I’ve just got back from a trip to Ireland and I used my mobile tech devices as per usual. Obviously I had my iPhone with me and I also carried my iPad Pro with me even though I didn’t have so much time to use it. I took the Mac keyboard with me so I could do some typing and I never used it once. This was partly due to not having the time to sit down and write anything. I was delighted to spend a lot of time with my grandchildren though. The two year old demands a lot of attention and it’s a great to give the attention to him. The baby also demands attention and there’s not much you can do with tech when you have a baby in your arms. So I spent nearly a week being a happy grandad rather than being a good and geeky old bloke. However, I did get to use some of my mobile computing devices while away in Ireland. Took photos with the standard camera app and also with ProCamera. I made a couple of photos into iColorama creations. I used the new Netflix download feature to watch a movie while away from internet. I checked up on the house back at home using Elgato Eve and the camera app for the security camera.
Recording my life with Swarm and with social media
One of my favourite applications for keeping track of everything is the application called Swarm. This is extra to what I put into the journal app Day One. This is the application from Foursquare and I use it to login to various places. I like it for the gamification of logging in to record places I’ve been to. When I’m at home in Spain I will always take a photo to add to the digital login. While I’m over in Ireland I have to forget about adding photos while I’m not on Wi-Fi. Sending photos to the Internet while using mobile data in another country is just a very quick way of flying through the megabytes available. I only have 100 MB available per day and I’ve used that for giving me GPS when travelling around by car. If I didn’t do that I would have had to hire a GPS unit from the car hire firm. That would have been an unnecessary added expense. Most the time I knew where I was going and it is only when I was driving out of Sligo back in the direction of Enniskillen when I was glad of GPS on my iPhone 7+.
One of the good things about using Swarm is that I can cross post from swarm into Facebook and Twitter. It’s handy to post with one upload and catch more than one social network. Depending on what I’m posting I will choose whether it’s going to be just Swarm by itself or if I will also post to the other socials too. The application turns journalling your position on this spinning rock into a game. It gives you points for logging in. You can see where other users you’ve connected to are logging in also. There is a leaderboard which tells you your position and how many coins you collected as you used to the application. In the game section you’ll see information such as “Did you know that you’ve checked into nine different airports? Explore more places for extra coins!”.
Achieving the level of town mayor
When you check into places you get points and these points add up. If you have the highest number of points in a place you get an automatic election to the town mayor position. There is a leaderboard which runs weekly and the top 20 on the leader board win bonus coins. I’m just looking at the leaderboard now and I can see that last week I came in at number 29. So no coins there then! My position this week at the moment is 21st with 91 coins. I have absolutely no chance of getting to the number one position because the person in that place at the moment has over 1400 coins. The competitive side of me tells me that one of these weeks I should go all out for it. I’ll use the app every hour of every day and sign in as many places as possible. You can add likes to other peoples check ins. I have two or three of my connected people who will like my check ins fairly often.
How to check-in using swarm
- Open the application on your iPhone
- Click on the button dead centre in the menu at the bottom
- Select a place from the list
- Write to your social media posting in the place where it says “What are you up to?”. You can add stickers or photos to your post. There are five stickers to choose from and the icon with three dots will give you access to a few more. Tap on the camera icon to choose from either pictures you’ve taken already or to use the camera to take a new one.
- If you add a photo to your posting you immediately get the option to add stickers on to the photo. The stickers are movable and re-sizable. When you’ve finished obliterating the picture with the stickers tap on use in the top right-hand corner.
- You’ll then get a message from the application to say how many coins you have earned. It will also tell you the last time you checked in at that place and whether or not you are the mayor of the place. You get more coins if you add photos.
While it seems there are quite a few steps to creating a Swarm social media post you do save time by having it cross posted. Once you’ve done it a few times it can be very quickly completed. One thing you’ll need to consider is the volume you have for sound effects on your device. If you’re in a place and it’s quiet and there are other people around you may get some funny looks due to the sound effects from Swarm. It sounds like you’re playing one of those noisy fruit machines. You can stop the noise immediately by tapping on the screen. At the bottom of the screen it will show you your position on the leader board, who you’ve just passed and how many coins you have in total for the week.
It’s all a bit of good and geeky fun
It is possible to check into the places the app saw you’d been, but you forgot to check in to. If you have a look at the profile page by tapping on the icon on the far right of the menu bar you’ll get more information. It will show if there are places you’ve been to you need to confirm. You can choose to confirm or choose a place nearby. If you want to you can just tell the app to take it away from your timeline.
I can see from my profile that I’ve checked in 715 times, added 341 photos and I have 669 friends. The application will show the categories of places you’ve been to. It seems I’ve been to a lot of states and municipalities, quite a few Food & Drink shops, lots of airports, one or two hotels and I’ve been in some fields. You can delve further into the information such as with the states and municipalities it breaks down into cities, countries, villages, towns and neighbourhoods. The application informs me I have checked into six different countries.
Looking at photos used
You can see the photos you’ve posted using Swarm with either a grid view or a list view. If you tap on the photo it will show you the image fullscreen and give you the text you added to the photo. It’ll tell you when it was you posted that photo to Swarm. The Swarm app also gives you the option to share or delete the photo if you wish. From the same screen you can specify if the photo is public on Foursquare and Swarm or if it is something just for Swarm friends only.
Making changes to the application in the settings
If you don’t like those sound effects you can turn them off. Decide if you want to have notifications and that can be either when contacts are nearby or always be notified. Set the notification to mute if you never want to hear beeps on your phone when a particular person checked in. There are privacy settings which are worth looking at. I let my friends see my email address, but I don’t let them see my phone number. There are enough settings within this section to let you have the privacy you desire. The Swarm application is a responsible well set up application.
Using Swarm with third-party applications
Post to Swarm from third-party applications such as Momento, Storify, IFTTT, Day One, Klout and others. You can de-authorise any of these services if you wish from within the settings, just click on the disconnect button. The two main third-party applications are Facebook and Twitter and again it is possible to disconnect if you wish.
The Good and Geeky verdict on Swarm
This is a fun and useful application I like using. It’s a good one to have on your mobile devices as it can save you time. You don’t have to take part in the games or seek out the public office of being mayor of a place. Set it up so that you are as private or as public as you wish to be.