July 4 is Thursday, and many will supersize their weekend by also taking Friday off. No matter how long your Independence Day festivities last, with these apps you can fly the flag, fly past traffic or make time fly while waiting for your backyard barbecue to heat up.
KnowledgeBook: U.S. Flag
(iOS, Android; free)
This app will ensure that anyone displaying the stars and stripes does it correctly. In addition to guidance on how and when to display the flag, the app has instructions on the proper way to fold the flag for storage. It also includes flag trivia, lyrics to several patriotic songs and a history of the U.S. flag.
Those planning a July 4 road trip can make it a patriotic excursion with this irreverent guide to presidential birthplaces, homes, first ladies and first dogs. (Checkers, Richard Nixon's dog when he was vice president, is buried in Wantagh.) One presidential destination to avoid on July 4: Sagamore Hill National Historic Site in Oyster Bay, location of Theodore Roosevelt's home, is closed on Independence Day this year because of federal budget cuts.
(iOS, Android; free)
A four-day holiday weekend typically means traffic headaches for Long Island motorists, especially those going west to the city or out to the East End. This social networking traffic app, with GPS maps and real-time reports from drivers, can help you steer clear of clogged roads, accidents and police radar. It can also direct you to gas stations with the lowest prices. How popular has Waze become? Earlier this month, Google said it would buy the 5-year-old startup, for a reported $1.1 billion.
Fourth of July Mahjong
(iOS, free; Android $0.99)
When Thomas Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence, he had few distractions. No phones, no email and, fortunately for the country, no access to addictive diversions like this variation on the classic tile game. At your July 4 barbecue, this app can entertain you until the declaration that the burgers are ready. The iOS version has ads, but a 99-cent in-app purchase renders it ad-free.
Sony has unveiled the SmartWatch 2, the latest competitor in the wearable technology arena. The watch works in conjunction with Android smartphones, allowing users to answer calls and read email. It is also being marketed as a fitness device, because runners or bikers can see statistics and maps with a glance at their wrist. The watch will be available in September, although no pricing information was announced.
A Facebook page may help young people attract friends, but it may repel potential bosses. About 10 percent of people ages 16-34 surveyed by research firm On Device said they had been rejected for a job because of their social media profile. Even so, two-thirds said they would not adjust content on their Facebook page to look good for prospective employers.
The little blue hedgehog who helped usher in the video gaming revolution of the 1990s just turned 22, and Sega is celebrating with a sale. Selected Android and iOS mobile games featuring Sonic the Hedgehog, who first appeared in June 1991, have been reduced to $0.99 each at Google Play, Amazon App Store and iTunes App Store. The sale runs until tomorrow.
-- Peter King