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Suresh Menon: Apps push my buttons!

Suresh Menon is a writer based in India. In his youth he set out to change the world but but later decided to leave it as it is

By Suresh Menon for Friday magazine
00:00 March 2, 2012

They bring into your room favourite movies and live sport, and afford you the luxury of switching from one to the other. They enable you to shut up bores in mid-sentence. And they allow these bores to record their moment on television for posterity if they want to. But there's more to the multifaceted TV remote than this.

I am not sure which button you have to press for this - but press the right one, and TV remotes can also give you a cold, cough or worse. In hotel rooms, for instance, the remote is considered dirtier than the bathroom, sink, door handles, and even the bedspread. Studies by the environment microbiology department at the University of Arizona established this some time ago. I apologise for ruining your Friday morning if you haven't thought about this before, but the range and job descriptions of some of the germs readily available on the remote are impressive.

You can catch a cold with just one push of the button; the cold virus can live on remotes for 24 hours, which may be longer than some people cannot live without television or a remote control for it. Germs make a comfortable living in the nooks and crannies of the remote, awaiting the human touch so they can create havoc.

Ah! you ask, why can't they have an app - the modern miracle - that makes the TV remote redundant, at least in hotel rooms? And that, ladies and gentlemen, is precisely what they have done. The app in question allows you to surf channels, and do all those wonderful things that a TV remote can do, and without the added attraction of hosting germs as well.

The app is today's penicillin, aspirin, and more rolled into one. Don't know what book to read? There's an app for it. Whom should you marry? Get another app to find out. An app a day keeps the doctor (and lawyer and engineer and local expert) away.

Feeling as if it's the end of the world? Soon there will be an app to give you a reason to live. Wonder how you can deal with the bossy mother-in-law? Await the app that will either make her less painful or you more powerful. Forgotten your wife's birthday? An app to wish her an 'appy birthday is already available. Need to exercise to lose weight? An app will do the job for you while you do more serious things like ensuring the body gets all the sleep it needs, and then some more just in case.

Downloading apps has already become an international obsession. How many are available and how many of us are at it all the time, you want to know? Well, there's an app for that.