How to make Twitter better?


After using twitter for quite a long time, now I think I have a few suggestions to make twitter better and hope the people behind it will get noticed and work something out of it.

I know many of you are annoyed of spam followers as much as I do. So now I think wouldn’t it be a good idea if twitter has some sorta stricter follow policy? For example, before people can follow anybody they must pass a CAPTCHA/re-CAPTCHA verification or something like that to prove that they’re human. Twitter may also give the user to set how they are going to be followed, either automatically, CAPTCHA/re-CAPTCHA or manual verification. This “manual verification” I’m talking about is like, the system gives a question to a follower, for example “Why do you want to follow this person?” and a user may approve/reject the follower depending on how s/he has answered the question.

I must say it doesn’t have to be CAPTCHA/re-CAPTCHA but any other spam prevention system that can do the similar job of eliminating spambots would be fine. That being said, the point is not about “stopping all bots” but rather stopping most of them, because stopping all is just impossible and out of logic here. I know it’s gonna be a hassle and time consuming but that’s what “being more stricter” is all about. Well, just additional clicks and/or a few more text to be typed in shouldn’t be too hard for most people because our goal here is to prevent the process of following people from being automated, hence eliminating spam followers greatly.

And also I found that it’s a little inconvenient to have only 2 privacy options; either to make your tweets public (follow-able) or protected (non follow-able). I think it’d be better if twitter includes another privacy option, “public tweets but non follow-able”, where people may still see your tweets but they can’t follow you in order to make your tweets appear in their private timeline.

It may be unnecessary for most people but once again the point here is to prevent random followers from following us. At least for me, by protecting both my profile and tweets, it won’t work for me if I don’t want bots to follow me but on the same time I wanted people to see my tweets. Unlock my tweets & profile and some random people/bots will automatically flood my follower list after they found matching keywords I might have tweeted. So that leave me with another option, lock my profile from being followed but at the same time make my tweets public for the world to see.

I don’t mind having to review all follow requests sent to me before I can approve them. At least, those who have sent those requests have seen my tweets and decided to follow me. It’s not the same as random people who send follow requests just because they are curious of what I’m tweeting about when they see my tweets are protected.

EDIT: I just thought of something. Let there be an option to flag tweets as public or private, where private tweets will only be available to followers. Also let there be options to block certain keywords/hashtags to prevent spam or unwanted tweets from flooding/entering one’s timeline.

Nokia and Symbian OS is not ready for smartphone business?


Just recently Apple has revealed their 4th generation of iPhone that comes with iPhone OS 4 which is now dubbed as iOS4. Google, another new player in the smartphone business on the other hand, is now working on the upcoming Andoid OS 2.2 “Froyo” which is due to be officially released anytime later this year. Qualcomm, the name behind the 1GHz Snapdragon CPU that powers devices like Google’s very own smartphone Nexus One, also now has their own smartphone platform called Brew MP. Intel also came up with the new Atom CPU made specific for smartphones, signifying their initial step into the business as well. Not to mention, Motorola that used to be one of Apple’s closest partners now goes the Android way by announcing a 2GHz processing power smartphone. The good old Palm also becoming stronger day bay day with their Web OS powered devices, signifying that they’re not dead yet.

We all have known business phones has always been dominated by Research In Motion (RIM) with their Blackberry handsets. However, that’s all about them, RIM is always about business phone and not personal phone. The first ‘real’ phone maker that I ever witnessed to enter the business phone field is Nokia, with their Communicator and E series. They managed to steal serious business from it but RIM is always ahead of them. Luckily they’e always backed-up by their personal phone business.

Since the recent years, Nokia has been venturing into smartphone business as well. Regardless whether the decision was made after they witnessed the success of the iPhone, the phone business of today is all about smartphone. In the past business phone and personal phone is a separate thing. When PDA was still a trend, it’s not unusual to see a businessman carrying a normal phone for contact purposess while the PDA serves as a business device on the go. Then come the smartphone. The earlier generation of smartphone marks a marriage between a cellphone and a PDA. By that time cellphone has been divided into 3 categories ie. smartphone, personal phone and business phone. Yes, business phone still exists today as the demand for it is still as strong as ever. Business cater unique and specific needs. It’s not necessarily means that smartphone doesn’t love businessman but usually businessman doesn’t need much of the bells and whistles on smartphone. But why do we need a smartphone anyway. Because today’s generation is not simply a marriage between cellphone and PDA anymore, it’s a bridge between business phone and personal phone.

Back to the Nokia story, sometime around earlier last year they launched their first consumer touchscreen smartphone, the XpressMusic 5800 a.k.a. “The Tube”. It may not their first touchscreen phone but it’s their first Symbian OS device to have that feature. It was quite a steal, especially after people had been anticipating it since they saw it in Britney Spears music video and the Batman movie. AS with many new products, it came with many notable flaws too. Once anybody who have experiences with iPhone would notice is the resistive touchscreen, as opposed to the iPhone’s capacitive touchscreen. It may not be a crucial feature but Nokia seems to have forgot that people were expecting multi-touch interface since Nokia has a strong reputation in mobile gaming, hence the N-GAGE service. A real gamer knows that a real game requires multi-touch controls, and Nokia should understand too that as an entertainment phone, The Tube should have extensive gaming features.

The laggy menu navigation also haunted The Tube. It is as if there’s a software between the touchscreen and the visual interface that translates touches, taps, swipes and gestures into instructions. It seems like Symbian OS in the device have no native support for touch interface and might have required special software to enable that, thus resulting the lags. Also the default Symbian OS interface is not ready for touchscreen operation just yet, despite is was optimized for single-handed operation. Well, with the advent of touchscreen technology on cellphone, the single-handed operation might have become the thing of the past.

However there are good points too for Symbian OS to be the OS of choice in smartphone. Symbian OS has always been supporting multitasking. Yes, you can listen to mp3 on your smartphone while browsing the internet at the same time, and you can even do this even on much older models that are released 5 years ago. Not only that Symbian OS is also extremely good as multitasking, where it clears the memory immediately after you terminate an application, leaving the the phone ready for you to load another apps. This also means lower memory error when compared to Windows Mobile and iPhone OS. Applications for Symbian OS also relatively easy to develop because the system is functioning as a group of services, similar to what we may find in POSIX-modeled OS. Also Nokia doesn’t restrict developers from marketing their own software, unlike the iPhone where developers have too place their apps in the App Store while forced to give a portion of their revenue to Apple by doing so. Nokia and Symbian OS is more of an open platform than most other phone makers (except for Android of course).

Today Symbian OS is open to all developers since it’s now completely open source. Seems like a good decision for Nokia to compete with another open source mobile platform, the mighty Google Android OS. So far we can’t see any significant changes resulting from that moves except that newer Symbian OS devices are having much lower price that they were. Also the UI seems to have been tweaked a bit to be more touchscreen friendly (as can be seen on the upcoming N8 pictured above). We also hear less complain about laggy many navigation too. Perhaps Symbian OS now have native touchscreen operation too. Knowing Nokia’s reputation in phone making, we hope to see more and more developers joining the league. We might also see lots of improvements in future Nokia releases as well as more price drops too.

I admit that I am a Nokia fanboy and I’m always siding with them regardless how bad their devices are in terms of performance and behavior. However this does not prevent me from criticizing them all the time. I remember when Symbian OS was still closed source (that was even before iPhone), they did open themselves for some sort of public submission for GUI design for future Symbian OS releases. On that time I saw quite a number of awesome submission too, but now it may not be necessary anymore. Anyway I wonder if it is still available for submission. If it is I think I’d like to submit mine too.

Music: Aoi Tada – Brave Song (halfey’s edit)


A couple of weeks ago I managed to grab the Angel Beats OP & ED Single which contains 6 songs. They are:

  1. Lia – My Soul, Your Beats
  2. Lia – My Soul, Your Beats (TV size)
  3. Aoi Tada – Brave Song
  4. Aoi Tada – Brave Song (TV size)
  5. ANANT GARDE EYES – My Soul, Your Beats (Instrumental)
  6. ANANT GARDE EYES – Brave Song (Instrumental)

Now, what caught my attention is there’s a noticeable difference between  Brave Song (full version) and Brave Song (TV size) where the TV size version has a few seconds of piano intro music. That makes me wonder why the full version didn’t have it, thus I decided to insert it at the beginning of the full version song. The link below is the direct link to the file.

Aoi Tada – Brave Song (halfey’s edit).flac

Aoi Tada – Brave Song (halfey’s edit).mp3

Take note that I used the highest setting when saving the file to FLAC. FLAC (Free Lossless Audio CODEC) as we all know has one of the best sound quality of all digital audio file format, if not better than other proprietary lossless audio CODEC formats. With such setting the audio conversion resulting a 34MB file size though, not much different from the original file size (only slightly smaller than the WAV file I was working on), so you’ve been warned. By the way this is just version 1.0 and a more refined version is on the way. I’m also working on a remix version so stay tuned.

p/s: Oh I feel so like a music engineer right now LOL

Update: mp3 version is available for download now. See the link above.

Identifying Fake Followers on Twitter


Are you a twitter user who are sick of getting random followers each day? I know most people don’t mind being followed by strangers as log as they clearly have something in common a.k.a. having similar interests. However what one might be pissed off is not all of those random followers are real, most of them are fakes which deserve to be blocked straight away. Why? Because they’re annoying! Yes, there are services that allow you to analyze, identify and then eliminate those fake followers but these services are doing analysis based on criteria that  may or may not be disclosed to the user. So if you think you can’t rely to those services, how about doing the job yourself? Here is my guideline of identifying fake followers based on their behavior and their common characteristics.

Characteristics of fake followers:

  • use weird names. Sometimes they are not ‘pronounceable’, as if the name are randomly generated
  • use real people’s pictures as avatar although they’re might be in fact just a bot. Some others use logos or texts or any other images that are seemingly related to them as if they are the real people/organization behind it
  • use the default twitter avatar. Real people should have changed it immediately
  • most of their tweets containing links
  • repeated pattern in tweets, or sometimes the tweets seems like they are randomly generated
  • only containing RTs (re-tweets), either with the new style or the old RT style or both
  • only contain replies and less original tweets
  • only contain #FF or #FollowFriday
  • most tweets are from twitterfeed or similar services
  • following too many people, as if they are randomly following other people
  • following you based on the keywords in one of a few of your last tweets
  • have too many followers although in fact their followers are also bots like them
  • you can’t see them sharing similar interests with you in their tweets although their tweets seem real. This is what I call “irrelevant followers”
  • they follow you but they didn’t put you in their listings. The list feature are there for us to categorize people we follow so if they follow us based on certain interest they should have put us in certain category
  • never use the default web interface but only from clients (desktop/mobile). Real people should have used web interface at least in the earlier time right after registration or at least use it occasionally
  • never even use twitter client even once. Real people should have tweeted from clients sometimes because there are times they can’t browse the web but wanted to tweet something
  • never reply to your tweets/DM directed @them
  • never respond to your tweets. Real should have responded to at least one of your tweets for various purposes, such as to say they are agree or disagree, etc
  • never tweeted about current events/affairs or trending topics, as if they are living in their own world. Real people should have noticed what’s going on around them
  • contain too few tweets or no tweet at all. Even if they are real people my suggestion is to block them right away. They’re not worth following you
  • they just followed you today but their last tweets are ages ago. Worth blocking
  • have no means to contact/interact with you. Real people sometimes trying to convey to you that they are now following you, though this is not compulsory but if they are real people, you’ll be able to know their intention for following you, even if they didn’t managed to inform you
  • the most accurate: their tweets always contain something like “How to get more followers for free” or anything similar. Real people don’t care about getting more followers because what matters is getting real followers, not fake followers

Lets get rid of fake followers and teach those tweetbot creators the bad lesson they will remember to their grave. If there are enough people blocked them I’m sure those tweetbot creator will eventually give up. That’s why I’m telling you don’t support those tweetbot creators by not blocking them or bragging about how many followers you have. We really need to tech them a lesson. Don’t think about yourself only, think about other people too. The more you allow tweetbots following you, the more motivated those tweetbot creators will become and thus will affect other tweeps too. If you hate being annoyed then know that other people also feel the same thing too.

Did I missed anything?

Are you a twitter user who are sick of getting random

follwoers each day? I know most people don’t mind being

followed by strangers as log as they clearly have something

in common a.k.a. having similar interests. However what one

might be pissed off is not all of those random followers are

real, most of them are fakes which deserve to be blocked

straight away. Why? Because they’re annoying! Yes, there are

services that allow you to analyze, identify and then

eliminate those fake followers but these services are doing

analysis based on criteria that  may or may not be disclosed

to the user. So if you think you can’t rely to those

services, how about doing the job yourself? Here is my

guideline of identifying fake followers based on their

behavior and their common characteristics.

Characteristics of fake followers:

– use weird names. Sometimes they are not ‘pronouncable’, as

if the name are randomly generated
– use real people’s pictures as avatar although they’re

might be in fact just a bot. Some others use logos or texts

or any other images that are seemingly related to them as if

they are the real people/organization behind it
– use the default twitter avatar. Real people should have

changed it immediately
– most of their tweets containing links
– repeated patern in tweets, or sometimes the tweets seems

like they are randomly generated
– only containing RTs (re-tweets), either with the new style

or the old RT style or both
– only contain replies and less original tweets
– only contain #FF or #FollowFriday
– most tweets are from twitterfeed or similar services
– following too many people, as if they are randomly

following other people
– following you based on the keywords in one of a few of

your last tweets
– have too many followers although in fact their followers

are also bots like them
– you can’t see them sharing similar interests with you in

their tweets although their tweets seem real. This is what I

call “irrelevant followers”
– they follow you but they didn’t put you in their listings.

The list feature are there for us to categorize people we

follow so if they follow us based on certain inrterest they

should have put us in certain category
– never use the default web interface but only from clients

(desktop/mobile). Real people should have used web interface

at least in the earlier time right after registration or at

least use it occassionally
– never even use twitter client even once. Real people

should have tweeted from clients sometimes because there are

times they can’t browse the web but wanted to tweet

something
– never reply to your tweets/DM directed @them
– never respond to your tweets. Real should have responded

to at least one of your tweets for various purposes, such as

to say they are agree or disagree, etc
– never tweeted about current events/affairs or trending

topics, as if they are living in their own world. Real

people should have noticed what’s going on around them
– contain too few tweets or no tweet at all. Even if thye

are real people my suggestion is to block them right away.

They’re not worth following you
– they just followed you today but their last tweets are

ages ago. Worth blocking
– have no means to contact/interact with you. Real people

sometimes trying to convey to you that they are now

following you, though this is not compulsary but if they are

real people, you’ll be able to know their intention for

following you, even if they didn’t managed to inform you
– the most accurate: their tweets always contain something

like “How to get more followers for free” or anything

similar. Real people don’t care about getting more followers

because what matters is getting real followers, not fake

followers

lets get rid of fake followers and teach those tweetbot

creators the bad lesson they will remember to their grave.

If there are enough people blocked them I’m sure those

tweetbot creator will eventually give up. That’s why I’m

telling you don’t support those tweetbot creators by not

blocking them or bragging about how many followers you have.

We really need to tech them a lesson. Don’t think about

yourself only, think about other people too. The more you

allow tweetbots following you, the more motivated those

tweetbot creators will become and thus will affct other

tweeps too. If you hate being annoyed then know that other

people also feel the same thing too.

My stance in anime


After browsing a blog of a friend-o-mine, I am ‘inspired’ to write this article as a very first entry for this new blog. This post is about things I expected in anime (and applicable to all kind of visual entertainment too). And why am I writing this? Because I have my stance in anime too and not just you. I don’t care even if they doesn’t make sense or ridiculous to you. And just for the record, this article is not directed towards anybody (sorry if it might seems to be though), nor it does not act as a counter-post against any other blog articles. Take note that I also have the right to say my opinions regarding the above issue, and I have the right to do anything that I think is right, as long as it doesn’t bring any harm to anybody.

First and foremost, I expect a story. A story is something to tell about and not just something that you can merely see in day to day life. It’s more less like a news; a dog bites a postman ain’t news but a postmen bites a dog is. So what if the anime is just about a girl living her otaku life or a bunch of girls performing in a band and doing nothing but having fun and chit-chatting in their daily hi-school life? I’d say it’s boring, nothing interesting and no fun at all. If that is fun then I’d have fun watching school girls around me instead of watching anime but I didn’t. Besides, if it is fun to watch that kind of thing why bother to watch anime, or rather why bother to make anime like that? Where is the fun if it is something like “Hey! I can see that happen in real life!” Although I am an observer/spectator, I do that for a more serious purpose like history and human behavior analysis. What can you expect by observing a ‘life’ in anime when the ‘life’ inside are just fictional and modeled after real life? If observation is the key here then I better go watching real people instead and don’t never to watch anime for that because real life is the best way to observe human life. That being said, I’d reject slice of life anime, unless it touches on serious subjects like psychology, relationship (communication and interaction) and things like that. However, I do watch those that perfectly fall into such category such as Lucky Star and K-ON! but it was done purely out of curiosity although in the end I felt tortured by watching those titles that would easily fall into my ‘unwatchable’ category. Why do I expect a story from slice of life genre? Again, I believe anime is a platform for stories, not for certain somebody’s life or rather not for us to watch how some girls live their “very-ordinary” life. We put variety of food and flavors in one plate, not just rice or bread, and that makes our meal delicious, if you know what I mean. In other words, a ‘real’ story should have the ups and downs, rise and falls, the change of the tide, turning point in life, and most importantly, the purpose of the storytelling.

Second, not just a mere story, I expect a decent story. Interesting story is one thing and a thought provoking one is another. For some people a slice of life is interesting enough that they are able to enjoy it but definitely not me. Just like how I am able to see documentaries as entertainment, I enjoy serious stuff like philosophy, history, science (the real one; real application) and humanity in general. No, it doesn’t has to be action-packed, killer-thriller stories. Even romantic-comedy or shoujo anime may fit into this category because from my observation all this time, many shoujo anime did well when it comes to playing with people’s heart and emotions, triggering empathy and sympathy in the audience’s heart and managed to ‘fool’ the audience into thinking that they are watching a live-action drama. However, I have to admit that shounen titles fit this genre better than shoujo, due to the fact that shounen anime are bold enough to venture into the higher level of human emotion. That’s why it’s not uncommon for us to see people die in that kind of anime. Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann is one example. Talking about Gurren Lagann, I’d say mecha/super robot genre also fits this category well too, as shown in many Gundam franchises and Code Geass series. Last but not least, I also see many fantasy anime fit this genre as well. However I could not give any examples in this genre since it’s quite hard for me to see any good fantasy anime so far. Don’t forget there are also anime that really touches the philosophy subject deep down to the root, such as Kino no Tabi and Haibane Renmei. The currently airing Angel Beats! is one example where things like God and afterlife is being manipulated into a story. Not to mention this anime ‘affectionately’ touches human emotions (if you have the heart though).

So some of you may ask my if I don’t like/watch those slice of life anime then which anime would soothe my mind? Well, I never found those kind of anime can have any soothing effect on me but even if I really need to soothe my mind by watching anime, there are many comedy titles out there. Sometimes I do watch ecchi anime too but just like those who watch slice of life anime for the entertainment, I do the same thing too for ecchi titles. Therefore, those who don’t like being questioned of their interest in slice of life anime should refrain from questioning my interest in that kind of thing either, or that would make you a hypocrite. Speaking of hypocrite, there are times I found people feel disturbed when I hate/despise some anime titles, which coincidentally happen to be their favorites. They said I don’t have “good enough” reasons to hate those titles, but the same people would say “there’s no need for a reason to like something”. Isn’t that contradicting to their statements? If there’s no need for a reason to like something, then it should not be a problem for me to hate something even without any reason, or if there should be reasons to hate something, then I can just use any reason to like anything either. Fair enough, for the sake of the balance between good and evil. Well, that makes me recalled an argument between me and a friend o mine where he questioned the authenticity of my interest in certain game title (the game and its non-game franchises, including the unofficial ones) just because I never tried the game, but that person is also the one who agreed that one doesn’t need a reason to like something. Heck! People don’t mind when I like the anime Shuffle! even though I never played the game, so why bother? You the reader be the judge. Meh! I know there will always fans for whatever anime titles out there because there are always people who think they are good but it doesn’t mean they also good to me. So, if I happen to hate an anime title that happen to be your favorite, it can’t be helped. Anyways, comedy titles like Hayate no Gotoku! also works great and have great effects on me, if you’re really asking about titles to relax my mind and release myself from tension.

I may be picky when it comes to anime (and all other forms of art too like music and drawings/paintings) but it has to be like that since I don’t want to waste too many resources by opening myself to too many things. Life is short so it is better for me to focus on things that I know is certain rather than greedily giving a try to everything. I want to enjoy my life and being greedy won’t give me any good either so most of the time I need to rely on other people’s reviews and opinions before picking any titles. Besides, what are those reviews for if not to help other people in judging stuff? Reviews are, to me work just like an attorney in a court trial. The judge doesn’t experience the case on trial himself but he has to rely on the attorney’s arguments. As in my situation, anime are the cases, I am the judge and the reviews work as advocates/solicitors. The only difference is I can choose the good and reliable reviews rather than just picking random ones on the net. Well, I don’t mind missing a few good titles because I know there are always more other titles to compensate those losses. More over, I don’t want to be in a situation as in a Malay sayings, “Yang dikejar tak dapat, yang dikendong berciciran” (roughly translated into “you missed what you wanted, you lost what you had“).

I know somebody is gonna call me an elitist or something like that. Well, let hypocrite people do what hypocrite people do, because I know those people are most likely going to hate me since I am mostly right. And whatever you are going to say against me, I am still stand corrected, but at least I have the will to change my mind but of course not without having some ‘awesome’ arguments/debates first. I am just a one of billions of people in the world so you should not be bothered by what I’m saying as they won’t have great effects on everything. I may have some followers who share the same mind with me but for you who don’t like it, mind your own business. This is my way, or rather our way of having fun, just like some of you who are having fun on things that appear to have no fun to us.

Because things could be better…