Sick of being chided by your children for the paltry number of icons on your smartphone? (You do have a smartphone, don’t you?) Here are five apps to help fill the screen, and maybe even enhance your sixtified life.
Sure, the kids will already have this one on their phones, because it’s a pretty hot app right now. It sets up “radio stations” – you plug in the name of an artist or a song, and it scurries off to apply some algorithm or other and find artists and songs in a similar genre.
So when the family are there, you can call up the Martha Wainwright station and get a wide selection of indie folk – thus looking very up-to-date. Then when they leave, you can switch to The Kinks station and get some seriously good ole rock.
Want to look in-the-know at the gym, in front of all the buff young crowd? This one lets you set up exercise intervals of whatever length you like, with appropriate rest periods in between. It has a satisfyingly loud beep telling you when to go hard, and when to rest.
So everyone in your vicinity can see and hear that you are serious about the treadmill or bike session you are doing.
Yeah, look, the kids will call it “old people’s radio” (so does my wife). But you can get any ABC radio station in the country. So when you really don’t want to listen to the fishing show on ABC Sydney early on Saturday morning, you can flick to ABC Brisbane and get The Squeaky Wheel, about cycling stuff. Or dodge the cricket broadcast when the Poms are doing really well and you can’t stand to hear the BBC commentators gloating.
And you can tell the kids it’s great to be able to stream Triple J now, whenever you like.
This is actually a really useful app. You can pick the line you want to travel on, to see when the trains leave your station and when you can come home. It does buses and ferries as well, though I can’t attest to how useful those functions are.
This is especially helpful as you can now, at 60 plus, get those $2.50 all day train tickets to get you anywhere in the state.
Being “mindful” is a very prominent concept at the moment, so it helps your currency to drop it in the right context. The Mindfulness app gives you a range of guided meditations from 3 to 30 minutes so you can stay in the moment and listen to whatever the universe is trying to tell you. And if that doesn’t push a button for you, the kids ought to be impressed.
If you like this app, you can then get Mindfulness 2, which has meditations where you can become a mountain or a lake for 20 minutes and get a different perspective on life. How hip is that?
With these new streams of content coming at you, there may be one more app you need. If you are prone to drifting off into a nanna-nap with your earphones in, you should also get Sleep Timer, which will turn off your phone or iPod after the number of minutes you specify.
You don’t have to tell the kids about that one.