June 2021 was America's hottest June on record, and the month marked the fifth-warmest June worldwide since global record-keeping began in 1880. Then things really started to heat up: July took the dubious accolade as Earth’s hottest July in modern history. And as we take a turn towards fall, it appears summer still has a lot of heat left to offer.
With a little ways to go still until Labor Day, to help round out your temperature-tracking toolkit we’ve compiled a list of tips for how your mobile device can help you beat the last of this year’s extreme heat.
First Things First — Food!
Let’s start with the most important element needed for a sizzling summer — good grilling! Don’t shake and bake during the season if you want to keep your home as cool as possible. Instead, grill outside to help from pushing those already pricey air conditioning costs any higher by mitigating the heat of your stove and oven. There are even apps that can transform any BBQ beginner into a pitmaster.
PitPal helps those more experienced in the art of outdoor cooking to up their game. Track and record every variable of your cookouts, from the temperature and duration of the cooking to the type of wood used and even how the weather may affect cooking time. But don’t worry if you’re new to the game of grilling. Grill Time lets you record how thick a cut of meat is and how well done you would like it so it can tell you when to flip. You can even head back indoors to cool down as your grill heats up — the app will ping your Apple Watch when it’s time!
Throw Some Shade
If you have windows that receive direct sunlight at any part of the day, you’ll benefit from keeping the blinds closed or curtains drawn for at least the sunniest parts. For rooms on lower floors, try turning your blinds upwards to prevent rays (and heat) from sneaking through.
Not home during those times or keep forgetting to pull the blinds? Smart blinds let you stay in control from your device no matter where you are. You can buy smart blind kits with motorized roller blinds to replace what you have or use devices that make an existing blind a little bit smarter. These inventions connect to their paired apps to let you make some shade with the simple touch of your device screen.
Protect Your Pets
With record-breaking heat scorching much of the country, it seems that the “dog days of summer” can really dog your … well … dog. Or cat. Or any other furry friend. The ASPCA recommends some tips to keep your pet safe during the hot weeks ahead, and guess what — there’s gadgets to help you get it right!
Pets can get dehydrated quickly, so give them plenty of fresh, clean water when it’s hot outdoors. There are pricier gadgets like Actijoy and Petlibro that include food and water bowls that connect to an app that allow you to remotely feed and give water, and also log your pet’s nutrition and water intake. There are also more economical automatic water dishes that connect to a water source to encourage your pet to stay hydrated throughout the day even if you forget to refill.
When it comes to fido, sometimes just knowing where your dog is during the day is important, especially if he is active and more likely to become dehydrated. T-Mobile’s SyncUP PETS app and collar GPS have both location and activity tracking as well as a health journal where you can store medical records and other information important for your veterinarian.
Take On Traffic
It’s one of those traditional summer set backs — traffic. Americans gassing up the car for a road trip vacation can cause serious backups. Though the pandemic significantly decreased traffic flow in 2020 as people self-isolated and worked from home, there are recent reports of traffic returning to more normal, if not pre-pandemic levels.
Actually, in bigger cities like New York traffic patterns are extremely close to what they once were. In April of last year, just under 10 million vehicles passed through tolls on city bridges and tunnels, a nearly 65 percent drop from normal, according to the transportation authority. But early summer 2021, preliminary data showed traffic volume on track to be within 10 percent of normal. And with subway ridership still at less than half its pre-pandemic level, and many people shifting to cars, transit reporters say that New York City’s streets are now back to the busy gridlocks. Luckily, there are apps that can help you literally navigate this summer stressor.
Most of us know Google Maps to get directions, but it can also be used to identify traffic jams along your route. Just look out for any red and orange sections which identify delays by their severity. Using real-time data, Google also knows when you’re approaching traffic and will flag a better route giving you the option to take another road.
You know what else is hot — and cool? A 5G device! Check out a full range of them here.