Monday, October 18, 2010

Down on the Farm

I'm very disappointed that Facebook is transmitting user IDs within certain apps, according to the WSJ.  This includes FarmVille, a virtual game with almost 60 million users.  In the past I only played at farming on my 10-acre spread in Hellertown, PA.  FarmVille provided a dose of the real thing; now I have to worry about the names of my dairy herd passed around the web like loose virtual change. I suppose I should be content to use IHeart, a tool for sending hearts to my friends. There is no danger here; they already know my Social Security number and know I spend an inordinate amount of time with Texas HoldEm, an online poker game.

Up to very recently New York teachers who were accused of something or other were put in a so-called "rubber room," for at least three years or any number divisible by three. In the same spirit I'm wondering if there should be a place for us brethren who spend too much time poking around the app stores? I have heard there are about 500,000 paid and free apps at our favorite stores. We know Apple and Google offer too many apps; and Palm and RIM too few. Thank goodness there is a growing number of companies that help us find great apps; such as CHOMP, an app discovery engine.

Almost overnight I decided to end the love affair with my fantasy dairy herd and spend less time at the online poker table. I decided I wanted meat and instruction in my apps. I wanted to become a better person and an improved cyclist. Years ago I had been editor and publisher of Bicycling magazine but it's only natural that sooner or later one forgets where exactly is that pesky bottom bracket.

I asked CHOMP a ton of very practical questions, in my search for killer applications, including: how do I determine the correct saddle height or the angle of the drops on my racing handlebars in relation to Mother Earth.  The tape on my handlebars always peels off into the wind and I wanted an app to attack that. With my eyesight getting poor I hit a lot of potholes and small animals and was looking for an app on wheel alignment or how to mend a broken spoke. I see countless parents trying in-vain to adjust their kid's bicycle helmet. Surely there is a line of code for that. 

I am a huge fan of discoverability and am ready to admit I need to sharpen my questions and protocol.

In the meantime I am confident that Zynga, the maker of social games, will figure out a way to marry their very popular Mafia Wars with something more useful and pedestrian, like Lancing Saddle Sores at
40 MPH.

No names, please.

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