What Exactly are “Apps?”

By Scudder Sodergreen

          Should one day you find yourself flying a Star destroyer through an asteroid belt with your buddy Darth Vader and his all-too-familiar voice rasps, “We’ve passed that asteroid before,” you’ll realize he’s right. But then you pull out your iPhone (imperial issue, of course) and pull up your intergalactic GPS app. With the detailed directions provided, you easily correct your flight path and head to the Death Star.

In today’s world this intergalactic GPS is nonexistent, but there is an app for just about everything else. Applications, or apps as they are now known, are small programs whose sole purpose is entertainment, enlightenment or to make tasks in life easier. An app is found on your smart phone (high tech cellphone) or iPad (see the OutLook spring issue), or Ipod touch or on your computer. Mundane tasks are completed faster than ever before with the easy to use and understand app. Banking, getting directions, finding and playing your favorite music or whiling away an afternoon playing a hand-held game is more fun than you can imagine. With thousands of apps available, there are a few that stand out and if you haven’t done so already, they are worth downloading to your electronic device. Each device has its own “app store” installed and it’s as simple as touching the apps icon on your screen and following the clear instructions from there to download whatever you find most interesting. Many are free.

The Boomer List of the Top Five Applications

Number One is Scrabble. Yep, a game. Have you ever had one of those days when there is nothing for you to do? Well maybe not. But I bet there are a few quiet moments available when you’d like to interact with grandchildren.  Here’s an opportunity. You can literally pull this out of your pocket and play with anyone who is available or even against your hand-held device! It’s easy. And for some of you hard-core fans, test yourself against the difficult mode; I must say I’ve only beaten it once.

Number Two is the Kindle app. For those of you, who like me, find the idea of reading a book on an iPad or Kindle or any other electronic device preposterous, this is worth a try. I must say after using this app I feel no regrets. I now purchase most of my books online and download them right onto my iPad whenever convenient. And better, at night I don’t need a light with my iPad. Because of the back-lit screen, it won’t wake anyone when I read. I haven’t gone over to the dark side yet and still love the smell of a new book, and the crinkle as you thumb through the pages, but I think this is a worthy investment.

Number Three is Netflix. When you’d like to fill a few quiet moments such as waiting for a plane or waiting in line, Netflix is now available on your electronic device. Netflix has a large Internet collection (very large) of movies where for a small subscription fee you can download and watch the movie of your choice right then and there. It’s also quite helpful when you would like to keep those grandkids in the back seat quiet.

Number Four on our list is Pandora. For those who missed the last issue, Pandora is a large Internet-based radio that allows you to type in any song or artist and it will then bring up a list of songs that resemble your entry. Of course, since nothing in life is perfect, there will be occasional songs that aren’t your favorites, but that’s why they have fast forward.

Number Five is Navigon Mobile Navigator. This is probably the best GPS app in the Apple store. You knew this when you saw the price — a whopping $49.99! This is, however, a very dependable app, and will tell you everything you need to know when you’re driving. For example: congested traffic, good shopping opportunities, the weather, restaurants or anything else that could affect your trip is inputted into this application — short of actually driving the car. The best part is, this app is available for you wherever you are.

As you pull your Star destroyer into orbit around the Death Star, you let out a long sigh of relief because this app most certainly just saved your life. And then to find even more useful and fun apps, log onto you iPhone under categories and discover hundreds more.

Scudder has spent the better part of his life trying to keep his grandparents apprised of the latest technology. He thinks he’s making headway.  He can be reached at [email protected]

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