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Tech Review: Apps for happy, safe New Year's Eve

Apps that help users stay connected.

Apps that help users stay connected. Credit: AFP / Getty Images

Whether your New Year's Eve includes a boisterous night out or a quiet get-together with friends, these apps can help make the night easier for you to plan and safer for you to get home.

Times Square Official Ball

(iOS, Android; free)

Talk about an app with an expiration date! This app from the keepers of the Times Square Ball has a countdown to New Year's and will stream a show live from Times Square on New Year's Eve. You can interact on Twitter with other revelers without leaving the app. The video is slow and clunky, but this is one app you can delete and won't miss at 12:01 Wednesday morning.


(iOS, Android; free)

Just decided to hold a New Year's Eve party? It's too late to put the invitations in the mail, but there's plenty of time to put the Evites in the email. Evite sends invitations and organizes RSVPs for a wide range of events, including birthdays, anniversaries and, of course, New Year's Eve. The app makes it easy to send invitations to anyone on your phone contacts list, or you can input invitees' email addresses.

Cocktail Flow

(iOS, Android; free)

If you're tending bar for guests on New Year's Eve, this app will help you pour like a pro. Use the "bar cabinet" feature to enter your inventory -- spirits, mixers and liqueurs -- and the app creates a list of drinks you can make with your available ingredients. You can download a package of New Year's Eve drink recipes via an in-app purchase ($0.99).

Drive Sober

(iOS, Android; free)

The best advice for anyone on New Year's Eve -- or any other eve -- is that if you drink any amount of alcohol, don't drive. This app, developed for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, has a lot of Wisconsin-centric features, but the blood alcohol estimator is suitable for Long Island drivers. Input your weight, gender and amount of alcohol you drank, and the app gives "an approximation" whether your blood alcohol level is over the legal limit. The app, aimed at 20-somethings, is too flippant considering the serious topic, but the information could be a lifesaver.


Tech bytes mulls bitcoins

Bitcoin, the Internet-based virtual currency that some see as an alternative to government-backed currency, may be getting a boost from Patrick Byrne, the online retailer's chief executive, told the Los Angeles Times his company may accept bitcoins as a form of payment within four months. would become the first major retailer to accept the controversial currency.

Endless stream

Many people will be nursing hangovers Wednesday after an all-night binge, and some may not have touched a drop of alcohol. A Netflix survey found 61 percent of its customers who stream TV shows at least once a week "binge-watched" between two and six episodes of a TV show in one sitting. Netflix says 38 percent of bingers watched the episodes alone.

Cold shoulder

Electric car owners are learning a cold fact: When the temperature drops, so does their range. MIT Technology Review reports when temperatures fall below freezing, electric cars that typically get 250 miles on a full charge only get about 180 miles. One culprit: While gas engines give off heat as a waste product that can be used to warm the cabin, efficient electric cars need battery-draining heaters to keep drivers warm.

-- Peter King

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