Archive for March 14th, 2007

Twitter Posting with PHP and Curl

As it’s so utterly and incredibly easy to do this, I thought I’d add to the resources of how to post to message to your Twitter account using PHP and Curl.

So, to add to the other PHP scripts I’ve been plonking out here, here is the PHP source code to a simple function which will post to a Twitter account. Send data to it from a form or a service, or even another script, even from an llHTTPRequest from an LSL script in Second Life! Easy and interesting stuff, that messaging. ;)

Here you go: http://kosso.co.uk/twitter/twitterCurl.phps

More Twittering…

I see that Scripting News has been thinking of Twitter. I’m surprised at the reaction from someone who usually see so much potential in simple things.

UPDATE : More discussion from Dave Winer

At first, I thought – “so what’s so great about this Twitter thing?” – it’s just blogging with just titles. One-liners. With contact lists. Aggregation of those contacts’ one-liners. And an SMS communication layer to distribute those short messages away from the desktop…without the internet.

oh, hang on.. :) — hmm…aha!

To me, it’s the SMS layer to mobiles which makes this interesting. It’s very easy to duplicate – but not so easy to pay for. But SMS ‘can’ make a lot of money (but for who, eh? *nudge*)

The actual content back end must be very simple indeed – but no idea about what they are doing with scaling that, but it seems to get better and worse now again, which means they are constantly tweaking it I imagine.

They say they will be adding groups. This is a good idea, as it will extend what users can do privately – and that means it could be used for businesses.

Also, through the very simple API it’s easy to build stuff on top of the comms framework they have there. Some useful. Some for fun.

Some sites have started to ‘ping’ their TwitterBots (which have no friends – as they don’t read – but many followers) with the latest updates to their systems – Techmeme, BBC, CNN, Podcast.com, etc. – It’s a little river of news, mashed up with commentary, streams of consciousness – and the mundane. I have a little function on my server, using PHP and Curl to ‘Tweet’ me from a special account when something goes wrong.

I’m toying with couple of usernames which I am ‘Sqwitting‘ (That’s username squatting on Twitter, folks) which I plan to make respond to certain calls and queries after any user who the ‘befriended’ the account calls using @question or @answer – which has now become the de facto way to openly reply to another one of your friends. It’s easy to list recent posts from friends with the API, so why not get it to ‘look’ for @name calls? *Bingo!* It’s like a machine!

There are heaps of combinations of feeds – in different formats – to play with and construct all sorts of useful things – all with that very handy SMS layer :) It won’t be long before someone builds something very useful based on this system. But only when it’s reliable and faster! :)

Rex Hammock quotes a great line from Joi Ito on how Americans, when looking at new technology immediately ask, “What’s the business application?” In Japan, however, new technology is handed to children who are told, “Go play with it.” The kids play and do stuff that later becomes things that others realize would make sense also in a business context.

Great stuff!

Bloghud is Twitter on Acid in a Virtual World :) Think what will happen to Twitter when we can easily add our Geo location latitude and longitude! (Still waiting for my Nokia N95 ;) )

In addition

(and I think this is important)

I think that they should Open Source the main Twitter server system structure NOW. Before it gets cloned all over the place. (As happened with YouTube, etc)

All except the SMS layer. There is a huge potential business model in then creating that connection between all the various ‘TwitterPlanets’ in the ‘TwitterVerse’ to that SMS layer to enable that which is most valuable – staying in touch with the network while away from the desk or internet using a device most of us already have in our pockets.

The potential here and NOW is huge. They could wrap this up. Think of all the extra features that could come from it. Think of all the useful ‘special agent bots’ – each with different abilities from different (Twitter)planets. How that could also help the ‘mother hub’ itself. It’s almost a model of what will happen when Linden opensource their Server system. The universe, metaverse and Twitterverse will benefit.

What do you think?

Long Live The BBC!

A while ago, Mike Arrington from TechCrunch called for the dissolution of the BBC at the FOWA conference. Today the BBC announces it is pulling the plug on the ‘BBC Jam‘ project – an online learning resource for school kids.

He has some regrets about what he said and asks today what people in the UK think about this and the boundaries that the BBC can go to or cross regarding all this.

I have a few things to say – some on top – some off – but just to give some more perspective to this conversation (I used to work for BBC News Interactive) :

BBC (especially in R&D) are always looking push the boundaries – without offending the license payer. And they have really done amazing things – especially in the past.

Back when radio started, the BBC created content and transmitted it : it sold many radios.

Same thing happened with television. The BBC helped to create the industry and helped (indirectly) sell loads of TVs through huge amounts of technical research and achievements. A ‘bit’ like Steve Jobs helped push portable audio and its formats by selling an iPod.

Arguably, without the BBC, the media industry it is part of wouldn’t be where it is today.

The BBC were recently told by the Director of Future Media and Technology (Ashley Highfield) that it must “Get web savvy or we die..”. There are going to be ALOT of changes coming in how the BBC manages and responds to its online strategies and goals set for the future.

‘Some’ people at the BBC look at you like you just produced fire from your hands if you mention ‘Web2.0′ and ‘social networks’ — “oooooh! prettyyy!.. must have some”

So, when the idea of a site for children’s education and learning comes up, all replete with tasty doses of ‘Web 2.0′, ‘ social networking’, ‘collaboration’, ‘virtual world’ etc. – which companies fall over themselves for these days (sometimes justifiably/worthwhile) – then you have to see what an easy sell it was to whatever board of people gave it the OK. (quite possibly, many of which didn’t have the slightest idea what it was – but it sounded ‘hip’ – so yay! let’s pwn it d00d)

I learned SO MUCH from the television as a child in the UK (as I am sure the teachers did too!). I learned alot of early computer skills on a BBC-A, BBC Micro, etc.. which OK, wasn’t strictly BBC, but I didn’t see Clive Sinclair or Research Machines claiming unfairness then – it was GOOD for the industry in the long run. Easy.

The BBC also has an obligation to outsource the production of a large percentage of content to outside companies/contractors. That’s where they give something back. Small companies can see their logo/credits role by and BBC1. What a feeling! Think of all the new leads and opportunities it creates for them.

Alas, not for those who are not chosen by the BBC. And I think you’ll find it’s those people who protest the most – and rightly so, in some cases – as here – possibly. I’m undecided about BBC Jam. I just wanted to add a bit more perspective.

The big thing that sets up the BBC as a huge target in all this is naturally the TV License. For those of you out there who still don’t know : Everyone in the UK who owns a TV set or a Radio is required by law to pay an annual TV License. A colour TV Licence costs £131.50 and it’s cheaper for a black and white set (lol).

So, it’s very much like a subscription model – but one you are forced into paying for, if you simply own a TV set.

As a child I used to ask “Then why doesn’t someone build a telly which can’t be tuned in to BBC1 or BBC2?” (we only had two BBC tv channels back then) – “Then we don’t need to pay the TV License” (which probably meant I could have more candy or something)

By removing those content channels from the device, surely we don’t have to pay for it.

What I’m getting at is, the BBC are forging forward into technology – sometimes forgetting the content itself (but that’s another rant) – in an area and network (the internet) where choice is endless. Also we have more and more digital tv channels cropping up all the time (mostly useless) – the choice is growing. Every second my eyes are watching YouTube or other video online, they’re not looking at the TV set (we already, forcibly paid for)

So, the more they develop online and digitally, I think the BBC will have to change to a subscription model eventually – because I can assure you, there’s a hell of alot more non-BBC content out there that I can put on my TV screen – and it’s growing by the day.

The TV License is likely doomed, but long live the BBC!!!


Who is this ‘kosso’ anyway?

I am a 'Createc'. A creative technologist, entrepreneur/ hacker/ geek. Worked on building things on the web for over 12 years.

Used to work at BBC News interactive and created the publishing and delivery systems for video news to get distributed on huge screens in major railway stations around the country.

I left the BBC to become CTO / sole-lead architect/developer at podcast.com for three years.

I have now left them to build a start up a new system called 'Phreadz', which is a 'Social Multimedia Conversation Network', integrating everything that is 'V.I.T.A.L' to us on the web. Video, Images, Text, Audio and Links.

I built the whole thing my myself. I programmed every line of code and positioned every pixel. I'm looking forward to attracting an hiring new members of the team to help me out! :)

There are currently over 1000 happy and helpful beta testers on the system so far and one client of a white-labelled solution.



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