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These apps can help you survive a storm

Photo Credit: Zello

Hurricanes Harvey and Irma didn’t threaten Long Island, but with the Atlantic hurricane season not officially ending until Nov. 30, there’s plenty of time for a major storm to hit the region.

These apps were among the most downloaded by people in areas affected by Harvey and Irma, and they could serve Long Islanders well if a major storm bears down.


(iOS, Android; free)

This formerly little-known app skyrocketed in popularity to become the No. 1 free app for iOS and Android as Irma tore into Florida. Zello turns your phone into an old-fashioned “push-to-talk” walkie-talkie where you can quickly connect with people on “channels,” which are typically devoted to one topic. During Harvey and Irma, dedicated channels were set up so those in the storms’ paths and emergency workers could get instant updates.

Gas Buddy

(iOS, Android; free)

A go-to app for everyday drivers, commuters and vacationers, Gas Buddy became a lifeline — and maybe a lifesaver — during the hurricanes. The app, which lists prices at gas stations based on drivers’ experiences, asked its users to add information about gas stations that had no fuel or power during the hurricanes “to assist others who are searching for gas.”

Hurricane Tracker

(iOS, Android; free)

You probably have a weather app on your mobile device, but this one from The Weather Channel has one main purpose: tracking the path and effects of hurricanes and other severe storms. Hurricane Tracker includes Doppler radar maps and severe weather alerts based on your location. No hurricane imminent? You can also get daily and hourly forecasts.


(iOS, Android; free)

In a worst-case scenario, this app may give you the best tools to survive. The official app from the Federal Emergency Management Agency has advice on what you should do before, during and after a hurricane, including tips on items you should have in an emergency kit. If you have to evacuate, there’s information on nearby shelters. After the storm, the app can direct you to FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers, where you can apply for assistance.

Best Buy pulls Kaspersky software

Best Buy has removed products from Kaspersky Lab from its shelves over concerns the Moscow-based anti-virus software maker has links to the Russian government. The Minneapolis Star Tribune says the Richfield, Minn.-based retailer’s decision was “prompted by media reports, congressional testimony and industry discussion” that raised questions about Kaspersky’s ties to the Russian government. Kaspersky denies it has any links to the Kremlin.— PETER KING

Delayed gratification

Millennials would rather stream a TV show after it’s aired than watch it live. A Consumer Technology Association study found that for millennials who watch TV, only 45 percent watch it live. The other 65 percent streamed shows or recorded them for later viewing. Conversely, 66 percent of adults 35 and older watch TV live. Millennials are typically defined as adults born between 1982 and 2004. — PETER KING

Filling the Nest

Nest introduced a cheaper thermostat to spur sales as the smart-home sector gains new competitors. At $170, the Thermostat E is $80 cheaper than Nest’s current version. The new model functions similarly to the original and also lets users adjust their home’s climate via a smartphone. Google acquired Nest in 2014 for $3.2 billion, hoping it would be the cornerstone of an operating system for the home. — Bloomberg News

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