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OPINION | GARY SMITH: New smartphone app delivers an uplifting experience

A new garage door comes with a smartphone app by Gary Smith | September 9, 2022 at 1:00 a.m.

It seems that people collect all sorts of odd things beyond what people would normally expect: works of art, baseball cards, wine, etc.

Then there are sugar packets. Celebrity hair. Coffee cup lids. One of my children collected parking tickets for a while, though I doubt it was a memorabilia thing.

Apparently, I collect apps.

That's apps as in applications, referring to various software tools I have installed on my phone. I didn't realize it, but while scrolling through my screens the other day in a frantic attempt to find the one that actually lets me make a phone call (yes, you can use a mobile phone for that), I began to realize I'm in possession of several gateways to magical worlds of convenience and information.

It seems I can conduct all my banking, check on my insurance, keep current on scores of virtually every sport anywhere and find locations all over the world. I mean, I can do that as soon as I remember the various passwords, but the potential is there.

I can also order whatever food or drink my little heart desires. For instance, earlier this week I placed requests for my morning coffee and some warm, delicious donuts, all without leaving my house. Unfortunately, I didn't check the locations closely, so I ordered the coffee in Chicago and the donuts in Atlanta. Seems I'm not really much of a details person.

I mention this because we recently bought a new garage door, and as a result and for no reason I can understand except they had it and it seemed like it might be fun, I have a new app.

Let's pause here: I'm not exactly boasting I bought a new garage door. People boast about what they park in their garage. They don't boast about ... the door.

No one wheels up to their house and says "You know what we really need? A new garage door." People only buy garage doors when the current unit either fails to go up and down anymore or fails to do so under their control.

And even then, they only do it after telling the exceptionally patient installer that their parents bought a washer and dryer soon after they were married and both are still working (the appliances, not the parents) so things just don't last anymore.

The only thing softening the blow of buying a new garage door (OK, except the fact that the old one is no longer likely to fall and kill me, a definite plus) is that it comes with an app.

Now, thanks to this miracle of modern technology, I can do all sorts of wondrous things. For instance, I can operate my garage door from my phone. So instead of having to use my opener, that box with a button on it, I can use my phone: a box with a virtual button on it.

The door comes with a camera, so I can see my car in the garage. Yep, right there. Sitting in the garage. Just like cars do. On all four tires. Doing nothing.

Thanks to the app, my phone will tell me when my garage door opens. Which is maybe a little redundant, since I'm usually the one opening it to back out. And if I take to backing out before I open it, I'm not sure an app is going to help. Actually, it might be time to talk about giving up the keys.

The app does, however, serve one significant purpose in that it will save us from frantically turning around half a block from our house and driving back because the Lovely Mrs. Smith is sure we didn't close the garage door. Though, given that there are lots of things in our garage, some of which we even own (that's what you get for having kids), an open garage door is more a subject of embarrassment than security.

I know, I know. I could have said no. Well, actually I couldn't, because it came with the door. But you get the idea. And the app is probably like a fire extinguisher. Likely won't ever use it, but it's good to have if I ever need to.

Besides, who is actually going to turn down an app? They're so useful!

And if you know anyone in Pittsburgh or Albuquerque, you might let them know. I've ordered a large pepperoni pizza in one city and two chicken sandwiches in the other. I just don't remember which is which. But ... enjoy!

Print Headline: Uplifting news

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