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Smartphone apps give you a super-power you can use for good or evil

Friday - February 17, 2017 11:16 am , Category : OPINION & INTERVIEW

By Nury Vittachi : IANS

Dads of the world need a smartphone app that detects whenever a family member is reaching out to buy something in a store and then speaks out loud in a Dad Voice: "Come on, do you really need that?"

We dads can't be everywhere at once and modern children seem to have an insatiable appetite to waste money on needless luxuries such as food, drink and the like.

I told my kids that in the old days our parents would throw us a gnawed stegosaurus bone once a week and we were pitifully grateful.

Many current phone functions just make life harder. Last week, I accidentally switched my smartphone to British English and it now keeps saying things like: "On a bloody bender again, you cheeky daft plonker?" At least it's a compliment, or so a British friend tells me.

Technology is a super power which should be used for good. Also last week, I lunched with techy people who told me that the smartphone has become a massively successful "anti-jerk device".

One shared a news item about a naughty guy in France who called up Uber, the taxi service, on his wife's phone. Over the following days, all his trips showed up on his wife's phone, including secret ones to one or more mistresses. She found them very interesting indeed, as did her divorce lawyer. The husband is now suing Uber for ruining his life, rather than his own genitalia, which it seems to me are clearly at fault.

Another lunch attendee shared a recent report from the United States. A woman called Stephanie was so horrified by a long conversation she overheard on a train that she took a sneak photo of the main speaker and put it on the Internet with a caption: "If this is your husband I have spent 2 hours listening to him and his friends brag about their multiple affairs and how their wives are too stupid to catch on."

It's not just guys who get caught out. A male technology correspondent at the lunch said that Facebook often exposed the cheating ways of women.

He showed me a post by a woman called Sarah who put a "conversation starter" on her Facebook page: "How did we meet?" A woman named Jessie responded promptly: "You were screwing my husband."

He also showed me a real-life Facebook exchange which has gone down in history. Lynette: "Well everybody, guess what, I'm single again, but I'm not upset bcuz who wants to be with someone that's gonna cheat on me." Brittany: "Awww what happened?" Lynette: "He wanted to b with his wife."

But back to the concerns of Family Men. A colleague, a father of three, has come up with another app that dads desperately need.

It would be called something like "Font Of All Knowldege". When children or wives ask questions that Dads dislike, such as "Can we buy this?", the app would give Dad a wise-sounding response: "Sorry: leading indicators prevent retail expenditure at the moment because of a fall or rise in the semi-circular futures options hedges weighted beneficiary composite valuations thingummy index."

Brilliant idea. I congratulated him on being a cheeky daft plonker.
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