App in a Snap

By Gail Fowler 

          It’s all about Apps today — those little programs you load onto your smart phone, in my case an iPhone. Sure, an iPhone is a phone, yet it’s so much more. It’s actually a small computer that fits in the palm of your hand, and just happens to have a mobile phone as one of its features. Wasn’t it smart of Steve Jobs and company to market the Apple-developed handheld computer as a phone?  

          Apps are what makes your smart phone so much more useful than a single-purpose device. By some counts, there are more than 400,000 apps for the iPhone alone. And that doesn’t include those developed for the Blackberry, the Droid and the many other smart phones being marketed today.  

          How do you know which apps to load onto your smart phone? Which ones would you use every day? Which ones would you use only in specific circumstances, such as when you’re traveling, or when you’d like to check who’s in the lead at the Masters, or maybe even view the network news you missed last evening. You don’t have to be a techie and your smart phone doesn’t have to take over your world. It’s your tool, so use it however you like, and put it away or turn it off whenever you like. You’re in charge. 

          The first App I typically suggest for a new smart phone owner is Around Me. It’s a free app that gives you categorized information about your surroundings, wherever you are. It’s indispensible when I’m traveling. It will guide me to the closest coffee bar, grocery store or perhaps the nearest branch of my bank. Around Me tells me where things are located and how to get there. The range of categories is broad and it’s easy to use.

          There are other location-based apps that can help you find services near you. There are two other free sites, Yelp, which is good for restaurants, and Cheap Gas, which is good for its namesake. You’ll develop your favorites, too. For now, just download one, give it a try and delete it if you don’t like it. You may be surprised at how easy and useful it can be to have this type of information in the palm of your hand.               

 Gail is a retired IT professional living in Annapolis. She can be reached at [email protected]






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