Two things occurred to me then: The government had done something good (!) and pawn brokers are a thinly disguised mechanism for returning stolen goods to the economy.
I'd known about the ability to block a digital phone since the change from analogue, and it always struck me as ridiculous that the telco wouldn't do that as a matter of course: they are service companies, they lock the asset into their system, and they make the contract a personal thing. Isn't it good customer service to say "Sorry your phone got stolen, but rest assured the thief will get no benefit from it. Come to the show room and lets talk about a replacement..." Yes, you may end up paying for two phones and might feel personally disempowered, but the knowledge that the long arm of the telco can reach out to the thief and stop his gloating in a heartbeat has some real value.
Credit Card companies do it with stolen cards don't they? What's the difference? The stolen item has a unique identifier, the database has a flag on said number and when it appears in the system the alarm bell rings and it refuses to service it. The stolen asset is suddenly less valuable, or possibly even a liability if we take it to it's logical conclusion.
Internet connectivity would give her access to far more mental stimulation than a few games, plus potential social interaction as well.
Absolutely. We're just going to bury one of ours this week, pegged out at 91. She wasn't great technically but email was her great passion for the last couple of years, and when her computer broke (Old PC running XP and outlook express, so it was regularly falling over) she got pretty grumpy and we'd run around and fix it. - and no, I am not suggesting you give your aged dear ones computers that are shit so they get to see you more often; neither you nor they will be seeing the bright side of that sort of social interaction. Give them good tools that get out of their way and maybe they'll leave you it in the will
Mum's in her eighties and we bought her an iPad last year. She loves it. Sure, she sometimes swipes or pokes the wrong thing, but there's a button on it (home button) that solves all those problems. Just start over, no big deal. But she's in charge, and that's independence and self determination and dignity right there.
iPad and Google Street View are also a great match for immigrant families with time on their hands and stories to tell.
Waste not, get your budget cut next year.