Tahlequah Daily Press

Columns

September 12, 2013

Bad apps, free apps, blips and glitches

TAHLEQUAH — Yeah, they have an app for that – but does it work? Or will it just make you want to throw your smartphone at the wall in frustration?

When I got my cell phone earlier in the summer, I promised myself I would not pay for any apps. I keep recalling that old bit of folk wisdom, “Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?” For women of my generation, that saying was mostly employed by mothers trying to prevent their teenage daughters from having pre-marital sex. The mothers, of course, were operating under the assumption that being “bought” – rather than kicking up her hooves in the pasture – was a long-term goal of the cow.

I can see a more modern application, if you’ll pardon the pun: Why buy an app when you can get one free? We got similar advice during a recent webinar from an expert in apps designed for media. But whatever your intended use, there’s a down side to free apps, covered by another old saw: “You get what you pay for.” Or as TDP Multimedia Editor Sheri Gourd put it, you might be getting a “bad app.” Not that paying for it guarantees a good app.

Though I’m relatively new at this game, I’ve already had some experience with bad apps. I’m willing to allow that some of these situations might be cases of decent apps gone bad, due to misuse on my part or download glitches. That was the case Friday with a YouTube app I had acquired so I could post a video on Twitter. (Shameless plug: Follow me at KPoindexterTDP, or the paper itself at TahlequahTDP; the rest of the staff’s handles are listed on the latter homepage.)

I had used YouTube both on a computer and on my husband’s Android, and had no problems. But when I tried to log onto my YouTube account with my iPhone, I was met with resistance. “Something went wrong,” it kept saying. It eventually inquired, with a certain tone, whether I might have used the wrong password. It was obvious I was going to have to do a lot of typing, so I switched to the desktop computer, changed my password, and went back to the phone. I uploaded the video, assuming the process was complete, and jumped over to Twitter for posting. I was advised to “stand by ... the process is being completed.” No indication was given on how long the process would take, but after about three minutes, I began to envision a yellow Pacman, eating away at my data package as zealously as it devoured Inky, Blinky, Pinky and Clyde.

Those of you who are on a “family plan” understand how the wanton use of minutes, texting capability or data packages can cause angst on the homefront, either through extra charges or encroachment on someone else’s privileges. Not wanting to incur either extra charges or the wrath of my husband and son, I quit the app, hoping that would interrupt the process. No such luck; when I peeked again, the same message was displayed. So I turned off the phone, waited, then turned it back on; the irascible app was still running. (At this point, I was reminded of a time when my siblings and I prank-called the “operator” and hung up; when we picked up the receiver a few minutes later, the operator was still on the line, demanding to talk to our mother.) So I did the only thing I could think of: I deleted the app. Maybe I’ll go back and reload it later.

I’ve done that a couple of times with another app, “My Disney Experience.” So far, my experience hasn’t been anything to text home about. When I click on “My Plans,” I’m informed that “We’re sorry, a blip in the network kept us from retrieving your information; please try again.” Trying again was – well, trying, as was calling the “technical help line” at Disney, from whence I got this response: “Hmm. It should be working.” Not much help. The only time this app even came close to functioning was when I was on U.S. 62 around Fort Gibson, returning from a workout at the Muskogee Swim and Fitness Center. It struggled mightily to cough up some data before it locked up my iPhone.

I also had trouble with the SkyGrid news app my boss told me about – an app that worked perfectly on his iPhone. That one finally decided to smooth out and fly right. Then there was the dragon game app I foolishly downloaded my first couple of days with the iPhone because I thought the dragon was cute. I had to delete it because I kept getting the message, “Someone wants to play with you.” As if I had the time.

Can I blame all these “glitches” – or “blips,” as Disney would have it – on bad apps, or is there another underlying problem? I keep wondering if there’s a setting that’s been turned off when it should be on, or vice versa. Maybe my iPhone is a lemon, or maybe something knocked loose – despite the $35 protective cover – when I dropped it on the truck floorboard a few weeks ago.

I’m not technologically prepared to address these issues. I might need the services of a nerd. Any volunteers?

Kim Poindexter is managing editor of the Tahlequah Daily Press.

1
Text Only
Columns
  • A twist on words can get you into trouble

    The misuse or mispronunciation of words can be forgiven in children, but in adults, it’s water-cooler cannon fodder.

    July 28, 2014

  • Keeping the interest of boys is just a matter of ‘gross’

    A couple of my friends complained to me recently that they didn’t know how to “connect” with their teenage sons, and that they are growing apart from the sweet little boys to whom they once read bedtime stories.

    July 14, 2014

  • ‘Different’ situations aren’t so very different, after all

    “Well, that’s different!” It’s the favorite phrase of the hypocrite, when confronted with his glaring flaw.

    July 7, 2014

  • Threats on social media or elsewhere won’t change any minds

    I try not to take political positions on my private Facebook timeline. I used to sometimes, in what I considered a polite way, but that offended friends left and right – literally. And sometimes I watched in horror as a thread degenerated into name-calling between people I respect, but who happen to be polar opposites on the political spectrum.

    June 30, 2014

  • Striking the hyphen, and other journalistic maneuvering

    A couple of years ago, my office phone rang. With no greeting or fanfare, the caller indignantly said, “Did you know they’ve taken the hyphen out of ‘fundraiser’?”

    June 23, 2014

  • taylor.armerding.jpg IRS spins email yarn as Obama slips past another scandal

    Forget everything you've heard about email. All digital trace of a former IRS official's email over the 25 months the agency harassed conservative groups has mysteriously, improbably vanished. Gone, too, is the White House's accountability as President Obama slips from another scandal.

    June 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Front-load washers are harbingers of foul-smelling fabric

    May 27, 2014

  • Beetles in the office aren’t up on blocks

    We have more dead beetles here at the Daily Press office than you can shake a can of Raid at.

    May 12, 2014

  • NOLA always worth your time, especially for Jazz Fest

    When it comes to New Orleans, you can have a “glass half-full” or a “glass half-empty” attitude.
    Either you see anniversary celebrants enjoying a romantic dinner at the Court of Two Sisters, or the aging transvestite hawking her wares on Bourbon Street. You hear the joyous sounds of Zydeco music from the band on the corner, or the lewd cursing of the drunken frat boy at Pat O’Brien’s. You smell the enticing aroma of Cajun cuisine in the French Quarter, or the fresh puddle of vomit on the sidewalk.
    I’m a cynic, but I take the “glass half-full” approach to New Orleans. My family loves the city’s character, even with all the blemishes that repel respectable folks, and we especially love the Jazz and Heritage Festival. That’s where we were last weekend. The main action is out at the fairgrounds, with its sweltering temperatures, stick-tight-laden grass, and sea of sweaty bodies packed in around a dozen stages and 60 or so booths selling local food and crafts.

    May 5, 2014

  • Selling of lies in the dreaded car game

    Recently, my husband and I did something that is discussed in the same tone of disdain reserved for Communists, salesmen, politicians, lawyers, and sometimes, journalists. We bought ourselves a “furrin” car.
    We decided on a foreign contraption because my husband now commutes to Tulsa every day, and a quick calculation revealed the horror our three-quarter-ton diesel Chevy would visit upon our bank account. That vehicle gets a comparatively impressive 18 mpg, but doing the math on the current price of diesel and a 150-mile daily round trip is enough to send anyone to the nearest toilet to hurl up the previous meal.

    April 21, 2014

Poll

Do you believe school administrators and college presidents in Oklahoma are paid too much?

Strongly agree.
Somewhat agree.
Somewhat disagree.
Strongly disagree.
Undecided.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow
Stocks