Once upon a midnight dreary, I was nodding off, listening to Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven" on Spotify (Android, iOS), wondering what the late gothic poet's favorite apps would have been had he lived in contemporary times. That's a normal question, right?
It was one dark, dangerous night in the bleak October, just before Halloween. Then suddenly there came a ringing, a ringing at my door. I rose to check my Ring (Android, iOS) app on my phone, but I only saw darkness on my doorstep and nothing more. Had I placed a POE-stmates (Android, iOS) order before drifting off?
Then I heard the ringing again, somewhat more rapidly than before. I turned around but was immediately arrested in place as in my foyer stepped a stately author from the unsaintly days of yore. It was none other than the late, great Edgar Allan Poe.
Not the least deference made he. Before I could pinch myself or utter a cry, he said, "Evernote." So understanding I was to take notes, I grabbed my phone and opened up the Evernote (Android, iOS) note-taking app. I remember merely this and nothing more.
But when I woke up the next morning, much I marveled at the dictation before me. You see, I've always said that after 17 years of reporting, I could do interviews in my sleep, but I've never really meant it--till now. Below are Edgar Allan Poe's musings on apps exactly as they were recorded in my Evernote app. I've added the questions for clarity.
What's the one app that you'd have used the most if you were still among us?
Scrivener (iOS) is by far the best word-processing app I've seen. It allows you to outline, write, and format your next poem, short story, or novel. When your work is done, you can export it in a variety of formats and share it with your publishing house so it can be printed and distributed for all posterity.
What's the last app you wanted to download?
Mint (Android, iOS), because I was always terrible at managing money. If only it had existed in the 1800's, it would have spared me leaving the University of Virginia after only a year because I ran out of money. You know, I was the first writer to live entirely off my writing salary, but not very successfully. And if I'd seen how much of my income was going toward alcohol and gambling debts, using the app's spending tracking feature, I might have reconsidered some things.
If you could wake up in the morning, what would be the first apps you'd look at?
I'd check my Signal -- Private Messenger (Android, iOS) app to see if I received any texts in the middle of the night. I was always interested in cryptography. Some might say I was mad for it. I was always pulling stunts in local papers, where I'd invite readers to submit ciphers, which I easily solved, of course, because I'm smarter and more talented than most. I also included ciphers in my short story "The Gold-Bug," which would go on to influence future cryptologists like William Friedman. I'd like to think that encrypted messaging apps like Signal and Telegram (Android, iOS) wouldn't exist today without me.
I was also heavily interested in cosmology or the study of the origins of the universe. That's why I love the Cosmology (iOS) app, which immerses you in space with its hundreds of high-resolution pictures of planets, stars, moons, and galaxies, and also explains their evolutions. I marvel at the clarity of these images, since in my day, we were still taking daguerreotypes.
Finally, Ginger.io (Android, iOS) would be indispensable. Since my death, I've been diagnosed with major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. But I don't know if any of those diagnoses are accurate, because I come from an era when physiognomy was still considered a science and indicative of a person's internal psychology.
What I do know is that I could have used the listening and guidance from one of Ginger.io's emotional support coaches when I felt depressed, anxious, or stressed. With that app, I'd probably have self-medicated less with alcohol and picked fewer fights with that no-talent New England Transcendentalist Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
If you could invent your own app, what would it do?
It's widely believed that when I was deliriously wandering the streets in someone else's clothes just days before my death, I was going through Delirium tremens from alcohol withdrawal, which can be deadly. I wish I could have just learned to manage my drinking years before to avoid being in that position.
So it would be an app like DrinkControl (iOS) that I could use to track my drinking, but one that would be able to do the tracking for me if I were too inebriated to do it myself. If it had existed in my day, it could have made me aware that I had a problem and maybe encouraged me to join a sobriety circle and stave off death a few more years.
If there was an app that could save civilization, what would it be?
There's another theory about my death dating back to 1872 that I actually succumbed not to alcohol withdrawal, but to cooping. Cooping was a form of electoral fraud, prevalent in my day, where good citizens like me were kidnapped by gangs, cooped up in rooms, and forced to drink alcohol till they agreed to vote for the political candidates paying the gangs to commit these crimes. I didn't mind the "forced to drink" part as much as the being beaten and even murdered for non-compliance part. So any app that could prevent voter fraud -- I hear it's done electronically today by Russian bots -- or even the murder of innocent citizens who just want to use their democratic right to vote for the candidates of their choice could help save civilization.
Would you be an Android or Apple user? Why?
I'd be an Android user, because everyone you interview says Apple, and I've always been the lone wolf, the writer who never conformed and always went his own way. When my foster father told me not to blow all his money on drink and gambling, did I listen? No. When transcendentalism was the preferred literary style, did I fall in with those fools? No, I railed against them and went Dark Romantic.
Plus, as a poorly paid writer, who could barely afford to pay his alcohol tabs and gambling debts, I could have never afforded an iPhone anyway.
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