Trained in Graphic Design and a Copywriter by trade, Larner has worked for some of the world’s biggest agencies, including WWAV Rapp Collins and TMP Worldwide. He’s enjoyed spells as Creative...

... Director at The Black Hole and ripe design(UK), leaving one agency after its best financial returns in its 16 year history and the other having won the UK’s best independent agency in its sector. Larner now freelances, offering copywriting, conceptualising and branding services to a wide variety of agencies and direct clients throughout the UK and internationally. His personal blog is at http://www.ouchsharpcopy.blogspot.com/

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30 August 2011 - 4:31pm | posted by | 0 comments

Top ten apps to ease the stress of modern life

Top ten apps to ease the stress of modern lifeTop ten apps to ease the stress of modern life
Top ten apps to ease the stress of modern life
Top ten apps to ease the stress of modern life

According to ComputerWeekly.com, mobile app store downloads are expected to reveal an uplift of 117% this year, growing more than 1,000% by 2014.

The article continues that according to the latest figures by research company, Gartner, global app store sales are anticipated to surpass $15.1bn by the time this year’s out. That’s an increase on 2010 sales of over 190%.

Big business.

Apps are much sought-after. But are all apps really that much use? Having written the copy for many and conceived a few more, I can, hand-on-heart, say I may have been responsible for selling one or two apps that fall less than short in the Productive Department.

So, by way of small apology, let me introduce this year’s Top Ten apps for coping with today’s stresses of modern living:

1. Warker

Sick of seeing non-parents parking in mother & child spaces? Abled bodied wa*kers parking in disabled spots before your very eyes? Then your smartphone needs Warker to take a photo of the offender’s car and instantly upload it to a national database of ParkerWa*kers who’ve parked inappropriately. You’ll have the facility to include the number plate as a tag so individual cars can be searched on the National Wa*kerbase, whilst the app automatically uploads date, time and where applicable, the outlet where the offence is taking place. The online database includes a league table of the most frequent outlets allowing such offences to take place with a view to putting pressure on brands which neglect to regularly monitor the situation.

Download the pro version and you’ll have a special zoom function to help you snoop into the back seats of cars to catch out those parents parking in mother & child slots even when they’re sans child.

Download the pro footballer version and it could pay for itself a hundred times over, the first time you use it. That’s because, if in the event you catch a professional footballer parking totally inappropriately, Warker instantly uploads a picture of said moron getting out/in of his tasteless blingmobile to the newsdesk of The Sun, along with an invoice for £500 for your public-spirited handiwork.

Planned updates include a direct partnership with the DVLA to name and shame repeat offenders and introduce points on licences.

2. PartyPoliticallyCorrectRescue

(No one said all the names had to be snappy) – Stuck in conversation at a party with a political correctness stickler? Do they keep dropping in obviously politically correct terms? Even worse, do they offer politically correct alternatives for any of your own vocabulary? Then you’ll find PPCR super handy! Simply tap your screen twice and your boyfriend/ girlfriend/ hubby/ wife/ partner/ significant other/ her/him indoors/ whatever the hell you’re supposed to call your other half these days receives a text and comes to rescue you.

Upgrade to the Correct Rescue Pro version and get a gps locator, map and instant routefinder sent to the person of your choice.

3. YOV Haler

In the vicinity of parents who are overly proud of their children? Within earshot of mums and dads who feel the need to let everyone else know they’re giving their offspring the best choices and chances in life? Or simply next to the loudest set of tossers in the children’s playground/ supermarket/ totally unsuitable restaurant? Then try YOV Haler (it stands for Your Own Voice Haler), which instantly records the offender and plays back their annoying ‘look-at-me’ barking right back to them at twice the original sound in the vain hope they’ll be shamed into shutting the hell up.

4. Middle Class Alert

Tired of people attempting to project their own self-obsessed materialistic aspirations onto the rest of the world? This app instantly detects up to 8,000 phrases such as ‘never thought we’d consider moving for Josh’s schooling, but eventually we simply had to’ or ‘you know, it’s becoming easier to find a decent bottle of red under a tenner these days – as long as you can bear Asda of course.’

And this is where the intuitive Middle Class Alert really kicks in: once an offending phrase is detected, a loud random spoken alarm is played from a variety of guest celebrities including Billy Bragg and Keith Allen.

Spoken alerts include:

* ‘Caution… you are trying way too hard’
* ‘Move along, love, you’re not welcome here’ and
* ‘The revolution will not be sponsored by Waitrose.’

5. Little Book of Reality

Find yourself tweeting through gritted teeth that your Facebook statuses aren’t loading properly? Tearing your hair out because your iPad can’t be delivered until lunchtime the next day? Spent more than 20 minutes of your life ranting on a forum because you can’t get Hootsuite to do the business on your new HTC?

Then you need that life back. You need to get back to reality. Yep, you need the Little Book of Reality in your life – a great mini book in an app… every single page a reminder that not only is there a damned-sight more to life than getting gadgetry to do what you want when you want but, with constantly updated summaries of natural disasters and man-made wars happening in the world right now, there are also a lot more people who aren’t worrying how to power off their iPhone. Available on iPhone, iPad, Android and Symbian. But not Blackberry OS.

6. North Face-off

Like visiting stately homes and parks? Love getting out there, climbing those big old adventure playgrounds with your kids? Wearing anything North Face? Of course you are. And no-doubt you’ve got a competitive streak bursting to come out!

Well, download North Face-off and join an instant real-time online community of other North Face wearers. Through gps location, the app instantly recognises which North Face wearers are in which areas – it could be your favourite Sunday afternoon picnic spot, your nearest market town or that place you’ve got a family season ticket for – and instantly engages you in your local North Face league, the winner to be decided and announced at the end of a fruitful family day out. And how’s the winner decided? That’s the one who’s spent the most cash on their particular of North Face finery of course. Go on… show your North Face mettle and Face-off now!

7. In the Clouds

A must-have for all serious smart phone abusers – and teenagers! Evolution is a pretty strong force that can be the making of many a species… and the ultimate downfall of others. As millions of our teens and indeed, those who should know better, walk around with their necks bent at 90 degrees, heads buried in their phones miraculously, but disappointingly avoiding lamp posts and telegraph poles, In the Clouds combats the inevitable course of evolution and prevents millions of human babies being born in the future with 90 degree necks. How? Technological genius, that’s how: every now and then, completely randomly, the phone user’s screen will pop up with an amazingly compelling and intriguing message which will give the person the irresistible urge to look up and hence give their poor necks a much-needed break (if only). Blindingly clever messages include:

* ‘Look, a big plane.’
* ‘Check that cloud, it looks like a pig.’
* ‘Watch out – you’re gonna bump into Justin Bieber.’

8. Location, Location, Vocation

Is it your mission in life to let everyone know where you are, what you’re doing and who you’re with? No matter how totally disinterested others may be? Then Location, Location, Vocation – which puts a neat little twist on social media location updates such as Foursquare – is the app for you. As soon as you walk into any location signed up to this new global phenomenon and update your status to the usual channels such as Twitter and Facebook, LLV puts your phone into (very) loudspeaker mode and makes the announcement to those around you that:

‘I’m just updating my location to xxxxx, right now.’

So now you can not only tell disinterested people on social media what you’re up to, you can let disinterested (and slightly bemused) people right next to you know exactly what you’re doing.

Simple, genius… and totally bloody useless. An absolute must-have app.
9. Busy Bee-p

Checked all your emails? Made all your calls? Nothing left to do on your phone to make you look busy? Tap the Busy Bee-p icon and, within seconds… you’re busy. As heck. Lots of random messages pop up that simply have to be addressed with your frowned-concentration with bonus coloured squares you have to tap to make disappear – all alongside reassuringly unnecessary beeping sounds. You won’t have to speak to another human being for at least 10 minutes! Ideal for coffee shops and when you’ve arrived early to pick up the kids on the school run.

Pro version gives you 20 minutes of uninterrupted nonsense.
Instant Apologist10. Instant Apologist

Said something a little controversial? Gone against public opinion, in particular the opinion of the social media masses with your views on how to make the perfect cup of tea? In danger of losing your respectable status, your job or even worse, a few twitter followers? Then simply tap Instant Apologist and you’ll send out a full, frank and unreserved apology across various channels including Twitter, Facebook, mms/text message and email which should go towards alleviating that most heinous of crimes of going against the grain. Job done.

Upgrade to Instant Apologist Ultimate – and your message will be handwritten in blood on parchment by a small Vietnamese child on 2 pence a day and posted by donkey to the destination of your choice.

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