My first cell phone was about the size of a brick and weighed that much too. But the wireless aspect made me feel so free! I could talk to friends when lying on the beach—in theory (there had to be a cell tower close by,) or when doing yard work (much more realistic in the beginning.) Once I got all of my contacts stored into it I balked at moving up to increasingly smaller, yet more powerful devices by different makers. Each move cost me tons of time transferring information. When my first iPhone was foisted upon me I fought it. Who needs all those apps? And what is an app anyway? I learned over time how indispensible those little buggers can become.
Of course, the iPhone opened a whole new universe to me. Today I don’t carry a cosmetic mirror in my purse since my iPhone5 has a flipping screen in the camera function that works just like a mirror. I’ve also dispensed with my nifty little flashlight for use in dark restaurants, camera, notepad, and books since they all come in my tiny little phone. In the grocery store I shop from my phone by tapping on the grocery lists in my Easy Weekly Meals books; and I use the notepad to make shopping lists for other stores, or to-do lists for my day. I’m saving lots of trees and I never forget my lists when I leave the house. I’ve even quit wearing a clunky watch because my phone contains a satellite clock that changes time zones when I do, and contains an alarm clock and stopwatch, too. When I make an appointment at the hair salon or doctor’s office, I enter it directly into my electronic calendar and forgo the little card I’ll just misplace anyway. I set an alarm in the calendar right on the spot. Later, when I sync my phone with my computer, all of my appointments show up on that device and on my iPad, too.
On a recent road trip to Florida I didn't print directions from Mapquest because that method has left me in the middle of nowhere a couple of times. Instead I used my phone’s GPS, and Siri bossed me through every turn along the 6-hour route. I noticed she became a little frantic when I missed a turn. But she redirected me back to the correct route. Upon verbal request Siri promptly found gas stations, restaurants and nearby Starbucks outlets for me too, so I was able to fuel up the car and my body without taking my eyes off of the road. I bought coffee with my Starbucks app at their nearest drive-thru so I added a star to my Starbucks rewards. (12 stars earns me the free drink or food item of my choice.) By using my $1 re-fillable cup I saved a dime on my coffee purchase. It’s not much, but it all adds up.
If you’re an avid app user you may be thinking, “So what else is new?” Try this. Last week I found a useful little on-line “gadget.” I’m in the process of converting a few old recipes from 4-serving to 2-serving ones for my Empty Nesters cookbook, which is underway. I got really tired of doing all of the conversions. Math has never been my strong suit or even something my brain likes to do. I looked online and found a site that has a “Tablespoons to Cups” converter. I enter in the value and it downsizes appropriately. The site has several converters, including one to change metric measurements to U.S. standards. It’s not downloadable, but can be bookmarked and accessed through your browser. I liked this tool so well I found an app called “Kitchen Dial” by Daniel Cunningham. It was a free download in the app store, so I grabbed it right up, and use it all the time. It’s great to have in the kitchen, but good for the grocery store, too. Of course more powerful upgrades are available for a couple of bucks, but I find the basic free version meets all of my needs.
Do you have some recipes you love, but they are designed for the wrong number of people? Are you tired of scribbling conversions into paper books to get the proportions right? Try these applications and see how much more versatile all of your recipes become.