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Monthly Archives: August 2010

A Rebuke of Twifficiency

Unless you’ve been asleep under a stone for the past 48 hours you couldn’t have failed to notice the Twitter phenomenon that is Twifficiency. Created by James Cunningham it generated an efficiency score based on your Twitter usage. In order to access the service, though, you had to grant the application access to your Twitter account.

Unwittingly, or not, James had violated one of Twitter’s codes of practice re: abuse of privileged access to accounts. Specifically, the application automatically tweeted a message from the user’s account in the format:

My Twifficiency score is x%. What’s yours? http://twifficiency.com

Generally, this annoyed people but, because of its viral nature, the term “Twifficiency” started trending worldwide.

Now, can we please get some perspective on this?

Yes, it trended. Yes, it spread like wildfire. Yes, everyone’s talking about it; but so what? This is the Twitter version of “Britain’s Got Talented X-Factor for me Nan“. It was hugely popular but, ultimately, worthless. Shouldn’t we be discouraging this kind of sensationalism and, instead, be encouraging the trending of remarkable products (to quote Seth Godin). The mere fact that it trended says nothing about its worth – because it trended itself automatically, virally. This is the complete opposite of something that trends because users want to tell their friends about it. In fact self-promotion obfuscates this valuable measure.

James is, undoubtedly, a very nice chap who was just experimenting with an idea, but for some people to be considering offering him a job! Seriously, no. Stop.

Tech Crunch hits the nail on the head in their blog post and I would like to add to that by pointing out that Stephen Fry only scored 3%!!!

Now, if James had created the site with an opt-in option for re-tweeting (as opposed to its new opt-out option) and it had still trended; then, wow! That would have been a truly remarkable feat. The fact is, though, that you’ve removed any meaningful way of measuring your success.

I have no doubt that James will go on to great things but, I’m afraid, I think he should be infamous, not famous, for Twifficiency.

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Posted by on August 18, 2010 in Social Media

 

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Immutable, Auto-Implemented Properties in C#

Over the past few months I’ve been getting a lot more into immutability. If you want to know why you should be using immutable types start with this blog post by Bertrand Le Roy.

Until recently I, like most other developers had been creating my properties like this…

public class Person
{
  public DateTime BirthDate { get; private set; }
  public string FavouriteSong { get; set;}

  public Person(DateTime birthDate)
  {
    BirthDate = birthDate;
  }
}

Pretty straight forward – the BirthDate is required and must be set during construction of the object whilst the FavouriteSong is optional. The other reason for writing properties this way is simplicity and code succinctness. It also allows more ‘interesting’ properties to be more easily identified. For instance, this new Age property stands out from the other two and ‘asks’ to be unit tested.

public class Person
{
  public DateTime BirthDate { get; private set; }
  public string FavouriteSong { get; set;}

  public int Age
  {
    get
    {
      var now = DateTime.Today;
      var age = now.Year - bday.Year;

      if (bday > now.AddYears(-age))
        age--;

      return age;
    }
  }

  public Person(DateTime birthDate)
  {
    BirthDate = birthDate;
  }
}

I should, however, be making the BirthDate property immutable – it isn’t gonna change! This does make the code less neat though…

public class Person
{
  private readonly DateTime _birthDate;
  public DateTime BirthDate { get { return _birthDate; } }</pre>
  public string FavouriteSong { get; set;}

  public int Age
  {
    get
    {
      var now = DateTime.Today;
      var age = now.Year - bday.Year;

      if (bday > now.AddYears(-age))
        age--;

      return age;
    }
  }

  public Person(DateTime birthDate)
  {
    _birthDate = birthDate;
  }
}

Auto-implemented properties are a .Net construct and are used as a template, at design-time, to create a ‘real’ pair of _get _set methods. So, what I’d like to be able to do is this …

public class Person
{
  public DateTime BirthDate { get; private readonly set; }
  public Person(DateTime birthDate)
  {
    _birthDate = birthDate;
  }
}

Anyone from Microsoft like to chime in?

 
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Posted by on August 16, 2010 in C#

 

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I’ve been scammed! A follow-up to Twitter Auth Issues

This is a follow-up post to Social Network Authorisation Needs to Change.

Having written the above post over a month ago and considering myself to be quite net-savvy, I’m hugely embarrassed and mortified to admit that I’ve just been victim to a Twitter-related scam. This is the scam site that duped me: http://www.ipadappstesting.com/. It’s safe to browse to it – JUST DON’T LOG IN!

I received a Twitter Direct Message (DM) from a trusted friend that invited me to go to the site so that I could sign up to be an iPad tester. At the end of the test period I would get to keep the hardware. Superb! Yeh, right.

My spidey-senses were working well enough that I didn’t complete the in-depth financial survey they put in front of me. What did happen, however, was their servers sent DMs to, presumably ALL, my friends inviting them to do the same. Needless to say that this was without my knowledge – let alone my consent.

Twitter, seriously guys, this needs to change quickly otherwise you’re going to go the way of Facebook.

The access granted to my account for an application needs to be segmented and I need to have the ability to REVOKE any aspect I’m not entire happy with at login time. For instance, the shill application in question should have had to request DM read / write access during their registration with Twitter. This should then have appeared as a checkbox on the Twitter OAuth screen. I would then have unchecked it.

Feeling rather violated now but, hey, how was I to know? I currently just have to put my trust in the application developers and I don’t think that’s either fair or sustainable.

 
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Posted by on August 11, 2010 in Social Media

 

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