The twitter points system

During my monthly new twitter followers processing, I realized that I have a curious informal points system that I run through every single time I look at someone’s twitter page to determine their reciprocal follow worthiness:

1.  Is it not in English? -100 points
2.  Based in San Diego? +50 points
     SoCal? +40 points
     SF? +25 points
3.  Female? (I know so few of them) +20 points
4.  More than 1000 tweets?  -35 points
5.  Using twitter as an RSS feed for your blog?  -60 points
6.  Following more than twice the number of people who follow you?  -30 points
7.  Two+ recent updates regarding what you ate? (and you’re not Chef JoAnna)  -30 points 
8.  Have a website? +20 points
     And it’s a myspace page?  -40 points
     Powered by Tumblr:  +10 points
     Intriguing "about" page?  +20 points
     Informative, clever posts on topics I find relevant?  +40 points
9.  Twitter posts that don’t suck?  +50 points

I’d say it takes about 100 points to get followed.  Once I hit -100, you’re out.   But what I find so amazing is that I go through all these levels of scrutiny before I really consider the quality of the actual content someone’s generating.  The twitter posts themselves are LAST.  I think I do this because since twitter can be so interrupting, I want to make sure I really trust and value the people I give that kind of 24/7 power to.

And yes…even though I just whipped the logic behind this in a few minutes, I do realize that I’m giving the same amount of points to San Diegans as I am to people who make smart posts.  There’s never going to be a shortage of interesting people on the Internet, and I decided several barcamps ago that one of my new platforms is to cultivate a stronger and more cultural community in this city.  Giving locals higher priority in social networking services helps me shed that pesky Valley Envy and devote more time  to hyping up what’s happening right under my nose.

IRSeek starts over fresh

I just got an email from IRSeek, the IRC logging startup that generated a small uproar a few weeks ago, stating that they’ve removed all previously collected logs and will have easy to identify bot nicknames. 

They’ve curiously also set up both opt-in and opt-out policies regarding channel inclusion based on the desires of various networks’ IRCops.  Freenode demanded a strictly opt-in service (yay!), but the OSX86 network preferred to have all channels indexed who didn’t opt-out.

The one section of the new policies that I disagree with is that opt-in or opt-out authority isn’t limited to channel operators.  Presumably any user (the site uses the term "channel contacts") can submit the necessary forms, which is inviting chaos.  IRSeek also mentions that they will confirm the validity of the contact, but doesn’t mention exactly how this will be accomplished.  A more reasonable policy would be to allow non-ops to submit channels, but provide the name of an operator to verify the request.

My advice to channel operators is to set the indexing status of your channel now.  IRSeek looks like they’re trying to do right by the desires of the IRC community, but save yourself from future heartache and make the choice yourself.

Former Gizmodo editor rips the gadget blogosphere a new one

Consumer electronics are a joke. It’s everyone’s fault but mine. You assholes.

That’s the title of a Gizmodo editorial, written by former editor Joel Johnson, that thousands of gadget geeks are waking up to during their morning RSS read. The article is likely the most beautiful feature ever posted to that site.

And you guys just ate it up. Kept buying shitty phones and broken media devices green and dripping with DRM. You broke the site, clogging up the pipe like retarded salmon, to read the latest announcements of the most trivial jerk-off products, completely ignoring the stories about technology actually making a difference to real human beings, because you wanted a new chromed robot turd to put in your pocket to impress your friends and make you forget for just a few minutes, blood coursing as you tremblingly cut through the blister pack, that your life is utterly void of any lasting purpose.

I quit reading Engadget and Gizmodo quite some time ago because of the signal to noise ratio, which is quite disenfranchising for a self-proclaimed gadget geek. I’ve preferred to focus my time on sites such as Techdirt, Boing Boing, Lifehacker (and good ole Slashdot). Sites with a better chance of seriously improving my ability to be a geek. Stuff that matters.

Get it together: every single one of these consumer electronics companies should be approached as the enemy. They work for us. Hold their feet to the fire when they say their product is going to change even a small part of our lives. Circle back again in six months when they’re shilling the incremental upgrade and ask them why the last version didn’t cut the mustard. Step out of your blogging trench and ask yourself what your responsibility is to the tens of thousands of idiots who are reading this site right now to determine what they should spend their next paycheck on.

Hopefully Joel’s column serves as the rally cry we so desperately need to convince the squadron of complacent fanboys currently driving the market to make a stand for the quality, functionality, and value that consumers deserve.


Web 2.0: The Machine is Us

Created by an anthropology professor, this video explains the history of how information sharing “worked” when the Internet first began, then explains why the transition to XML was important to give us new ways to use this information. The second half then goes into how it is our responsibility to tag, categorize, and describe our Internet…and what legal pitfalls need to be re-evaluated. Even though it is still a draft, this video is the perfect way to help explain Web 2.0’s importance to people who Just Don’t Get It.

:[Link via BoingBoing]:


A refreshing insight on why the RIAA doesn’t get it

I skip most MAFIAA bashing articles these days since they’re always rehashing the same old complaints (or stupid new tactics), but Mike from Techdirt actually has some clever commentary on industries who as a whole don’t understand what market they’re in.

It’s interesting to note that it wasn’t horse-drawn carriage makers who became successful automobile companies. No, they ended up going out of business, because they too narrowly defined their markets as being the horse-drawn carriage market, rather than the road-based transportation market, or just the transportation market. Of course, that was something the railroad businesses could have claimed as well — but they also were too narrowly focused on being in the railroad business (and, some say, were the inspiration behind passing certain anti-automobile laws early on in the automobile’s history). The horse-drawn carriage makers, however, very much should have realized they were in the transportation market, and should have been always looking for ways to step up to provide better and better systems for local transportation.

In the case of the RIAA[…]they believe their job is to distribute music, promote it, and get people to buy it. They make money by keeping that system closed and locked down. If they recognized they were really in the “entertaining people with music business” they should only be ecstatic about new technologies and services that make their job easier.


PS: One of the commenters on this article also brings up an interesting point that we’re nearing an economy where there is “so much free stuff available that people will pay you to find it for them”.

Passively Multiplayer Web 2.0 Game Concept

Rather like #idleRPG for irc, Justin Hall of is working on a “passively-multiplayer online game” where you level up based on what sites you visit and how frequently you surf the Web2net. (Aside: did I just coin that? Using Web 2.0 in a sentence tends to get klunky.) Browsing different sites changes different stats…for example, browsing Flickr lowers strength, but raises dexterity and wisdom. With the right format and a little Firefox extension (similar
to Swarm) to passively gather your browsed pages, I think this is a fabulously fun idea. Planned features include finding people with similar browsing statistics and gathering obtainable “items” embedded in browsed pages (I can see webmasters designing quests already). More about this from the developer:

“Oh look, here’s a collectible virtual tool I just picked up on the Make magazine site.” “I put this crazy unicorn up on my MySpace page – now
people are riding it!” Perhaps can channel information packrat tendencies by providing a playful structure for exchanging web curios: raising an avatar, and feeding it information.

Justin has a proof of concept page here. A single-player version is planned to be out this summer, with multi-player following in the fall. I assure you I will be signed up for the alphas as soon as I can get my grubby little hands on them.

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Promising new music service

Based on the Music Genome project, Pandora tells genre preconceptions to fuckoff. The high-quality 128Kbps stream serves you an entire station of music that is “genetically” similar to your seed song or artist, sans advertising (other than requisite links to buy the song or album on Amazon and iTunes) .

I have to admit it was a bit disconcerting at first to hear Britney Spears on a Bjork station, but I listened to the musical qualities of the song, and it did actually fit. J-Lo’s “Jenny from the block” that came up two songs later did NOT fit, but that’s why Pandora has made it easy to provide feedback on what songs appear on your stations. Suffice to say, that song will never play on my station again. ^_^

The service is invite only for now, but there’s an invite-request box on the front page (personally, I got my link from the CEO’s post on downloadsquad). Best of all, the preview version is free.

NetBSD: Now it DOES run your toaster

Holy balls, they’ve finally done it.

This toaster features a 4 line LCD, USB keyboard, 10/100 ethernet port and a RS232 serial port for the external console. The toaster’s internal circuit boards have been bypassed and routed through the CPU board allowing NetBSD complete control over the toaster’s features. A keyboard connects through a USB port on the side of the toaster and the 4×40 LCD displays a NetBSD/toaster login prompt. The burner element is also controlled by the TS-7200 via an internal relay. Unlike previous NetBSD toasters which were nothing more than a glorified PC case-mod, this toaster can actually toast bread!

Read the full article:

Quote of the Day

Slashdot quote of the day:  

Reason #1 why I use FreeBSD over Linux, I just want a Unix-like OS without a revolution packaged with it. Talk about bloat. :)

Windows Mobile vs. PalmOS

Windows Mobile is about to whoop the ever lovin’ schnarkins out of palm if they don’t get their act together.

  • New mobile versions of Word Mobile, PowerPoint Mobile Viewer, and Excel Mobile
  • Improved one-handed navigation so you don’t have to use a stylus
  • A new camera API that’ll make it easier for developers to write apps that use a device’s built-in camera
  • Better WiFi support for Smartphones
  • Support for push-to-talk and video calling
  • Improved Bluetooth (e.g. ability to use ActiveSync over Bluetooth with multiple PCs)
  • Support for “persistent memory,â€? which means that you won’t lose all your data when your battery dies (a feature the Treo 650 and several other Palms already have)
  • Support for USB 2.0 AND support for internal hard drives