You are HERE – Google Maps Alternative (Android)

You are HERE – Google Maps Alternative (Android)

Here logo 2012You’d be hard pressed to find anyone who uses anything other than Google Maps for most location tasks.  It’s installed on all Android devices, is the standard when you do a desktop search, and has pretty up-to-date information.

A competitor has emerged, and it’s HERE.  No, that’s the name, HERE.

It works pretty much like Google Maps, but one feature that is going to be very helpful is the ability to download maps and do turn-by-turn navigation offline.

That might not seem like a big deal to all of you urban dwellers except when you’re in an area that can’t get a signal, but to rural travelers this is a big deal.  Oh, Maps can show you where you are… on a big white screen.  But HERE allows you to download the map in advance and see your location on the map, signal or not.

Traffic and businesses are easy to look up and overlay on the screen.  It works great in portrait or landscape mode.  And it allows storage of itineraries for future use.

This great app is free on Android, with an iOS version promised in early 2015.  Go HERE and get it!

As usual, here’s the promo video:

Winter Travel with Your Smartphone

Winter Travel with Your Smartphone

winterdrivingWinter travel in a car always has some risks, especially for younger, inexperienced drivers.  Roadways are unevenly covered with ice, snow, slush and water making otherwise normal driving hazardous and unnerving.  Driving across the northern part of the United States can take you from a seemingly beautiful late-fall/early-winter day into a white-knuckle whiteout where speeds above 30mph are impossible.

While you can’t control the roads, or the weather, or even the other guy behind the wheel who isn’t as careful or experienced in driving in winter conditions, you can prepare a bit with some smartphone apps and accessories to make things a bit more safe.

First of all, I should mention that 1) driving in stormy winter conditions is not advised so delay travel whenever possible, 2) you should NOT use mobile phone while driving, and 3) you should always carry a winter survival kit.

There are also some basic maintenance items you should do to your vehicles to minimize the chances of a mechanical failure.  And for some basic tips and other information on winter driving, check out IcyRoadSafety.com. (more…)

Android or iOS? Utility vs. Luxury.

Android or iOS? Utility vs. Luxury.

IMAG0058Fall is my favorite time of year.  The weather is a bit cooler.  The leaves and surrounding farmlands take on rich, earthy colors.  And it’s a time for many of us here in North Dakota to drive out into rural North Dakota (yes, we have cities here) in pursuit of hunting, fishing and other outdoor activities.

As you might imagine, many of the roads away from the pavement are in less than perfect condition, often requiring 4WD vehicles, or at least a brave soul strong enough to dig other vehicles out when they get stuck.

These drivers of 4WD vehicles come in many shapes and sizes.  Some choose luxury vehicles like Cadillac Escalades and Lincoln Navigators.  These guys usually stay on fairly well-groomed roads and drive right up to their hunting area with much exploring.  Then there’s the rest of us.  We drive old Ford pickups, beat up Jeeps, and in my case, a 1994 Chevy Suburban, and we occasionally take the road less traveled (that’s me, stuck in the picture). (more…)

Drippler (Android & iOS)

Drippler (Android & iOS)

dripplerThose of us who love installing (and uninstalling) new apps on a regular basis are always looking for a new and easier way to find the best and the upcoming apps.

Drippler is an app that provides a personalized tech news feed on a scheduled basis.  The feed takes a look at the type of phone you are using then sends you updates on apps, accessories, news and other info related to your phone and operating system.

Then set the app to display drips on a weekly, daily or as-posted basis.  Change the font, whether you want game drips or not, then sit back and enjoy the goodness.  There are reports of users discovering free accessories for their phones, and other users discovering powerful uses for their devices they never would have known otherwise.

Drippler is available for both android_app_on_play_large and Available_on_the_App_Store_Badge_US-UK_135x40_0824.  For a brief demo check out the video below.

Have other apps like Drippler that I should know about?  Send them to me @BeBizzy on Twitter!

Best Outdoor Android Apps

Best Outdoor Android Apps

1146425_10152162846828136_673507525_oFor those of us in the Northern states, April is a probably the most frustrating month of the year.  One day the weather can be enticingly warm, wind-free and open to tons of outdoor activities.  Then there’s days like the next few in North Dakota with temps dipping back down into the 40’s, rain possibly mixed with the S-word, and 50mph wind gusts.

But eventually (June?) the weather will turn nice and everyone will venture forth into the great outdoors for hiking, boating, fishing, biking, and any number of other activities.  And we’re all taking our phones with us. (more…)