In which I need an app

Maybe the internet hivemind can help me out with this one.  I need an app that fits the following criteria:

  • Preferably iOS, but I can make Android work.
  • It is mainly a contacts app, but– and this is critical– it does not fuck with the existing contacts on my phone.  I need this for work and I don’t need ten thousand customers clogging up my contacts.  A database app with fully definable input fields would work just as well.
  • It allows me to add pictures and notes to said contacts.
  • Email addresses being clickable to send a message would be useful.
  • It is fully searchable/sortable in any of those fields.  In other words, if I want to find anybody named Smith, I can, if I want to find any entries I created in January I can, and if I want to find anyone who was looking at a particular piece of furniture, I can.
  • Ideally, it has OCR and can scan most of the important stuff into an entry from an invoice or a computer screen so I don’t have to type everything twice.
  • Free or a one-time payment, preferably less than $10, but I’d look at something more expensive if it hits all those points and I only have to buy it once.

Suggestions?  Don’t say Evernote, Evernote’s useless.

Hey, let’s all try Litsy!

ILitsy4.jpg heard about this Litsy app today through Kevin Hearne’s newsletter, and it looks interesting– sort of an Instagram for books?  I don’t know that it’s strictly necessary for me to have another social media account, but it looks worth playing around with, and the only way I can have a useful idea of how the app works is if I can convince some friends to check it out with me.

Therefore: all of you with iOS devices should download and install Litsy, and add me as a friend– my username is lmsiler– and then we can fiddle around with it together and have a new app to play with.

Right?  Right.  Go forth, then.

In which I shill

In accordance with prophecy, it’s -20 degrees outside and I’m at home.  I have had one opportunity for a five-day work week in 2015, and during that week I was sick for two days.  Tomorrow morning it is expected to be colder, and while there are going to be less issues with precipitation (we’re also getting lots of blowing lake-effect snow, which is nasty) I think colder than twenty below means I’m likely at day one of a four-day weekend right now.  Generally, twenty below is regarded as the magic number.  I think it’ll be a few days before I’m back at work.

Allow me to discuss a website and a mobile app for a moment.  I don’t know what you use for your weather forecasts, but you should be going to Weather Underground.

Screen Shot 2015-02-19 at 7.40.38 AM

(I note that, despite what I just said, the temp for tomorrow morning– shown by the vertical line– is at -17 and not -20.  Nonetheless.)

The critical times for closing school are 6:00 in the morning and 3:00 in the afternoon.  For those of us who care about such things, knowing what the high and low are going to be during the day is actually not terribly relevant, especially since meteorologists don’t know what the words “high” and “low” actually mean.  Elsewhere on this page the low temp for today is listed as -6, a temperature that appears nowhere on the actual forecast for today on the same damn page, but instead happens tomorrow morning.

Note: the “high temperature” for a given day is the warmest it is at any point during that day.  Similarly, the “low temperature” for a given day is the coldest it is at any point during that day.  If meteorologists are using any other definitions for “high” and “low,” they are being stupid and should stop.  Come up with your own words.  “High” and “low” have seven goddamn letters between the two of them and we know what they mean.  Stop being dumb.  I don’t care what good reasons you think you have for defining those words wrong; you’re being dumb and you should stop.  Call your dumb things something else.  “High” and “low” belong to people who speak English.

Anyway.  That’s actually a separate rant.  Back to what I was saying: The important times are 6 AM and 3 PM, because those are bus times, with 6 AM being considerably more important than 3 PM because kids are walking to school and/or standing outside waiting for their buses.  Twenty below goddamn zero is too bloody cold for a little kid to stand outside and wait for the bus even before you get to the part where a lot of them don’t have anything between them and the cold other than a thin hoodie.  Add crappy precipitation that slows the buses down (and sometimes knocks them off the road or keeps them from starting in the first place) and it becomes massively irresponsible on the part of the adults.

Which is why I love the hell out of this graph.  It’s got all the usual sources of error built into it that any weather forecasting model does, of course, but it gives me everything I could possibly need to figure out what a day’s going to be like at a glance.  I have never seen any weather site other than Weather Underground that presents data this cleanly or this usefully– and, looking at it, I’m a little concerned about Tuesday and Friday next week, too.

(Note, by the way, the high and low for next Tuesday.  A low of 13 degrees when it gets down to -1 during that day?  No.  That’s not what that word means.  The low is -1.)

Anyway.  Not only is the site awesome, but they have an app now too, and that includes not only the ability to see that graph but lots of fun radar stuff too. I strongly recommend you check them out.

And now to figure out what I’m doing with myself today.