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Apps to make your Fourth of July sparkle

July 04, 2012|By Michelle Maltais
  • Several apps can help bring out the flavor of the day and light it up.
Several apps can help bring out the flavor of the day and light it up. (Beverly & Pack via Flickr )

It's Independence Day, America's birthday. A reason to celebrate, reflect and get your grill on.

There are ample apps to amp up your holiday enjoyment.

Get your fill of the grill: There are tons of recipe apps out there. Weber's On the Grill offers you over 300 triple-tested, classic recipes from its bestselling cookbooks, from starters and sauces to marinades and desserts. It lets you create a shopping list, itemized by category. Plus, the folks who make grills give you hints on techniques, including instructional videos. And since timing is key, the app offers a timer and guide for everything from fruit to red meat. It's $4.99 and comes in both iOS and Android versions. 

Light it up: Fireworks can be hard to come by these days, even when the pros are putting on the show. So you can put on a personal show without setting anything on fire or blasting your ears. Musical Fireworks 2 lets you orchestrate a light show by selecting your sparklers and tapping the screen. You can set your show to your choice of six backgrounds, and you can use your own playlist or what's built in. The ad-supported version is free. With an in-app purchase, you can record your masterpiece and play it back later. For Windows Phone users, you can check out the free app Fireworks Builder.

Sunny side up: To help you keep from turning a lovely lobster-red at the beach, Wolfram Sun Exposure Reference App calculates how long you can bake without burning based on your skin type, location, time, and level of SPF you've got on. For 99 cents, the app also calculates a UV forecast for your location, complete with a sun-protection advisory. And as a bonus, you can get timing for both sunrise and sunset as well as a weather forecast.

iDeclare: Between the scarfing down barbecue and setting off sparklers, you might consider at least glancing at the document that sets forth this nation's will to be free. On the iPhone, you can check out a free app that includes an image of the document accompanied by a text version as well as bios of the men who signed the Declaration. For Android, you can get all the docs in your pocket for free in We the People.

America, the beautiful: If you're feeling particularly patriotic, you could fork over $6.99 and get the Manual for the United States. It's replete with everything you should know but don't — including the bedrock documents; seminal addresses and acts; a primer on how laws are made; lists of presidents, Supreme Court justices and U.S. states as well as important details about the American flag.

One other great thing about holidays like this one are sales. The good folks at 9to5 Mac have put together a list of firecracker deals on apps. 

Happy Fourth of July.

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