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The blogged wandering of Robert W. Anderson too

I am  I am still  I don’t expect to drop Twitter.  Oh, and I’m

On its own, is interesting because of its promise more than anything else.  I do like:

  • It has a clean UI.
  • It supports OpenID as a logon.
  • It supports XMPP.
  • Twhirl supports it with XMPP!  Very cool.
  • I would like to see it supporting GNIP.

A couple of observations about these kinds of services:

  • I want a simplified user experience here.  I want one consolidated view across these types of services and the ability to update once and submit everywhere. 
  • I believe Twhirl is working on this.
  • We need a web-only solution.  This might be Friendfeed, but only if Friendfeed can aggregate views of those I follow across services.
  • We need a Twhirl for mobile.  Maybe TwitterBerry can go this way?
  • I really like the XMPP update, and I like using my GMail account for it — because of searchable history — but I don’t like getting duplicate messages in GTalk and Twhirl.  One solution and a question:
    • I can use a separate GMail account for these kinds of updates.  Not ideal.
    • Can Jabber servers understand a preferred client for messages sent by a specific contact?  That way updates could go only to Twhirl, if Twhirl is connected.


    BTW: this post is testing WordIdentica a WordPress plugin for  This should send a dent to when I update my blog.  I use to do the same for Twitter.

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    Meeting Notes #1

    On the phone with Steve Gillmor this morning talking about, among other things, Plan B

    Here are my notes:


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    Google I/O Day 1

    Quick notes from Google I/O today. 

    Best things I saw were (in order):

    1. Android.  Very disruptive.  It will force the iPhone to be more open.  It will further commoditize the hardware (driving down prices).  It places Symbian, RIM, and WM into filling niche roles.  Of course the other mobile OSes aren’t sitting still, but they are already playing catch up.  This will put them further behind.
    2. GWT.  JavaScript apps written in Java with familiar tools.  Cool.  Interesting how Microsoft and Adobe are solving the JavaScript-dev-maint problem with rich containers (Silverlight and Air / Flash) while Google is solving it with a Java to JavaScript compiler.  The former are working outside
    3. OpenSocial.  The fundamentals of this API and Friend Connect are to allow social applications to interact across silos.  To me this means user control.  This will ultimately force silos (like Facebook) to open up.  I like it.

    Participated in the ongoing argument between Robert Scoble and Steve Gillmor regarding FriendFeed.

    Met a man dressed in a pirate costume.  Or Ben Franklin costume.  Pano Kroko.  Fascinating guy.  Checkout

    Ran into an old friend, Julian Wixson.  Hadn’t seen him for at least ten years.

    Went on a trek with Robert, Steve, Pano, Julian, Vincent Nguyen of Slashgear, Mark Lucovsky  and a student to see Gary Vaynerchuk talk about his new book.  I learned two things:

    1. It is about a 15 minute walk from Moscone West to Union Square. 
    2. Don’t drink the same varietal twice.

    Got back to the Google party just in time to see Flight of the Conchords.  Those guys are very funny.

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    Blaine FriendFeed

    I got a call from Steve Gillmor earlier today asking if I had seen his TechCrunch post, called Blame FriendFeed.  I hadn’t.

    I just read it.  It had me laughing so hard I couldn’t read through the tears in my eyes.  It’s all classic Gillmor, but when you get about two thirds down, LOL:

    Here’s my demo of the difference between FriendFeed and Twitter:

    Twitter: Hi, I’m having Sugar Pops for breakfast.

    Ten minutes later….

    FriendFeed: Hi, I’m having Sugar Pops for breakfast.

    And it just gets funnier.

    BTW: I misheard Steve on the phone and thought his post was called Blaine FriendFeed, a reference to Blaine Cook.  Now that’s funny.

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    Don’t ignore the Twitter user contracts

    On the Friday Gillmor Gang, we discussed a decentralized Twitter.  It was both constructive and sometimes contentious.

    Chris Saad discussed his idea (GetPingd) — an interesting approach that got short shrift on the call.  Bob Lee had some idea on how to do more with Jabber.

    A couple more things (some of which I articulated on the call).

    Twitter is not micro-blogging.  It can be used for micro-blogging, but it is a different animal completely.  It isn’t instant-messaging either, though it is used for that a lot.  As a result, if you are trying to improve it — or replace it — don’t try to force it into these other paradigms.  

    Why do I say this isn’t just micro-blogging or IM?  Look at the user contracts:

    • Blogging has a simple Subscribe/Unsubscribe contract.  Twitter has block / track / direct messages (and soon filter).
    • IM generally has a friend approval mechanism to receive IM’s.  That is if you want updates from me through IM, I have to say it is OK.  Twitter allows this “private updates” feature, but the default is open.

    Don’t try to architect a better Twitter by ignoring these contracts — your service will fail.

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    Twitter and Verizon

    Update 2:If you reading this (mild) rant, don’t. Nothing to see here. This all works fine. See updates on the bottom, if you are so inclined.

    Twitter is cool.  But is it fun enough for me?

    The Twitter page says:

    Twitter is more fun when used through your mobile phone or instant messenger client. Set yours up!

    I tried to.  And I tried again.

    It turns out that Twitter doesn’t talk to Verizon.

    This fact doesn’t warrant a mention on the setup page, nor in the Help, and not even in the FAQ.  Nowhere does it say this — mostly nowhere, it is mentioned in some Twitter feed.

    So — I’ll just make an outlandish claim here — a whole bunch of people have entered their text number only to find it doesn’t work.  Then these whole bunches of people tried again.  And then, third time’s a charm?  Nope. 

    I can understand not leading with your weaknesses, but not mentioning it at all? 

    I’m not complaining that it doesn’t work with Verizon.  I know messaging between the U.S. wireless carriers is a crapshoot — my problem is that the Twitter pages don’t mention it.

    C’mon Twitter, your app is cool, but have more respect for your users.  That alone will make it more fun for me.

    Update: Crystal from Twitter says (very politely) that I’m wrong about Twitter and Verizon. I’ve contacted Twitter support to get it worked out. My fault for not contacting Twitter first — and now I can’t locate the feed that mentioned problems sending SMS to Verizon. It was probably outdated, after all.

    Update 2:This all works fine. I made an assumption about the process. All my fault.

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