Smartphones creating generational and income divide


Desmond White leads a very modern life, riding his bike around inner-city Newcastle, where he lives on his own in a fifth-storey apartment overlooking the wharf.

Key points:

  • The Australia Talks survey found 96 per cent of Australians use a smartphone
  • 62 per cent of Australians spend between one and six hours a day on their devices, the survey found
  • Most people think technology is making life better in Australia

But the 93-year-old was unimpressed when he recently became the owner of an iPhone.

“I had one of the old traditional phones, which was misbehaving. All callers — and I’ve got a lot of callers — would say ‘what’s up with your phone, what’s wrong with your phone?'” he said.

Optus offered Mr White a new phone and he agreed, but he was surprised to find it was an iPhone that arrived in the mail.

“I was expecting one like the old-fashioned stuff,” he said.

Suddenly, Mr White, who once presided over a successful tyre business, found himself unable to perform the previously simple task of making a phone call.

“Everybody promised — I’ve got grandkids and whatnot — to show me what to do with it,” he said.

With most of his family outside of the Newcastle area, Mr White turned to a computer club for older Novocastrians.

“I somehow managed to be able to make a call, and of course receive one … but it would be nice if I could do ever so much more, because I know it has so much to offer,” Mr White said.

“Some of them feel a little bit intimidated, feel a little bit upset because the world is changing so fast.

“It is scary, a lot of them are fearful.”

Tutors at the club say where once people would come in curious to explore this new frontier, they are now coming in because they have no choice.

With Australia moving towards a cashless economy, many people have found themselves caught out, unable to use internet banking.

Ms Keen said the generational gap was particularly glaring when younger people tried to help out.

“They [older people] say, ‘oh I asked my son, or my daughter or my grandson or granddaughter … and they say, ‘oh you do this, this and this, press this button, do that, that’s how you do it’,” she said.

“The person sitting there who hasn’t understood the vast difference in the language and all the terminology, and hasn’t seen that before, is suddenly thrown and they’re thinking, ‘I have no idea what that person did’.

“They go to replicate it later and they have no idea.”

Has technology made life better?

It has been more than a decade since Australians were introduced to smartphones, and the ABC’s Australia Talks survey found 96 per cent of people in the country now own one.

Not surprisingly though, the data shows the older you get, the less likely you are to have one.”

I, Uta, copied the above. This new technology I find very scary. I get the creeps when I am bombarded with terms like ‘the cashless society’! I am not 93 yet, I am ‘only’ 85. But I have very poor vision. The idea that in future I  may have to use an iPhone does scare me no end. My husband Peter is very close to my age. However, he knows how to use a smartphone and keeps in touch with the children and he also accesses all the information about the children that is available on Facebook. He spends many hours a day on these gadgets. I find it very helpful that he can always give me information about family and friends. So far it worked out all right that I have to rely on Peter for all this information. I think to have to spend hours and hours on these gadgets to eventually get some valuable information is not a very efficent way to get to the news that is important to me. I think I prefer to keep in touch via email or a ‘normal’ phone call if person to person contact is not possible. So far I have been lucky in that person to person contact has still been possible a lot of the time. And occasionally I still get some beautiful emails! And I like the World Wide Web and WordPress! 

“Tutors at the club say where once people would come in curious to explore this new frontier, they are now coming in because they have no choice.”

So this is what the tutors say! NO JOICE? I hope this is not true for me. I just do not feel like going to that ‘new frontier’ and spending the last bit of time that may be left to me with torturing my brain with new things that I feel I should not have to learn at this stage of my life!! Please understand, I am willing to adapt as much as possible to new things that are necessary for instance to cope with climate change, but somehow I feel that new frontier technology I should not have to be confronted with . . . .



Remembering München and some Memories about our Stay in Berlin in 2012


It was the morning after my cousin’s funeral. My cousin’s son-in-law went out early in the morning to get some bread rolls for the family’s breakfast. I asked, could come with him for the walk. I wanted to familiarize myself a bit with my cousin’s surroundings, to get more of a feeling about the area where she had lived. So we went for the short walk to the baker’s shop. I had my camera with me. Looking at some of the displays at the basker’s, I couldn’t stop myself from taking a few photos. I think the shop assistant behind the counter looked at me a bit puzzled. She probably thought I was odd taking pictures. Looking at the pictures now I still think the displays look very appealing.

It’s remarkable that all the items are priced. When it says ‘Euro 1,45’ this means it costs less than two Australian Dollars. A piece of cake like this in a cake-shop in Australia would cost more than twice as much!

We went to the KaDeWe today. We bought a very long, crusty loaf called ‘bark-bread’ Lovely treats with our coffee Peter checks his phone Amongst a lot of sweets and chocolates we found this This creation of the Brandenburg Gate is made out ofmarzipan, 50 kilogram of marzipan were used for it.It took 150 working hours to design it!

Some more copies about what I wrote in 2012 about our stay in Germany that year:

Today (2012/10/06) is already the last day of the fourth week of our stay in Germany.  The week started with Sunday when we went with Angie on a beautiful boat-tour through the city. The following day (Monday, 1st October), we met Angie at Bellevue-S-Bahn-Station  and had morning coffee with her at Thürmann Baker’s Cafe at Hansaplatz U-Bahn-Station. There’s a Post Office at Hansaplatz from where Angie sent off a parcel to one of her sisters. The weather was very pleasant again. Just right for a lovely walk through Tiergarten towards the Victory Column. Angie enjoyed this walk with us. Later on we met Ilse and Finn at the Italian Restaurant close to Hansaplatz, where the five of us had a very satisfying lunch again outside in the garden area.

Afternoon coffee and cake we had upstairs in our little apartment. Angie had booked in at the newly opened Holiday Inn at Alexanderplatz. She left on Tuesday to fly back to America. Peter and I went to Prenzlauer Berg on Tuesday and had dumplings at a restaurant near Rosenthalerplatz.

Wednesday it was time to travel ‘Criss-Cross-Through-the-Country’ to Munich for my cousin’s Urn-Burial on Thursday. On Friday we travelled back to Berlin. Travelling time was about nine hours. We just had to change trains frequently. That way we were able to travel at a much reduced price. For the two nights in Munich we stayed with my cousin’s family. We love this family. They are such friendly people. Even though it was a very sad occasion to meet them, we still had a good time with them.

So far we’ve had always friendly weather during our stay in Germany. Today is the first day where it is quite cold, wet and dark outside.




Memories and Musings about Coffee and the Voyage of a Lifetime in 1959

‘Bienenstich’, a yeast-cake, filled with a lot of thick custard and topped with buttery crumbs. This is what my mum was very good at baking. She used to bake this cake every weekend while we lived in the country towards the end of WWII.

After long searching I have found what I wrote a few years ago about our Saturday nights during 1943/1944:

“Mr.T. and Mrs.T., as well as Tante Ilse and Mum were all good friends. Every Saturday night they came together for some card games. Eight year old daughterEva and I were allowed to stay up late on those nights. For hours we were watching the adults playing cards. At the same time we entertained ourselves with doodling on bits of paper. At around ten o’clock some cake and hot chocolate as well as coffee were served. But the maids did not have to do the serving, They were already in their rooms at this hour. The cake was usually freshly baked, very fluffy yeast cake topped with delicious butter-crumbs and filled with a thick custard. Hmm, yummy!”

So I did mention this yummy cake. A bit further on in this blog I mention that mum did bake this cake every Saturday. It was usually served late at night. Here I mention how mum would like to bake this cake. (Maria made some potato salad every Saturday!)

“Mum was always impressed how quickly Maria worked. Any dirty dishes were washed immediately. She was indeed capable of doing all the housework. Mum was happy to let her do just about everything. An exception was the baking of a large cake on Saturdays, which Mum loved to do herself.”

Following I copy some childhood memories about our landlord, Werner Man:


“Our toilets were “plumps-closets” some distance away from the house. Water for cooking and washing had to be fetched from a pump in the backyard. Fetching water from the pump kept both maids, Maria and Katja, very busy indeed. For lights we had kerosene-lamps, for heating there were coal-fired stoves which could also be used for cooking. Everything was very basic.

Gradually some changes were being made. The first big change was that our landlord had electricity laid on. All the workers who lived with their families in the other part of the building, received the benefit of electricity at the same time. This certainly was a very welcome improvement for them.

The ‘Ausbau’ was built close to a dirt-track which meandered through wide open barley-, oat- and potato-fields. On the track it was a good half hour to walk to the next village. Bike-riding however made it a bit quicker.

Werner Mann, the owner of all those fields that went on for miles and miles, was an acquaintance of Tante Ilse. People said he was a millionaire. Apart from these Ländereien he owned extensive brick-works (Ziegeleien). He was our landlord and he liked to spoil us. With no strings attached! Tante Ilse only had to voice a wish and Werner Mann immediately did whatever he could to fulfill her wish. He spoiled all of us by constantly getting produce delivered to us such as: Potatoes, cabbage (for making sauerkraut), wonderful treacle made of sweet-beets, and coal for our stoves.

Even I, as a nine year old, could see that sixty year old Werner Mann was hopelessly in love with Ilse. I also was quite aware, that she always kept him at a distance. He was happy to just be invited for ”Kaffee und Kuchen” on weekends and to spend some time with all of us. He always came to visit on his bike. On his daily inspection tours of the workers in the fields he also went around on his bike. He owned coaches with horses, but hardly ever used these to go anywhere.

Occasionally we were invited to his place (which people called ‘Schloss’), Then he sent a coach with a coachman to pick us up. Once in winter when there was plenty of snow, Werner Mann sent a ‘Pferde-Schlitten’ (horse-drawn sledge). On this sledge we were wrapped up in blankets under a clear night-sky with the moon and lots of stars shining on us. It was unforgettable and one of the rare highlights in our otherwise pretty dreary country-life existence.

The place, where Werner Mann lived, did not look like a castle at all, even though people called it ‘Schloss’. It was not even a mansion but a rather large, but fairly plain house. There was a huge, fenced in veggie garden next to the house. I have seen the veggie garden only once. However I was very impressed by it, because it seemed to be very large.

When we moved to the ‘Ausbau’, Ilse had already been divorced from her first husband. It was obvious that Werner Mann would have liked to marry Ilse. However, it never came to that. Tante Ilse married Onkel Peter aka Helmut Lorenz on July 20th, 1944.”

So I mentioned in my blog that Werner Mann ‘was happy to just be invited for ”Kaffee und Kuchen” on weekends and to spend some time with all of us.’ And I say he usually came on his bike. I think he did come just for afternoon coffee and cake. Well, as far as I remember mum baked a large enough cake that would have lasted for afternoon and evening. I am sure WM never joined in the evening card games. But he was there for our Christmas Eve celebrations and somewhere I published a picture to prove it.

The following I copied somewhere about the German ‘Kaffee und Kuchen Tradition’:

Photo by Alisa Anton
Photo by Alisa Anton

Germany’s kaffee und kuchen tradition

by Gail L. Winfree
Stripes Europe
“You’ll find plenty of cafés scattered across almost every town in Germany. On any given afternoon, you’ll likely discover them bustling with people sharing a tradition that’s become a core of everyday German life.Kaffee und kuchen (coffee and cake) is an afternoon ritual where friends, family, or coworkers will meet for an hour or two to enjoy coffee, cake, and socializing. . . .”

My thoughts about this German Kaffee und Kuchen Tradition are not all that straight forward. Peter for one likes very much to stick to this tradition. The exception is when we go out for lunch. We often have then a cup of coffee straight after lunch. And later on at home we might decide to have some tea instead of coffee.
Usually we have lunch at home. I often feel like having a cup of coffee soon after lunch at home. But then Peter usually talks me out of it and makes me wait till about 3pm so that we can have coffee together. And since Peter is a great cake lover. a bit of cake is what has to come with the afternoon coffee as well!
Something else comes to mind. When we travelled to Australia in 1959 on that huge ocean liner ‘STRAITHAIRD’ we always had a cup of coffee after lunch in one of the ship’s elegant sitting rooms. I think afternoon tea was soon after four o’clock. The children had their own evening meal session probably already at five, since later on there were two different dinner session for the grown-ups. We were told at one stage that late at night there was also some yummy supper to be had. But we never stayed up that late. Unfortunately we misssed out on that! But maybe this is just as well. With yummy breakfast and mid-morning refreshments before lunch we were all too well fed anyway. I’d say, it was a luxury voyage for some poor English and German migrants! Hm, hm, how lucky can you be, I ask myself. It was the voyage of a lifetime, for sure.


I wrote in my post from 24th of October: “Soon I’ll receive a new Visa card in the mail.” Well, this card still has not arrived. In the meantime I got several reminders from wordpress that my subscription renewal is due. They wrote:

“. . .   your subscription renewal for didn’t go through. . . ”

They reckon, it might be because my card they have on file expired. Well, it really should not have expired, but unfortunately this machine in the shopping centre just swallowed it. There was no way to retrieve it. So my bank had to cancel it. But why did I not get a new card? Nobody can explain this to me how it can take such a long time to mail it to me.

To pay for my American WordPress subscription I need a Visa card. Since yesterday I am now in possession of a green eftpos card. But this is no good for payments in other countries. I can use it only in Australia.

Just this afternoon Peter came to the rescue again. He paid  the subscription with his Visa card. I am so glad that he did this for me. Now, we are both at a very advanced age. I am rather scared that Peter might die before I die. What do I do then? There are so many things that I depend on Peter for.

For some reason or another I felt very low in energy this morning. This is why  Peter helped with the cooking. He made an excellent Bolognaise sauce and I cooked some vegies to go with it. We both liked the meal very much.

Now, for the record: The bushfire season in Australia has started early. Conditions for bushfires are already very bad. Hardly any moisture, in a lot of parts in Australia severely high temperatures with a lot of winds. Last Tuesday we were warned about ‘catastrophic’ fire conditions. To be prepared for quick escapes. Not to expect to get a knock at the door to warn usabout approaching fires. To leave the house early. To go to a safe place.

We have quite a bit of very dry bushland near our home with a lot of undergrowth. Because our whole area was at the highest warning we thought we better leave early. We packed a few things and drove to a shopping centre where we had a bit of lunch. Later on we saw a movie in a cinema that is close to the shopping centre where we parked our car.

This is the movie we saw:

After the movie we had some refreshments in the shopping centre and did a bit of shopping. In the meantime a cool breaze had come up. The emergencyinformationof theNSWRuraldid not mention any more warnings. (Peter checked it on his phone)

So we happily drove home. By 6pm we were home again. We were very tired but very happy that we still had a home!




A bit of our Life in Australia

Our Brunch on a Sunday in August 2018








I copy here what I wrote in last year’s blog including the comments to that post:

Sunday, 12th of August 2018

The soft boiled eggs that Peter cooked for breakfast were perfect. I ate my warmed up crispy bread-roll with the egg, I also had some fresh strawberries with strawberry jam on one half of the bread-roll. And I took all my vitamins. We both also had a great cup of coffee for our breakfast.

At nine o’clock we started watching the Insiders’ program on ABC TV. The politics that were discussed upset me a great deal. I mean I should be used to this sort of political talk  by now where everything gets blamed on labor. But somehow it got to me today more than usual. I just could not keep my cool. Maybe I should stop watching these interviews where no question gets answered properly and were outrages lies are repeated ad  nauseam. Soon Peter handed me a bit of brandy to calm my upset stomach. This bit of brandy that I sipped very slowly, actually made me feel a whole lot better.

Later on for  brunch we had baked camenbert cheese with some bread and a glass of red wine. We also had a bit of vanilla ice-cream with apple sauce. Luckily my stomach had settled sufficiently, and I could enjoy this excellent meal. I enjoyed it very much indeed!

7 thoughts on “Sunday, 12th of August 2018”

  1. We forgot the ABC Insiders which is unusual. Just as well by the sound of it. Glad you made up for it by having such a lovely breakfast. We are finding that the ABC is so keen to remain neutral that it is now dribbling a lot of nonsense in its commentary, frightened to give an opinion, any opinion.

    1. Here you can watch the whole program, Gerard, in case you and Helvi are interested.

      “Barrie Cassidy interviews Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg, and Fiona Katauskas talks pictures with The Feed’s Jan Fran. On the panel are The Australian’s Niki Savva, Guardian Australia’s Lenore Taylor and The Saturday Paper’s Mike Seccombe.”

      Barrie Cassidy and also the panel did not upset me. The Energy Minister chose not to answer certain questions. Do you expect anything else from politicians? Sometimes I just cannot listen to them anymore! But I understand that the person who is interviewing has to remain polite. I went out for a while to calm down. But I did watch the hilarious talking pictures. A bit of fun and laughing is definitely preferable!

      What do you think of the “National Energy Guarantee” program?

  2. Thank you Uta for the links.

    Helvi watched the whole episode on my computer. She thought Frydenberg was weak. We feel that renewables are the only way to get cheap energy that will also guarantee lower emissions. It is ironic that Australia with its overabundance of resources now has some of the highest energy prices in the world.
    Sadly the word ‘renewables’ has become a dirty word in our Government. Those without solar and batteries will increasingly carry the burden of coal fired energy and its maintenance.
    What do you think will give us energy at a price that is affordable? I just had my electricity bill which was $410.- for three months. The last gas bill was about the same.

    1. Our recent electricity bill was a bit over 600 Dollars for three months, Gerard. But we use no gas. You’re right, only people who have solar and batteries can expect to pay less for power in the long run. Why does the government not want some of the old power stations to close? And why, oh why, do they even think of allowing new coal power stations to open? Surely no investor would want to invest in new coal fired power stations? Who owns the coal? Is it the government or some companies?
      Surely, we have enough sun and wind in Australia for all our energy needs. We have sun and wind for free, whereas someone has a vested interest in all the coal reserves and wants to get some adequate profit from whatever their investments were.
      I hate it that there are so many different energy companies now. The supply of energy and water should be in government’s hands only. The government should also have strict rules that our air and environment does not get polluted. But instead of looking after the needs of the total population in the first place, they are more interested in looking after vested interests and companies above all. Anyhow, this is the way I see this, and I am just an ordinary citizen without special knowledge.
      You say that renewables are the only way to get cheap energy that will also guarantee lower emissions. I could not agree more!

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  • freefall852


    That food…..drool, drool!…

  • auntyuta


    Ah Joe, it is so good, that even after another year has passed, Peter and I usually are still able to enjoy our food a real lot. And we are so lucky that we can easily afford to eat well on a low budget! Good food is very important to us and also to our extended family.

  • doesitevenmatter3


    OH! Still such a beautiful brunch…the setting, the decorative flowers, the yummy food, ETC! 🙂 I hope you enjoy brunch often!
    I enjoy seeing your photos, Uta!
    HUGS for you and Peter!!! 🙂

  • auntyuta


    Thank you, Carolyn. HUGS for you too! 🙂


Uta’s Diary, Beginning of Nov.2019

Just a couple of days ago I made this comment:

I would like to reblog this to auntyuta. In my opinion a lot of it what you say about conditions in America applies to Australia too! Just ignoring all the facts and pretending we can continue having these magnificent living standards for ever and ever, can make the situation only worse. Changes in our living standards are bound to come. I am sure we can adapt, if only, if only disastrous wars can be avoided somehow. Uta from Australia

I commented to the following post and actually reblogged it:

Here’s How Much Worse Things Will Get If Capitalism Isn’t Overthrown

‘Here’s How Much Worse Things Will Get If Capitalism Isn’t Overthrown’

Looking at this headline again, a few thoughts enter my mind. I imagine the majority of people in a majority of prosperous first world countries so far did rather well under capitalism, but even in properous countries the people at the bottom who at this stage do not so well under capitalism, these people increase more and more, that is for more and more people at the bottom all over the world things already get worse and worse. And soon it will affect also people who at the moment still do rather well. However a lot of the true capitalists are going to stay at the very top for quite a bit longer and they probably will be able to avoid a lot of the hardship that most other people have to suffer.

My worry and great concern is that if the masses are going to try to overthrow the very top people, that this will lead only to unimaginable disastrous wars. Isn’t it better to do anything to avoid such wars by continuing to do whatever is possible to reduce climate change in a peaceful way, and by for instance avoiding any clashes with the authorities? I think there are still a lot of things that can be achieved in a totally peaceful way!!

What do you think?






UTA’S Diary November 2019

I cannot remember how long ago I published a diary post. I have to check! . . . .

Well, checking my posts, I found this now:

As you can see, it is a post about ‘cardless cash’.

This is part of a comment that a very good blogger friends wrote after I published my post about the ‘lost’ Visa card. Here is what she wrote. It shows so much understanding:

” All of this can be so frustrating! I’m so sorry you had to deal with this!
The world and how we “do” life has changed so much, even in just the past 10 years…all this on-line and machine-stuff makes me nervous. Especially related to finances. 😦
Oh, well. I guess we change and adapt to survive. 🙂”

Well, I guess, people always had to change and adapt to survive. This is nothing new. But the speed of the changes definitely has changed. I do very much agree that just in the past 10 years there have been enormous changes. I ask myself how people my age are supposed to cope with these changes. My feeling is that I am getting much too slow to adapt to all these changes in an adequate way. In every way I am on a very slow lane now. Fast lanes and ever faster lanes are not for me. I wish to be allowed to outlive my life on my beautiful slow lane. That way I can still enjoy my life, what is left of it that is.