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Andy’s Apps: Plans: The Long & Short of It

by F. Andrew Taylor

The Boy Scout’s motto is “Be Prepared” and that’s good advice whether or not you were ever a scout, a boy or, for that matter, prepared.

The workhorse of preparation is your calendar. One of the most popular integrated apps, Google, includes Google Calendars. Chances are you already have a Gmail account, even if it’s just a backup account or the one you use when you have to give an email on some form. The integrated calendar allows you to keep track of upcoming events many of which will automatically be populated on your Google Calendar via your email. Events can be color coded to 11 different colors, for example, “tomato red” for meetings, “graphite” for conventions, “peacock” for family events and “banana yellow” to note when all of the 38 new superhero movies you plan to see this year open in theaters. There are more elaborate and more business-oriented apps out there, including Asana, Basecamp, Monday.com and Wrike but you can get the most bang for your buck with Google Calendars. For pricing, you can’t beat free.

Thanks to your calendar, you know where you have to be and when but it’s also important to know what you’ll face on the way there. There are many GPS-based apps that will tell you how to get to where you need to be and tell you how long it will take but Inrex Traffic goes one better—extrapolating how long a trip will take if you need to start later. For example, if it’s 1 p.m. now and you have a meeting until 5 p.m. how long will it take you to drive across town to the next meeting after 5 p.m.? Inrex Traffic also crowdsources and draws from other sources to let you know about road closures, dangerous slow downs and even how long construction is supposed to last. It can display where parking is and even where traffic cameras are, in case you’re an international spy trying to slip out of town on the low down.

As Twain’s friend Charles Dudley Warner said, “everybody complains about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.” Appy Weather talks about it, but the weather-changing app still eludes us. Appy Weather is a weather app for regular folks that gives its answers in simple language in a bold, friendly font. Buttons on the bottom of the home screen allow you to switch from hourly, daily or timeline, which is where most people will probably keep it. Timeline tells you the current time, the temperature and then generally what the weather will be like later. There are other apps that can give you satellite maps, dew points, high pressure fronts and such and that’s great… if you want to be a weatherman.

For more info, visit https://www.fastcompany.com/90443104/the-25-best-new-apps-of-2019

Andrew Taylor has been in the journalism field for 23 years working for alt-weeklies, tourism publications, hyper-local papers and others. He is also the illustrator for “Christmapus,” the tale of the Christmas Octopus. His first fiction prose story was published in 2018 and was featured at the Vegas Valley Book Fair. Contact him at fandrewt@exhibitcitynews.com.

This story originally appeared in the March/April issue of Exhibit City News, p. 16. For original layout, visit https://issuu.com/exhibitcitynews/docs/exhibitcitynews_marapr_digital_2020

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