Tag: twitter

Postpone the OAuthcalypse – Basic Authentication and Command Line Tools for Twitter

A little while ago, Twitter decided to get rid of “basic authentication” for all third party tools (i.e. login and passwords) and force them to use OAuth as a more secure and user-friendly means of using their service.  This event, affectionately known as the OAuthcalypse among the tech community, caused many people to throw their hands up in disgust as they realized that many of their scripts and tools would now be obsolete – that is, unless they spent time and effort revamping them to use OAuth.

Luckily, there’s a simpler solution for all those folks out there – using a website that handles the OAuth handshake for you lets you essentially proxy your Twitter calls through an authorized site, meaning you can hang on to your scripts and tools with minimal modifications.

The easiest solution I’ve found out there is SuperTweet.net.  Designed to transparently replace direct calls to Twitter, SimpleTweet does all the heavy lifting and has quite an extensive API to utilize.  Setup is relatively quick and painless (see details below) and for the most simple one-line tweeting solutions, just requires you replacing your Twitter password with your SuperTweet password, and changing the URL you hit to the SimpleTweet gateway URL.

An alternate solution, and one I’ve had only partial success with, is Elliot Kember’s Simple Auth Twitter.  Although it boasts an easier setup (basically, click one link and you’ve got everything set up for you), it appears to be more limited in what you can do on Twitter via the proxy, and requires you to change your format of your scripts to hit a custom URL for each status tweet.  Although it worked for me on unix-based systems, I could not get it to work via curl for Windows.

My recommendation, if you like to tweet from the command line or have a script/tool that needs to do so, is use SimpleTweet.net to replace your old basic authentication calls to Twitter.  It took me about 2 minutes to set up and edit my scripts to use this, and they’ve worked flawlessly since then.  Sure, there’s a third party in the loop now, but if the alternative is learning OAuth or giving up on my scripts entirely, I’ll happily take the quick & dirty solution and go about the rest of my day doing something more fun.


How to Set Up SuperTweet.net – Step by Step instructions

1) If you’re not already signed in, login into Twitter via the Twitter homepage with the account you want to use with SuperTweet’s API Proxy

2) Go to the SuperTweet.net homepage and click the “Sign in With Twitter” button to get to the Twitter authorization page

1signin 3) Click the “Allow” button to allow “MyAuth API Proxy by supertweet.net” access to your Twitter account.  This is the step where they’re setting up the OAuth handshake for you so you can use SuperTweet as a proxy without having to do OAuth yourself.

2allow 4) You’ll be returned to the SuperTweet site, with a page that shows the credentials that are set up for your account.  Right now, the account is Inactive because you have not set up a password.  Click the “Activate” link to set up a password.

3activate 4) On the next screen, enter the password you want to use with your command-line tools.  Note: They recommend NOT using your Twitter password here to add a little extra safety to your account.  Most command line tools are going to transmit this password in the clear, so it’s probably a good idea to use an alternate password.

4password 5) You should now be returned to the credentials page, with a note next to your status saying your account is active.  Congratulations, you can now use SuperTweet as a proxy for your Twitter calls!

Here’s an example to get you started – if you want to tweet your status from the command line, use the following one-liner:

curl -u your_twitter_username_here:your_SuperTweet_password_here -d status="Status you want tweeted goes here" http://api.supertweet.net/1/statuses/update.xml

(Curl for Windows uses arguments slightly differently, but it’s similar enough that I think you can figure it out.)

The full list of API calls is available here. Lots of possibilities out there if you want to get more complex, but I think most people just want their script/tool to be able to tweet status info based on the outcome of their script, which is what I’ve listed above.

Hope this helps you out, letting you continue to use those scripts/tools you wrote and Twitter broke with their OAuthcalypse!


Cut the Crap! Introducing TheCrapCritic Reviews on Twitter

In my family, I am notorious for choosing the worst movies for family movie nights.  It's almost a sure thing.  In fact, it happened so often over the years that I almost consider it my superpower to be able to choose to watch, out of all available selections, the worst movie possible.  Here are some of the "gems" I selected over the years:

Now granted, most of my worst choices were back in the days before internet rating systems and review sites were in place.  We'd usually wander around in a Blockbuster video store and pick movies that looked like they might appeal to the family.  I just know, if left to my own devices, I tend to choose films on the crappier side of the scale.

Given this knowledge, how can I best use my powers for the good of all mankind? By simultaneously warning and entertaining others of the perils of these crappy movies!  And what better way to do it than in the most succinct format known to humanity today – the 140 character tweet!

I'd like to introduce to you my alter-ego, TheCrapCritic, who can be found anywhere that bad movies and media exist.  Through this account, I'll distill the essence of a crappy film, book, commercial, television show, or other media down into a pithy, 1-tweet "review".  I can't promise a regular schedule because even I won't voluntarily subject myself to these crappy products – but you can bet with my unerring ability to choose the crap that I'll have plenty to post.  Here a couple of my more recent "reviews":

  • SURROGATES: The actors portray surrogate robots. They do a great job – it's like a bad screenplay being read aloud by your computer. #crap
  • DEATH RACE: Where Jason Statham wears a metal mask and drives a Mustang with guns attached. Viewers are advised to wear blindfolds. #crap
  • If Jet Li spent as much time practicing his acting as he did his martial arts, Kiss of the Dragon might have been a better movie. #crap

If you're on Twitter, come follow TheCrapCritic for more along the same lines.  I'm just getting started over there so there's not much of a backlog, but the crap will out, so it's just a matter of time…

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You Kids Today Have Things Too Good

Alright, listen up you whippersnappers.  You don't know how nice you've got things nowadays.  Your lives are too easy, too good, too plentiful.  Let me tell you, when I was your age:

  • We didn't have any of this "motion-controlled video game system" crap.  When we jerked our controllers up to make Mario jump just a little bit higher on the screen, did he jump higher?  No sir-ee bob, he did not.  If you didn't hit that A button, Mario would get bit by that turtle and you'd lose a life, simple as that.  Oh yes, we'd be waving that damn controller all over the place, but good luck having it do anything more than give you a psychological benefit in the game!

  • Ketchup packets were just that – packets of ketchup that always contained too little ketchup and were damn hard to open.  None of this "Dip & Squeeze" crap that Heinz is coming out with now.  You bit your ketchup packets to open them because your hands were too greasy to tear open that serrated edge of the packet and that was that!  And if you were in the car, good luck keeping ketchup on your food and out of your lap!

  • Forget about cell phones, text messaging, instant messaging, email, twitter, facebook or skype.  When you wanted to get in touch with your friends, you picked up the house phone and called their house!  Or more often, you got on your bike or walked over to their house, rang the doorbell, and asked if they were home and could come play!

  • When we had to do a report for school, the first place we went was the CARD CATALOG in the LIBRARY.  Then you'd have to find BOOKS in the stacks and READ through them to find information!  Google and Wikipedia searches didn't exist. If you wanted to find out when Picasso painted Guernica, you had to look it up the hard way.  It built character, and ruined our eyesight.  That's why we all wear reading glasses now, dontcha know?

I could go on and on about all the ways you kids have it too easy today, but it's time for me to go watch some Olympics on the DVR.  Then I have to go read some of my feeds on Google Reader and follow it up with a "dance party" with my kids to the custom Pandora music stream I set up specifically for when we want to boogie on down.  But hear me on this: you kids are SPOILED.  Appreciate what you've got, because the next generation certainly will take it for granted…

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More Valuable Websites I Use

I'm not an overly big fan of the social networking and/or 2.0 websites, but I do use a few of them.  The big ones (Facebook, Last.fm, Delicious, Flickr, and Twitter) have already been rehashed in great detail, but there's a couple others that really do what I need them to do, and are worth a mention here – namely, Goodreads and RunningAHEAD.

Goodreads

Goodreads is my favorite book-related website.  In essence, it's a way to catalog and organize books.  You can use it any number of ways – as a way to log what books you read, categorize books in your library using "bookshelves" (essentially tags, so you can put one book on multiple "bookshelves"), review & rate books, and then add friends so you can view all of this information on other like-minded people's accounts.  I find it a great way to keep track of what I'm reading, how many books I'm reading a year, whether I already have a book in my library and whether I've read it, whether I'm borrowing/lending a book from/to someone else, and even my wish-list of books (hint: make a bookshelf called "wish-list" and then you can direct people to the books on it directly). 

In addition, everything is hyperlinked, so clicking on the author of a book will bring up a list of his/her works, clicking on the title of a book will show links to pages where you can read reviews and/or purchase the book, cover art is imported automatically, and you can subscribe to a feed and/or summary email of someone's activity, if you want to see what they've read/rated lately.

Goodreads is completely free, with no limit on the number of books you may have in your library.  They even have easy ways to import books from a spreadsheet or from ISBN numbers, if you already have them in some other format.  If you join or are already a member, be sure to add me as a friend – I love to see what other people are reading and how they rate the books they've read.  My profile is here, and it's easy to sign up and start keeping track of your own books!


RunningAHEAD

Recently, I've gotten back into running regularly for exercise, and as part of my efforts, I find it interesting and motivational to log my running activity.  Prior to signing up with RunningAHEAD, I used to keep all my runs in a spreadsheet on my computer.  The biggest issue with this was I never seemed to have a copy of the spreadsheet on the computer I was near after finishing my run.  Now I have a single, centralized location where I can enter my workout information, track my running shoes and the mileage I've put on them, and even map routes and add extra information about my run.  The website also has some decent graphing and trending tools to allow you to visualize any of the data variables you choose to record regularly.  The site even has capabilities to join or start a training group – all members that join are listed together under the group heading, and you can then chat in a separate group forum, share running reports, etc.  Overall, a very nice little site that does what it should do, and is free to boot.

If you want to see my RunningAHEAD info, my info is here.   Be aware I only update on a weekly/biweekly basis with all of the runs I did that week, once I download them from my Forerunner, so it may not show the most recent run status for me.


[NaBloPoMo 2008 – #29/30]

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Twitter != Tech

Dear Vox and 6A,

I like that you try to auto-allocate people's posts into one of the 5 categories for your Explore module (at least, I'm assuming you're not doing it by hand!)  It's neat to subscribe to the technology RSS feed and suddenly have 30-50 posts from a random sampling of Vox users talking about different tech subjects.  And of course, on the rare occasion that the Tech Editor puts up new featured posts, I'll see that in the feed, too.  But could you tweak something for me please?  Pretty please with cherries on top?

Just because someone is using LoudTwitter or another Twitter archiving service to archive their tweets on a Vox account does NOT mean that post is tech-related.  Please change your filters so posts with the word Twitter1 in the post or title are not automatically allocated to this category.  There's nothing I like less than hitting "next" through 25 posts on this RSS feed because Joe Schmoe's twitter archive post with 12 tweets about his cat Fluffy has been lumped into the Tech category.

Thanks,
Ross

1How much do you want to bet this post gets lumped into the tech category because I mentioned Twitter?

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AutoLink for Twitter – New Greasemonkey Script

@Pistachio on Twitter gave me a great idea for a new Greasemonkey script.  Twitter users know that putting the @ sign in front of someone's Twitter ID (e.g. @twitterID) is the way to reply to that person through twitter.  When you're on twitter.com, or using a twitter client, this @twitterID is usually hyperlinked to that Twitter profile page (e.g. http://www.twitter.com/twitterID ).  However, this is usually NOT the case when you view a Twitter ID on any other webpage (including Gmail).  I decided to put together a Greasemonkey script that changes that, so that any Twitter ID, anywhere (even in Gmail) will be hyperlinked to the corresponding Twitter profile page.

Since I try not to reinvent the wheel when possible, I built my script on top of Jesse Ruderman's AutoLink Greasemonkey script.  (I did delete some of the functionality that people might not want, such as bugzilla IDs and phone numbers – if you want the full version of that script, get it here. Note that you'll have to merge my Twitter filter into his script if you want the Twitter auto-linking functionality.)

Once you install the script, @rossruns will look like @rossruns.  As an added benefit, Jesse's script already converted email addresses and plainlink URLs into hyperlinked versions, so you get that auto-linking functionality with this script, too.

Want to install this script for your own use?  First install Greasemonkey, and then get the script here.  (Instructions to install Greasemonkey can be found here.)

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