Posts Tagged 'geek'

The Ele-vator SmartStand

Here’s my new business card – an ‘elephant’ stand for iPhone, smartphone or PDA.


See friends’ Facebook statuses on your Twitter timeline

(…and selectively update your own Facebook status from Twitter)

So, you have all these old mates, school chums, far-flung family members and former colleagues using Facebook who definitely don’t share your geeky proclivities. You’d like to keep up-to-date with what they’re up to, and let them know what you’re doing, but you don’t want to have to visit the godawful spam-bucket that is Facebook. You want their Facebook status updates to hit your Twitter timeline as they update (or soon after), right? And at the same time, it would be useful to be able to update your Facebook status selectively from Twitter, so (for example) Auntie Mabel can see when you’re drinking a quadruple espresso but isn’t sent into a headspin by all your unfathomable @replies, hashtags and RTs.

Well here are a couple of workarounds that will stop you needing to visit Facebook ever again (except perhaps for the odd game of Scrabble). The first lets you see your friends’ Facebook status updates (within about a half-an-hour of them updating) as separate tweets on your Twitter-friends timeline, all without compromising their privacy (or, indeed, Fb’s privacy policy). I’m sure I’m not the first to figure this out, and there are no doubt other ways to do it, but this works well for me…

1. Friends’ Facebook status updates to Twitter:

  • Log out of your usual Twitter account (henceforth called ‘yourname’) and create a new account, which we’ll call here ‘yourfbfriends’. (You will need to use a separate email address from the one you used to create your original twitter account.)
  • Go into settings and check the box ‘protect my updates’ – this will ensure your friends’ updates can only be seen by you, and not by any Bot, Dick and Spammer.
  • Upload an avatar if you want one, then save settings and log out.
  • Log into Facebook and grab the RSS feed URL of your friends’ status updates. (To find it click on the “Friends” tab – then in the left-hand navigation pane you’ll see a link to “Friends’ Status Feed” under the heading “Subscribe”.)
  • Go to and create a new account. (You will need an OpenID to do this. There are instructions on the site about how to obtain one, or a new one if you are already using Twitterfeed with an existing Twitter account.)
  • Enter the Twitter username and password of your newly-created yourfbfriends Twitter account.
  • Enter the Facebook Friends’ Status Feed URL into the feed box.
  • Verify the Twitter account and feed URL are valid by clicking where indicated.
  • Use the drop-down menus to set up Twitterfeed. (I get it to check the feed every 30 mins, include up to 5 items, and to show both ‘title and description’.)
  • Save settings and log out of Twitterfeed.
  • Log back in to your normal Twitter account (yourname) and request to follow the new protected account you created (yourfbfriends).
  • Log out of yourname and back into yourfbfriends.
  • Accept yourname’s request to follow yourfbfriends then log out of yourfbfriends and back into yourname.

That’s it – except remember not to accept any other requests to follow yourfbfriends. After all, you don’t want to let any casual tweet-scanning criminals know that your Auntie Mabel’s just remembered she left her front door unlocked when she left the house this morning, now do you?

2. Update your Facebook status selectively via Twitter:

This has been fairly widely covered, but I’ll run through it here again for good measure. If you tick the standard Twitter-Facebook ‘Allow Twitter to update my status…’ permission box, your Facebook status will be crudely updated by *every* tweet you send, which can be confusing and annoying for your non-geeky Facebook friends.

Instead, find and install the Facebook application Twittersync and go to the settings page. Set it up to filter your tweets as required, then it will only update your Facebook status with your selected tweets.  You can use regex if you want to get clever about it, but I simply put an ‘@’ in the “‘Filter tweets containing” box. That automatically filters out any tweets containing @replies or references to other twitter usernames. If I then want to filter out other geeky tweets, I simply make sure I stick an ‘@’ character in them somewhere.

The Blognoscenti – A Geek Ode: “We twitter and flitter from Barcamp to FOWA…”

We twitter and flitter from Barcamp to Fowa,
A hive-mind of hackers and Mac-packing geeks;
Our lappies and APIs are portals to power,
For these ones aren’t zeroes or whackos and freaks.

We’re makers, reshapers of base-board connections,
With open intention, invention and verve,
Posting and coasting in countless directions,
Paving the wave that’s creating the curve.

We’re reading O’Reillys on jailbroken iPhones,
Talking of Tedsters and web two-point-O;
Spreading and threading like underground rhizomes
Growing the future – for we’re in the know.

Link to MP3 file

This work is licenced under a Creative Commons Licence.

FOWA hopes and fears

So, it’s off to the sprawling Excel centre in Docklands tomorrow for the Future of Web Apps expo and conference (FOWA), a grand gathering of the geeks of the Web 2.0 world. While I’m excited by the buzz and by much of what’s happening at the moment, there’s a side of me that feels it’s all horribly reminiscent of the ‘scene’ just prior to the dotcom crash of 2000-1. There’s far too much talk of ‘monetization’, and too many hyperinflated egos and valuations. I’m certainly all for people making money from their ideas and creative endeavours, but I believe if we are all to truly benefit from the momentous advances that the semantic web is only just starting to bring, then we must do so in the same spirit of co-operation, openness and respect that built the web in the first place – not in the spirit of greed, self-aggrandisement and mendacity that caused the first dotcom crash. I’ll be particularly interested to hear what some of the movers and shakers have to say about Brad Fitzpatrick’s recent post on opening the social graph and the subsequent call for a Bill of Rights for an Open Social Web.


Mortlemania is my personal blog. For my professional blog, see

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