Tuesday, March 1, 2011

An app for organizing and an app to literally save your life

I'm not a big app person. I'm old and busy, so I don't spend a lot of time messing around with them (I have other things I'm already committed to spending a lot of time messing around with), but I have a handful on my Blackberry and I'd like to share two of them with you. They are Lister and BuddyGuard, respectively.

One of the reasons my Filofax is so slim is that I gave up on the idea of using it to hold all my lists. I hate using my Blackberry for my calendar - I like to see my appointments in print, and to be able to leaf through the pages - but it serves beautifully as a place to store random, sporadically-reviewed, lists. To this end, I use Lister. You can sort by alpha order, drag-and-drop, create sublists, and send your entire list to yourself or others via email for when you want to print or share. Here are a few examples of my not-so-critical list-making:
  • Clothing Stores - places to shop when/if I ever get time
  • Son's Birthday Party - Invite List
  • iTunes - songs I want or might like
  • Pack - In carry on
  • Pack - In suitcase

Et cetera, et cetera. The defining characteristic of all of these lists is that THEY ARE NOT TIME-SENSITIVE. I prefer all time-sensitive items to be on paper.

So, thumbs up for this app. I got mine at the Blackberry App World.

Now. CHECK. THIS. OUT. It's an incredible app called BuddyGuard. It's freaking amazing and I want to push it on everyone, especially women. Not only can it protect your phone, it can protect YOU.

After installing the app and setting up the contact preferences and password, you will be able to control your phone at a distance. In other words, if you lose your phone, head to your computer, or borrow a friend's phone, and send your phone an email or text message. A single line, "bg-lock [password]" will lock down your cell and display a message requesting that the finder contact you. They'll even be able to press a button to call you, but that's the only number they can call. You can also retrieve an almost exact location via GPS that displays online using Google maps. Accuracy is within five meters. I've tested it and it returned the actual address of my location!

All of that is GREAT, but the thing that really blows my mind is the option to program one of the function keys on your phone - for instance, the button on the left edge of the phone - to set off a panic alarm by pressing the button five times in a row. Activating the panic button will send emails and/or texts to whomever you've listed in your BuddyGuard contacts. You even have the option to automatically notify 911. The sent message notifies the recipients that you are in an emergency situation (you can edit the text during the set-up process) AND will send your location. THIS IS INCREDIBLE! You can bet that if I find myself in suddenly-iffy circumstances I will have one hand on the button and one hand ready to excavate eyeballs with my keys. That's only if the best option, getting the hell out of there, is no longer on the table. A knee to the groin and an instep stomp are always proper etiquette in these types of situations, as well. This is the best time for a proper lady to go ape-shit.

And, please, remember to ALWAYS have your phone within close reach while driving. If you are in an accident in a remote area, especially a single-car accident, you may not be able to fully operate your phone due to injuries or lack of a signal, or because of a dead or dying battery. Sending a text or email takes less juice than a phone call, and the benefits of being able to call for help by repeatedly pressing a single button if you are injured are obvious.

I removed the 911 option and then notified my contacts before I tested the panic button! You can also choose to just send to yourself during testing, but I wanted my contacts to see what they would receive if, god forbid, I ever had to call for help.

I shelled out $3.99 for the Pro version. A life can't be valued much less than that. Found it at Blackberry App World, as well.

If you have an app you adore, let me know! And if you've had any success or disappointment with either of the two apps I listed, or have found a superior replacement, I would love to hear about it. Oh! And puh-leeeze let me know if there's an iPhone or Android equivalent to BuddyGuard.


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