Trying to Get Pregnant? Check Your Cellphone

So you're late again. You're a woman with a busy career, but you're newly-married and you have hopes for a family, too.

You're trying to get to a meeting when you hear the familiar ping of your cell phone, telling you a text message has arrived.

You open it: "Your fertile window opens today and lasts five more days," it says. "Stress can get in the way of conception, so relax and get a massage, meditate or take a yoga class."

Welcome to Life 2.0 -- an era when wireless applications, downloaded into your smartphone, are coming along to make your life better ... or at least faster. In recessionary times, this technology happens to be very, very cheap.

The text you just received is from -- yes, this is its real name -- Booty Caller. The app is free, offered by a parenting Web site called BabyCenter.com.

Booty Caller

Do you really want a text to remind you this might be a good time for sex? It may not be your idea of spontaneous fun, but its makers say it may well help you squeeze some fun -- and a new baby as well -- into an overscheduled life.

"Booty Caller is definitely a sign of the times," said Linda Murray, the editor-in-chief of BabyCenter.com, in an e-mail. Her site, she said, "set out to create a tool that would provide fertility information as well as tips on getting pregnant in fun, digestible text messages."

There are myriad other programs (apps for short) taking advantage of the growth of wireless handheld devices (handhelds for short). With names ranging from Financer to iFitness to Dog Whistle -- well, you get the idea.

Have a need? Someone out there is trying to fill it -- now, quickly, with almost no effort (and little or no upfront cost) on your part.

Many of the apps are designed for the iPhone, perhaps the best-known of handhelds.

But as the market grows, so do the possibilities. Here's a small sampling:

ScanLife

Look around -- through magazines, at store displays, on kids' t-shirts -- and you may see small, square black-and-white patches that remind you of bar codes. They serve much the same purpose. The idea comes from Scanbuy, a New York firm that hopes the little so-called EZcodes will become ubiquitous.

"We've been at it for a while," said Jonathan Bulkeley, the CEO of Scanbuy, Inc., "and the idea's been the same: making it easier for you to navigate using the camera on your phone, instead of the keypad on your phone."

Point your camera phone at, say, an ad for running shoes -- and your phone's screen will quickly show you a Web site with specs and user reviews. Point the phone at the code on a kid's shirt, and you're directed straight to his or her Facebook page.

Bulkeley says he can see countless other uses: How about a marker, for instance, on the wrapper for a head of lettuce that tells you how long ago it was picked from the field? He's even seen a code on a grave marker that lets you read about the life of the person to whom you're paying respects.

Smart Phone Applications Keep You In Check

Financer

Picture yourself in the store, intrigued by the pair of running shoes you checked out via Scanbuy, and you're about to order them. But can you afford them?

Financer is a portable electronic ledger, a way for you to keep track of your money, no matter where you are.

"Financer is one of our most popular applications; and we've seen an increase in demand since the recession," said David Becker, CEO of its maker, dBelement.

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