The University of Texas, Austin has kicked off a project to study the best way to preserve the history of online worlds.

read more | digg story - simple private file sharing

In the (grand?) tradition of my blog, this is yet another 'web 2.0' service that does something very simple, but does it brilliantly. In fact, takes the concept of sharing small files and adds on so many clever tricks, it's actually hard to know where to start.

Things start simply enough - you pick a name for your 'drop'. This will become the URL, so although you can go with a randomly generated sequence of characters, you have the option of picking something a bit more memorable. Then add your files and decide if you want them to be private (ie. password protected), set an expiry date, and choose what rights you want any visitors to have. You'll be offered one chance to set an admin password, giving you the ability to edit the drop later. And that's it - see an example at

You can view your files by media type, as a blog or like a system folder. There's even PicLens support. The blog view is especially interesting, as can be used to store notes, links and even has commenting - in fact, it's a fully featured blogging platform!

In addition to uploading files from the web, you can email them, phone in messages and even send faxes to a drop. As many ways as there are to add content, there are even more ways to share content!
Discover Simple, Private Sharing at
For example, I've embedded the excellent Jonathan Coulton song, Flickr above. Of course, there are the expected RSS feeds for people to subscribe to, as well as email and SMS alerts and (surprise, surprise) an option to post updates to Twitter.


If the blogging capabilities are a neat feature, then the podcast hack (found at is brilliant: since supports audio files (and other media) and provides an RSS feed, it naturally makes it possible to host a podcast (or a 'dropcast' as they call it).

This is hardly an exhaustive overview of, but I'm sure you can see how useful this service could be. Go and have a play. There are some tutorials and a FAQ if you want to read some more.

Drag &

One new feature, currently in the testing phase, is a Firefox extension that will sit in the status bar and let you upload files by simply dragging them from your desktop, right onto a drop, or the icon. Sadly, it seems to conflict with Gmail Manager somehow, but it's early days. It also lets you bookmark drops, which could be very handy if you use several.

drop-ff - a new generation of Twitter client?

In barely-related news, has revealed a little information about itself, in this Vimeo video:

Clearly it is a new Twitter app, with the ability to display rich content that individual tweets may point to, even if the links are hidden behind a shortened URL. Since it promises to be 'a better way to navigate the twitterverse' I imagine we may see other media embedded in the client, like YouTube videos or mp3s, and some other neat tricks.

cloud-io pretty logoI hope the creators are thinking beyond the 'twitterverse', as they have one cool feature that many other Twitter clients don't - they are not riding on the Twitter brand. There are no bird metaphors in the name or the design, so if they are so inclined, they could add support for Plurk,,, FriendFeed,,, Kwippy and all the other services that are crying out for unification in some form or other.

Whatever we get, hopefully we will only have to wait until the end of this month.

Introducing a special guest opinion piece from Josh Scanlan, blogger, tumbler, Plurker, and of course, Twitterer. He has a few suggestions for you...

If you've spent even a little time on the popular website Twitter you will notice a few things about it. You may notice that there is quite a bit of downtime, or the avatars won't load, maybe your tweets don't get submitted or you can't follow people, sometimes. I am here to tell you today that these aren't even the biggest of problems that Twitter faces. Furthermore the main reason why Twitter is ruined right now, is you.

When I first heard of Twitter I thought it was a fantastic idea. For a creative person like myself it could be the ideal avenue to throw out some funny lines that I come up with and get instant feedback. It was like a dream world where I could harass people in new and hilarious ways, all the while getting instant feedback from the harassed and anyone who cared to read. Then reality kicked in.


I soon started to notice that Twitter was being used for sub-awesome ventures. I started getting attacked by a barrage of lameness like "eating food" or "I'm bored" and even the dreaded "driving to work". Uggggggh... I found that my new avenue of awesomeness was getting crowded with genuinely boring people. People with no imagination, with no vision, and apparently no fucking lives.

You have a great way to meet and chat with an unending amount of new people, and you decide the best way to befriend them is to fill them in on all the boring little details of your life? Not only that, but these people tend to have 5x as many followers as me. How can this be possible when they have the personality of an acorn and I'm the king of awesomeness? Simple. Most of these people only care about building huge follower/followee situations and upping their "tweet" count. Wow, what an ultra fulfilling and rewarding life you must live.

js-tweetBeing the nice guy that I am I want to help some of these people. I'm not helping the tweet count and follower count whores, they've already sold their souls to mediocrity and are forever in my little black book of hate. I will, however, help those people who tend to just be completely boring. They seem like nice enough people, and I want to follow them back, I just can't torture my mind reading their banalities on my timeline.

So here are a few examples of boring posts that I've seen, and my version of the same line. This should help you lame people spice it up a bit...

Original: "Off to take a shower."

New: "Uh-Ohs, It's shower time... Join me?"

Not only are you adding some semblance of personality, but you also see who is attracted to you and out the gays.

Original: "Eating a sandwich."

New: "I'm mouth fucking a turkey club right now."

Some people may find this comical, others may find it kind of gross, but at least you're getting a reaction out of people besides indifference.

Original: "Listening to *insert shitty band here*."

New: "Rocking out to *awesome band*, drinking Red Bull, and hitting my spouse."

Not only do I expect you to put a little more effort into tweets, but I also fully expect you to change your tastes from terrible music and movies, to awesome ones. Maybe it's the generic lines from the terrible movies and music you intake that are taking you over filtering into your tweets.


With any luck a large majority of the twitter community will read this post, realize that they're a failure to society, and then change their ways. It's going to take a lot of work to get these disappointments to turn it around, so I'll need your help. The next time you see someone getting their boring on, I want you to textually bitch slap them right in front of everyone. I feel if you make fun of the relentlessly they'll either be forced to change their ways, or they will just kill themselves. Either way it's win/win.


For more articles from Josh Scanlan check out his blog at is a new micro-blogging service, from Fuzz, that has a truly brilliant unique selling point - music. Twitter asks 'What are you doing?' but asks instead 'What are you listening to?' You simply search for a tune, scroll through a list of results, preview the ones you like to make sure it's working. Add a message and 'blip' it to the world.

Music is clearly the killer feature here, but that's not the only great thing about It's really easy to find and add people with similar musical tastes. After each post, Blip will show you a handful of others who have recently played the same song, and ask if you want to follow them. Additionally, the main page dynamically loads in new blips, without you having to reload the page. All micro-blogs should do this, but it's particularly hand on Blip as it means you can just keep listening, indefinitely.

I do wonder about the legality of this, but ultimately this could be a great tool for music discovery. Let's hope it survives!

Here, have an invite to, on me.

In a smart move earlier this month, Twitter bought Summize, and turned it into Now Twitter should snap up some more services to capitalise on the work others have done using the API, and really jump ahead in the micro-blog space that they created. So, what else could they add?

Twellow is rough around the edges, but it is a great way to search for useful stuff on Twitter. Want to follow some people who are into the same TV shows as you? Solicit some advice from a web developer or Linux geek? Find some news sources? Twitter could grab Twellow, or probably knock together their own directory.


TwitPic is essential. Already tightly integrated, this is a brilliant way of sharing photos through Twitter.

Twitterfeed is a core service for anyone who wants to tweet an RSS feed. (And I'm not just including this because I did the logo!)


Another service already in perfect harmony with Twitter is Tweetburner. Your link-sharing stats could be displayed on an extended profile page, along with all your shared TwitPics and other goodies. This one probably makes the most sense, as the URL shortening market thrives largely thanks to Twitter.

Another service that just needs a lick of paint is TwitterNotes. Just by using a plus sign, this can identify your tweet as a note, and keep it handy for later. It even supports tagging. Postica has a more novel way of displaying notes, but lacks for any other real selling (or buying) points.

Twitt(url)y and TweetWire both search and filter out hot links on Twitter. This could make for a pretty interesting alternative frontpage, to answer the frequent newbie complaint of 'I don't see what the point is!'

Buy TwitterCounter, mix in the Tweetburner and Summise data, and you can provide users with some pretty cool analytics data! A TwitDir or Twitterholic style 'Top 100' would be popular too. And Mood Status might be a fun addition.


Identica is already offering a tags page, but Twitter could take the lead by snapping up Hashtags (or the less sexy Twemes). +

Twitter really needs to revamp the follower/following management, and it could start by looking at MyTweeple, which does a great job of showing you a summary of information on all those who follow you, and all those you follow, making it easy to spot spammers or the anti-social attention whores who seem to be plaguing Twitter these days.

In conclusion...

There's not really any need for Twitter to spend millions on acquiring all of these new features, but I think this list does go to show how much potential there is. I'm sure Obvious know what they're doing (or at least think they know better), but they would be daft to ignore the brainstorming efforts of hundreds of smart fans. To a large extent, the beauty of Twitter is in its simplicity, but I think all of these features could be added without compromising what is already there.

C'mon Twitter, shake it up a little!

Newer Posts Older Posts Home

Blogger Template by Blogcrowds.