Being a cell phone user for more than 25 years, you can imagine the confusion with which I’ve dealt as it relates to the ever-changing offerings that have been presented to me. It’s not so much about the phones, but rather the things that can be done with them.
My first reaction? I want my life to be simple. Don’t complicate my lifeline. I just want to make a damned phone call.
In the last fifteen years, however, I have witnessed a remarkable redefining of what phones “do”. And I’ve been challenged to figure out why they’re still called “phones”. They’re not phones. They’re not just “smart”. They are laptops. They are fully functioning laptops that happen to have the capacity to make and receive calls. Since every laptop and pad is now capable of making calls, effectively offering precisely the same functions as their much smaller cousins – I would assert that for the sake of continuity – they be placed in the same family, renamed “really, really, really big phones”.
So now the question I have is “What the hell I do with it?”. What apps do I download? What apps will improve my quality of life?
And so the hunt starts. First, I look to see what’s out there. I have 416,000 apps available for download.
Of those 416,000 choices, 1,200 are apps that are designed to “manage my apps”. Really? And of those 416,000 apps, there isn’t a single “App app” that tells me what apps I should get?
And so, hesitant as I was (and remain) about downloading more “stuff” to my phone, I took the leap. I would dip my toe into the pool. I would now learn how to Apply myself. But I would NOT be at the mercy of Angry Birds. I would grab one sensible app, and be done with it.
A calendar device. That’s what I downloaded. And I liked it. It synced with the rest of my life, gave me a heads up on impending meetings, let me organize my time by providing plenty of notice for project due dates. Awesome.
But that’s as far as I’ll go as it relates to downlo… okay, there’s a pretty cool music player that I could use, but that’s it. Other than those two, I have no need for distracting programs that will do nothing but make my life more diffi… Okay. There’s a pretty sweet swiping keyboard that makes things a little simpler. And there’s a map device that could come in pretty handy. But that’s it.
And Score Mobile – a great utility for checking my football scores at a glance. And a guitar tuner. And a couple of news site apps. And an app that makes my phone sound like a light saber when I move it around. Oh! And a wicked little thing that – when I put my phone over my mouth – it makes it look like I’m talking. And the “emptying beer app”… that’s a must.
The ashtray, this paddle game and the remote control and the lamp and that’s all I need.
Having been a user of cell phones when they were “phones”, I was entirely reluctant to delve into the world where my primary tool for communication becomes a Playstation. But the truth is they’re pretty amazing devices now; holding more memory than did the primary computer aboard any Apollo mission.
There are some idiotic applications out there. No question. Having a Wiggles Songs alarm app isn’t going to make you a more productive individual. There are, however, some awfully useful tools that were developed specifically with the intention of simplifying your life. Or maybe even enriching it. Maybe.
I took too long to recognize the value of these utilities, and didn’t understand that they could, in fact, make my professional life a little simpler. And to those I mocked for downloading this stuff before I did?
There’s an appology for that.