Tuesday, April 24, 2012


It’s an App, App, Appy Day!

MTL What’s an App?

I took a deep breath – only a week or so ago the same question had puzzled me and I had decided – incorrectly – that they were appliances.

The definition which makes sense to me is:

An app is an application - a computer programme designed to help people perform an activity.

  The easiest way for me to understand it is if it is something I use.  I don’t use a smart phone, BlackBerry or iPad but I do use Microsoft Word frequently and am assuming that that is a Web App.  Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.

It was in 2010 that App became ‘word of the year’ so I’m only a couple of years out of date!

I read in the Daily Telegraph the other day the dishy historian Dan Snow admit that he had fallen head over heels for Apps.  This is surprising when you consider his bookish background - he himself and his father Peter Snow are both authors.  He has just spent the last 6 months working with a team to develop an app about the Second World War.

So many of my frustrations when writing or making TV and radio programmes relate to the straitjacket imposed by the medium.

For a user to search, jump around, filter and explore an app is like putting them in the driving seat

As MTL spends much of his leisure time reading history books and books about WW1 and 2 I had a vision of him ‘sitting in the driving seat’ and being transported by the whole experience.  What a marvellous birthday gift that would be.

 I read the whole article to him and asked what he thought.

“Television is alright (he watches Yesterday) radio is better but I shall continue to read books."

So no Damascene conversion in this neck of the woods.

Dan Snow below.





19 comments:

The Unbearable Banishment said...

To purchase an app for your device, one must visit the app store online. There are such an overwhelming number of apps, literally, thousands upon thousands, that going into the app store is, for me, an anxiety-producing exercise in futility. I'll spend an hour hunting around and not find anything that's applicable to my lifestyle. Loads of ways to waste one's time but not much that practical. It's a slippery slope, my dear. Enter with caution.

R. Sherman said...

I wonder if we don't all reach a time with new technology where we just say, "Enough!" What I've got is good enough. I don't need any more bells and whistles.

Cheers.

Guyana-Gyal said...

I guess I'll learn what an app is if I need to use one.

I wish there were an app that can get things done off-line, in "real life"...click, done :-D

Pat said...

UB: that sounds like a shoppiong trip I'll pass on:)

Randall: 'I don't need any more bells and whistles.'

Them's MTL's feelings - exactly!

GG: that would be good:)

GYPSYWOMAN said...

love your "driving" scenario of the whole thing for YTL - but sounds as if he's perfectly content just where he is in all the high-tech stuff and i'm right there beside him in many ways! as i've mentioned before, i still have my just turned 9yr old granddaughter perform those high-techie things - you know, like turning on and off my "tablet" -
:)

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

I think Apps are specifically for the smaller devices like iPhones, Blackberry's and iPads, etc....I've not heard anyone talk about Apps for the Computer--But, I don't know why it wouldn't work there, too...
I don't have any if the devices I mentioned, including a Kindle---and I'm not sure I will get them---though many people say that the iPad is FABULOUS!
Part of me is with your dear MTL!
I will always read a real book!

Eryl said...

Some of the apps you can get are amazing, one I have is a virtual tour of the Louvre, for example, another: the letters of Van Gogh, but you need to know what you're looking for or you'll be driven insane. I'm having a lot of fun with certain camera apps at the moment, all recommended by people who know about this kind of stuff.

I would appear that Dan Snow, who I'd not heard of before, is very dishy indeed!

Pat said...

Jenean: every tablet needs a granddaughter. Alas mine is in Eygpt just now.

Naomi; there is a whole world there waiting for us to discover it.
Strangely I can't really get excited about it.

Eryl: I can feel my curiosity gettng piqued.
I had a lovely full length photo of Dan and now have three in the system but they wouldn't post.

mapstew said...

apps schmapps!

No bells & whistles for me either! (Though as a musician.....) :¬)

xxx

Pat said...

Map: :)

Mage said...

Word is a program. An Ap is an application that leads you to a mini program. You load it on your Android or iPhone. I asked my husband could he load and use Aps on his computer. He said "why." They were for bringing the smaller devices up to speed. They also lead you into new paths. They also cost money. Hugs.

Pat said...

Mage: back to square one:)
How lucky are you to have such knowledge atyour beck and call?

LL Cool Joe said...

I've not got into apps, although I have an Apps store on my mac. I tend to avoid anything that I really don't need. There enough things that I have to know about without adding more. I don't have a mobile phone or Kindle and I'm still alive. Just.

Pat said...

Bravo Joey!

Marjolein said...

I read the weblog of someone who developed/wrote computer code that made an app that reads text out loud. It converts letters to spoken text, so it's ideal for people with dyslexia, or people who rather listen to text than read it.

I don't use any apps myself (I don't have a smart phone), but they can be useful!

Pat said...

Marjolein: what a brilliant discovery. I expect it will all become clear - if I live that long:)

rashbre said...

The App store also works for full-size Mac computers and seems to be the way that new releases are getting published.

However, 'applications' have been around since the dawn of computing and originally did accounts and payroll.

Today's apps are handy for e.g. finding a taxi or a London bike stand as well as editing a video, so the range has increased,

There are also quite a lot of free applications which will sometimes work with all types of computer.

A simple free but interesting WW II one is http://www.officegamespot.com/flashgames/warfare-1944.htm which provides some basic tactics and logistics to run a military campaign as Americans against Wehrmacht, starting with infantry and moving to tanks. It starts easily and the early stages 'run on rails', so it might be of some interest.

rashbre said...

and p.s. the Kindle will read the text of a book back- see link below for explanation of how to switch it on.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5E5lBZ0BQuY

Pat said...

Rashbre: thank you for that useful info - expecially the kindle bit.