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The Importance of Twitter

Dear Reader,

Ok, yes, I’m a twitterhead, thanks to the magic of programs like flock and Spaz I tweet daily now. However, Twitter, like any good web 2.0 application, is finding new uses like ioubeer and other innovative ideas.  At DevZone we are starting to experiment with using twitter as a reply mechanism for our podcast PHP Abstract and I know others are starting to work in this area.  Basically to me, twitter is an API to instantly contact, by whatever means they want, anyone who wants to share their attention with me.

Using PHP Abstract as an example, right now, to get people’s attention that we have posted a new episode on DevZone, I post on,, and Now however, for the past 3 episodes, I’ve also been posting on the PHP Abstract twitter account. So if you want to know that there is a new episode, all you have to do is follow phpabstract. While that is cool, one of the problems we seem to be having is that people don’t listen to PHP Abstract siggint at their computer, while on the DevZone page.  This means that people can’t easily reply to a podcast.  However, now, thanks to twitter, starting next week (doesn’t work yet, don’t bother) people will be able to tweet @phpabstract and the comment will go back to DevZone and be posted. So we now have a two-way API to talk with our listeners.

I think that going forward we will see more and more uses come forward for twitter. it reminds me of the recent Cisco commercial where the producers of a movie want to contact everybody about a sequel. (oh yea, my heart skips a beat because the producer of a movie has figured out how to rehash all the jokes in the first movie and re-package it as “fresh” content)  The producer enters the message into his phone and it calls one person, emails one and TXT messages one.  Well, we don’t need Cisco or an expensive phone system to do that now, we’ve got twitter. I can enter a message into twitter, everyone who is interested in what I have to say can follow me and respond. Instant API into my attention sphere.

Now what would be cool is twitter groups…

Until next time,

Flock: FireFox on Steriods? Or just FireFox with Junk in the Trunk

Dead Reader,

Flock, the “Social Browser” built on Fire Fox. It’s now in release 1.0 so I decided to try it out.  I have to say, if you use any of the “Social” website, you are going to like Flock.

Social, All in One Place, Instead of All Over The Place

The main feature of Flock is it’s tight integration with social web sites.  As i write this, I have Flock open  with a side bar with tabs for FaceBook, Twitter, Flickr and youtube. As usual, LinkedIn seems to have managed to screw themselves out of another great opportunity by refusing to create an API. Their loss not withstanding the integration with the other sites is awesome.  The sidebar allows me to see the status or changes that I would normally have to visit the site to see.  Additionally, in the case of FaceBook I can change my status and in the case of twitter, I can tweet, directly from the sidebar. Additionally, there is an “All” tab that combines all the feeds into one. Great way to get a birds eye view of what is going on and what has changed.

The handling of media is great also.  When my daughter uploads pictures to her facebook account, the word “Media” under her facebook picture turns orange.  Clicking on it doesn’t open up another web page though, it opens a tab at the top and shows me her pictures. Flock truly integrates with these sites they feel like part of the browser, not just an add on or afterthought.

As much as I like my friend Ed’s AIR application Spaz, Flock has become my interface to twitter.

A Better FireFox Than FireFox?

One of the things that originally drew me to Flock was rumors that they had improved FireFox’s memory management.  Possibly because I’ve not yet installed all of my extensions that I use in FireFox but Flock is snappier, uses less memory and can stay open for days at a time without leaking memory. With FireFox, I routinely have to shut down all browsers after more than 4 hours because it starts to pause between page loading, field switching or tab switching…it gets really annoying.

Blogging Friendly

Another great feature of Flock is the blogging tool they integrate into it. I’m writing this post from the “Blog Editor” It easily integrates with any of the major blogging sites or, as in my case, WordPress. However, no matter what page you are on, your blog is just a right-click away. The right click menu contains a “blog this” menu item that brings up the blog editor ready with a link ot the page already pasted in for you.


I live in a browser, it’s just the world I work in, so browser performance is very important to me. Add to it the fact that I actually save RAM by not having to run a separate twitter client as well as time and bandwidth by not having to check the sites I participate in regularly to keep current and I have to say that Flock is really a winner. If you participate in any of the socal networks mentioned or you have been having performance issues with FireFox, I highly recommend you take a look at Flock.

Until next time,

Tags: flock, firefox, youtube, facebook, flickr, blogging, linkedin, review, browsing