Google listen up! Buzz needs proper localization to overpower Twitter. And here is how!

And no, we do not want to have the Buzz interface localized in to our own language. We want to publish Buzz-posts in our native language, without having to use a dedicated account for it. Allow me to explain.

Surprisingly enough isn’t English the only language on this planet, and a lot of people is struggling with numerous twitter-accounts to accommodate the followers. It is a annoyance for my English followers when i Tweet in Swedish and is probably equally annoying for any non-English-speaking-follower when i post in English. So the simple solution here is to use two accounts, yes? No.

Since Buzz is in early development it is the perfect opportunity to introduce a meta-tag called “locale” or “localization” with each Buzz. If i post something in English on my tommiepodzemski-buzz account i simply tag it with the “en_US”-locale and if i’m posting something in Swedish i simply tag it with “se_SV” (and i’m sure you translation-wizards will figure out a way to auto-detect language to make this even more streamlined for the user).

With this meta-data it’s a matter of UI adjustments to have an option which allow any Buzz-user to select which language-filter to for your friends buzz-stream. In my context, i’ll simply allow English and Swedish buzzes only. Rejoice! My Finnish, danish, Russian, Belgian, Dutch (ok, you get the picture) friend can now keep on Buzzing in any language they prefer. But i will only see stuff that i can actually read, ergo English and Swedish.

This is something that Twitter is missing out on and i know this is something that a lot of users are missing out on – both on Buzz and on Twitter.

So that’s that, update the code, adjust the UI and commit the change. Sit back and just enjoy the profit.

Importing playlists to Grooveshark using Groovylists.com

I’m a coder, i scratch my own itch – that’s how we work. So when Grooveshark lacked an playlist import feature i set off in an endeavor to fix it myself, which proved to be quite the challenge.

The thing is that Grooveshark does not provide a public API, especially not a public API which allow you to write to their service. I was fortunate enough to get in touch with James Hartig who runs http://gsuser.com/ which is the closest thing to a public Grooveshark API though it doesn’t support writing to Grooveshark.

Through James helping hand i managed to get in touch with a Senior Developer at Grooveshark who gave me access to their internal API (Web 2.0 companies ftw, would this happen with Microsoft as an example?) and the project was on its way!

So, enough ranting – the service is available at http://groovylists.com/ – no bells and no whistles, but it currently imports 100 tracks from any iTunes based playlist. I’ll probably find some time this week to add m3u support as well, which pretty much make the project complete.

If you got any suggest and/or questions, either post them as a comment here or on the Grooveshark forums.

Using Google Buzz with your Google Apps account

Since it’s still a few months to go before Google roll out Buzz for its Apps users i decided to do a little Google Chrome Extension which enables Buzz for Google Apps users. It’s not a pretty solution but it works until Google gives us native access through Gmail.

First off, install the Buzzter Google Chrome Extension.

  • Open http://gmail.com, logout from any gmail account.
  • Login using your Google Apps for Domain account ([email protected]).
  • Google will take you to a “Sign up for Gmail”-page. Close Gmail, DO NOT SIGN UP!

Buzzter should work now as you’ve got a valid gmail-cookie, but connected to a google apps for domains account. Also keep in mind that location-services works very very poorly using a browser (obviously).

You can also access Google Buzz via your Apps account using you mobile, just navigate to http://buzz.google.com (and be sure to be logged in as your Apps account).

GMail users can follow me using this link (Need to be logged in to Gmail) and Apps Users can follow me by searching for “tommie podzemski” on Buzz.

Shortening of URLs and a quite worrisome future for the web

While link-shortening might seem like a brilliant idea, not to mention a huge benefit for the user – it raises a few questions-marks and issues which should not be taken lightly. Especially in a context where more and more users start their own shortening-services.

Here is a few general questions to ask yourself:

How will we archive the web?
As sites today are centralized around links, it will be a problem archiving websites for the future – how can one determine where a link will end up as it will be cloaked by a third party service? And how will robots be able to know which links to follow (internal) or which links to ignore (external)?

Is it really a smart idea to solely rely on a third party service?
A third party service is not something that should be considered to be constant, it might not be the best of ideas to pipe all your internal and external links through a service. As with any service, uptime is not at 100%, not even at Google.

No visual confirmation
Endpoints of links can often be determined by simply looking at a link, something that’ll take you to redtube.com/x/y/z is probably not something you should click on while at work. Though, the link above could easily be cloaked as bit.ly/zyx.

Validity of the link and service
Sure, today we can trust that Bit.ly, shurl etc will take you to the links intended endpoint. But what happens if one of the services are bought by, say, a porn or spam company? The purchaser will have unconditionally control over hundred thousands of links on hundred of thousand website, giving them the right to point the link wherever they see fit or quite possibly to the highest bidder.

Tipping the balance of the webs relevance
Keep in mind that we live in a link-economy, where your website relevance is partially judged by how many links in-links your website has. Using shortening-services on outbound links will “rob” the endpoint of it’s relevance in Google, and it’s quite likely that you will loose the same based on people not linking you directly.

With subsequent services like Twitter it’s important to save those bits, but the use of a third party solution might not be the most beneficial idea. Shortening-services should be used with care and concern.

On the bright side there have been talks about a link consortium, where all shortening-services reports their links to a central place/database where one can do legacy lookup of links. It might be the solution, though it’s far away.

Apple banged on the big drum, but not much came out.

iphone1The classic pitfall of screaming to loud and delivering to little is something one would believe that Apple knew by heart. Well, apparently not with the ‘It’s Only Rock and Roll’-event on Wednesday.

While the rumor mill had gone crazy over the last months (like it always does), the expectations where at a all time high and even though Apple introduced a video camera to the iPod Nano, new iPhone os 3.1, new hardware platform for the touch and minor software-changes, I think we all felt a little disappointed and maybe even cheated.

The event itself was very centralized around the Apple Ipod Touch product-line and specifically using the Touch as a gaming platform and demoed Madden NFL 10, Nova, Assassin’s Creed, Riddim Ribbon. Where Riddim Ribbon looked particularly exciting.

Steve Jobs seems to be back in full force and did a much appreciated appearance on the stages which received standing ovations. Hopefully he’ll be a breath of fresh air for Apple as they really need to “wow” a bit more than the ‘It’s Only Rock and Roll’-event to stay on the cutting edge.

How many users does Twitter have, really?

twitterThrough a pet-project of mine (foratweet.com) i accidentally stumble upon some interesting Twitter stats.

As it’s possible to extract your userid from the twitter-api, giving you a somewhat unique way to check how many users there are on Twitter. Given that they use a sequential userid-system, which many indications point toward.

So, how many does users twitter have?
Using the data from the API i found out the following statistics.

And if this data is sequential, we’re looking at roughly 70 000 000 users worldwide and its approx 100 times bigger 2009 than 2007 with a 10000% user-increase.

This also means that Twitter would have needed to scale their systems with over 10 000%, something we inevitably know that they failed with, which actually gives those numbers some substance.

Casey Case Converter Firefox add-on approved!

My new add-on Casey Case Converter was recently accepted into the public listing on Mozilla Firefox:

Congratulations! Your nominated add-on, Casey Case Converter, has been reviewed by a Mozilla Add-ons editor who approved your add-on to be public.

Casey is a moderators dream come true, it automatically format caps correctly. Which is a big hassle to do manually, especially on big posts. While it’s pretty limited in its current form (only Proper-case, UPPER-case and lower-case), i plan to extend it further. Especially now when the Mozilla peeps think it’s good enough for public release.

Check it out at:
http://addons.mozilla.org/addon/9920

Selenium IDE – patched for Firefox 3.5

Since my recent upgrade to the Firefox 3.5 betas i found that some of my Add-ons wasn’t working properly. Significantly Selenium IDE which i frequently use for automated website tests. So a bit of hacking and a with good portion of magic i managed to patch the current 1.0.1 release into a compatible Firefox 3.5 version.

I probably goes without saying that this is a highly experimental release with no guarantees what so ever. But I’ve been running all my tests on it and it works fine. So i you can’t wait for the official release, use this one:

http://public.tommie.nu/tmp/selenium-ide-1.0.1.1-ff3-5.xpi

Västtrafik på Twitter och Tugg.nu

vasttrafikVi lever i Web 2.0 men tyvärr hänger alla inte företag med i svängarna. Så ibland får man agera barmhärtig samarit och styra upp ett och annat åt företagen. Västtrafik t.ex, dom var snabba med att bjuda på en RSS över akuta trafikförändringar, men dom har inte hoppat på Twitter/Tugg.nu-vagnen än. Så tja, man får väl göra det åt dom.

Alla trafikförändiringar synkas till http://tugg.nu/vasttrafik och vidare till http://twitter.com/vasttrafik, så är du medlem på någon av dessa kan du följa dem.

Om du hänger kvar i RSS-världen och av någon anledning inte vill köra på Västrafiks egna RSS kan du följa tugg.nus, http://tugg.nu/vasttrafik/rss