Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Apps Under Attack

                                                             
Forbes.com


Monday night CBS News ran a story entitled, "Is Your App A Trap?" The segment talked about how some apps may actually be spying on our iPhones. For example, just by downloading the free Flashlight app, we're allowing access to our contact lists, as well as other personal information. The same is to be said of using Snap Chat, or other social media. They stressed the importance of checking the "terms of service" for every app, and to never hit "update all," as it may create malware  problems.

Now that Apple is tightening their policies for iPhone, I looked up some apps that were either discontinued, or didn't make the cut in the first place: The following though aptly named, were considered offensive to children:

The Russian Bride Gallery - A fine selection of sweet and polite mail-order brides.

Zombie School - A shoot 'em up of zombie children who are coming after you. Where's the fun in just putting them to bed after dinner? 

Adult Tennis Boobs - Serving up buoyant pairs courtside.

This made me want to create my own apps. The first one falls under the category of a safety reminder for men. I like to call it the "Would It Kill You To Call Your Mother?" app. For a slight charge you can add programmed responses like, "Don't worry mom. Since it's chilly I'll take a sweater with me."

On days when you just don't feel like going in to work, 'cause you just woke up, and have no idea where you are, there's the "I'm Home Sick In Bed Anytime" app. This pre-programmed app works in conjunction with FaceTime. You simply videotape yourself ahead of time while moaning about how sick you are in bed. Then you hook it up to a live FaceTime feed showing the current date and time. No one will be the wiser, unless you hit "update all," and your boss is on your contact list.


47 comments:

  1. Now you've got me wondering whether any man has actually died after calling his mother. It's not impossible, is it? I would be interested to hear your own mother's opinion.

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    1. I wanted you to know that, when I first saw this, I read it as "APES Under Attack."
      Thank goodness you're alright.

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  2. My phone is forever prompting me about new apps to download and now I rather wouldn't. The thought of someone spying on me is freaking me out. Thanks for posting the info.

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  3. Hi Julie - Apps are dodgy .. I used my laptop (no longer own one) at a friend's house and the kids messed around and I ended up with snapchat on it - not funny!

    Fun to create our own .. I might "fly me to the moon" so I could see the stars and then I hope press the right button and return .. though I guess some might wish me further into outer space! Fun thought though ..

    There was a post about FB apps in a similar vein .. or perhaps games ... when I can find it - I'll try and remember to be back - connectivity still not perfect - middle of next week ... maybe I need an App for that?!

    Cheers Hilary

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  4. Gorilla - Some may wish they had died afterward. I'm sure many panic attacks, and gastric outbursts have been cited.

    Murees - If you're not constantly updating all of your apps, you probably have nothing to worry about. I'm sorry if I frightened you. I just thought we should all be a little more cautious.

    Hilary - My younger son and his friends love SnapChat! Like you, I would never be a willing participant. The "Fly Me To The Moon" app sounds like fun, though I might need to take something for motion sickness! One of the articles did mention FB and Twitter too. I also love the idea of a "connectivity" app! Hope your Internet problems improve. Thanks Hilary!

    Julie

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  5. It really is scary how vulnerable the internet actually makes us. Everything we do online leaves a trail for someone to follow. Scary stuff. And, yes, I've turned off automatic updates for apps.

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  6. The way of the world today is apps. Everything can be done with an app. I am almost appless and mostly clueless, but hopefully malwareless.

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  7. I think you're onto something. You'll be rich!! :D Clever post, Julie. Have a great day!

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  8. We all seem to be forgetting how to think for ourselves with all these apps...there should be a 'figure it out for yourself' app.

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  9. JULIE ~
    Apps? Apps don't app-ly to me. My cell phone is a Cricket that can't even send text messages. I believe it was manufactured right about the time the last dinosaur took its last breath.

    I probably wouldn't even own THIS cell phone if I hadn't acquired it from my Ma when she passed away in 2005 (yeah, she lived a long time). Ironically, people laugh or at least snicker at me every time they see me pull out my Cricket phone, and yet everyone I know has gone through 3, 4 or 5 phones in the time that I have owned this ONE that I inherited from my Ma.

    I'm perfectly fine with this uncool, ultra-low tech T-rex model Cricket phone that takes a licking and keeps on ticking, and I 'spect it will outlive me.

    Yeah, you could call me "Old School" but I think "Prehistoric School" would be closer to the truth.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

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  10. funny post, All these app reminders do nothing for most of the people I know. I believe in old fashioned post-it notes to keep me on the straight and narrow. And yes, I figure my phone knows everything I"m doing

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  11. Can find anything on the internet now a days, not surprised they spy on us. Some of the simplest apps make big $$$ though. So give your call mommy one a go lol

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  12. You have got me thinking also. I have an Apple phone will certainly look into this.
    Thanks for sharing.

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  13. Luanne - It is kinda scary. I'm glad you turned off the automatic updates.

    Arleen - You are definitely not "clueless!" Hope you continue to stay "malwareless." Fortunately you are never cleverless!

    Daisy - If only it were true! Hope you also have a great day, Daisy!

    Delores - Is there a pre-app for the "Figure It Out For Yourself" app? We definitely need instructions or at least a lifeline for that one!

    Stephen - Your "Prehistoric School" phone sounds like a real conversation piece. Does it have a rotary dial? If anyone gives you a hard time about it, just tell them it has sentimental value.You're getting the last laugh by not having to worry about all this spyware nonsense.

    Joanne - Good old post-it notes! I used to have a ton of those. I wonder if there's an app that can tell me what I've done with them!

    Pat - It would be great to create the next big app or two! You are absolutely right, Pat! As with most things, the simpler the better!

    Julie

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  14. My grown-up kids have every app imaginable on their phones. I don't, and this shocked my gr-kids. "You don't have angry birds? Candy land? what do you do with your phone, G-ma?" Make calls and take photos. They were aghast.

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  15. Adult Tennis Boobs? How did I miss that one?

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  16. I got a smart phone a few months ago. I may never figure it out.

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  17. Hilarious--not the apps that spy on us--but your ideas.

    Love,
    Janie

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  18. My mom would absolutely love the "Would It Kill You To Call Your Mother?" app! I talk to her daily and yet she still complains that we never talk...If you added a reminder to call your mother nightly before 9pm I think she would even join you in developing it!

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  19. You're brilliant, Julie. You really should market these. You could make a lot of money, within my extended family alone.

    I fail to understand, though, why a nice, polite Russian bride would offend children.

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  20. Yvonne - Apple has implemented stricter safety features, so I think you'll be fine. To be on the safe side, just be cautious about other types of apps.

    Susan - I also don't play games on my phone. Because I have trouble seeing the screen, I enlarge the type to the maximum size. My kids like to tease me about that more than the games! We just can't win, Susan!

    Alex - For some reason that app didn't go over very well. You just can't please some people!

    Yvonne - Just take your time, and you'll find your way. If not, your children and grandchildren would probably love to help you with it. Good luck, Yvonne!

    Janie - A few years ago I started toying with an app idea with a friend at a party. We both thought nothing would come of it, until I discovered that a soldier created a similar app.about a year later. It never became a household name, but it was still shocking to see it out there. Thanks so much, Janie!

    Mitra - Hey, it's great to hear from you! Hope you're doing well! Your mom sounds like she could be related to my mom! Of course she'd be a much younger version, which means she could be my sister. The only difference is my mom gets her second wind after 10pm. We're on a twice a day schedule, so the double-duty reminder is a great idea! I wish we knew a patent attorney who could help us get the ball rolling! Thanks Mitra!

    Robyn - I think it's "the swirl" talking, but I'll still take the compliment! Ha, ha! Mail-order brides from anywhere sound perfectly respectable to me too! Now if they were impolite, that would be another story! You always crack me up! Thanks Robyn!

    Julie

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  21. I think you've missed your calling. You need to be designing apps instead of some of the morons. How long can you pop bubbles before you question your life?

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    1. I once popped Bubbles. But, don't you know, she has a mean right hook and popped me back.

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  22. LOL! Writers need a feed that shows us writing while we're really watching kittens on FB :)

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  23. Cherdo - Sounds like a dream job. When you put it that way, I have popped a lot of bubbles! Wait a minute, that doesn't sound right when I say it! Thanks for the pep talk, Cherdo!

    Carol - I'd definitely buy that app! Thanks Carol!

    Julie

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  24. Hi, Julie,

    Wow, I never thought about giving access to my personal info from an app.

    Had to laugh at the name of you 'new app'... Lol

    Can you believe these insane temps? I was hoping to see you and Lila again before winter hit.... Eh, it already has.

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  25. Michael - Sorry you got back in time for this frigid weather! I'm so excited about your new place here, and can't wait to hear more about New York! It would be fun to have another outing with you, and Lila! Hopefully, we'll have some sunny days here.

    Julie

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  26. I KNEW there was something fishy going on when I took my Smart Phone into the shower and it whistled at me. Not only was it creepy, I have to question my phone's skeevy tastes.
    BTW, based on your suggestion, you may want to have a look at Penwasser Place tomorrow for my post, "Mickey Al-Donovan."
    Don't say you weren't warned.

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  27. I saw a news story about this recently. Really is kind of scary isn't it?? I wish you a wonderful weekend :)

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  28. I'm still not too savvy about apps. I don't have an app friendly phone since I'm still in the Flip Phone Ages. I'm careful about what I load into my PC since I don't trust a lot of those programs either. There's all kinds of people or things out to get us and empty our bank accounts and so on. They'll be disappointed if they manage to get to my bank account, but I'm none too thrilled about them getting into my so on.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out

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    1. Lee - You never have to worry about silly things like pocket dialing with Flip Phones. I'd also rather talk than text. It's gotten to the point where some people only communicate with their own children by texting. Lee, you're savvy about many things, and "when in doubt, do without!"

      Julie

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  29. Al - I tried bringing my phone into the shower with me once, and it rolled over and played dead. As always, yours was better! Looking forward to seeing more of Little Mickey tomorrow! Will Bubbles be joining in on the fun?

    Keith - Yes, and after reading Al's comment I'm more afraid than ever! Thanks, and happy weekend to you!

    Julie

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  30. A friend and I once started planning an app which was basically our own version of the card game "Cups" from Friends.

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  31. Every time I think, "I'm just paranoid about all this high-tech stuff," I read something else that indicates your high-tech gadget has the capacity to spy on you. I just traded in the old car for a 2012 because the repairs were just getting to be too much. In the back of my mind, though, I'm thinking about the internal stuff they've installed to track my every move in this fancy new ride. I am pretty much of the mind that unless you want to live completely off the grid... Uncle Sam is watching you. And lots of other folks, too!

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  32. Michael - It sounds like a fun idea! You and your friend should continue to pursue it. Best of luck, Michael!

    Robin - Enjoy your new car, and try to think of the positive aspects. For example, with OnStar they can send help if you're in an accident by using a tracking device. I think Uncle Sam would be bored out of his mind watching me!

    Julie

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  33. I just find it funny that apps were initially created as ways to help us maximize our efficiency, and now 95% of them have been reduced to brainless timewasters, like Adult Tennis Boobs, or The Fake Shower app, in which your phone simulates the sound of a running shower so you can pretend like you're in the bathroom showering when you're really not.

    Ah, the golden age of technology.

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    1. B & B - I never heard about The Fake Shower app before. I just read that Tinder is one of the "hottest apps." It's where you find real dates that may lead to Fake relationships.

      Julie

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  35. To be honest, I don't use aps on my phone. I use it to text or call. That's it. I know there are those that have smart phones and use them to do everything. I figure I have a perfectly good computer, well two--a laptop and office computer--and nothing is so critical that I need to set up the phone. Critical means call me.

    Your apps made me chuckle.

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    1. Sia - Sounds like you have enough other ways to stay connected. It's amazing how much we were able to accomplish before cell phones even came out! Thanks Sia!

      Julie

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  36. My hubby got me the i-Phone as an upgrade. Are you saying we shouldn't update our Apps automatically? I don't really update mine. I forget. LOL
    Seems like I'm basically clueless...as well as Apptless...LOL
    Hey, I saw your comment over at Alex's place!
    A Vegas trip would be amazing. My hubby always says non-gamblers (like me) have loads of luck... so I'd be the right person to hang out with at the casino...

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  37. As you already know, I don't even have a cellphone, and don't want one. The bare bones el-cheapo one Smarticus has is designed for old farts who only want a phone to make phone calls. (What a concept!) It's amusing to me how many apps there are now to do every little thing for us, and one of the funniest one I read about was a few years back, when there was a day set aside to "unplug." National Unplugged Day, or some such thing: get off the internet, put down those electronic games, and get out and live, etc. Cool, huh? The article went on to advise that if the reader needed help unplugging, there was a "new app" for that...

    Love YOUR app ideas.

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  38. I hear you. Even FB messenger app aks for so many permissions that I was astounded.

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  39. Michelle - The segment said not to hit "update all apps," as it may lead to malware problems. It sounds like your husband hit the nail on the head! You may very well be the perfect good luck charm! Congrats again, Michelle!

    Susan - It's good that "Smarticus" has a phone for emergencies. It's unbelievable that there's an app to learn how to unplug for National Unplugged Day! I often see families texting, or checking emails instead of talking to each other in restaurants. These people really have no idea what they're missing. Thanks Susan!

    Nas - For some reason, the FB app doesn't work well on my phone. Always asking permission for every little thing, would drive me crazy, so I guess I'm better off.

    Julie

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  40. Home sick in bed, app. Call your mother. Hahahaha.

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