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posted: 11/10/2012 7:00 AM

Application reviews: FEMA, Weave

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By Hayley Tsukayama, The Washington Post

FEMA: For the next natural disaster

The destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy served as a reminder to be prepared for the next one. So take a look at this mobile devices application from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA); it's done a lot better than most government agencies, whose apps tend to be buggy, difficult to navigate and just generally difficult to use. The FEMA app is comprehensive without being flashy, a point in its favor. It includes tips for disaster preparation, a checklist for an emergency kit and a place to put a reminder of the best places to meet your family and friends should the worst happen. Links give you maps of disaster centers and shelters, plus ways to get updates from FEMA through social networks and text messages. For the aftermath, the app also has instructions on how to apply for assistance.

A final good point: While you'll need service to get the maps and other features, the list and tip features work when not connected to the Internet. That means using it won't eat up too much precious battery life. Free, for Android, Apple and BlackBerry devices.

Weave: Keep tabs on team to-do lists

There are plenty of to-do list apps out there, but Weave incorporates more elements that are useful to managers or small business owners. Not only can users share tasks over Weave, but they can keep track of their expenses and income. It's perfect for small team projects and could have practical use around the house, too -- say, if you're planning a renovation or redesign and need to keep tabs on contractors, deadlines and costs.

Weave has two notable weaknesses, however. For one, you can't create recurring tasks, which means you'll have to enter a reminder to pay a bill each time. There's also no easy way to link these to-dos to your calendar, though the app will provide you with daily pop-up alerts. You don't have to create a Weave account to use the app, though the ability to assign apps to others does require registration. Free, for Apple's iOS devices.

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