Achievement unlock: unbricked


I just unbricked a router through its serial port using an arduino. As much as I wished to go back in time and leave the router alone during the process, when I saw the console in my laptop screen I had a wonderful Eureka moment.
After a whole day of trying (and failing) to replace my ISP router, I could use a win, even if that just meant leaving everything exactly as it was this morning.

Goodbye foursquare

Goodbye foursquare

If you haven’t heard about it yet, Foursquare recently split their app in two and released Swarm. And I’m angry about it. Well, as angry as I can be at a mobile app, which is not much.

It was about the same time as Skype released a complete redesign which also wasn’t popular, so the Swarm split was commonly dismissed as users resisting change. Just like every time Facebook changes its news feed, people go nuts about it.

To me, Foursquare always had three use cases (there might be more that didn’t apply to me):

  1. Seeing where your friends are. Since I don’t have many local friends that use it, it was only mildly useful on company meetups and conferences. This is the goal of Swarm.
  2. Discovering new places, the goal of the new Foursquare app. Quite useful (specially when traveling) and I’m sure it’ll still excel at this.
  3. The game. Not everything is about utility, and sometimes I wondered why I even bothered checking in, but it was fun. The mayorships, the leaderboards, the badges, the competition. The 200+ hours I spent in Battlefield 3 were not precisely “useful” either, but I even paid money for those.
My best week ever
My best week ever

I’d say the outrage is due to most of “the game” being gone. You might think this is just another case of users angry about losing features, but I think there’s more to it.

To me, there was an implicit social contract between Foursquare and its users:

You give us this check in game and we’ll help you build a database of places

Now the database is built, and apparently ready to be monetized, and the game is gone.

I’ve used foursquare since 2010, submitted a bunch of new places, sent corrections whenever I found errors or duplicates, and even considered applying to be a superuser.

I feel betrayed.

It might be their right as a private company, but it’s also mine to stop contributing to it. So I’m uninstalling foursquare today.

Uninstalling foursquare

 Update: I was thinking about deleting my account, and it’s funny how almost half their excuses for not deleting your account aren’t there anymore

Screen Shot 2014-07-09 at 16.29.23

Programming sucks

I ran across this question on stack overflow while (still) trying to figure out date parsing. The summary:

Q: I’m trying to get an NSDate object that has 21:00 as the local time[…] The result is 0001-01-02 04:52:58 +0000

A: The problem is that railroad time wasn’t implemented until November 18, 1883. You’re neglecting to set a year so you’re getting a date before that. Prior to the implementation of railroad time, the US time zones weren’t exact hour differences from GMT. I’m not sure exactly what time zone Apple selects for you but whichever it was seems to have been adjusted by 7 minutes and 2 seconds upon the move to PST in 1883.


And it made me remember an article I read yesterday: Programming Sucks. If you’re not a programmer, you’ll get a glimpse of what it entails. If you are one, you’ll probably laugh. Go read it.