Neanderthal needs help: What’s your favorite outdoor app?

For the past several years, as cell phone technology has helped turn the masses into a wandering pack of text-messaging, app-using, smart-phoning zombies, I have remained among the dumb-phone-toting Neanderthals who had yet to adapt to today’s digital reality.

My phone was small, ugly, and did next to nothing (save, of course, place and receive phone calls from people who apparently just couldn’t wait to hear my voice).

It was not smart. I didn’t care.

It did not text. I didn’t care.

It did not use apps. I thought apps were the tasty snacks you ate before the waiter delivered your main course.

I was Neanderthal. And proud (ish) of it.

Truth be told, when I went to work, I noticed my (phone’s) inadequacies more and more each day. Other reporters could Tweet from the field, send high-quality photos back from accident scenes, or play Angry Birds while they waited for politicians to show up at rallies.

I could do none of that. And the only angry birds I saw were the ones who taunted me when I sat in my tree stand, deer-less.

Other colleagues had their phones beep to remind them to go to a meeting in 10 minutes, or could read the latest stories from the BDN on our handy app. In time, I stopped salivating every time one of my co-workers said “app,” and stopped sniffing around, expecting someone to deliver a platter loaded with bacon-wrapped scallops.

And on Fathers Day, my wonderful wife and her fantastic kids gave me the gift I’d have never admitted I wanted … but which I can’t believe I had lived without.

Now, don’t get me wrong.

I’m still a Neanderthal.

But now, I’m a Neanderthal toting an iPhone 4s. That makes me a Neanderthal who is pushing buttons and taking photos and trying to figure out how I can use this new tool to down me a nice, tasty woolly mammoth.

And I need your help.

You see, I’m getting into this smart-phone game a little later than most. Heck, I’m getting into it a little later than most fifth-graders.

But now I’m understanding the power of the “app,” and have learned that there are several hundred thousand of the pesky (oops … I meant to say “handy”) little programs out there for me to sample.

I’ve tried to find some good ones, but am truly overwhelmed at the options.

My questions for you: What are the best outdoor-related apps you’ve found? What makes them so cool? Can they lead me to a woolly mammoth (or at least a tasty white-tailed deer?) Are they fun to use? Useful? Ridiculously impossible to ignore?

Whatever your experience with apps, I’m sure it surpasses mine. So drop me a line. Give me some guidance.

I’ll pass along the best suggestions to my fellow Neanderthals in a future blog or column.


John Holyoke

About John Holyoke

John Holyoke has been enjoying himself in Maine's great outdoors since he was a kid. Today, he's the Outdoors editor for the BDN, a job that allows him to meet up with Maine outdoors enthusiasts in their natural habitat. The stories he gathers provide fodder for his columns, and this blog.