Friday, 6 January 2012

Aside #20: It's an App-App-(H)appy World Right at My Fingertips.. and I LOVE It!

January 2012

Ahh, the marvels of personal technology devices.  I light a candle to them every day -- they've  transformed both my professional working life and my personal life in the past three years alone.  

And I've walked willingly toward the mobile tech light -- I consider this technology to be a part of an overall commitment to a less cluttered, more sustainable, locally focussed lifestyle for cooking, home styling and work!  They have become an integral part of how I organize and manage my daily life and routines.  

(And, virtual hug, I would not be as technically literate as I've become without a lot of assistance from a close friend and colleagues who patiently guide me toward the app-y world of tech-enlightenment.) 

So, some illustrations of my own tech evolution ... 

Daily newspapers are now read on Press Reader on my iPad.  I can start reading early morning editions as early as 3 a.m. if I can't sleep.  No more newspaper recycling in our household which was famous for two or more black boxes a week.  One black box... Gone!  Press Reader costs a fraction of what it would cost to have access to more than 200 Canadian newspapers and 1,500 newspapers world-wide!  It looks exactly the same as reading the ink-smudging versions and a flick of the page without the ink on fingertips is a welcome benefit.  

Given my background in communications, I can monitor Breaking News on every major global news network 24/7/365 through a social media app called HootSuite, a Twitter social aggregator developed by a young Vancouver-based Canadian inventor!.  This one app completely outperforms the media monitoring capability of my 23-person Media Centre.  If there's Breaking News anywhere in the world, it's at my fingertips in seconds.  It's a working tool necessity for my professional life and its possibilities for marketing and trend analysis are only at the very nascent stage.  

When I find an interesting book in a store or read a review of a book I might like, I can download it in seconds (and at a fraction of the cost) to an app like Amazon's Kindle, or Kobo, or Apple's iBooks.  I can even try a few pages of a preview before buying the entire book.  If I decide to order, the download happens in seconds -- one click and the book is in my iPad Book Library.  I've systematically moved out all but a few treasured, cherished hardcover books from the house as part of an overall lightening of the burden of possessions.  

And, there's more.  There are hundreds of interesting recipe apps (e.g., Martha Stewart Food magazines and apps) to whet the app-etite (small joke).  I can even keep track of interesting recipe finds in an Recipe-keeping App (like Recipe Tracker).  Martha Stewart has THE most interactive apps.  Her corporation has figured out how to maximize the range of possibilities of the app-iPad-technology-recipe world.  A browse through a few of her magazines or apps gives audio and video clips, fast-click recipes and nutritional information and tekky additions (like sparkling lights on a Christmas tree).  

The food blogging community like the Food 52 app ladies have integrated mobile wireless apps as part of their overall marketing strategies.  Food 52, developed by two former New York Times restaurant reviewers, is not as interactive as Martha Stewart's, but features a wider range of locally grown and vegetarian recipes. Their app launch coincided with the launch a hardcover book, and well-timed promotion via Twitter, Facebook, daily listserv newsletters and their main website.  The mobile wireless app is the perfect compliment to the book. 

(Aside:  Government is still struggling with customizing these new marketing strategies for government communications strategies and the volume and speed of all these new social media technologies is stretching the capacity of departments and the communications community to the maximum.) 

When I want music, my entire music collection is stored, categorized, alphabetized, etc right at my app-fingertips on my iPad (with my entire music library stored in my nifty-new, super-duper, all bells-and-whistles Mac laptop). I have systematically disposed of old-tech records, cassettes, CDs and DVDs.... a further lightening of the 'stuff' in my life.  I watch whatever I want in Movies or old sit-coms whenever and wherever via Netflix, iTunes Movies or Crackle apps either for free or for a fraction of the cost of renting or movie-ing out.  My Entertainment Everywhere, as Apple would say.  HD most of the time! 

And, yes, I'm addicted to some gaming apps -- like getting three stars on every level of Angry Birds (boooo piggies!), building virtual We cities, and, Smurfs (for shame! ....)  I am keenly aware these games can be time-suckers and wasters but, darn, they're fun anyway.  I'm like a kid in the candy shop when I browse through the possibilities.  We didn't have anything remotely like this as kids and I now watch with envy as the little folks   manoeuver through their Leapfrog electronic games.  I'm still smarting from a New Year's Eve experience of being beaten at Leapfrog Explorer by a three-year-old.  My dinosaur knowledge is definitely NOT what it should be.  

And, of course, there's the late-night challenge of playing Scrabble via Facebook on the iPad.  Family feud linking Edmonton, Ottawa, and St. Thomas siblings? ... no problem.  Or a game with a colleague down the hall at work? ... easy-peasy.  Competitive? Absolutely.  

Boggle is a recent addition is driving me bonkers trying to stare at a one-dimensional Rubik's cube of letters and make as many words as I can in 3 minutes....   Competitive, me? (yup, even against a computer).  In a pinch, I can even use the iPad as a notebook although I find the technology for note-taking somewhat lacking.  I'm holding my breath on this aspect until the stylus evolves from its current blunt and bulky eraser form to one resembling a pen. The BlueTooth keyboard is also nifty, but cumbersome for day-to-day note-taking... 

That's a fraction of my wired household.  Add to that two HD big-screen Apple TVs, airplay and airport routers, wireless music anywhere in the house and no less than 5 flat-screen TVs in various rooms and ... well ... techno-world R us. 

The technology allows me to SHAPE my world the way I want it and to broaden my horizons and fashion projects and hobbies to my personal liking.  I don't want to live without it and can't wait to see what's next on the horizon.... 


1 comment:

  1. Guess you're out of the closet now about all your electronics and addictions :) I figured you'd "borrowed" the leapster just to practice so you'll not be beaten by our now 4 year old grandson. I wasn't clear what you were doing with airport routers in your house, but figured it was just an income generating thing. Looking forward, as always, to your next entry.