Monday, March 21, 2011

App Review: iSurvival

The time hasn't come yet that an iPod Touch is the first item I think of when I'm compiling a list of wilderness survival essentials, but a friend of mine recently recommended a survival app that just might change my mind.

It's called -- maybe this won't win points for originality -- iSurvival. But as I mock the name, I have to say that for an occasional wilderness wanderer like me, it's got some handy stuff, though I'm hard-pressed to way when, in the future, I envision myself becoming lost at sea. Published by Utah-based Fishington Studios, the app is billed as a "military grade" wilderness survival manual. And considering the friend who recommended the app worked as a paramedic and in California and follows military minutia as he has a son who is a soldier, I have to believe that this app lives up to its billing.

Wilderness Survival, ten-year-old style

There are small tells throughout the manual that reveal the text in iSurvival wasn't originally written for the leisure wilderness crowd -- the chapter on shelters, for example, advises that you choose a place to build your shelter that "provides concealment from enemy observation" -- but, in general, the tips therein echo those I've read in more expensive manuals, including a few I've got lying around the house because I haven't yet gotten around to getting lost.

Though I've poked fun at the manual a bit, it's certainly something I'd have at my side if I were wandering off into the wilds. The app's clear textual presentation, accompanied by clear, useful illustration of survival techniques ranging from shelter-building to identification of edible wild plants.

The link provided above says the app is available for $1.99. I searched iTunes and got it for free, though perhaps the "free" was a short-time promotional price. 

The only fault I can see in this app is obvious -- run out of power for your handheld device and the app is locked away forever. Perhaps they've included a chapter on locating current bushes . . .

Monday, March 14, 2011

Fixed the Photo and Story Modules

Great news! We successfully fixed the "share" function of the Uncharted website so that you can once again share your photos and stories from your adventures! Feel free to use your Explorer account to sign in and publish away on Uncharted's website. Invite your friends to do the same by sharing this link with them so they can become an Explorer too:

We look forward to seeing whatever you have to share with us as you continue exploring the uncharted and keep shooting for 2011 Explorer of the Year. For 2010 we gave away a nice Uncharted t-shirt and a couple bumper stickers to the winner, and well do the same or better this year, so share your adventures often!

Now we are working on new upgrades to the site and we will have some more news, tips and information to send to you again soon. As always, if you have anything you'd like to share w/ the whole Uncharted audience or have feedback, we welcome you to send it to You can also keep in touch with us at our page on Facebook or Twitter. In the mean time, all the best!

What We Learned


The workshop is done. I'm feeling a lot less stress now. I'm used to giving presentations, but I still get that stage fright right before it's time to go on.

And that's what we'll do with the writing workshop offered through Uncharted: Go on.

The March 4th presentation was a good experience. I used about 50 percent of what I had prepared and built the remaining 50 percent on the spot, drawing on what I know works when you've got a bunch of photos, sound clips and souvenirs on hand but you're staring into that blank screen maw, waiting for inspiration to strike.

The next Uncharted writing workshop will be better than the first. And then they'll keep on getting better as more people attend and as more people tell us what they'd like to see in this workshop, and in other workshops we've got in the works.

What did I learn from this workshop?

There's a lot of talent out there. My Uncharted compatriots, shy about sharing what they write, can write some magnificent stuff. Maybe they're lacking a little bit of confidence, or a road map or plan on how to begin. I'm hoping with what I taught them about outlining, making lists, making story diagrams and other such stuff helps them find that confidence and those road maps. I'm expecting great things from them. And you, too. Toddle on over to and show us what you've got.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Uncharted Workshop: Reconnect to Your World

One of the best things about visiting a place – unless you’re one of those secretive fishermen types – is telling the rest of the world about what you just saw. And felt. And smelled. And ate.

But when you sit down to write it all out, do you get that proverbial writer’s block?

Me too.

But by using a few simple tricks and exercises to get your writing juices flowing, you can get past that writer’s block beast and reconnect yourself to the places you love through the lively art of writing.

What to bring:

– Computer or notepad and pencil for note-taking
– Your sense of adventure
– Photos, video clips, souvenirs, sand from your shoes – anything to act as a memory trigger

Who is Presenting:

Brian Davidson, workshop presenter, spent ten years in community journalism followed by nearly five years in technical writing at a nuclear waste dump in Idaho. He babbles a lot on his blogs and has written “Considering How to Run,” a novel he aims to publish before he’s dead.

What to Expect:

Expect to have one Uncharted-publishable story done or well underway by the time the workshop is over, with a clear path on how to write more. Also, some of Brian’s blue nuclear glow might rub off. Don’t worry. It’ll fade with time.

When and where:

March 4th, 2011, 5pm – 6:30pm in Logan, UT at the Cache Business Resource Center (CBRC) Room 1901.

Best thing of all:

This is a free workshop. Come be Brian's guinea pigs and help him make the next workshop even better. Though that shouldn't be hard.