The off-grid Foursquare check-in is back

Foursquare has updated their location check-in app “Swarm” to allow users to check-in “off-grid”. Simply put, you can now check-in to a location privately without having to make it public knowledge.

This is an old feature that was axed when Foursquare forked into two apps: Foursquare and Swarm. According to Foursquare’s release notes for the new update, this was a heavily requested feature many users wanted back. However some are puzzled by the move. Nate Swanner from the Next Web writes:

Not only is the concept of checking in without sharing your location befuddling, but it flies in the face of everything Swarm is supposed to be. When the service began as a forking of Foursquare, it was purposefully to let you continue checking in so friends would know where you were.

Read Original Article on The Next Web

Personally, I’m delighted to be reunited with a feature I really missed. I’ve been using an IFTTT recipe to keep a running diary of my check-ins on Google Calendar. It’s essentially an automated, searchable record of all the places I’ve been. Off-grid checkins allow me to granularly choose which locations I want to archive without having to make it public.

Foursquare is much more than a social network. It’s a really useful location tool as well and when it comes to location, users need to be fully in control.

Apple hires Former Tesla VP & Aston Martin Chief Engineer

Fred Lambert breaking an exclusive for 9to5mac.com:

Apple hired former Tesla Vice President of Vehicle Engineering and former Aston Martin Chief Engineer, Chirs Porritt, to work on “special projects”, and we know that “special projects” is where Apple’s Titan car project lives

Chris Porritt was formerly chief engineer at Aston Martin (the man behind the DB9) and a principal engineer at Land Rover. He also has extensive experience in vehicle dynamics, architecture and packaging. He sounds like a great hire for Apple. Especially when you consider the fact that Johnny Ive is a admitted Aston Martin and Land Rover fan.

Germany alludes to Snowden’s ulterior motives

In an interview with Focus, German intelligence alluded to Edward Snowden working for Russia or China.

“… It’s very remarkable that he exclusively published files about the work of the NSA with the BND [Germany’s foreign intelligence service] or the British secret service GCHQ… Leaking the secret service files is an attempt to drive a wedge between western Europe and the USA – the biggest since the Second World War” (Read original article on The Local)

It’s lazy to conclude Edward Snowden was a “double agent” simply because the leaks focused on the USA and western Europe. Why wouldn’t they?

In the simplest of terms, Edward Snowden was just a “guy in an office” who profoundly disagreed with his employer’s (and partners) business practices. So much so, that he believed the only way to force change was by involving the public.

“I’m just another guy who sits there day to day in the office, watches what’s happening and goes, ‘This is something that’s not our place to decide, the public needs to decide whether these programs and policies are right or wrong.’” (Snowden, June 2013)

The very purpose of Snowden leaking the files are to shine light on the warrantless mass surveillance of citizens domestically and abroad by entities that are supposed to represent the values of his country. Snowden his airing the dirty laundry at home, because he wants to impact positive change at home.

Our neighbors’ dirty laundry, at this point in the public debate, is irrelevant.

Swarms of Nanobots can save our Oceans

The invention couldn’t have come at a better time… By 2050, it’s estimated that there will be more plastic than fish in the world’s oceans, and waste metals such as lead, arsenic, mercury, cadmium, and chromium are affecting the delicate ecological balance that will make things very difficult for any animal that relies on it for food – including humans – in the near future.

original article on Science Alert

A team of scientists have published a paper demonstrating how nanosystems and nanomaterials can be used for the fast and efficient removal of pollutants and heavy metals from water. Basically, it would seem like swarms of graphene covered nanobots could be our best chance of cleaning up our Oceans.

Nanotechnology is an incredibly exciting field that has the potential to play a central role in our evolution as a species. If nanobots can clean up oceans, imagine what they could do inside a human body. If you are feeling very bold, you could even go a little further. Imagine what they could do on some distant alien planet just waiting to be terraformed.

TextExpander: Now Subscription Only

However, while TextExpander may lose me as a customer over this, the people who do become monthly subscribers are going to be more engaged, more devoted customers. Which is undoubtedly a good thing. Whether they get enough of these subscribers to sustain their business is the big variable. I wish them all the best.

Joe Cieplinski

I couldn’t agree more.

“Subscription pricing” makes a lot of sense for a lot of Apps. Unfortunately, I really don’t think it makes sense for most of TextExpander’s current customers. Especially not at that price point and feature set.

But what do I know. Such a business decision is surely (and hopefully) the product of a lot of number crunching. I sincerely wish Smile Software the best. They’ve always set the bar in terms of software development and customer support. That shouldn’t be forgotten.

WhatsApp gets end to end encryption

As of today, the integration is fully complete. Users running the most recent versions of WhatsApp on any platform now get full end to end encryption for every message they send and every WhatsApp call they make when communicating with each other. This includes all the benefits of the Signal Protocol — a modern, open source, forward secure, strong encryption protocol for asynchronous messaging systems, designed to make end-to-end encrypted messaging as seamless as possible.

Moxie Marlinspike, Open Whisper Systems

End-to-end encryption just became the default and standard means of communication for over a billion people around the world. That’s a really, really big deal. And a huge win for the tech industry.