Apps I’d like to see for Christmas

December 22, 2013 

I own neither a dog nor a smart phone, but I’m pretty sure that if I did, the last thing I would want for Christmas is an app that monitors my canine’s daily routine.

Recently I read a newspaper article about a device that, attached to a dog’s collar, enables its owner to continuously track its whereabouts.

I imagine what my smart phone would report after a day of monitoring Fido:

6:30 a.m. Wake up, stretch, scratch.

6:45 a.m. Nudge Master out of bed w/wet nose.

7:00-7:30 a.m. Take Master for walk; poop and pee on telephone pole, hydrant and neighbor’s Prius.

7:40 a.m. Eat breakfast

8:00-9:20 a.m. Nap…

You get the idea. One problem that nobody wants to talk about is that geeks have nothing better to do than dream up apps for uses we never knew we needed. Combine that with the fact that some people have both too much money and leisure time, and you end up with pet owners eavesdropping on their dogs 24/7.

To fix this problem I have come up with a list of apps that should be welcome in any stocking this Christmas:

PARKING SPACE FINDER: This gadget relies on drones that hover over mall parking lots. They are linked to your smart phone and alert you to vacant parking spaces.

Using standard GPS software and robotic voice transmission, this handy device sends out a message like the following: “A space has opened up two rows over. Drive to the end of the row, turn right, go three rows and turn right again. … Hold it, a black SUV just pulled in to that spot. Recalculating …”

For an extra $25 a month, a more sophisticated version of this app comes connected to the NSA database. Here’s a typical message: “Mrs. Jones, a brunette wearing a blue coat, just left Nordstrom’s after buying her husband a sports jacket and two pairs of boxers. She is headed toward the exit. In seven minutes she will unlock a black Lexus with North Carolina plates located on Row 5, Section 3, four spaces from the end of the row.”

Now that’s an app worth buying.

SWIFT SANTA: This app is designed for men who never know what to buy for their wives.

The first thing you do is use your smart phone to photograph clothes hanging in your wife’s closet, including labels that list her size. Then you scan receipts for her purchases during the last year. Now you’re ready to go shopping.

Let’s say you’re looking for a foxy dress she can wear to your company’s annual Christmas party. You walk into the women’s department at Belk’s, spot a red and white number you like, hold it up to your smart phone and click on the app:

“No way, Jose! Those diagonal stripes would make her look like a barber pole. Besides, your boss’s wife just bought that same dress last week…”

Finally, after holding up a dozen or more dresses Swift Santa dismisses, you find the perfect item – and in her size to boot. Before you can get in the checkout line, however, the app announces: “TJ Maxx has the same dress at 50 percent less.”

What’s not to love about an app like that?

THE GRINCH: You download this app to your wife’s smart phone. It tracks purchases while simultaneously monitoring her credit balance. You preset the amount of debt you’re comfortable with. The last step is to record your own voice on her phone. The app will do the rest.

Say your wife loads up her cart with a couple of dresses, some nice costume jewelry and a scarf. The app announces: “You know that green and white number is a lot like one you bought at Macy’s last year. … The necklace is over-the-top tacky, don’t you think? ... $75 for a scrap of cloth! You gotta be kidding…”

This app could save men hundreds of dollars – if not more – every Christmas.

Women will love that it comes with two additional spouse-friendly features:

1. A guide to filing for divorce.

2. A list of attorneys qualified to defend her in a capital murder case.

Merry Christmas.

Email former Herald Editor Terry Plumb at

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