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…of influence and klout

Dear Reader,

Both of you that read this blog regularly know that I’ve been playing around with the Klout API. For a while now Klout has been my new shiny. Last week I started actually hitting their API and gathering info. At first, I just wanted to see what they had available. However, as I started to see the data come in, I started to find out some interesting things. (A little side note, their API is run by the cool folks over at Mashery. /me waves oh hai to Kirsten and Rob)

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PHP Wrapper for Klout API

Dear Reader,

In a previous tweet about playing with Klout and Twitter I talked about a project I am working on that mines Klout for interesting people. (Well, interesting to me) The main body of code remains procedural because…well because it works and it’s not something I’m going to share so why bother cleaning it up. However parts of it may be useful to me in other projects. So I abstracted the Klout API into a class and have posted it for anyone who wants to use it.

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Bing Search API wrapper for PHP

Dear Reader,

Back in March I had the opportunity to work on a project for Microsoft that is now coming to light. I was tasked with writing a PHP wrapper for the Bing API that Microsoft has been building. I’ve written API wrappers before and it is either a fun experience or it is a nightmare, depending on whether the API is easy to work with. I am pleased to report that the Bing Search API is well thought out and very easy to work with. For PHP developers, I am hoping that what I am about to show you makes it even easier.
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Dynamically loading images from the web in Flex 3

Dear Reader,

This weekend’s Flex project was more successful that last weeks. At least the code has survived this far without me declaring it a bust and moving on to the next project.

This week’s project involves (among other things) calling an API that returns a graphic and then displaying it on-screen. Being the Flex neophyte I am, I assumed that this was a simple call to HTTPService. Unfortunately, as I found out, that won’t work. HTTPService is designed specifically to work with APIs that return specific types of data.
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Are Tivo and LinkedIn run by the same idiots?

Dear Reader,

DISCLAIMER: I have 2 Lifetime Tivo subscriptions and have been a member of LinkedIn since it was in beta.

I know a lot of you out there right now are scratching their heads and wondering what a Networking site and a PVR/DVR have in common. Here is what they have in common, ranks of upper management with closed minds.

Tivo

I was out at tivo.com yesterday and the first thing they did when I hit the page was ask if I would answer a survey after I finished my business. I of course agreed (I’m just that kind of guy) and so when I finished, I filled out the survey.

I gave them the usual answers anyone visiting tivo.com would.

  • 30 seconds is too long to wait for a page to load
  • Your site navigation is goofy
  • Your documentation is incomplete

However, the question they did NOT ask me is “What could we do to make your Tivo more useful to you?” See that’s a question I could write a book on. However, I won’t here, I’ll boil it down into a single concept. “Open it up and let me discover new ways to use it.”

I’m a programmer, when I look at a box like that (or my XBox 360) where the mfgr has obviously gone to great lengths to make sure that I can never run “unapproved” code on it, it just makes me sad. Open it up a bit. Let me build services that can interact with my Tivo. I understand your issues with copyright and I’m not trying to steal content. but hell, it’s a Linux box. Let me write a service that feeds a widget on my blog that shows what I’m watching at the moment. Let me suck down the data on what it’s recording and slice it and dice it myself. Who knows, maybe I’ll find a better way to recommend new shows.

There are hundreds of thousands of ideas for product enhancements that you don’t have to write, we, the hordes of hobbyist programmers and 21 Century tinkerers will make the Tivo an indispensable piece of equipment if you quit locking us out and realize that the Tivo can be so much more than an appliance, it can be a platform.

Oh and it’s ok if you don’t make any money off of each and every service written…make your money on the stuff you do and don’t try to charge me for the privileged of making your device better. Get it together Tivo, if you open up and let us help you, then Hollywood can’t stop you. You can either be the big dog, or stay a whipped puppy.

LinkedIn

These guys still don’t get it. (This is getting to be a regular topic for me.) I’m on LinkedIn and FaceBook both for very different reasons. However, I’m on facebook 3-4 times a day and linkedin 1-2 times a week. See the difference LinkedIn? Pictures in my profile aren’t enough, I want to actually DO SOMETHING with the data I’ve been giving you all these years. We’ve had this discussion before, “Why LinkedIn Sucks (and why I’ll keep using it)”, “LinkedIn Rant – Part II” and you’ve even promised progress but so far…nothing. Open up, let me do what I want with my data and all of a sudden you are useful enough for me to start paying for your service. Have you ever stopped and wondered why you aren’t growing as fast as facebook? It’s not the teens and tweens on facebook, it’s the fact that on facebook, people have freedom to experiment. On LinkedIn, I still can’t write a program that allows me to simply figure out which of my friends know each other…hell on facebook it’s a game!

If Facebook ever wises up and decided that it wants to be the big dog in your yard, you are so toast. Don’t wait for OpenSocial, give me an API and give it to me now. Anything I can do via a web page should be doable from an API. Do that and do it NOW and it’s a good start…it’s only a start but it is a start.

To both tivo and linkedin, I write this post, not because I’m a disgruntled user but because I really like both of you. Both of you however, need a swift kick in the ass to get you moving before you are relegated to the pile of other services I liked once but are now gone. (anyone remember GEnie? I LOVED GEnie!) Come on guys, closed is so last century, open up, let us into the playground and I guarantee that what we create will do more for your bottom line than any overpriced CEO will ever do.

Until next time,
(l)(k)(bunny)
=C=