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5 Apps That Changed My Life

How does one define a life changing app? Seems like a tall order. I was worried that I would have a tough time choosing at first. After thinking for a while, I then realized it would be tough to limit it to 5. All of the apps listed here have had a significant impact on my life in different ways at different points of my life. Also, this is just the tip of the iceberg, I probably could list 50 more without too much trouble. So let’s get into it.

BASIC

appThis app changed my life, because it was the first app I ever touched. When I was about 10, my parents got a hand-me-down computer from our neighbor and hooked it up. Upon booting, it just sat there with a blinking cursor, awaiting instructions. It was love at first sight. Within weeks, I was writing programs and knew that for the rest of my life, I’d never have my hands far from a keyboard.

As a curiosity, I searched and found a site that still has the manuals for that old computer! If you’re an old TI-994a buff, taking a peek will be nothing short of nostalgic!

Google

Before Google, trying to find a piece of information was like trying to find a book in a library with no card catalog and no dewey decimal system. Search engines of the day (remember Altivasta and Lycos?) fell pretty far short. Along came Google and everything changed. Searching there made sense and they had access to more information. “Google it” even became a verb and joined the ranks of Band-aid, Kleen-ex, and Thermos, becoming synonymous with the product of search.

Why Google made the list is that they’ve always been innovating. First, search, then Gmail, and now Google Chat, Apps, Voice, Plus, Hangouts, and Drive. I’ve used them all extensively. I drafted this blog in a Google Doc. I collaborate my team every day via chat and hangouts. I called Google an app because everything is so tightly knitted together that it acts like a single entity. It allows me to get things done, frictionlessly. Google has grown along with my needs and imagination, without an end in sight.

Twitter

TwitterSending public messages in 140 characters seemed so simple, then adding hashtags and @mentions created something more than anyone would have imagined. The life changing nature of this application goes far beyond just the technology. I’ve made friends there. Good friends, lifelong friends.  Shoutout to @CRMFYI for being the first! In 2011, I drove across the country and couch surfed with people I met on Twitter. When I go a tradeshow, I see my Twitter friends. I watched the Super Bowl, and tweeted about the ads and game. I get help on Twitter, I get news on Twitter, I read blogs from Twitter (I never had a Reader, just read stuff from my Twitter feed). Twitter adds a backchannel to pretty much everything I have going on.

Salesforce.com

SalesforceAfter 7 years administrating SQL databases and MS Access applications, Salesforce.com blew my doors off. The first day I got my hands on the technology, I knew it would change the world and I wanted to be a part of it. Since that day, I’ve been all in with Salesforce. Yes, it’s been my job, but it’s also been my hobby. If I’m not building Salesforce applications, I’m talking to Salesforce people, going to Dreamforce, and having the time of my life. The application is the foundation, has a great team, and they’ve built the worlds most amazing community of passionate people like myself. Being part of it embodies the definition of life changing.  I even got a chance to blog about it here.

Match.com

Match.comWhat? Match.com? Out of all the things listed here, I think that Match.com had the biggest impact on my life. The reason is simple – I met my wife there! Yup, I’m proud to say it, I used technology to meet my wife! Isn’t it amazing?!? Not only is next week Valentine’s day, but also my anniversary. Seems like a great opportunity to mention the source of all my joy on the blog!

 

The Future

I’m falling more in love with technology every day, and I’m proud that I’m no longer just a user, but also helping author apps for others. Apps that will have positive impacts on people’s lives as the ones mentioned here did for me. Red Argyle wrote a personal crisis management system for a client. It could save someone’s life by coordinating and assuring a correct response to someone in crisis. Another app we wrote helps families get services to help them stay together as a family, or another one that uses geolocation technology to help people get to their doctor’s appointments on time, or another one that helps a family owned company sell faster. I LOVE this stuff. I love technology and the fact that we’re building apps for others to help them solve problems.

It’s an amazing time we live in and I’m feeling pretty thankful right about now. What apps have changed your life? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear your story!

Comments

  • What, no Conga Composer?! Just kidding, of course! Great list and so fun that you met your wife on Match. Happy anniversary!

  • The 5 apps that have changed my life would have to be:
    1. Skype – My mom moved to Florida and I bring my Ipad to my Grandparents house once a week so we can all video chat. My “video machine” blows my Grandparents minds!

    2. Eharmony – Met my husband!

    3. Hungarianpod101.com – The website & app have helped me tremendously by giving me the opportunity to learn my husbands first language and connect with my in laws.

    4. Groupon – Love a good deal 🙂

    5. Google Maps – I’m directionally challenged.

    • Five apps that probably shaped my professional career. I’m probably showing my age in the process:

      1. Netscape – introduced me to the internet as a user and as a developer. I would throw in every other browser and version since then for helping me learn the “joys” of browser compatibility testing!

      2. Notepad – was my first web development tool. Many others followed. It’s interesting to see that, 15 years later, we’re all still using glorified text editors to build apps. WYS is not WYG.

      3. IIS – The Microsoft web server was my intro to server-side programming languages. Then I learned how to connect to other servers, databases, web services, etc. It was all downhill from there 😉

      4. Flash – yes, I was a “Flash guy” back in the day. It was awesome to make beautiful, interactive stuff backed by code. Of course, you can build the same things today in a browser with some Javascript, probably faster and easier.

      5. Fontographer – it was through typeface-designing tool that I learned and practiced the art of consistency, making the sum of parts act as a whole, and turning chaos into order.