Posts Categorized: tech + web dev

How the Foursquare Pivot to Swarm Has Decreased my Mobile Usage, or Goodbye Foursquare – I loved You…

One Star Review for Swarm

Over the summer, Foursquare pivoted from a fun, game based location mobile app to a location based restaurant review app with the aim to compete with Yelp. To throw a bone to loyal users who loved checking in, they created a second location based mobile check in app called Swarm*.

Swarm has a lovely new UI, they pick the location for you, most of my Foursquare friends are there, what I am supposed to do with it other than see where my friends are is unclear, and… Swarm is dull. As in boring.

I can still check in, sort of. I can still see what friends are up to around the world. But all the fun is gone. No points with quirky reasons for gaining points. No more competition with Juha Ristlainen, aka @Riussi, jockeying for position on the top of the leader board. No more bizarre user created location names. No more joy in using Foursquare/Swarm. No fun.

Yes, Swarm, I know that Jason, Annette, and Charlene are 30 miles away in LA. That’s nice. It was also nice to know that Lane was in LA 9 weeks ago. Thanks.

The fun of the old Foursquare was the reward of seeing how many quirky or mundane points that I would receive if I pulled out my phone constantly to check in. It was the reward of seeing what odd or outrageously named check spots people had created (25,000 cow farts for Harris Ranch or the local man cave in Seal Beach that I took great joy in stealing the mayorship of, etc. etc.).

With no more quirky points or named places, no more competition with friends in different time zones, and no mayorships to win or rest away/back my phone is staying in my purse or pocket unless I want to take a photo or specifically contact someone.

Gone is the Foursquare check in, gone is the laugh or groan at the points, gone is then the temptation to check Twitter or Instagram and then stay on those apps to view or chat, and then keeping my mobile in my hand wherever I am to then play with more apps.

Now with no reward or joy in pulling out my phone to check in on Foursquare everywhere I go, my Twitter and other mobile app usage has decreased to just a few times a day. And other than taking photos or complete a necessary communication, my mobile is now staying in my purse or pocket.

Who knew that the old Foursquare was such a gateway to more mobile usage all the way around? I didn’t until it was gone.

Goodbye Foursquare, I loved you, you were fun.

Now both you and Swarm are deleted/uninstalled.

* I got got an email from Swarm earlier this week which called Swarm the new Lifeblogging app. REALLY?!?!?!? 10 years too late on using that name for a mobile app. I will now slink off to my non-mancave to grumble in private.

Net Neutrality Explained Brilliantly by John Oliver

Net Neutrality explained brilliantly by John Oliver on his new show, Last Week Tonight. Watch the video to both laugh and be educated on a very important issue.

Great quotes from the video, plus a wee bit of commentary from me:

“Maybe, Maybe it is because of their lack of competition that we get such shitty service…” – John Oliver on Cable / Internet providers in the U.S. – “Yet, and yet, the download speeds we get lag behind Estonia!”

This is all too true. My best speed from TimeWarner broadband was 34 mbps down and 5 mbps up. Last summer when I was in Helsinki, my rented apartment’s wifi was 76 mpbs down and 54 up. Lick that TWC.

“O.M.G. How are you still SO DULL!!!! And that is the problem, the Cable companies have figured out the great truth of America: If you want to do something evil put it inside something boring. Apple could put the entire text Mein Kampf inside of the iTunes user agreement and you just go… Agree.. Agree… Agree…”

“This is the moment you have been made for…” – John Oliver on Internet Commenters

It is time for all of us to ask our government to break up the monopoly of one cable provider per city. Go make your comments at fcc.gov/comments, go do it now!

Well… That was nice… Not really.

Thurs 01.09.14 – Sorry about the radio silence from blackphoebe.com in the last 24+ hours, but I am trying to set up a separate portfolio site on a sub-domain and instead got a full meltdown of the whole domain.
Oops.
And it took many hours to resolve. Gah.
But blackphoebe.com is now back! Updates and new stuffs coming very soon!
I know you are holding your breath in anticipation.
;o)

Javascript, I am just not that in to you

I like Javascript enough to work with it, write in it, and meet up for coffee/tea to hear how its life is going. But I don’t want to move in with it and have its babies.
I realize that in contemporary web development I am completely out of sync as everyone who is anyone claims that they want to move in with and have Javascript’s babies, be they JS babies of the web variety, bouncing server side nodes, or cute little mobile frameworks.
But maybe, many of the everyone who is anyone are feigning their deep, abiding love of Javascript, and maybe like me they would rather catch up with JS over a drink and occasionally write in it, all the while they are actually thinking about Python, or HTML, or Ruby, or CSS, Photoshop vs. Lightroom, or ObjC/C#/C++ or maybe even some chocolate or a beer. Maybe.
It is not just Javascript that I am not that in to, I feel the same way about Illustrator and PHP. With the latter, it is much easy to be honest with one’s technology peers and contemporary’s and say, “I know I have to occasionally use them to get the task done, but, wow, I really don’t like them.”, as most folks have critiques of PHP and they probably don’t really like Illustrator either. The the person will snicker and admit much the same or they will go into how if you just did it like this, you would like it better.
Javascript has gone through a curious arch of being cobbled together for the web, critiqued for being a toy scripting language, and then somewhere in the last few years it went to the gym, started doing supplements, got a bit of work done, and became the be all and end all amongst many contemporary developers right now. Javascript got its act together and even the previous critics are a bit entranced with it right now.
To admit that yes, I can write it, yes, I can tweak a framework, yes, I can… but no I am not using it in any advanced capacity because the truth is I would rather not, is quite a bit more risky right now.
Javascript, can we just meet up for tea or coffee?
How about you? Do you have a technology that is a common or currently trendy part of your design or development workflow that you cringe or have a big sign over every time you use it?

Responsive Web Design Summit 2013 – One Week Away – Come Join Us!

The lovely folk at Environments for Humans are hosting the 2nd Annual Responsive Web Design (online) Summit April 16-18, 2013.
The great thing about the E4H online summits is that one can attend and participate in the summit from anywhere were you have a data connection – home, office, coffee shop, car, mountain, desert, the ISS, wherever.
Yes, there is a the traditional presenter presents with slides, but the best part – speaking from experience as a presenter and as an attendee – there is a real time chat that the attendees can use to ask questions, comment on the presentation, and otherwise interact with the group, which then gives the presenter an opportunity to interact back.
I love this style, as it makes the presentation into a more of a meet up or workshop conversation amongst peers around the ideas in the presentation rather than Lone Speaker on Podium speaking Truth to Audience.
I will be presenting at 9am (CT) on Wed April 17, 2013 on “Mobile Development on a Shoestring Connection”.
Please come join me, a whole slew of great speakers and topics, and fellow designers & developers, whether you are currently working in Responsive Web Design or Mobile or are RWD/Mobile curious, for the RWD Summit next week. It will be good, stimulating, and great way to get up to date on a wide range of ideas in the RWD and mobile spaces.
Use ’20JEN’ when registering to get 20% off an individual or meeting room ticket!
Look forward to next week at the RWD Summit!

A Minimalist’s Guide to the Mobile Web from BDConf, April 2012

Jenifer Hanen – A Minimalist’s Guide to the Mobile Web – BDConf, April 2012 from Breaking Development on Vimeo.

Thurs 08.30.12 – The nice folks at Breaking Development have published the video with slides from my presentation at BDConf April 2012 in Orlando.
If you say to yourself “I must know more about designing and developing for the mobile web and beyond the desktop”, then get yourself on down to the Breaking Development Dallas coming up in a few weeks – September 24-26, 2012!

Nokia N950: How to Open the Back Cover


Thurs 07.19.12 – Yesterday my Nokia N950 dev testing phone decided to lose all charge after only 4 hours and I knew that it was time for a new battery. With some Twitter advice from Attila and Thomas, I was able to unscrew the back case batteries, open the back of the N950 from the speaker end and then verify which battery was in my device and at what mAh.
While the Nokia N950 specs as listed on the Maemo.org wiki state that the battery is the BL-4D 1320mAh, @achipa wrote that the Nokia 808 PureView’s BV-4D battery would work as well, which I tested and it worked. As of today on Amazon.com, the BL-4D is for sale but is only 1200mAh and the PureView’s BV-4D with 1400mAh is not yet available in the US or for sale on Amazon. When the BV-4D does come available I will get one for my N950 as the extra 200mAh will help in the battery lasting longer department.
Big Thanks to Attila and Thomas for their Twitter advice, esp. on how to do the Quick Charge (carry an extra battery and swap it out).
Video taken by Ms. Jen with her Nokia 808 PureView.