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Twitter Sort

Cheeky as hell:

Twitter Sort is a sorting algorithm that takes advantage of the Twitter API. You pass the script the numbers you would like sorted and it will tweet a request asking for somebody to sort them. When someone replies with a sorted version of the numbers, it will print them to the console and return.

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Old Slang: Appreciating Webster’s with Bots

Peter Organisciak:

The medium of Twitter bot offers us the ability to shine a spotlight on the entries as individual entities; “hence, conspicuous public notice“. While it is certainly possible to look up all the words, perhaps dig through my Github account to find them, there is a different dynamic of attention with a tweet. Having @OldSlang drop another tweet in your timeline from time to time is not simply a slow-burn form of reading, but a different experience or appreciation.

I’m all over this.

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Introducing Twitov

Twitov is a generative text bot that takes your Twitter history file and uses it to make new Tweets based on your own personality. It’s free, all you need is your Twitter history file.

Twitov is an Extra Future 6-hour project that ballooned into a week-long one. Whoops. Previous ExFu 6-hour Projects include Kove (a community-editable Choose Your Own Adventure Game), Liblr (Something like Mad Libs for Twitter), and Kreskin (An app that generates album covers for fictional bands based on real Flickr images, Wikipedia, and famous quotes).

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Tent

A sort of counterpoint to App.net, Tent is a truly decentralized social media protocol. It even integrated with Tor to help those in nations that which to stifle free speech.

It’s a protocol, like HTTP or email, not just a service. It’s fully open source. This is interesting. I hope that it becomes more friendly and stable and active than, say, Jabber.

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Twitter Introduces Expanded Tweets

Embedded rich content on the web and official Twitter apps.

You’ve probably expanded Tweets before to play videos from YouTube or see photos from Instagram. Now, a diverse and growing group of new partners like the The Wall Street Journal, Breaking News, and TIME also deliver rich content inside Tweets containing a link to those websites.

Twitter is fast becoming an exercise on how to make money without being scumbags. Take note, Facebook.

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Twitter Implements Do Not Track Privacy Option

Another big privacy / security win for Twitter. They’re using a new feature in Firefox called, appropriately, “Do Not Track“:

Do Not Track is a step toward putting you in control of the way your information is collected and used online. Do Not Track is a feature in Firefox that allows you to let a website know you would like to opt-out of third-party tracking for purposes including behavioral advertising. It does this by transmitting a Do Not Track HTTP header every time your data is requested from the Web.

Can anyone even imagine Facebook doing this? I hope this finds its way into WebKit. “Do Not Track” is also available as an option in Safari 5.2, which is available to developers right now. (thanks, Jesper)

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Twitter Introduces the Innovator’s Patent Agreement

Good news on this Tuesday morning:

The IPA is a new way to do patent assignment that keeps control in the hands of engineers and designers. It is a commitment from Twitter to our employees that patents can only be used for defensive purposes. We will not use the patents from employees’ inventions in offensive litigation without their permission. What’s more, this control flows with the patents, so if we sold them to others, they could only use them as the inventor intended.

Software patents are a menace, but it’s understandable for companies to hoard them when the cost for not doing so could take down their entire business. This sounds like a pretty reasonable solution. For now.

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That can be my next tweet

Markov-generated random tweets from your own Twitter history. Surprised/ashamed I didn’t build this.

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Marco Arment on Twitter’s #dickbar

Some astute analysis from a developer who truly gets what making effective user interfaces for iOS devices entails.

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Why Twitter Was the Only Company to Challenge the Secret WikiLeaks Subpoena

The why is important, but more important is that they did it at all. I’m certain that Facebook, MySpace, etc, got similar requests and complied with them without even thinking.

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A Comparative Analysis Of The Differing Approaches Twitter and Facebook Take To “Share” Buttons And What It Might Say, Philosophically Speaking, About Each As A Company

Visually, the “Share” and “Tweet” buttons are very similar, and are structured identically.

On the code-side, however, they are very much the product of two different companies with, I would argue, different outlooks on the web as a whole and HTML specifically.

Facebook’s “Share” Button

<a name="fb_share" type="button_count" share_url="someurl" href="http://www.facebook.com/sharer.php">Share</a><script src="http://static.ak.fbcdn.net/connect.php/js/FB.Share" type="text/javascript"></script>

There is no such thing as a share_url attribute in any published version of HTML. Facebook just made it up because they felt like it, and it was the easiest way for them to do what they wanted. They’re also mis-using the type attribute, here. type should be a mime-type string, as specified in the HTML documentation, not whatever random data you decide will be helpful.

It would be possible to see these as harmless and (possibly) clever hacks, but this is not a startup based in a garage, this is a billion-dollar company with hundreds of employees. Philosophically it speaks to Facebook’s general lack of regard for the internet as a whole: Facebook does what it wants, and you can go fuck yourself if it bugs you. In other words: Who has two thumbs, a $100 billion valuation, and doesn’t give a shit about your web standards pedantry? This guy.

Twitter’s “Tweet” Button

<a href="http://twitter.com/share" class="twitter-share-button" data-count="vertical" data-via="philnelson">Tweet</a><script type="text/javascript" src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js"></script>

Twitter uses the HTML5 data attributes, which were created for specifically this purpose, which is embedding useful information in HTML without having to make up your own attributes. As a result, Twitter’s code is not only valid and logical, it’s ahead of the curve. Philosophically this says that Twitter considered the ramifications of this a bit more than Facebook has. This code will be embedded in millions of webpages, many of which will never be updated, so it matters in a big way that it be done right. Yes, the HTML5-style data attributes are a little bit too new for some people to get behind, but today isn’t the only thing that matters. Tomorrow is pretty important, too.

In total, what these buttons say about their companies is pretty simple: Twitter cares about being a good web citizen. Facebook? Not so much.


Update 28 October 2010: Changed conclusion text for clarity.

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Compromising Twitter’s OAuth security system

Ryan Paul for Ars:

Twitter officially disabled Basic authentication this week, the final step in the company’s transition to mandatory OAuth authentication. Sadly, Twitter’s extremely poor implementation of the OAuth standard offers a textbook example of how to do it wrong. This article will explore some of the problems with Twitter’s OAuth implementation and some potential pitfalls inherent to the standard. I will also show you how I managed to compromise the secret OAuth key in Twitter’s very own official client application for Android.

via Schneier

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“Twitter isn’t your audience. It’s your community.”

Andrew Mayne for Hidden Frequency:

[…] It’s easy to tell the difference: The guy on stage at the concert is in front of his audience. The people in the stands are in their community. When the concert is over the audience vanishes but the community continues; with or without the man on stage.

The stage metaphor is a bit strained, but this is similar to my own philosophy on Twitter and other social media sites. Unless you have millions of followers, treating Twitter like a broadcast medium means you miss most of what it’s good for.

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Auto-tweet from WordPress with Petite URLs

Patrick at Deferred Procrastination has got la petite url working with a WordPress Twitter updater. This is a much-asked-for feature for la petite url itself.

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Liblr, The Twitter Mad Lib Machine

Liblr is an Extra Future 6-hour Project which takes the public Twitter stream and lets your replace one phrase with another, in the name of fun. An example, taking the phrase ‘had sex’ and replacing with ‘played scrabble’ gives you gems like the following:

Is it normal for a 21 year old boy to have played scrabble with about 30 woman in his whole life..??? wow idk

I hope you enjoy it.

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Twitter Acquires Tweetie

It was only a matter of time before Twitter started getting to the app game. Here’s to hoping Twitter doesn’t wreck my favorite client.

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Conan O’Brien is on Twitter

Finally. He started about 3 hours ago, and by my watch he is adding roughly 75 new followers per second. Currently the tally sits at 106,875.

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Tumblr Joins WordPress.com In Implementing Twitter API Features

The new features allow users to post and read friends posts via Twitter clients such as Tweetie and Twitteriffic. This is very clever.

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tr.im Apparently Not Shutting Down, Now

The URL shortening service will continue to operate, due to “he popular response, and the countless public and private appeals [they] have received to keep tr.im alive”

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URL-Shortening Service tr.im To Shut Down

URLs will continue to function until 31 December 2009 and will then go dead. Yet another reason to use a self-hosted short URL service with a system like my own la petite url.

Update: tr.im has reversed it’s decision to shut down.