MARQUETTE - Larry Ellerbruch had two things to make clear when asked about apps.
"I am not your typical senior," he said, adding with a chuckle, "and I'm cheap."
Ellerbruch, 71, of Negaunee Township, is not typical in regard to software applications - apps - as he has some 150 downloaded on his iPhone.
"All of which were free except for one," he said. "I have one really wonderful premium app and that's iBird (Explorer) Pro, which as a birder is absolutely fantastic."
A former computer science teacher, Ellerbruch has used his iPhone for about three years and loves it.
"I do as much on my iPhone as I do on my desktop (computer)," he said. "The iPhone is not convenient for heavy text but it's very good in many respects. I use mine more as a computer than a phone.
"I do a lot of texting with my grandkids," Ellerbruch said. "With my kids, it was email but with my grandkids, it's texting if you want to get involved with them."
He has also reluctantly joined Facebook, accessing it on his iPhone and computer both.
"I don't like social media. I have done too much computer stuff for too many years, but my grandkids and my kids were posting things on Facebook that my wife and I wouldn't find out until one of our granddaughters would tell us when she visited," he said. "So we signed up to get that info."
As many seniors strive to keep up with the ever-changing world of technology, Ellerbruch can recommend many apps for seniors - really anyone - to explore. Here are a few:
- The Weather Channel: The Weather Channel has a free app and a more advanced app, The Weather Channel Max, which offers premium content.
- TV Guide: "It's convenient to have that app," Ellerbruch said. "You can check what's on TV quickly and easily."
- NFL: "It's a must-have during football season," he said.
- Readers: "Stanza is one of my favorites," Ellerbruch said of the book reading applications. "And there's Kindle for iPhone and Nook. With my senior eyes, it's a little tough reading on my iPhone but it can be done."
- Google, Bing, Wikipedia: "I use all of those frequently when I need to look something up," he said.
- Google Earth: This free app allows the user to see a wide variety of locations around the world. It can help with directions, offer high-resolution imagery of far-flung places and view geo-located Wikipedia articles.
- News apps: "I have all kinds," Ellerbruch said. "NPR, Discovery USA, AP Mobile, CBS, ABC, The Chicago Tribune... They are great."
- Cooking: "I have a number of those like Spark, All Recipe, Epicurious, Dash Recipes," he said. "There are many apps that specialize, like Triscuit. If you like Triscuits, it's a great app for recipes."
Of course, with an Internet browser - Ellerbruch uses Safari - the iPhone can reach to just about any website in creation.
"And I linked to my home computer, so I can put what I find right on my home screen, meaning I don't have to hunt through bookmarks to get to something I find that I want."
While on a trip to Branson, Mo., with a group from the Negaunee Senior Center in December, Ellerbruch found another great app.
"We were on a bus and I couldn't tell how fast we were going so I downloaded a speedometer app for my iPhone 4," he said. "It uses GPS to find out what speed you're going."
While many enjoy game apps, Ellerbruch doesn't so much.
"I was teaching design for computer games for many years, so I was burned out of that," he said. "But I found a version of solitaire for iPhone and became addicted to that."
From a flashlight application to a language translator, Ellerbruch has found scores of apps he enjoys using.
"The primary idea is if you want a free app, it's probably out there," he said. "If you have an interest, there is an app for it. I personally think the iPhone or Droid has much more impact as a computer than a phone."
Renee Prusi can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 253.