Sunday, December 20, 2009

Service restored

After a rather destructive move to a new database for Twitizer, all information should now be restored. We apologize for the long down-time due to this, and promise better behavior in the future.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Database mishap and relevant title

Due to our web host moving the database to a new server, most of the messages and all users were lost. I’m waiting for them to restore a backup. At least Twitizer is up again and can receive new messages.

On the message landing pages the page title will now be relevant to the actual message, so that it shows up when e.g. linking to such a page from Facebook or other services.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

If you gotta go, you gotta go…

It’s now possible to unregister from Twitizer. It’s optionally possible to remove all content as well. You need to be logged in to do this.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Wrongly detecting 3GPP2 videos

The method previously used for detecting the MIME type of videos was a bit flawed, so it’s now replaced with our own hopefully fool-proof method.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Video uploads work again

It hasn’t been possible to upload videos for a few days, due to more strict API requirements from YouTube. That’s been fixed, so now it works fine again.

We’ve published the videos received during that time, so no videos should be lost.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Content filtering

We’ve added filtering of received e-mails, so that texts like “This is a message from bla bla bla” in most cases won’t show up. We’ve most likely not covered all cases, so further filtering will be done if we see a need for it.

We also now remove the mail body if the subject and mail body are identical.

We won’t filter out swear words and things like that. At least not for now.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Fixing a glaring issue

Unfortunately the adaptation to Wozai didn’t go completely problem-free, making Feedback and About stop working due to a lacking file. It’s all fixed now. We apologize for the time it took to realize there were still issues remaining.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Satisfying a user, post mortem

Twitizer received this subtle message yesterday: “Twitizer sucks! Don't bother with this piece of Sh**.”

This was clearly due to the fact that Twitizer had truncated a too long subject line in a previous message. So, now we’ve changed so that the subject line can be any length on the Timeline and landing pages. This has been applied retroactively.

As things are easy to modify (usually): Let us know if you think things should work differently. We can probably fix it in a day’s time, so please use Feedback. That’s why it’s there.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

No more risk of virus-infected files

Long time no see.

Due to a mishap today, where one user on several accounts uploaded a series of Word and PowerPoint files, we found it necessary to shut off the possibility to upload any type of file to Twitizer. Now it’s only possible to upload files that Twitizer can display.

The point with Twitizer is to multimedia enable Twitter, not to serve as a generic file upload site, so this is in a way a statement to clarify that point. Neither will you users risk getting viruses on your computers. At least not via Twitizer.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Support for Wozai…

… was finalized today, so now it’s possible to submit multimedia updates to either Twitter and Wozai. It’s been tested during the day, but if you notice anything shaky, wobbly or outright non-working, please let us know.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Wozai – A Chinese Twitter

We are now working on supporting Wozai as well, a Twitter-like service from China, that emulates the Twitter API. Therefore it will (hopefully) not take long to get this to work as well.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

To a screeching halt

We apologize for problems with the message reception, caused by a tiny but fatal bug (a character at the wrong place) in the code.

Twitizer is up and running again and queued up messages have been published.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

On the receiving end

The handling of media in incoming messages has now been re-written so that also images in MIME-HTML messages should work well, by focusing on the media type rather than the file name. The latter is often lacking in such messages, but the media type seems always to be correct. This also means all text, including text file attachments, will be considered part of the text message, which will also solve a few issues.

In other words, hopefully all good.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Even width menu

Each menu tab is now the same width, making it look a bit better, and it loads faster too.

The ‘mine’ and ‘user’ options on Timeline now work as intended

A tiny goof-up caused these options to always revert to ‘all’. Now they revert to ‘all’ only if the user is not logged in, or there’s no user with the entered user name or if the field is empty.

AT&T fix

AT&T mangles the e-mails so that there’s no proper file name in the attachment information. This has caused attachments to be dropped from received messages. That’s hopefully fixed now, based on the information in one message received from a user. If you are on AT&T and still don’t get photos etc across, please let us know.

The Register page gets more logical

  • After logging in, the Register page doesn’t show the input form anymore, only text. Therefore, to log in to a different account you first need to log out from the previous one.
  • Also, it only shows the e-mail address directly after logging in, to minimize the risk of others seeing your address.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Twitter was shaky today

For a couple of minutes Twitizer couldn’t connect to Twitter. Twitizer now handles such situations a bit better by timing out after 30 seconds on attempts to send a Twitter update, and the user gets an e-mail message stating that fact.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Snappier updates

Previously incoming e-mails were checked every 5 minutes, but now it’s done every minute instead, so that posted information and ditto Twitter updates are handled much faster.

Note that if you upload via the browser the update is handled immediately, as before.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Summary of enhancements

A lot has been added or enhanced the last weeks, as can be seen in this blog and on Twitizer itself.

Some of the main points:

  • previews of messages and users on the home page as well as on the Timeline and Users pages
  • proper login (which is needed for several of the new features)
  • display of user information wherever relevant
  • rating of and commenting on submissions (when logged in)
  • filtering and sorting of Timeline and Users, including seeing only one's own messages or a specific user's messages
  • handling of large photos (up to 13 Mpixels)
  • display of a map for photos with GPS information
  • possible to send updates from the Timeline page
  • an Upload page for uploads from a PC
  • stable video support (via YouTube)
  • etc etc

Therefore: If you haven't tried Twitizer already, we invite you to do so, and we are happy to receive comments about features you think are lacking. Some might be very easy to add, so keep them coming.

Full screen videos

Videos can now be played in full screen mode. Just click on the screen thingy at the bottom right of the video.

Better tooltips

When you hover over a picture on the home page it now shows a part of the message rather than the file name. That’s more useful.

Larger photos

Twitizer now handles considerably larger pictures Mpixel-wise, both in terms of uploading and viewing. The file size limit is still set to 4 Mbytes for practical reason (so that the server is not flooded). This was achieved by tweaking the server’s configuration as well as tweaking how images were scaled and rotated on the landing page.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Update from the Timeline page

Now it’s possible to send Twitter updates from the Timeline page while you are logged in. You can do the same via Upload, but this is a bit quicker, and you see the result directly in the timeline. A link to a landing page is included in the update so that logged in users can comment on your update.

Commenting and rating for members only

Note that you now need to be logged in to comment or rate. Also, you can’t rate your own contributions, as that’s an obvious way of pushing up the rating. Not that you would do that, right?

Some comments on commenting

Twitizer now supports basic commenting per message and hence per landing page. Text only, but you can add explicit URLs in the messages as well. Comments can be up to 255 characters long.

You must be logged in to be able to comment.

Timeline and how to see a specific user’s messages

  • The Messages page is now called Timeline to follow Twitter lingo.
  • It’s now easy to see a specific user’s messages by clicking on “x messages/uploads”. You will then see the Timeline for that specific user.

Messages and Users: showing and sorting

  • It’s now possible to select what shall be shown and in what order in Messages, and in what order in Users. In Messages you can select to show all, your own, or a specific user’s messages. You can also sort Messages and Users on latest or oldest first.

Logging in and out

  • For some time logging in to upload messages and files hasn’t worked. It’s fixed now. Sorry about that.
  • After logging in, your information is now shown above the menu bar, and you can also log out from there. This is a preparation for other features that need logging in.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The devil is in the details

Mostly adjustments of existing features:

  • Changed the look of the landing page to show user info as well as a more compact header, so that the focus is on the message and the media. Also tried to emulate the same information and look as on the Messages and Users pages.
  • All thumbnail images now have placeholders (as in explicit width and height), so that the page doesn’t jump around while loading the images, and so that images are not shown bigger or smaller than they should.
  • Added bookmarking/sharing to the home page and the landing pages for easy referral.
  • Due to that Recommend has been removed, as it’s easy to send an e-mail via Share. The e-mail feature of Share is though extremely slow, so Recommend might come back later.

Thanks all for using Twitizer, and keep feeding it with more stuff! Also, please send Feedback if there’s anything you don’t like etc.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Sharing and rating is good

A few minor enhancements:

  • Added icons for sharing Twitizer messages at most popular bookmark and social network services.
  • Also fixed another bug in the handling of ratings that made it possible to easily vote more than once. Hopefully everything’s covered now.

New menu

The flat menu is now replaced by a better looking 3D style ditto, similar to that of the Twitizer logo.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

New home page and tiny video icons

And some more…

  • The home page has been re-designed to highlight new content and users. What no longer fit on the home page is now under About.
  • Thumbnails created from videos now show a tiny video icon, similar to how a compass is shown if photos have GPS position, so that it’s obvious it’s a video.

Thumbnails, rating, relativity of time, clarity and birds

A few improvements made today:

  • Also videos are now shown as thumbnails on the home page, and can be clicked on to get to respective landing page, the same way as for pictures.
  • Rating is now improved so that the possibility to rate is removed after rating a certain message. That makes it more clear a specific user can only rate each message once, and also takes away clutter from the page after rating. Only the result is then shown.
  • Relative time is now represented by two parts, e.g. “3 days and 7 hours ago”, hence providing higher granularity. If the second part happens to be 0, it’s not shown. Neither is anything below seconds shown.
  • The layout of the home page has been slightly changed to make it clearer what each section is about.
  • Also error messages have been improved, at the same time being more obvious, hopefully.
  • The logo now has a bird in it.

And voting…

Voting has been implemented per message as a whole. If a message contains several photos etc, they are judged together.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Upload and Login

  • Basic file upload is now supported. The limitations are the same as for received e-mail messages at the moment: Max 4 Mbytes and 3 Mpixels. You can also only upload one file at a time. This is to limit the strain on Twitizer. This is very likely to change in the future.
  • To accommodate file upload, there’s obviously a need for logging in rather than just registering, so login can now be performed from any page. Logging in also has implications for the future, like the possibility to filter out only the logged in user’s messages, provide community features etc. The sky’s the limit.

Enhanced photo previews and maps

  • The latest photos shown on the home page can now be clicked to get to the landing page for that message
  • Photos with GPS position are highlighted by showing a small compass in the picture on the home page and on the Messages page
  • Maps now show the exact position of the photo, as well as the nearest address, for easy navigation
  • Entries on the Messages and Users pages are now better separated by a gray background

Sunday, August 9, 2009

User and photo previews

  • The home page shows a few of the latest photos
  • There’s now a Users page showing the latest registered users, linking to each user’s Twitter page
  • The Messages and Users pages show user icons, and also here you have links to the user’s Twitter page as well as the message, as before
  • Photos, video clips and audio clips are shown on the Messages page. Right now not in a very efficient way, but that will be improved later.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Diagnosing Twitter’s illness

The reason Twitter was down yesterday was due to a Denial-of-Service attack. To get this impact there must have been 1000s of zombie PCs sending out HTTP requests continuously.

Hopefully Twitter now takes measures to counter such attacks, as it will happen again.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Twitter is down…

Oops! Did a chipmunk bite off the power cable to the server?

twitter.com can be pinged, but port 80 is dead, so the web server has probably crashed.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Different Twitter updates

Now the link to Twitizer is put first and subject and mail body respectively follow, so it could look like “http://twitizer.com/7fdfuj – My new cat – Is a very angry cat” if all are added. This is to highlight the link.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Real links

Now links embedded in messages are properly converted to clickable links. The visible text is truncated to max 50 characters, but when clicking the link the whole link will be used, and the new site is opened in a new window or tab.

There might be special cases it won’t handle, but going through the messages received so far, all were converted correctly.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Twitizer Blog on Twitter

It goes without saying that a blog for a service that complements Twitter must have its own Twitter stream.

It’s called @twitizercom.

Unfortunately @twitizer wasn’t free, so this was the second best.

New video host

YouTube is now used instead of Vimeo, in an attempt to increase reliability and performance.

To avoid disrupting the use of existing videos they are still hosted by Vimeo and played via the Vimeo player.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

More improvements

Fixed yesterday:

  • There have been problems with long delays before messages show up. Now messages are checked every minute, unconditionally.
  • Elements that are not there are no longer hinted at on the landing page. That goes for subject line and attachments. This makes the user interface cleaner. E.g., if you only send a long text with no subject and no attachments, the date and the long text is all that will show.

Existing limitations:

  • For the time being photos are limited to 3 megapixel. It’s a system limitation when doing scaling and rotation and will be remedied soon. If you post larger photos we will take the liberty to scale them to 3 megapixel.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Same, same, but different…

A few minor improvements:

  • “Messages” now lets you navigate to older messages, and shows up to 20 messages per page, making it a bit more snappy.
  • A photo with location information now shows a larger map (640 by 480; the same size as pictures and videos) making it easier to navigate and the page layout more balanced.
  • Added a Xtranormal animation to “Home” describing typical uses of Twitizer in the shape of a conversation between two avatars.
  • Added a video to “About” showing how to snap a photo and send it to Twitizer. A rather boring and badly produced video, so you are warned.
  • Added support for more media formats, including m4a audio that’s used by iPhone/iPod.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

No e-mail address in Register

It’s no longer allowed to use your e-mail address for registering, only the Twitter user name. Down the road we will find a better solution, but for now this secures that links to your Twitter page gets correct.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Fixed a few bugs

No fatal ones, but important to fix in any case:
  • E-mails can arrive in almost any imaginable character encoding, and Twitizer has been enhanced to convert correctly to what Twitter and the Twitizer pages need, independent of language and encoding.
  • Twitter user names can contain "_" which is kind of hard to enter on a voice-centric phone. "_"'s are therefore now removed from the auto-generated e-mail alias.
Do you find anything that behaves strangely, just give us some Feedback.

Twitizer goes live

Quoting the entry at abiro.com:

It’s been public and stable for a week now, so this is kind of the “cut the ribbon” launch.

Nice features (I think), if you are into Twitter, want some multimedia, and are slightly nerdy:

  • Optimized for submitting multimedia content to Twitter from a mobile phone via MMS or e-mail
  • Worldwide compatibility (I hope; I’ve tried with Chinese etc; let me know if any script causes problems)
  • Supports long texts, photos/pictures, video clips and audio clips / podcasts, and in combination
  • Very quick and easy registration process, and easy to get a reminder for the e-mail alias
  • Easy-to-remember automatically generated e-mail aliases, a la “4 letters from the Twitter user name plus a PIN”, e.g. nerd7053@twitizer.com
  • Short permanent links (5 character code) to landing pages for the submitted messages, e.g.http://twitizer.com/xY6Lq
  • Multiple media shown on the same landing page, supporting multi-slide MMS’s, yet not with animation, as that’s removed by the MMS transcoding gateway
  • As much as possible of the subject and message body shown in the Twitter update, together with the link to the landing page
  • Photos/pictures can be rotated in place, not affecting the original
  • Video and audio clips are played using embedded players
  • Videos are converted, hosted, and played by Vimeo
  • All mobile phone generated media formats are supported (knock on wood)
  • The original media file can be downloaded to the PC; this feature might disappear for videos due to the file size
  • The latest submitted messages (independent of user) can be easily viewed without going to Twitter; currently without user images etc, so this will change
  • The landing page links back to the message submitter’s Twitter page for easy access to other updates
  • etc etc

The list could be made longer, and I might update later.

I’ve considered adding true MMS support, so that slides could be animated, but it’s really not that important, as most people only take one photo or record one video or audio clip, together with some text. Also, MMS to a phone number has a lot of negative implications from a worldwide rate and compatibility perspective, and if you use true e-mail the transfer cost is quite low.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Messages and Location

Latest is now called Messages. That’s more obvious, and it gives the possibility to also list latest users in the future as a separate menu entry.

A photo’s location is now shown as a map directly on the page instead, provided of course there’s any position in the photo. If not the map is not shown at all.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Latest

Added a simple list of the latest messages sent to Twitizer. You can click on a user name to open that user's Twitter page or the message text to see the message content.

There are no doubt a lot of improvement possibilities, e.g. showing the user's icon and the pictures in the message etc.

Audio and Location

Audio is now supported via the QuickTime plugin, so you need that installed to play audio clips. It's been tested to work with the audio formats moble phones generate.

Try e.g. sending a photo with voice annotation. Works fine.

There's also automatic handling of Location provided a photo has geotagging information. If so, a link to a map is shown.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Now with video

We just added ability to view videos uploaded to Twitizer. Almost any video format works. Many phones generate video files in 3GPP format, which is also supported. Vimeo is used for storing the videos.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Twitizer starting to shape up

Now it's possible to register and send long texts and photos without any problems. Video and audio show up as clickable links, so you can download the files to your PC and play them, provided you can find a compatible player.

Work continues...