COUNTING THE WAZE

Five topics: Getting Better Directions, Better Searching with Google Chrome, Fun Doggy website, Political website tells you which candidate you’re most like, What Cortana can do

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MEDICAL APPS

A reader asked us to find her a blood pressure app for the iPhone. There are several of these for both iPhone and Android. Unlike the kind you see at the doctor’s office, the apps do not use a compression band that temporarily cuts off your circulation. They measure the slight pulsing from placing your finger on the phone. We tried “Finger Blood Pressure! Free” on our Android phone, and compared it with the reading we got on the $35 Omron 3 Series Blood Pressure monitor with a pressure cuff. The Omron is battery operated, so you’re not tethered to the wall plug. Omron said Joy’s systolic pressure was 118, her diastolic reading was 74 and her pulse was 46. […]

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GOOGLE MAPS ADDS UBER

Google Maps is adding Uber taxi info to its maps for Android phones. You should be able to see it in the next few weeks. You’ll be able to see how many Uber cabs are nearby and what their fares are. We were hoping that the much vaunted app, “TextBer,” would let you hail an Uber cab with just a text message instead of an app, but it never got off the ground, even after reams of free publicity.

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MANY ROADS LEAD TO ROME

“The Many Roads That Lead to Rome, Visualized” has a Smithsonian Magazine article about “all roads lead to Rome.” (Bob had an Italian friend who complained that the Empire was destroyed by barbarians because all they had to do to get there was follow the roads. On the other hand, where else would you put them?)

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FUN WITH GOOGLE MAPS

Google Maps, a free app for smart phones, is now a tour guide as well as a path finder. Tap the “Explore around you” link. Along the top of the screen you’ll see “breakfast,” “lunch,” “dinner,” “coffee,” and “drinks.” Under each meal category, you’ll see “best,” “make it fast,” and “make it cheap.” We didn’t agree with their “best” choices for lunch nearby but it also gave us alternatives.

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COMPARE OLD NEW YORK TO TODAY ON THIS MAP

SmithsonianMag.com has an interactive map that lets you compare the New York City of 1836 to New York today. As you move an on-screen magnifying glass over the map, you can see the difference 179 years make. For instance, there’s no Central Park, everything past 14th Street is wild countryside, Manhattan has lots of hills, and there used to be docks where there are now buildings.

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THE OBSESSIVELY DETAILED REPORT OF AMERICA’S MOST EPIC ROAD TRIPS

The Obsessively Detailed Report of American Literature’s Most Epic Road Trips. Click on the link  or visit AtlasObscura.com to retrace on the map, the journeys taken in “Wild,” “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance,” “Roughing It,” “The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test,” and many others.

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40 MAPS THAT WILL HELP YOU MAKE SENSE OF THE WORLD

“40 Maps That Will Help You Make Sense of the World.” The 22 countries that Great Britain never invaded. The only countries that don’t use the metric system are Liberia, Myanmar and, of course, us. McDonalds restaurants around the world. (The busiest is in Moscow.)

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A CHEAP TRIP

A reader wondered how much data his smart phone would use, with GPS running the whole time, on a road trip to Florida.  First the good news: The GPS system doesn’t use data. Now the bad news: Downloading maps does. One way to avoid data charges is to get a free app called “CoPilot GPS,” which currently has over 14 million users.  (We wrote about it once before, but didn’t realize how crucial it was for saving data charges — since we’re on an unlimited data plan, but with very few talk-minutes.) After you install the app, download the region or country  you’re interested in. Now you’re ready to see maps and directions offline. You don’t need any cellular or […]

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GETTING THERE

“Waze” is a free alternative to Google Maps (also free). It calls out turn-by-turn directions, just as Google Maps does. Just tap the microphone and speak your destination, or type it in. Then tap “navigate.”  For those who want more, Waze keeps you up to date on traffic conditions and can even tell you when your friends arrived at the destination. (If five minutes have gone by and they still haven’t got out of the car and wrung the bell, they’re probably arguing about whether to see you at all.)

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