My Favourite Apps For 2013
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My Favourite Apps for 2013

We are one week until the end of the year is staring us in the face. As I look back on the incredible year of technology, I would like to pay homage to the apps that made my life easier. It makes me wonder how we ever got along without these little rectangles of joy.

Pay By Phone – Kiss your quarters, loonies and whatever coinage you carry good bye. Most parking meters are now wired and coded with a digit that can be entered into the app and tracked to your parking spot. If you are not sure how long you are going to be, just tap in a starter time and you will receive a text when there is five minutes left on your time. If you need more time, just go back to the app, tap in more time and confirm payment and you are set without having to physically drag yourself back to the spot. My guess this app was innovated when too many people got parking tickets while underestimating how long they would be at the doctor’s office.

Groupon – If you are a Groupon junkie or other social media discount deal, you will love that all of your Groupons are all in one place with a bar code for each purchase ready for scanning at your favourite restaurant, spa, or auto detailing shop. No more carrying around dog-eared print outs that have expired and stuck between your coffee loyalty card and business cards. Just tap on the vendor you wish to visit and they will either scan or take the number of the coupon, mark it used and you are outta there. Your history is kept on file so you can see everything you have purchased and either relive the joy....or regret.

Hay Day – I am slightly embarrassed to admit that my son convinced me to try this silly game. I was skeptical and approached it with a sense of “whatever”. Ten minutes in I was a crop-planting, animal husbandry, country commerce mogul. In my little world any way. I was sucked into the potential of the complex infrastructure you could build, including customers and vendors that could help you build your empire, if you played your cards right. I would marvel at how expansive my “friends” were and wondered how many hundreds, or thousands of hours these people had invested in this, ultimately, fruitless. I drew the line at spending any real world cash, past a few dollars, through my itunes account. I realized after a few weeks that it was border line compulsive waking up and the first thing I wanted to do was reap my crops, make cheese and feed the livestock. My son and shared this little world for a few weeks. He was exceptional at the landscape architecture and laying out the most efficient and aesthetically appealing configurations.

I do not encourage excessive online games but when the games require strategic thinking, especially when it comes to numbers, timing and basically the fundamentals of commerce, I think it is a great way to get a taste for how things really work in business. He does not have to have aspirations as a farmer to have learned something from this game. It does not take a genius to figure out that twelve coins is not a good trade for fourteen bunches of lavender which take a long time to grow and are useful to use on your land but is also a commodity for your friends to buy. What I learned is that I can become a victim of my own compulsion and that I should spend more time in the world I actually live in and leave the farming to the folks who have garden gnomes and cathouses on their farms. I got a chance to participate in a non-violent game that my son likes and that is not a bad thing.

I deleted the game after it started affecting my real responsibilities. I am the grown up after all. I have to admit though, that the time my son and I shared this farm was an interesting exercise in if we could run a business together. He has his strengths and I have mine. If he were not ten years old, I might consider it. So until he becomes an adult, I can hold on to the fantasy that we might be pretty good business partners.


Street Talk

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