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Thursday, August 20, 2015

Minute-by-Minute Weather

by Chris Guld,

imageHave you ever been getting ready to hitch up and go but you looked at the sky and saw dark clouds? You wonder, should I rush and get hitched up right now? Or, if I wait a half hour, will it pass?

No need to wonder any more, the Dark Sky app will let you know. It is a hyper-local, eerily accurate, down-to-the-minute predictor of precipitation. It also gives wind speed, dew point, barometric pressure, world maps of weather, sunrise/sunset. Forecasts give a range of predicted precipitation at different times of day.

We wanted to go for a walk, but noticed the dark clouds gathering. We consulted Dark Sky and it said the rain would start in 40 minutes. We planned to walk for 35 minutes, so we went. Sure enough, 5 minutes after we were back, the rain started!

Dark Sky was covered as one of our Apps of the Week in the Geeks on Tour “What Does This Button Do?” shows. If you’d like to see it, here is a link to the place in episode #36 where it is demonstrated.

Dark Sky is not available on Android, a similar app for Android is Arcus weather

imageApp: Dark Sky by Jackadam
Platforms: Apple iOS
Cost: $3.99 on iPhone.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Using Allstays Camp & RV to Find Membership Parks

by Chris Guld,

We love the Allstays Camp and RV app on our smartphones and use it all the time to find a place to stay in our RV. I know many of you use it as well, but I wonder if you know about its Advanced Filtering?

If you use this app, you probably know that you can use the Filter feature and just check off the items that you want to see on your map. For example, I put a checkmark next to Independent campgrounds, Army Corps of Engineers parks, and Cracker Barrels, but not next to RV Dealers or Sams Clubs. There’s only so much display room on the map, and I don’t want it to get too cluttered. Each of those categories has its own icon on the map so I can tell an Army Corps park from a Cracker Barrel. It’s quite nice.

2015-08-06 21.12.37We are members of Thousand Trails and like to stay in their parks whenever possible. Thousand Trails parks show up on Allstays along with Independent Campgrounds – they don’t have their own icon, or a separate category on the Filtering screen.

Or do they?

I was lamenting that there was no box to check for Thousand Trails parks, when someone showed me how to do it! So I want to pass along the favor.

Use the Advanced Filtering section.

After tapping on Filter, you’ll see a line for Advanced Filtering (Cumulative.) On that screen you’ll see lots more choices, including various clubs like Good Sam, Escapees, Passport America, and Thousand Trails! So, I click the checkbox for Club-Thousand Trails, click Done, and then my map shows only Independent campgrounds that are Thousand Trails. 

Now, how do you get all the other items back when you want? Get back to the Advanced Filter screen and Clear your checkmarks by tapping the green ‘Clear’ button. Notice that the Advanced Filter is cumulative. I know that word ‘cumulative’ sounds like it should show more but in fact it shows less because it’s the filter that is cumulative … adding one filter to another means less data gets thru. More means less – got it? The more you play with it, the more it make sense – just try it! You’ll like it!