Sometimes you have to stop blogging and you have to start coding to scratch a persistent intellectual itch. Last week I said I needed self-curated news for the Irish General Election. This week I have it.
Curation by Me is an incredibly simple tool I lashed together (using the Programming by Google Search method) over the past two nights. It takes the URL of a Twitter list and a hashtag/keyword to provide you with a filtered list of tweets.
By default it shows a simple list I made of Irish politics related tweets and shows those tagged with the #ge11 hashtag (used to identify Irish Election tweets):
Here’s an example using Suzy Byrne’s list of Irish Election Candidates filtered by the word “Martin” to show those tweets mentioning the name of the new leader of Fianna Fáil:
But of course it’s not just for politics; any list or filter can be used. The only proviso is that you have to login with your Twitter account to use it, due to Twitter rate limiting.
Maybe I’m the only person on the planet who needs Curation by Me. Even if I am, the itch has been scratched. Would love your feedback, problem reports, thoughts and suggestions.
Looking at your stats in Posterous could lead one to be very cocky indeed. Unfortunately they are complete cobblers. That curation one I posted 20 minutes ago supposedly has 226 views already. Here is what Posterous says about one of my recent posts and then what Google Analytics says.
Why the spoof numbers?
So I'm lashing together a quick General Election list on Twitter for my Dad to follow. He's not on Twitter but he loves politics and I think he'd get a kick out of it. I started with some of the obvious MSM accounts and then some people I know who are interested in politics. Then I looked at some of their lists. I've put a simple one together that I think he'll like. It's nowhere near finished yet but it's a start.
Except of course it has a huge problem. It shows everything those people are tweeting. Every inanity, every irrelevant detail. What I need is the intersection of that list and the #ge11 hashtag
. There is no way I would recommend he follows the hashtag if he wants to keep his sanity. 50,000 people all bitching about the same thing at the same time is not interesting to anyone.
So does such a webapp or desktop app exist? If not, why not? It's another Twitter app I would pay for.
And if it could pull in Wall updates from Facebook Pages of politicians etc, that would be worth even more!
Am I the only one on Twitter who needs these kind of tools (like all my Filter requests) or is the perception that the money lies elsewhere?
One of the pressies that Santy gave to our 11 y/o son was a Hexapod Monster robot. It’s a self-assembly kit that should result in a robot that can walk around and avoid obstacles. The youngfella has had plenty of experience building ever more complex Lego so this looked like a good next step before perhaps considering Lego Mindstorms.
Once we looked at the kit, we realised he couldn’t do it on his own and I’d have to help. Specifically, what sounded like a couple of quick solder joints on the box was actually a full circuit board that had to be put together.
We made a good team with him taking care of the mechanical assembly and me doing the soldering. It took 3-4 hours before we had it in a decent state. We checked the basic mechanics by applying battery power directly to the leg motors and a few tweaks were needed. Then we did the final electrical assembly and IT LIVES. Except it only did so for a few seconds and then stopped.
It has sat there for the past few weeks with me going at it to no avail. Sometimes it moves, sometimes it moves on one side and goes around in circles but most of the time it sits there sullen and immobile like a teenager.
It’s obvious that my crappy soldering is to blame and therein lies the problem. I have a Masters Degree in Electronic Engineering. My soldering iron is nearly 30 years old because that’s when I started soldering for the first time (ZX Spectrum add-ons) but even I struggled to get all of those components on correctly without either shorting connections or melting the components.
Soldering is not a skill anyone really needs or wants unless they are totally hardcore into hardware. The only thing it teaches smaller kids is that it burns when you accidentally touch your finger.
The Hexapod is a cool project that could be interesting to a much wider range of children. My 7 y/o daughter sat and watched us doing the assembly for the entire time. So they just need to junk the soldering and replace it with some sort of component push-in system. A custom breadboard thingy I guess. As it stands I can’t recommend it to anyone except those who are very familiar with the inside of Maplin.
I’ve had this for over ten years. It’s a brilliant phone-line testing tool with some other bits. I’ve lost the instructions and would love to know what the other bits are for. But for the life of me I cannot remember what it is called.
Anyone? Google Goggles was completely useless.
After talking about it a few times over the past few months, I finally decided to try working whilst standing today. The buzz around the idea on Twitter today presumably came from Gina's post on Lifehacker. Well worth a read.
I am going for the environmentally friendly (aka zero cost) option of two cardboard boxes to implement my Standing Desk. Amazingly it is working really well and the boxes are at exactly the right level. The pressure on my wrists was immediately relieved. Hopefully the RSI in my right arm, which has left two of my fingers numb for six months, will finally ease.
It's a bit hard on the feet/legs but in a useful way since it forces me to move around on my feet as I type. I've been standing for the past five hours or so and I don't feel any real need to sit down. I'm even taking calls whilst standing. My guess is that my intermittent treadmill training is helping me here.
The only change I may make is to raise the monitor. Right now it is at the normal level but tilted up towards me.
My only worry is that my gorgeous legs could be ruined by varicose veins. My career as a leg model could go up in smoke. I switched to lightweight Asics runners after lunch. Probably better for my feet.