3 Free Manly iOS Apps

Women like to say that men have it easy. We don't give birth, we're unburdened by an abundance of estrogen, and the world, in general, is a lot less scary. While I will readily agree that giving birth looks like something I'd happily leave to the girls to do, and whereas I find it hard to see where wallowing in estrogen is a plus, I don't agree that being a man is "easy".

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True, much of what defines manly behavior is cultural, there are trials, however, that nearly every man faces through the course of his life that can be just as harrowing and even more painful than anything women suffer. (Childbirth, again, is excluded, and I'm glad for it.) And I will also argue that it's the nebulous definition of manliness that contributes greatly to the woes of being a man. Even my tongue-in-cheek puling may be considered unmanly in some man-caves.

For this discussion I will confine the definition of maleness as having that quality or action that either attracts or is displayed by a modern male adult human bred in a modern Western culture ( no naked bull jumping or log riding will be considered, however manly those endeavors may be). Even that definition has problems, but I'm going to run with it.

So, what's so tough about being a modern Western male? To quote Agent Smith of The Matrix fame, "It's the smell!"

In general, we work and play hard, and when we do we sweat, and when we sweat we smell. Bad! We can shower in Niagara Falls, spatula on several layers of antiperspirant, dump gallons of cologne all over our bodies and after one hard session of basketball we smell worse than a horse stall in mid-summer heat. Let's go with basketball since I'm there already.

Most games aren't played in sweat-free, air conditioned arenas, they are played on sun baked blacktop where teammates are identified not by the color of his jersey or the number on his back, but by whether he's wearing a shirt at all (shirts versus skins). These guys run continuously chasing the ball up and down the court, and they sweat, a lot. The only reason players don't pass out from the odor is because even the slightest breeze is enough to carry away the stench. (Unless you're downwind). If a study of urban b-ball courts were ever conducted I'd wager a dozen Krispy Kreme donuts (fresh and hot, of course) that the most popular courts are those that get a continuous crosswind.

Ok, so guys stink. It's one reason why it's cool to be cool. No sweat, no odor. And it's just one example of what guys have to deal with daily. It's not easy. Thankfully there are apps out there that can aid us guys in fulfilling our roles as Guys, and I'm here to quickly discuss three. So let's get to it.

iPedia Wiki [4.1 MB, all iOS devices, iOS 4.2 or later, Developer: Storeboughtmilk LLC]

iPedia WikiBe secure in your manly knowledge with iPedia Wiki

Men are expected to know stuff like how to tell the difference between male and female Pileated Woodpeckers (males have red patches just below the beak), or what causes low tides (lunar gravitation). It used to be that we had to spend hours on end reading factoids in encyclopedias. Now, we have Wikipedia. Even so, that's a lot of data to mine so a good Wiki search tool would help. Enter iPedia Wiki.

The app offers many niceties over a browser search. You get featured articles; topics randomly picked and presented for your enjoyment, current events, and you can even find Wiki articles on places near where you happen to be.

iPedia WikiGood stuff to know. iPedia Wiki

Flag articles for reading offline, share or send articles to a variety of social apps or reading services, and the app maintains a browser-like history so you can go back to wherever you where in your search. Create an account and sync your perusing between devices.

The only not-so--cool thing about iPedia Wiki is the occasional screen covering pop-up ads. A tap sends them away, but they are in-your-face annoying.

Even so, for what it does, iPedia Wiki is worth a look.

Uncrate [2.1 MB, all iOS devices, iOS 5.0 or later, Developer: Zombiecorp LLC]

UncrateYou'll want it all in Uncrate

I like this app.

The folks at Zombiecorp, makers of Uncrate, exhaustively search the world for cool man-stuff and then list them in the app, including a brief description, photo, price, and link. You'll find darn near anything guys might be interested in; super cars that cost well over US$100k, apps that are free and anything in between.

The interface is extremely simple. Items are are listed. Tap one for more info. That's it. Browse to your heart's content. Items are pulled from the Uncrate servers as you scroll so you're always looking at the latest and freshest content.

UncrateMore cool man stuff in Uncrate

You can flag favorites (Stash), browse by categories or what's popular at the moment, or just let Uncrate show randomly selected stuff. You can, of course, share an item you like via message or email, or paste a link in a social service. You can even add an item to a shopping cart, if it's available for purchase.

There are no ads muddying the app so you can browse without having your groove disrupted. This is definitely an app any man can appreciate.

WhatKnot [19.6 MB, all iOS devices, iOS 4.2 or later, Developer: Columbia Sportswear Company]

WhatKnotDon't need to be a Boy Scout to need knots

Another thing guys are suppose to be able to do is tie knots. Not just a Windsor tie knot, or shoelace knot, but knots for building stuff like suspension bridges or lashing bamboo to build a raft. Unfortunately, this knowledge is lost to most guys. That's why you need this app.

I confess, I knew there were a large variety of knots, but could not begin to tell how to make them and when to use them. WhatKnot does that.

The interface lists knots by purpose. Just select what you need a knot to do then select one of the many listed. You get a brief description and easy-to-follow instruction, with pictures, on making the knot.

WhatKnotKnot as hard to make as it looks

There are no ads, just you and the knots. What's knot to like? If you're the outdoors type or just want to know more about knots WhatKnot is what you want.

And that's a wrap for this week.

Be sure to check out this week's Free App of the Week, Jamn - The Muscian's Multi-tool. With it you can learn to play an instrument. More cool man-knowledge.