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Apps to help you enjoy summer

The Navionics Boating app offers a range of

The Navionics Boating app offers a range of nautical charts and other essential Long Island maritime information. Credit: Newsday/Navionics

After a spring like no other, Long Islanders are hoping for a summer like all the rest. These apps can help you return to normalcy even amid abnormal times.

LIRR Train Time

(iOS, Android; free)

Perhaps you’re headed back to a reopened office in Manhattan, or maybe you want to take a day trip to enjoy outdoor dining at your favorite New York City bistro. LIRR Train Time has gotten far better over the years updating commuters with schedules and train information. It has added a new feature that tells you how crowded each car in the next train is as you wait in the station, making it easier to keep a safe distance from other riders.


(iOS, Android; free)

Long Island has more than its share of biking, walking and running trails. But while competitive activities like organized races are probably not happening this summer, why not compete against yourself. This popular exercise app (one of the most downloaded apps during the pandemic) tracks your biking, running or walking workout and gives you various stats such as pace and miles traveled. Upload your route and times and see if others can beat it.

Navionics Boating App

(iOS, Android; $15 per year for U.S. coverage)

Long Island marinas and boatyards have been reopened since April, and this app can help boat owners enjoy their day on the waterways. The app, from GPS pioneer Garmin, has a full range of nautical charts that can be customized in numerous ways. The amount of regularly updated information available is enormous, including NOAA charts and a unique SonarChart that gives you a look at underwater topography.


(iOS, Android; free)

It’s good to get back to the beach or have a picnic in the park, but don’t forget to social distance — from the sun. This app from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency can be localized for your ZIP code. It will give you hourly forecasts detailing when ultraviolet radiation is at a level where you should seek shade or at least slather on the sunscreen.

Ransomware rises during pandemic

Coronavirus has been profitable for cybercriminals. Security firm Coveware found that hackers “took advantage of the economic and workplace disruption” caused by the pandemic to attack poorly secured work-from-home network configurations to unleash ransomware. In the first quarter, the average ransom payment was $111,605, up 33 percent from the fourth quarter of 2019. Coveware said misconfigured remote desktop protocol access points were “the most common attack vector.”


Breaking the code

Think that because you’re bad at math you can’t learn to code? That doesn’t add up. Researchers from the University of Washington found that an aptitude for learning new languages “is a stronger predictor of learning to program than basic math knowledge.” Researchers hope the results will also knock down “stereotypes about programming as a masculine field” and encourage more women to pursue programming.


Hackers hit drug companies

The United States and Britain are investigating hacking incidents against pharmaceutical companies, medical groups and universities involved in research related to the coronavirus. The probe comes as hackers have increased cyberattacks amid the ongoing pandemic. Cybercriminals have attacked hospitals with ransomware, and have also sought to capitalize on the pandemic by using lures related to the crisis in “phishing” emails and espionage campaigns.


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