My Twitter Following

I get asked multiple times per day how I got so many followers or if I’m famous or generally what’s the deal with my follow count. I think it’s around 315k right now, I don’t bother checking anymore. So here’s my story:

In the early days of Twitter, I didn’t get it. I finally got talked into setting up an account and started tweeting… It was interesting, but the more people I followed the more interesting it seemed to get. I wrote some scripts to start scraping, indexing and following people. There was no daily rate limit, just the 1.1% ratio. So my script would go crazy, almost doubling my followers every day.

Around 20k followers later, the “1k follows per day” rate limit went into effect. This made things more difficult. My new direction was to create a profile of a user that would follow back – the simplest case of this is a user that has around a 1% ratio but has never tweeted. My bots would crawl, index and filter based on a list of criteria. If there was a match, follow. Do this 1,000 times per day. Every day.

At 100k followers, I started getting people following me in small numbers – a couple hundred a day. I wrote scripts to follow these people back, plus follow new people and keep a database of who I was following and who was following me. Also in that database I stored basic info about the user – when they joined, their last tweet, following ratio, etc.

At 250k followers, the number of people following me each day started exceeding 1,000. I could no longer follow back as many people that followed me. I changed my scripts to stop following new people altogether and just follow people back. I still record statistics in a database, but I only use it to dump deadbeats – those that haven’t tweeted in X days. I also started actively unfollowing based on a set of criteria, but have a whitelist in place for those people I always want to follow.

It was around this time I started auto-DM’ing people that followed me. I’ll write another post on why I auto-DM even though I despise people who do just that.


Steve Jobs, Hero

Steve Jobs, Hero

He didn’t just create new industries, he destroyed them. Steve Jobs has had a deep impact on me, forever changing the course of my life. When my family got an Apple ][e, I was hooked. I remember the day I first saw the Macintosh and my jaw dropped to the floor. There have been many other moments in my life that I remember with distinct clarity, realizing what I was looking at was the way of the future. It was almost as if Steve was living five years ahead of everyone else. Being taken away at such a young age is a tragedy and the world will suffer for it.

I’ve seen two of his keynotes, one of a demo of Aqua which literally brought me to tears. I’m glad I got a chance to see him in action, but am kicking myself for not talking to him when I had the chance. I was on the show floor of Macworld Tokyo, in Apple’s sprawling booth, and I look to my right to see Steve Jobs and Phil Schiller just standing there. They were taking in the scene of the booth and nobody was paying them much attention, just the two of them. I felt like I didn’t want to invade his privacy so held myself back. The same thing happened when I bumped into Jony Ive, but that’s a different story.

Oh, how I wished I could relive that moment. To at least thank him for the wonderful impact he’s had on my life. Steve Jobs will me missed immensely.

Powering a 30″ Cinema Display with a Mini DisplayPort

First off, you need the mini DP to dual link DVI adapter, not the regular mini DP to DVI, to get a decent resolution on the Cinema Display. Second, you need the Macbook Pro EFI Firmware Update 2.2. Third, you guessed it, you need a MBP with a mini DP.

So all this sounds like a no-brainer, but here’s my story:

  1. I bought the latest MBP and a mini DP to DVI adapter and the resolution sucked.
  2. Found out I had to get the dual-link DVI adapter (I can still use the single-link with my 24″ monitor). I was very worried by all the trash being talked on the Apple store about this adapter being flaky and dying suddenly but I ended up getting it anyway. I need my 30″!
  3. Everything worked perfectly. Woot!
  4. Upgraded to Lion. Boom. Cinema Display Dead.
  5. Brought MBP and dual-link adapter to an Apple Store. The genius plugged it into their monitor in the back room and it worked “proved with a photo” so I was told to bring in my Cinema Display because it was likely a power issue. My old MBP (late 2008) could still power it so I had my doubts. Anyway, suckage… the CD was dead to me.
  6. Lots of bitching and moaning in public forums to no avail and jumping out the window seemed mighty tempting.
  7. MBP EFI Firmware update comes along and “includes fixes that resolve issues with Apple Thunderbolt Display compatibility”. Sounds close enough. Install. Bam. Cinema Display Alive.

Long story short, I spent way too much time on an issue that nobody would acknowledge or help with or even let me cry on their shoulder about. I was in deep trauma for months. And now it is over! If this post helps someone, I’ll have done my job here.

Dell Fail

Dell Fail

Click for Bigness

I finally got my Dell XPS 15z on the date expected (no surprise early delivery), but the bottom of the machine is so warped I’m going to have to return it. I really need this machine to get stuff done, but there is no way around the shoddy build quality so might as well bite the bullet now. This really ticks me off and also the almost daily calls I got from “Gary”, “Sarah” and “Frank” with heavy foreign accents really rubbed me the wrong way. All these calls were to tell me my laptop left the factory, shipped, will arrive soon, will arrive on time, has arrived, did it arrive? etc. Calling both my home and work numbers early in the morning, including waking me up on a holiday.

So that, so far has been my experience ordering my first PC.

Screw You, Flash

I hate you, flash!I hate flash. If the entire web abandoned it, I wouldn’t notice. I have ClickToFlash running on all my WebKit apps (yes, CTF does not work on Safari 5.1.1), Flashblock on Mozilla (yes, it isn’t available for Firefox 8.0a2) and Flash disabled completely on Chromium apps. It still creeps through somehow.

Today I left about 10 tabs open in Aurora, completely forgot about them and continued working in another application. Suddenly the performance of my entire machine died. Slow as hell. Whip up Activity Monitor, force quit the extension wrapper for Mozilla, check out Aurora and I see the picture to your right in those 10 tabs. What is the Flash for? An ad. *SIGH*

Recently I uploaded some hands-on with the Galaxy Tab playing flash games. It was decent, but still got a bit slide-showy on me at times. The entire Samsung display focused on the ability to use Flash and that this was the “real” Internet. But, as usual, it sucked.

Flash sucks on tablets, sucks on laptops, sucks on desktops… It just isn’t worth it. I should just abandon it altogether and ditch the plugin.