There's nothing like the Great Outdoors (that covers both the movie and the actual outdoors). Breaking away from your desk, breathing naturally circulated air and basking in the light of that glowing ball thingy in the sky; is there a better feeling? You finally have a chance to recharge and relax. Soothing sounds soon caress your ear; the swishing of wind blowing through the trees, birds singing, a babbling brook, a BlackBerry notification tone…
Wait, a BlackBerry? Who brought the BlackBerry way out here? Oh, that's right, you did. For those who tell you that you should have left it at home, let them know that it's always a good time for a BlackBerry. It "IS" designed to keep you mobile, after all. The scout motto is "be prepared", so isn't carrying your smartphone the right thing to do? To back up your claim, I hit the trails in search of applications you can use while you're out and about. Though it won't tell you the best way to toast a marshmallow (there should be an app for that!), your BlackBerry can be turned into an excellent guide. Let's gather around the campfire, it's time for a story…
If a tree falls in the woods…
This time around, I've tried to cover a few applications that were either informative, productive or just plain fun. I'm an avid BlackBerry abuser, but even I know I can't spend the whole day staring at the screen. If there are any other apps you use while eating your trail mix, leave a comment and let everyone know.
Accidents happen, especially while trekking through the trails. Rookie adventurers may not know how to deal with burns, rashes and other issues that could potentially arise. Minor injuries could cut your trip short. Now I'm not saying you should avoid seeking medical attention, but you should know what to do. iMobile Care, by VisionSync Inc, offers various types of assistance right at your fingertips. Rather than trying to use your browser to find useful information in a hurry, you can easily search for facts, treatment and special instructions, so you can focus on helping the injured person out. iMobile Care also comes equipped with loud SOS alarms, personal information capturing capabilities and location tracking. You can also take pictures of the situation for later use ("See? It didn't look infected at the time.."). iMobile Care costs $2.99.
Wow, it's getting dark out, reeeeeeeallly dark. Do you remember the way back? NO?!
Depending on the situation, a loud SOS alarm may not work. Perhaps a loud sound may not attract help…or may attract something else (dun dun dunnnn). Now if you're out of out of your coverage area, what are you going to do? The SOS application transforms your BlackBerrys screen into a flashing SOS Morse code beacon that stays on. You could try to use your hand to mimic the SOS Morse code, but I bet your BlackBerrys battery will far outlast your arms. SOS is available for $2.99.
Trailblazing and Calorie Burning
You may be looking to get more out of your outdoor adventure, like attempting to work off those free donuts that your company supplies to their employees every Friday. Getting exercise while outdoors, in my opinion, beats being stuck on a treadmill (or next to some sweaty, stinky dude) any day. The great outdoors is the perfect motivation when trying to shed pounds, or just tone up. It doesn't necessarily require you to head into the wilderness; just get your butt outside. BiM Active helps you record your journeys, jogs or jaunts right from your BlackBerry. You can capture your pace, elevation, location, calories and paths while getting your exercise. You can even check out street, topo or satellite maps or view the weather in your area. The application does use its own notification tones, which cannot be turned off (for example; a tone will play when you begin to record your activity). BlackBerry App World has the BiM Active application and it is available for free.
First star to the right, and straight on 'til morning
While out enjoying nature, you may see a few people walking around staring at their mobile devices. In some cases, they may be trying to find reception. In other cases, they could be using their devices as a compass. A great application that offers an active compass, and other features, is GPSLogger. The included compass offers both day and night views for ease of use. Besides the compass, you will be able to view and track your velocity, path, longitude, latitude, altitude and attitude (ok, well maybe not attitude). Waypoints can also be marked for future reference; perhaps points of interest. You can also export paths in CSV, GPX or KML formats, as well as import GPX and KML formats. GPSLogger is available for free.
You mean I can't tie the worm around the hook? Ouch
Fishing trips- what a great way to spend the day with your buddies, if you actually stop goofing off and actually fish. Before you hit the boat, or perhaps while you're waiting for a bite, check out the Bass Assassin 2 game. Sharpen your virtual fishing skills in either tournament or free fish mode. With challenges to attempt, bonuses to unlock and gear to upgrade, you definitely have a lot to tackle (get it? Tackle?). Just make sure you actually catch some real fish, or else it's toasted weenies for you. Bass Assassin 2 is available for $2.99.
From Nature Newbie to Wildlife Whiz
They say that knowledge is power. They also say you should know what you're getting into. Whoever 'they' is (holy grammar), they're pretty smart. Wouldn't you rather know what you have gotten yourself into? The folks at the Sierra Club have a few mobile applications to help you out with your nature or camping trips. Their Animal & Bird Tracks knowledge cards help you identify dozens of tracks and view detailed information on each animal or bird, such as; diet and physical appearance. Their Wilderness Survival Skills knowledge cards help you stay prepared. The cards cover topics that include: dangerous animal encounters, harsh elements, becoming lost and other mishaps. The Granite Gourmet knowledge cards offer information on proper food storage, recipes, what to bring and cooking tips. There are many other knowledge cards available as well. The only topic the cards won't cover is how to deal with baked beans and small, enclosed tents. The Sierra Club applications are available for $4.99 each.
It was a dark and stormy night
One of the best things to do while camping is telling ghost stories. If you lack imagination, you may need help with your story telling. With eBook store application, such as Kobo, you have a wide array of stories to choose from. Kobo has thousands upon thousand of eBooks available to you, with most allowing you to read the first chapter before purchasing. Table of contents allow you to quickly get to the chapter you want. Kobo is available for free.
Now before you head out, please make sure that your BlackBerry is well protected. What good will it do if it falls into a lake or ravine? Do you think you're prepared enough with these apps? Can you think of another application others should consider? Please leave a comment with your ideas. Don't forget your bug spray!