Scripting News for 7/19/2008

Feature suggestion for Twitter 

“Like” Is a FriendFeed feature that Twitter should have. It’s a misnomer, it’s not about liking something. When you like something that means you recommend it. Everyone who follows you gets the recommendation.

How it would work in Twitter.

1. You’re reading something I wrote in Twitter.

2. You say you “like” it — which is like adding it to your Favorites (same UI).

3. It goes on your output stream. All the people who follow you see it too.

People are doing this manually now — “retweeting” — but this is one click and the system remembers where it came from. If it were possible to hang stuff off a tweet (as it is in FF) then there would only be one place.

Twitter should have this. It’s a very important feature.

PS: From now on when I say something should be in Twitter, it should also be in all Twitter clones, for now that’s

PPS: I’m sure Twitter-only people are sick of hearing it, but FF has mystical qualities that I’m not sure anyone fully appreciates. It reveals little bits of itself to you slowly over time. Not sure it’s always the best way, but it’s like a puzzle, a story that you want to know how it will turn out. You can’t get it from a quick look, you have to immerse yourself in it. Not saying everyone should, but I’m glad I did. 🙂

PPPS: I’m started to develop systems on top of FriendFeed that I initially thought I would develop on Twitter. Their reliability and performance make it thinkable, where Twitter has become flaky, not only technically, but also in the way it deals with developers. Could happen with FF too, but then my fallback is, where worse comes to worse, I could operate my own net.

PPPPS: I am however using for something I thought I would use Twitter for. As a lightweight identity system. For the project I’m working on, I’m requiring users to have an login. This little thing has huge implications in the identity space. A lightweight low-security login that’s accessible via API, it’s something I’ve been asking Google and Yahoo to do for ages. They can’t seem to wrap their minds around it. Along comes and boom, problem solved.

Mini-blog posts 

I never agreed that Twitter is what some people call a micro-blogging service. Just didn’t feel much like blogging to me. But FriendFeed is another story. I am using it more like a blogging tool than Twitter. For example…

1. Yesterday I snuck out to see the new Batman movie on its opening day. I wrote my first review on FF. In the morning (now) I have more thoughts. If Heath Ledger hadn’t died, and if there were two other big performances like his, it might have been on the same level as The Departed, and that’s high praise. The other characters and the actors who portrayed them weren’t anywhere near as interesting as Ledger’s Joker, who unlike Nicholson’s or Romero’s — wasn’t funny, at least not in the normal way. He is a pathetic character, wonderfully pathetic. Really something to see. So my first impression last night was pretty lukewarm, but after a few hours it seems more masterful. You could have cut out most of the other scenes and made a movie just about the Joker and that would have been great. Too bad Ledger died. He was becoming a really fine actor.

2. As you may know I bought a cute little Windows laptop on impulse the other day. It was a good move. And on FF last night I asked for help networking it with my Macs. Glad i bought it. Gotta keep up on what the other guys are doing. Apple has been doing pretty well, the iPhone was risky, and they pulled it off, not easy to do. Microsoft usually takes three tries to get it right, Apple got it right the first time. But in ultra-portable laptops, Apple isn’t cutting it. This little EEE PC thing is a marvel. There are some really crappy things about it, like the uncontrollable trackpad and the keypad is tiny, and squinting at the tiny screen hurts my eyes, but it really is a joy of a product. If only it ran Mac OS. 🙂

What about blogging? 

Publishing keeps getting cheaper.

That’s been the constant push, the practical application of Moore’s Law in my neck of the woods. I’ve always been a publishing guy, and that’s always been how I viewed computers, and it’s why I got into them in the first place.

Most people don’t get this, the real story of blogging is just the continuation of the process. You could just have easily focused on the laser printer, Aldus Pagemaker and local area networking in the 1980s, or the web browser and Netscape in the 1990s. Blogging is the leading edge in publishing in the first decade of this century.

Here’s what Clay Shirky says on the subject. “Forget about blogs and bloggers and blogging and focus on this — the cost and difficulty of publishing absolutely anything, by anyone, into a global medium, just got a whole lot lower. And the effects of that increased pool of potential producers is going to be vast.”

Well put, and definitely worth passing along.

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