Monday, November 8, 2010
Jungle Red Apps
ROBERTA: Even if you don't own an iphone or other smartphone, you've certainly heard of "apps" or software applications for these phones. If you're like me, you've abandoned some of the apps you bought or downloaded already. I chose one called "stress relief" that features various seashells with accompanying soothing noises. I used that once.
I noticed a new one called bedbugs and things--how to recognize the bugs and their bites. I'm passing on that. But I did read about one in my American Psychological Association magazine called "The Grouchies" that helps kids deal with bad moods. Seems like adults could use one of those too!
But now I'm thinking we should be clever and talented enough to come up a few apps that would really take off. What about a biofeedback app in which the phone would measure heart rate and blood pressure and then help you bring it down on the spot? How about you Jungle Reds--any great ideas? (For Jan, maybe an app that screeches if you reach for the email before you've done your words?)
JAN: My husband makes fun of me for all the apps on my phone. But I use a lot of them. MY REVIEW of the best apps: the guitar tuner app;, the MLB (baseball) app.; the Dictionary app (it even pronounces the word for you) the language translation app, and my favorite, the Pandora radio app, which lets you devise your own station with only the music you like.
I've downloaded stupid ones too, that I haven't quite figured out how to delete. And one I haven't tried yet. You are supposed to be able to point it at the song on the radio and it will identify it.
HANK: Yeah, that's Shazam. Cool.
JAN: In that vein, we could devise an app that lets you point at row of mysteries on the shelf and tell you if you would like it given your mystery reading history. Or an app that would fake an emergency phone call whenever you were sitting through a long speech. And maybe an app that automatically deletes apps that turned out to be foolish and that you now never open on your phone.
HANK: Oh, I want an Iphone! I have a phone that only makes and receives calls, can you believe it? (Pandora is on my computer, though, and I love it.) I LOVE the astronomy app, where you can hold it up to the night sky, and via gps identify constellations. Amazing.
How 'bout a tstl app? Where you can enter something or character does, and it will tell you if it's too stupid?
And oh, a naming app! For sure! Where you could enter a characters , say: "hip smart army nurse, about 35, blonde, born in New Jersey to a Jewish mom and an Irish dad." And it would shoot back a perfect name for her: Sarah Mulligan. Ah, actually, how do you design apps? That one might actually work.
HALLIE: I'm so jealous of all your smartphones. I just upgraded from a cell phone that couldn't even text.
Great ideas, Hank. Though I want a wwcd app - you enter something a character does, and it tells you what the character does next. Oh, please please please, can I have that one?
How about a language translation app - you say something into the phone and it says it back in English so you can verify it understood and then says it in the language you pick. Does this already exist?
Or for paranoid tourists, an app that figures out where you are from GPS data and matches it with a database of crime statistics, warning you when you've wandered into a high crime area -- code yellow, orange, red.
But I'll know smartphones have really arrive when I can say to one, "Beam me up, Scottie!"
RHYS: My phone only calls and texts, but I do have an iPod touch which is pretty much like the iPhone without the phone part. But I really only use it for music. My only apps so far--Scrabble and a tennis game. Hallie, you wouldn't want the wwcd app as it would always choose the predicatable action and thus make a boring story. I wouldn't mind a wwjad app--as in 'what would Jane Austen do?" But I'd really like an app that made the phone look like a mirror only I look twenty years younger. And one that translates what my husband says from manspeak into womanspeak so we can actually communicate properly.
ROBERTA: I'm going right now to download the astronomy app, and figure out Pandora. Rhys, the problem with your mirror app is that all the other mirrors in the world would show us just as we are!
How about you, Jungle Red Readers? Any great ideas for a new app? Or old favorites?