Category Archives: Uncategorized

Improvements! Part 3

We’ve had a good deal of helpful feedback in recent weeks (plus a few ideas of our own), resulting in several improvements in the site. Here’s a brief summary of each:

Email login: You can now log into your account using username OR email address–both will now work with the same password.

Notification frequency setting for each relationship: In addition to a default notification frequency (set in the account modify page under the message tab), you can now control notification frequency for each relationship. From the Relationships link in the sidebar menu, select either the Memberships or Friendships tab. Each relationship in the list includes dropdown fields for notification frequency–immediately, daily, weekly–for both messages or items posted in that group or by that user. These settings will have priority over your default notification frequency.

Improved searching: Search functionality has been improved in three areas

  • First, searches for items and groups from the top search bar have been improved with the Sphinx search engine and will produce much better results.
  • Also, an item search bar has been added to the top of the My Items page, so you can search within your own inventory.
  • Finally, an item search bar has also been added to the top of the item listing for each group and user, making it possible to search within a group’s or user’s available items.

Watch list links for favorite groups: To make it easier for you to find the requested and offered items posted by users in your favorite groups, we’ve created links on the home page just below the sidebar menu. For each of the top two groups in your relationship schedule (found by clicking the Relationships link in the sidebar menu), there is both a Requests and Offers link under the Watch List in the left sidebar. Clicking on one of these links will take you directly to a page for that group showing the requested or offered items currently available in that group.

Easier item entry with ISBN/ASIN: A new field has been added at the top of the item entry form to make the process a little easier. Now you can use either an ISBN (for books) or an ASIN (for any item available on Amazon) to populate the form with data about that item. Just enter the ISBN or ASIN and click the search button, then the system will use that number to pull data and an image from Amazon’s database. Complete the remaining fields as necessary and then submit the form by clicking Preview Item. (FYI: The ASIN is available in the “product details” section on the Amazon page for any item.)

Item tags: Finally, we’ve added a tagging function to aid in organizing your item inventory. For example, if you’re adding a large number of books to give away and are storing them in boxes, you can give each box a name, create a tag with the same name, and assign that tag to each book in that box. That way, when someone requests one of your books, the item tag will tell you exactly where to find it. (To manage your tags, click the “My Tags” button on the “My Items” page.)

We hope you find these improvements useful. Keep the feedback coming–we’re all ears!

The Wrong Stuff

Mary Schmich gets it.

In her recent Chicago Tribune column, We’re Entering the Season of Stuff, she points out one of the downsides of living in a society overly focused on consumerism.

We have too much stuff. And as we head into the “get more stuff” season, we have to figure out how to make room.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with stuff in and of itself. It’s just stuff. But we often forget that 1) we are more than the sum of our stuff and 2) stuff can’t make us happy.

Usually, though, on the way to learning these two important realities, we accumulate too much stuff trying to prove them wrong.

And then we purge. Donations to thrift stores are great–those organizations do a lot of good with the money they receive from selling all our unwanted stuff. But, for the most part, we only donate the stuff that we don’t want anymore and isn’t valuable enough to give to someone close to us.

Here at Swampum™ we are building a site–more of a community, really–that we hope will help people have a healthier attitude toward all of their stuff.

From giving away unwanted clothing to borrowing books and DVDs to lending garden or home improvement tools, we’ll all have less stuff to wade through if we accumulate less and share more.

We hope you’ll join us! And remember … it’s just stuff.

Going Mobile

We’ve been working to make our site more mobile friendly, and our latest update moves us much closer to that goal.  To save myself a few thousand words, here are some screenshots demonstrating the features on several different pages.

First, on the home page, you’ll notice that the site adjusts to your mobile device (smart phone or tablet) with the login fields conveniently at the top.

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Next, if you scroll down to the bottom of the home page (before logging in), you’ll notice a more graphical introduction to the site (a first step in making the help pages more user friendly).

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After logging in, you’ll notice that navigation has been compressed into two rows in the mobile header.  The first row includes icons for the sidebar menu, items, transactions and messages.  The second row includes a plus-sign icon (for adding items and groups) and a search bar/magnifying glass (which allows searching for items, groups and users).  The remainder of the feed page shows the most recent activity in your account–all formatted to be more readable on a mobile device.

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The items page shows the items most recently added to the site, including a filter button that makes it possible to narrow the search results.

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Finally, the menu button opens the sidebar menu, which includes many of the same functions available on the full browser site.

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We hope you enjoy using the site on your mobile device.  As always, let us know what you think!

Welcome to Swampum™!

A Message From Our Cofounder:

It all started with a faucet wrench.

Several years ago, in the middle of a kitchen renovation project, I needed a faucet wrench–a special tool for tightening the bolts that connect a sink to a countertop.  One trip to the hardware store and $25 later, I had my wrench.

A few weeks later I was catching up with a church friend and mentioned my project.  He told me he had a faucet wrench in his garage that he’d also bought for the one time he’d replaced his sink, and that I could have borrowed it–if only we’d known.  To this day, both faucet wrenches sit unused in our garages.

Our homes and garages are full of things like this that are rarely used but too valuable to discard:  tools, furniture, books, CDs, DVDs, video games.

I looked online for someplace that would solve the problem of clearing out or making use of all this stuff.  Things that I no longer want but would prefer to lend, give away or sell to people I know and who would put them to good use.  No site does what I want.

So my partners and I built a website–a place where people could find things they want or share things with friends and others.  And control who among their family, friends and other relationships can see their posts and when.

Swampum™ is that site:  a place where you can find things you want and get rid of things you don’t, all while sharing with those closest to you or others in groups you’ve joined.

It’s time to take control of all the stuff in your life.  And let me know if you need to borrow a faucet wrench …