Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Good Apps and Bad Apps

Technology is an amazing and scary thing.

I just read a really good insight that I now can’t find anymore, because I saw it when I was mindlessly scrolling through one of the social media apps, and the act of years of mindlessly scrolling through social media apps has reduced my attention span and retentive memory to that of a hamster.

So, I will paraphrase and apologize in advance to the person responsible for this pearl of wisdom if I get the ages and exact wording wrong. It went something like this:

Any new technology invented before you were born until age 18 is just normal and how the world works. Anything invented from age 19 to 45 is an amazing new life-changing breakthrough. And any new tech inventions from age 45 until your death all go against the natural order of things and will surely contribute to the downfall of our society.

I’m 51, so I think you know where I stand on the new stuff. Actually, I think I do OK for the most part, but I am convinced that ChatGPT is 100% going to be the end of us.

There are plenty of examples of good, useful apps out there, and I still embrace them. And there are maybe just as many examples of apps that never should have been made in the first place and will surely bring on the end of times. Those are all the ones the teenagers use.

One good example of how I am embracing technology in my advanced years is the Sam’s Club Scan & Go app. I just used it again this morning, and it is a game changer. You just use your phone to scan the barcodes of everything that goes into your cart. You can easily change the quantities, so you only have to scan one of the six packs of bacon crumbles you are buying, as a real-life recent example.

As you make your way through the poor man’s Costco, the app keeps a handy running dollar total of your purchases, so you can easily see how much longer you’ll have to work before retirement. But let’s face it – the number is meaningless because you’re buying six bags of bacon crumbles, for goodness sake. You’ll never live long enough to retire.

Once you are done shopping – signified by a very large three-digit number at the top of the screen and no more room in your giant, oversized cart for anything else – you just hit the Checkout button, and head for the door. A nice person near the exit scans a barcode on your app then scans a couple of items in your cart to make sure your large three-digit number shouldn’t be larger, and they wish you a nice rest of your day.

Checkout lines are for chumps.

Scan & Go is an excellent example of a good app.

Do you know what isn’t a good app? The one that a business I have visited in the past just emailed me about.

Right there at the top of my inbox the other day was the subject line, “Donate Using Our App and You Could Win Big!”

My first thought: Umm… say what? This is a very bad idea.

Why, you ask? The company encouraging me to donate using their app was Vitalant. (Formerly, BloodSource).

I am by no means an expert, but donating blood is really a situation where I think you need hands-on professionals involved in a controlled setting.

Donating with an app seems insanely problematic.

See you soon,



Copyright © 2023 Marc Schmatjen


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