Archives for posts with tag: twitter

What circles do you think you have been added to?

Google+ introduces a new type of privacy problems which I can only describe as the inverted personal privacy dilemma. It is no longer an issue of “What I choose to share with Google and then what Google shows to others”, the issue is now: “What friends/complete strangers choose to share about me to Google, and my inability to do anything about it”. The responsibility of maintaining my personal privacy has been partially removed from my hands, and placed in the hands of the people of internet.

Thought experiment:
Put 100 privacy aware/concerned people into a room. What would you suppose is the best way to create a global interest graph/taxonomy for this group of individuals? Algorithmically? Manually? First, ask them to fill out very basic personal information about themselves. We will probably have reasonable success. Next we ask them to fill in very specific personal information/categorizations about themselves. How do they react? Probably not as successful. Now ask the same group of people to write down and categorize the people around them, but remind them that their categorizations will remain secret. Each individual’s privacy has been maintained, and collectively we have created a very rich interest graph/taxonomy which is possibly far more accurate than any automated solution.

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The infamous TN1-VISA: Its like Willy Wonka’s golden ticket, except this one lets me legally work in the US.  I took this photo 5 minutes after walking out of the US customs office in YYZ

(for tips on what to do/expect when making the move yourself, checkout my other post here)

I recently moved from my home town of Toronto, Canada to downtown San Francisco.  A lot of people have asked me why I moved (other than the job) so I thought I’d write a quick post about my move.  Over the next few months I will also be publishing weekly (hopefully) updates about my journey into the heart of the tech world.
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I’m on the fence about the new look and feel of YouTube, but I felt this would be a great opportunity to see how Twitter and its users would react. Version 1 of an idea I had early for using Twitter as a litmus test. I ran some numbers using the search API and generated some pretty graphs, enjoy!

I have seen some absolutely stunning Twitter wallpapers and one thing that always sparks my imagination is living in a world of constraints.  Twitter gives everyone the same template, and lets us change colours, background images, but that’s about it.  When we, (myself, @kenstruys and Jason Tigas) were developing Thoora’s company twitter feed, we wanted to do something cool.  There was one area on the Twitter profile page we had some control over, even though most people wouldn’t think the control exists:  Recent Followers, and the Twitter mosaic was born.

So.... who has your company followed recently?

And just in case you missed it:

Now we did what we could, and Twitter so graciously gave us a nice 6×6 grid to work with.  So 36 Captcha’s  later – we had our very own custom module on our page.  We played around with having a mini version of our site embedded into the mosaic (each tile linking to the twitter account of a subsection of our site) but it seemed a bit overkill. Our Creative Director wasn’t too thrilled with kerning on the letters: t-h-o-o-r-a, but I really wanted to push the company name out there.  We were also able to nicely squeeze our logo mark (the thoora man) nicely into the grid.  For those curious, here’s a shot of one of the tiles:

All accounts are public, so feel free to mosaic your own page with us ;)

So that was a nice little afternoon hack which we put together a few months back.  Yes, I realize there is some branding inconsistencies here:  The logo mark is chopped up, the kerning is all wrong on our font… but the Thoora man got stuck in people’s head, and that’s what we wanted.  So here is a quick app idea, create a pixel account for every color in the RGB spectrum, then make an interactive tool allowing users to draw whatever they like in their “following canvas”.  If you make it, I’d love to try it out!  (Although the 24^2 * 36 pixels is a hell of a lot of Captcha’s).  Lastly, if you were wondering, we wrote a script to follow the accounts in order, so we are 1 line away from having a branded Twitter account. Thanks to David Billingham (@slawcup) for the PHP API wrappers. Usage: php script.php username password

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