Rules to live by...on your smartphone

A mother in Massachusetts drew up an 18-point contract listing the rules her 13-year-old son would have to live by if he got a nice new phone.

The kid's been lobbying for a smartphone, but the parents are worried. What are the boundaries? A mother in Massachusetts drew up an 18-point contract listing the rules her 13-year-old son would have to live by if he got a nice new phone. Stuff like: put it away in public, and don't use it to lie or cheat. When we mentioned this the other day, listeners wanted to know more. So we called the mom, Janell Burley Hofmann in Cape Cod.

"Some of the things were more serious issues like, only say things you would say to someone in person," says Hofmann, who blogs about parenting and her five kids when she isn't working in her community's parks system. "Don't send any naked pictures of yourself to others. But I think the most important one was don't, you know, forget to see a sunset, or be alive. Don't be attached to your phone."

Hofmann let her son Gregory have Christmas day before delivering the contract; the next morning, she pulled out the contract and asked him if he could agree to all 18 rules.

"There was one where I said he couldn't bring it to school, and he asked if he could make a change to that," says Hofmann. "If he had a sports activity or if there was a special field trip where he wanted to take pictures."

Hofmann agreed to changing the contract slightly, printed out a new copy, and had Gregory sign it. 


Digital photography has been, to say the very least, a challenge for the first instant photo company, Polaroid. Now, the company's testing out a new business model: Physical stores where you go to get prints of the digital photos on your smart phone, while you wait. The first Polaroid Fotobar opens next month in Florida's Delray Beach, for some reason, with more on the way.

"We don't really care where your photos live today," says Fotobar CEO and founder Warren Struhl. "We can easily take your photograph, whether it is on your phone, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Picasa, Flickr, and instantly create something on a screen that is something special."

That something special could be all manner of wall-mounted photo items, including regular and poster-sized Polaroid prints that you will supposedly be able to get within minutes of walking into a Fotobar. Struhl says his measure of success will be how much people enjoy printing in the new stores. He points out that a lot of people keep their best pictures digitally and never print them because it's too difficult. Fotobars -- the rendering of which looks like a cross between an Apple store and an art gallery -- might change that.

Of course, you can still order prints at drugstore chains, but probably not off your smartphone, and you'll still have to mingle with those snifflers headed for the NyQuil aisle.

About the author

David Brancaccio is the host of Marketplace Morning Report. Follow David on Twitter @DavidBrancaccio

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