Ebitz, Mari-Elain mug 2018

Mari-Elain Ebitz

All Things Tech

Have you heard the word Zelle used lately in casual conversation? As in, “I just Zelled my lawn guy his payment.”

Are you still paying local bills (yard guy, pool, handy man) by snail mail (check) or check debit? Did you know that you have an alternative to paying those bills? If your local service guy has it set up on his bank account, you can pay them literally instantly by using Zelle. That is, if your bank offers that service.

The following banks in Citrus County have Zelle available for their customers: Bank of America, Regions, SunTrust, Wells Fargo and BB&T. However, Brannon, AmSouth, Capital City, GTE Federal Credit Union, Bank of Inverness do not offer it.

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It’s easy and fast. Once you’ve set Zelle up in your account and your service guy also has it, you click on his name, add the amount to send and VOILA, he’s got the money. You will receive confirmation by email, text or both — whichever you’ve set up.

Give your bank a call to find out how to set it up. They’ll be more than happy to help you. It’s a great service to both you and the service guy. You’ll save postage and time, too.

Mandatory 10-digit dialing coming in October

When I found out that the FCC is going to require using our area code to dial local numbers, I wasn’t a happy camper. Government regulations can be good, as in requiring food to be safe but why change the way we dial?

Here’s why. The FCC has adopted a new three-digit number (988) to be used nationwide to reach the National Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis Lifeline. No longer will dialing the entire 800 number be needed. Thus, 10-digit dialing will be implemented for 988 to work nationwide.

The change to 988 will start on July 16, 2022. However, the 10-digit dialing will start on Oct. 24, 2021. Not only will you have to add the area code when you manually dial, but you will need to make sure all of your contacts have the local area code, too. That way whether you call or text, you’ll be sure it will go through. It’s suggested that you start using 10-digit dialing now to create that habit.

For individuals, it’s more of an inconvenience but think about businesses. They will need to re-program all types of equipment; medical monitoring devices, PBXs, fax machines, fire or burglar alarms, speed dialers and the list goes on.

Tell the FCC about your internet

The FCC wants to know about your internet service. Many of us have given up complaining to our provider, but now we can let the FCC know. They have set up a Broadband Data Collection program to collect “first-hand accounts about availability, quality and service.” The FCC further explained on their website, “Your experience with the availability and quality of broadband services at your location will help to inform the FCC’s efforts to close the digital divide.”

They added, “In order to better determine where high speed internet services are currently unavailable, we need precise, accurate, and up-to-date broadband mapping data.”

So, if you wish to participate, go to https://www.fcc.gov/BroadbandData/consumers and share your experiences.

As always, I’ll be happy to answer any questions. Contact me at the address below.

Mari-Elain Ebitz was the first editor of the Greenbelt Gazette, which serves Sugarmill Woods, and is a past member of the College of Central Florida College Board of Trustees. She also does web design, specializing in not-for-profit organizations. You can email her at chronicletech@yahoo.com.