Feedback Loop: Street photography, using Flickr, mouse shootouts and more

Welcome to Feedback Loop, a weekly roundup of the most interesting discussions happening within the Engadget community. There’s so much technology to talk about and so little time to enjoy it, but you have a lot of great ideas and opinions that need…

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Swarm will make you mayor of your friends, offer stickers

Last week Foursquare announced Swarm, its new app for checking in. That’s right. Foursquare is pulling out the check-in component and building a standalone app around that experience. That app will be called Swarm and will focus on connecting you with your friends. While the Foursquare app that remains will serve to help explorers find new spots. Today Foursquare has shared more details about Swarm, which launches next week.

The game mechanics we all love in Foursquare are changing with Swarm. Things like Mayorships and Badges worked when only 50,000 people used Foursquare, but have broken down a bit now that over 50 million people use the app. Everything is getting revamped with Swarm. Insights will remain in Swarm. Insights are the little pieces of information like “Your 4th week in a row at your gym”. Those aren’t changing and will remain inside Swarm.

Stickers have been added to Swarm and can be used with check-ins. Those Stickers in Swarm will all be free and are built to help you express how you feel or what you’re doing. Everyone will get access to the same number of Stickers at first, but more will be unlocked as you explore the world and check-in to more places.

Mayorships are getting a big revamp with Swarm. Mayors 2.0 will work quite a bit differently than when Foursquare started out. Mayorships will now be earned against friends. The person in a group of friends who has the most check-ins for a location will earn a crown sticker. This way you’re not competing against a stranger who is at spot every single day. A single location can now have multiple mayors.

Starting today, current Mayorships will ‘freeze’. There will be no more outings of Mayors and the current Foursquare app will continue to show the current Mayor of a location. This move will help make way for Mayors 2.0 in Swarm. Badges seem to be out, at least for Swarm. The new Foursquare app coming this summer will feature the spiritual successor to badges. Foursquare hasn’t shared any details on what exactly that means, but we’ll find out soon enough.

Swarm will be available on Android and iOS next week. A Windows Phone version of the app is due out shortly thereafter. Let us know what you think about the upcoming changes to Swarm and Foursquare.

Source: Foursquare

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Apple Stores reportedly preparing major iPhone upgrade promotion

Apple could be preparing for a major iPhone upgrade promotion event at Apple Stores starting as soon as May 8. Mark Gurman, reporting for 9to5Mac:

Apple will be contacting upgrade-elgible iPhone users with older iPhone models via email to come into their local Apple Store to update to a new iPhone 5s or iPhone 5c.

This new upgrade initiative is said to fall in line with Tim Cook‘s ongoing plans to boost iPhone sales at Apple Retail Stores, something already underway through trade-in programs, App Store app updates, iBeacon integration, and more.

The iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c are both top-notch products. It’ll be interesting to see, however, what Apple offers to get people to upgrade now and not wait until the presumed iPhone 6 launch in September. Not everyone cares about the latest and the greatest, as iPhone 4s sales proved last quarter, just getting a soild phone at a great price.

If you receive an upgrade offer letter from Apple, let me know! And let me know if you take them up on it!

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A Friendly Sword Cane Reminder From Your Friends at the TSA, Pls

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