How a boomer can create the illusion of tech cool

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How cool is this: BoomerCafé co-founder and executive editor Greg Dobbs has gone all high-tech! Well, not “all;” maybe he has an inflated view of what this means in his life. But he found an app for his iPhone that makes him feel like, “Well sure, I might be a baby boomer, but I’m keeping up with the kids,” and after all, isn’t that what really matters?

Sometimes I surprise myself with how cool I am!

Just kidding; the only place a leading-edge baby boomer like me is “cool” is in his own mind. But still, I discovered the other day that in the world of technology, I can keep up with the younger generations for whom hi-tech dexterity comes as naturally as folk songs come to us.

It started when a friend of mine, a fellow boomer who just got an iPhone (which is his very first smartphone) sent me a text saying, “Do you want to join me on my journey?” HUH? What in the world was he asking?

So that’s what I asked, and his response was this: while playing around with his new toy, he’d stumbled onto a new app, which essentially could tell him where I am if he is looking for me and would let me know where he is if I’m looking for him.

Greg with his iPhone, checking his app amid skiers at Vail, Colorado.

Greg with his iPhone, checking his app amid skiers at Vail, Colorado.

My first reaction was, “Why in tarnation would I want to do that?” You have to understand, I’ve kind of drawn a line in the sand about connecting through social media; my goals in life these days include spending less time at the computer, or fooling with my iPhone, not more. That’s why I say with a kind of old codger’s pride, I’m not on Facebook or Twitter or WhatsApp (although I sure wish I owned a piece of that one when Facebook bought it last month for a mere $19-Billion in cash and stock).

Greg Dobb’s book – Life in the Wrong Lane – is available at Amazon.com.

But my friend — if anything, more anti-tech than I am — told me what he saw in this app: if we ski together and get separated, I don’t have to worry about whether he’ll answer a call to tell me where he is (which he won’t because the phone will be buried deep in his parka); if we’ve both got this app in our phones (it’s called FindableApp.com) and we’ve agreed to “journey” together on this particular ski day, we’ll both have the app turned on and I’ll be able to spot his position and move toward it for our reunion.

Findable_app

The Findable app for iPhone. Very cool.

And that’s when it occurred to me, it would be helpful when my wife and I travel, too; I’ll typically go to the gate to sit and read while she walks the long concourses at the airport to get some exercise, which puts me in a panic when she’s gone so long that I fear she’ll miss the boarding process. But if she and I both have the app and we’ve both activated it, I’ll know where she is and if she cares to see if I’m still at the gate, she’ll know where I am too.

And then I started thinking about other ways to use this thing: at a ballpark, at a concert, at a street fair, even just at a big crowded grocery store. If I have a bunch of friends and we know that sometimes we’ll want to keep track of each other’s whereabouts so we can meet, this is how we can do it. For example when the weather turns nice, I’m part of a bike-riding group that sometimes gets separated on the winding roads of the Rocky Mountains. If we’ve all got the app working at the same time, we won’t worry about who at the back of the string made a wrong turn (or at least we’ll know he’s lost and won’t waste a moment longer worrying about him).

Greg … finding his friends.

Greg … finding his friends.

So I’ve downloaded it from Apple’s App Store — thankfully, it was free or I might not have done it — which means, when I’m skiing, or riding, or just lost in a crowded place wanting to find the people I’m supposed to be with, I’m going to turn it on and you know what? I’m going to feel cool. Again.

Which makes me proud as punch … although I fully understand that using a phrase like “proud as punch” might automatically disqualify me from being cool.

No matter. I know I am, and so are the friends I connect with … even if no one else thinks so!

5 Comments

  1. I read this and downloaded the Findable app to my iPhone (you need the latest OS 7 or whatever it is). I added some friends I found through the app but haven’t had any return pings. Either I don’t have enough friends or they are not that tech cool.
    It is interesting how various apps appeal to age groups. My daughter in her late 20s only uses instant message, Instagram and email among her friends, in that order of priority.
    Anyway, good going, Greg. You’ve impressed me with being (somewhat) hip.

  2. I guess with, it seems just about everyone knowing where I might be at a given moment, I might as well join them in learning where others are as well as myself. Now if I can only convince my wife to down load the app as well…

  3. I wanted to let the Boomer Cafe staff, writers, and website developers know that you have made one of the most attractive, informative and easy-to-use websites I have ever used. Congrats!

    1. Dear Ria,

      That might be the nicest thing anyone ever wrote! Thank you so much, not just for the comment, but for what you’ve created yourself for the site.

      David along with Greg

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