The Sun Has Got His ‘App’ On

February 10, 2014 6:42 PM

I consider my attitude towards technology to be like that of a man whose plane ticket puts him in a seat that comes with free fat overhang from the passenger beside him; For all the huffing and puffing and noise I could make to attract some cooing and consoling to soothe my troubled brow, I’m still going to be stuck in the exact same place except now we’re a bit further down the line, people have started to watch, and a scene has been caused.

Apple App StoreSo I go to the App Store with all the blind, ignorant enthusiasm of a lighter wielding toddler holding Guy Fawkes’ hand in the dark, never consciously attempting to expand my horizons yet somehow always managing to deepen my wonderment, and decrease my phone’s internal memory.

So what do I want? Well, certainly nothing being advertised on the front page – it’s always either premium content, streaming films or whatever the current zeitgeist trend happens to be shoveled onto the home screen, by way of a lame attempt at being ‘one with the consumer’ in the form of an ‘editor’s choice’ (There should be some sort of law that bans any product claiming their editor has some unbiased personal opinion that favours one particular product/service over the others being offered. It makes me wonder what’s wrong with the other stuff they’re flogging, and why someone fairly high up in a business is wasting their time ‘testing out the gear’ when they should be more concerned with, y’know; doing their damn job! Which then makes me wonder if their recommendation comes way of time-saving, stuffed brown envelopes, of the kind that ensure a glowing review and prominent display whilst minimizing actual contact with said product…)

So it’s to the magnifying glass search thing we go!  What to look for? What do I want? What could be of use in some small way to me? For no cost, and not be shit.

I buy things, so I look for a thing that makes buying better. Or something. See, that’s half the battle right there; what the hell will you be made to type this time in order to get a list of apps even remotely connected to what you want? Price checker? Barcode scanner? Trade-in-trash scan?

Yeah, sure; why not?

android app store

So success comes, this time, in the form of an app that lets me scan the barcode of any product that I want to find the cheapest price of. It doesn’t take me long to discover I would need to be living in some American currency based populace, and possibly try scanning something other than store’s own brand labels, to fully exploit this novelty’s true qualities at fiscal mini-management (I tried it with an empty packet of Rothmans that got posted through my letterbox – apparently, somewhere in the world, there is a male adult enhancement cream that scans up as twenty finest filter tipped…).

Uninstalling apps takes no time at all, really; even big fat chunky space-wasters –  anything labelled ‘office’ or Adobe, for instance – get wiped faster than the smile from an inappropriate child’s face, though many leave a cache of crap that requires yet another app being installed to remove them fully. That leaves a ‘Chicken/Egg’ style reflective piece of thought involving apps and caches. If all apps leave some cache, then how do you remove the cache of an app cache cleaner with an app but without leaving cache?

I like the idea of scanning things, though, so I continue undeterred through the list until I get to something with a cheery-looking bot and three five stars beneath.


The comments beneath the libelous descriptions are meant to give you a brief summary of customer fulfillment for the app in question. By adding a scoring system out of five, it reduces the need to wade through the half-dozen words of review to a simple at-a-glance yes/no consideration.  So anyone who gives a five-star score and a one word review, which in this case was ‘…crap…’, obviously has issues regarding an unfilled quota of chromosomes or something.

According to the initial pop-up install menu I can now scan any DVD or game and get shown a value of its worth, based on an aggregate pricing across several stores and outlets, and what the universe is prepared to shell out. Sounds flashy and glib, but it scanned the barcode to the Alone In The Dark DVD I noticed in my collection one day, but no-one wants to own up to, with a merry beep, so all signs so far point to good.

barcode scanerBy using the phone’s camera as a barcode scanner, the quality of image you see through your screen can be markedly different across the different apps.  Some make you wonder why those Christening pictures you took with the camera app made little Debbie look like she had hepatitis; Whilst others are, at best, a representation of a bar-code as expressed through Lego, pixels, and a complete disregard of purpose fulfillment for which it was coded for.

Not that I needed something that came with a Bill Bailey endorsement to be told the Uwe Boll masterpiece of movie making is worth precisely less than a damn anywhere in the world – not even eBay, and they sell all sorts of crap on there! But it also claimed I had been sitting on a veritable goldmine by way of a re-print of One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest which, by rights, I should have sold there and then, bought the world out of poverty, a pack of Wagon Wheels apiece for everyone, and paid for a giant laser to write ‘Fuck You, Germany’ onto the face of the moon.


Even useful things like media players and tap-ten-minutes-a-time games come with a plethora of aggravating and unnecessary no-need notifications and data draining dross. Being told there is an update to the particular apps you have installed is a useful feature, I can see; but when you think of how many apps you have right now on your phone, and how many of them can and probably will be updated you’ve just got to consider data charges and available space on your phone.

So I have to decide between space and use? So I can have your app and use it for free (cheers, like!),  but live in the perpetual fear that all pay-as-you-go owners suffer, of another update forcing me to employ some Merlin-esque maths, yet again, to deduce how much it will cost to install, and what’s that in minutes and texts?

So Google Earth looks and acts pretty much the same as it did that one time I looked for my own house on the old PC (PC Packard-Bell, Chief of Chuggington – see his happy puffs of smoke as he tries to boot-up! Marvel as the home-screen loads as it looked a bit touch-n-go for a minute there!), but unless I’m ever tempted for another peek or I have my roof thatched and I’m checking for mice then I guess I shall continue to lie to my son about the invisible chimney all houses, nowadays, have.

images Just as I’m thinking of how I’ll never find an app to replace the smoke alarm for telling me when tea’s ready, I realize how long I have been on the app store;  cruising the virtual aisles like some predatory technophile, touching the faces of apps that find particular favour under my gaze; Casting a wanton eye up and down its barely legal description, before being fully satisfied my covetous expectations shall be met and desires fulfilled. I run an over-eager finger across the free download link above to start the ballet of barbershop loading bar across the top of my screen, filling it to bursting point until an orchestral, climactic expulsion from the speakers informs me of my apps ‘Successful Installation’.

Welcome to the future…

…try the fish.