Foursquare has a New Superhero Logo

Foursquare logoThere are times when big changes call for a new look. Foursquare has had many things change since Swarm came into existence. Today, the company unveiled a brand new logo.

They give some reasoning behind the new logo in their blog. “We designed it to be a mix of map pin and superhero emblem. We’ve always thought of Foursquare as giving you superpowers to explore your city, and our new logo reflects that vision.”

The superhero logo is eye-catching. That being said, there are other new changes that I think people will be more interested in than the logo. The biggest one has to do with check-ins. “First, starting tomorrow, we’re moving all check-ins to our new app, Swarm. Don’t worry; all your past check-ins, all your friends, all your photos, they’re all automatically in Swarm.”

It is clear that users of Foursquare are being encouraged to start using Swarm (which in some ways replaces what Foursquare used to be). The blog says: “For everyone still using Foursquare to check-in, you’ll need to download Swarm to keep checking in.”

I think this will irritate many of the people who used to enjoy Foursquare before it changed. It was controversial when Swarm changed how mayorships were done. (Instead of their being one mayor of a particular place, there are now multiple mayors – one for each grouping of friends). That was enough for many to stop using Foursquare and to swear they would never use Swarm.

Now, you have to use Swarm in order to keep doing check-ins through Foursquare. No Swarm – no ability to check-in. Oh, but you can use Swarm without Foursquare and still have the ability to check-in to places.

Foursquare is becoming a “personalized local search”. It can be used to help you find a local place for lunch, dinner, coffee, and more. “Once you teach Foursquare a couple of things about you – add tastes, follow experts, or even just walk around for a few days – the app will be 100% yours”, says the blog. Foursquare is transforming into something completely different than what it used to be. It remains to be seen if people will consider this change to be “super”.

Foursquare is Changing Mayorships

Foursquare logoFoursquare has announced that it will be making changes as it prepares to release Swarm. One change that is causing a bit of controversy involves the way that Foursquare is assigning mayorships.

In the past, it was possible to use Foursquare to check in to your favorite coffee shop. The person that checked in the most frequently (in a 60 day timeframe) would be given the title of “mayor” of that particular coffee shop. Other people who also used Foursquare could compete in an effort to oust the current mayor (and claim the title for themselves).

Starting May 9, 2014, there will be no more ousting of mayors in the Foursquare app. Instead, the app will continue to show the current mayor “frozen in place”. Those who are currently a mayor of a particular location will be able to see those mayorships on his or her profile.

The change is being done to make way for Mayors 2.0. You no longer will be competing against all 50,000,000 people who use Foursquare for the mayorship of your favorite coffee shop. Instead, the competition will be limited to your group of friends. The person within that group of friends who has been to that coffee shop the most will get a crown sticker to show that he or she is mayor of it.

This means that there will no longer be one mayor of a particular location. There will be many mayors now (one for each circle of friends). Some people feel that this takes all the fun out of having a mayorship.

EyeMirror

EyeMirror The EyeMirror adapter combined with the GoPro 3 camera has created the world’s first 360 degree compact 4K camera. They have modified the optics of the GoPro. The frame rate while the camera with the EyeMirror adapter is in 360 mode will run at twenty-four frames per second, compared to twelve frames per second on the regular GoPro 3. It can output a 4k video. It works underwater down to hundred fifty feet, great for scuba divers, snorkelers, and surfers.

EyeMirror is getting interest from Disney, the military, law enforcement and many more. The whole kit which includes the EyeMirror plus the GoPro 3 will be around $800.00 expect six-eight weeks for delivery. You can find more information about EyeMirror and its many possibilities at the EyeMirror

Interview by Andy McCaskey of SDR News and RV News Net.

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Is Google Cursed?

Back in the very early part of the 1990’s, the tech world villain of choice was IBM, and the underdog was Microsoft. As the 1990’s progressed, IBM began to move into the background and Microsoft took over the role as tech villain.

Windows 3.0 was the version that really started making waves in a big way. It was buggy and unreliable, but it offered a glimpse of the potential personal computers presented. Windows 3.0 made it possible to pick from a wide variety of standardized computer hardware parts and put them together and have a working personal computer that could do rudimentary multitasking. Windows succeeded because it worked on an open hardware platform. That same open platform forever cemented The Windows’ Curse.

In 2010 the new tech villain is Google. Smartphones are the new computers of choice. Google Android is the new Windows 3.0 morphing into 3.1, 3.11, and Windows 95.

My fear is that Google Android is doomed to repeat the muddled path of Windows.

Here is why.

My HTC Evo was recently updated to Android 2.2 “Froyo.” All well and good. However, the Android apps I have installed are constantly being updated. Fine – I can see how that would happen. However, I’m noticing that some of them no longer work. Incompatibilities are creeping in. The latest victim of Android upgrade fail is the latest Android version of the Foursquare app, which causes my phone to spontaneously reboot a few seconds after I open the app.

The Windows Curse is in very real danger of becoming The Android Curse.

The open platform is both a blessing and a blight. Open platforms are great so long as they are small. Once they become the majority market leader, their very openness makes them vulnerable to of errors of confusion as well as a giant security target.

It’s probably time for some company to start producing antivirus and antispyware software for Android phones. And it may also be time for some of us to start fleeing for the higher ground of walled garden dictatorships.

Better Apps and Better Data Needed

Better Apps and Better Data NeededWhen it comes to certain types of software or social networking sites, I have tended to hold back and let others to be the first to jump on the bandwagon. For example, Twitter was around a year or two before I decided to sign up and see what all the fuss was about. I did the same thing with Facebook. After all, it seems in the initial stages there are dozens and dozens of similar types of sites that are trying to compete for the big prize, and I refuse to sign up for any or all of them until it becomes clear that they are doing something to set themselves apart to garner real interest. In the past I’ve signed up for plenty of sites and it seems like I’m the only one present. The formula is easy – the more people that sign up and actually use a site, the more useful it becomes.

In the smart phone realm I’ve been hearing people talk a lot about Foursquare. I kept hearing it mentioned, but really had little clue what functionality it offered. I kept hearing about Starbucks discounts and Mayors in conjunction with Foursquare and wondered what on earth that was about and what that had to do with a smart phone app.

Since I’m the proud owner of the Sprint Evo 4G smart phone, I’ve been checking out all sorts of interesting Android apps. The Foursquare name kept periodically coming up, so I decided I would check it out.

Once I loaded Foursquare on my Evo and opened the app up for the first time I was presented with a Foursquare login screen and realized I had to go to their site in a browser to create an account, which I did. As part of the Foursquare account generation process, they present you with options of connecting your new account to Facebook and Twitter – very smart on their part, because it helps to connect with friends that are already Foursquare members.

After I logged in on my phone, it was cool to be able to see where those friends had been when they “checked in” from various restaurants and businesses around the country and the world. That’s cool. However, the “Location” tab makes the app EXTREMELY useful for me. I’m an over-the-road truck driver, constantly driving up and down freeways across the country. I happened to be at Gas City, Indiana when I installed Foursquare, so I was a bit surprised to see listed all the restaurants and convenience stores at the exit I was at along I-69, and the distance in meters they were away from where my truck was parked. It uses the phone’s built-in GPS chip so that it knows exactly where it’s at and what businesses are around – within “four square miles” perhaps?

All of these GPS-enabled smart phone apps are great, but they don’t solve all of my problems. I’m constantly looking for truck washes (refrigerated trailers constantly need washed out before reloading) as well as truck stops and truck parking. Even Google’s database has been gamed – try typing “truck stop” or “truck wash” along with the city name of your choice into Google and see if the search results aren’t misleading. “Truck wash” and a city name will often result in car wash business listings, useless for my purposes.

The bottom line is there’s still plenty of room for future smart phone app development. More specialized apps and better databases are two elements that can result in more useful apps.