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Abo app for that

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IT all started when I was sightseeing in downtown Toronto last week.

I've been all over Canada, but I've never seen so many designer handbags, BMWs and Porsches in my life.

Wow -- Torontonians really know how to live large; or at least, they know how to spend large. I wondered what everyone does to make so much money.

If I ever wanted to have enough money to drive a BMW, I figured I'd need to get a few entrepreneurial ideas brewing. While sightseeing, I noticed quite a few people on their smartphones, using different apps.

Apps -- or software applications that entertain and help us -- are all the rage. I got an iPad a few months ago, and I'm addicted to apps.

Maybe I could follow the lead of a friend of mine, who launched an Ojibway language app, and create some aboriginal apps of my own. I could make millions.

Here are a few ideas I thought of while strolling around T-Dot.

  • Abo maps -- I could have used an Abo-maps app on my trip to Toronto.

Wouldn't it be great to show up in a new town or city and be able to get directions to a list of aboriginal organizations or businesses right on your cellphone?

Abo-maps would have a voice-control navigator like Siri on the iPhone. We'd call ours Shania, and you could ask her questions and get the right answer.

Shania would tell you what bus to catch to get to the friendship centre or where to find some five-star fry-bread. Need directions to the closest rez? No problem.

At home, you could scroll through upcoming events or find an aboriginal carpenter or hairdresser.

But what about when you want to find an organization that takes furniture donations for needy families but can't remember the organization's name? Shania can help.

Ask her a question and she'll find it -- Oyate Tipi Cumini Yape on Selkirk Avenue.

  • Abo-pedia -- It would be a total ripoff of Wikipedia, except focused entirely on the aboriginal scene.

Think aboriginal celebs, history, food, health, communities and interests.

There's tons of overlap when it comes to this. For example, there are aboriginal people living in most urban centres across Canada, as well as smaller communities.

There could even be an Abo-Leaks app for those "important documents" or telling photos of any alleged wrongdoing in Indian Country.

  • The Neechifyer -- This is probably the most entertaining app idea I came up with.

There are tons of makeover apps out there that let you change your appearance. First you just take a picture of yourself and the fun begins.

Upload your picture and you can try on Jennifer Aniston's hair, get a virtual facelift, age yourself by 20 years or see what you'd look like if you gained 300 pounds.

So why not create an app that lets you transform yourself into an aboriginal person -- the Neechifyer.

This app could have mass appeal among the young hipster crowd, who love to dress up like us, as well as waifish women who like donning headdresses and not much else.

The app would have adjustable sliders to gradually make your skin, eyes and hair darker, as well as give you more pronounced cheekbones. That only makes sense, because there is no one-size-fits-all look when it comes to aboriginal people.

Now that would be cool.

As for the aboriginal folks like me, we could see what we'd look like with paler skin or blonde hair. Somehow I don't think I'd be able to pull off some Pam Anderson locks.

It'd be hilarious, though.

And who knows, maybe after trying out the Neechifyer, we could see a little of each other in ourselves. After all, the physical differences between us really are just skin deep.


Colleen Simard is a Winnipeg writer.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 16, 2012 J6

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