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The Age Of Apps

A new iPad and the avalanche of “apps,” all over. We’ll look at everyday life in the age of apps.

Apps during an Apple announcement in San Francisco, Wednesday, March 7, 2012. (AP)

Apps during an Apple announcement in San Francisco, Wednesday, March 7, 2012. (AP)

It’s amazing what the apps on a smart-phone or tablet can now do. And how ubiquitous they’re becoming.  Apps to play.  Apps to learn.  Apps to share and eat and track and socialize.  Point your phone at sign in Spanish.  Click.  It tells you what the sign says – in English.

We’ve got Google apps and Kindle apps and Apple apps all over.  Last week, Chunli Fu in Qingdao, China, downloaded the world’s 25 billionth Apple app – a game called “Where’s my Water?”  Apps are bringing computer power deep into the world.

This hour, On Point:  the newest, the coolest, and life in the age of apps.

-Tom Ashbrook



Hiawatha Bray, tech reporter and columnist for the Boston Globe.

Christina Bonnington,  staff writer for Wired Digital’s blog “Gadget Lab”.

From Tom’s Reading List

Wired “Despite the gaudy sales numbers and some moderately useful organizing attempts like “What’s Hot” and the self-fulfilling “Top Charts,” it’s basically an unnavigable mess of 425,000 titles pressed against the App Store window. As Joe Lindsey, a contributing editor of this guide, told me, “If the App Store were a real store, it would resemble Walmart at roughly 10 a.m. the day after Thanksgiving — an apocalyptic mess of children’s clothing, Zhu Zhu Pets, and cheap Blu-ray players.””

Video: Instagram

Here’s a video demonstrating how the Instagram app works.

Video: Path

This video shows the latest version of the Path app.

Video: Turntable.fm

Here’s a video from the tech blog Lifehacker on the Turntable.fm app.

Video: GoogleVoice

This video shows a review of the GoogleVoice app.




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  • Bob

    Just a request: can NPR stop running programs that sound like advertisements for the iPad? There should be coverage of new mobile computing–smartphones, tablets, etc., and the role of apps is newsworthy.

    But many at WBUR seem not to acknowledge that a LOT of people buy tablets that are not iPads, just as a lot of people have smartphones that are not iPhones.

    I have nothing against the iPad, but I think NPR shouldn’t favor Apple products so much. Look up the stats sometime — yes, the iPad does really well, but there are a lot of other tablets that are selling really well too. (And I’m not going to even get into the problems with Apple’s policies on its products… all I’m asking for is a little recognition of the alternatives out there.)

    • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

      Look at the videos above. I think you’re mistaken if you think this report will be tilted toward Apple even though they pretty much invented the current way of delivering small applications on mobile devices that other companies are now copying.

    • Scott

      Actually Bob ended up being correct. Just a lot of iPhone/iPad fanboyism and Android bashing. Unnecessary.

  • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

    What’s great about this “app” and app store environment, at least in my experience with Apple’s iOS and newer Mac OS X app store is the ease with which applications are bought, downloaded, installed, and updated. This is an incredible advance in computer and mobile device software.

    The other nice thing about this new app universe is that the price points tend to be lower. I’ve bought numerous 99 cent apps that are spectacular.

  • Jasoturner

    I guess I’m showing my age, but “apps” strike me as nothing more than small footprint computer programs.  I have created 8 or 9 tiny, single task programs in Visual Basic over the years to do simple things like keep track of automatic transfer switch loads, provide a searchable archive of project closeout documents, and document energy conservation initiatives and energy/cost savings. 

    I’ve always been an advocate for small, tailored software solutions over large programs that try to do it all.  And it seems like “apps” are making this approach much more mainstream.  It strikes me as a good thing from a productivity standpoint, based on my own experiences.

    • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

      Exactly Jason, you get it. But, it’s not just small, narrowly focused programs, it’s also a new way of delivering and supporting them that this new ecosystem is about and that’s as important as the narrow focus of the software (app).

      • Jasoturner

        One of these days I need to get a device that runs “apps”.  Still stuck in the Blackberry world…

        • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

          Whatever works…

    • JustSayin

       Agreed. The mega apps like MS Word are now so complex they are unusable. Many like me, find themselves retreating from overblown app complexity back to rational and quickly intuitive apps.

      Not to mention the CPU process loading and malware holes from these mega apps. People are flocking to the keep it simple model. 

      • Jasoturner

        Speaking of MS, what do you think of MS’s brilliant decision to get rid of the old menus to go with “ribbons”?  I personally would like to shoot the idiots who came up with that idea.  Just gratuitous change to justify a new release.

        • JustSayin

           Its all bells and whistles to make us think its better.  Word is so bad, I reverted back to a 1990s version and downloaded the compatibility fixes.

      • Anonymous

        I don’t beleive that they’re not unusable because they are so complex…  In 2007, MS made Word unusable because they created a brand new gee-whiz poorly re-organized interface that they needed to sell a new release, but they tried to geenrate new revenue with graphics, not with bug fixes for a host of bugs that are still present in the 2010 version, nor did they improve the interface by requiring fewer clicks to execute commands… they just made it more complex and harder for professionals to use. DOH!

  • Anonymous

    The Kodak moment has been replaced by the smart phone moment. For the person who needs constant updates about what he’s missing in his home life the Path app is for him, or her.

    Turntable.FM is lame.

    • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

      While I agree with you that folks who spend a lot of time on Facebook or with the Path app need to get a life, it’s interesting that many in this comment thread who would agree with that spend as much or more time monitoring these threads and commenting here.

      Virtual social networking takes many forms and this comment thread community, like any other, is one of those forms.

      • Anonymous

        Except I don’t come here everyday and I’m not commenting every 5 minutes.
        The app for social networking is fine but the ad for it is painting this as a kind of solution to reality of modern life. Isolation and the need to connect.
        Yet, I see people walking together and talking on their phones instead of the person next to them.
        I see people on their phones while driving all the time. 

        These apps are nothing short of a new way to get us to buy stuff and waste time. As the Turntable.FM one clearly does. 


  • Khalil Shahyd

    While I think there a many useful “applications” of mobile internet technology, much of what is produced and marketed as essential apps makes me think of Jacques Ellul’s classic book, “The Technological Society” and his concept of “technique”.

    Technique according to Ellul is; “the totality of methods rationally arrived at and having absolute efficiency (for a given stage of development) in every field of human activity.” 

    Technique according to Ellul is not just machines, technology, or method used to produce something; technique is the overriding value of efficiency above all else, the never ending quest for more efficiency. 

    The rationality of technique enforces logical and mechanical organization through division of labor, the setting of production standard, etc. And it creates an artificial system which “eliminates or subordinates the natural world.””Regarding technology, instead of it being subservient to humanity, “human beings have to adapt to it, and accept total change.” Technique produces a situation in which immense stress is placed on information in our schools. The focus in those schools is to prepare young people to enter the world of information, to be able to work with computers but knowing only their reasoning, their language, their combinations, and the connections between them. This movement is invading the whole intellectual domain and also that of conscience.
    Ellul’s commitment to scrutinize technological development is expressed as such:
    “What is at issue here is evaluating the danger of what might happen to our humanity in the present half-century, and distinguishing between what we want to keep and what we are ready to lose, between what we can welcome as legitimate human development and what we should reject with our last ounce of strength as dehumanization. I cannot think that choices of this kind are unimportant.””Modern technology has become a total phenomenon for civilization, the defining force of a new social order in which efficiency is no longer an option but a necessity imposed on all human activity”Ellul claims that “it is a fact that excessive data do not enlighten the reader or the listener; they drown him. He cannot remember them all, or coordinate them, or understand them; if he does not want to risk losing his mind, he will merely draw a general picture from them. And the more facts supplied, the more simplistic the image”. In addition, people become “caught in a web of facts they have been given. They cannot even form a choice or a judgment in other areas or on other subjects. Thus the mechanisms of modern information induce a sort of hypnosis in the individual, who cannot get out of the field that has been laid out for him by the information”.

  • Anonymous

    This show is like so 8 seconds ago… ;^)  I got my life at my workstation with tons of apps and over 350 square inches of real estate and a T1 data line, and when I’m not working, I’m not living through a 2″x3″ inch periscope: I’m living outside the box - in the real world!

    Google voice looks like it has serious utility. If I was a consultant I’ld employ my smartphone for sure, but to do real work, am I supposed to believe that I would only be carrying a smart phone?

    • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

      I don’t think anyone is saying a smartphone can replace your workstation but it’s useful to have a number of devices, all connected and working together.

    • Scott

      Google Voice is great. Not only do you get “visual voicemail”, but it will use voice-recognition to transcribe the voicemail to text so you can read it without listening to it. On top of that, you can have it email you when you get a voicemail and see the contents of the voicemail. You can also listen to voicemails from any desktop computer, via the web interface.

      Plus you get free unlimited text messaging. This alone is worth it, and I canceled my texting plan. It’s great to save money.

      And if you do any international calling, it’s also handy and a money-saver. Free unlimited calling to/from Canada? I’ve made good use of that.

      iPhone users are really missing out. Google Voice used to be available for iPhone, but Apple decided they’d have no more of that. As a result, iPhone users are left oblivious about how good things can be. If it’s not on iTunes, they think it doesn’t exist or isn’t possible…

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  • AC

    my stepdad tells Siri he loves her, & she says “you are the wind beneath my wings, Joe”…

  • AC

    i love my waze app. i feel sorry for people who spend money on a gps….
    also my Mathtasks, units & multiconvert app…wish I had them in college!
    TED mobile, NPR, Translate – Epicurious!!

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    I still refer to things by their proper name:  application. But I don’t adopt new things just because they’re new.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Give up your privacy and allow anyone to track you?  There’s an application for that.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    You know how you can use a map and a compass or the sun?

    • AC

      i love maps, a little weird obsession with them, but i can have a map & gps on Waze – I can even correct wrong roads or add new ones. I added all the roads for my in-laws because they just moved into a new development for 55+ living…

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    There’s a dark side to apps – my daughter’s smartphone provider, has boingo installed (alerts near wifi hotspots). Boingo alert noises are very annoying and can be incessant depending on where you are – however the only way to disable them on her phone is to purchase the app.

  • Ed

    My cell phone is so old it has a rotary dial, however that has not stopped me from investing in a small app service provider specializing in self help, yoga, hypnotist apps such as Eckhart Tolle apps.

  • Jenna

    That’s trouble with a “T”
    That rhymes with “P”
    That stands for “POOL”

  • David

    I find the influx of apps into everyday activities to be degrading  to the experience of living. The example that Mr. Bray gave regarding walking around a mall with your nose buried in your iphone is perfect. Just as so many people no longer pay attention to where they are and what’s around them when they’re in their car thanks to overuse of GPS systems, smartphones have the potential to avert our gazes from one another and our surrounding even when we’re walking around the museum, or a mall, or Fenway park…

    This is NOT a good thing.

  • Anonymous

    Apps, schmapps.  I could not possible care less.  Don’t have a smarphone and probably will never get one.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    I don’t need a widget to tell me what’s in a mall.  Bad music, rude teenagers, incompetent employees (but I may be repeating myself), and schlock.  Did I miss something?

    • Jasoturner

      Fine cuisine…

  • WW_ph15

    Being bombarded by ads and hunted by “acquaintances” doesn’t sound very appealing. Choosing to use an app for a search when you need it is a much better way to go. Too much “connecting to people and stuff” just clutters your life like white noise.

  • john

    Edward Murrow observed early on as computers were emerging into our lives, “The newest computer can merely compound, at speed,
    the oldest problem in the relations between human beings, and in the end
    the communicator will be confronted with the old problem, of what to
    say and how to say it.” A new bell, a new whistle, whoopee… quality of life, or another way to drive sales?


  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Ah, he watched “24.”  This explains much.

  • Anonymous

    I’d like an app that would alert the user that he or she is speaking too loudly into the cellphone.  Another one would prevent texting during movies.  Another would prevent people from talking on phones in book stores, libraries, or on public transportation.

    • Also me

      Maybe one that could give them a little ZAP. ;)

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    And he watched “Downton Abbey.”  Yup, keep digging, guy.

  • Kmorrison1

    I don’t have a cell phone, but I have heard about “apps” for some time. Could someone please define “app” and how it could the name?

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

       Application.  It’s a small program, just like the things that run on a PC.

  • Tomernation

    I use the wbur app!

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    I’m the guy on your tail because you’re sitting there playing with your telephone, rather than driving.  Get off the road.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Privacy means nothing to these children, it seems.

  • Roy Mac

    Is there an app that tells you when you’ve reached maximum stupidity?

  • Mike from Rutland, MA

    I JUST uninstalled the iOnRoad app.  Sucked up my battery life even in the background.  That’s the problem with many of these apps.  Another thing that peeves me is the amount of personal information MANY of these apps request to collect.  In some cases it seems more like information farming for marketing.  Who knows what they do with this data!

  • Bulklr

    Are apps free?

    • Also me

      Some are, some aren’t. The free ones can be kind of caveat emptor, if you know what I mean.

    • Scott

       Some are, some aren’t.

  • Jim

    But what about security/privacy? In this GPS enabled, Facebook connected, Google+ world of data mining and connection insecurity, why would anyone want to allow even more visibility into who they are, how they live and what they do.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    This is a stalker’s paradise.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    When you’re driving down the road?  Are you people insane?  Please, announce your driving intentions before you leave your house so I can avoid you.

  • http://twitter.com/saabrian Brian

    FYI about Shazam: it does not usually recognize
    LIVE music of any kind. 

  • A Szerlip

    Try Sound Hound..it’s like Shazaam but it can recognize a person humming a tune and can also provide song lyrics for Karaoke!

    • Scott

      Big fan of Soundhound. Much better than Shazam. I even have the paid version. I have to wonder about these so-called “experts” on the show right now.

  • Steve

    The digital age has taken feminine beauty off the streets. Girls use to walk head up, hips swinging proudly in the fashion of their time; now they look like Dustin Hoffman in Midnight Cowboy, shoulders to their ears, hunched over in search of some magical connection.

    • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

      Amen brother.

  • Anonymous

    Pretty hard to take these looneys seriously. This Hiawatha type seems to be on super steroids.

    Rather astonishing that Ashbrook just swallows the stuff whole – more astonishing is how Hiawatha keeps his job at BG.

    • Jim

      Seroiusly Rob?!?!?

      I agree with you about the steroids types, but the answer to how Tom keeps his job is evidenced by programs like the 1st hour was.

      • Anonymous

        Was referring to Hiawatha’s job

    • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

      I think you make a valid point. Tom isn’t all that tech savvy and sometimes it sounds like he’s digging for an aspect of the story he knows enough about to comment on. And, because of that he might not know enough to question guests on things they say that are over the top.

  • Jeff

    Guest just said Iphone apps don’t crash. I just bought a 4S for my wife a month ago and I’ve had to reinstall the Facebook app twice because it locked up.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Jenny, it existed before cell phones.  We used to call it an answering machine.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Use your brain for other things?  Go ahead, give us a demonstration, as your claim is in doubt.

  • WW_ph15

    Here’s an app that will teach your child and give them something to do while they are waiting at the Dr.’s office, or some place. http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/trace-letters/id499957277?mt=8

  • Scott

    What’s with all the Android-bashing? It’s exaggerated, uncalled for, and tiring. And the fact that the “expert” has revealed how utterly unfamiliar with Android he is by not knowing what Google Voice is, or Google Play (simply a renaming of the Android Marketplace) demonstrates his lack of qualification for being on the show discussing this topic.

    I am a long-time Android user and since I don’t mean this to become an Android-vs-iPhone battle, I will simply say that there are NUMEROUS examples of things you can do on Android and CANNOT do on iPhone. The fragmentation issue being talked about is blown WAY out of proportion and rarely an issue… no more than older iPhones that can’t be upgraded to the lastest iOS. Stick to the topic at-hand and reign-in the over-zealous Android-hater, please.

    • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

      I agree, and I’m an iOS user. No need to bash anything, it’s all good.

  • Anonymous

    What do you say? We’re not really smarter than the ancient Greeks or Romans, but our technology is just different and we know more… except that smartphones are making us stupid. Go figure… if you still can!

  • Dab200

    It is a terrifying perspective – I work and travel for business a lot, all day long I am with people and talking to them thus my only quality time with ‘myself’ as to speak, is when I am waiting at the airport. Now I will have to worry that someone will spot me …. Will I have to go back to the old type of mobile phone, with no apps, the one that was far calling only to avoid it?

  • Jen

    Although I have been an enthusiastic user of Gmail and other Google products, one of the reasons I won’t buy apps from the Android Market is that I simply don’t trust Google with my credit card info. They have no real customer support model, only forums where users try to help each other when something goes wrong during the purchase process. At least with Apple I have a chance to contact a real person!

    • Scott

       How do you contact an Apple person? Maybe you’re one of the lucky few to be near an Apple Store, but for the rest of us, Apple Stores are as existent as Google Stores… meaning, they don’t exist.

      On the flipside, I HAVE contacted Google’s online support and gotten quick and successful help. They certainly DO have a customer support model, and it has worked every time I have tried using it.

      • Jen

        You can contact apple if you have a problem with a purchase. Whereas with Google, unless you have a very basic problem, I have found that issues are rarely addressed by a Google employee in the forums. I personally have issues outstanding with Google that have not been responded to for months. I have had the same frustrations, but to a much lesser extent with Microsoft, which seems to have gotten better lately at replying to issues.

        • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

          Amen Jen, Apple’s phone support is excellent. I’ve had no problem with them in decades of using them and if one has Applecare on a product that same support continues for another two years.

  • BHA in Vermont

    Doesn’t Christina’s ‘planned’ app with a response that there are “so many apps that already do that” point out the BIG problem.

    There is no way anyone could find the app they want among the millions already out there.

    • Scott

      There are all sorts of ways to find apps, and the quality apps get discovered and bubble to the surface. Between online review sites, radio shows and podcasts like this one, and following the chain of “users who viewed this app also viewed…” leads one on a journey of discovery. That combined with the reviews make it plenty easy to find the good apps.

      To have only a small number of apps in the market is NOT a better alternative. It’d either mean low quality and/or limited selection, and it’d require an overly-restrictive barrier to entry for developers which would not make them happy or lead to a flourishing development culture.

      • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

        Absolutely Scott, I agree 100%. Between excellent categorization and tagging and user reviews it’s easy to find not only what you want but the best of what you want.

  • Anonymous

    Jim – I was referring to Hiawatha and his job – not Tom – can’t believe BG doesn’t require a bit more objective and critical thinking.

    Though would have expected more ‘doubts’ from TA

    • Jim

      Rescanned your comment.
      DOH! Mea culpa.

    • Anonymous

      The Globe probably won’t be around long.  The paywall is going to fail as most of the content isn’t worth paying for and the free content on boston.com is garbage like slideshows on the best pizza in Boston so the number of users will decline and the advertizers will follow. 

  • Hank

    I am listening to the show right now and hearing in part about apps that create nuisance intrusion (not much better than banner ads and spam) and little consumer benefit such as Wifair (sp?)…. and about some apps that have potential. My question is: “are the guests seeing anything that is not a “toy” but has real utility and sticking power especially those that can be useful in a business or academic setting?”

  • gemli

    How about an app that knows via GPS that you’re in a movie theatre, and tells you to shut up if you try to use the phone.

  • Jlweathers

    what about the economics of apps…how do the app authors make money from their application?

    • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

      The only way to sell an iOS app is through Apple’s iTunes store and authors are paid a percentage of sales.

  • Roy Mac

    Bray is a fool if he believes Google dashboard gives ANY control to the user; it’s merely Google’s attempt to not “be evil.”

  • Maya

    Doesn’t this increase our dependent on phones? Soon we won’t be able to do most basic things on our own (e.g. people immediately take out their phones to split bills/calculate tips. We used to be able to do that ourselves!)

    • Maya


    • http://twitter.com/Zandatsu Kai

      People used to have to hunt for their food. Your argument is moot.

  • Tim

    I like the convenience of not having to carry a paper boarding pass and just being able to scan it the security check point at the airport.

    • Anonymous

      Just wait till that system gets hacked and you can sit next to a reincarnation of Bin Laden

      Paper + reconfirmation of your ID still a pretty good firewall

    • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

      I agree Tim, I do this regularly, haven’t sat next to Bin Laden yet.

  • Anonymous

    Tom doing a great imitation of Larry King – with a lot of Charlie Rose  :-(

  • Tim

    Oh and I am listening to the show via the Tune In radio app.

  • Scott

    One doesn’t need to connect into an emulated Windows environment to create MS Office documents, or have access to “cloud” storage.

    Plenty of apps, such as Polaris Office, QuickOffice, Documents to Go, OfficeSuite, and Google Docs can create and edit Microsoft-format documents without having to remotely connect to a virtualized Windows desktop. And Google Docs comes with cloud storage integrated… for the rest, you can use free services like Dropbox (2GB free) or Box (50GB free for Android users).

    • Starluna

      On the Ipad, you do not have all of the functionality of Google Docs as you do in a Windows environment.  You can’t do track changes.  You can’t add comments.  It is very limited.

  • Pete Rossetti

    I’m sorry, but to me, the level of enthusiasm for these things that is being exhibited by Hiawatha and Christina borders on mania or obsession.  I’m hearing them describe functionality that seems arcane and/or highly specialized.  I think there are better ways to spend ones time than searching out applications that perform such narrowly focussed functions.
    e.g., I think I’ll look for a pair of glasses I can put on that uses a camera to view the world in front or me and produces a visual image on my retina — thus sparing me the trouble of looking at the world with my own two eyes… Wow, hey, someone invented this.  Let me go buy a pair so I can show it off to my friends.  Again, sorry, but I just don’t get it.

    • Anonymous

      Exactly! But it is joining the lunatic mania of Facebook and Twitter which are already well beyond the pale.

    • Hank

      Hiawatha seems to focus on trendy apps with very little potential for LT sticking power and good utility. The mall app is nothing but an invitation to sucking people into buying items that they don’t need and are benefitting only the retailer. Who knows what cookies/spyware is dropped on the user by apps like this. Hia is really a toy salesman not a seasoned reviewer. Christina seems hung over or something: she is very “low value add” on the show.

      Suggestion for Tom: please find better-informed less-biased participants for these apps/Internet shows; those of us who have been at this for many years deserve better.

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  • Anonymous

    I enjoyed the show and the enthusiasm of the panelists. Let me read back a quick review of the grammar involved as I heard it: “I can’t believe how bright the future is what with the greater connectivity my new Iphone is giving me to the purchasable world around me, and even now my iphone is telling me that I am standing in front of a store that sells Chinese food, telling me that I am not moving, that I am alone but that so are 24 of my friends (alone that is) 17 of who are having a bad day and three of which got drunk last night and slept with their sisters’ husbands, telling me that the song coming out of the store to my right is Eye of the Tiger, that my bladder is full, telling me that those were waves whipping up in the ocean to my left yesterday as I drove north on I-Appleoceanhighway, telling me that I can buy everything I need to make me happy and better connected from any of the stores surrounding me or within two miles, that I left my car in the parking lot 25 minutes ago, that my friends agree that there must have been new writers for the Modern Family episode aired last night and that my mother declined the gift I ordered for her online for her birthday that I otherwise would have forgotten without the app and reminding me that my bladder was full 15 minutes ago and that the dog just peed on the kitchen floor because I couldn’t find the app that would have convinced my boss to give me the extra 20 minutes I needed to get home to let the dog out; but thank god I no longer have to lug around that shoebox full of photographs that imperfectly captured the tattered kodak/polaroid history of my family.” Brilliant. How the world changes thanks to the thousands of dollars spent to be better connected to it. Ooopps. Gotta’ go. New app I wanna’ try out that orderes T-paper based on water usage here at the house.

  • Paraider

    Great show, interesting topic that will touch us all in one way or another.

  • Josib225

    How can I get a transcript of this show

  • J. Arnon

    Apple is the McDonald’s of the digital age.

  • Hidan

    Just want I want a bunch of ads and noise flashing on my cell phone while walking around in the mall. 

  • Kimberly

    I am actually listening to On Point via my tablet using an Android app. While there are many apps that keep me entertained, I mainly use apps on my phone and tablet for my autistic son. It’s amazing seeing him learn and grow, he can’t speak but knows how to open his games on my tablet! We use apps like ABC Phonics, Numbers, Connect the Dots all by Intellijoy in the Android Market.

  • Roy Mac

    Great ways to spend.  What about ways to earn, other than developing yet one more app to entirce people to spend??  Tom:  Where do you FIND these people??  Does NPR now pay people to appear on air?

  • Noel

    Personally I found this show very disturbing; enough so that I really couldn’t listen very far into it. Maybe they woke up latter on, I’ll never know. I also found it quite ironic that on a supposedly non-commercial radio I had to listen to a bunch of yuppies frothing about the joy’s of being bombarded by largely meaningless commercial bs in order to live a largely meaningless commercial life.

    Someday we’ll have a robot to live for us! he or she will go out and do everything we need! You and I will be recognized for what we are; largely shallow irrelevant plastic human beings.
    Why don’t you just look up and open your eyes to the world around you. “Oh! I have an app that can identify bird songs and if I’m in a concrete hell, it can play chirps for me, and show me a picture of the birds!” Wake up! use your brain!

    • Tara Prakash Tripathi

      Why don’t you just look up and open your eyes to the world around you. What if you are litterally blind and can’t open your eyes? The third party apps are doing so much people who can’t see, they are on Android as well as iPhone platforms. A blind person can take the picture of a menu page, just for one example, and with in a moment he knows what’s on the menu. No need to opened eyes!!! I agree there are dumbing down effects of technology, but one can’t completely discount the benefits.



    • http://twitter.com/Zandatsu Kai

      Did an app beat you up and take your lunch money? Aww, bless.

    • Anonymous

      I’ll bet one of your ancestors was complaining about this new-fangled “radio” business: “When I was a boy, we only talked to people who lived within 4 miles! Nowadays, these whippersnappers with their radios are going to turn into nothing but a giant set of ears! ‘Oh look, I have a RADIO! I don’t need to plow the field or harvest the crops!’”

      And before that, books: “Nowadays, these young people can just go and read their books with all kinds of crazy ideas instead of listening to the priest. ‘Oh, I read a book! I think that the earth revolves around the sun!’”

    • Anonymous

      You’re obviously an old fart completely out of touch with modern reality. YOU are the one who needs to do some homework. Or just wake up. It’s 2012, not 1912.

  • Vincentsiuc

    The Aps show was completely stupid and shallow. Like most cell phone users. Aps are catalogues. Money is the driving force, not social or humanitarian interaction.  They are created by third tier programmers who use existing search engine and filtering software to make MONEY. They sell the on-ap presence, the advertising space and there is a fee for using them – start up or ongoing.  They are based on the classic business model of offering free access, building usership and selling the network to someone else who collects and licenses them (including the information they collect on the users).

    The system is rigged because the ap only shows the results of their clients, and in the order the client pays for positing them in.

    Do some homework.

    Vincent Rhomberg
    St. Louis, MO

  • Tara Prakash Tripathi

    It was a discussion worth listening to. The guests were very animated as we all are while talking about our smartphones and the new apps we discover. I wanted to respond to one of the callers who said that he was partially sighted. The guests and Tom both handled the query very smartly. The first thing to know about iPhone for the visually challenged users is a built in app called Voice over. In the latest iPhones and iPod touch systems you just need to press the home key thrice in quick succession and you have a talking phone, announcing everything that’s there on the screen. If you dont  need the program, just press the home key thrice and you have your phone without the chatter. There is a lot on the iPhone platerfm for the visucally challenged and the blind. You can subscribe to viphone@googlegroups.com to know more. Or you can email me  ttripath@ucf.edu with your requirements and I can tell you the app from the perspective of the blind and visually challenged.
    TaraPrakash Tripathi. University of Central Florida.

  • Johnjurich

    What a horrible show unless it was intended as a pastiche.  Welcome aboard the Hindenberg you idiots. 

  • http://twitter.com/Zandatsu Kai

    Lot’s of comments from an older generation of people in here. Not surprising the show doesn’t appeal to them.

  • JGerlager

    Really enjoyed this show. It was great to hear everyone’s perspective. 

    Can someone post a complete list of the apps mentioned during the show?

  • Anonymous

    Bunch of comments from old farts completely out of touch with modern reality. Typical rantings against the world that’s changing around them & they have no understanding of. Wake up, people. It’s 2012, not 1912.

    P.S. BTW, this type of mindset is the reason so many Americans are unemployed when companies are desperately looking for people. No one wants to hire idiots who don’t have the most basic understanding of the modern tech world and are proud of it.

    • Edpf

      It is very foolish to question nothing and doesn’t make you an old fart for doing so. It says alot for your app-addled brain that you feel it ok to argue with cheap shots. Many people would rather be unemployed than rotting away at a computer screen. THERE IS MORE TO LIFE. One could suggest that you could sink into your computer based hell life as an old fart. Why not use your legs while they still function correctly? BTW I am an IT professional in his twenties. 

      • Anonymous

        Your reply actually says a lot for your brain or rather lack thereof because you’ve made a lot of idiotic assumptions about someone you don’t know. While I work in the IT industry believe me I don’t “rot in front of a computer screen” all day. I’m very active, exercise 5 times a week & have travelled to more countries than you’ve probably heard of. It’s also ironic that you accuse me of rotting away in front of a computer screen when you also work in IT. Lastly, I said what I said because a lot of the comments on here were simply idiotic, and obviously from typical old farts who can’t get a grip on modern reality and always whine about how the world was better when they were young. This is an age old issue. Old people always whine about the modern world and think it was all better when they were young. It’s never actually true. They just think so because they were young and had a lot more fun. One more thing… believe me, if you knew me you wouldn’t say that I question nothing. My brain is not app addled, but yours obviously just isn’t functioning particularly well.

      • Anonymous

        Oh, and regarding the actual issue discussed in the show I agree with one of the guests. I don’t see how using apps makes you in any way inferior to someone like yourself. You’re just a pretentious idiot who finds stupid non-reasons to feel superior to someone because they don’t live their life exactly like you do. Using apps helps me get info easily and get around the real world. I use them not to disconnect, but to connect to my surroundings in a more efficient way.

        You and a bunch of old fogies on here are the kinds of people that whine that using GPS somehow makes you stupid when in fact it’s just a much more efficient way of getting to places than fumbling with a paper map or getting lost and asking random people for directions. 

        That’s exactly how I use the other apps. They’re either for info intake about things I’m interested in while I’m idle (say commuting) or for getting info on what’s going on around me and how to get there. 

  • Bin

    But they do not have Word War III yet …

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