SMITH: DIY car repair in the virtual age

Susan Kashack knows as much about do-it-yourself automotive repair as I or typical goldfish do.

That it to say, she knows just enough to sense something was unusual when she came upon her son, Jeff, working on his 1988 Volvo station wagon in his driveway.

Susan, the marketing and communications VP at Sonoma State, has observed that when Jeff's dad works on a car he has more tools and instruments at ready than a brain surgeon with a scalpel fetish.

But Jeff, 31, equipped himself with a single wrench, his iPhone and his iPad.

"The iPad sat on the fender, guiding him in making the repairs," his mother said.

"He gently placed his iPhone between two very close-together pieces of the engine, then turned the camera function on and rotated the lens so it was facing him. He was then able to see what was wrong.

"He looked it up on YouTube and had the repair done within 20 minutes!"

ANNA FILICE constantly serves others, so she itches a bit to have folks preparing a benefit supper for her.

"It's kind of a humbling experience," said the Windsor mother of six recently diagnosed with a rare cancer.

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