PDA

View Full Version : Apps



lexxi
02-01-2013, 07:00 PM
About 20 years ago, I wrote a scene in which a character was sitting in the dark waiting (to look at lighting cues for a theatre production) and passing the time by working the NY Times crossword puzzle by penlight while listening to music by Philip Glass on his Walkman

If I update the setting to 21st century, would it make more sense for him to be doing something on a smartphone instead? What would give the same sense of elitest intellectualism? For a guy who doesn't particularly enjoy technology for its own sake, though.

Also, a couple hours later he will have been alerted to the possibility that someone is stalking him. Are there any smartphone apps that could clue him in that someone accessed information about him electronically?

melindamusil
02-02-2013, 01:45 AM
To answer your first question: you could really design what fits your character best. There's an app for doing the NY times crossword puzzle (or other crossword puzzle apps), or apps for just about any type of puzzle you can imagine. There's reading apps, which he could use for anything from light fiction to really heavy nonfiction. I've seen apps for doctors to help them learn (or remember) things like anatomy, as well as databases to cross-reference drugs and symptoms and such. There are really complex calculator apps (like those graphing calculators we used in high school). There are apps for CPAs for looking up stuff in tax law.

As to your second question: If you make him reasonably tech savvy, he can design his own apps that will alert him to stuff like that, although he would probably need to have some kind of pre-existing reason to be worried about that kind of thing.

ElaineA
02-02-2013, 03:31 AM
There's also an app that turns your smartphone into a flashlight so he could still do the crossword the low-tech way with the phone as help to see.

Wilde_at_heart
02-03-2013, 02:33 AM
If I update the setting to 21st century, would it make more sense for him to be doing something on a smartphone instead? What would give the same sense of elitest intellectualism? For a guy who doesn't particularly enjoy technology for its own sake, though.

Also, a couple hours later he will have been alerted to the possibility that someone is stalking him. Are there any smartphone apps that could clue him in that someone accessed information about him electronically?

First one, yes. Because it would have music too.

Second, it depends on how you write it and how you set up the character or how/why he has this app, along with what sort of information we are talking about, and where it may have been stored.
I know in Linkedin for example, you can see if someone has looked at your profile...

Are there such apps? I have no idea

My MC created an app on his phone that enables him to remotely read any files on his laptop. Can it be done in real life? No clue.
However I did build the character to be someone tech-savvy, who works in a related field, so it is (I hope!) believable...

Anaximander
02-06-2013, 03:01 PM
As a programmer who's built smartphone apps, I think the simplest answer is "what do you want him to be doing?". I use my phone to do all sorts. Not too long ago, I received a call for tech help from a family member while I was out, and ten minutes later I was remotely accessing her laptop, viewing her desktop, moving her cursor etc. to fix the problem as if I was sat next to her... but in fact, I was on the bus, fifty miles away, doing it via my phone. I get emails to my phone, open the attachments, edit them, upload them to a server and have them waiting on my computer when I get home. I can remotely access my media centre while on the bus home and tell it to download a TV show from an on-demand service so I can watch it when I get it without waiting. I can write and compile short pieces of code to test ideas. I can check my progress in online games via their apps. The best part? Very little of this is custom; if you're willing to trawl through the <insert smartphone type> app store then you'll find some cool things.

As for elitist intellectualism... Well, I have a chess app on my phone; playing chess is a pretty standard go-to for marking a character as smart. Or you could have them using an e-reader app to read something highbrow; I like to load my phone's e-reader with those things that everyone says you should read that you never seem to have time for, so I can read them in short snippets while waiting (for the bus, in line at shops, waiting for appointments, etc). Plato is a lot easier to read that way, actually. In a similar vein, various magazines have apps - perhaps the Financial Times, or TIME magazine? Regarding the music, well, pretty much every smartphone has a headphone socket and a music player app, and there are apps for things like Spotify, Grooveshark and Pandora, so you could still have him listening to something classy.