9 apps for the 4th of July

We celebrate the Fourth of July with backyard BBQ and "Independence Day" reruns. But the holiday's about honoring America's fiercely independent spirit and the patriots who fought for our enduring political freedoms. Nothing symbolizes the spirit of independence better than fireworks, which have been part of Fourth of July festivities since 1777. To find, photograph, or even play with fireworks, check out our picks for the best fireworks-themed apps.


Not sure where to go for the best view of the fireworks? Eventful (iOS) is like Yelp for local activities. Get alerts and search for nearby … Read more

May the fireworks be with you

OAKLAND, Calif.--Peering into the long black tubes, I'm startled when a stern voice behind me warns, "You want to treat them like a loaded gun. There might still be something unexploded inside."

In other words, get my head the hell out of the way. This is good advice. I've come to the Oakland Coliseum, home of baseball's Oakland A's, to see a world-class pyrotechnics crew put together a major fireworks show, and the last thing I want is to ruin the experience by getting my head blown off. … Read more

The 404 1,298: Where we're the last to leave (podcast)

Leaked from today's 404 episode:

- From Usher to jellyfish: What was new at this year's Macy's 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular.

- Social etiquette do or don't?: The ol' Irish farewell.

- Is this the first arrest filmed on Google Glass?

- Speaking of citizen journalism: you'll never eat at Golden Corral again.

- RadioShack tries out new concept store.

Episode 1,298


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High-tech listening lets police crack down on 4th of July gunfire

We're all excited that the United States of America is finally turning 237 years old this Fourth of July, but it's highly advisable that you keep your gun in your holster and all bullets out of the air when celebrating this week.

Celebratory Independence Day gunfire is a bad idea, and not just because of the potential of, you know, killing someone. This week, police departments in many cities are also armed -- with technology that can pinpoint the location of such well-meaning but ultimately dangerous gunshots.… Read more

The 404 1,297: Where we shoot the moon (podcast)

Leaked from today's 404 episode:

- Guy dressed as Darth Vader runs Death Valley in 129-degree heat.

- Grenades and #travel: the TSA wins Instagram with its feed of confiscated items.

- For the first time, you can actually own the comics you buy.

- U.S. police go high-tech to tackle Fourth of July celebratory gunfire.

- What's the verdict in this case of mobile phone etiquette?… Read more

The 404 1,088: Where we get the short end of the shtick (podcast)

Leaked from today's 404 episode:

- Jeff, unimpressed with last night's Macy's Fireworks display, left his own message in the sky.

- San Diego fireworks fail ends as quickly as it starts.

- Dear Interns: Think twice before tweet-talking your coworkers.

- Men are from Reddit, women are from Pinterest.

Bathroom break video: Anaheim from Daniel shows us how to output 404 shirts using an mPower garment printer!… Read more

Too fast, too furious: San Diego fireworks torched by tech glitch

You've seen one fireworks display, and, well, the next one doesn't seem all that different.

However, those who went to see San Diego's Independence Day fireworks last night surely left with a feeling like no fireworks display had ever given them.

For instead of 20 minutes of flash! whoosh! red, white, blue! ooooooooh! -- the whole shebang went off with a bang. At once.

Yes, they were gone in 15 seconds.

As CNN explains it, San Diego's "Big Bay Boom" was definitely big and definitely booming, as the fireworks were set off five minutes … Read more

The 404 853: Where our bellies were sluggish with goat meat (podcast)

Happy belated Fourth! We're back from celebrating on Independence by blowing up a piece of it, and we spend the first half of today's episode recounting all the bbq we ate yesterday. We're also bringing you results of the annual Nathan's hog dog eating contest and breaking news about one of our favorite shows on Comedy Central--and of course we wouldn't let a Monday go by without Tanging that Tune!

The 404 Digest for Episode 853

Joey Chestnut wins 5th straight Nathan's hot dog eating competition. Jellyfish fireworks over the Hudson river in NYC.

Episode 853 Subscribe in iTunes (audio) | Subscribe in iTunes (video) | Subscribe in RSS Audio | Subscribe in RSS VideoRead more

Microsoft's money saves July 4 fireworks

An 11th hour campaign to save Seattle's July 4 fireworks display has succeeded, thanks in large part to $125,000 donations from Microsoft and Starbucks.

Short of a needed $500,000 to run Seattle's annual fireworks display, organizers had feared they would have to cancel this year's July 4 event. However, Microsoft and Starbucks pledged to match a combined $250,000 in donations and, by Friday, other businesses and individuals raised that amount, allowing the event to proceed.

"The show will go on!" Microsoft said Friday on its corporate Twitter account. "Seattle 4th of … Read more

iPhone laser light show

Galactica is an interactive light show, a relaxing app that lets you manipulate spacey visual effects to the sounds of ethereal background music.

As is often the case for apps like this (i.e., with arguably zero "usefulness") the value of Galactica comes down to how well it's designed and executed. Fortunately, Galactica makes excellent use of the touch screen, and the quality of the music and the app's cosmic "fireworks" are consistently good. The interface encourages playfulness, with a simple flick to send a stream of light shooting across the screen, a double-tap … Read more