New app limits family contact during holidays

By Melanie Bethune

With the holidays and their barrage of family encounters fast approaching, many University of Calgary students are bracing themselves for the inevitable onslaught of questions from prying aunts, nostalgic older siblings and confused grandparents concerned with their well being. This winter, many students will find themselves exhausted with repeating the same generic answers.

One student may have found a solution to this problem.

Third-year computer science student Oliver Leeman has spent the past three years of his degree developing an app that will save students from trying to come up with satisfying answers to family inquiries this holiday season.

“How many times over the break are we going to be asked how our classes went?” Leeman said. “Or if we’re eating well? Or exercising? This app takes away all of the stress of answering those questions. It’s encoded with fail safe and concise answers to almost any question you’ll encounter when reuniting with family this winter break. Just punch in the question you’ve been asked and our program will give you the ideal response. It diminishes unnecessary family contact and useless conversation by nearly 150 per cent.”

Leeman has encoded the app with over 250 commonly asked questions during the holidays, ranging from ‘How were your classes?’ to ‘Any grandchildren yet?’ to ‘What exactly was your major again?’ and even ‘You can actually get a degree in that these days?’. The answers it computes are all politically accurate, socially acceptable and detailed enough to satisfy the most inquisitive distant relative.

“Think about when your great Aunt Ethel asks if you’ve been eating right,” Leeman elaborated. “An unequipped student might reply by simply saying ‘fine,’ and thus prompt further conversation, but with our app, you can give Aunt Ethel all of the minute details about your diet that her heart desires in one clear, concise and quick response with no further contact required. With a few keystrokes and the science behind our program, you can answer family members’ questions in the blink of an eye and save everyone from hours of drab conversation.”

Leeman hopes to have a fully operational download of the app for iPhone, Android and Windows available by the end of finals week.

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