Foller.me is Ready to Launch. We're going LIVE!

Good news everyone! We’re totally ready to launch! Everything is going as planned right now and we’re having a very busy weekend, but the launch date was announced and there’s nothing we can do to stop ;)

Might I start with a little press release? You can post this wherever you want, blogs, forums, chats, … newspapers, TV, radio ;) but please, schedule that for Monday (1st of June), okay?

Foller.me is a new third-party Twitter service that renders instant detailed information about a particular Twitter user’s latest 200 posts. It would generally take hours of scouting and pulling together information from hundreds of posts to scrape up some sort of insight into the user’s topic interests on Twitter. Foller.me does this in a flash, providing 3 tag clouds which represent the user’s key topics on Twitter.

How does it work? Foller.me gets access to the profile of a user via the Twitter API, scanning all the public info and his/her latest 200 tweets. It builds up three tag clouds: topics, #hashtags and @mentions, based on the user’s recent activity, excluding all stop words.

Let’s say you’ve received 20 new followers today and you cannot decide whether to follow back or not. You do NOT have the time to read 200 tweets on each of them, right? Nevertheless, you can’t just follow everyone, since you’ll get unwanted tweets in your friends timeline. Here’s the key: take a peek at ther Foller.me profiles and you’re done!

More information at foller.me
Blog at blog.foller.me

The beta version is still alive, but I’ll shoot that one down on Sunday. Everything’s set and almost working on Foller.me and take a look at your searchbox. It should indicate (lights up blue in FF3) that there’s a new search plugin available. Click on the drop-down list and select Foller.me. Anyway, I’m not sure that this would be enough, I mean wouldn’t it be nicer if there was a little button in your Firefox statusbar that you could click and input a name? Your thoughts on this one.

New Twitter Startup! Beta Testers Wanted!

Hello everyone. You might be wondering why I haven’t updated my WordPress plugins for the last two weeks. I was very busy with this new Twitter service I got in mind and I’m proud to announce that a semi-public beta is already up and running. You might want to read the blog before you go test: blog.foller.me. The beta’s located here: beta.foller.me. I’m really looking forward to your comments, bug reports, suggestions and any other kind of feedback.

Planning to launch officially (still with a beta logo though) next week or perhaps the week after if everything goes wrong. Still looking for suitable hosting services in the US (currently hosted in Moscow, Russia).

Thanks.

Quick Flickr Widget and the Flickr API Services

Hope you remember the Quick Flickr Widget plugin for WordPress. Well, since version 1.2 I’ve changed the way it works. Prior to 1.2, as Donncha suggested in his Flickr plugin, I used a public Flickr RSS feed to display the items, using WordPress’ RSS functions to move around the feed. Anyways I thought that I couldn’t take the plugin far enough, so I decided to use the Flickr API Services which is way more extended.

Still not sure about the consequences of sharing my Flickr API key. I’ve got a Flickr call for converting a Flickr screen name to a Flickr NSID which requires a valid API key. I thought that asking everyone to sign up for an API key would be a loss of plugin users so I provided my own key. Hope they don’t get me killed ;)

Now, to the user interface and experience. I’m not sure why, but some people are still confused about the new way and there are those, who cannot manage to find out their Flickr screen name (thinking that it’s their Flickr username or Yahoo ID). Anyways I hope to get this all sorted out and solved by 1.3 (maybe I should feed from Flickr by user e-mail?). Tiny bug in 1.2 was the inability to use a Flickr screen name with spaces. Thanks to Tung’s comments I sorted it all out by 1.2.1 – I had no idea people would use spaces in their screen names.

Now, for all the geeks out there. The Flickr API Explorer is the most fabulous thing that makes the Flickr API so easy to use. And the JSON Validator really helped me out there (I use JSON because I like it and also looking forward to adding some Javascript features to the plugin). So keep your comments and suggestions coming on the Quick Flickr Widget page.

Also, I’d like to recommend a book called Pro Web 2.0 Mashups which helped me out with Flickr API usage.

P.S. The Apps & Hats show launched on Friday 20th. The first episode is so cool. Girls with iPhones are so cute! Check them out: Apps & Hats – Your Quirky iPhone Application Review Show.

Working in Web 2.0

Somebody on Twitter yesterday posted a link to UADDit with photos of workplaces in web 2.0 companies, such as Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Last.fm, Mozilla and others. I just couldn’t resist, so here they are:

The last.fm pictures are my favourite! The original post is at uaddit.com discussions.

Pro Web 2.0 Mashups

Finally, I got the book about Remixing Data and Web Services and read about 3 chapters. It seems that everyone is already mixing up all kinds of data from sources like Google Maps and News, Flickr photos, delicious bookmarks, last.fm charts and others. The very first mashups like Housingmaps.com are brilliant, and with Yahoo! Pipes coming along, things seem to get much easier for people without any coding basics.

The Yahoo! Pipes service is a feed aggregator and manipulator, that lets you remix feeds from multiple sources. And many many more seems to be on its way :)

The author of the book is Raymond Yee and it’s published by Apress. You can browse it at Amazon here: Pro Web 2.0 Mashups.

And here’s a quick tip about linking to Amazon books. Find the book you like through Amazon search, go to its Product details and copy the ISBN-10 field value. The shortlink for your book will look like this: amazon.com/dp/159059858X, where 159059858X is the ISBN of the book. Nice huh?

More detailed examples can be found here: Linking to Amazon