Thunder & Lightning
By Bryan Figler
Open iTunes to buy and download apps.
Thunder & Lightning has (barely) one practical purpose: to measure your distance to a sound source. It works for thunder and lightning, fireworks, rocket launches, or other loud events visible from a (hopefully safe) distance away. Just press the Lightning button when you see the event, and Thunder when you hear it. Modern technology does the rest.
To perform this trivial task even more accurately, you can enter the temperature of your surroundings to more precisely calculate the speed of sound. You can also choose between U.S./Imperial and metric measurements depending on your personal unit preferences.
Should its intended purpose be insufficiently useful, this application can also be used as a reasonably precise (if redundant) stopwatch, a speed-of-sound calculator, a Fahrenheit/Celsius converter, or as an odometer if you happen to be traveling at precisely the speed of sound.
Note: Use of application while operating supersonic aircraft is not recommended or approved.
Fun for us weather geeks
Every time I know a thunder storm is approaching, I pull out my iPod and run this app. It beats trying to count out the seconds waiting for the thunder. The only thing I would change would be to have one large button vs. 2 small ones. 1st touch for the lightning and the 2nd touch for the thunder. The larger area would make it easier to watch the skies instead of making sure my finger is positioned over the correct button. Other than that, an excellent app.
Needs these features
This app would be really great if it used the light sensor that controls auto LCD back light dimming and the camera on an iPhone to detect the lightning. As well as use the microphone to listen and detect the thunder. This would be great for setting up a lightning auto detection logging ability that would log the time, location and estimated distance. It could also pull weather data off the net to determine the local temperature to increase accuracy. You could also use the compass of the 3GS to auto or manually input the heading of the lightning. Then you could actually plot the estimated location of the lightning on a map in the app.
You don't think it's practical?
Then you've never been riding across the midwest in storm season on a motorcycle, wondering whether you're going to make it to the next town before the violent thunderstorm that seems to be in all directions around you catches you outside of your Faraday cage, and when you're the highest metallic object in a quarter-mile circle. I personally think that the program is practical...