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A thought for those who are alone this Christmas

Technically Incorrect: Sometimes, a gadget is the only thing that can bring someone at least a little comfort at Christmas.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.

One call, one text can make a lot of difference.

Donald Bell/CNET

This is my annual appeal.

Though we amuse ourselves here with talk of gadgets and the future, the reality at Christmas is that, for some people, gadgets are all they have.

Otherwise, they are alone.

While others are celebrating together -- some reluctantly, some joyously -- there are people in every town, in every country who will spend Christmas with no one.

It may be that they have no more family and feel too embarrassed to accept invitations from others.

They might have lost contact with their family through circumstance, through their own bad judgment or through misunderstandings that no one bothered repairing.

They might be so enmeshed in a career that they suddenly look around and don't know how they got to where they are, but where they are is an empty space.

They might have lost a loved one or been rejected harshly, cruelly by someone they thought they'd spend their Christmas and their lives with.

They might have isolated themselves because of fears or complexes that twist their minds in all sorts of ways.

They might have been separated by capricious law from the very people they wish they were with most.

These are the people who need to be contacted at Christmas. And gadgets now have so many ways to facilitate communication with those who dearly, and perhaps privately, wish they weren't alone.

Whether it's a text or through FaceTime, Snapchat, Facebook or WhatsApp, a simple message, a small reminder, a basic human thought can make all the difference to these people.

The message might be anything from "I love you" to "I'm thinking of you" to "Why don't you come over now and help us eat some of this damn turkey?"

So many companies talk about a connected world, one in which we "share."

I fancy there are few more significant moments than Christmas to use your gadget to make someone else feel good.

You can't make everyone celebrate. But by offering your words or showing your face on a screen, you can demonstrate that pain, sorrow, offense, despair and hopelessness can be set aside just for a moment in favor of something slightly preferable.

So many tech execs like to claim they're making the world a better place.

Christmas is one time when a gadget can make a lonely person's world just a little better.

So please do it.

I wish everyone who reads Technically Incorrect a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays or whatever phrase you use to signify that this time of year is special.