Tim Yang’s Weblog


Facebook, Foursquare and Twitter are not blocked in China… on Blackberry

Filed under: Howto, Social Networking, Travel — Tags: , , , , , — Tim Yang @ 8:25 am

You cannot browse many websites in China because of the infamous firewall. Facebook, Foursquare and Twitter are some of those affected. Gmail and Google Reader on the other hand are fine.

But when you use the Facebook, Foursquare and Twitter mobile apps on Blackberry, you can do stuff as normal. It’s not disabled or banned.

I tried this first on my Blackberry in Beijing on data roaming then on the hotel’s wifi. Both times it worked. I could upload photos and update my status on Facebook. I could also check Twitter feeds and check into Foursquare.

I also managed to get access on the Blackberry mobile browser. I was able to visit all banned sites on the browser (via wifi). I tried imdb.com, isohunt.com and youtube.com. All viewable.

It might be a Blackberry thing because when I tried it on the Android web browser (as well as Opera for Android), facebook.com and youtube.com both timed out. Facebook app on Android didn’t work either.

This might also be a new development because I appear to be the first one to notice it (although there have been thousands of Foursquare checkins in Beijing so far).


The day on Foursquare starts at 5am

Filed under: Social Networking — Tags: — Tim Yang @ 8:07 am

For some strange reason, the day on Foursquare starts at 5am. This seems to apply only to Malaysia-based users.

It could be the Foursquare servers for Malaysia are in Ukraine and their clocks are based on the +3GMT timezone.

So I could check in at 4am and it would still be counted as the previous day. But I check in just one hour later at 5am and that would count as a new and separate checkin.

This information could be important to stealing mayorships.


How to cheat at Foursquare to collect badges with badge farms

Filed under: Howto — Tags: , , , , — Tim Yang @ 3:52 pm

Yes, Foursquare is addictive and collecting badges is more addictive. And like all addictive pursuits, there are people like you and me who find shortcuts. Yes, you. You wouldn’t be looking at this post if you weren’t already a cheater or contemplating it.

Badges are collected by checking into enough locations with the relevant tags and the relevant categories.

You can cheat by creating BADGE FARMS.

Badge farms are fictitious venues that you control and add tags and categories to.

1. Create 3 venues near your home or office. Give them plausible but fake names, places that you might actually visit during the course of your day so that your Foursquare friends don’t catch on (unless you’re totally shameless). I find names of cafes work best. You basically only need a few badge farms that you can check into repeatedly.

2. Over the course of 48 hours, check into all three twice to become mayor of them.

3. Visit a Foursquare badge list and make a list of all the tags you need to claim the badges you want. Start adding all those tags to your badge farms.

4. Before you check into them next time, change the category of each farm to the one needed to claim the badge you’re aiming for.

5. Then start checking in, once a day to each of your farms. Over the course of a week, you should have all the badges.

It’s very important that your friends on Foursquare don’t catch on to your cheating. Most people take a very dim view of cheaters.

So here are the 4 rules of Foursquare Cheaters:

  • Don’t check in too many times a day. If you do, check off the box that says “Tell my friends”. If you do that, then your check in won’t “pop-up” on your friends’ cellphones (but will nevertheless appear on their app as “Hiding”). It tends to annoy people when too many pop-ups occur.
  • Don’t get too greedy and go for badges that your friends know you wouldn’t or couldn’t actually collect. For instance, if you’re not a fan of either Lakers or Celtics, don’t go for those badges. I haven’t. And getting BOTH of them is a dead giveaway you’re a cheater.
  • Don’t turn your home or workplace location into a badge farm. Yes, I know it’s very convenient and efficient to collect badges that way. But mayors can’t delete tags yet. And leaving irrelevant tags lying around is a dead giveaway that the venue has been turned into a badge farm. Your colleagues, family and neighbours will come across the evidence sooner or later and probably wouldn’t like that.
  • Dispose of your badge farms when you’re done with them. Move them to a far off location, like in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean or Antarctica. So no one will accidentally come across them. And don’t forget to rename them and resign your mayorship from your user page so no one can trace them back to you. I hide mine somewhere in the Grand Canyon where there’s no internet or cellphone reception.

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