Doctor Eclectic

Doctor Eclectic
Doctor Eclectic

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


I read last week about a 17 year-old from London who sold an app to Yahoo for tens of thousands of dollars.  Its value apparently lay in the fact that it was a means for streaming breaking news on a 24/7 basis and this would encourage the Smart Phone user to be an advertising target for someone interested in the demographic who downloaded it.

It got me thinking of how the app market has grown so fast and permeated so deeply, so quickly.  I recently upgraded my PC to a Windows 8 version, which is app driven, although I continue to use the standard Windows screen and a mouse (albeit wireless).  I do use apps on my iPhone 5 and my iPad and find some more useful than others.  Urban Spoon, for instance finds me restaurants when we travel.  TripIt coordinates all those travel segments and keeps them handy as well as reminding me of deadlines.  One I thought I would use a lot is called Find My Car, but the GPS system is a little awkward to use, especially while walking in unfamiliar territory.

I follow March Madness and NBA/NFL/ATP games and matches through apps.  I synch my Apple products through the iTunes store and rent movies from there also.  I have a neat app for golf courses that cost a bit, but helps me with distance and maps to choose the right club.  I learned to use Evernote (before it was hacked) and freed myself from notepads and even handouts at most meetings I attend.

I’m not a big gamer, but did go through my Angry Birds phase, as have most of my friends.

No one appears immune from app-dependency.  My younger son challenged both of us to search our memory for the name of a movie actor rather than Google it or look it up at IMDB, just as an exercise.  It took longer, but was rather satisfying when the name popped into my head.  That son has only had his iPad since Christmas, but is practically a fanatic by now.  His most recent discovery was an app called Hey Tell, that works like a ship-to-shore radio to another or others who share the app; sort of a voice rendition of texting.

He is much more into music on his phone than am I, although I have Hulu and Pandora.  I prefer the afore-mentioned films or even books, which I read on my iPad when I have the time, inclination, battery power, and permission from the flight deck to use a power device.  I also use some quirky apps; such as RhymeZone or, my favorite, Translate.  That app is fantastic.  My then 8 year-old grandson came home from school sharing his name in Swahili.  I asked if he knew how to say “My name is…” in Swahili and he did not.  Bringing up the app I found the phrase translated into 100 languages, including Swahili.  More the wonder, touching the speaker icon, a voice pronounced it for me.

I was thinking of apps that would be helpful to me.  One that comes to mind would prevent me from impulse buying in Trader Joes; reminding me that I have three jars of Green Thai Sauce at home, all dangerously close to reaching their sell-by date.

Or one that would remind me, before I make the 18 step descent into my garage that my keys are still on the hook and that my keyless-starting car will not start without the keys in my pocket, no matter how familiar I think I should be.

I’ll have to find me a bright 17 year-old Londoner.

Come to think of it, I saw an ad on television the other day that seemed to indicate you could start your car and its heater while still in the airplane, providing you with a cozy drive the minute you reached the parking lot.  Maybe all I need is the name of that particular one of 300,000 apps.

I was reflecting on the changes in Easter since I was a boy.  My next post will help remind you.  I hope to see you then.

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