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Never Miss another Tweet June 13, 2008

Posted by Doriano "Paisano" Carta in Blogs, twitter.
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One of the downsides of having a large group of friends on Twitter is the difficulty in following all of the tweets directed at you. In most cases, it’s impossible to catch all of the messages that normally would interest you.

Thus, most of us are relegated to using twitter search engines such as Summize or TweetScan. While both are fine services, they are manual processes that take time that we don’t normally have.


Enter TweetBeep which can send you email alerts whenever someone mentions you, your blog or any other keyword you want to track. For example, whenever someone mentions your name with or without the @ sign it will be captured and a email will be sent with all of the tweets every hour or once a day (your choice). If you want to be alerted for any mention of your websites or blogs then those alerts will take place instantly because the searches are performed live on twitter. The nice thing is that this works even when people use URL shortening services.


Final Thoughts

Search alert tools such as TweetBeep and SM2 (covered in “What About Me“) allow us to keep tabs on everything that’s important to us on the ever expanding information super-highway (Thank you Al Gore!). It’s like having our very own private investigators combing the web for us.

These time-savers are much appreciated as we become increasingly busy. Thanks to these types of services we never have to miss anything again.

Twhirl’s Firehose Filter June 11, 2008

Posted by Doriano "Paisano" Carta in Blogs, twitter.
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firehose The new Twhirl update (0.8.2) has included a much needed new feature for everyone who has ever wanted to create groups for twitter. They now support Rooms on FriendFeed which means you can now filter your firehose of information to whatever you want according to the room you join or create.

For example, you can create a room for your favorite sports team and see only updates on that topic from the people who join that room. Likewise for any other topic such as Social Media, Stamp Collecting, or whatever the case may be. Here’s the room filter option on the bottom right of the FriendFeed client window (the pound sign #): I’ve created a room for Utterz which is selected in the following image.

The beauty is that you can quickly and easily jump from room to room without impacting your other Twhirl window which contains all of your twitter messages. Thus, the digital age’s equivalent of walking and chewing gum at the same time!

Yes, Twitter should’ve done this type of thing long ago, but that’s all right. Just be glad this is here now. We finally have a useful tool that will help us drink from that firehose without getting soaking wet!

Stop Flipping the Bird! April 24, 2008

Posted by Doriano "Paisano" Carta in Blogs, News, Uncategorized.
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I don’t know about you but I’m tired of bashing Twitter every time they experience a problem with performance. I’m just as guilty as the next guy when it comes to bad-mouthing Twitter whenever they have a glitch. I vow right here and now to never complain about them again. Why the change of attitude all of sudden, especially after all the horrendous cache problems they’ve had recently?

I owe it all to something I read today on one of my favorite blogs, TechCrunch. It was a surprisingly offensive post called “Amateur Hour Over at Twitter?” composed even more shockingly by none other than Michael Arrington, Mr. Techcrunch himself! In the post, Arrington utterly nukes Blaine Cook, who recently parted ways with Twitter after being one of its chief architects since its inception. blainecook I am convinced that there’s some major subtext behind this story between Arrington and the subject of his public flogging of Blaine Cook, . What else would explain the level of scrutiny that Mr. Cook endured in such a public manner? How could anyone place so much of the blame for Twitter’s woes solely upon one person’s shoulders? Was Blaine responsible for some of the problems that Twitter endured (as well as all of us)? Sure, that’s a given, but to label the work that he and his team accomplished as “amateurish” is just plain inexcusable.

The Rumpelstiltskin Effect

After doing some more research into this I came across more starling information that changed my own opinion and view of Twitter and any other web service for that matter. Apparently, one of the most successful communications successes of our time (twitter) accomplished their massive popularity with a staggering engineering staff of three (3) people, including the “incompetent” Blaine Cook. Not too shabby for rank amateurs, huh?

Look, as a member of I.T. and over a decade of experience with networking infrastructures, I will admit having a slight bias towards under-manned tech staffs. I know what it’s like to deal with the “spin gold from straw” expectations like these guys have done for the past few years. That is why it’s so disappointing to see anyone get disrespected for a job that really should’ve been praised instead. To learn more about the complexity of the Twitter infrastructure and the tremendous challenges they have dealt with, simply checkout Blaine’s presentation: Big Bird (Scaling Twitter). Most of us won’t fully understand the magnitude of their challenges but I think this presentation will give at least a glimpse at some of the reasons Twitter has experienced the problems they’ve had. As a matter of fact, I’ve come away from all of this in amazement that we haven’t had far more serious problems than we’ve all had!

I spoke to a couple of friends who are rock star Ruby on Rails developers who’ve seen Blaine’s presentation and who use Twitter on a regular basis. Our conversation was incredibly enlightening and revealing. The following image is a basic diagram of a simple Ruby on Rails web application, which is what Twitter was built upon. rails2Just imagine a diagram for today’s Twitter. It would dwarf this design because they encompass countless databases and web servers that span the globe with no end in site. The more of us that sign-up and add others to our network, the larger the Twitter databases and network grows. Obviously, this also means the greater the possibility of performance problems and downtime. I’m not making excuses, just telling it like it is, folks. It’s all part of growing pains.

Final Thoughts

While writing this I just read a news flash on Techcruch about Twitter’s VP of Engineering and Operations Lee Mighdoll leaving after only three months. No one seems to know what’s going on at Twitter these days. Obviously, there is something major taking place at the corporate level. Rumors are running wild about Twitter scrambling for funding and potential sale of the service, but it’s all speculation. The lack of a visible business plan and revenue generation stream only adds more fuel to the fire of these rumors. All I know is that we shouldn’t be so quick to throw anyone under the bus without first learning more about the facts. I know I’ve been bad about that in the past and I will not repeat those mistakes ever again with Twitter. These nameless, faceless services have living breathing human beings who take pride in their work and careers. Also, there’s always more to the story than meets the eye.

Social Network for Feelings? April 10, 2008

Posted by Doriano "Paisano" Carta in Blogs, social networks.
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At first, many of you will think Moonri.se is a silly and useless idea. Who would want a service that is basically a twitter for emotions and feelings? Can’t we just post how we feel already on Twitter, our blogs and other mediums? Sure, we can and we do, but Moonrise does it in a more powerful and compelling way. Most of all, it’s fun too.

There’ve been a couple of services that provided the ability to share your current emotional status, but none of them provided nearly as many different ways to convey your feelings as Moonrise does. It allows you to include other elements to reflect your current mood such as photographs, videos and even your favorite quote. This last option isn’t a surprise when you consider that the founder and architect behind this service is Amit Kothari, who also founded QuotationsBook, which is a social network for quotations and covered in “Quotations 2.0“.

Feelings 2.0

The most exciting part of all this is that there will be an API available soon to moonrise which means it will become a conduit for other apps and services to share feelings. They are also “developing a feature that lets you bookmark or post feelings about a URL via a small button you can put anywhere. This will be more meaningful than digg, and also a different way to bookmark links”.


Final Thoughts and feelings

I will admit that I’m a sucker for this kind of thing because I’ve always been a touchy-feely kinda guy. I believe words and emotions are powerful things. Why not use everything technology has to offer to share how we are feeling? Why not use photo’s, videos and quotes to reflect our emotions? Here’s some more information from Moonrise about why it’s a good thing to share our feelings. http://moonri.se/site/about.



TwitterClouds April 9, 2008

Posted by Doriano "Paisano" Carta in Blogs.
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DaCort has done it again. He’s taken an already cool twitter tool, TweetSTATS and made it even cooler and more useful by giving us our very own TweetCloud!

Not only can we view all kinds of cool statistics about our Twitter usage but now we can see what we and others tweets the most about! Some of this data will be surprising so be prepared.

It’s very easy to access as well. Just click the Tweet Cloud link located next to the Tweet Stats link:

The quickest way to get there is to save your personal URL: http://www.tweetstats.com/graphs/TwitterName .

The popularity of studying Tag Clouds on blogs has naturally given birth to TweetClouds. Check it out and learn a thing or two about yourself and your friends.

More Twitter Cloud services have appeared out of the blue (ha ha):




Twitter Hashtags and Groups April 4, 2008

Posted by Doriano "Paisano" Carta in Social Media, social networks.
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As your list of friends grows on Twitter, the amount of messages that scroll across your screen increases exponentially. Pretty soon it becomes impossible to catch messages directed your way in real-time. Ultimately you have to resort to backtracking or using a search tool like TweetScan (R.I.P Terraminds!). Increasingly members of the Twitter community are demanding better ways to filter and group all of this information. One of the new solutions has been Twitter Hashtags and channels.

What are Hashtags?
Hashtags are a way to group twitter messages together according to subject matter, similar to the concept of Twitter groups or tagging. You follow @hashtags and then use the pound (#) symbol to tag the tweet, for example: #SXSW.

Here are the best blog posts about the history of twitter hashtags and channels:
Bublicious’ Tools for Monitoring Conversations in Twitter
FactoryJoe’s Groups for Twitter; or A Proposal for Twitter Tag Channels
Factory Joe’s Making the most out of hashtags
Twitter Fan Wiki on Hashtags

Important Hashtag Links & Information

Hashtag CheatSheet

  • follow #tag: subscribe to all updates tagged with #tag
  • follow username#tag: subscribe to all updates tagged with #tag from a specific user
  • leave #tag: unsubscribe to a tag; you will still get updates with this tag from your friends
  • leave username#tag: unsubscribe to a specific from a specific user
  • remove #tag: completely remove all incoming posts tagged with #tag, even from your friends
  • #tag message: creates a status in the #tag channel
  • #tag !message: creates a status that is only visible to people subscribed to channel tag #tag

Twitter Tagging

I’ve always thought it would incredibly useful if we could tag our friends on twitter just as we tag blog posts or bookmarks so we could filter what we see at any given moment.

For example, I would tag some friends with Social Media, Utterz or Baseball. We could then filter all tweets according to these tags for any given moment.

It would also be useful if we could tag each of our tweets so that they could be indexed, searched and filtered just like our group tags. It would be invisible so it wouldn’t appear as ugly as Twitter hashtags with its # symbols spewed all over the place.

Twitter Groups

While hashtags and channels look and smell like twitter groups, they are not the same thing. They are like distant second cousins.

I still wish there was a way to create true groups for twitter that we can manage as well as public groups that we can join.

Obviously, it would be done thru the use of tagging.

In the mean time, here’s an early attempt at Groups for Twitter. I say close but no cigar at this point.

Excellent thread on twitter groups

TW_Groups Service

Follow @TW_Groups

Cool Twitter Search Engines

These excellent search engines for Twitter work very well with hashtags and channels in addition to basic searches.



Final Thoughts:

I believe there will many new ways to filter and search our Twitter stream of data. Some of these are already being accepted by twitter members. Look for group tagging to make its way down the pyke soon!

Secrets of the Startup Sages March 31, 2008

Posted by Doriano "Paisano" Carta in Education, Web 2.0.
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What better way to learn how to launch a startup than to get advice from those who’ve proven to be successful with their own startups? Here is a collection of excellent wisdom and advice from some of the best startup sages in web history. Also included are links to their blogs and twitter profiles. Both resources are still alive and offer valuable information that only adds to their impressive body of work.

Evan Williams (Blogger, Odeo, Twitter)

Twitter: @Ev

Blog: http://evhead.com

Advice for Startups (1995 long before Twitter)

10 Rules for Web Startups

Several video interviews during Odeo days

Loic Lemeur (seesmic)

Twitter: @LoicLemeur

Blog: http://www.loiclemeur.com

Top 10 Things for Startups

Think Global Not Local

Jason Calacanis (Mahalo)

Twitter: @JasonCalacanisBlog: http://www.calacanis.com

How to save money running a startup (17 really good tips)

Startup Handbook: How to identify and deal with the slow masses, knowledgeable skeptics, and savvy dreamers.

Guy Kawasaki (Truemors, AllTop, Garage)

Twitter: @GuyKawasaki

Blog: http://www.GuyKawasaki.com

The Art of Innovation (Speech with Slides)

The Art of the Start (Speech)

Michael Arrington (Techcrunch)

Twitter: @TechCrunch

Blog: http://www.techcrunch.com

Startups Must Hire The Right People And Watch Every Penny or Fail

Michael Arrington and 13 Startup CEOs at Web 2.0 (Video)

Gary Vaynerchuk (Winelibrary.TV)

Twitter: @GaryVee

Blog: http://garyvaynerchuk.com

Legacy is Greater than Currency

The DNA Game

Final Thoughts on Startups:

This was just a sampling of the vast amount of excellent information available today about startups from the masterminds who’ve been successful with their own startups.

I selected the cream of the crop here and included many video presentations as well. Does following all of this advice ensure successful for your startup? I doubt it.

However, it will only help you avoid many of the mistakes that others have experienced the hard way. Perhaps you can become of these startup sages someday sharing the lessons you’ve learned!

Twitter is this generation’s CB Radio March 25, 2008

Posted by Doriano "Paisano" Carta in Blogs, Movies.
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Everyone is going ga ga over twitter these days but it reminds me of a similar communications craze that swept the country way back in the 1970s when I was tiny little Pai. I’m talking about CB (Citizens’ Band) Radio which reached its peak of populariy in 1975/1976 with the hit song “CONVOY” by C.W. McCall. Click this link if you want to hear the song. Here are the lyrics (but you will need to to visit the Cb Slang and Ten-Codes links below to understand most of song!). Here’s C.W. McCall performing Convoy on the Mike Douglas Show in 1976 (Prepare yourself for sheer entertainment! Remember, this was the hottest thing in the land! People couldn’t get enough of it!)

The CB Radio phenomenon was so huge that there was even a movie version of the “Convoy” song in 1978 starring Kris Kristofferson and Ali McGraw.

Where Twitter requires a username to access their system, CB Radio required a nickname or handle for a call sign. For example, in the popular song “Convoy” the nicknames used were “Rubber Ducky”, “Pig Pen” and “Sod Buster”. Where Twitter limits all messages to only 140-characters, CB Radio required messages to be as short as possible which spawned a massive library of short-hand terms known as CB Slang. Here are some examples:

“Convoy” – a group of 3 or more truckers in a line, usually exceeding the speed limit.
“Bear” = Police officer
“Evel Knievil” = Cop on a motorcycleCB Radio users also made great use of the Ten-Codes or properly known as ten signals. These were code words used to represent common phrases in voice communication, particularly by law enforcement and in CB radio transmissions. Here are some samples:

  • 10:4 (Understood, OK, Affirmative)
  • 10:9 (Repeat Last message)
  • 10-00 (Office down, All Patrols Respond)

So the old adage “Everything old is new again” could very well apply in this case too. Sure, CB Radio was strictly an audio communication platform and Twitter is a micro-blogging platform based on text, but there are some valid similarities between the communication crazes that are separated by thirty plus years. CB Radio users were able to communicate from home as well as on the road so they were the first true mobile network. It makes me wonder what will be the next great communication craze another thirty years into the future? Telepathetic holographic communication called MindWarp.com? Who knows.

Final Thoughts: While the CB Radio craze eventually wore off and now considered a fad, I don’t think Twitter will suffer the same fate. I think it will continue to change and evolve relative to the way that we use it. I think it will always be around in some capacity, we just have to wait and see if we’re merely at the beginning of Twitter’s popularity or at its peak. Time will tell.

Twitterture March 6, 2008

Posted by Doriano "Paisano" Carta in Blogs, Fun.
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As much as I love Twitter, the sad truth is that its strict 140-character limit is both its strength as well as its weakness. The trick is learning when to use twitter and how to use it.

It truly has evolved into its own form of communication with its own unique rules of grammar and spelling. This whole process is called Twitterture, which is the fine art of microblogging on the twitter platform. Think of it as a hybrid language of instant messaging mixed with text messaging.

I think a good way to demonstrate twitterture is by translating a well-known piece of work into twitter-verse. Let’s use Lincoln’s reknown Gettysburg Address.

Lincoln’s “few appropriate remarks” summarized the civil war in 10 sentences and 272 words. It is considered a masterpiece in brevity so what better test for twitter and its ultra brief 140-character limitation. Keep this in mind, Abe Lincoln’s powerful and memorable speech took only two minutes and will be remembered forever. However, Edward Everett gave a two hour long oration before Lincoln and no one ever remembers anything he said! Thus, another victory for Twitter and the beauty of brevity. Yes, sometimes less is more!

TheAbe: 4 score & 7 yrs ago r fathers brght 4th a new nation in liberty. All men created equal. New freedom, govrnmt of/by/4 the people wont perish!

Note: Obviously, shrinking the powerful 272 words of the Gettysburg Address down to 140 characters loses some of its luster and brilliance, but you now get a taste of twitter.

In the real world, Abe Lincoln wouldn’t have used a microblog to share this message. He might have used something like utterz or seesmic.

Here’s the complete original oratory work of art.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate—we can not consecrate—we can not hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth

I.T. Happens! (No. 2) February 20, 2008

Posted by Doriano "Paisano" Carta in Comedy, Comic Strips, IT Happens.
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Opening Night for Social Butterfly: The new musical based on Twitter and social media