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?


  1. Since I'm in the market right now, how about a "job posting" app. So as you're walking near an office building, the apps alerts you to possible job openings.

  2. Dru, that's actually genius. Wonder if that already exists...

  3. Yes Hallie, the translation app already exists. I have it on both my computer and my phone. It's not perfect, but pretty good.

    Dru -- I think you could make a lot of money on that app.

    So I'm just double checking here, the correct spelling for app is APP?? I always type AP first and then go back and add another P.

    Going to download the astronomy app.

  4. Soundhound is a better app for song identification than Shazam. I have both and Shazam is on my last page in a folder containing all the apps I don't use since I haven't been able to delete it.

    I want a library app that will tell me if I already own a book. I lose track of the books in my TBR pile. I could point the camera at the ISBN, click, and my iPhone would tell me if I have it on Kindle or on the shelf in paper already. I'd also love to have a FLIP DICTIONARY app.

    Ha! My spam word today is "kootrat" I guess rats can be cute. ;D

  5. I want all the apps on the post! Especially WWJAD and TSTL. How about a What The Hell Is My Motivation? app. Type in a problem or a crime and give me a reason for my protag to get involved :)

  6. Rochelle, I love the motivation idea! Silver, I like yours too...but it needs to also tell us whether we've READ a book before we buy it!

  7. There are a few ways to delete apps from your iPhone/iPod Touch (iDevice). Perhaps the easiest way is related to the way you move icons on your iDevice. Touch and hold your finger on an icon. After a few seconds, all the icons will start to wiggle and a circled x will display in the upper left corner of any app that can be deleted. Tap the x and it will ask if you are sure (not those words, but the same idea), say yes to delete. Press the Home button to return to the normal display view on your iDevice. This may depend on the iDevice operating system you have. I don't think this removes the app from your computer, just the iDevice.

    There are a few library/collection apps in the iTunes, but I've never tried any of them. I like the app suggestions already posted, I'd also like an app that gives me more time in a day. Then I'd like an app for giving suggestions to there needs to be a way to completely close an app in iOS 4 that takes fewer taps. I'm confident Apple would appreciate these suggestions. LOL! Surely that's not asking for too much?!!?? And maybe an app that will update my sadly neglected blog! :D