Archive for May, 2009

Twitter "At" replies become "Slash At" replies

May 13th, 2009

If you are a twitter user you will know the convention of starting a tweet with a @username to reply to another tweet. More recently Twitter has included a form of threading so you know exactly which tweet you were replying to.

Things were going well until Twitter introduced a now little tweak.

As things stand now Twitter is kind of broken for the way that many people use it. Users, and a lot of users, have made it clear that they are not happy by tweeting about it and tagging those complains with #fixreplies.

I have a suggestion though that will get us thought the problem now. Instead of using a “@” symbol we use another one. After a small discussion (that we might not have seen all of because of the small Twitter tweak) we decided on a “/@” symbol. So if you are annoyed by the change please start your tweets with a “/@” instead of a “@”. Remember NOT to use the reply button.

Yes it is a step backwards, but hopefully it will be temporary. The new threading will obviously be broken by this. Also many client apps will not work as intended either. Sorry.

If you like the idea then please tweet about it.

Update: Following Twitter noticing the unhappiness they have tweaked the system again so that starting a tweet with an @ will not cause a tweet to be masked from others. So we have the choice of many followers missing our replies, or loose the threading.

I think the interesting comment in Twitters response was that the original functionality did not scale. This fits in with the way I presumed Twitter was functioning under the bonnet.

Open Hack London : The Project

May 9th, 2009

Despite suggesting many projects for Open Hack Day, and mulling over many more, I had a brainwave while driving down south last night. I was listening to pod casts thinking about logging in more securely on public computers, and then the ideal project sprung in to my head. Why don’t we create a hardware security key based around a simple micro controller that adds another variable authentication factor. This way even if a key logger gets your password they can not log in.

We have technology like the PayPal security key, and you can use this with Verisign Labs Personal Identity Portal and OpenID to log in to your serice. There is also a decent open paper based solutions with Perfect Paper Passcards.

I can see several potential deliverables in this project.

* The hardware

A device that gives the user a set of letters to type in to log in. The number needs to change (obviously) but this can be done using time, a sequence (by pressing a button), or some feedback from the computer. I am keen to look at visually transmitting data to this device from the PC screen using just light. The hardware will have a shared secret with the server.

* The mobile app

Same as the hardware, but implemented in code on a mobile phone.

* The client libraries

The code that indirectly interacts with the hardware.

* The example implementation

An OpenID server that uses the client libraries allowing users to log in to any service using the hardware.

So that is it. Do you want to help?