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Nagging? Yes, there is an app for that as well

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POSTED January 6, 2014 12:19 a.m.

Nagging is in. Big time.

It’s the premise behind tons of apps as well as high tech gizmos.

Remember when your mom told you to slow down and chew your food?

You probably thought she was giving you a bad time.

The inventors of HAPIfork have mom beat. The HAPIfork vibrates in your mouth when you eat too fast. And for good measure it sends a recap of how bad or good you were chewing to your smartphone.

You can also buy a spoon that also has built-in sensors to nag you.

Mom was doing it out of concern and love. The makers for HAPIfork are doing to make money at $100 a pop.

The apps that nag are endless. They run the gamut from keeping tabs on what you eat to telling you it is time to pay a bill or do a chore.

There’s even an app connected with an electronic device that alerts your smartphone when you’re slouching.

Of course, if we had just listened to mom we wouldn’t be forking over money for apps and devices that are basically designed to stop doing bad habits.

What makes it all amusing is that the apps — and $100 spoons — are totally useless unless you are going to do something about it. They’re kind of like the clothes hangers many people buy in the form of expensive workout machines such as Stairmasters and treadmills.

The argument, of course, is people just need reminders and they will do “the right thing.” If that’s really the case then we need apps to nag people not to litter, not to steal cars, not to be abusive to others, and not to let their dogs run loose and deposit surprise packages in neighbors’ yards.

Instead of buying the latest nag gizmos or apps perhaps those people interested in breaking bad habits might want to exercise self control.  It’s cost effective and you don’t need to makes millionaires out of programmers or pay a king’s ransom for a smartphone to do it.

There are those who contend they will listen to a machine but not a person.

If that’s the case they must love the Hal 9000 computer of “2001: A Space Odyssey” fame.

Being Big Brother, 1984-style, has never been easier.

Get everyone to rely on their smartphones to conduct their daily lives and then snare them.

If you think that is over the top, check out what AT&T is offering. You can buy high tech gizmos connected with a smartphone app to lock your doors, turn off the water, shut down the TV, turn on or off the lights, arm the alarm, and change your central heat and air setting when you are on vacation in Florida.

Of course that means access to your house is now available to hackers who don’t need to do the grunt work that old school burglars did and look for a way to break into your house. Instead they can just hack into an AT&T server, turn on everything from lights to the TV so neighbors think you are home, and them disarm the alarm and unlock the doors and wait a little while and walk right in and ransack your place.

If that’s overreacting to high technology can backfire consider this: Fifteen years ago if someone had told you than thieves typing on keyboards could steal more money from banks than those doing it the old school way as Bonnie & Clyde did, you’d have laughed in their face.

Last year, the FBI reports that just three sophisticated hacking gangs ripped off $100 million from medium and small banks in the United States. Overall, nearly $1 billion a year is stolen from banks in the United States and Europe by hackers. Compare that to the conventional methods of taking money from banks via armed robbery. The take from old-fashioned armed robbery at all United States banks last year was $43 million according to the FBI.

The low-tech robbers have a much greater chance of being caught and when they are the time they spend in prison is often 10 times longer that cyber criminals Topping that off is the fact high tech John Dillingers and Pretty Boy Floyds are almost impossible to detect let alone issue wanted posters to enlist the public’s help since they don’t have to show their faces to steal.

Wholesale embracing of the latest technology almost always has major drawbacks.

Take things such as cars, washing machines, power lawn mowers, and dishwashers as examples. They are all machines that reduced the use of muscle power to do daily tasks. As a result fitness levels are at all-time low while the number of people overweight is at an all time high. And we are now spending billions of dollars a year on exercise equipment, health club memberships and diet aids plus much more on health-related issues stemming from inactivity.

If you really want to up your game perhaps there are two devices you can engage that will pay huge dividends in terms of results — your brain and your body.

And no, there’s no an app for that.

This column is the opinion of executive editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Bulletin or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA.  He can be contacted at or 209-249-3519.

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