Just received notice that as of Feb. 28, 2020 the free/low cost Vonage App will be discontinued and all credits must be used by then since there will be no refunds. For those with the Vonage App adding credits now should be done sparingly. International calls between those with the App are free. Calls to those without the app Cost only one cent per minute. Any suggestions for other comparable services?
I’m dealing with a 93 year old mother and two sisters that aren’t much better, all without iPhones. Vonage was low tech enough for them. That’s probably why they are suspending service. The solution for this may be IPlum.
Hi whidden39, The wife and I use whatsapp to talk to our kids via video on our cell phones. Free download and no monthlies (and no bill for the calls), but they want access to your contacts list (don't they all?). I had my daughter set it up so that didn't happen, so it's clearly an option. I probably could have figured it out sooner or later, but she did it at a restaurant in a matter of minutes. My son has it, but not on an iphone, so it crosses phone makes.
Maybe you have a neighbor near your mother who has a twenty-ish kid? Kids seem to get this stuff far easier than old folks like me.
Using whatsapp is as easy as answering your cell phone. Just a suggestion. Good luck! Cheers, John.
My mother doesn’t own a cell phone whatsoever (she has never driven a car either ). I call her land line with Vonage at one cent/minute. I will see if I can get my sisters to use WhatsApp. I use WhatsApp here in Italy where it is very popular. Thanks for the ideas.
Skype is good, too. The difference is that with KeepCalling, Mom can call Italy from her landline at the same low price. It's also VOIP; it just goes through the company's servers. I have been very happy with the call quality.
Hi whidden39, Alas, just suggestions from someone without all the facts.
I don't know how much progress has been made in land-lines, but there may be a [semi-] computerized [cable?] version that allows downloads??? If not, then I wonder why not? But worth checking.
As an aside, and meaning no harm, it's possible your mom was born in the same year my parents were: 1926 (?). Must have been a good year. My mom drove quite a bit when younger. I can understand the cell phone bit, because she never really got the hang of computers and new-fangled technology, though my dad did. But cars ain't new. How did your mom get through all those years without driving (and, presumably, without a driver's license, though the various states usually have a non-driving ID)? There must be a story there worth telling, unless, of course, it's none of our business, and you are free to tell me that. Just curious, that's all.
I hope you find a way to make the phone calls happen.
John! I am 69 years old and have never owned a car. Got a license early on but always hated driving and let it lapse after I moved to Denmark in 1976. I just made it a point to live in places with good public transport, whether in Europe or the United States. Funny enough, a number of years ago, I read that one of the questions that doctors are directed to ask patients, whether they use seat belts, was more or less irrelevant in New York City, where a good percentage of people don't have a driver's license. (Of course, now that everybody in a car is required to buckle up, that point is moot.) One of my clients, for example, who is older than I am and a lifelong NYC resident, has never had a license. I have a married friend in Sweden who doesn't drive, but then her husband, until recently, did all the driving and now she has a friend who does it. It is possible to live without driving! :-D
I think if one has a normal plug-in landline, what you suggest doesn't apply. That's what I had in NJ, and it worked perfectly with KeepCalling. The building I'm in now in WI is new and has no landlines, so I just use the cell.
HenryG: Spot on, 1926 is my mother’s birth year. There’s always a story. My mother was the youngest of five children born in Boston to parents from a small town in the province of Avellino, Campania. A depression girl indeed. The old Victorian neighborhood was originally English and French Canadian. By the time my mother’s family arrived in Boston the neighborhood had already changed with previous waves of Irish and Jewish immigrants. Eventually the neighborhood became predominantly Italian. My grandmother later sold real estate and she was moving more and more of her Italian paesani into this densely settled area with ample public transit (trolly, subway, and ferry service). All services were within walking distance including movie houses, relative’s houses,etc. A car was not needed. Most women in the 50s in my neighborhood chose not to drive. It wasn’t the norm. My mother’s brother drove as did one of her three sisters. It was a different world then. I moved back to the same street as a young professional, buying a classic brownstone where I was overhoused for 35 years. I left everything behind to pursue my dream of living in Italy. I just passed my fourth anniversary here in Puglia. Life is good.
Hi almare2. With no disrepect, "for pennies" adds up to dollars. My suggestion was for free, ie- no download cost, no monthly cost, no "per-call" cost". In times of this internet, there are options. I do not know all of those options,but someone with time on their hands might discover them.
I had plenty of my own clients who did not use a computer; never did, never would, not in their entire lives. Different times. Children of the Depression fell into this scenario most frequently.
Out West, where I lived, cities were built around the automobile. Back East, there was public transportation (of questionable value, but at least already in place) that permitted (maybe) a car-free life. Out West, that was impossible. Been there; done that.
As a Westerner, don't care about NYC (mark my words!) or Sweden. Neither point serves to persuade. Apples-to-Oranges, or such-like.
Out West, one drives or one sits at bus stops for hours on end. Did that. Then bought a car.
I'm still interested in the facts of how one gets through life, from more-or-less 1926, without driving a car at some point.
Hi, John. I don't think 30 cents for a half-hour call between Italy and the US is excessive. Unless one is going to be on the phone for hours a month, it doesn't add up to that much. I have given up on the idea of trying to get everything for free.
Your question was how one could live that long without driving. I wasn't saying that everybody should live in the same place (heaven forbid), I was just pointing out that a car is not necessary to live. Even in Italy I use public transport! As whidden39 pointed out, his (or her) mom lived in Boston, where public transport is also good. I wasn't trying to say that you or anyone else should necessarily live in NYC or Sweden, merely that it is possible to live all one's life without an independent set of wheels. When I go to the airport here in WI, I take an airport shuttle. I've taken cabs at various times in various countries in Europe. Considering the cost of car insurance and upkeep, I'm still ahead. I use that money to travel, haha! :-D
Also, I respect that "Mom" does not have a computer and was suggesting a solution that can be used with an old-style landline that plugs right into the wall, the kind I had in NJ. That way she can also make calls to Italy at the 1-cent-a-minute rate.
First, let me say, to the owners of this site, that I am not receiving any e-mail updates, or whatever, from the platform. This particular e-mail by-passed me without notice. I respond only because I "found" it online. But NOT because it was sent to me. The owners of this site should inspect the delivery system and make necessary adjustments. This is not a "new" thing for me. Whatever I get via e-mail is spotty, at best. I see many answers, albeit late, to questions I did not know were posted. This is for your advisement.
To whidden 39m, BTW, I am not unfamiliar with your history, as, probably, you are not unfamiliar with mine. We are all here online, souls bared. Each of us left behind a life that was no longer tenable (for whatever reason), so here we are. The same applies to our own particular life histories, none of which are the same, except in general application.
My parents were separated by one month: July, 1926. He was born on June 30, she on Aug 1. Both were "Children of the Depression", as I call them from my law practice, having met many of them. They all had similar characteristics, but were all "tough nuts to crack". Very independent, each and every one. Both of my parents died in years past, from old age.
As most readers know, my wife is Italian. We decided to move back to her home town, Padova, in early 2017, Didn't happen until LATE 2017, but nobody is counting. We've been here now for just over 1-1/2 years. I've followed your turmoils, as, I'm sure, you've followed mine, or if not, then they are at least available online to anyone, including you, should you choose to read them.
The point is, and I'm sure you realize it in your penultimate sentence, that "life is good". I would have said, in my own words, "Life can be worse, but it's not". But they both seem to express the same sentiment, to me. Ignore the negative, enjoy the positive. Life is what you make it. "Damn the Torpedoes, Full Speed Ahead", and if that doesn't work, then "Adapt, Improvise, Overcome". But never, never, let your dreams fail, or you will certainly fail right alongside them.
In my personal opinion, the only constant is change. One MUST adapt, improvise, overcome, or one falls by the wayside, uncounted and ignored. Seems like you are trying to keep that up, having done it before with your move from Boston to Puglia (?).
I hope you can find a way to keep talking to your mother and sisters, without cost (if possible),
Hi almare2, No disrespect intended, none taken, I hope.
In today's world, I expect to get stuff for "free" so long as "they" have access to my contact list. As an attorney, that is something that I cannot do. Hence my proviso to my daughter to set up whatsapp WITHOUT the contact list being invaded. My daughter managed to do just that to her credit, and against my efforts that would have taken far longer to accomplish. Still, in this day and age, there is no reason whatsoever to continue paying companies for "services" that are given for "free" online. Just go through the online registration or whatever it's called but be sure to check the "settings" section so that what you want is what you get.
The difference in transportation methods between East Coast and West Coast is night vs day. The West was built around the car, plain and simple. The East adapted to "public transportation" of whatever quality (just like the West Coast, by the way, and it is always of quality the transcends the negative boundaries as far as "functionality" is concerned. It just "doesn't work".)
So we are talking about apples and oranges, here. I lived 50 yrs on the West coast. No car? Big problems. Flat out. No argument. Sure, some manage to live that way, as I did once, turning an 8-hr workday into a 12-hr (or more!) "adventure in commuting". No thanks.
No offense intended, but been there, done that, many times. Ain't good on the West Coast.
(Also lived on the East Coast for about 6 yrs. Didn't work there either.)
In Italy, I ride a bicycle as much as I can and leave the car sitting in the driveway for days at a time. As it should be.
HG: OMG, my parents, like yours, we’re both born in 2926 a month apart too — June (Dad) and July (Mom). I agree change is a constant test must be embraced to continue with any conviction. I often told family and friends that venturing into the unknown but leaving my comfort zone in the US was a way to light a fire under my arse when I needed it most. I hope I’m still evolving and slowing the inevitable ripening process.
I would like to be added to the list of someone who doesn't drive. I am 64 and although I have a Massachusetts driver's license which I keep current, I have not been behind a wheel in almost 46 years. I detested driving as a teenager and dreaded when it was my turn in high school to be the designated driver taking my girlfriends on a Friday night to the town center for pizza and then to the local movie theatre. I grew up in the suburbs of Boston and we had only one car, my mother and all her 4 sisters(my aunts) never learned to drive depending on their spouses, neighbors and later their children/grandchildren. My father would always remind me as he handed over the keys to our white Pontiac that this was his "bread & butter" and to be very careful with the car as he needed to get to work every day, maybe that is why I had such anxiety about driving for fear of getting in an accident leaving my father unable to go to work. I went off to college and when I returned I lived in several major cities in walking distance to my work or a subway stop away. My future husband that I met in Boston had a car so if we needed to get out of the city we did have transportation. My mother finally got her driver's license in 1962 when my father was called up for active duty during the Berlin Crisis leaving my mother with her three young daughters to fend for herself in the suburbs. While my father was stationed in Phalsbourg, France she only knew three routes non of which was on a highway. When my father returned she handed over the keys to his car and said"I will not be needing these ever again". Today my husband & I live in Lecce, Italy and do not own a car but when we need to get away my husband rents a car, just as we did while living in Valencia, Spain. I have learned to be an excellent passenger who before the GPS was in charge to hold the map on my lap(sometimes upside down) and pretended to be the navigator. I have always been a city girl so not being a driver has never posed a problem.
I have a Skype number - it is an American number. In my case 302-XXX-XXXX. For $6.99 /mo I have unlimited calls to the US and those in the US can call me on my "American telephone number " in Italy no charge to them/ If you sign up for longer than one month you get a discounted rate,
I, too, can be added to the list of non-drivers. I was always a city girl, born & raised in NYC. The only other place I ever lived was London. In my late 50's I took some lessons and I was a competent driver but I ever-so-gently tapped the curb while parallel parking during my test which is an automatic fail in NYC. Trying to get another test appointment is a nightmare; you could wait months so I forgot about it. I find I can always find a car service, Uber, or Lyft almost everywhere I go. Its very freeing not be to responsible for a car!
Maradel: Haven’t seen that village in my travels. My ancestral town is Ariana Irpino (AV). When I had trouble getting my grandfather’s birth record, I made a trip there near Easter and met the woman who had control over the constellations when it came to vital records. I left her a postage paid envelope to my address in America. A follow up Easter basket to her for her help made all the difference in the world as I received the document a week or so later.
You can add another non-driver to the list! Last time I drove a car was back in the '80s.
For those of you looking for a cheap way to call the States, take a look at Iliad. I just changed over from Tre (do not recommend) and was told that phone calls to US mobile and landline phones are included in the monthly fee. I haven't tried it yet, so I can't say anything more than that.
Hi whidden39, Of course. 1926. How coincidental that our parents were born in the same time-span of 62-days max. I no longer believe in coincidences; all things happen for a reason, and mean something, but I'm clearly not in the "need to know" class.
Color me surprised at the number of folks who have A) never driven, or B) no longer drive, though this latter often includes a factor of age. I never imagined there were so many who never drove at all.
In San Diego, public transportation would deliver you to your destination in, usually, not less than 2 hrs (at least to the destinations that required my presence, usually called "work" or "school"), where a car could make that trip in 15-20 minutes. Four hours per day sitting at a stop or on a bus just didn't cut it. I can't think of a good public transportation service anywhere on the West coast, except, maybe, and only maybe, BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) in San Francisco, and that was many (30? 40?) years ago. I cannot say what BART service is like nowadays, but suspect it has declined, like the rest of CA and CA services, as the costs to access those same services have risen.
In CA, HOV (High Occupancy Vehicles, or "carpools" to most) require two, count them, two, living persons inside the car in order to use the carpool lanes. In DC (No. VA and MD suburbs), HOV = 4 people. Someone long ago devised a system where folks without cars, or choosing to ride instead of drive, would line up at various suburban sites (Bob's Big Boy, etc.). Drivers wishing to use the HOV lane would stop, give a destination, and pick up the required number of passengers, delivering them downtown (DC, at one of two pre-chosen destinations) in less time than those not using the HOV lanes could possibly manage. Same thing worked in reverse at the end of the day. A truly wonderful system, I always thought. Folks got in, exchanged pleasantries, and then minded their own business (ie- no "chatting" expected or allowed). It was a single-purpose system, and passengers paid nothing. I never saw anything like that anywhere else, and certainly not in CA. My brother used this system for many years, negating any commuting costs to get in to work in DC. He'd ride his bicycle to Bob's Big Boy and hitch a ride after standing in the queue for mere minutes (usually). It never replaced the bus or whatever for those places that were too far off the beaten track, but it worked well from the suburbs into town and back.
Anyway, I'm glad to hear folks can manage without driving. Myself? After having had to drive to go anywhere, literally anywhere, in San Diego, I dislike driving and prefer to leave the car parked for days on end. Pub Transport here in Padova is pretty good (far better than CA), but we're on the Pianura Padana (Padovan Plains, which actually extend beyond the "Po Valley" google translation of that term), so I ride a bicycle as much as I can. It's mostly flat-lands, with the occasional overpass or river bridge. At first, I was a little bit embarrassed to be seen, in public, by God and everyone, riding a woman's bike with a basket up front. Then one day I saw "myself" (another man, more-or-less my own age, with white hair, on a similar bike with basket) coming from the other direction, right at me! We passed each other and continued on our respective journeys. After that, I just don't care! My personal bicycle (not my wife's bicycle) is an old, Fascist-era (I think) bike with two-cross-bars up top. I've tried to research that bike, but have little to go on, even now. But some folks here have told me it is likely from the 1930s. I tend to agree, because the steel in the second bar would have been needed for other things during the war years, and I've never seen this type of manufacture post-war, though I am not the final source of info on that. Sometimes I forget those cross-bars up top when dismounting! Nuts. I hate it when that happens, also always in public! Alas. Life could be worse, but it's not.
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