Last week, Istanbul saw the first blast of winter - a harsh cold followed by three days of snow. Despite warnings and forecasts days beforehand, most Istanbulites were caught unprepared. But you do not have to feel stranded outside or trapped inside. There are more than enough mobile apps and services to help you get through the hard weather, locked traffic and winter depression. Here are some of them:
First things first: Get some food
If you are at your home or office, chances are good that heat - and possibly other utilities - will leave through the same window from which the view of snowfall came in. Even if you have electricity and heat, winter depression will prevent you from lifting a finger. So, why not let someone else, like a professional, do the work for you? Just open a food delivery app like Yemeksepeti, choose your food, payment method and then sit back and relax as your meal comes to you. Considering the weather and traffic it will cause, it will take a bit more than usual for the delivery guy to show up on your door with your favorite pizza, but hey, it is still better than defrosting a chicken.
Stuck in traffic? No problem: Just open a restaurant discovery app, either Yelp or Zomato, to discover good venues around so you can park your car - or leave it behind altogether - and end your hunger. Same apps also let you discover the best places to get a cup of coffee while waiting for the traffic jam to break up.If you need more than just food, there is always Getir, an app that delivers essential needs to your doorstep. It is a Turkish startup that gained popularity among people who do not like to go outside. You can order snacks and drinks, baby and pet care items, tech gadgets and all of your household needs.
Find your way through the storm
You may feel lost when everywhere turns snow white. It doubles down when you are in a district you are not familiar with. This is why there are myriad location-based apps for iOS and Android devices. For example, if you want to meet someone who is also on his or her way, you can use Glympse as a location tracker. Think of it as Find My iPhone, except this time you can track the movements of your friend's phone. It works both ways so you can easily meet up with a friend even in an unfamiliar environment.There might even be worst case scenarios, like being in a bad traffic jam. A navigation app with real-time traffic updates is invaluable during these times. Waze offers traffic info and alternate routes based on crowd-sourced data. The service has a large network of drivers who help each other avoid hazards and accidents. You can also calculate the estimated time of arrival (ETA) and update it regularly for your friends to know when to order your meal, drink or dessert.
Don't forget to have a good time
Remember all the things you have postponed until now? This is a good chance to catch up with the latest books, movies and TV shows. Thankfully, there are many mobile apps for both your smartphone and tablet, giving you the ability to read or watch from anywhere. Amazon does not support Kindle e-book and other services in Turkey, but there are alternatives. Kobo, for example, is a reading app that offers bookmarks, highlights and notes just like Kindle. You can choose from a library that consists of thousands of digital books for a range of tastes. If you are more of a social media person and just want to read online articles, let Flipboard organize the content that is shared by your friends in a clean and magazine-like design. You can also select pieces from curators.
The iTunes Store and Google Play Store libraries for mobile platforms are waiting for your viewing pleasure. They consist of numerous movies to watch and albums to listen to. You can also search for niche platforms, like Crunchyroll for anime and Japanese shows.
Survive and prevail
A winter storm is no joke. If you face more serious weather conditions than the typical snowfall, you might need a comprehensive guide to survive until help arrives. The Winter Survival Kit, a mobile app for both iOS and Android, provides important information, such as your current location, notifies your friends and family and calculates how long you can run your engine to keep warm and stay safe from carbon monoxide poisoning. You also can designate emergency contacts to be notified when you become stranded. The app will alert you every 30 minutes to remind you to periodically turn off your engine and to check your exhaust pipe for snow buildup. These alerts are critical in helping you avoid deadly carbon monoxide poisoning.
If you find yourself in a safe, warm and comfortable place like your home, an open coffee shop or your office, consider yourself lucky and enjoy the moment. But if you are in a more serious condition, you should use the technology to your advantage by trying these apps.