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Your McMurray Tech Talk

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Summer-Lovin' Apps

I t’s everyone’s favourite season. Gone are the cold days of trying to text, check email and surf Facebook with cold hands and that annoying mist from your breath fogging up the screen. It’s summer! We can now text, check email and surf Facebook while we get a really good tan in the hot sun.

The changing of the seasons also calls for a changing of the apps in the tech world. You know you can find an app for anything these days, but during my travels I found some really neat software that is vital for turning your summer up to 11. Here’s a rundown of what to try while the plu- temperatures are still with us:

Weber’s On the Grill

You mention summer and I immediately begin smelling the wonderful scent of a nice steak on the open flames. I know food. Those that know me know I know food. While there are plenty of men out there who I’m sure can soufflé with the best of them, I am not one of those people. I can cook the basics, but where I shine is on the BBQ. Weber’s On the Grill app for both Apple and Android really shines for being one of the best BBQ “books” I’ve ever seen. With this app you will find over 200 amazing BBQ recipes that cover not just meat but also seafood, vegetables and even desserts! It also teaches you techniques to master the grillery arts, grocery lists, actual timers for cooking perfection; this app has it all. It’s rather pricey at $5, but if you’re into food as much as I am, it’s well worth it!

SAS Survival Guide

Another word association with summer is camping. I learned very early in life that the better your survival skills are the easier a time you’ll have while in the woods. Of course, there are skills you can learn from the SAS Survival Guide app that can impress your friends as well, such as lighting a fire without the use of gasoline or matches. No one knows survival like the British Special Air Service (SAS). The SAS Survival Guide features the full text from John Wiseman’s book in a beautiful search tool that can narrow the exact topics you’re looking for while trying to build a hut from sticks or trying to find out if those berries you found are edible. There is a “lite” version available for free on all App Stores as well as a $6 full-version, which gives you videos and first aid tips that are downloadable since an Internet connection in the bushes can be hard to come by.

GPS Tracker by FollowMee

People like to adventure and explore during the summer months whether it’s your own home town or a new area you’ve never been to before. GPS Tracker by FollowMee is a great way to track your movements for your own use as well as have your location available to family and friends online in case you get lost. Installing the app to a device (Apple or Android) that you want to track, it quietly records its locations (GPS, WiFi, or cellular triangulation) periodically and uploads to a secured server. To monitor your location, you simply open their web site ( in any browser (either desktop or mobile). This gives you a reference to that beautiful lake you found in the backwoods or to find out how to get back to the campground on your quad.

Lose It!

Even in the dead of winter, you see people prepping for their #BeachBody. Summer is a huge motivator to start whipping people into shape and using the proper app can help you achieve your healthy living goals. Being a bigger guy, I’ve tried fad diet after fad diet to see very little to no success. One constant I’ve always used over the years has been the Lost It! App by Fitnow. It’s a free app that is an excellent tool for recording your food intake and exercise. The best part? Lose It! is not associated with any particular diet, so it’s useful no matter what eating plan you follow. You enter your personal details, including starting weight, goal weight, gender, and height. You can also specify how much weight you’d like to lose each week, which will affect your calorie totals. You then enter what you eat every day to see your calorie budget. Likewise, you add in your exercise totals as well. The Lose It! app calculates your status in a variety of ways that’s easy to see progress.

Parks Canada –

I think it’s obvious that I enjoy the urban centers of a city more-so than the gritty outdoors, but one of the perks of being Canadian is that we are on the doorstep of some of the most beautiful scenery in the entire world. One of the best ways to discover some of Canada’s most beautiful areas is by spending the night in one of Parks Canada’s many campgrounds across the country. Each National Park has its own app if you search by the specific park (ie – Banff National Park, Jasper National Park, etc). These apps take you on a guided tour of the national parks so that you can experience the history, sights and sounds at your own pace. Each app includes a map, photos, information and quizzes that will ensure you have a memorable, informative and fun visit. Parks Canada also has a cool app called Learn to Camp. The app is packed with the information you need to make your first camping trip a success including camping basics and insider’s tips, packing checklists, national park information and recipes and cooking advice.

Speaking of Parks Canada, they recently announced that they will be installing Wi-Fi Hotspots in a number of their parks over the next three years. While this was met with the usual high number of Internet complaints, I think it’s just another step in the right direction of having a connected world. Some have argued that the quiet solitude and refuge from the connected world will soon be no more. Using your mobile device has always been OPTIONAL and I’m a fan of having multiple options to accomplish a goal. Whether it’s for survival purposes or to simply settle an argument with friends around the campfire, having an internet connection at the ready is vital in this day and age. If you don’t want to use it, then don’t pull the device from your pocket. It’s a remarkably simple concept.

These are just some of the many apps out there that can enhance your summer. Find them by searching their name in any device App Store. Whether it’s camping in the forest or just relaxing on your deck in shorts, it’s important to remember that there are many ways to enjoy this time of year. The goal is to simply just enjoy it anyway you want!


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