Tech Review: Apps for when you dine out

AT&T launches push-to-talk service for the iPhone.

AT&T launches push-to-talk service for the iPhone. (Credit: AFP/Getty Images)

Thinking of going out to eat tonight? Whether it's casual dining, a candlelight dinner or fast food, these apps will help find a restaurant, make a reservation, account for your tip and count your calories.

Urban Spoon

(iOS, Android, free)


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Don't expect to find reviews for Long Island restaurants -- Urban Spoon concentrates on establishments in major cities. But if you're planning a night out in New York, Urban Spoon will help find a hipster hangout in Williamsburg, great Korean food in Flushing or a trendy spot in TriBeCa. Like its namesake website, the app offers reviews from regular diners and food critics.

Under 600 Calories Fast Foods

(iOS, Android, 99 cents)

If fast food is on the menu tonight, you probably don't need to read any reviews or make a reservation. But you may need nutritional guidance, because those double cheeseburgers, large fries and supersized shakes can quickly add up to a day's worth of calories in a single meal. This app offers breakfast, lunch and dinner meal suggestions that are each less than 600 calories at more than 75 fast-food chains.

Yelp

(iOS, Android, free)

A large community of Yelpers offers reviews on thousands of restaurants, including hundreds on Long Island. The app has links to restaurant websites, and in many cases you can access the menu. Can't wait to tell your friends about that great (or awful) meal? Check in with Facebook or Twitter directly from the app.

OpenTable

(iOS, Android, free)

If you already have decided on a restaurant for dinner, OpenTable can make sure you have a seat. The app offers reservations for 30,000 restaurants throughout North America. Pick a restaurant, time and the number of people in your party, and OpenTable will tell you if there is an open table. Once you make your reservation, each member of your party will receive an email telling you it is confirmed. If you're really hungry, you can narrow your search to show restaurants nearby.

Tip Me(Android, free)

After a good meal, who wants to do long division? This app makes figuring out the tip a snap. It will calculate the gratuity on a meal based on the percentage you want, and can also split the bill among the number of diners paying the tab. And a "coupon feature" determines the tip on the original amount after the coupon is deducted. Tip Me is ad-free, a nice plus. iPhone, iTouch and iPad users can check out the similar Tip Calculator HD (99 cents).

 

Tough act to follow

 

Are you taking it personally because you're having a hard time attracting Twitter followers? Yes, it's all about you. Researchers at Georgia Tech University found that Twitter users whose tweets are mainly mundane details about themselves get far fewer followers than those whose tweets offer informational content. Also, keep your tweets upbeat. Tweeting about how sick you are or how bad your job is turns off potential followers, researchers said. -- Peter King

 

Big Brother returns

 

George Orwell's "1984," featuring a futuristic totalitarian state, surged in sales on Amazon.com's best-selling books charts last week. The 64-year-old novel went from No. 7,397 to No. 37 after the revelation of a top-secret electronic-surveillance program that allows the government to access data from audio and video chats, photos, emails, documents and connection logs from the biggest Internet companies. -- Bloomberg News

 

Xbox One restrictions

 

Microsoft has angered some gamers with restrictions on its upcoming Xbox One. Users can trade in and buy used games only from "participating retailers," and Microsoft says game publishers can now "opt in or out of supporting game resale." Also, Microsoft says the Xbox One will have to connect to the Internet at least once every 24 hours to operate. -- Peter King