Goshen News, Goshen, IN

December 10, 2012

GROUNDS FOR INSANITY: Low speed in the tech age — do they have an app for that?

By RHONDA SCHROCK
COLUMNIST

— The scales of justice are out of whack. Wildly so, if you ask me.

Why is it that when the demands of life are at their peak, your energy’s gone? You’re shot. Pooped. Washed out like the sea at low tide, leaving nothing but a crab or two and a hank of stringy seaweed on your proverbial shoreline? How come?

Just when you’re working like a one-armed paperhanger to establish your career. Just as you’re knee deep in teenagers and college kids. Just at the time your financial needs are the greatest and you’re funneling buckets of money to your insurance guy, it hits you. You’re not a Mustang anymore. You’re an aging Chevy with several dings on the hood and some rust on the fender. Well, shoot.

In a perfect world, it would be different. Back when the earth was young (before the serpent slithered in and Eve took to stitching leaves), it wasn’t like this. But she did it. She up and bit the apple, and it’s been downhill from there.



Now it’s 2012, and we’re a long way from the Garden of Eden. In the extraordinary explosion of technology that we’ve seen, you’d think we’d have some solutions. You’d think.

Mr. Schrock recently purchased the newest generation of smart phones. This sharp little device can do everything but scratch your back and tie your shoes. Oh, and make your coffee, though a super-sweet application he found can find the nearest Starbucks. I just love technology.

One of his favorite apps is the weather one. With the flick of a fingertip, he can access the forecast for the week, the day and the hour. This eliminates the need to actually trot outside into the elements to determine what one’s wardrobe should be.

Finance guy that he is, he’s got a stock market app. This way, he can track the ups and downs of Wall Street.



My method’s much simpler. I track movement on The Street by what happens next. If there’s shouting, grinding of teeth or flinging of the phone, I know which way it went. That’s my cue to administer chocolate.

Other apps he’s downloaded include news, music and fitness. With the latter, he can figure up how many calories he’s burned through his various forms of exercise.

Again, my low-tech method of following his progress is watching his reaction. If it’s the “bad day on Wall Street” kind of a deal, then I know to rush in with carrots and hold the chocolate. I’m sharp like that.

Compared to his very smart phone, mine’s not quite a stone tablet. An Egyptian scroll, papyrus, with a quill dipped in ink. Two sticks rubbed together to make a spark, start a fire and signal in smoke. Not quite.

Oh, the full keyboard is a real upgrade when it comes to texting. And it’s pearly pink and white. There is that. But it’s strictly functional. No downloading of funky apps for fun. No Facebook updates by phone from far-flung locales (alright, from the coffee shop and the grocery store), either.



I’ve put the App King on notice. One of these days, I’m getting one of those. And baby, the girl will need some apps.

He can keep the weather one. Admitting that I find the weather channel about as exciting as a bowl of cornflakes is a big risk here in corn country. That’s why I’d never say it out loud until I was at least as far as St. Louis, so I’m whispering it to you, a few of my closest friends.

For a real buzz, I’ll need a caffeine app. And I don’t just mean a store locator. I’m seeing a feature that will give you a measured dose of caffeine at the press of a thumb. If they can do it with morphine pumps, they can do it on my phone. I don’t think that’s too much to ask.

Another one I’ll need is a name extractor. This is for those awkward moments when my internal database has frozen and crashed. And I know someone else who could use one, too.

My dad is terrible with names. He’s great with people, but names give him fits. He will have entire conversations, peppered with jokes and stories that leave the other party hollering on the floor, without quite remembering their names. Later, when he relates it to us, his first-degree relatives, he’ll say something like this, “Saw Ole Whistle Britches today.”

“Whistle Who?” we’ll say, drawing a blank.

“You know. Whistle Britches.”

When no amount of guessing or spirited charades can extract a name, we give up. What is a name when he’s just had a ball, yukking it up with—well, whoever it was down at the feed store?



But back to those apps. I realize this is advanced stuff. Face recognition and caffeine delivery via cell phone?

It’ll be awhile ‘til I can afford one, but that should give technology time to catch up. I’d sure like to know the name of the Whistle Britches I’m having so much fun with.