Me and my Santa hat


Thank you Walter for my Santa hat! Walter has created a simple Pixenate app that adds a Santa hat to your Twitter avatar. Check out some of the other Christmas Avatars!

As my Gravatar is used anywhere I comment, I updated that too. It’s been a while since I updated it, and it’s nice to see it’s as simple to update as before. It even stores my old Gravatar so it’ll be simple to change back at the end of the month.

A nice demo of the capabilities of Pixenate, good job Walter!


What do you call a twit?

In the course of developing my Twitter stats page it occurred to me that there is no definitive name for a Twitter user. So I asked,

what do you call people on Twitter? Twitterer?

Replies came thick and fast:

I still don’t know, so I went with what I originally thought, “Tweeters”.

The Twitter Stats are generated from data I’ve collected since July 29th using my Tweet Tweet plugin for WordPress. It’s collected almost 100,000 tweets since that date. The stats are fairly basic, and they’re cached (individually) by memcached and the page itself is cached by WP Super Cache which is a good thing because it takes several seconds to generate! So far, the stats presented are:

  • Top 30 Twitterers
  • Top 30 Twitterers who repeat themselves
  • Top 30 friendliest Twitterers
  • Top 30 Twitterers who talk to me

For more interesting stats, check Tweetrush. (It’s down right now, but I presume @ajmckee and the lads are working on it and will have it running in no time at all!)


Howto: Twitter sms notification for Meteor and Vodafone

A few weeks ago Twitter annoyed a lot of European users when they stopped sending sms notifications to their users. I never really used that facility so I didn’t miss it but many Tweeters did. Outrage and blue murder were spoken of in the same sentence. People marched in the streets, there were riots.

OK, maybe not, but it annoyed a few prolific Tweeters and I wondered aloud if I could make Tweet Tweet send me sms notifications when I got replies or direct messages. After quite a bit of testing and playing around with Meteor’s website I’m glad to say I cracked it. I added hooks to my plugin for other plugins to latch on to, and wrote a small bit of code that logs in to and uses their free web text to notify me of replies or direct messages.

Following on from that success, Jason Roe added code so Irish Vodafone customers could get sms notifications too!

So, if you really miss the sms notifications from Twitter, and you’re an Irish Meteor or Vodafone customer, download Tweet Tweet, install it in your WordPress blog and enjoy getting those sms notifications from Twitter again!

Developers – if your phone company isn’t covered just yet, please take a look at the existing Meteor and Vodafone plugins. The framework is there. Using curl to login and send texts can be a little daunting but it’s not impossible. Get in touch by leaving a comment here, or using the contact form on the about page.

PS. Almost forgot to mention Tweetrush went live yesterday with some very nice Twitter stats. Check out what my friend AJ has to say about the launch!
PPS. I’ll be demoing Tweet Tweet at Techludd Cork on Thursday night. If you’re there, please say hi!


Tweet Tweet 0.1 for WordPress

I’m a big fan of Twitter. It serves as a useful tool connecting people who might never meet, and also as a vital means of communication for those who work at home or in solitary conditions.

The one huge and uncomfortable problem I see with Twitter is, “What happens to the conversation if Twitter fails?” What will you do if Twitter goes out of business tomorrow? Where will all your conversations, all the links you posted, and received from your friends be? That’s why I wrote Tweet Tweet.

Tweet Tweet is a plugin for WordPress that will archive your tweets, and the tweets of everyone you follow, plus replies you receive from strangers, and direct messages too. All these tweets will be stored safely in your database.

There is a simple “review pane” where you can see the latest tweets and go back in history but it’s very basic. The primary aim of this plugin is to ensure that your conversations are safe.

Tweet Tweet

The plugin has been tested by a number of users, but it uses jQuery and AJAX techniques for the review pane so I’d love to hear if it works for you.

Please, do not hack the plugin to poll Twitter more than once every 90 seconds. Unless you follow thousands of others, 90 seconds will be fine. I have mine set to 180 seconds and it picks up every single tweet.

Update! I just tagged version 0.2 which adds a better hover for the review pane (and makes it IE6 compatible), and also adds a search form to make it easier to navigate your Tweet archive.


My fragmented personality

I realised I haven’t updated in a week, yet I have. I’m Donncha on the following social webs:

  1. – Yay, the best blogging site, of course.
  2. – everyone’s on there, and so am I.
  3. – oh so exclusive membership. Love the threaded comments.
  4. Friendfeed – everything gathered here.
  5. Plurk – the new boy. Looks a bit wacky. I think I like it, except the smilies.

They're twittering the Mars landing

I had completely forgotten about Phoenix, the mission to land a robotic craft at the North Pole of Mars. I was reminded by tehnosailor who twittered about the @marsphoenix Twitter account.
Follow that account to hear the latest news from the team in Nasa! They’ve also linked to related movies and pages about the mission. I’m watching the one about the last 7 minutes now. Exciting stuff. Good luck guys!

2,913 followers right now. I wonder how many more they’ll have by the time of the landing?

I think this must rate as the coolest use of Twitter, ever!


Twittering by voice on Twitterfone

Twitterfone Pat Phelan launched his new service, Twitterfone to much excitement last night.
Techcrunch had the scoop and as Michael Arrington offered a free account to one of the commenters, he got some interesting responses!

In the third grade, a crazy, spooky looking girl chased me with finger paint, and smeared it on my shirt, cackling like the wicked witch. It left emotional scars (at night I still hear the laughing, and I constantly check the back of shirts I’m wearing in the mirror).

The Twitterfone account would help with the healing.

If you haven’t guessed by the title of this post already, Twitterfone allows you to speak your tweets instead of texting them or typing them on a device. You can hear my Hello World voice tweet as well as read it. I have to admit, I found it harder to articulate a short sentence under the pressure of speaking into a phone than to type it, but that’s just me. My next oral masterpiece will be me saying my own name so Charles doesn’t murder it on the WordPress Podcast next time! 😉

The absolutely gorgeous Twitterfone website was created by the talented Sabrina Dent. When Pat first spilled the beans on his newest project he had nothing but good things to say about her!


How to Insult the Mac Brigade

I’ve insulted the Mac Brigade. I am so sorry. I didn’t realise that putting stickers on an Apple Macbook was such a heinous crime. HOW COULD I HAVE BEEN SO STUPID?

Well, that’s how Bernie puts it anyway. Sort of. He posted a photo of my Macbook at BlogTalk and the response surprised me. Hahahaha. Thud! (Laughing my head off)

For those who missed the original shot, here’s one I took moments ago. There are stickers from Laughing Squid (and a button too), (Thanks Nikolay),, Hyku, that WordPress crowd who get everywhere, and 2 from Om Malik: FoundRead and NewTeeVee.
The other button says, “hard bloggin’ scientist” and I got that from Jan Schmidt last Tuesday at BlogTalk. Thanks!


Lovely isn’t it? Who’s on your laptop? Anyone got a Dell sticker to put on the Apple Logo? It’d shine through nicely!

Automattic WordPress

Will Prologue bring the Twitters back?

I bumped into Tom Raftery in Cork Airport on my way to Arizona. As luck would have it, we were both on the same flight to London, although he was going to Munich for a conference.
Unfortunately we weren’t sitting near each other on the plane but in the airport he said he spends more time in Twitter than reading blogs. That came as a surprise to me, but I’m sure it’s happening to many other busy people too.

That’s one reason I’m excited about Prologue, the new Twitter-like theme for WordPress. Automattic is already using it internally as a private discussion tool and for a group of disparate people spread all over the globe it’s a really useful tool to find out at a glance what each of us is up to.

Tom lives and breathes social media all day long. I’ll have to ping him on Twitter to read this and get some feedback from him!

I’m already thinking it might be an easy way to introduce blogging, social media and networking and Twitter to some of my non-blogging friends who slave away in offices all day long. Set up a private blog on, activate the Prologue Theme and invite them all on as contributors. They probably use RSS aware browsers too so keeping up to date on what’s happening should be a simple task.

Prologue is a perfect fit for WordPress MU too. You’ve already got many users who probably chat on your support forums. Let’s get our thinking caps on and create some sort of group blogs so people can converse right within the blogging environment!

Interested? Download the theme and play with it. It’s GPLed. Also, keep an eye on Joseph and Matt who will be updating the theme.

Finally, Matt describes Prologue really well:

Prologue was designed for something different—easily setting up and sharing a dialogue within a fixed group. It puts aside the standard “behind the scenes” method of blogging and makes the act of posting part of the experience. It creates a kind of archived and searchable conversation, like an IM window that’s archived, taggable, and accessible from any web browser.


Not everyone likes you

The best place to be is where people either love you or hate you. Not so great in inter-personal relationships but it’s super when you’ve got a product that you want people to use and maybe buy.

WordPress is there. There’s a vocal group of WordPress haters out there, but we’ve worked hard over a number of years to get to that level of hatred. It hasn’t been easy. On the other hand even more people like using WordPress. Thankfully someone would care if WordPress disappeared in the morning.

That’s why I’m envious of Twitter. In the course of a few months they’ve gone from being a darling of the blogging community to the nemesis of all things good and proper.

I predict that when teenagers discover Twitter the increase in txt speak will put off everyone else. Not that it will matter at that stage. Twitter will go on to become a global teen phenomenon much like myspace or bebo. Oh how we’ll gnash our teeth then. The negative feedback now won’t be anything like it will be later on! “Proper bloggers” might just ignore it but I doubt it. We They need something to bitch about and it’s an easy target!

I signed up there a few days ago but I’ve since turned off sms notifications and haven’t looked at my profile page in a while. If anyone mentions me I’ll know about it. Oh isn’t RSS cool?