Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Android apps for canal users - Part 1

I've had my smart phone for less than a year. My first. Before we had Kantara, I didn't really see the need for one, and I had a very basic, small voice and text only device. I had a Pay As You Go SIM. The phone gave up on me since I retired, and I replaced it for a similar one costing about £14 from Argos. I was beginning to see the usefulness of smart phones now, but hadn't investigated much. And anyway, I didn't want to risk losing such a pricey bit of kit in the canal as several people I knew had done. I wouldn't have got too upset about losing the cheapo old technology.

Then Steve gave me his work phone when they upgraded theirs. And I really see the point now! And I love having it. I keep my apps to a minimum. My OCD stops me allowing the phone to be cluttered with stuff I hardly use. For the same reason, I use as many of the useful built-in apps as I can, rather than getting similar ones from Google Store. So long as they do the job, they're fine. (But how I wish I could delete all of the native Google and HTC apps that I don't want!)

I'm chuffed to have found a number of apps which may be of use to canal users. Not just boaters, but walkers and cyclists, too. Some of them even for the occasional visitor by car. Many of these will be available for operating systems other than Android, but I haven't checked. Sorry. They're free unless I say otherwise.

Canal and River Trust have released Places to Visit. This caters for all of the canal users I mentioned above. Adults and children alike. It tells you what canal and river places are close to you, wherever you go, gives you directions to them, and information about them. And it has the facility to let you log your visits, and to rate them. I'll let the screenshots explain it to you.

Another from CRT is the Great eNature Watch. This helps users identify the commonest wildlife to be seen around the inland waters of the UK, and to log sightings. Children would love it if they have the interest in nature, but I know adults who use it, too.

Finally today, an app which costs you. In fact, it's free to download, and comes with one free edition (one hopes the latest!) of Canal Boat Magazine. But you pay for subsequent issues, obviously. I don't use this app. I stopped getting the paper version this year, and don't want to continue reading it. But if I were new to the magazine, I'd most certainly be using the app. The subscription is £2.49 a month or £19.99 a year. Quite a lot cheaper than getting the paper version sent to your door. I've collected piles, years' worth of this magazine over the years, and really wish the technology had been available from the start! How much space and paper I'd have saved.

More next post!

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