Foursquare no longer allows private check-ins on iOS 7

Matthew Panzarino reports for TechCrunch that Foursquare no longer allows private check-ins on iOS 7.

Foursquare explains the change:

“As Foursquare continues to grow, we have decided to remove the ability to privately check in,” the entry states. “If you don’t wish to share your location, we’d encourage you to still use Foursquare to get out and explore awesome places nearby!”

Although this only applies to iOS 7, it is only a matter of time before this is implemented on web and other mobile platforms.

This decision speaks to Foursquare’s current direction on several levels. First of all, it coincides with the overall shift of the service away from a ‘check-in game’ to a recommendation engine. Removing the private option means that you can no longer use Foursquare as a ‘personal diary’ of visits, either. It is firmly a public network of curated locations in the vein of Yelp now.

Not a good idea to use a social app as a diary. If you want to keep a diary, go for a journal app instead. I use Day One, which supports recording of your location. Take a photo and save it to your journal along with the location data. A journal app would never choose to go public with your data.

Facebook might be adding a “sympathise” button

Business Insider reports that Facebook might be adding a sympathise button.

When you write a Facebook status, you have the option of choosing to share how you’re feeling from a drop down list of emotions. If you selected a negative emotion like “depressed” from the list, the “like” button under your status would be relabeled “sympathize.”

How about having both the “like” and “sympathise” button at the same time? Some people might just be giving a thumbs up at your expense.

Twitter dethrones Facebook as the best tech company to work for

The Next Web reports that Twitter is the top tech company in the sixth Glassdoor Employees’ Choice Awards, a list of the top 50 best places to work for in the coming year.

Facebook held the number one spot among tech companies for the past three years, but slipped to third place this year. Twitter took first place while LinkedIn came in second.

For those who aren’t familiar with it, the Employees’ Choice Awards is based on the input of employees who choose to provide feedback on their job, work environment, and company, via an anonymous online company review survey. Glassdoor then uses a “proprietary algorithm” to determine an overall ranking “based on the quantity, quality and consistency of reviews.”

Google testing delivery drones

Business Insider reports that Google is testing drone delivery.

Google hopes to one day use drones and self-driving cars to deliver purchases made through its new experimental services, sources told Weintraub.

Google is not the only one texting drone delivery. Ever since Amazon’s demo of Amazon Prime Air, UPS has revealed that it is also evaluating the use of drones to delivery parcels. Meanwhile, China is already using drones for delivery.

Lightning cable, the epitome of Apple

John Gruber writes on Daring Fireball about the Lightning adapter.

If the USB developers keeps to the proposed timeline for the implementation of the reversible USB plug, Apple’s Lightning cable would have already been in the market for four years

The Lightning adapter epitomizes what makes Apple Apple. To the company’s fans, it provides elegance and convenience — it’s just so much nicer than micro-USB. To the company’s detractors, it exists to sell $29 proprietary adapters and to further enable Apple’s fetish for device thinness. Neither side is wrong.

Apple doesn’t give a shit what everyone else is doing. To some, that’s what makes Apple great. To others, it’s what’s wrong with Apple. One side thinks, Why in the world should we have to wait until 2016 to have a smaller, reversible plug? The other side thinks, Why in the world would you want a proprietary, non-standard, expensive plug?

The future is now. Guess which camp I belong to.

Using Instagram as a real-time search engine

Joe Weisenthal writes on Business Insider about his use of Instagram to conduct real-time search.

Instagram isn’t perfect, but for the most part you don’t get re-posts (though re-gramming is a thing on a small scale) and you can fairly quickly establish whether a person’s photo makes sense in the context of their previous images. Whereas on Twitter lots of people are news curators, on Instagram people mostly all do the same thing: post what they see right in front of their eyes at that time.

Instagram search isn’t always perfect for news. For one thing, you have to search via one single hashtag, which is annoying. And you can’t search by location (though there are third party search engines that do this). And sometimes you get a lot of people Instagramming a shot of their TV covering news.

But the potential with Instagram is huge in terms of seeing exactly what people are seeing on the ground as events unfold. And it wouldn’t take much for Instagram (owned by Facebook) to improve the search and make it even more useful.

News on Instagram is crowd-sourcing of news. Many more pairs of eyes than news agencies can deploy, covering the news at numerous angles.

Samsung tries to cover up Galaxy S4 catching fire

The Telegraph reports that Samsung tried to cover up an incident of the Samsung Galaxy S4 catching fire.

The owner of the phone contacted Samsung regarding the fire. Instead of looking into the matter, they asked the owner to prove that the phone caught fire. The owner recorded a video showing the damage to the phone and power cable, and then he uploaded it to YouTube.

Samsung responded with a letter asking him to take down the video. The owner was also told that if he wanted a replacement unit, he had to agree that he was responsible for the damage to the phone and that it was not due to a faulty product.

On top of that, he had to agree that he would not talk to anyone about the incident. The phone owner posted another video revealing the details of Samsung’s letter instead of complying with their demands.

This is a poorly handled customer service incident that could have been avoided if Samsung had given customer service greater priority.

The phone owner was previously an iPhone user and had experience with exchanging a faulty unit with Apple, which he described as a straight forward process.

Apparently this is not an isolated case where a Samsung Galaxy S4 caught fire. Earlier this year, a Galaxy S4 was reported to have exploded and burnt down a Hong Kong apartment.

It is extremely irresponsible for Samsung to attempt to silence a customer who was doing the public a service by creating awareness over a faulty device. Samsung should be addressing the issue and educating customers about how to use the device safely.

Evernote Market’s sales of physical goods now accounts for 30% of monthly sales

When the Evernote Market first launched with physical goods such as the Evernote ScanSnap scanner and Jot Script Stylus a lot of folks were doubtful if the company could add the sales of physical goods to its portfolio of digital goods and services. At LeWeb Paris, the numbers presented by Evernote CEO Phil Libin prove that such concerns were unnecessary.

The company initially took a good 16 months in order to reach its first $1 million in sales, but the Evernote Market reached that in just one month. The best sellers in the Evernote Market are currently the designer backpacks, Evernote ScanSnap scanner, and the Jot Script stylus, combining to contribute about 30% of the Evernote Market sales. The Evernote Market itself is responsible for 30% of Evernote’s monthly sales. To give some perspective of the numbers here, before the Evernote Market was launched, Evernote Premium and Evernote Business accounted for 89%and 11% of sales respectively, and they currently contribute to 61% and 9% of sales respectively.

Not bad indeed.

The idea here, he said, is that these different businesses are mutually reenforcing. Indeed, 11% of Market users are not actually Evernote users yet. Users simply refer their friends to the market so they, too, can buy an Evernote backpack. It’s also worth noting that 51% of Market sales for Evernote come from its free users (which make up the vast majority of its users). While the company’s investors often told Libin that having lots of users who used the free service for users without upgrading to the paid version, he believes that the Market now validates this model because these free users are now becoming some the company’s most valuable customers.

Viber Out to challenge Skype Out

Viber introduced its Viber Out during the recent typhoon disaster in the Philippines and now the feature has gone official, allowing Android, iOS, and dekstop users of its service to make cheap international phone calls to traditional phone numbers. Windows Phone users should be receiving support for this feature soon too.

According to a price comparison table, the company touts that Skype Out calls can cost up to 486% more than Viber Out, though that would depend on the country that you’re calling to. Following its launch of stickers, the launch of Viber Out allows the company continues its march towards successful monetization.

Based on my experiences with both apps, I still feel that Skype has better call quality, but having to constantly sign into Skype in order to use it is always an inconvenience, as opposed to the “always on” operation method of modern messaging/calling apps. Whether this difference will be a deciding factor or not remains to be seen.

Viber introduces Viber Out international calling feature, touts cheaper prices than Skype

The service — which was first opened in the Philippines last month in the aftermath of a devastating typhoon — is available for all users of Android and iOS smartphones and the desktop app. Viber says it will roll out to Windows Phone customers soon.

Government spying possibly extends to online gaming worlds

It seems that spying doesn’t just live in the real world as governments are now looking to keep tabs on digital worlds too. It could be possible that terrorists or drug dealers are using digital worlds as a meet up point to discuss attacks and potential sales, but if you think about it for the moment, virtual gaming worlds have plenty of Game Masters, which are staff of the company and are basically Gods within the game. With that in mind, it’s pretty safe to assume that if you’re discussing a potential drug deal or terrorist attack, there could be one standing next to your character listening in, without you even knowing.

Let’s not forget that all your chat logs are probably stored on the server, so if governments did subpoena gaming companies, there would probaby be a large trove of incriminating evidence against the person. So if you’re intent on breaking the law, an online gaming world probably isn’t the best place to discuss it.

World of Spycraft: NSA and CIA Spied in Online Games

The spies have created make-believe characters to snoop and to try to recruit informers, while also collecting data and contents of communications between players, according to the documents, disclosed by the former National Security Agency contractor Edward J. Snowden. Because militants often rely on features common to video games — fake identities, voice and text chats, a way to conduct financial transactions — American and British intelligence agencies worried that they might be operating there, according to the papers.