Danny Tyree

Do you share my frustration at being required to update smartphone apps at the most inopportune of times?

With aggravating regularity, my quick lunchtime stops at fast-food chains have become anything but efficient. Silly me, I turn to the restaurant’s “trusty” app for the daily deals, only to be told that the app I updated two weeks ago is suddenly in need of ANOTHER crucial update and will not function AT ALL until I genuflect to the code-writing gods and redo the whole process.

(When a corporation’s “best and brightest” are constantly experiencing “Oh, wait, I forgot something” moments, don’t expect me to place oodles of confidence in the “Employees must wash hands after using restroom” signs.)

OK, I’m hungry and cheap, so I sheepishly step out of line and try downloading, installing, lathering, rinsing and repeating what I thought had been a perfectly serviceable application.

The “update, order, eat and get back to work” process grinds to a standstill when the app outright LIES to me and insists I don’t have enough space on my phone and that I will have to DELETE one of my other apps. So instead of enjoying a leisurely meal at an eatery where my family and I made many carefree memories in halcyon pre-app days, I am plunged into a nerve-racking game of “The rowboat is sinking, and you can save only your wife OR your child! PICK ONE! Tick tock, tick tock!”

I seldom notice any practical technological improvements when I comply with the command to update. I can handle a human being asking me, “You want fries with that?”; but I come unglued when an anonymous programmer asks me, “You want bells and whistles with that?”

Usually, the stated reasons for an update are gibberish to me. I do notice “improved stability” popping up with some frequency. So, apparently my phone is “unstable.” That’s why I’ve taken to keeping it locked in the car trunk when I take a shower, so we don’t have any of this Alfred Hitchcock “Psycho” drama going on.

By the time I finally get my grub, if an acquaintance asks me whether my phone has an Android platform or iOS platform, all I’m interested in is a platform high enough for me to plunge to my merciful doom!

Of course, not all updates are so heavy-handed and mandatory. Some time-tested apps will keep limping along indefinitely. But the retailer, news site, social media hub or game developer will try to GUILT you into going with the latest version. (You’re liable to scuff your phone dragging your knuckles like that, don’t’cha know?)

Yes, you can stick with your quaint software, but you’ll be doing the “swipe of shame” while all the cool kids laugh behind your back.

The app stores become more persistent when there’s some recent “security issue” that they’ve hurriedly patched up. It really makes you want to go back to cash, paper maps and board games when you’re cajoled into playing “Consumers, let’s see if we can continue to stay one step ahead of the evildoers! Oh, crud! Larry has gone over to the Dark Side.”

Don’t get me wrong. I really appreciate some of my apps; but more and more, when someone says, “There’s an app for that,” I gaze at my phone and sigh, “There’s a ball peen hammer for that.”

Danny Tyree can be emailed at tyreetyrades@aol.com.

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