Free National Park iPhone Apps

Screenshot of a map from the Grand Canyon app, courtesy of Chimani

I love National Parks, and I like what my iPhone makes possible. This is a nice freebie.

TUAW: Chimani National Park Guides free for iPhone until April 24

The Chimani Guides are really first rate apps at US$4.99 – $9.99, but in celebration of National Park Week, they are free from now until April 24. A good deal at the regular price, they are certainly worth a download for free.

There is one app for each of these parks: Arcadia, Cape Cod National Seashore, Yosemite, Cuyahoga Valley and the Grand Canyon. The apps contain lots of photos, descriptions of hiking trails, restroom and parking guides, and details on lodging, camping and restaurants. There are detailed maps, and the apps use GPS to locate you. The apps also contain an audio driving tour and a look at scheduled events in the park you are visiting. For photographers, there are sunrise and sunset times and some optional push notifications alerting you to important park events.

Frankly, travel apps don’t get much better than these, and I’m thrilled these apps are free for now. Some features require GPS and a 3G or Wi-Fi connection, and the downloads are sizable. The Grand Canyon app is 132 MB and Yosemite is 334 MB, so be sure you have room for them. I love finding great quality, free stuff for our readers, and this series of apps is a perfect example. If you’re headed to any of these parks, grab one or more.

Cutting back.

I can’t promise, but I plan to avoid all my usual political blogs this week. Hoping for bliss of a kind from this temporary bout of willful ignorance. Wish me luck or fortitude or something like that.

No Mo FOMO and Making Decent Pancakes

No More Fear of Missing Out

Caterina Fake posted about FOMO from SxSW a couple of weeks ago. (Via Jason Kottke.)

Caterina Fake's current blog headshot. Thanks to her for the pic and for the useful acronym

I’ve been watching Twitter and Ditto feeds of people at SxSW, and, from a distance, I get a distinct sense of the social anxiety and FOMO that’s going on there. “FOMO” stands for “Fear of Missing Out” and it’s what happens everywhere on a typical Saturday night, when you’re trying to decide if you should stay in, or muster the energy to go to the party.

FOMO is all too often why we go online. Not that what we read isn’t of value. I try to read a decent variety of current affairs, news, and blogs; I try to look at quality photo and video; I try to follow technology, and instructional technology and higher ed issues, with some integrity; and I hope to maintain some currency with recent internet memes. We have many many other and better things to do online and off, but for many of us FOMO keeps us clicking on links to see what what we’re missing. But it’s not the only reason we spend too much time online. The other big reason is to distract from responsibility, from the stress and anxiety of obligations to ourselves and others. The promise to that we’ll only surf for a couple of minutes predictably goes beyond that. Distraction from anxiety can end up consuming so much time that we have little left to do what we need to, and then it’s usually not done well and almost as often it’s done past deadline. Thus we fulfill our fears that what we do won’t be good enough, and that circle justifies going back online to distract ourselves again.

We often attempt restarts like this. “This time will be different.” “It’s never too late to have a good day.” Merlin Mann’s take on resolutions, Stop Blaming the Pancake” is apt here:

A tiny, crappy pancake. Thanks fo miss millions at flickr for the image

[B]e clear about the sanity of the motivations underlying your expectations—step back to observe what’s truly broken, derive a picture of incremental success that seems do-able, and really resolve to do whatever you can realistically do to actually get better.

Trying to change things, he says, is like making pancakes. The first one always sucks, and it’s easy to get discouraged about it. We may not know yet what’s realistic. I do know I want to put more of my stuff out there, which means making at least a few more pancakes than I’ve made in the past. Some of them will suck. Got to get past that. Here goes.

Online Medical Advice Can Be a Prescription for Fear – NYTimes.com

Image cropped from the original by Kevin Van Aelst for The New York Times

The gist: avoid the drug-company financed, poorly written, overly hysterical WebMD for the sound information at the Mayo Clinic’s excellent site, including their Symptom Checker.

If you’re looking for the name of a new pill to “ask your doctor about,” as the ads say, the Mayo Clinic Health Information site is not the place for you. If you’re shopping for a newly branded disorder that might account for your general feeling of unease, Mayo is not for you either. But if you want workaday, can-do health information in a nonprofit environment, plug your symptoms into Mayo’s Symptom Checker. What you’ll get is: No hysteria. No drug peddling. Good medicine. Good ideas.

via Online Medical Advice Can Be a Prescription for Fear – NYTimes.com.