The rise and rise of the app seems unstoppable. While there are limits on how much data or use any one app may support, there is no boundary to what apps can do for people.
Apps have not just become of the social fabric, they are fast becoming indispensable to improving life qualities too.
For some people, forgetting where you have parked your car can be a major disaster. Carr Matey guides you to your vehicle, speaking like a pirate! But there are serious applications for real disasters that will benefit people in the future.
A new natural disaster app is coming as the Government plans to exploit smartphone technologies to to deal with tragedies, both man made and natural: earthquakes, floods, famines, fires, wars and collapses. There is already iRhesus which offers medical professional advice to help revive injured people, but this is on a continental scale.
They are pumping money for international aid into programmes that will help coordinate rescue efforts, medical and food relief and reunite lost and separated family members as disasters unfold. Even game technology through videos is being used to train disaster response coordinators.
The news comes as it was announced that Prime Minister David Cameron will soon have on his iPad an app enabling him to rate his ministers’ performances. This has been under development for some months disguised as a device to help the PM keep on top of Government business.
Now it is out that it will have management data such as health waiting lists, response times, exam grades, unemployment statistics and any other criteria to make a judgment on an entire ministerial team through a simple points system.
There will clearly be pressure to publish outcomes, but there may be some resistance from those likely to be affected. Open up everybody’s emails and texts to scrutiny, publish details of salaries/pensions/benefits/tax details, score teachers and health workers, but not politicians?
Some Strange Ones
Launched in March 2012, there is an app to imagine yourself ‘on a post-apocalyptic zombie chase’ while on a jogging run. Other weird and wonderful ones to go alongside finding a restaurant, choosing a night spot, ordering a holiday or avoiding a speed camera have been around a couple of years and are evidently well established.
For those who like a bit of a performance featuring yourselves, there is Rimshot and Crickets, a personal soundtrack to life. It provides suitable effects to any given moment: you have just cracked a joke? The app supplies a cymbal crash. There is also a cricket chirruping, a wa-wah-waah trombone for a misfortune and a slow handclap to depress you completely.
Multi-colour Concert Lighter is a lit screen that replaces the real lit Zippo lighters admiring fans often sway to at a concert. iFart needs no explanation, but has 3 hours of sounds (but not smells, yet).
For the love-lost, a South Korean programmer has created an app that has a virtual girlfriend called Mina coming on screen and saying ‘Honey, It’s Me!’ along with a hundred other cute little phrases. iAmAMan lets you program your girlfriends’ periods and moods, your important dates and things to avoid. You can have several lovers’ details, each with his/her unique password.
Drunk Dialer requires you to hold the smartphone steady before making any call, so you will make no embarrassing misdials, but could still text something stupid. iDrunkTxt helps you send an inebriated message to somebody, even if you’re stone cold sober. iBeer fills up your screen like a glass of amber liquid, and as you tilt it to your lips, the ‘beer’ goes down.
iSteam lets you cover your screen with virtual condensation so you can finger write on it like on a bathroom mirror. High frequency sounds audible only to young people are available on Annoy-a-Teen, to keep them away from your area.
Hold On! is generally regarded as almost the most pointless app (that’s a competitive league). You press a virtual button for as long as you can, and your endurance level is measured which you can then submit to your own personal league..!
Another new one is an application that promises to help sleepers have sweet dreams. The smartphone on your pillow beside you detects when you are asleep and plays a ‘soundscape’ specially designed to stimulate the subconsciousness to create or revisit pleasant experiences, memories and events.
This is being trailed at the University of Hertfordshire, and volunteers are woken after a time and invited to write down what they dreamed and how agreeable it was. This information will be stored on ‘a dreamcatcher database’, which in due course may help scientists to influence people’s dreams and promote creativity and originality in a painless, drug-free manner.
Take your pick of apps, you are spoilt for choice. Life is made easier, fuller, busier, richer/poorer by any number of device apps. As long as you can still actually live your life.