App Appeal: How to be good — and how to be very, very evil

With Instead, save money and give it to those who need it. Credit: Provided
With Instead, save money and give it to those who need it.
Credit: Provided

Instead
Price: Free

Charity Miles
Price: Free

There are selfish do-gooders, who surrender some comforts for the betterment of others. Then there are the incredibly lazy and selfish. That’s most of us. We’d like to give money to cancer research, to Parkinson’s research, to the starving at home and abroad. But we’re too busy. We want charities to take our money, but only if we literally only have to lift a finger.

This is where technology comes in. There are many apps that turn us into giving monsters. But two stand out above most, in large part because they’re self-serving in addition to making us selfless. Instead, from Oven Bits, LLC, placates our need to be both charitable and thrifty. Rather than eat out or order Seamless/GrubHub, it asks you to eat in and donate the money saved (about $5 a day) to a charity for, say, HIV medicine. Pack a lunch three times a week, and the cash not spent goes to provide others with clean water.

If that sounds like a lot of work to the incessantly stressed, Charity Miles is even more hands on. It calculates how much exercise you’re getting, whether you’re walking, running or cycling. You rack up miles, and for every one a set amount is fired off to a charity of your choice: the Special Olympics, Stand Up to Cancer, The World Food Programme, The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, etc. The most amount of energy spent will in fact be entirely for your own purposes, even as it goes to those in need. But charity money’s charity money, right?

Karaoke Anywhere
Price: Free or $1.99

Speaking of being a force for good, Karaoke Anywhere is not a force for good. It is a force for evil. Till now, the act of singing — badly or scarily well — along to popular (or not so popular) songs has been regulated to self-hating bars, where the staff has given up all hopes of not hearing people do “Total Eclipse of the Heart” ad nauseam and thus surrendered the will to live. When karaoke expanded to the home, with games like “Rock Band” and others, that was fine because it was contained. But this puts it on your phone, meaning it won’t be long before park folk singers are duking it out with drunk millennials shouting their way through Cee Lo’s “F— You.” However, if any of you try Plastic Bertrand’s “Ca Plane Pour Moi,” we’ll be impressed rather than feeling that having karaoke literally anywhere (with cell phone service) is the actual apocalypse.


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