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Don Gale: Changing the world with GAL

Published: Wednesday, May 22 2013 1:50 p.m. MDT

Picture this, but with someone else's face giving you a disapproving glare.

Associated Press

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I’m working on a new app – the GAL app (GAL is text-speak for . . . well, you know what it means). Anyway, when a “user” chooses this app, it will automatically insert the users smart phone image, live, on every phone, tablet, and googly goggle within a twenty-foot radius. That way, the user can say “good morning,” “hello,” “hi,” or whatever to all the electronic zombies within range.

Imagine the possibilities. You’re on the elevator. The e-zombs stare at their phones, surfing through the endless icon roll, refusing to make eye contact. Suddenly, thanks to the GAL app, you appear on their devices. You say, “Good afternoon; nice to see you.” The spell is broken. The e-zombs are freed from their entombment. You brought the real world into their lives – if only for a moment. Some may even smile. You made their day.

Or you’re at a restaurant. You see a diner nearby alternately rolling his icons and then speaking loudly into his icon screen. Magically, you appear. “Sorry, friend. Couldn’t help overhearing. My advice is to decline the offer. And if your table companion would like company, she is welcome to join us while you jabber on.” The phone fondler returns to reality. His dining companion hopes the spell is broken. They experiment with live conversation.

You’re walking down the street on a sunny spring day. Passers-by focus on images, their elbows crooked, phones leading the way by eighteen inches. You touch your GAL icon. “Have a good day,” you say in a friendly tone. Three nearby pedestrians smile – their first smiles of the day. Talk about pay it forward!

At a movie, two rows ahead, the light of someone’s phone shines like a beacon. Occasionally, it omits grunts, groans, and other crude noises. Thanks to the GAL app, your face appears on the offending phone. You simply shake your head slowly. The culprit looks around, furtively, realizing for the first time he or she is surrounded by disapproving human beings.

On the freeway, three drivers within GAL range talk on cell phones. You hand your phone to your passenger and tell him or her to activate the GAL app. Your passenger says: “Hello, friend. Thought you might want to know that you’re traveling ten miles per hour slower than everyone else, you’re drifting to and fro, and you almost sideswiped someone a half mile back. Have a nice day . . . if you live through it.”

At a boring business meeting, half the assembled veeps stare below table level at e-devices. Thanks to GAL, you appear, replacing grocery lists, text messages and the occasional pornography. Your phone camera -- below table level -- shows only half your face. But you look down, nod slightly toward the speaker, and roll your eyes. Three colleagues clear their throats to suppress laughter. The company president stops in mid-sentence, looks up from his script for the first time, glances around the table, and blessedly skips two items on the agenda.

I still have a few technical problems to overcome. But when it goes on the market, GAL will surely become one of the most popular apps of all time.

G. Donald Gale is president of Words, Words, Words, Inc.

www.dongale@words3.com

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