’t able to loot for nearly as long as they were in Egypt. Anyway, if a 10-second Google search on my part is more than the author is willing to do on the *entire premise of his book*, then no. I am NOT reading it.
I have never questioned something in an IA book and upon Googling, found it wrong. Never. I cannot tell you guys how much the time you spend researching MATTERS to us readers. Especially when you see the alternative.
Lol…y’all crack me up!
LOL – I have a 9 yr old flip phone. I have an iPod mini to facetime with my dad and use Skype on my computer with my overseas friends. I am a basic user with basic needs.
I know how to flip the camera on the iPod but there are probably other features that I don’t even know exist!
Hilarious. I haven’t the slightest idea how to do most of the things on my “smart” phone.
But it’s funny how many books I’ve read that were written what seems like a short time ago where everyone has flip phones. Tech is moving too fast for us. It won’t be long before people will be wondering what face time even was.
I am so glad that I am not the only one who gets cell phone lessons from my kids!
So what other stuff do you guys do that you claim is for “research”? O_O
On my android I can take a dual camera picture but not chat. That would be a cool upgrade!
Roseanne Lobbezoo says
???????????? Thank you. I needed a good laugh today. Being FaceTime illiterate, I also appreciate the FaceTime instructions. Unfortunately, I’ll probably forget them since I’m not planning on FaceTiming, (Not if I can help it.) anyone, anytime soon. ????????????
Bwahahahhaha you guys are too cute ????
Bill G says
Love it! I’m hopeless with the phone that just recently replaced my dead flip-phone.
Those of us without kids are forced to figure it out on our own. Fortunately, despite being well over 60, I love tech, use it daily and now find myself explaining things to younger friends whose kids are elsewhere. I’m hardly an expert, but really, research does work! Go House Andrews!
Haha! The Hubs and I are in our 30s-he only has a flip phone (I made him get a cell phone when we had kids) and I only recently got a shiny new smart phone. You officially know more than us 😀
Akeru Joyden says
Much better than my dad… I asked him for a specific person’s phone number, and he replied that he had it in his phone… he meant taped inside the back cover of his phone. Yes, he has a Samsung Galaxy Note and has his contacts taped to the inside of the cover… but then he loves texting… thank God we have unlimited texting, because his typical text reply is somewhere around 700 words long.
My grandmother is pretty savvy with her phone. We tried a computer, she always forgot how to use the mouse. We tried ipad she forgot to charge it all the time.
When I told the family that she needs a good smart phone as a present everyone laughed at me. She uses it every day. She reads news, checks the weather, gets information from family what’s up chats and sends us funny pictures.
But now I’m the costumer service and tech support for her and all her friends))) Have you ever tried fixing something over the phone with s description from a 70 years old granny?
-Maria my internet is just not working…
Hope you all feel better and that insane $19k Bill has been sorted out in case you need to go see your doctor!
Claudia C says
Bwaahaahaa…. That’s so real for me!
I tell the young ones “That’s why I had you!”
Btw I have a Hugh Book comming out next month on my HAPPY CALENDAR…am I mistaken?
Claudia C says
Bwaahaahaa…. That’s so real for me!
I tell the young ones “That’s why I had you!”
Btw I have a Hugh Book comming out next month on my HAPPY CALENDAR…am I mistaken?
Sending healing energy to your family!!!!
I’ve been using WhatsApp for forever, because it lets me do all of the texting/calling/video for free with my family in the US. However, more & more of them are using iPhones*, and especially since WhatsApp got bought by Facebook, want to use FaceTime instead.
Which puts me in the embarrassing position of having my sister who is twenty years older than me knowing more about how to use FaceTime than I do. Which hasn’t happened since I was 16, and my 66-year-old father (who was a Catholic deacon and performed umpteen weddings) had to teach me to do the Macarena.
*my youngest brother owns a tech consulting company and is personally an Apple junkie. The first means the older siblings ask his advice on things like new smartphones. The second means he ALWAYS tells them to get iPhones. The plus is, now I can talk to them all for free without asking them to use an app. The downside is… I’ll let y’all finish the sentence.
Ever since we got my Mother-In-law a iPad, we always FaceTime on the holidays there have been a few times that we have talked to a black screen because she has flipped the camera to her case.
Though FaceTime, Skype type things have made being separated from family and friends easier.
Too funny! My daughter has had to show me how to Google duo (neither of us have Iphones)…more than once!
Patricia Schlorke says
Gotta love research. 😀 Before you know it all of us will be using holograms for meetings and conversations. I’m basic to intermediate with tech since I don’t have young children (or even my nieces and nephews around) to ask.
Thank you for the working snippet!
Reema Vora says
OMG! I’m so tempted to upgrade my iPhone X now.
Omar Mtz says
Aaaa the wonders of technology and how things change even in writing.
I love it!!
One day while waiting to get into a dressing room I watched a little kid in a stroller using his mom’s phone to watch cartoons. But, he wasn’t just watching, he was picking and choosing which ones. He would watch for a while, then change the size of the screen image or something else. Then he would decide he wanted to see another one, close out the one he was watching and start scrolling through a list of cartoons, try one, then go on to another. His fingers were quick, on target and confident. His mother told me she was 18 months old.
Alex R. says
What was the spoiler? That the Baylor world has FaceTime? Or that you and Gordon have two kids??? ????
Feel better all y’all.
No, I think she meant part of the text was spoilery so they skipped over that text.
Rorie L Solberg says
I keep waiting for my kids to be the technologically savvy people that everyone said they would be. They still come to me for things and it is not a good system because, well, I have no desire to figure all this sh*t out. On the other side of the age coin, my mother is always calling because she lost “the facebook” or “the gmail” again and can’t get it back on her computer. As you say, “Oy!”
LOL too funny!
Sara T says
That was hilarious!
Facetime is reserved for my cousin showing me her dog 🙂 or some new outfit that we need to show each other.
We WhatsApp video or skype with my family overseas occasionally.
But every single day (sometimes twice a day) I talk to my sister on WhatsApp audio! 🙂
I’m only 40 and use to tease my mon about phone illiteracy. Since I switched to an android I’m all the time asking my kids how to do stuff.
This peek behind the scenes at how you write the books is enlightening as well as hysterically funny. Happy writing! Looking forward to seeing what you do with Linus. He’s certainly an interesting character.
Just a thought:
In a world where people are genetically altered to use magic, why does using FaceTime correctly on a cell phone even matter? Couldn’t they have a different set of apps for their portable phones that would work however they wanted it to work? I mean, they crushed the entire center of the city of Houston to stop a fire, they have HUGE compounds for their private homes that don’t exist anywhere but in the books, they have laws that allow them to fight private wars between houses, and you actually worried about how real phone apps work in their world?
On the other hand, maybe you can now use an app to talk to all the people who don’t live near you, see their faces, hear their voices, and they can save airfare when they need to see you.
I do love the mental image of two people sitting in the same room practicing using phone apps, though, especially with the child walking in and asking why! Priceless!
Alex R. says
Same child probably on occasion sat at a table with her friends and texted to one of them. If only to be ironic.
Our kids provide hours of entertainment. Mostly unintentionally.
kris ten-eyck says
I had to laugh as I read the comments. My biggest giggle from this post (aside from yay – more Linus) was the riff on Dr. Suess. Which makes me laugh because I am protesting tech this week and wishing for the good old days before smart-phones.
I burst out laughing at this post. I just finished Diamond Fire – onto the next book now ????
This is so cute. I Knew I wasn’t the only person on the planet who had these types of conversations. My mantra is “If I Knew it I wouldn’t be asking” and the ever popular “Thank you, Very Much!!!” So to you lovely people, thanks for sharing this great tidbit.
I wish phones came with instruction books because I can’t remember what I did from one screen to another. “Just play with it.” says my son. I can now read books on my most recent hand me down phone, I love that but it really heats up and the battery drains as fast as the sink. Some day I’ll have to actually pay for a phone and start the whole miserable process from scratch. I can truthfully say I do love having the camera handy though and I might actually try Face Time if I had it, I miss seeing my grandkids.
I can’t tell you how many times my kids have said “just play with it” when asked a phone question by me!
Mine says have you googled it??? If I say no she will no longer answer questions. To be fair she really helps if the answer is yes!
When I served as first level tech support many years ago, it was because I was the only person in the office who understood Windows in any way, not because it was actually my job. I finally hung a sign on my desk that said “if you have not tried rebooting your computer, don’t ask me to fix it.”
Christine Ann says
lol, with the mainframe the our snark was – “Do a stand-alone dump and re-IPL.”
Outside our system programmers area the sign said “Before you ask RTFM” (Read The F***ing Manual).
The more we progress the more some things stay the same.
If you mostly like to read on it, you might try a Kindle. I like the Paperwhite, but they have other options too (Fire is in color, but it can be harder on the eyes because it’s a shiny screen). I got my grandma a Kindle a few years ago (she was 85ish at the time and HATES technology) and she loves it. I got her the ad-free kids version.
The battery life is really good on them. The Paperwhite reads like a book, but you can increase the text size to whatever you want (that’s why she likes it, it was getting harder for her to read even large print books). To be fair, I put all the books on for her, but it isn’t hard.
If it makes you feel better, my phone gets hot and dies quickly too. I need to replace it, but… ugh. ????
Just replaced my phone today, partly because of the battery, partly because my service provider is phasing out service to the older phones this/next year. Mine(and Nephew’s) was a Samsung 5. Now it is a Samsung A50. Got to keep the old number though.
I second this. The reason I have a PaperWhite is because it’s as close to a real book as I could get without shipping 400+ books from the US to Europe.
Turn off wifi and bluetooth when you don’t need it. And check for apps that are still on and working in the background. I have a terrible battery and I turn off everything I don’t need and it still runs down quickly – but a little less quickly anyway. Just don’t forget to turn them back on when you want to use them LOL.
trailing wife says
Catlover, somewhere in your Settings file there should be an item called something like Battery, which when tapped will give you an option something like Low Power Mode. This will temporarily turn off everything not absolutely necessary until you either go back and turn it off or you recharge the thing and the battery is refilled to something like 85%.
But in the meantime almost everything that was running in the background will shut down, reducing the drain on your battery and the resulting heating up. I do this whenever I leave the house — my phone and I are much happier as a result. 😉
Charlene L Amsden says
But this is normal. I know because my Charley and I have done this. We bought new phones and sat down to learn their features — including Face timing each other while sitting side-by-side on the couch.
Yesterday I spent hopeless time trying to network 4 devices on two operating systems. No bueno, so today I get to DO RESEARCH take freaking notes and go again. Ps my hubs is TECH master of the universe and woukdnt take apple if you gave it to him. The old steve w. SKILLS vs steve j. SALESMAN controversy. Yawn. So we have android. Which is entirely DIY becuz no…one….else……has it. Sigh.
Pam Roth says
+1, There with you…????
I seriously prefer my old android phone and will go back to one if and when the stupid iphone dies. Keep hoping it will. Android phones are generally easier to figure out what apps are using up your battery. I might miss imessage, but probably not for long.
Have it. Not being on the same wave as so many of my friends is a pain but I just pat myself on the back and feel superior for not buying into the apple hype. ????
That being said, I dont have facetime but I do have WhatsApp which works just fine and with the chromecast thingie my phone screen can appear on the TV. It’s great for long distance phone calls.
Awesome! Yes, that’s how I do it with my daughter, too. ???? Fortunately, she knows better than to mock my ineptitude (where I can hear it, anyway).
When I call my youngest daughter with a tech problem I can hear the eyeroll (it makes a noise).
On Skype (for Android) you can both see yourself and the other person, both split screen or as a mini window.
Is that something special?
Sooo, Catalina uses Apple, huh?
I hope Bug at least uses Linux and somebody else uses Android. Sorry, not an Apple fan here.
I now see Bern contributing to Android community builds… (With the high interoperability between Mac and Linux, this isn’t unreasonable? That’s the compromise we have in my old lab.)
I feel like this is the author equivalent of someone trying to draw hands and contorting their own around to use as reference… Or trying to draw a particular expression and making that expression, even if there’s no mirror around for them to see it in.
Dreamboat Annie says
Oldie but goody
Thanks for sharing, haven’t seen that in a long time
Am I detecting another Heart fan?
Dreamboat Annie says
Heading out this morning …
I love you two.
This entire process just makes me happy and ready for the next book! Love the interaction. 🙂 🙂
I have 4 year old twins who are capable of tech support for your iPhone. Not that I’m speaking from a place of experience…
This is the reason I keep my twins (also 4) away from technology. It’s hard enough to keep up, the last thing I need is for them to figure out technology.
Fly on the wall…
That’s all I am saying! ????????????
Gail G says
Oy. Technology. Hate feeling so idiotic….
This is why your books are so look good l Research. Got to love it.
Thanks for the chuckle.
I do video conferences at least a couple of times a week professionally, and I’m trying to get more in the habit of connecting with with some of my favorite but not current collaborators at least every semester or so. I probably use four different applications on a regular basis?
Which I state because I’d never touched FaceTime until I was interviewing landlords prior to moving to the Chapel Hill area. I don’t have a Mac, but a bunch of people in the lab have them, as did the zendo friend who was staying with me, so I hit them all up for directions. No one had used FaceTime. There were a number of “What’s FaceTime?” (Seriously? y’all are Mac and iThing people. *I* know what FaceTime is…) My current landlady really wanted to install Skype, but she couldn’t get through it on her own. Anyhow, zendo friend / thentime housemate leant me her MacBook, and I figured it out, but for a community were video chat is totally common?
Just wait until more people share location with you on “Find My Friends”. NoThankYou.
“Find my friends” would make Baylor agency detective work easier, for sure.
Lynn Thompson says
Thank you Ilona Andrews for the chuckle. I am presently using Mothers smart phone as she could never hear it ring. She does not hear her large keys phone only either. So we took for hearing test and audiologist said normal. Grin.
Then Titan fanged phone but I am waiting til he hits chronological maturity wbich is age 2 as he is a large breed puppy to replace fanged phone. I figure this model will be no longer made by then. Sigh. Sigh.
Thanks for chuckle.
Lol that’s awesome.
I read your blog not for story tidbits, though I like those to but because your descriptions of everyday life just makes me smile or laugh. So thank you
If it were Guy and I in your shoes, we’d have to do the same things you are… =) While we both have iPads (our phones are Samsung), Facetime and the cameras are not high on our skills list… =)
We have iPads for tablets rather than Samsung mostly because we can track our own Kid (just one) with Find My iPhone when we need to. That makes it worth it. =)
Haha! I’m impressed that sick kid 1 came out of the sick room and actually answered. I quite frequently hear….”google it, Mom!” Hope she’s feeling better soon!
I appreciate that you needed to practice with using FaceTime for research purposes – and that you actually did it rather than just continuing on with writing as it was originally. It is not a feature I have made much use of on my iPhones or iPads except for a rare video call at the holidays instead of the usual text or phone call.
I completely understand the research. I wish I had that excuse Haha
Priceless! I don’t have an iPhone, so I can’t Facetime at all! ????
Yvonne A says
Love your post 😀
John K says
I’m a gamer and my parent’s have recently gotten into playing a game called overcooked because it lets them play with my siblings and i even when we are living separately, so it’s been fun trying to teach them how to play video games and use programs like discord to talk to each other.
i love stories of younger generations teaching their elders crazy new technologies.