Thursday, March 19, 2009

Aye to Bozo filter

FOR someone who has an iPhone, I am conservative when it comes to installing new apps.

After about a month, the only new apps I have on my phone are Facebook and Star Wars Lightsaber. Both are available as free downloads from Apple's App Store.

In due time, I see my list extending to just a few more: a dictionary, Wiki, games such as Tetris, Bejeweled and some sort of typing or word game.

It's because I am not wild about apps. With the App Store now hosting more than 25,000 apps, competition is fierce. I prefer to let the dust settle a bit. Once that happens, the quality titles will emerge and I will then not hesitate to pay for them.

Besides, there are apps already on my iPhone that I haven't used, like this Mail app which I haven't got around to setting up, in part because email is not terribly urgent to me and also because I dread the thought of having to sift through junk mail on a small screen.

So what would be nice to have is something called Bozo Filter to go with my Mail app. Bozo Filter is a term I got from Dilbert creator Scott Adams, who in turn got it from former Apple evangelist Guy Kawasaki.

Essentially, Bozo Filter works like a spam filter, in that it eliminates worthless emails. They always have tell-tale signs like multiple recipients and phrases like "I thought you might be interested in this" or "please forward this to everyone who is a someone to you".

But more than just getting rid of worthless emails, Bozo Filter would go after the sender of these emails.

Say, for example, someone forwards me a chain mail about Bill Gates wanting to share his Microsoft fortunes via chain letters. I want that email deleted and an electric shock sent back through the Internet and cellular network to whoever thought I needed to see that.

So, yes to Bozo Filter.

And no to alerts. I do not want to be told of incoming messages, especially when they give me a scare for no good reason in the middle of the night.

Speaking of getting scared in the middle of the night, I recently changed my ringtone from the default Marimba to Sci-Fi, all because my children like it. And then I forgot to revert back to Marimba.

Big mistake. In normal circumstances, Sci-Fi has a fun, 1950s science fiction ring to it but when it goes off in the quiet of the night, you get a different effect altogether. It sounds scary.

Recently, someone gave me a wakeup call at 6am. Boy, did I wake up: with my heart pounding fast. Not good for the heart. I have since changed the tone back to Marimba.

On the other hand, if you enjoy horror flicks, this can be a great idea for an iPhone horror app. Let's call it - in the spirit of Apple-like simplicity - iScare. iScare should do the following:

1. Display an apparition at random at the corners of your screen. Ideally, the spectre should resemble a former girlfriend/boyfriend. iScare can rummage through your Trash Bin for their deleted pictures because you probably never secure-empty the Bin.

2. Let out sudden ghastly shrieks and images - in their full screen glory - when you least expect them, such as when you're painstakingly trying to correct a typo on an SMS.

3. Include an "extra person" when you try to snap pictures with the camera.

It's morbid and I don't exactly like horror but I like to entertain the idea.

At the moment, what we have at the App Store is something called Horrorscope from a company called 38i. Normal horoscopes tell you what you want to hear; this one tells you want you don't want to hear. "What's your sign? It's definitely a bad one." LOL!