One of the hottest terms in the mushrooming field of personal communication devices - including cell phones and other palm-sized gadgets - is app - short for application. These handheld phones, texting machines, and entertainment centers can be - and many have been - loaded with hundreds of such applications of your choosing. Many apps are free; others cost a few dollars at most.
Popular apps include music playlists, weather radar readings, audio books, computer games, broadcasts of your favorite sports, and television shows. You name it, and there's probably an app for it.
But would you have guessed that there's a brand-new app on which you can practice . . . plastic surgery!?
Virtually, of course. You don't wield a scalpel. You can upload pre-programmed images of ordinary people and, using just your thumbs on your PDA, give them a tummy tuck, a nose job, or tighter skin around their eyes. It's a complete image modification, as the application's developer calls it.
And the person getting the fuller cheeks or more bountiful bosom could be YOU if you upload your own image. According to Michael Salzhauer, the Miami, Florida, plastic surgeon who developed "isurgeon," this app delivers realistic photo alterations while allowing users to partake in plastic surgery games playing the role of the surgeon.
The game mode costs less than a dollar for unlimited play. The advanced version costs less than two dollars, for which one can practice the kind of dramatic cosmetic changes seen in beauty-makeover shows on television.
Of course, once you've seen yourself with perfectly reshaped ears, pouty lips, and a flat tummy, what will you think the next time you pass a mirror?
Read more of Ted's personal reflections and stories from the road on his blog, Ted Landphair's America.