Totally app-posite

If the squeals of delight were any indication, then Santa Claus had just parked his sled in our yard and shared out all the presents that a child could want. But, all that had happened was that I let my second grade daughter know that I had bought an iPhone. “That is so totally cool, Dad!”

The day a couple of weeks ago when I looked at my Blackberry and saw its screen totally blank told me that I was near to having to make a decision about the future of that device. I found a short-term work around by borrowing another device, but that too was soon to be prone to the blank screen syndrome. Our household is already awash with Apple devices–iMac, iPads, Macbook Air–and the older children also have their Apple hook-ups with Macbooks and iPhones (to which they had switched after some disastrous experiences with the BlackBerry Torch), so my move towards the other i-device should have been a simple one.

Although I had often bitten into Apple products, I had not yet been bitten by either touch screens or the app-bug. (Does anyone use the term ‘application’ anymore except to talk about trying to get a job or putting on sunscreen?). I have chunky fingers, and they seem more at home with pressing down on an actual key. My daughter’s fingers seem to glide over the touch pad with no errors. My hands seem like an elephant’s feet by comparison, and cannot seem to get all the correct letters tapped first time around. True, wherever I go, people are swiping and touching screens, so I can surely master the skill. Flicking on pictures and articles; tweeking fingers to enlarge images. Surely, I can do that. Well, maybe I need my eight year-old to hold my hand through the learning process :-).

People are also all raving about “this cool app” or “this great app” that they had found. Not the starchy stuff like magazines and newpapers, but the programs that provide and combine information about whatever takes your fancy. When I look at the screens of some of these people’s phones they seem like a dazzling array of interests that they want to track. It seemed that their lives had taken on a whole new meaning as they sought and found apps for them to marshal information or measure and monitor whatever they wanted to. This is a natural, digital-age extension of the search for instant gratification.

I am not going to argue about the usefulness of various apps: each to his or her own. But in the dizzying array of things for which apps have been created, I wonder how I will not get drowned by them? I’ve lived without such features for a while. Will I suddenly feel that my app-deficiency needs to be overcome with app-overload? App-all-ing. When will my phone screen soon look like an apple cart?  I know there are apps to manage and organize apps and I will be seeking them out soon.

Of course, it’s an exaggeration to say there is an app for everything. But, the potential exists for an app to be created to fit a wide range of ideas and cater to an expanding set of needs. I got back from my walk this afternoon to hear an NPR discussion about apps being developed around food topics; some have nice catchy names like ‘iSpice‘. That seemed like a fitting complement to this morning’s Washington Post article about how restaurants are cat ering to the tastes of solo diners who want to interact upclose with their personal digital assistants.

Apps seem to have taken the ignorance out of many aspects of life. Have a question you want answered? Then there’s an app to help, or it will soon be developed.

Is there an app for ‘appiness? Of course, there is.

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About The Grasshopper

Professional international economist, recently retired from an international organization. I use blogging as a way of organizing my ideas and thoughts about a range of topics. I was born in Jamaica, and spent many years being educated, living, and working in the UK. I lived in the USA for a few decades, and worked and travelled abroad extensively. My views have a wide international perspective. Father of girls. Also, married to an economist.
This entry was posted in Digital age, Internet, Life styles, Social Media, Technology. Bookmark the permalink.

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