Relax Beachgoers, Dorsal’s Crowdsourced Shark Reporting App Is Now Available in the States

Dorsal—the app and crowdsourced ecosystem by startup Fruitful Tech—aims to arm beachgoers, surfers and other water recreationists with the latest, verified reports of shark sightings. This verification is important and I’ll come back to that, but first know that the idea spawned from co-founder Allan Bennetto after concerns about sharks while surfing in his native Australia.

With both International Shark Attack File and National Geographic reporting a record 98 unprovoked shark attacks in 2015, Allan built the main technology piece of Dorsal while his cofounder/GM of Americas and also pro surfing champion Sarah Beardsmore (pictured above) focused on globalization strategy.

And at long last, this brings us to the news at hand that Dorsal—which launched as an app and website in Australia in late 2014, (30,000 app downloads and over 200,000 daily website/report visitors)—is now officially available in the USA. To be clear, it’s been soft launched here since June 8th. But it’s good timing as the United States had more attacks than any other country last year with 59.

While maintaining the website at dorsalwatch.com, their strategy clearly serves users best as a location-enabled mobile app and thus there has been great focus by the team building out their three main tentpole apps: the previously mentioned Dorsal, Dorsal CMS and Dorsal GPS.

Dorsal is the crowdsourcing part of their mobile app ecosystem. Sort of “the Waze of shark spotting” the app lets anyone who sees a shark in the ocean subsequently file a report (complete with geolocation). The same app can provide alerts for sightings.

Dorsal CMS is the app for moderators and volunteers who work with authorities to verify and edit public reports. This adds a layer of scrutiny and curation to crowdsourced reports and prevents misuse or phony reports from cluttering up the ecosystem.

Dorsal GPS is an app the team originally built for their partner Specialized Helicopters. The app has a much simplified interface (essentially one big button) and allows helicopter pilots and spotters to easily mark the GPS coordinates of a sighting while filling out the other report details after they safely land.

Now Everyone On This Dating App Will See Your Bad Taste In Music

The dating app Bumble is partnering with Spotify to let users efficiently left and right swipe based on more than just looks—now they can judge each other based on their music listening habits, too.

Bumble is planning to give users the option to connect their dating profile to their Spotify account. If they do, the top artists they listen to will be automatically shared on their Bumble profile. When someone clicks on an artist on a Bumble user’s profile, they will be redirected to Spotify. Users can already manually share their musical tastes, but soon that process will be automated.

“Music is one of the most powerful forces for connection between two people, and giving our users a chance to share even more of what interests them most is something we’re always looking to do,” said Whitney Wolfe.

Of course, what interests you most—say the oeuvre of Jason Derulo—doesn’t always translate into dates. But Bumble is rolling out the new feature in the coming weeks, so there’s still time to tone down all those “Top 50” listens in favor of obscure indie bands with hipster cred. Eventually, Bumble says it will institute a feature that allows users to hide any favorite artists they don’t want potential dates to know about.

In other words, it’ll be just as easy as it ever was for online daters to make themselves sound cooler than they really are.

History Here Lets You Explore Historic Points of Interest in Our Area

It’s always interesting to think about the history where you’re standing—who may have been there, what may have happened. History Here is an interactive app that lets you explore historic points of interest nearby.

The app comes from the History channel and maps out thousands of historic locations across the United States. Like other maps, you can use it to explore cool nearby spots, but instead of restaurants and bars, it tells you a little bit about the history around you.

They explain:

Get the facts about the history that’s hidden all around you, including architecture, museums, battlefields, monuments, famous homes and much more! And now, you can explore TOURS, a new feature that use locations as a way to learn about historical themes and topics, such as Marilyn Monroe’s Hollywood, Civil War Atlanta and Al Capone’s Chicago. WE ARE ADDING MORE POINTS OF INTEREST ALL THE TIME. Know a place that’s not listed in the app? Use the Suggest a Place feature to submit it to the HISTORY editorial team.

Some of these spots are fairly obvious. It maps out museums, for example, and if the Met is in your backyard, chances are, you’re aware of that. This might come in handy when you’re traveling to a new city, though.

It points out some lesser known spots, too. I mapped my old neighborhood in Houston, for example, and discovered I lived right near Howard Hughes’ boyhood home (it’s actually part of the University of St. Thomas, but easy to visit). Beyond historic homes and museums, the app also maps graves of historic figures and areas where historic events took place. Hit a spot on the map, and you’ll get a brief history lesson.

You can save spots and also get alerts when you’re walking near a mapped site. The app also has a list of curated tours in various cities.

The Weather Channel App Now Tells You the Best Time to Go for a Run

Most of us run our best when it’s cool and cloudy, so in the summer that can mean taking a close look at the hourly forecast to find the best time to beat the heat. Now, the Weather Channel app can do that work for you.

The app’s home screen now boasts a “GoRun forecast” rating the current running weather on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the best. By default, it seems to flag dry 70-degree days as perfect for running, but you can adjust the ratings by setting your own preferences.

Hit “Details” and you can check out the hour-by-hour ratings for today and tomorrow, plus a running forecast for the rest of the week. Try it yourself at the link below.

The Weather Channel

Hate Math? This App Does It For You

Today is the first time in a decade that I actually wished I was back in school. Mathpix is an iOS app that can recognize and answer handwritten math equations in seconds. Open the app, point the camera toward your math problem (you’ll need legible handwriting, or it won’t work properly), and it’ll give you the correct answer along with step-by-step directions to reach the solution. Mathpix even works with more complex equations that require graphs or charts.

The app works by sending the equation to a server, so you’ll need a connection to use it. Usually a math app that can solve problems wouldn’t be allowed in schools, but Mathpix is essentially a far better version of the now very old TI-84 graphing calculator, and a lot cheaper (it’s free). You can download Mathpix on iOS today.

The Sugar Rush App Lets You Know Just How Much Sugar Has Been Added to Anything

It’s widely accepted at this point that sugar is bad for you — especially the processed sugar that gets added to foods in an effort to make them more addictive/taste better. Sugar Rush lets you know just how much sugar has been added to anything you’re thinking of eating just by scanning the UPC code. It shows you how many teaspoons (or, scarily, tablespoons) have been added, as well as the ratio of naturally occurring sugars to unnecessary additives. And since it works from anywhere you can get Internet, you can make the smart, healthy decisionbefore you throw the stuff in your cart.

We Know You Won’t Because You Love Sharing Useless Information, But Deleting the Facebook App on iPhone Extends Battery Life

As Apple works away at its next iPhone many are asking for extended battery life because if you’re the type of person that perpetually has a low battery and carries around two portable chargers with you there’s never enough battery life. If anyone even mildly identifies with the aforementioned iPhone woes they’ll be elated to find out there’s a quick fix to get some extra juice out of their phone: deleting the Facebook app.

After hearing that Android users whom got rid of the Facebook app saved up to 20 percent of battery life The Guardian‘s Samuel Gibbs set out to investigate if the same happened on iPhone. Gibbs tested the effects on the battery using the installed app and using Facebook mobile via Safari on the iPhone 6S Plus. Gibbs charged the phone overnight and used it for the same amount of time when testing out both ways then recording the battery life each night at 10:30 p.m.wrote Gibbs.

Gibbs concluded: “On average I had 15% more battery left by 10.30pm each day. I had also saved space, because at the point I had deleted the Facebook app it had consumed around 500MB in total combining the 111MB of the app itself and its cache on the iPhone.”

Gibbs also told other people to do it, earning the same results. Gibbs recommends using Facebook on Safari instead. For those who absolutely can’t live without the Facebook app here’s some of the differences you’d see accessing it on Safari: “The only restriction was the Share-to function, which does not exist for websites, meaning that to share photos I had to manually hit the “post photos” button on the mobile site. Features of the app, such as Instant Articles, are also not available. Tapping a link on the Facebook mobile site opens a new Safari tab.”

Although Gibbs didn’t test an iPhone 6 Gibbs speculates getting rid of the Facebook app should more or less have the same results. More battery life, more space, and less time spent on social media? Sounds like a win-win.

Diet App Claims To Help You Watch Your Weight By Scanning The Molecules In Your Food

It’s a new year, and you know what that means: new diet plans — or at least, you might be promising yourself to stick to a new diet plan. But it isn’t easy, which you know if you’ve ever sat staring longingly at the last piece of cheese on the plate, wondering whether it will totally screw up your resolution to finally lose just five more pounds. A new app and its connected smart device claims it can do just that, scan your food and let you know whether or not it’ll lead you from your chosen diet path.

Our friends at Consumer Reports are roaming the booths at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show and came across the DietSensor app, which purports to help folks maintain their diets by way of a gadget that scans the molecules in food via an optical sensor. It then spits out information in the connected app with ratings on carbs, calories, protein, and fat, and tells you what you should eat for the rest of the day.

Based on the food you’ve already scanned up to that point, the app may then ask, somewhat passive-aggressively, “Sure you need to eat more?” or tell you you’re good to go.

The app will only work if you’re checking homogenous foods — so again, cheese, or a piece of bread, or a slab of honey-cured ham. If you want to find out what’s in your pizza and whether it’ll ruin your diet, you’ll have to add that information manually to your log.

It’s also a bit pricy: the gadget itself is $249, while the app will cost $10-$20 per month when it becomes available.

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These Apps Will Help You Surpass Your New Year’s Resolutions

It’s that special time of year where everyone in the world talks a big game. 2016 is here and we’re all planning ambitious things: you’re finally gonna quit your job; it’s time for you to travel more; you’re gonna kick that soda habit! While it takes little to no brain power to make a New Year’s resolution, it’s infamously harder to keep one.

Reaching the 21 days it supposedly takes to form a new (and better) habit can get a little easier if you have some help, especially if it’s in the palm of your hand. There are a plethora of both Apple and Android applications that can aid you in doing everything from ditching cigarettes to picking up more paperbacks.

While there are general goal tracking apps – like Strides – if you have weird aspirations, there are also many special programs designed for the most common of resolutions. We’ve rounded up some great options to help you actually make 2016 a year of change.

The Resolution: Quit Smoking

The App: LIVESTRONG MyQuit Coach – Dare to Quit Smoking
Cost: Free
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Device: Apple

The Livestrong app allows you to set goals and then track your progress. You can chat with other smokers trying to break the habit, record cravings and also get an idea of how much money you’ve saved by quitting. User reviews say the app is crucial in determining just how many cigarettes you’re puttin’ back a day, and ultimately it makes you much more conscious of your behavior. Complaints include that the interface wasn’t designed to be user-friendly and that it is, at times, buggy, kicking people off unexpectedly.

Similar Apps: There are a lot of similar apps with comparable features – but many have a price tag. For iPhone users there’s Smoke Free, and for Android try My Quit Coach.

The Resolution: Drink More Water

The App: Water Alert
Cost: Free with in-app purchases
Rating:4.5 Stars
Device: Apple

Water drinkers are quick to extol its many benefits: more energy, better skin, and improvements to their diets. So, why not start 2016 with your recommended 9 to 13 cups a day? Drink More Water lets you set daily reminders and interval reminders with notifications to encourage you to guzzle some H20. Similar to a calorie tracker, the app lets you submit your water intake by container size, something you can customize to match your receptacle of choice. You can set goals and even use in conjunction with an Apple Watch. Again, reviewers complain about the ads.

Similar Apps: For Android, try Drink Water Alarm, or try the original, Waterlogged, which just fell in popularity after changing to a more expensive pay format.

The Resolution: Lose Weight

The App: My Fitness Pal
Cost: Free
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Device: Apple and Android

Trying to cut back on your consumption in 2016? We got you. A longtime favorite among the App store’s calorie counters, My Fitness Pal helps you log every single thing you eat. While it may seem like a daunting task, My Fitness Pal makes it as easy as a few clicks, and includes pre-logged calorie totals for numerous name brand grocery items and restaurant selections. Users can set a daily goal, and My Fitness Pal will track up to it. Reviewers say that the brand’s customer service is quick to respond. However, some complain that there are too many advertisements.

Similar Apps: If My Fitness Pal isn’t cutting it for you, try Lose It! for comparable functionality, or, if you’re willing to pay the monthly fee, Weight Watchers Online.

The App: Runkeeper
Cost: Free
Rating:4.5 Stars
Device: Apple and Android

This is the year you’re gonna sign up for that half-marathon, right? Well, it’s time to start training. Incorporating a run into your daily routine is made easier with app Runkeeper. The program tracks your pace, the average miles per minute you travel, and also the calories you burn in real time, with audio updates. Users can set a running plan or chose one of the set training programs, and interact with a community. While the program works with Apple Watch, a lot of people seem to be having issues with the latest December update. The program can drain your battery life, but people seem to like the wide variety of features.

Similar Apps: Android users can try Runtastic, while iPhone owners should check out Under Armour’s Map My Run.

The Resolution: Balance Your Budget

The App: Intuit’s Mint Money Manager
Cost: Free
Rating:4.5 Stars
Device: Apple and Android

It’s official: you spent way too much money at Starbucks in 2015. Make sure that doesn’t happen in the new year with an app that will tell you, monthly, how much money you’re spending and where you’re spending it. Mint, from the makers of TurboTax and Quickbooks, syncs with your bank account and automatically breaks down line item purchases into different categories like food and rent. Mint lets you create a budget and input transactions into categories you create on your own, as well. Users like that it emails you a weekly breakdown of your expenditures and that it makes it easy to check balances on several accounts at once. Some complain that there are some bank connectivity issues and that a lot of smaller banks aren’t supported, though.

Similar Apps: Android users like My Budget Book (although it costs $3.19 to purchase), and while GoodBudget has similar functionality, it isn’t necessarily as pretty to look at.

The Resolution: Read More

The App: Goodreads
Cost: Free
Rating:4.5 Stars
Device: Apple and Android

In a time when books are quickly converted into movies, many just skip a step and buy the ticket rather than the paperback. Looking to up your fiction consumption? How about Goodreads. The app, which is an offshoot of the website, lets you follow friends so you can see what they’re reading and bookmark novels that you “want to read.” You can log what you’ve read this year, rate books, and give yourself a reading challenge. The app also sends personalized recommendations and lets you scan barcodes if you want to remember something you spot on a bookshelf. Users love the new 3D touch features and find the ratings and reviews easy to find. The only frustrating aspect is that you can’t actually read any books through the app. But that’s what the library is for, right?

Similar Apps: A little different than Goodreads in functionality, but OverDrive lets you sync your books from multiple libraries into one place – AKA your Kindle books and your iBooks can be all in one place.

This Fitness Tracking App Pays You to Walk More

Having a hard time motivating yourself to exercise? What if somebody offered to payyou work out? That’s the idea behind Bitwalking — an app, digital currency and marketplace that pays its users 1BW$ (Bitwalking dollar) for every 10,000 steps they take.

The idea behind the app is about more than simply bribing people into getting up and moving more — its founders actually hope that it will be able to give people in developing countires another source of income. The company has set up “Bitwalking hubs” in Malawi, for instance, designed to help users learn to manage, trade and spend the digital currency they earn bitwalking.

On the surface it sounds like a noble idea, but Bitwalking payouts have to come fromsomewhere. According to the BBC, the company is looking for partners to help foot the bill, potentially trading walking payouts for data on Bitwalking users. Advertisers or sports brands could use this information to see how active their target market is, for instance. Even so, you’ll have to wait awhile before before trying the service out — for now, Bitwalking is invite only.