I hate Foursquare’s Swarm and here’s why:

July 27, 2014

I hate Swarm and here’s why:

OK, I’m not a millennial.  And like everyone else who is ‘old’ – lets say 30’s and up, can no longer read micro-fonts of light colors on backgrounds of slightly lighter colors.  The pale orange on white color scheme of Swarm is impossible to read in daylight without specs.  IMHO, stupid.  People check in all over the world in all kinds of conditions.  Using pale orange on white is a 20-something design decision.  That’s fine if you want to cut out the +30’s market – I get it.  But if you don’t, and want to include the part of your 50M+ subs that are +30’s, then your designers are not thinking.

What’s the point of a dedicated check in app?  One of the best things about 4sq app was seeing notes and images about the places I’m checking into along with who is there.  As far as I can tell, Swarm offers me absolutely nothing except a breakdown of my connections by concentric distance to me.  And I care that 200 of my friends are greater than 20 miles from me?  Really?

To get the great 4sq value I’ve enjoyed to up until now, I still have to use 4sq – ping-ponging back and forth between a “check-in” Swarm interface that is almost impossible to read and the “real” 4sq.

And Swarm doesn’t remember the people whom I most often check in with.  That was a nice touch with 4sq.  When I tap the “with” icon, 4sq would put my most frequently “checked in with” people on top.  Not so with Swarm.  No, with Swarm, I have to type in the name of the people I’m checking in with EVERY TIME.  What a pain.

And then there’s the little touches like the check-in-with spacing.  With 4sq, when I checked in with someone, 4sq would add “_with_<person>” – a time saver on top of the time saver of remembering the people I check in with.  Not so with Swarm.  Not only do I have to find the person every time, I also have to remember to add a “space” then “with” then “space”.  What happened?  Did you guys hire some new coders with no user sense that didn’t even check to see how the old UI worked? 

For the past 10 days I’ve used Swarm multiple times a day.  I cannot find ONE SINGLE point of value in the Swarm (oh, sure, I can give up all my contact information to make “texting and calling” a one-click operation, but honestly, that’s no big value.}

To get value, I still have to use 4sq but endure the poor UI and app-switching of Swarm.

What am I missing?

Adobe Flash Installer Hangs on Mac? Solved!

June 25, 2014

For some days now on two machines Adobe Flash has been attempting to update itself.

Each time, the installer gets to the down loader and hangs like this:

Screen Shot 2014-06-25 at 10.49.17 AM






The solution, fortunately, was easy to implement – nonetheless, obscure.  On my machines, all it took was changing the proxy setting in System Settings > Network:

Screen Shot 2014-06-25 at 10.53.59 AM









Then select Advanced:

Screen Shot 2014-06-25 at 10.54.13 AM









Followed by Proxies:

Screen Shot 2014-06-25 at 10.54.32 AM







Mine machines were set to Auto Proxy Discovery like this, which didn’t work for Adobe:

Screen Shot 2014-06-25 at 10.54.50 AM








Deselecting Auto Proxy Discovery, then Save > Apply solved the problem and Adobe was able to update Flash:

Screen Shot 2014-06-25 at 11.02.09 AM









Why do swimmers peak so young?

February 11, 2014

Last year, this question was posted on Quora:

Just yesterday another world record broken by a 16 year old., most swimmers (especially female) seem to retire in their early 20’s, yet for most other sports, athletes peak in their late 20’s.

It’s been a year, and since then I was fortunate to be on two national top-ten relays, and move from “speed club Bronze” to “speed club Silver” (oh that elusive Gold!) – which reminded me of this post which is worth sharing again for my aging friends (and yes, we are all aging :-)

I completed from age eight to age 19.  Though not anywhere near elite level myself – I was fortunate to share the pool with team mates who themselves went on to become Olympians.

I left swimming for the reasons so many have already noted in the Quora post: (1st) the result of merging 6 hrs per day of training with college academics broke me down physically to the point that my body could not repair itself fast enough – my shoulders were falling apart and muscle growth was impeded by breakdown from high-exertion with insufficient repair time, and (2nd) I experienced the training environment miss-match as mentioned by Carly Geehr in her answer to the Quora post (sprint versus distance training regimens). 

After setting swimming aside for 30 years, I started two (now three) years ago with masters’ swimming and have been asking a question related to the subject “why do swimmers peak so young” question:

“How does peak swimming performance change with age?”

To answer this question, I charted the U.S. Masters’ Swimming National qualifying times for 100 meters long course freestyle versus age (2013).  The “cut-off” – or qualification times – represent the best times that can be achieved by dedicated elite swimmers in each age bracket throughout the United States. 

This curve then, illustrates the change in peak performance versus age for “near-elite” swimmers.  Similarly, it illustrates the “age bracket in which near-elite swimmers peak” – 40-44 yrs old for men, and 25-30 yrs old for women. 

This is what I found:


Firefox 27 breaks images – DON’T RESET FIREFOX!

February 10, 2014

Seriously, don’t reset your Firefox solve this problem.

That’s what I did, and it took me down a rat-hole of re-installation that I did not have to pursue.

I had the unwelcome experience today of opening up pages within Firefox only to find that the images were not rendering. Some would, but more would not.  One tell-tale image was Facebook’s logo.  Just gone.

Images were sometimes gone completely, sometimes shown with a broken image icon, or some times with the image’s alt-image text.

Usually when I have a problem with Firefox, it is the result of a bad-acting plug in. In this case though, I had not installed any new plug-ins and was surprised to find this disruption of my browsing experience.

The first troubleshooting step, as usual, is to restart Firefox in safe mode. In safe mode, Firefox ignores all of your browser plug-ins, extensions, and all the whatnots if you’ve used to tune your Firefox browser.  But this time, it didn’t work. The images were still broken. Now, I was totally flummoxed.

So what to do? Read the rest of this entry »

Convert .rtf Word docs to HTML format – Lifesaver!

January 30, 2014

If you’ve ever had a Word document that you needed to post on the web – you realize that Word does a perfect job of making the document look just like it’s still in Word.

The problem is that the web is not Word – and all we really need is the text in HTML tags with basic formatting (bold, italics, font, etc.).  Word, outputs pages of complicated CSS styles – and to strip all the junk out would take days.

Welcome RTF2HTML.

With RTF2HTML, simply save your Word doc in RTF format, open in RTF2HTML, choose whether you want in-line styles (bold, font, etc.), or styles at the head of the document and press convert.


Thank you “From Concentrate Software:-)

via Download RTF2HTML for Mac – Concert .rtf Word docs to HTML format. MacUpdate.com.

CheatSheet – LOVE this Mac keybaord shortcut revealer!

January 30, 2014


I’m a keyboard guy.

If I can use a keyboard shortcut instead of lifting my hand, moving my arm, finding the cursor, clicking, dragging, clicking, yada, yada, yada – I’m in.  (probably because we didn’t have mice back in the WordStar and WordPerfect days).

CheatSheet sits quietly waiting for you.  To find out if there is a keyboard shortcut for what you want to do, just hold down the command [⌘] key for a second or so, and up pops a screen with all of the keyboard shortcuts available for that app.  Magic!

Here’s a little CNET video of CheatSheet in action:

Microsoft Lync Web App ROCKS!

December 4, 2013

I just had one of the smoothest, highest quality, web conferences with desktop audio, video, and application sharing EVER.

Hey, for lots of reason, I was truly concerned when my meeting with Sprint was setup on Microsoft Lync.  Let’s face it, Microsoft hasn’t exactly been a paragon of contemporary UI — and enterprise web conferencing with the likes of WebEx to this day remains clunky, heavy, difficult, and “oh so 2006.”

So I was delighted with the remarkably simple UI of Lync, very high audio quality, HD video quality, and its not only easy to use, but flawlessly executed desktop and application sharing.

I’ve been touting Join.me for the past year because it’s lightweight, is easy to use, and has built-in desktop audio.

But I have to say, Lync surprised me.

And Lync is less then 1/6 the price of Join.me!  Who would have guessed?

Lync has individual licenses starting at $2.00 per month to Join.me’s $13.00 per month:

Though MSFT needs a little help in selling — “Choose the plan that best meets your needs” is great but for the fact that there is no information about the difference between the plans.

Screen Shot 2013-12-16 at 2.09.46 PM

Nonetheless, I was pleasantly surprised by Lync.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 805 other followers