What’s the one app you can’t live without?
It’s a tough question.
Looking at my iPhone, I have five screens full of icons, or roughly 130 apps that I carry with me at all times. Several are junk apps that Apple preinstalls and won’t let me delete, but the other 100 or so are apps I purposely downloaded over the years. Usually out of want, rarely out of need.
Some of these apps, like Slack and Trello are there for business purposes. Strictly speaking, in a hunter/gatherer kind of way, I can’t live without them because they help pay the bills. But I wouldn’t say they enhance my life in a Dalai Lama kind of way.
Google Maps is definitely high on the list. It’s certainly made it easier getting from point A to B. But it’s not an app I use every day.
Having given it some thought, I’d say that the one app I can’t live without is something called Buienradar — a Dutch weather app. I live in Amsterdam and the weather here is, quite frankly, shitty, and it changes without warning or logic almost hourly. Buienradar gives me reliable weather forecasts at 10 minute increments into the future, including alerts for severe weather. It’s like Dark Sky but ugly, and I’d quickly switch just as soon as its hyperlocal rain forecasts come to my town.
Should I bring a jacket? Is it too windy to bicycle? Do I need an umbrella or a rain suit? These are the questions my weather app answers several times a day as I try to live my life in relative comfort. It’s the app that has to be in competing app stores should I ever switch platforms. It’s the one app I can’t live without.
Five stories to start your day
The streaming service today announced that it was rolling out a redesign to its video player controls, replacing the old Flash versions with new Javascipt and HTML5 options. This isn't the end for Flash on Twitch just yet — for now the site's videos still use the software — but the streaming service says this is a step toward releasing its "much-anticipated" full HTML5 player.
Somebody built a methamphetamine lab inside a federal research facility, and a security guard was injured when it exploded. Chemical & Engineering News reports that the explosion took place July 18th at the National Institute of Standards & Technology, and local police say evidence at the scene is "consistent with the production of" meth. Congress is now investigating how this all happened, because they watched Breaking Bad and are not having it this close to our nation's capital.
Motorola is expected to unveil its new line of phones this coming Tuesday, but tonight we got another look at one of them, apparently the new Moto X. According to the Android Peru's Facebook posts, it has received photos from a leaker of the new phone, which apparently has a 5.5-inch screen and a front-facing flash for well-illuminated selfies. There's also some strange talk of a fingerprint sensor somehow being integrated into the bottom speaker, which Android Peru couldn't confirm.
Researchers have demonstrated for the first time that constrictor snakes kill by stopping the flow of blood inside their prey. That approach is so efficient that animals don't survive long enough to die from asphyxiation — the method that most scientists thought was the correct "cause of death" in constricted prey. The finding, published in the Journal of Experimental Biology, likely means that many a biology textbook will need to be revised.
Earlier this week, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump continued his quest to drag political discourse down to the level of an internet message board by doxxing an opponent. Trump gave away fellow GOP candidate Senator Lindsey Graham's cellphone number during a rambling speech in South Carolina, apparently as an act of revenge after Graham labelled Trump a "jackass" on Monday. Now, Graham has responded with his own video.