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Tech Review: Apps that help you be kinder to planet

The JouleBug app is pictured.

The JouleBug app is pictured. Credit: Google Play

Mother's Day is still two weeks away, but the day we honor Mother Earth is Wednesday. These apps may not save the planet, but they could help you enjoy a greener Earth Day.


(iOS, Android; free)

Eating fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables is a great way to sustain the planet, the Long Island economy and your health. FarmLine finds local farmers markets and gives you information about the hours and months they operate. The markets can be displayed on a list or on a map. One word of caution: The app isn't continually updated, so check with the market before you head over to make sure it's open.


(iOS, Android; free)

Go for the gold every time you do something green. With JouleBug, you earn points for everyday routines that are kind to the planet. Whether it's bringing a reusable mug to Starbucks, recycling or reducing the amount of time you spend in the shower, JouleBug gives you a well-deserved achievement pin. It also shows you how much you save in electricity when you practice small green behaviors such as shutting off the lights when you leave a room.

The Lorax

(iOS, Android; $4.99)

This beautifully designed and lavishly illustrated app version of the Dr. Seuss classic is aimed at teaching kids about conservation while boosting their reading skills. The plot of book has the Lorax trying to save a forest and its beautiful Truffula trees from a dastardly factory owner who wants to cut them down to make "thneeds." The book is designed for kids ages 3-6.


(iOS, Android; free)

Don't know what to do with that old car battery or even those dead AAA alkalines from a remote control you haven't used in years? Aren't sure what is recyclable and what can be thrown in the regular trash? iRecycle gives you recycling information on a wide range of items in your home and garage, including electronics, paint, plastics and automotive parts. The app also locates a place near you where you can recycle the items.


Tech Bytes


Collect Simpsons DVDs? D'oh!"The Simpsons" is finishing up its 26th season, but don't expect this year's episodes to come out on DVD. Fox will now release seasons of the animated series only on digital platforms such as video on demand, streaming services or online. The last season released on DVD was Season 20. In a Twitter post, executive producer Al Jean cited the "collapse of DVD market and rise of downloads." -- PETER KING

Smartphones deliver earthshaking news

Smartphones may be able to warn of an impending earthquake. The U.S. Geological Survey says crowdsourced "fleets" of smartphones contributing information amassed from their GPS receivers could "function as early warning systems for large earthquakes." Scientists said data could be analyzed and "customized earthquake warnings could be transmitted back to users." Data collected from fewer than 5,000 phones could predict an earthquake in a metropolitan area, scientists said. -- PETER KING

Coachella a hit on Snapchat

Snapchat doesn't reveal many usage statistics, but chief executive Evan Spiegel let out a little tidbit, saying more than 40 million users watched the Coachella "Our Story" videos on the social media app last weekend. For comparison, Sunday's final-round of the Masters tournament peaked at 17.7 million viewers. Coachella, an annual music festival held in California, appeals mainly to 18-25 year olds, Snapchat's prime audience. -- LOS ANGELES TIMES


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