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.