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- Tech Talk: Have a High Tech Halloween
Tech Talk Tuesday: Halloween App
Updated: Tuesday, November 5 2013, 11:47 AM MST
By Lonnie Valencia
Trick or Treat! The best and worst tech ideas for Halloween. Grabbing candy with the kids can be tricky business, so let us help you maximize your candy grabbing experience in this edition of Tech Talk.
Whether you're staying home to give a fright to the kids that dare ring your doorbell or you’re off to hit up all your neighbors for their sweets, smartphones and gadgets are helping pave the way to a better and spookier time... or are they?
To start off, Trick or Tracker is bringing peace of mind to worried parents everywhere as this app lets you track your kids as they go out in search for candy. Here in the borderland I don’t know too many parents that even let their kids out of their sight, let alone go trick or treating without supervision. That said, if you’re letting your kids loose this Halloween and want to still have some supervision, check this app out. The only downside to this one is that it’s not Apple ready.
Nextdoor is an app that lets neighbors communicate. Chit-chatting at the mailbox or just plain walking over to your neighbor’s house seems just too “Leave it to Beaver” or old fashioned these days. Why do you ever need to see your neighbors when you can communicate with them through a private social network? Now, for Halloween, you can indicate that your house is open for trick or treaters and your neighbors can easily navigate to your house. I have to say, I signed up for this in my neighborhood and I was the only one online, so I doubt that many of us here in El Paso are going to using this forward thinking app. Give it a shot and, who knows, your neighbors could be cyborgs that are online and candy ready!
If you are like me and saw the Verizon commercial (if not, the link is above) you'll notice the app the wife uses to find the house giving out the full size candy. Introducing Wikitude, the augmented reality (AR) app that give you access to several AR apps. One of the apps inside this one is a map that can host comments and locations that are relevant to you. This might come in handy the night of Halloween if the majority of trick or treaters would mark their conquests as they did on the commercial.
On to the big DON'T for Halloween. The number one thing to refrain from doing is using the light on your smartphone. I know you iPhone users just got an update that allows you to swipe, press and boom... light. It’s easy. It’s convenient. It’s also a battery killer. Don’t put yourself in a situation where you need your phone and you used all your juice to power the smallest LED light in the world. Trust me, when the boogie man is chasing you, your parents are trying to track you, you’re using Wikitube to find candy, you’re using the light, you need to call the po-po, and your battery will be dead and so will you (ok…a little overdramatic but you get the point.) This is where a low-tech flashlight is your best friend. Don’t leave the house without it.
There are a lot of apps on the market that are directed to Halloween and trying to make your experience better. The rub is they charge and some may not do a lot for you. For example, Goblin Count keeps track of how many people come to your door. This app aims to help you buy the perfect amount of candy so you’re not left with too many or run out too soon. This app also, tracks year to year stats as to give you even better odds of giving you a better average. For someone like me, however I enjoy having the holiday leftover candy so I can eat it for the next week and a half at work.
That does it for this episode of Tech Talk Tuesday. As always we would love your feedback/suggestions for this or our next edition, so feel free to send your comments to our resident Tech Guy Lonnie Valencia.