App Wrap: "Dark Sky," "Waze"
YNN highlights the coolest and newest apps for your cell phone or mobile device in the twice-weekly segment “App Wrap.” YNN's Adam Balkin filed the following report.
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There are loads of mobile apps that offer up as much if not more information about the weather as you'd get if you had a meteorologist standing right next to you. Dark Sky is a new one though that tries to do just one thing and do it really well. That one thing: Predict whether it will rain and how much it will rain exactly where you are within the next hour. No information past the hour and no information other than rain. It simply tells you how hard it's going to rain and then offers you a little chart up top that indicates about how wet you'll get. You can also pull down a radar map and scroll through to see exactly where the clouds are moving. Developers say while meteorologists you see on TV use models that are good for long term forecasts they, not meteorologists by the way, use mathematical modeling they insist work well just 30-to-60 minutes into the future. Incidentally, if there is no rain in your future, the app will tell you that's boring and offer to take to a spot where it's currently pouring. Dark Sky is an iOS app for $3.99.
And here's a GPS driving app that's strength is in predicting slow spots in your commute. Called Waze it's a social GPS app meaning it uses its large community of users to report what's going on on roads. You type in where you want to go and then as you're traveling you'll see little icons on the screen that indicate everything from traffic to accidents to speed traps, all spotted by others also using the app. In turn, to help this work, you're expected to also report what you're experiencing. It can either be done all with your voice or you can quick click through to hit an icon that indicates what's happening. As you drill down further in the app there are lots of other features like the ability to communicate with others using it near you. And part of the reason the community is rather large in a rather short amount of time, Waze is a free app for iPhones, Androids, and Blackberries.