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Simplifying the distance filter

I don’t know when it happened, but I recently noticed a change Foursquare made that totally simplified what once required thought.

I remember using an early version of the app that had an explicit distance filter. As in, if you’re searching for coffee, choose or enter a numerical value for the area you want covered. OK, it’s not THAT complex a load for your mind to handle, it was just kind of annoying to be that precise, or give the perception that you needed to be. Don’t make me think, and all that jazz.

Now I get a much more tangible distance filter. A map.

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One travel service to rule them all? If only.

I was working in London the past five weeks, and with that over, I’ve been travelling a bit across Europe. 

In this last six weeks, the realisation has dawned on me that 95% of the travel-related research and purchases I’ve made have been online. Local transport is one I just wasn’t comfortable purchasing online, and wanted the assurance of going to a station and buying that first ticket, getting any stupid questions out of the way with a person. Quickly. It’s fine buying a ticket, but essentially not knowing how to use it, and getting lost is not a prospect that’s fun.

Back to that 95%.

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SXSW – The context layer

There was plenty talked about at SXSW Interactive, and for the most part, it was reaffirming my existing knowledge more than anything else. One thing that did stand out, and that I’ve found myself talking about since I’ve returned, is this whole concept of a Context Layer to sit on top of all the content that exists on the web, and specifically in relation to Location.

This is isn’t something new or revolutionary, but it makes sense in feeling like the logical next step.

We’ve already seen Web 2.0 push personalisation, and the Social Web push relevance via social graphs [no doubt this will continue *cough* +1 *cough*], but utilising location, especially through mobiles, is still in its infancy.

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Drive a cab or pedicab at SXSW? Check the Explore tab on Foursquare!

I’m in Austin, Texas for SXSW. I had two experiences with cabs yesterday.

The first was being pretty much stranded at a Burger King near Walmart in the middle of nowhere, off a highway :O “serves you right”, I hear Alex saying. We waited for a good hour I’d say, and when we finally got in the cab, the cab driver, amongst other things, was ranting about how terrible their dispatch is, and the distrust, almost, that they have in them. And this is apparently the best of the bunch, when it comes to cab companies in Austin.

I didn’t pay much attention to it, and was actually appreciative of how decent Sydney is in getting a cab to you, when called for.

The second experience was when we were all severely intoxicated, evacuating a closing bar, and wondering where the hell to go next. What did we do? We checked out the Explore tab on Foursquare.

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Foursquare app: Badge and mayorship finder

Random thought that crossed my mind while I was wandering the CBD at lunch for all the Foursquare addicts out there. 

Wouldn’t it be great to have an app, that, checks your location, and then says something like…

Badges

There are 3 badges that you can acquire within 500m of your location!

[List badges, their descriptions and how to acquire them]

[Insert Google Map with markers for each location, with markers being the actual badges]

Mayorships

There are 2 potential mayorships within 500m of your location!

[List venues and how many check-ins are required to obtain mayorship]

[Insert Google Map with markers for each location]

Does an app like this already exist? Does anyone want it? Am I talking absolute shit? Well, this is my blog, dammit, so deal with it!

This post was inspired by a discussion with @kazwalla last week around having a badge night; a night dedicated to acquiring Foursquare badges.

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It’s hip not to whoresquare

I recently enabled Foursquare email notifications for check-ins. You see, for once, the way Android handles notifications is inferior to the iPhone. For reasons posted by Joe Lapenna last year, Android cannot handle Foursquare push notifications like the iPhone, and after a few months of Foursquaring, I really did feel like I was missing out on half the point of Foursquare; knowing where your friends are. Of course, I could open the app each time and look at recent check-ins, but that’s a pretty substandard way to do things, so I thought, “What the hell, how many emails can I really get a day?”, checked the box, and boy was I surprised.

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