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Big App-etite

My family is in Savannah to celebrate my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. As I watch my father walk around the house with his iPad, I am reminded of a funny story.

When I first taught him the features of the iPad last year, I remember getting to the section about “Apps,” the nickname for “Applications.”

“A Nap? I can download a nap? This is the greatest device ever!”

“Not a nap,” I said, “An App. Apps are the cool programs that make your device personal to you: games, weather, magazines, sports, dining, news, etc.

“Oh. Where do I start?”

There are literally thousands of apps available for “smart” devices through the Apple App Store, the Android Market, Blackberry App World, and Amazon, among others. Many apps are free, most are under $5, some are more pricey.

I will give you the same advice that I gave my dad about evaluating apps:

Know What They Cost

If an app you are interested in is free, you will likely download it, try it, and delete it if you don’t like it. If an app is expensive, you might be a more discerning shopper.

Read the Developer Description

The Developer Description tells you what the program does, usually by listing its features and special effects. If the app isn’t what you expect, you’ll know right away.

Look at the Screen Shots

Good computer graphics can really sell an app; bad computer graphics … not so much. You’ll know when you see the screen shot graphics whether an app appeals to you.

Consider the User Reviews

As I discussed some time ago regarding all online purchases, I recommend that you read the User Reviews. Discount a few of the really good reviews and a few of the really bad reviews and then see whether the rest are more positive or negative. Read the negative reviews carefully to see why these reviewers are dissatisfied. Some expectations are not realistic; some complaints concern features you don’t care about.

And, of course, word of mouth is a great way to learn about apps. If you find a app that you really like, tell your friends. After your nap.