Sunday, October 23, 2011

Ants and Birds

I know most of you must be thinking to yourself, "what the heck was that title all about?" But, I assure you, I"m going somewhere with this.

My son recently returned from overseas and spent some time at home before going to his new duty assignment. Of course, no trip home would be complete without buying some new clothes. My son picked out a new shirt in about five minutes, and was done. I looked, halfheartedly, then declared I didn't see anything I liked. My wife loaded up on numerous 'potential' outfits, and went to the dressing room to try them on.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not complaining. I've had to return clothes before because I did not try them on, but somehow, I still never learn.

Anyway, while waiting, my son breaks out his new Apple phone and hands it to me. On his phone was a simple little video game called "Angry Birds." It looked rather stupid but I thought I would give it a try as I had some time to kill. Withing five minutes, I was addicted, and did not want to give him his phone back. Who would have thought that such a simple game could be so fun.

I later realized that this game is such a phenomenon that one can find little stuffed angry birds in the store. Much to my surprise, their will soon be a movie out featuring all the characters in the angry birds game. I wonder if those little pigs wearing the combat helmets will be in the movie too.

Well, next thing you know, my son gave my his old ipod touch when he left. I asked him what the thing was all about and he told me the ipod touch was like the iPhone without the phone. The explanation did little for me since I don't even own a smart phone. I was led to believe that my phone was 'smart' when I bought it, but that was before this new generation of smart phone was invented. Now, the company I use was quick to tell me that my phone is a multimedia phone, NOT a smart phone.

It took me about three weeks to figure out the ipod touch thing. I now realize what an 'app' is, and have joined the millions of other Americans searching for the perfect app (usually a game.) I have not yet summoned the courage to actually pay for an app but I did download a cute little game called "Ant Smasher" for my ipod touch. The concept of the game is simple: squish ants, and other bugs, before they can reach the picnic goodies pictured at the bottom of the screen. Of course one must be careful not to squish the bee, lest they get stung. The game is highly addictive.

I'm sure that, today alone, I lost at least two good hours of writing time playing silly games on my Son's old ipod touch. I surely spent enough time that I had to charge the thing twice. But it was fun.

So, I say that these smart devices and their apps can be a great way to pass the time when one is, say, waiting at the dentist's office, but human nature simply precludes actually using the things to actually increase productivity. I think that, in order to do that, one might need to find an app that limits the amount of time one can spend using apps on smart phones.