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Explaining how the app world works for the older generation

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Technology has evolved very rapidly during the past couple decades and now embraces almost every aspect of our lives. People make use of computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones today as part of how they work, enjoy their leisure time and communicate. There’s also an amazingly fast turnaround between devices – it seems as soon as one handheld tablet like Apple’s iPad appears on the market, then developers and competitors rush to create their own brands. All these devices represent technological hardware – they are tangible machines that run computer programs – however, it’s the software that is really making the difference and in particular applications, or apps.

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Apps for work and education

An app is just a small, self-contained program that makes your devices capable of doing specific extra things. The wide range of apps available for use in the workplace has made numerous tasks much easier. People working with numbers, for example, can use spreadsheets and calculators to speed up the process. These same apps are available in schools and children learning math have access to a whole range of educational and fun teaching apps, designed for their age range and level, including for toddlers, preschool and high school students. Word processing apps are used for written content, presentation apps for creating slideshows and photograph and video apps for shooting short movies and taking snapshots.

Apps for entertainment

Computer gaming is extremely popular, with younger people in particular focusing on playing in virtual worlds – online scenarios that offer alternative universes. Participants often adopt a persona and play the game with other people. Traditional games are also available as apps, including solitaire, Scrabble, chess and bridge and it is great to be able to play online from the comfort of your own armchair and still engage with others.

Most of these apps have a facility that allows you to ‘chat’ with fellow players via short, typed messages on your screen. This same process is used in internet ‘chat rooms’ and social media apps, such as Facebook and Twitter, also let people add pictures and sound to their messages, as well as links to websites. The Catalyst App for the iPad from worryfreelabs.com will also let you locate friends in your area and check in to a bar or restaurant.

If you enjoy sports and want to keep up with the ball game, ScoreMobile for Android is completely free and offers statistics and scores for a number of sports and leagues, including Major League Baseball and professional golf.

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Money-saving apps

Many apps are free to download to your tablet or smartphone and some can actually save you money. For example, Mint is a personal finance app that you can protect with a password. You can view all your accounts using this – including your savings, retirement fund and your checking account. Transactions are automatically categorized as they are recorded and it can create a budget for you based on how you are spending your money.

Shopkick is a clever little app that allows you to identify which stores have the best deals and rewards you with points when you purchase something – you can redeem the points as gift cards and use them at a number of stores, not just the one where you shopped. If you love a good discount on your fuel, Gasbuddy can find the cheapest prices for gas in the area and if you report having found a good deal somewhere you’ll earn points for a prize.

Apps for health and wellbeing

If you find it a bit of a chore to keep up with a regular exercise program then the iPhone app Block Fit might be just the thing to help you out. This app provides you with a fitness program in a fun, game-like way to encourage you to complete your routine.

Perhaps you like to relax to music; if so, you can find lots of apps that will let you select your favorite genres and play them on your tablet or smartphone, and if you enjoy browsing through the TV guide you can use the TV Guide Mobile app for Android which will check on what’s available on TV based on your location.

Most apps are really simple to operate even if you’re new to some of the technology they use. In fact, they’re so easy that many people are now designing and building their own apps, based on the kind of information they want to be able to find. Why not take the plunge and download a useful, educational or fun app today?

 

 

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