by F. Andrew Taylor
Banking? Your refrigerator contents? Virtual stapling? There’s an app for that. In fact, there are literally millions of apps to choose from. This column’s goal is to help you pick ones that will help keep you organized, streamline your workflow and improve your life while at the same time help you to avoid things like, “I Am Rich,” an iOS app that did nothing but display a short affirmation letting the owner know they deserved to be rich and cost $999.99.
EXHIBITORLIVE is set to draw thousands of people to Las Vegas and nearly every one of them will be fighting for a Wi-Fi signal. Add to that multiple overlapping signals and you could find your that your phone is a brick and not a business tool. There are many good apps that can help you work out the problems, and in some cases, solve them.
WiFi Analyzer, a free Android app provides a clear visual reference that allows you to see which signals are overlapping and by how much. Often the fix to get a faster signal is simply to switch to a different one, if you have the access.
WiFIAnalyzer (with no space) is another free Android app. It’s a little more complex, so a little harder to work, but it is open source, which should make it a more secure option.
Things get a little harder if you’re operating an iOS device. Apps aren’t allowed to access the Wi-Fi connection chip in iOS, so analyzers are limited in functionality. Network Analyzer for iOS can’t detect surrounding Wi-Fi connections, but it can show you the details of your own device’s connections including the speed of downloads and uploads. The app is free with ads and $3.99 for the ad-free version.
Much of the convention action in Las Vegas is near or just off The Strip, a five-mile section of Las Vegas Boulevard. In most cases directions to a restaurant, club, bar or convention center are simply a matter of finding out if you need to go north or south and on which side of the Strip you need to be. For iOS users, a compass app is built into the device. For android users, a free app called, appropriately enough, Compass, is available.
However, Las Vegas is one of the few places in the world where the architecture is designed to confuse and confound. The old saw is that casinos are built that way on the hopes that visitors will get lost and just sit down at whatever slot machine or green felt table is nearby and empty their wallets. There are several well-known apps that will point you towards something if you know the name or address, but Around Me, a free app available for Android and iOS will search around you by category to point you to the nearest banks, pharmacies, restaurants or one of 14 other categories.
One category that isn’t available on Around Me is where to relieve yourself. Fortunately, you can stop crossing your legs, because there are several free apps for that available on both iOS and Android, including Toilet Finder and SitOrSquat, appropriately sponsored by Charmin. Of course.
Andrew Taylor is an award-winning journalist, artist, photographer, cartoonist and illustrator. He also works in film production, does local historical research and has been an amateur stunt driver and rodeo participant. He can be contacted at email@example.com.