Statistically speaking, I’m one of the members of society most likely to end up with a loaded gun shoved in my face. I’m not a cop. Or a soldier. I’ve never even held a gun before, let alone received any formal training. It’s all down to the fact that, believe it or not, this writing stuff doesn’t pay all the bills so I have to work another job while I attend college. That job is at a 24/7 petrol station and for some reason or another all the Dirty Harrys out there enjoy holding them up – hence the above average statistical probability.
There’s a baseball bat in the back office. We staff have never been given any formal instructions as to its use – I imagine for a whole plethora of legal reasons – but it’s fairly obvious. I mean, we don’t even play baseball in this country.
The other night I was cross-checking some invoices while a drunk guy waddled around the forecourt and I got to thinking; what would I do if it happened right now? Sprint for the exit? Reach for the bat? I honestly don’t know and worrying about it is silly. Yet we still ask ourselves ‘what if?’.
Well chances are, there’s an app for it.
Driving – iOnRoad
Pretty obvious, this one. Road deaths are actually quite rare in the grand scheme of things but traffic accidents are not. Cars are getting a lot smarter these days and in a decade or so I imagine we’ll have all kinds of fancy gadgetry to make preventing crashes child’s play. But for now we have superhero Android – and iOnRoad.
Mount your Smartphone to Your Windscreen
Augmented Reality seemed pretty obscure when it first surfaced a few years ago. I thought it’d only be useful for finding a Starbucks in that rare situation you find yourself out of direct eyesight of one. But no; now it’ll save your life. Using your phone’s camera and sensors iOnRoad measures your speed, weather conditions and the traffic around you. Get too close to the car in front and an alarm will sound. A basic three-stage warning system keeps you in the know. It’ll also run in the background behind other applications such as GPS, only butting in when you’re seconds away from certain death.
Highway Driving with Safety Indicators
For practical reasons you need to mount your phone in a windscreen holder; both so you’re not driving like a fool and so the cops won’t fine you. Anyone who values intelligent applications and their lives should give this one a go. It’s also free…for now.
I could recommend a ton of apps to take with you while backpacking. Google Maps, GPS, FourSquare, Skype and so on. They’ll keep you safe by helping you not get lost and remain in contact with home. However, they suck at giving actual advice.
Navigate Cities, Speak the Lingo and Stay Safe!
The LonelyPlanet Travel Guide application is a must-have for every traveler – particularly solo ones. It has expert analysis on almost every country in the world and is updated regularly. Much of the app is for finding good pubs, shops and things to do. But it’ll also tell you why traveling to the northern area of Kosovo just isn’t a good idea. Phrasebooks and navigation aids are also available.
They’ve recently branched into Augmented Reality apps too so your trips can be more interactive – and safe.
Desert Island Scenario.
Okay first of all switch off your damn phone; you need to conserve battery and this is no time for Angry Birds. If you’re lost in a mountain range, wandering in the desert or marooned on a coconut-less island your Android could save you.
If a plane, boat or group of friendly looking nomads appear on the horizon, break out the flashlight app and SOS signal them. Also you should try to make a call. Actually try that first: you never know!
Staying Alert – Social Media
Earlier this year England was temporarily in the hands of thugs in search of free Xboxes and generally getting up to no good. Much publicised was the use of Blackberry’s private instant messaging system (BBM) and Twitter to organise their sporadic attacks on police, businesses and households. I watched in awe of the destruction safe in my home in Ireland, yet somewhat appalled at the bad rep social media was getting. I didn’t see BBM throwing petrol bombs or Twitter punching kittens.
Staying Alert with Social Media
The UK’s world famous ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ attitude prevailed, however, as people organised clean-ups, assisted the police to “shop a looter“, and had a communal cup of tea night. All done via Twitter.
What they didn’t do was accurately track the spread of the violence before it was too late. There were instances of people woken up by the sound of looters ransacking their streets and in some cases their houses.
No matter what part of the world you’re in, the proverbial can always hit the fan – social media could be a lifesaver if things go from bad to worse. Take a look at Egypt, Libya and Syria to see how social media saved (and is saving) lives.
Police Force Apps
Law Enforcement have begun to jump onto the tech wagon in the last few years. If you live in a major city chances are your local police force have an app. They’re mainly used for delivering community news and providing information.
Many Police Departments are now using Android applications
They also have locations and phone numbers of their police stations. When your house is being burgled at 3 a.m. it’s better to call the local cop shop directly.
Mentally putting yourself in a self defence situation is pointless. We normally envisage the personification of someone we hate and the imagined situation normally goes down like it would in a film.
Self Defence Applications and Guides
In real life you’re more likely to encounter a pumped up junkie that jumps you from behind, having selected you because you’re alone, look tired and have a sweet Android smartphone.
The Krav Maga Touch application teaches you the basics of the Israeli military’s fighting system. It’s not honourable like a martial art (although it’s incorrectly referred to as such). Then again, fighting for your life honourably is why the good gladiator always gets killed. Eye gouging, knee kicking, throat punching and bone breaking is how you stay alive. Apologies for bringing the mood of this article down to eyebrow-furrowing level. It is what it is.
Your Android is unlikely to save your life – but it might. How many people get lost, stranded or otherwise find themselves in danger each year and wish they had the technological equivalent of a Swiss Army Knife? Some, I’d say.
As a final note, if you ever find yourself being held up at a petrol station, you have two choices; bat, or run. Do NOT hesitate.