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iTweet and OAuth

A good change for most! Inconvenient for others.

This morning marked the official deprecation of Twitter's basic authentication system. I had been working toward the changeover, and at about 8 am I switched over to OAuth-based authentication. Things went pretty smoothly, I hope. Most people seem to have been able to refresh, authenticate with Twitter, and start tweeting again right away. Even aside from the improved security, the nicest immediate benefit is the API rate limit of 350 calls per hour instead of the 150/hour available through basic authentication. This will allow me to do some fun stuff that wasn't possible before. The people who were most affected by this change were those who use iTweet because is blocked due to a company firewall/filter or censorship. These folks are not able to sign in via OAuth, just due to the nature of what OAuth is. I'm bummed that this is the case, but don't immediately see a way around it - however I am open to ideas from any direction. For the time being I've put a basic-authentication version of iTweet up at: - and you can use it at that address for the next two weeks. However, please note that Twitter is going to be cutting down the number of available API requests by 10% every business day until August 31, when basic authentication will be switched off entirely. You can read about this in the twitter-development Google group. If you're one of the folks who use iTweet to get around a filter, this is a bummer. So by the end of the month people needing a proxy for will be out of luck. I'm open to suggestions as to how this inconvenience could be avoided, as this change will happen for all apps, not just - feel free to post ideas in the comments.

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Blocked Port 25: SMTP Using Postfix on Go Daddy Dedicated Server

How to use Godaddy's relay server for outgoing email on a Go Daddy dedicated server.

I've been setting up a new dedicated server at Go Daddy running Ubuntu 8.04 (Hardy Heron).  I was following The Perfect Server guide at HowToForge, and it was very helpful, especially in the area of setting up email using Postfix, which is new to me. I did run into an unexpected problem with outgoing email - it wasn't going out, or anywhere for that matter!  Taking a look in /var/log/mail.log showed an error saying "No route to host".  Trying to telnet to any other domain would give me the same error.  A little Googling dug up the fact that Godaddy blocks outgoing traffic on port 25, which is used for SMTP.  However they do provide a relay server that you can use for your outgoing mail. The relay server is  To use it, edit /etc/postfix/ and set the relayhost line to look like this:
  1. relayhost = []
Then restart Postfix with the command:
  1. sudo /etc/init.d/postfix restart
And that should do it!  I had a lot of trouble diagnosing the problem and then finding the solution, so I thought I would post it here to help anyone else experiencing this problem.

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Google Reader "Send to iTweet" Button

A handy way to share links from your feed reader.

I'm a big fan of Google Reader.  Recently iTweet user @leavingearth requested a "Send to iTweet" feature for Google Reader, and I thought this was a fantastic idea so here it is.

In Reader, select "Reader Settings" from the Settings menu in the top right corner of the page.  Then choose the "Send To" tab, and click "Create a custom link" at the bottom of this page.  A short form will be shown - enter the following items into the fields.

  1. iTweet


Icon URL:

Then click "Save" and you're done!  Go back to Google Reader and in your "Send To" menu you'll have a new iTweet option.  Clicking it will open with the post's title and shortened URL pre-filled in the post field.  Have fun sharing your links - if you have any feedback on this new feature please let me know in the comments.

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iTweet and 140 Proof

Setting up this application for future growth.

My pet project has been a great success for me.  It gets plenty of traffic, enjoys a steadily growing community of users, and is a lot of fun to work on.  The list of things I'd like to explore with this project grows every week, and with all the new additions to the Twitter API of late - OAuth, RTs, Lists, Geolocation etc - there is much more to be done in order to keep up.

The steady increase in traffic means that we've had to spend extra time and money on iTweet's server in order to keep up with all the users.  Hosting has graciously been sponsored by The Illusion Factory, but the monthly demand keeps increasing and it's clear that something needs to change.  The growing nature of both the to-do list and the server cost has led me to think of ways in which iTweet can become self-sustaining.  This app needs to start earning its keep, peoples!  One thing that I've decided to try is the insertion of sponsored tweets by 140 Proof.

This company has a very unique system of advertising delivery, promising very targeted content in an unobtrusive format.  How does that work?  140 Proof's system scans your (publicly available) tweets and delivers you an ad tailored to your location and/or favorite topics.   This means that you'll see content that is interesting and relevant to you.  And the ads come in tweet format so they fit right in with the flow of the app.  Most of them are real tweets, from a real Twitter account, and behave pretty much like the other tweets in your stream - you can reply, favorite or retweet them too.  (I'm giving these sponsored tweets a slightly different style so you can tell them from regular tweets.)

Since a lot of people have asked me what my plans for future development are, here's a nutshell version: has no database behind it.  It doesn't store any of your information, and only uses data from the Twitter (and TwitPic,, etc) APIs.  In order to do some more "interesting" stuff, such as multiple accounts, decent Lists and follower management, autocompleter, etc, I need to put a database behind the front end and rewrite a whole bunch of stuff.  This will let me do a lot more *interesting* things with the app, as it currently operates within the exact constraints of the API.

My immediate goals for iTweet are this:
  1. Switch to OAuth - this will eliminate API limit hassles
  2. Database-driven back end
  3. Support for new APIs - RT, geolocation etc.
  4. Support for multiple accounts, other oft-requested features
  5. Support for internationalization (multiple languages)
Once these major issues are tackled, I'll be looking at expanding iTweet's feature set into a new app, something larger that I have been imagining for some time now.  My hope is that by exploring monetization routes for the app, I'll be able to fund part of this development.

Cheers, and thanks for helping to make my little project take off.  As always the user community will directly influence the direction of future development.  Please let me know your thoughts below or by contacting me directly - I'm interested in hearing what you have to say.

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Free Wallpaper: Orange Cluster

A nice looking, not-too-distracting desktop background.

This is a desktop background (wallpaper) that I made for use on my home monitors.  I am using it on my dual monitors and I have really been digging it, so I thought I would share.

This image is free to use and to share, but not to sell. It is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License, which means you can use it or remix it as long as attribution to this original piece is made.

Enjoy!  I am posting a 1920x1200 version here. If you'd like a different size just let me know in the comments and I'll add your size to this post.

Download Orange Cluster - 1920x1200

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