January 21

The Jan. 18 Metro article “Phones getting smarter, but their owners aren’t” touched a nerve with me. The users are not the problem. The problem is that the petulant bullies who design these systems (and who are definitely not geniuses) design them for themselves, not to fulfill the needs of the real people who will be using the phones. I am willing to bet that most ordinary people don’t care about apps and other high-tech bells and whistles. I think the vast majority of people would be perfectly happy with phones that were relatively simple to operate and didn’t sound like you were calling from SeaWorld.

The users do not lack intelligence. The designers need to activate their common sense before unleashing the next unnecessary set of upgrades on a harried and exhausted public.

Clare Feinson, Washington

I am in my mid-50s, and I recently switched to a new smartphone and became suddenly clueless. My husband and son soon got tired of providing tech support, so I did what I do with virtually everything I need instant help with: I turned to Google. I get quick and easy answers on how to do (or undo) something on my phone, and if I forget something I just Google it again. Search engines are always available, they don’t get exasperated or tired, and if I can’t understand the answer provided in one tech blog, there are always others to try.

Google has become my lifesaver as I get older and forget things, so I cannot understand why older people are often afraid of it, too. It’s simple and solves all sorts of problems your “Digital Native” children can’t be bothered with — including word recall, settling family arguments over factual matters and how to turn off your smartphone.

Kathleen P. Brannon, Herndon