Friday, July 6, 2012

MapQuest, Google, and Ashton Kutcher's Foursquare.com


This off-publishing topic interests me because I've never really needed GPS or any kind of map service to get me from point A to point B. I even posted about it here before once in one of my WTF posts. My mom and dad live by Onstar; I have friends who never leave the house without using some kind of GPS.

I've never really needed it. But I do like to keep up just in case I do need something one day. This article from Cnet talks about MapQuest and free voice prompts for route guidance.

In the online maps space, Google may draw more attention, but MapQuest, online years earlier, has continued to improve its service. And among iPhone apps, MapQuest can boast a crucial feature over Google Maps, free turn-by-turn navigation with voice prompts.

What I've really started to use in the past year is Foursquare.com. A friend got me into it as a social network and I've been using it to build points, get discounts at restaurants, and even build a photo album.

This past July 4th Tony and I had to drive to North Jersey to visit friends. On the way home we took back roads to avoid traffic on Route 80 and wound up lost in a part of New Jersey neither of us knew. So I started tracking where we were on foursquare and loved it. Whenever I checked into a place, our destination showed up on the foursquare map with a blue pin and it lead us right out of New Jersey, into PA, and onto roads with which we were familiar.

When I signed on to foursquare last year I didn't think I'd be using it as anything other than a different type of social media. But the more I do use it the more I find I like it better than other GPS systems. And, while I'm using it, I'm getting points in addition.

The only problem I've had with foursquare so far is that I can't remove some people from my friend list no matter how hard I try. Two guys from different parts of the country either closed their accounts or dropped off and they left these horrible photos that I have to look at every time I check in. One is a photo of an empty dinner plate, with remnants of what the guy had for dinner that look like little green boogers. The other is this creepy guy in bed holding a teddy bear. Both are creepy big time; both I would love to remove. And I can't figure out a way to do that.

Through foursquare I'm also able to keep up with good friends in Palm Springs I used to see all the time. And I enjoy that. I miss them and I like being connected to them. It's a comforting feeling. I also like seeing some of my other social media friends, like Mary G., down in Louisiana, and Ryan M. right here in New Hope. It's a great example of how small the world really is.


Though it didn't influence me to join foursquare, I also hear that Ashton Kutcher is an investor.

If you are so inclinded to join foursquare you can follow me @Ryan Field. If you're a FB friend, you can check out my check-ins on foursquare because I'm linked. I can't promise the most interesting check-ins (at least not as interesting as Ashton Kutcher's, I'm sure...but you never know.

4 comments:

Shelagh said...

I've always relied on an old-fashioned road atlas, but caved in a few months ago and bought a satnav, mainly for navigating around unfamiliar cities, which can be a maze of one-way systems.

I've had mixed results with it. I wasn't impressed that it can't find my house, in spite of the fact that it's been here for over 400 years! It did come into its own when we took the kids to London a couple of months ago. Providing it can find the post code of the destination, it's excellent, but its biggest defect is that it seems to be missing a lot of post codes, despite having downloaded the latest update when I bought it.

ryan field said...

I don't know anything about that one.

But I would love to live in a 400 year old house!! The oldest homes we have in this area date back the the seventeenth century.

Shelagh said...

Sadly, much of the original interior was ripped out years ago. It's a larger house that was divided up into 5 houses 100 years ago. The upside is that our walls are 2 feet thick - we keep nice and warm in the winter :)

I did do some research on the house at our local records library but there's very little info on it as the Eyre family that lived here originally died out in the early 1700s. What I did find was a draught letter written about 1725 by the last Eyre, Margaret, telling her uncle of her engagement. It's like something straight our of Jane Austen!

ryan field said...

Sounds like a cool house.