x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

App of the Week: Precorder captures history after the fact

Precorder not only documents what someone is about to do, but actually records what they already did.

Thirty-four years ago, while playing Little League baseball, I once struck out and scored on the same play.

The opposing catcher, a veteran 10 year old from a private school across town, dropped the ball on my third strike - this meant I still had a tiny chance to make it to first base if I could beat his throw. He overthrew his first baseman.

Once safe at first base, I lumbered towards second, and again the ball sailed harmlessly over my head, this time towards left field. This pattern continued until I eventually huffed and puffed back to home plate (the look on the catcher's face told me that sliding wasn't necessary).

Decades later, that once-in-several-lifetimes' experience is still seared into my brain. Also decades later, no one else, not even my mother and brother, who were screaming, "Run! Run!" from the bleachers, have any memory of it whatsoever.

They think it's one of my many childhood tall tales, like when I made half my class believe Farrah Fawcett was my babysitter and we solved crimes on the weekends ("you don't think Charlie's Angels just worked on Wednesday nights, do you?").

If only I had proof.

The app

Thankfully, future former youth sport heroes need not spend their twilight years surrounded by ageing disbelievers, as long as someone in their entourage uses Precorder (iPhone, Dh11).

While most video-recording applications do a fair job recording what someone is about to do, Precorder can capture - believe it or not - what they already did.

When you tap the app's red "record" button the first time, it begins to monitor, rather than endlessly document, the situation. After the camera witnesses something cool, you push record again and it's all saved for posterity, including the up to 10 seconds of awesomeness that happened before your reflexes kicked in.

For family archivists, Precorder takes all the guesswork out of panning for magic-moment gold and saves countless hours of sifting through huge video files to find valuable nuggets in post-production.

The details

The app boasts an extremely simple interface: a big red button on the bottom with a dial to calibrate how many seconds of lead time you require, a button to turn on the flash, a button to switch from the front to rear-facing camera, a button that takes you to previous recordings, and a help button that tells you what I just told you in case you forget.

Precorder is an almost perfect YouTube accessory for those trying to prove to the world that they witnessed something unbelievable, be they ghost hunters, UFO chasers or sleep-deprived parents convinced their baby is speaking to them in some extinct Mayan language.

Perhaps in future versions, the app will be able to go even further back in time … say, 34 years?

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