x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

App of the Week: Postino coverts pixels to mailbox form

Create and mail real personalised postcards in just a few clicks.

Postino app screen grab.
Postino app screen grab.

Trying to drag certain loved ones kicking and screaming across that bridge to the 21st century can be a fool's errand.

And let's be honest about the communication breakdown: when we look them straight in the eye and tell them that the latest tech marvel "will make things easier on you", what we're really saying is "this will make dealing with you easier on us".

How many octogenarians desperate to see photos of their grand kids have been tossed, defenceless, into the labyrinth of Facebook just so their adult children can save a few stamps and a trip to the post office?

It borders on abuse, really. They lived through several wars and a depression or two; they fed us, clothed us; they let us move back in after university and said nothing as we played Grand Theft Auto II for 14 hours a day for six straight months.

Must they now endure Windows 7 as well?

The app

All this almost makes services like Postino (iPhone, Android, Windows Mobile) a moral imperative. The smartphone app transforms (or regresses) digital photos into old-world postcards and automatically mails them for you 20th-century style to anyone in the world.

The app is free, and it also sends digital-only "e-cards" for free. Its main picture-on-pulp delivery feature costs about US$2 (Dh7) per card via PayPal, less if you buy the "stamps" in bulk.

That's a good deal when you consider how much money and calories you could burn by trying to create and dispatch your own personalised postcards.

To use the app, simply snap a photo or pull one from your smartphone's library, then crop it with the onscreen touch interface.

You can then select from a dozen or so "frames", type in a short message and the receiver's mailing address (and even "sign" the card) and then press "send".

The details

It can take three weeks for delivery to international addresses, so factor that in if you need to meet a special occasion deadline.

Also, for some reason the virtual stamps are linked to your phone itself, not your account, so if you're thinking about switching phones soon, realise that transferring your credits will require a phone call or two.

But otherwise, nothing beats Postino for bridging the generations, offering a digital interface for us so we can produce good old-fashioned mailbox postcards for them.

Now we're communicating. Isn't that nice?

Have some great personal finance apps that you want to share? Write to Curt Brandao at cbrandao@thenational.ae