Here’s a rather interesting hack involving an ARM microprocessor and RFID detection to tweet.
With a relativity small program this project is able to read RFID tags and communicate with Twitter to send messages under specific circumstances.
Twitweee clock is another cool Twitter clock that updates Twitter statuses and also, there’s even a Twitter-like bird that pops out when a tweet is displayed on its multi-touch screen, awesome!
The Twitwee Clock is a modified Cuckoo Clock that wirelessly connects to the internet and constantly checks for new status updates or search results from the Twitter API. New Tweets are displayed on the built-in display in near-realtime accompanied by the charming yet obtrusive call of a mechanical cuckoo poping out of the clock.
We have been starting to see a lot more gadgets that can display tweets in real time including this awesome TwitterWall that allows you to see the latest Twitter updates and we think this could work well for Twitter parties.
The Internet of Things is coming, and I’m convinced in the next 10 years the internet will be less about general-purpose computers like we use today and more about dozens of purpose-specific connected devices. In a future where applications will become physical objects, why not turn a web site into a piece of furniture like a Twitter Wall?
Recently, I’ve been developing a new Twitter app site and found some great resources on Twitter API. Believe me, this isn’t my first Twitter app ever so I have some experience dealing with Twitter API.
First off, you will want to start learning how to use the Twitter API via curl. Curl is basically a linux/PHP command that allows you to retrieve other web pages to the web server. This would be way your web server actually communicates with Twitter API.
Simply put it, your web server ask for a webpage such as http://twitter.com/user/statuses and would get back some of of user statuses in the format of XML and JSON. (Btw, the webpage URL is just made up in this example.)
XML and JSON are simply how data are formatted so you can easily access it. I have used both XML and JSON for receiving data and I would have to say to learn both but use JSON if you can as it’s faster. (Plus Twitter team also recommends JSON over XML)
So the very first thing I want you to do (if you don’t know how already), is to learn how to use the Twitter API via Curl. Try this guide on MoreThanSeven.Net. It should only take you 15-30 minutes to try out the code and get somewhat familiar with how simply Twitter API is and how it works.
Of course, don’t forget, you need “Curl” installed on your web server. From linux command line, simply do “yum install curl” for Fedora/CentOS and probably “sudo apt-get install curl” on Ubuntu/Debian.
Once you have mastered that Curl API method, you will want to learn about “caching”. If you don’t “cache” your API requests, you will eventually run out of API requests very quickly and your Twitter app will come to a screeching halt. You don’t want that so let’s learn to “cache” the API requests itself. Mark Kolich has a great guide Twitter Caching which comes with some of the basic API request functions. Somewhat different from the previous Curl guide but this will help you get some ideas on how to “cache” your API requests.
AND/OR you can setup a file caching system that will cache every PHP file in your web server. This way, if a webpage gets more than 1 hit, it will load super-fast. You can follow the PHP File Caching guide here. Also note that you can actually include the files cache.php and endcache.php on the header and footer of your file to cache if you don’t feel like using .htaccess or use non-Apache servers Nginx or Lighttpd like I do.
I am sure after trying all of the above, you will come up with a method to cache all your web pages efficiently as possible. (This will save you a ton of money on servers if your Twitter app site gets HUGE.)
Now you got the basics out of the way, you will want to learn how to authenticate Twitter users using the OAuth Twitter API. This is simply a method for authenticating your Twitter users without them typing in their Twitter username/password into your site. Plus, by using OAuth, you have to benefits of adding “from MyTwitterAppSite.com” instead of the default “from web” or “from API” under tweet signatures.
I’ve tried a bunch of OAuth guides out there and the best one (that actually worked) is Twitter-Async by Jaisen Mathai. Btw, don’t download the source code using the zipped file, download the “latest” files under source. (Or copy and paste every file like I did) The zipped file comes with older files that don’t work.
Also, there’s a PHP 5.2 requirement for Twitter Async. If you are running PHP 5.1.6 or below, you might want to upgrade before trying. Btw, PHP 5.2 runs JSON natively and runs like 20 times faster than PHP 5.1.6 so you have every reason to upgrade to PHP 5.2. If you are running on CentOS, try my guide on how to upgrade PHP 5.1.6 to 5.2 here.
To check your PHP version, do “php -v” at linux command line.
Also, another note on OAuth in general. You need to set your web server time correctly otherwise Twitter OAuth won’t communicate with you. Make sure your web server has correct date and time! (I spent about 10 hours trying to figure out why I kept getting failed authentications and my web server time was too fast by 2 hours.)
Twitter-Async also comes with dynamic way of calling API plus ability to send API calls in “parallel” or asynchronously. (This means you can do 5 API calls in 1 API call time, much faster than doing one by one.) One thing that’s missing from the API is caching and I think it shouldn’t be too hard to hack one in.
My advice is to use the OAuth code separately only for logged in users and use simpler “cached” Curl library (I use the Mark Kolich’s Twitter Cacher code for non-users) for visitors that are not logged in.
Whatever the case, you will want to learn the basic of Twitter API I have outlined here and practice it. Once you get the hang of it, make a good plan of how you will make your overall Twitter app site.
Good luck and I have just provided you with some of the best Twitter API guides/tips so you got nothing to lose! Feel free to ask me any questions on the comments line.
It’s going to be an exciting year as Twitter hacks such as this one appears. It’s a laser-tripped webcam that actually can tweet the photo taken to Twitter. I think this could serve as a great security device on the cheap.
It requires a bit of hacking though, looks like an Arduino, Linux, and bunch of programming, not for the faint-hearted indeed.
This instructable will show you how to construct a laser tripwire that can twitter and grab an image from a webcam, as well as execute any command you can put in a bash script.
This instructable is actually quite simple and is even suitable as a beginner arduino project. It requires a GNU/linux (or possibly Mac) operating system with the arduino IDE and Processing IDE working properly. This project could also be implemented in Windows if you created a more complex processing application.
For the Christmas holidays, here’s a fun project that involves Twitter and a small Christmas tree. Twitters can change the color of the Christmas Tree by tweeting to @tweet_tree the color you want.
To choose the color of our tree, just send a color to @tweet_tree on Twitter.
@tweet_tree red, green, purple, green, p, g, r, b
@tweet_tree understands red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple. Send one color, or combination of colors to morph through. Separate multiple colors with a comma. Only the first letter of the color matters, r,o,y,g,b, & p, are acceptable color commands.
@tweet_tree red, *ff0000, green, *00ff00, blue, *0000ff
Twistory, is a new Twitter-app site that lets you back-up your valuable tweets on Google Calendar through Google API. It’s simple to use and all you have to do is enter your Twitter username to get started. Of course, if you use your Google Calendar for other purposes, we suggest you to make a new Twitter-backup account for Google Calendar so it stays separate.
I find this the best way to back-up your tweets since Twitter itself doesn’t offer any kind of backups.
Best of all, it’s free so you can lose!
Here’s a really fun Twitter hack that shows you how to “tweet” your Palm Pre’s GPS location to your Twitter account. This could be a great way to track your Pre’s whereabouts as you can also optionally set your Twitter account to “protected” so only you see the GPS updates.
(Screenshot of @trackmypalmpre, which gets updated with location of my Palm Pre every hour.)
As promised on my last blog post on how to set up Google GPS tracking on your Palm Pre, I will now show you how to “tweet’ your GPS location to a Twitter account so you can track it on Twitter too.
This might be a great way to keep “track” of where your Palm Pre has been. You could probably even make a GoogleMaps using the Twitter RSS feed to show exactly where your Palm Pre has been traveling in the past.
For those of you twitter addicts out there who need to know what’s trending on Twitter, there’s a cool Twitter Hack that will update the latest trending topics on a small LCD screen. This isn’t that hard to implement it looks like, check it out here.
The #twatch connects directly to Twitter and scrolls the latest trending topics and related tweets on an LCD screen. It’s a stand-alone network appliance that stays updated without a PC. It was awesome to watch #iranelection, Michael Jackson, and other historic events scroll by while we developed the #twatch.