Category Archives: twitter

watching #egypt

I don’t know if you are following this as much as I am, but I can’t keep from checking out the news rolling in on the #Egypt feed on twitter.
It doesn’t get any more real than that with live pictures and video’s being blogged and tweeted first hand. Paper.li on #Egypt proves great for high-speed streams of tweets and links like this to filter the most interesting bits. The English site of Al Jazeera also turn out to be a great resource for first hand info. This seems to do for them what the first Gulf War did for CNN. I’m seeing a lot of Al Jazeera links fly by everywhere and only little CNN, BBC or other major media channels.

I’m just hoping this’ll turn out alright in the end for the Egyptian people.

interesting links floating on twitter

Twitter is pretty cool isn’t it? It has like people chatting and ranting on about all sorts of stuff. But if you’re dealing with real people (not those pesky bots) you’ll end up reading some interesting tweets now and then. This is certainly so when it comes to the links tweeps (as they are called on the twitterverse) are spamming in their streams. Like that you run into some awesome new music, like the latest album by Vex’d or some free downloads. Geek stuff like a developer test version of IE9,  a JavaScript adaptation of the .NET LINQ query language called JSINQ and a web-based version of a Processing parser which I talked about before. You can also track the sun through a pinhole camera and make your own or some plain funny stuff. Who needs websites and RSS readers these days if you have a bunch of followers tweeting or retweeting the interesting bits for you? Twitter is niiiiiiiiiice.

Photo by Dario Sanches, cc-licensed

the lazyweb is back

I always liked the idea of the Lazyweb. You could ask a question in a blog post starting with “Dear Lazyweb” and then some bot would pick it up and post in on the lazyweb aggregation site for other people to answer or help. The idea is to post not too easy to solve questions of course (nothing you can just find with a single Google search) but you can try and tap into that vast network of organic grey cells out there and let that do the thinking for you.

The whole idea stranded due to spam at some point (bloody spammers, makes you hate them even more right?) but now it seems to have a revive on twitter. Using the hashtag #lazyweb (or simply mentioning the lazyweb keyword) might be all it takes to get that enlightening answer from someone watching the lazyweb feed. The amount of replies you get isn’t that great yet but I guess it still needs to pick up a bit, and it all depends on the questions of course.  There’s already a neato website called Lazytweet that picks up on it and joins the question and answer threads together and even gives you lazyweb points for participating. How cool is that? I have 16 points already I noticed. Sweet!

So, if you have one of those questions you just don’t know an answer too, but you have this distinct feeling someone out there probably knows exactly what you are looking for… try the lazyweb. It’s only a tweet away.

Photo by ~Jetta Girl~, cc-licensed.

free music you could have spotted if you where on twitter

  1. A breakcore release from CAPSLOCK on a new Dutch netlabel. A long time ago another free CAPSLOCK release got pimped here as well, and this one is equally filled with distorted fast beats and eerie industrial sounds. Sweetness.
  2. A set mixed by Drop The Lime distributed together with a magazine but DTL was so free as to drop the secret code in a tweet so tweeps all over the place can download this banging techno-dubstep-garage-whatever-bass-heavy mix for free. It’s awesome. Go get it.
  3. Free Music Monday from Tara Bush which features all sorts of free stuff which I haven’t really checked out but it looks cool and the idea is sweet and I needed at least one more item to post in here right? Check it out if you like music… which is free!
  4. More free breakcore with the Ninja Columbo ZoMbFree releases with stuff from the Teknoist and Michael J Rocks. Well, I’m not sure who that Michael is either but I’ve heard of the Teknoist before, and hey, the releases don’t suck! Free breakcore people! What more do you want?
  5. And there’s still the hashtags of course if you really really want to get a quick fix of dubstep, breakcore, idm, drum’n’bass, or music in general to download… check it. It’s where all the cool folks are at these days. Fo shizzle!

Photo by monodot, cc-licensed.

#iranelection

I’ve been watching the internet concerning the Iranian elections lately and I have to say that the information being delivered over the net is far more interesting than what traditional media has to offer, plus it’s a lot faster too.

A few things are quite interesting about this whole thing from an geek point of view on how the so called new media is used in the conflict:

1. Easy channels of information = easy channels for disinformation. As bloggers use blogs, Twitter and facebook to spread instant updates on what’s going on inside Iran, the government sets up fake account to spread disinformation using the same channels. Keeping your bullshit filter up when going through the information spread on the various networks is mandatory to not get suckered into the false news.

2. The firewalls have eyes. While the internet is the medium to spread news in a somewhat anonymous fashion, it’s also being actively monitored and  partially controlled by the government to try and track down protesters. The same goes for cellphone networks and SMS traffic. Public proxies and anonymizers can help to keep the identity of the bloggers safe, but those are being shut down as well. Governments all over the world are lobbying to limit the privacy of their civilians by forcing ISP’s to track their user’s actions on the net under the excuse of increasing security and fighting the terrorist threat. Once this is achieved there is no turning back and these tools can be used for less noble goals which is now being displayed in Iran. Keep this in mind next time politicians talk about forcing your internet provider to keep logs. Tools like Tor, Freenet, proxies and anonymizers are also imported for this reason.

3. Sometimes helping turns out to be not helping. People all over the world are trying to help the Iranian protesters using all sorts of geeky tricks. Unfortunately these tricks seem to be working more against them in some cases. Some people started DDos’ing Iranian websites. This turned out to be blocking overal internet traffic in Iran, including those of the protesters trying to get the word out. Retweeting messages of legit Iranians for example can blow their cover as Boing Boing mentions. Retweeting false information is another. Which brings us to..

4. Who can you trust? Trust is the major issue here. Can the blogger’s information be trusted? Can a website or forum be trusted, or is it a tool set up by the government to lure in the unwary? The gov has been said to set up so-called anonymous twitter-sites which simply log protesters accounts and IP’s for easy tracking. Trusting your Twitter or GMail account to a malicious website which then uses it to spam your friends is one silly mistake to make. But if your life depends on it you better be damn sure that site can be trusted before you hit the submit button.

5. The internet is supportive. All over the net support is being raised (noticed those green icons on Twitter?), rightfully or not. The underdog is always popular online and I frankly don’t have a clue yet who’s right and who’s wrong in this story, but by making such a fuss the government is certainly not looking like the good guys in this one. One thing I do know is that it’s important to allow free speech and that’s what the Iranian government is now trying to stop by blocking access to the net. It’s cool to see the Swedes at Piratebay have set up a forum which Iranians can use in full anonymity for example. I’m not linking directly to it here as it seems to be down at the moment, probably because of the increased traffic it’s getting right now, so they don’t need those few extra clicks coming from here.

Cyberwar is no longer science-fiction.

Photo by MisterArasmus, copyrighted so I’m going for fair-use here :)

how to twitter

Is actually quite a silly question. It’s like blogging, but on a micro level (that’s why it’s called micro-blogging I guess). You basically do what you think should be done. I did brush up on my twitter etiquette lately, as I started expanding my follower count a big, and I didn’t want to piss people off. I have a tendency of only following people that post interesting enough stuff to read imho, and people that don’t over-tweet. I don’t see twitter as an IM tool, but some do, and that’s just fine, but I simply don’t like my feed being swamped with endless trivial conversation with people I don’t even follow.

During my research (read: googling, but research sounds so much fancier doesn’t it?) I did come across some interesting bits here and there. This twitter etiquette guide links to a number of good blog posts on the subject, and this Morning News article definitely has some very good points. Also interesting is Bishop Alan’s post about why twitter is all about the social aspect, and not about technology. It goes back to 1711. Talk about research! I bet he googled it.

Photo by bramhilgerson, cc-licensed

all you can eat twitter stats

Caps-Lock is FULL OF AWESOME!!1!
Pic by CatCubed, cc-licensed

Twitter. It’s kinda fun. It’s also fun to see how much apps are popping up all over the place doing something with the public data from the twitter feeds.

Stuff like Twitterholic for instance, which gives you an overview of which twits have the most followers. Barack Obama is clearly at the lead there. Unless you’re fanatically being followed as well (you need over 2.559 followers at this very moment), you’re probably not in the list. You can hack the URL though by adding your own twitter name at the end like this http://www.twitterholic.com/twitter/n3wjack and see your own stats. Sweet!

More stats? Well okay, how about Tweetstats. Yet Another Twitter Stats tool, but it puts it all into a nice colorful bar charts, and bar charts rock. It seems to be rather popular since it’s queueing people to render their stats at the moment. Heh.

How about the really useful stuff? Hey, this is Twitter remember, don’t get your hopes up too much. Twittertale gives you all the pottymouths out there for instance. Always interesting to know which rude words are popular these days, so check em out.

Can’t get enough? No problem, there’s plenty more where that came from.