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The Best Apps for a Kickass Summer

summer sun in a field of white flowers

Long gone are the halcyon days of simple summers, when all you needed for the season was a  bathing costume, some tan accelerator, and a convertible.  For the summer of 2015, seizing the day means having a little quiver of the best apps in your picnic basket. Lucky for you, we’ve rounded up the 10 best apps for making your summer the best ever.


Like old friends too far away to high-five, they greet each other the same way every year: our axis nods at the sun, the sun waves back.  Summer’s on.  Now you can emerge from your hibernation, stretch, and get back to running around outside.  Only one problem.  Some of those calories you stacked on for winter didn’t quite get burned off while you were sleeping. Time to get fit. Every summer brings more health and fitness apps to the market (run-tracking, run-mapping, motivating.)

For every type of exercise, a glut of options tells you everything you’d ever want to know: your heart rate, calories burned, hydration status, location of the closest bar.  The fitness app market (which is huge, considering almost a third of mobile owners have a fitness app) is competitive and loud; it pushes us to achieve our best on runs and workouts, and it presses on our buttons of insecurity and ego.

Standing out from this surfeit of fitness apps comes a unique idea in Spring, a “rhythm-based music service” that uses the rhythm of songs in a playlist to keep your own movements paced to an optimum workout.


Now take a step back from that exercise machine for a second and think about the most ripped man ever, more ripped than the UPS guy, even.  He was a primordial hippie who never “worked out.”  Yes, I’m talking about Tarzan.  That guy never counted calories, he foraged. He never mapped his run or tried “muscle confusion.”  No, he tracked panthers and swung on vines and had a blast while cross-training in the jungle.

It’s time to take it back to our roots and sneak exercise into the bigger picture of summertime with a new app called Big Swings.  With 1,000+ adventures already mapped (and the ability to upload your own photos and secrets spots) this swimming hole, cliff-jumping and rope swing app looks like the perfect antidote for wasting your life.


In case you did more lolling around than calorie-burning at the swimming hole, you might need help looking sleek in all them selfies. Good thing there’s an excellent new photo-editing app for your handheld called Polarr.  It’s complex, yet intuitive, the “professional app for everyone,” and a good substitute for Lightroom on your mobile.  Until the exercising kicks in, it’s your best chance to look like someone else.


Not every city has a Wicked Free wifi map, so if your summer travels take you into realms less wicked awesome than Boston, you might need OpenSignal’s new Wifi Mapper.  Avoid roaming charges and slow internet through the hotspot recommendations of other users.  No, not that kind of hot spot, ya perv.


If you must be offline (hopefully you’re on the way to a rope swing and not just in a deadspot on the subway) Pocket grabs any webpage, article, link, or video, reformats it, and saves it for these very moments.  Family trip saved!


Smokey the Bear says only you can prevent disaster on the grill.  Indeed, he hopes you used one of last summer’s grilling apps, but in case you went rogue and burnt the brisket, then Zomato can save you.  Previously “Urban Spoon,” this app does Around Me one better (if only in the field of eateries) with over a million listings. Warning: remove take-out food from Styrofoam before putting it on the grill and pretending like you made it.


Let’s face it: no one wants to look at your crummy videos. They’re not narrative!  But Hykoo promises to fix that by actually “turning your videos into beautiful stories that your friends will love watching.” Film even your most mundane summer moments, and let Hykoo help you turn them into something, well, at least palatable, if not memorable.


If your friends are already hanging on your every post to social media, you can step right down off your new narrative high-horse and hop on to Periscope. Twitter bought this Meerkat-type live feeding app in May and within ten days had a million subscribers.  Seeing the world (the parts of it with a Royal Baby in it, anyway) proved irresistible, and a controversial new star was quickly born. Detractors point to the app’s ease of misappropriation (piracy of Game of Thrones and the Paquiano/ Mayweather fight, for example.) Everyone else loves the feeling of teleportation, and you can’t really argue with that.


If the turning of the season also means a turnover with the roommates, the New York-based Roomi promises to hook users up with the best roommate matches with thousands of listings and built-in chat to help you get acquainted with potential roomies.


If things don’t exactly work out in your new living situation, you can order a thug online (who will actually physically beat them) with the new Chinese hitman app Didi Da Ren, a kind of Uber for fisticuffs. Note: we don’t actually endorse the use of this app, but we do think it's important for you to know it exists.

Now go outside.

About the Author: Dave Gentry is a fan of progress and recess.  He believes in old English and new fortune cookies and answers to #davertido.


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