Geeks Guide To The Fourth of July

Jun 30, 2011 • Applications, Mobile
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So America’s birthday is right around the corner and most of us will be outside enjoying the summer weather, barbecuing and spending time with our friends and family. Here are some geeky websites, apps and gadgets that should come in useful this holiday weekend.



Surfline150x150Most of us Americans, especially Californians, will find their way to the beaches this weekend. For surfers and bodyboarders, finding the perfect beach does not necessarily mean which beach has the most members of the opposite sex. We want to know where to find the best surfing conditions. Surfline has a free iPhone app that lets you monitor surf conditions at local beaches. It is locaiton aware and automatically shows the conditions of the beaches closest to you. Each location has current conditions, 5 day forecast and if available, a live stream of the actual location. Surfline is a free app for the iPhone. Get it at the App Store.


RunKeeper150x150For those without the luxury of being close to the beach, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the outdoors. Another way to take advantage of the long weekend is to enjoy a hike or bike ride. RunKeeper, while mostly known for tracking runs, can keep track of other outdoor activities. Through the use of your phone’s GPS chip, the app can keep track of bike rides, hikes or even walks around your neighborhood. It tracks your route, distance, pace and calories burned. RunKeeper is available for iPhone, Android and Windows 7 devices.


Waze150x150With millions of Americans hitting the road this holiday weekend, you’re going to want an app that can avoid heavy traffic. Waze can best be described as social networking map application. With features we’re all accustomed with such as mapping, routes and live traffic updates, Waze sets itself apart with its social networking features. It is powered by users and the more people that use it, the better it gets. As it runs on your phone, it monitors your speed and updates the app for others showing slow spots. You can also add details to trouble spots by typing the reason for a slowdown. For example you can let users know that there has been an accident blocking several lanes and to avoid the route if possible. Waze is a free application available for iOS, Android, Blackberry and Nokia.



GrillStar150x150Long weekends and barbecuing go hand in hand. If your grilling chops are not up to par or if you’re eager to test out that new grill you got for Father’s Day, GrillStar is a clever iPhone app that helps you on your outdoor grill this holiday weekend. It lets you select what type of meat you plan to grill and tells you how long to cook on each side to reach your desired temperature. If you want a steak medium rare, cook 5 minutes on each side. All the meats are covered; beef, poultry and even seafood. GrillStar is $0.99 on the iOS App Store.


Mixologist Drink Recipes

Mixologist150x150With all the outdoor barbecuing, alcoholic beverages are a perfect companion to your hamburger. Mixologist is the perfect app to help you browse what type of drink you’d like to have and how make it. The app is pretty self explanatory. Just search for the name of the drink and it’ll show you the ingredients and how to make it. There is also a Cabinet feature where you input spirits you do have and the app will suggest drinks you can make with what you have. Other features include a random drink feature and a find a liquor store feature. There are both free and paid versions of the app. Download it to your iPhone at the App Store.


Bose Portable SoundDock

SoundDockThumbMusic at the beach, back yard or at the park go hand in hand. Arguably the best portable speaker dock on the market is made by Bose. Designed using their proprietary technology, it delivers loud, spacious sound in a portable package. Engineered to be portable it includes a built in carry handle. It runs from either the built in lithium-ion battery or standard AC power. It features up to eight hours of play time and is compatible with most iPods and iPhones with a dock connector.

Portable Charger

PortableCharger150x150Spending long summer days outdoors means we are away from electrical outlets to power our mobile electronics. The JuiceBar Portable Solar Charger is an external battery that can power most handheld electronics and cellular phones. It comes with 12 different connectors to cover a wide range of brands. The battery itself chargers either through a USB connection or via the built in solar panel. This handy accessory is available at ThinkGeek for $50.

Are there any other apps, gadgets or websites that would be useful this holiday weekend? Let us know in the comments.

Jay Torres

Jay Torres has been writing about all things interesting on his website since 2001. A sales engineer by trade, his interests include Apple, social media, mobile computing and finding the next big thing.

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