Reserved Words

May 11, 2010

Things I’ve found Twitter useful for

Filed under: technology,twitter — Craig Harvey @ 8:02 pm
Tags: , ,

imageI didn’t get Twitter for a while. I signed up and tentatively sent a few tweets around May 2009 but it still took me a while to get my head around why you would bother. Eventually though it has won me over.

Following is a list of things that I’ve managed to use Twitter for in the last few months – not earth shattering, but also not the kind of thing that is easily accomplished with

  • Obviously following a bunch of comedians and having chuckles at their comments and links – @chaslicc, @rossnoble etc.
  • Get answers to a sales enquiry (well before I got a reply to my email to the same company)
  • Found results to NRL games, even quicker than the bloated Flash based ‘live scoreboard’ on the NRL website – search for #nrl or just the name of the team playing
  • Got Harvey Norman to correct an in-store sign for the HTC Hero that had a Windows logo for the O/S (and had a laugh)
  • Found out about things happening in my local area #Canberra including traffic problems, bomb scares, local events etc.
  • Chuckled at tweets during Masterchef!

One of the keys to ‘getting into’ Twitter for me has been able to do it from my phone – I do most of my reading from my phone and occasional updates. I used the web interface on my PC for a while but have recently been using Seesmic which is a better experience.

What have you found Twitter useful for? Or have you found it to be a complete WOFTAM (waste of f$%king time and money)?


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April 29, 2010

Masterchef Tweet sport

Filed under: media — Craig Harvey @ 8:20 pm
Tags: , ,


There’s a new sport in town – tweeting about the hit TV show Masterchef (on Australian television) while it’s being aired. OK tweeting about a TV show isn’t new, but the sheer volume of #masterchef tweets is crazy. It’s made the top 10 global trending topics every episode that it has been on (to my knowledge), and this is just the start of the season.

It certainly adds a new dimension to the show – phone or laptop nearby, monitoring hilarious and bitchy comments in real time while watching this hit reality show. There’s a few positive comments in there, but usually people are cracking jokes, bitching about the contestants that they hate or being infuriated by yet another contestant crying or quitting the competition! I can’t wait till they make TVs that integrate Twitter feeds into the the show – oh wait, they do, it’s a called a home theatre PC.

imageOne of the judges – Matt Preston is a regular tweeter and usually gets in there and participates which really adds a new dimension to the conversation as well. The shows were obviously filmed weeks (or months) earlier, but it’s good that he’s sticking around and adding to the hype around the show as each episode airs.


The first season of the show already was a great example of how to use the internet to support the show itself – it had a great website with content such as recipes and videos from the show published not long after each episode went to air. This Twitter phenomenon hasn’t really been spurred on by the makers of the show as far as I can tell, it’s just a ‘grass roots’ thing that has happened by fans of the show getting online and getting their opinions out there. And it’s great to see something beat the Justin Bieber trend on Twitter.

It must be hard for some of the contestants to go and read what people are saying about them – they put themselves out there by revealing personal stories and people take the piss. I’m certainly guilty of it! The other issue is that sometimes the way an episode has been edited might inadvertently make someone look like more of a tool than they really are – I think we’ll all scream if we hear once more that Claire is a lawyer though!

The themes that appear to be emerging are:

  • Plenty of discussion about what Matt Preston is wearing – his musk stick pants were divisive!
  • We’re sick of contestants crying
  • Alvin is a bit of a favourite – interchangeably called ManPoh or Gaysian. We’re sick of hearing about his mum though!
  • People are tipping a surprise re-entry of Irgmard, the lovable widow who cooked lamb thinking it was pork
  • Jake is a serial killer (harsh!)

So what do you think? What makes Masterchef so unique that people are so passionate about tweeting during the show? Is it because it’s a fast paced reality show, the demographic of the target audience or some other mysterious factor?

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February 17, 2010

The tweeting Tree

Filed under: technology — Craig Harvey @ 7:34 pm
Tags: , ,

According to Ericsson have connected a tree to Twitter. That’s an oversimplification – the tree is equipped with sensors that monitor movement and light and then at various intervals tweets based on the information from the sensors via the API.

My favourite quote – “Ericsson promises its not some guy with a laptop hiding behind a bush tapping out tweets and greets.”

You can follow the tree if you want – @connectedtree and it’s pretty exciting stuff as evidenced by the samples below.

Morality is not really the doctrine of how to make ourselves happy but of how we are to be worthy of happiness #ectree

I feel like a star. 131 handshakes in an hour. Too bad I can’t sign autographs. #ectree

There is no excellence without labor. One cannot dream oneself into either usefulness or happiness. #ectree

I’ve been touched 103 times in the last hour. #ectree

It’s like a frickin’ fortune cookie generator or something.

Sidenote – this kind of reminds me of the old Dr Sbaitso program, that DOS program that used to come with Sound Blaster audio cards back in the early 90s, see below.


This also got me thinking about what other objects tweet… there’s the bed of that newly married couple that sends tweets when they bonk thanks to their best man. Here’s a list of other notable ‘things’ that tweet as well:

I have to say I don’t get the point of most of these applications beyond the ‘because I can’ factor for the inventors. The Twitter API also refers to various scenarios where some ordinary piece of ‘notification’ technology could be hooked up to tweet (i.e. build completed, server errors, capacity limits reached etc), but not sure of the why yet. Mind you, when I first signed up to Twitter I didn’t get it at all but it’s growing on me. Maybe I’ll look back in a few months and realise the fool that I am!

What is the craziest object connected to Twitter you’ve come across? What would you like to see connected to Twitter?

February 14, 2010

Channel 9 Twitter fail

Filed under: media,technology — Craig Harvey @ 6:11 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Now that we’ve had some success tackling the big issues, time to turn our sights on Channel 9, free to air broadcaster of cricket in Australia. Currently one of the major sponsors of cricket is mobile phone company Three. They have a promotion where you can get free access to Twitter for a period of time if you sign up (or something). Channel 9 have an info-graphic thingo to promote this and they are promoting their Twitter username as:

@ninecommentaryteam (have a look at how many people are attempting to tweet this address)

Problem is that this doesn’t exist, so fail on their part. OK, people make mistakes and maybe the guy who does the screen graphics got some dud info. The real username is actually @9commentaryteam.

But what gets me is that the real username has actually tweeted three fifths of bugger all. Their last tweet was the 7th of Feb (today is the 14th), and prior to that it was the 29th Jan.

So why promote this way of interacting with you when you’re not really into the whole tweeting thing anyway? If anything it just makes you look stupid, you’re better off not trying at all. Fail!

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