Well, there’s not really an App for service. Wouldn’t it be nice if there were? However, there are a lot of Apps out there that can make running your household (and your Master!) a lot easier!

I just recently discovered the world of Apps. My Master has been a Mac guy for a while now, and everyone in the house uses Mac computers. When the IPhone4 came out, He had to have one. He is pretty much inseparable from this phone, and I could not figure out what the fascination was. Then I found out about Apps! These are free or paid ‘programs’ that allow you to make notes, play games, do calculations or almost anything else that a programmer could think of.

I had phone envy for a few months when I found this out, but I have a really really good deal on my cell phone, and I did not want to pay for a data plan. My beloved Master could not take the drool on His phone anymore, and so presented me with an iPod Touch (engraved with ‘subbiegirl’). This is a small handheld computer without phone capabilities, but with all the app-abilities of an iPhone. Love at first sight indeed!

I knew it would be a fun thing to have but I had no idea about the capabilities of using this as a tool. Most of the people I know who have one use it just for music or games. But just browse through the Itunes app store and see what is available. You can choose apps compatible with either the IPhone or IPad. My iPod Touch is similar to an iPhone, so I choose those apps. App categories include business, entertainment, finance, medical, music, navigation, lifestyle, travel, and of course the ubiquitous games. There are many other categories and hundreds of thousands of apps to chose from.

How do you begin to find useful apps? First on the screen is usually ‘new and noteworthy’, ‘what’s hot’, top paid apps and top free apps. These are always fun to browse to see what other people are buying or downloading. I knew I wanted some tools to run the household, so I went to ‘lifestyle’ first. I found Grocery IQ, a wonderful app for making a grocery list, something I do constantly during the day. This app makes lists of favourite items or items that you need now. You can add the item by typing the name or you can scan the barcode on the item you have. You can also organize the app by aisles of the grocery store to make shopping quick and easy. I also found numerous apps for wine and food matching, which I particularly enjoy. There are recipe apps too numerous to name, from popular chefs to backyard BBQs.

When Master gets His coffee delivered in the morning He often asks what the weather is out and what the prediction is for the day. A Yahoo weather app came with the iPod, but I found several other ones that are more accurate for my area. Many local radio or tv stations also have apps available for download that would provide you with information for your area.

What other tools are available? There are several free apps to type in medication taken, which will remind you of times and prescribed quantities. A reminder list called Seize the Day keeps track of things to do today, tomorrow, and in the future. I browsed through dozens of reminder apps, so it should be easy to find one that fits your requirements. I also have several apps to keep track of my car servicing, or to open the doors if I lock my keys in (hasn’t happened yet, but you never know). Master also has these apps for my car duplicated on His iPhone. If you schedule appointments for your Master or Mistress, you should have the app for that particular car on your IPhone or IPad.

Master found one of the handiest apps for my iPod. I absolutely hate waking up to a loud noisy alarm in the morning. It puts me in a grumpy mood, which is not a good place for a subbie to be – especially when she is supposed to cheerfully serve coffee. It is called Relax M, and an alarm can be easily set for any sort of nature noise or soothing music. I like waking up to the sound of frogs, although this is somewhat confusing when the frogs in my pond really are croaking and wake me up too soon!

Sometimes just browsing through odd sections can reveal buried treasure that will make your life or that of your Master/ Mistress a lot easier. Under ‘education’ I found a section for special education. There are money readers and magnifiers for visually impaired. My Master has a hearing difficulty in places with a lot of background noise. There is an app to magnify sounds, and Master can use the adjustments to get rid of the noises and concentrate on the voices He is listening to. This app is awesome for people who cannot use or do not want a hearing aid. He just puts on his headphones, hooks up to His iPhone, and it looks like He is listening to music. Or perhaps He is, and those wise nods as I am speaking are actually bobs in tune to the music!

There are all sorts of entertainment options available in apps. There are books, music, and PodCasts to download. For travel, you can arrange a playlist for your Master and Mistress (how about ‘car songs’?), or a reading of a classic novel from LibriVox. You can keep track of the schedule of your Master’s or Mistress’s favourite sports teams, and if He or She can’t get to the London 2012 Olympics you can follow it on your IPhone or IPod. Whatever Their fitness regimen is, you can pitch in with a meditation guide, beach quality advisory, or a running app where the runner is chased by zombies!

So, if you want to keep a step ahead, check out the world of IPhone and IPod apps. They don’t replace personal service – after all the iPod won’t make or serve the coffee – but they can help organize your service to a really high degree! If I hear ‘subbie what’s that bird?’ (iBird Canada), or ‘subbie what are the two stars overhead’ (Night Sky), I can now answer with a quick check of the iPod. It’s like a reference library in your pocket!

Have you found any technology that improves your life or service? Share it in the comments below!