Posts tagged mobile

A quick mobile question

This question is intended to see how people prefer to interact on the mobile web. Therefore it’s perhaps a bit intentionally vague as it’s really trying to see what users’ like in general as opposed to more specific uses. Please pass along the link and thanks in advance for participating!

Mobile updates

How to set up a “free” snow report text message service (using Twitter)

I’ve been kicking around the idea of using Twitter’s SMS option to push snow reports to consumers ever since I first got my “real” introduction to Twitter over two years ago. I haven’t had the chance to implement it myself, but I do recall seeing Aspen Ski Co with an option to do so on their site last year – I’m not sure how well it worked as it isn’t listed as an option on their site currently. However, a recent post on Alex Kaufman’s blog about Twitter’s new “fast follow” option really got me thinking about this concept again.

The key to this concept is that Twitter was built as a service that was to be updated as well as to send updates to users via text. Now the cool part about this is that Twitter doesn’t charge users to have their updates sent via text to those users who sign up for them. This has always been possible, all someone would have to do is to go to that particular Twitter users’ page and then click on the Mobile updatesicon to start receiving texts whenever that user updates – just remember that some people tweet a lot so beware of what accounts you follow in this manner. Speaking of text, there are a bunch of commands that you can send via text to Twitter including:

Turning Mobile Twitter Updates Off and On

  • ON: turns ALL your authorized Twitter updates and notifications on.
  • OFF: turns off all updates except direct messages. Send STOP again to turn off direct messages too.
  • STOP, QUIT, End, Cancel, Arret or Unsubscribe: turns ALL phone notifications off.
  • ON username: turns on notifications for a specific person on your phone. Example: ON alissa
  • OFF username: turns off notifications for a specific person on your phone. Example: OFF blaine
  • FOLLOW username: this command allows you to start following a specific user, as well as receive SMS notifications. Example: FOLLOW jerry
  • LEAVE username: this command allows you to stop receiving SMS notifications for a specific user. Example: LEAVE benfu

Fun Stuff: friends, favorites, and stats!

Use the commands below to send private messages, favorite Tweets, and more.
  • @username + message
  • Reply: shows your Tweet as a reply directed at another person, and causes your twitter to save in their “replies” tab.
    Example: @meangrape I love that song too!

  • D username + message
  • Direct Message: sends a person a private message that goes to their device, and saves in their web archive.
    Example: d krissy want to pick a Jamba Juice for me while you’re there?

  • RT username
  • Retweet: sends another user’s latest Tweet to your followers. Example: RT Charles

  • SET LOCATION placename
  • Updates the location field in your profile. Example: set location San Francisco

  • WHOIS username
  • Retrieves the profile information for any public user on Twitter. Example: whois jack

  • GET username
  • Retrieves the latest Twitter update posted by the person. Example: get goldman

  • FAV username
  • Marks that user’s last Tweet as one of your favorites. (hint: reply to any update with FAV to mark it as a favorite if you’re receiving it in real time)

    Example: fav crystal


This command returns your number of followers, how many people you’re following, and your bio information.

The above information was found in Twitter’s Help Center.

Now, with Twitter’s new Fast Follow option, a user doesn’t even need a Twitter account to use many of these command, and all they have to do to receive, say a snow report from @snowreport (just as an example) is to text “Follow snowreport” to 40404. Then “Off” “Stop” or “Leave” to turn the updates off. Now, only some of the above noted commands will work without a setup account, but it’s certainly a great way for someone to test out Twitter. And the best part is that businesses can really easily take advantage of these features now that users don’t need accounts. All a business needs to do is say “Text ‘Follow’ [whatever account they have] to 40404” and away things go. The last really neat part of this is that there are plenty of services like that will take existing RSS feeds and modify them and post to Twitter so you don’t even need to crack into Twitter’s API to have something like a snow report pushed to Twitter generated SMSs. I don’t see a lot of problems in going this route aside from the fact that Twitter hasn’t ever been 100% dependable in its service, and it seems like the “Fail Whale” still shows up on a regular basis, so I wouldn’t recommend using Twitter for anything that is absolutely mission critical. But other than that, who’s up for snow reports via text using Twitter?!

WordPress Logo

10 Tips for Configuring a Blog

WordPress LogoI’ve had my blog on a self-hosted installation for about a year now and I really like it. Particularly at a time when I hear that had an issue that caused them to go offline for over an hour, which means that there were over 10 million blogs that were inaccessible for around an hour on this past Thursday evening.

  1. Pick a theme that is clean and fits your content. There are a lot of pretty or tricked out themes to choose from, remember that it’s your content that people will be looking for so choose accordingly.
  2. Think of a category and tagging scheme that (once again) is appropriate for the content that you are posting.
  3. If your theme doesn’t have it’s own SEO support built in, add a plugin like HeadSpace2 or  Greg’s High Performance SEO.
  4. On the SEO topic, make sure you have a site map plugin, like Google XML Sitmaps and have submitted and had your site verified with Google Webmaster Tools, Bing Webmaster Tools and Yahoo!’s Site Explorer although Bing will very soon be providing search results for Yahoo!
  5. Setup Feedburner for readers who want to subscribe to your blog either via RSS or email, this also is a way to track how and where your RSS content is consumed. There are plugins to help setup the RSS part and even to display your feed stats in your blog’s dashboard (Feed Stats for WordPress).
  6. I also recently began using a plugin that puts a line of text in the footer of your blog’s RSS feed, which will allow readers who are reading your post in an RSS reader or even inserted in someone else’s post to know where the content originated at.
  7. Be sure to license the ideas and content that you publish on your blog with a Creative Commons license.
  8. Do your mobile readers a favor and add a plugin like the WPtouch iPhone Theme to allow your iPhone, Android and other smartphone users a mobile optimized browsing experience.
  9. If you’re like me and reference your own posts, it’s good to install the No Self Pings plugin to avoid getting a ‘pingback’ each time you link to one of your own posts.
  10. Keep your WordPress software install as up to date as possible in order to keep up with the most recent security patches and also consider installing security plugins like Secure WordPress and WP Security Scan

Mobile Compatabilty

Photo on 2009-12-01 at 22.24 #2So, we’re in the process of updating the mobile site at the resort. But, I just realized, after reading a post on the Tourism Keys blog that I’m basically a slacker for not taking advantage of the the tools available by using as the CMS for my blog.

In about a half an hour this evening, I tested out a couple of mobile plugins and settled on the really neat dotMobi WordPress Mobile Pack. This plugin is incredibly easy to setup and get configured, the only glitch was that didn’t initially realize that I still needed to manually setup a subdomain in order for the mobile content to resolve (doh!). There’s also a nifty mobile sniffer and chooser feature, and I’m just now getting ready to dig into the barcode widget they offer. Yeah I’m liking those funny looking 2D barcodes now that I have a phone which can use them.

Guess I needed to “walk the walk” in regards to mobile after starting to “talk the talk” a bit here. Thanks for the reminder Todd!

Photo credit: my MacBook Pro and a grainy Photo Booth shot of
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