Apps and Searches for Summer

Because it’s summer – at last! – as always, there are apps for phones and tablets to help get to the fun of it.

Weather Forecasts

You can find apps for the weather, but they are built in to most phones and tablets. Around our house, we’ve taken to asking the robots for it. “Alexa, weather” (or, “hey Google”) will get the current temperature and conditions and the forecast for the next 12 hours. I like to know what my nemesis relative humidity is up to, so I ask, “Alexa, humidity” to get the current reading.

You can be more specific too; like, “weather tomorrow” or “weather next Tuesday” or even “weather next Tuesday in Bozeman, Montana.” (Name your own arbitrary location.) This is assuming, of course, that you don’t just go outside and look.

Sun Timing

When you do go outside, you may want to be aware of how much exposure you have to the sun. There are apps for Android and IOS for just for that. “sunZapp” is a sun app made by scientists for the National Cancer Institute that gets good ratings and that works for both iPhones and Androids. It uses hourly data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) along with its built-in timer to let you know when you need to apply more sunscreen. If you’re in the sun with your crew, you can track exposure for more than one person at the same time.

Outdoor Games Apps

What? Yes, there are games to play outdoors with smartphones. “Pokémon Go” is one, for example. Another that can be a blast for family reunion-size gatherings is “Geocaching.” (Apples and Androids.) Geocaching is like a treasure hunt where treasure caches are hidden in advance and the locations are “marked” in a digital database. Hunters use the app and the GPS services on their phones to track down the treasures. This one has the potential to keep kids busy in the woods for days!

Barbecue Helpers

Two apps this time; one for Apple iOS and another for Android devices. “GrillTime” (for iOS) has great reviews and includes guides for grilling different meats and veggies and will run multiple timers for each item, including when to turn them over. You can plan a meal and then use the app to back-time the start for each item to have everything done at the same time. Very cool. “Grill Recipes Free” (for Android) does all the same for Android smartphones, plus a lot of recipes, too.

Keep Track of Your Photos

You’ve heard this one before, but while you’re out having fun and snapping pics, make sure that your phone is set to automatically back up your photos to the cloud. Both Apple and Google have free services for this. You snap the picture then it automatically gets stored and sorted by date and ready to view and share when you get back home. They’ll even group them by faces, if you want. (Handy for finding all the pictures of Grandma.)

Mike Pepper, The Computer Guy, has been providing software and hardware support in New York and Connecticut for more than 35 years. He can be reached at (845) 855-5824, or