Foursquare, Gowalla, Brightkite… Check.In Fatigue

Location based services. They aren’t new. Back 5-6 years ago I was at Sprint PCS (Northern PCS) and dorking around with LBS from MIcrosoft and Cell phones. The stuff has just matured.

So, ok. You use the LBS apps. Foursquare, Gowalla, Brightkite, Yelp, Loopt… whatever. Personally there is so much fragmentation it is ridiculous. No single “places” db. Some venues have mayorship deals, some don’t care about anything but one app, etc.

The best thing I have seen so far is Check.In (web app) on my iPhone, which will do all 3 major services (more coming) at once. The thing is, you have to be on network. Problem is, most places I go to , there is no wifi, or cell coverage. So you just can’t even check in.

The other thing that comes up often is “check in fatigue”. Which is what you get after you go to a ton of different places and you spend more time checking in or trying to check in rather than enjoying the venue.

In the little town I am living in, there is once place with deals for mayorship – a coffee shop. And guess who is mayor? An employee. Forget it. Why even have any deals?

I am seriously thinking of just jumping out of the LBS app game, when you get down to it, just not enough time in the day to worry about “checking in” and really not getting much out of it. I would rather see it that if i am walking by a place, they txt me with a deal or do something to catch my attention, then me fight for some check in deal that I would never get.

Mobile/LBS apps will grow and mature and it is exciting to see where the space will go. Mainstream? not for a while, if ever. Trying to keep with my “appless” mode, I haven’t installed any LBS apps on my phone yet this week. (I have installed 4 other apps, but it is minimal :))

Mayorship really gets you nothing but bragging rights (and who really cares?) and not much else. I would rather spend my time reading or learning or hanging out with my babby 🙂

Blogging Ramblings

FriendFeed, Pownce, Twitter, et al – And Why Twitter Is The #1 Service (Even though it is down a lot)

The A-listers. The are the people who just talk about themselves. The A-Listers on the Internet. The A-listers mostly talk to the just the A-listers. They all use every new service that has come out and claim it is the next big thing. Yes, some services are good, some not so good. They seem to miss points on things though. It is almost like the MSM. They don’t catch on to the good things till after the bloggers been talking about things for a while.

The a-listers, they catch on to things, but they get so caught up in everything they don’t step back and take a look at a service (Facebook for instance – for a good two months it was Facebook this, Facebook that, even after tons of people were using it and praising it, a-listers then all of a sudden “discovered” Facebook and it was glorious, now, people still using it, but the a-listers have moved on to new and shiner things aka FriendFeed)

Twitter seemed to pick up steam, and it is good, but can get overwhelming. I am ashamed to admit it, but I do like Pownce better, the ability to put files up is just stellar, which Twitter doesn’t have.

FriendFeed is like a super twitter almost, where it aggregates all these services (Twitter, Blog, Flickr, and more)

What ends up happening though is duplication. Ugh. So I subscribe to you on Twitter – cool, then Pownce – cool, Next, Facebook, alright. But the problem is, you use a tool that posts to all 3 (Plaxo pulse, SocialThing, etc, etc) – so what happens? I get the same update in 3 places – not cool. Duplication.

Then, I get your FriendFeed, which is duplication AGAIN of all that stuff. Yikes.

Now all these sites have web interfaces, which are nice. Some have desktop apps, and more and more desktop apps are coming out. So you end up having 3-4 desktop apps for all these services (reminds me of ICQ, Yahoo Messenger, Windows Live Messenger, AIM, Google Talk) – WTF huh? Are we going backwards?

Using the iPhone, you can get to mobile versions of Twitter, Pownce, Facebook, FriendFeed, etc, and its all good, yet … Duplication.

Personally, I like setting up Twitter in my Google Talk (I’m really using Pidgin). Then if I want to be apart of the conversation, I send “on” and it turns on updates, it comes through like an IM, and when it gets overbearing, I just type “off” and they are quiet, and I don’t miss anything.

Pownce has a third party tool, pownceaim, but it really lacks something, its too chatty, and handles auto replies bad.

But, overall, why is Twitter #1? Well, this is why.

You can TEXT your status to Twitter from your phone!

You can get TEXT’s of updates to your phone.

These other services lack in this area. Facebook has something similar but it doesn’t even work for T-Mobile.

Why do these other services lack the SMS feature? One word. Money.

They don’t want to pay for a short code (which is upwards of 5000 a year last time I was looking) to be able to handle text messages. Twitter has paid up for theirs, and I think that is the best part about Twitter, I can update my friends and followers just by texting, which is cool when you are not by the computer.

The blogosphere is rampant with “twitter replacements” this week since twitter has had some downtime, but no matter which you pick, it will never beat Twitter until they accept TXT, IM, and Web, and Other API built program updates – that is the killer feature.. It seems that most of the a-listers don’t realize that.

Life Random

Facebook Ads – Relevant and Ready

Yesterday, Emily decided to pull a April Fools joke – that we are engaged on Facebook, to scare her mom, friends (and me , hehe)

Well one second after I confirmed it, the ad in the Facebook sidebar changed..usually it was about coding or video games, and now?

april_fools_ad image



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Hitting the Threshold: More Facebook Friends than MySpace Friends

well, today, I have more Facebook friends than MySpace friends. That is a first. 149 to 147. What does that say? I have been on MySpace longer, so it seems that more people are using Facebook, or using both, now. I like Facebook better, for sure. They both could use some work though.

Seems that lately, I have been using Pownce and Twitter more than Facebook/MySpace.

Everything is cyclical


Life Random

Social Network Overload

Today I decided to get rid of some of the Social Network Overload. I deleted my twitter, pownce, mashable accounts. I went to Myspace and Facebook and got rid of people that were just creating too much noise and not enough value, or that I really didn’t know. I am sure there is more I could do, but that is a good first step.

Basically the main social networks I use:


MySpace (for family)



others I have but really don’t utilize –, pandora, wakoopa, linkedIN, and I am sure there are others…

I wish I could combine into just one site easily. Same with contacts. I cleared out some IM contacts I have never talked to in a few years, as well as email/phone contacts. Was just getting too much to organize.

Still searching for the “holy grail” of simplicity in organization, with digital media, online/social networks, and contacts, etc… maybe some day.

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Blogging Geeky/Programming Life

Travel, Trips, and Family: How Technology Plays A Major Role

After traveling this week, it has become really more apparent that technology plays a major role in the whole traveling process, as well as family interaction. Now I know there are the old schooler’s out there that will be like, phhh, you don’t need technology to do anything. I am not saying that, I am just saying it can make it easier, maybe a little better. Also, there are some things that bring people together (think of a Grandfather and Grandson fixing a car) – well, these same type of things are now the norm, but over technology (replace car with computer or cell phone – and the Grandson teaching the Grandfather).

Over the last 10 days or so, this is what I have seen.

MySpace: First, I hate MySpace. But tons of people are on it, and you can reconnect with old friends and people you know. A while back an ex-girlfriend of mine who I haven’t talked to in like 10 years contacted me on MySpace. We started talking, emailing, IM’ing, and then last weekend we went out for a beer and around, which was odd, but good. Thing is, this probably would never happened without MySpace.

Facebook: Same as MySpace – just different groups of people. Easy to update your status of what you are doing, plus message friends and plan things. I used this to find out about some people being out one night that I wanted to see, and ended up seeing them. Another thing, people find out when you break up with someone if you have that set on Facebook, which leads to people talking to you, asking you to hang, etc. Also, my boss and I figured out that Nickelback was playing because of iLike, on a day I was in town, and we decided to go. Which leads to the next thing…

Craigslist: To get the tickets for the concert, he used Craigslist. We ended up getting floor tickets, for cheap. We saw some people at the show we knew, and they paid almost double.

Twitter: here is a great one. As you are doing things, tweet it, and your friends can know what’s going on. Adds to your “Life Stream”. I used this to track cool things that were happening, as well as keep up on friends back in Portland, and other tech tweets (I knew what was going on at the TechCrunch party in CA from tweets and twittergrams).

Digital Cameras: No brainer here. Taking picture of cool things on a trip. Using your cell phone or a regular camera, either way, you can get cool photos, which then you can upload to..

Flickr/Picasa Web Albums, et al: Good way to show your pictures off to friends and family.

Online Flight Check In: I used this twice, the way out, and back. Print off your boarding pass, choose your seats. Pretty easy and saves some time at the airport.

Maps and Locations: Use this to get to the airport, and around. though – you know how I feel about Google maps.

Texts/Texting: – another no brainer. Text your friends and family instead of calling.

Instant Messaging: another good thing, especially if you can do it from your phone, or reply to text’s to someone’s IM (AOL and MSN allow this). just another way to keep in touch and plan things

Cell Phones: – wikipedia, emails, photos, videos – you can use cell phones these days to do a ton. Look up stuff on wikipedia, get directions, movie times, its your contacts and calendar, alarm clock – everything

Laptops: – need this for traveling. Get on wifi spots, VPN into work, check your email, read blogs, etc.

Helping family technology wise – ok here is how the family fits in. Every time I come home, everyone in my family has some new computer or cell phone or something they can’t figure out and I end up helping, which leads to conversation, bonding, getting together, going out after (let’s go get some beer), etc. My grandpa got a new Sony Ericsson walkman phone and needed some guidance getting it going for example.

Online family tree – started this on about a month ago. Reconnect with family, figure out what is going on, before you go home.

Scheduling/Calendars: if you use outlook, or any other online calendar you can access, then good. You can really maximize your time using calendars, and get alerts on upcoming appointments, etc/

YouTube: upload your Nickelback videos, duh! (I do have some of a great acapella group I saw in St. Cloud too!)

Blogs: you can also write to your blog to keep people in the loop. Track your flight, and just know you are OK once you land. BTW, I am on NWA 597 on the way back if you want to track me!

I am sure there is a ton more, but this is a good starting list. I figure this post is also a good way to give some details into what I did on the trip. I obviously did more, but its a good start. I will post up some pictures/videos once I get back to PDX (I am in the MSP airport right now, drinking a beer :))

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Geeky/Programming Product Reviews

Pownce: really needed?

Yesterday I got an invite to Pownce ( Pownce is the next thing from Kevin Rose, the founder of Digg. It is an application that works on the web and desktop. You can send messages, links, files to your friends and to public. It is kind of like twitter but with more options, and there is the desktop aspect.


The desktop app is written on top of AIR (Adobe Integrated Runtime) – which is in experimental beta right now, which kind of sucks, but yeah, it works. One thing that I really don’t like, is that you can’t minimize the app to the systray, its open, or closed. Doesn’t seem like their are many options in the app as well. Basically a suped up flash app that runs on your desktop.

I have some friends on there, that I invited, that really aren’t my friends (that is the way I got an invite) – I have a couple invites left if someone that I would actually send stuff to would like one.

This app reminds me of an app I started a while ago, PeTuPe – to share files and such with your friends (which maybe one day I will just make and complete it). Just another p2p app/IM client. I don’t see any real benefit at this point, but maybe something more will come out of it.

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MyBlogLog and WhoLinked, and WordPress Themes.

I have read alot about MyBlogLog, so I signed up this morning. Pretty cool, I am liking it so far. Lets you see who visits, who clicks where, etc. Kind of like a suped up stat counter. Thing is, I signed up, logged out, and I can’t log in again, something must be wacked at the current time.

One other WordPress plugin I ran across is WhoLinked. I havent installed it yet, but I am thinking I am going to try it, looks pretty cool too.

I do need to do some widget organization on my sidebar, maybe this weekend is the time.

And since I got so much flack for my default WordPress theme, I might even change that up too – probably a good time to convert my whole site to an ASP.NET Web Application. When I made this site, all you could make were ASP.NET Web Sites in VS2005, so I was kind of stuck. I do have some music to put up to. We will see what this weekend brings, I am thinking either St. Patty’s day, or Geeking, haven’t decidied yet.


How to be a better Twitter'er

If you want to become a better twitter’er (to many t’s, e’s and r’s)  take a look here.

I’ve found that if you follow some of the people who post every 5 minutes, its way to much coming at you. I turn off following them and maybe check on the site once or twice a day, other than that, make sure your friends are following you. I’d like to get into the @Username: stuff, plus direct messages.

What would also be cool is integrating location info in the txt updates. Take my Pocket PC 6700, hook up the bluetooth GPS, and then publish up a link to Google Maps or something with the location of where I’m twittering from. Maybe that could be my next little side project 🙂



Twitter is Addicting

Been using Twitter this week, and now I have some friends on there, and it is really cool and addicting. I can see how this can keep you up to date with your friends and just is kind of fun. Its a good way do share snippets of info with your friends, semi-blog type app.