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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,

Upgrading Software

Dear Reader,

Well, it’s the weekend so I naturally decided to check what software needed upgrading. Two packages quickly showed up on my “things I use and keep current” list.

Ed Finkler wrote this cool little twitter client and compiled it using AIR. Despite the fact that AIR has some kind of seriously dmanaged garbage collection requiring me to restart Spaz every hour or so, I love this little app. Ed has done some cool thing with it and I enjoy watching it’s progress. The only think I don’t like is when there is a new version (say…24 hrs has passed) when I fire it up, I get an in-your-face notification requiring me to decide at that moment, “Upgrade or No?” It’s not that I have anything against upgrading and certinly not against Ed or Spaz. but an icon on the toolbar when there is an upgrade available would be much nicer. Besides, I fired the client up to use it…not decide whether I wanted to upgrade. And yes, I know it’s Open Source software so I’m not griping about it or demanding a refund, I’m just using it as an example because the Windows Upgrade example has been beat to death.(BTW: Yes Ed, I’m jealous. I wish I had a cool open source app that everybody could point out the flaws of but never give me props for.)

I like WordPress. Despite it’s flaws and the fact that I think Matt is a bit unstable because he won’t upgrade it to work exclusively on PHP 5, I really like it. However, for the uninitiated, installing or upgrading it manually can be difficult. I have a good friend who shoots up “The Bat Signal” whenever he runs into a programming problem and I got one this morning. He tried to move from 2.3 to 2.3.1 and it was (shall we say) less than graceful. On the other hand, I upgraded both of my blogs in about 2 minutes. It actually too me longer to upgrade one of my plugins than it did my two blogs. This is, of course, thanks to the fact that I use Installatron on my server. Installatron makes keeping these types of applications up to date, extremely easy.

A side note on WordPress, while it has an annoying “you need to upgrade” link on every admin page when there’s a new version, it does not force me to decide whether to upgrade before I can do anything else.

Anyhow, both this blog and PHP Podcasts have been upgraded and I even had time to add a shinny new skin here. (Didn’t really like the last one) So life is good…mostly.

Until next time