Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The day my virtual assistant died - RIP IWantSandy.com

I'm verklempt.... or at least I should be, but I feel like I've got to get this post written. I have just learned that my trusted virtual assistant of more than a year has decided to change direction.

The Twitter Blog announced today that Rael Dornfest has joined Twitter and that the assets of Values of N, most visible would be Stikkit and IWantSandy will be shuttered.
Today we're thrilled to announce that Twitter has acquired the assets of Values of n, which include an intelligent sticky-note application as well as a personal productivity application that works over email, SMS, and the Web. Rael has already started adding energy and momentum to the team as a full time Twitter engineer.
Values of n will be shutting down existing products. However, the technology behind the scenes will live on and potentially re-emerge as part of Twitter's systems.... - Twitter Blog
I'm guessing this is good news for Rael.  It sounds like a steady paycheck. It's certainly bad for the users of Stikkit or IWantSandy.   On December 8th, their investment in those systems is gone.

It's easy to see why Twitter might want to have the assistant capability of IWantSandy.  What Twitter has probably figured out already is that there current service is not one that you're going to have much luck getting people to pay for.  Getting Twitter to do something useful rather than amusing is a potential step towards a subscription model.  I think it's also easy to see why Rael thought this was a good exit for ValuesOfN. Sandy was a lot more useful when coupled with alliances like Jott or Twitter .  As a standalone product, IWantSandy would also have a hard time in creating a subscription model and there was not much in the way of an advertising play for it either.

Best of luck to Rael. It's sad to see Sandy go.

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Friday, April 11, 2008

Warm Sushi? Phil Twitters

Phil Twittered:
Worst service and food ever from Irashiai today. Warm sushi? Yech! After manager's response, they're dead to me. Very disappointing.

Watch Phil Twitter.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Create and Deliver your own TwitterGram (No Code Required)

Dave Winer has proposed the TwitterGram, a simple way to post audio files to Twitter. He's contributed plenty to audio file distribution already, but here he proposes another first. I think the TwitterGram is supposed to be an easy way to send very short form audio posts out to the folks who might be interested in you. I can't tell if the idea has legs, but if you've got ears, you can take a listen at my first attempt.

Dave has coded a web interface to his service, but I thought that I might try to mashup something using just over the counter services and my fingers as the glue. The result is the no code required method I used to create my own TwitterGram.
By the way, Every step of this procedure can be performed from my Blackberry, so it's not only no coding required, it's no PC required for recording or playback!

Create and Deliver your own TwitterGram (No Code Required)
The goal is to create a short audio clip that can be played by someone who is tracking you on Twitter. Quite possibly this could be listened to someone not tracking you on Twitter. It's like a podcast but much smaller, and probably more ephemeral.

What you need: a GrandCentral account, a browser, copy, and paste keys.

What? You don't have a GrandCentral account? There is very little I can do for someone who refuses to cook with real butter, smoke handmade cigars, or take their calls through GrandCentral. Go get yourself an account.


1) Call your Grand Cental number and leave a voice mail message less than 60 seconds long.

This probably requires no explanation, but there is a tip. Call yourself using the web button from a phone number other than the one you use to check your Grand Central voice mail. The call will go quicker, and your link will not contain any identifying information like your name and phone number that you might not want to be posted publicly.

2) Copy the email link you receive from GrandCentral into a link shortening service like TinyURL or URLTea. This will shorten the 131 character link into something you can safely post via Twitter. When available, I use the URLTea service inside of my Google Talk client. It's quick, easy, and a log of my activity is kept inside of GMail.

3) Post the link in Twitter along with a short friendly explanation. Again, I use the GTalk client when available, but use Twitter web client when it is not. Be sure to use the @username sign if you want the message to be directed to someone in particular. For example @davewiner to send to Dave, or @thinkhammer if you want to send a message to me.
It's really as easy as that. What I do like about the service is that I can click on the link which appears in the GTalk client on my blackberry and it automatically plays the message. It's just one click to a one minute dose of audio bliss.
ps: When you're done here, feel free to slide on over to the ThinkHammer Blog.

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Friday, December 22, 2006

Podcast - Last minute advice on buying Tech

Linksys CIT310 for Yahoo Messenger
Phil Yanov and Eric Rodgers with a (nearly) full hour of technology buying advice.

Join us as we
  • Get advice on how to get the best deals on electronics when we talk to the Editor at large of Consumer Reports.
  • We get a lesson in HD-TV from Chris Hyder at Jeff Lynch Appliance
  • Play with some cool phones --
  • Get some advice from Leo Laporte, Chief Twit at Twit.TV, and KFI Tech Guy on how to choose between the Wii, PS3, and X-Box 360.
This show first aired December 20, 2006 on Your Day which is carried statewide on South Carolina's public radio network.

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Am I Twitter? Oui ou Non.

Evhead thinks I should Twitter. That means I should use his Obvious service that lets me periodically update my status and then alert my friends to that status. It sure appeals to my inner narcissist. I am guessing that the service appeals to others with the same proclivities. I'm ok with that. I've looked at Twitter before, but didn't get it. JL Watkins mentioned it at gadgetfest today so I revisited the website.

qv: [Twitter]

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