Friday, January 18, 2008


How to Reduce Stress by Making Smart Technology Decisions in 2008

Dr. Rosenthal goes one-on-one with a 14-year old techno-geek!

Dr. Howard Rosenthal

Technology is intended to make our lives easier, less stressful and (dare I say it) fun. The cold-hard truth, however, is that technology often drives us to the boiling point. Who among us has not threatened to do bodily harm to our computers? Fess up, it won’t get you thrown in the slammer – yet!

To make your life easier, I’ve chosen to interview the most technologically sophisticated person I know: My 14-year old son, Paul Rosenthal, mastermind for the website. Paul has repaired scores of computers, a boatload of websites, and does things with his cell phone most people only dream about. (When was the last time you personally used your cell phone to secure wireless high speed internet access on your laptop from St. Louis to Pittsburgh? Try it sometime.

So, without any further ado, here is my interview with my son, 14- year old Paul Rosenthal.

Dr. Rosenthal: Paul, everybody wants an iPhone. True, I personally can’t afford one on a mental health columnist’s salary, but assuming I did have the money, would this be a wise purchase?

Paul: iPhones are very expensive because of all the hype. In addition, when you purchase the iPhone, you are locked into a single provider, AT&T. Unless your readers already have one, I suggest they save their money. A Blackberry has better email capabilities and costs less.

Dr. R: In 1965 Gordon Moore created the now famous “Moore’s Law” which postulates that transistor capabilities of computer chips double every 18-24 months. If a reader has a computer that is two or three years old, will a new out-of-the-box computer really be that much more helpful or powerful?

Paul: If you have a bottom of the line computer, then yes, you will notice a real difference then the answer is yes. If you bought a top of the line model then save your money. The difference will be minimal.

Dr. R: Gee “minimal” Paul. Do people ever tell you sound a lot like me when you are talking?

Paul: Actually dad, a teacher did tell me I sound exactly like you!

Dr. R.: Okay, let’s say a reader has a son or daughter who wants to become a gamer, should the parents be purchasing a PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360, or a Wii?
Paul: A Wii is best for younger children or those who are new to gaming. The PlayStation 3 and the XBox 360 have excellent graphics. The PlayStation is a lot more money so I don’t personally recommend it unless you want a Blu-Ray DVD player.

Dr. R: What’s the dumbest mistake folks make when buying a cell phone?

Paul: Three things: read the fine print, read the fine print, and read the fine print again. Most cell phone contracts will lock you in for two years. If you want to switch carriers there is generally a hefty termination fee so be 100% sure you like the plan before signing on the dotted line. Also, many providers offer great mail-in rebates. Remember to ask your salesperson.

Dr. R: Do all techno-geeks really wear pocket protectors?

Paul: In my mind, the label geek is a compliment and no, I’ve worn a pocket protector. My goal is to bring out the hidden geek in everybody.

Dr. R: How in the heck did you learn so much about technology when your dad (namely me) struggles to find the on/off switch on a power strip?

Paul: Well, basically at age 3, I broke your computer and decided I should learn how to fix it. Since that time, I’ve been researching technology.

Dr. Rosenthal is the author of the newly-released Special 15th Anniversary Edition of the Encyclopedia of Counseling used by counselors coast-to-coast to secure licensing and certification. His son Paul wants to make the world a better place using technology. Dr. Rosenthal’s website is