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It’s getting APPalling out there

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It’s nice to see technology doing so much for so many people

By John Pawlak

My wife and I broke down the other day and got ourselves some smart phones.  But it turns out that the phones really aren’t all that smart.  
My phone couldn’t learn even the simplest of dog tricks like roll over, beg or fetch.  It does however stay with amazing non-agility.
It didn’t take long for us to find ourselves downloading apps. Reading apps.  Game apps.  Navigation apps.  Productivity apps.  
I suddenly knew what it felt like for Columbus, opening your eyes one morning and discovering a new world.  
Well, almost exactly like that, except that I didn’t get to destroy civilizations, steal riches or brutalize and enslave any Indians.
Anyway, for the five or six people out there who don’t know what an app is, it’s short for ‘application,’ a program that runs on your smart phone.  
Apps are the brains of smart phones. You can buy apps to manage your finances, to calculate home energy usage, to give you beauty tips.  There are apps for cooking, for education, for photography, for news and weather, for sports, for travel.  If you can imagine it, there’s an app for it.
And therein lies the problem. People can imagine quite a bit!
For instance, imagine hurling birds with a slingshot at various targets.  Lots of fun!  Or being able to pop your girlfriend’s zits when the real article is not around.  This pimple popping app allows you to pimple up any picture you might have and then to squeeze and squish zits to your heart’s delight.  Of course, it comes with appropriately disgusting sound effects.
There are plenty of apps with a variety of annoying sounds.  
These sounds can be played when making a call to work to explain why you can’t come in today, or played by a timer (to rude out your brother’s girlfriend in the other room) or even used as an alarm clock.  
I won’t go into detail, but let’s just say that we can be happy that olfactory technology is not yet incorporated into smart phones.
Questionable apps are not limited to body functions.  Dating services have joined the fray, selling truly narcissistic apps.  The Sugar-Sugar app boasts that it will connect “generous men looking to spoil and dynamic women looking for financial support.”  
It’s nice to see technology bringing sugar babies and sugar daddies together like that.
When asked why they spend so much time playing game apps, students have told me, “Well Mr. Pawlak, they do help with eye hand coordination.  That’s kind of educational, don’t you think?”
Oh yeah, most definitely. That must be why the iPeePee app is so popular among young teens.  
Without releasing real toxins into the environment, a person can practice their aim against a variety of bathroom configurations.  
Just remember to keep a firm grip on the accelerometer control or that stream will get away from you!
The list goes on and on.  The Maggots app allows you to watch maggots eat the meat of your choice (decaying possums, human brains). You can squish the little suckers with your fingertip or tilt the phone up to your mouth and have friends watch the squirming mass tumble down your throat.  
Another app allows you to select a handgun, hold it to your head and blow your brains out.  
Fortunately, the splattered brain image is only shown on your smart phone, but how smart can it be to pay money for an app like this?
Sadly, there are no limits to how bad it gets. Shoot ’em up apps. Reach down the throat, press the uvula, and watch it hurl apps.  Pornography apps.
Yes, it’s truly vile out there, but perhaps the worst of the worst are the dog fighting apps. These apps allow players to mistreat their virtual dog (to train it to fight) and have the virtual dog fight other virtual dogs to “build street cred.”
The game provides players with guns for use against police raids and you can even inject your dog with steroids for better performance. Yes, another shining example of free speech in action.
Perhaps the most intelligent app is the off button.
 
John Pawlak
Los Alamos columnist