A couple years ago, I offered a service called ErgoTxt, it gathered motivational lines that it then sent out once per hour, between the hours of 9am and 5pm.
Originally, it was based on the ErgoBot twitter feed, which has since stopped updating, it still uses some of the lines from there, as well as other motivational lines that have been submitted by the original users of ErgoTxt.
It had some cool features, for example, ErgoTxt would calculate the person’s local timezone based on the phone number they used to subscribe with and only text them during 9am and 5pm.
Some of these API lookups were killed by their providers over time, and ErgoTxt kind of drifted away.
Today, I’m pleased to announce that ErgoTxt is now back and with more motivation than ever before.
You can check it out at http://rogerstringer.com/ergotxt/ but in short, how it works is pretty simple.
Just text the word "go" to 250-984-0691 and if you decide to take a break, then text the word "freeze"
After signing up, once an hour, you’ll get a text telling you to do something, or giving you advice. Some examples are:
- Stressed about a phone call or other task? Get it over with and then tell a friend. Yes, now! Flex your calves. Need water?
- One by one, touch your thumb and each finger together (keep as straight as possible), first left hand then right. Then backward. Repeated 5x. Water.
Part of this re-launch arises from a recent focus on getting healthier, and wanting a little extra reminder to get up and move around every hour. That’s where ErgoTxt comes in, it just helps give one more little piece of motivation to not just sit there.
Shortly, I’ll turn back on the ability to submit your own motivational lines, and thanks to Twilio’s Picture Messaging, I’m also working on some motivational images to send from time to time as well.
Steve Ballmer took the stage last night for his final annual employees meeting.
He departed to the strains of Michael Jackson’s “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’,” the song played at Microsoft’s first employee meeting in 1983, followed by “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” from the finale of “Dirty Dancing,” getting a standing ovation from the 13,000 or so Microsoft full-time employees in attendance.
“We have unbelievable potential in front of us, we have an unbelievable destiny,” said a visibly moved Ballmer, reusing a quote from the 1983 meeting. “Only our company and a handful of others are poised to write the future,” he continued. “We’re going to think big, we’re going to bet big.”
I was in San Francisco last week for TwilioCon 2013, where I got to meet some interesting people from Twilio and the Twilio community, and also launched my new book, The Twilio CookBook, which I published with Pakt Publishing.
The Twilio Cookbook was the result of months of writing on various topics related to Twilio, and covered nearly everything you can do with the Twilio API.
I was in attendance on Wednesday as Jeff Lawson told everyone about the book and officially launched it along with their new services:
- 1600 character message limit: Previously, text messages had a limit of 160 characters, and we had to get creative for longer messages by breaking them up and including things like [1/2] at the end of the message.. Now.. Twilio supports up to 1600 characters in text messages.. This works out nicely..
- Twilio Picture Messaging: The ability to send pictures alongside text messages is a feature I’ve been asked for by clients for a while, and having this capability is a big thing. I was actually in on this surprise as Twilio had contacted me to write a secret chapter for the book about Picture Messaging as a gift to all attendees.
- New Developer tools:
- The Request Inspector gives developers visibility into the HTTP requests and their responses during every phone call enabling them to identify failed and slow responses as well as showing the exact TwiML that Twilio executes.
- The App Monitor gives developers a consolidated real time view of all errors aggregated by error type that enables them to identify the most critical error, helping them focus on what’s most important. It also gives them the ability to drill down to identify the root cause and a time series of the error to put in context.
- Usage Triggers gives developers and sysadmins the ability to create email alerts or webhooks on daily, monthly or yearly thresholds of calls, messages or total spend. Making it easy to detect anomalous usage patterns.
- Error Triggers gives developers and sysadmins the ability to create email alerts or webhooks on daily, monthly or yearly thresholds of errors and warning. Making it easy to detect errors before their customers.
- Data Compliance Account and Security Settings including Limited Logging for the ability to switch the Request Inspector on/off, and enforced HTTP authentication on media URLs
- Sip In & Out: Twilio has supported SIP in for the past year, and they’ve now launched Sip out as well for outbound calls.
- Twilio.org: I like this one as Twilio.org helps empower non-profits to be able to use Twilio’s service for their service. Where Wednesday morning was for the developers, Thursday morning was for the community.
Finally, as part of the conference and book launch, I got to be on hand to pass out and sign copies of the Twilio Cookbook to all the attendees, which was a rush.
It was neat seeing people be excited about something I spent months making, and I watched the book table empty and get refilled several times over the two days we had it setup. I, in all honesty, have no idea how many copies I signed or people I talked to over Wednesday and Thursday, but it was great meeting everyone and answering any questions they had, ranging from what made me decide to write the book, to how I came up with the topics, to what I thought of the new announcements.
I flew home Friday morning, slightly tired, but also excited over the past week, and thinking of new ideas for the next book, as well as a few new ideas to build on. :)
In the two years I’ve been running The Interviewr, I’ve needed no verification..
People could sign up and start using their accounts right off the bat..
Recently, over the past couple of weeks, I’ve had a couple users who have signed up, and made a ton of calls to numbers in China all in an hour or two.
This lead to rampant over usage on my Twilio account… In fact, this particular person was responsible for a cost with Twilio that was more than double what the other 2000 users have ever done in the past two years.
Both times the fine folks at Twilio have jumped in and helped get the account back up and running, but it was time to start taking action.
The first quick thing that was done.. Require all new users to verify their email addresses on sign up..
The second step.. Wasn’t quite as quick, but also wasn’t too painful..
Before anyone can create any interviews, all users who have signed up after Sunday are required to verify a phone number, using a basic two-step authentication procedure..
The user will enter their phone number, and receive a text message containing their unique code.. On the web site, they then enter their code and if the code they enter matches the code sent to their phone, then they allowed to schedule interviews.
These are annoying steps, I’ve always hated having to verify these things before I could use a web site.. But were necessary to prevent spam users.
Another step that was taken, was disabling any calling to Asia, Africa, South America, and parts of Europe.. This might be an unpopular move.. But it was necessary for the moment.. Once things have quieted down, then I can look at reactivating calls to certain countries as requested.
Currently, the countries supported are Canada, US, UK and France..
The final step added, was to activate some usage tracking and alerts.. If for some reason, a user does a higher number of calls in an hour, then I’ll get an alert.. If that user is especially a new user and suddenly starts making a ton of calls within an hour of signing up.. Then I’ll especially get an alert..
Some of these changes may prove unpopular, but in the end, they’ll also help my users have a better experience as we cut down on the users who just want to take advantage of the system..
I’m at the Future Insights Live conference in Las Vegas this week, so posts may be appearing off schedule.
This conference has been interesting so far on day one, and the next three days promise to keep being interesting.
WWDC’s ticket sales set another new record this year and they sold out within a minute (or less) of going on sale.
Your chance to buy tickets today was literally measured in seconds..
And who said developers were losing interesting in iOS and OS X?
I added The Interviewr to the Chrome Web Store back in July, and today I decided to look at some stats and see if it’s been worth it.
So far, it’s been worth it. I’m currently seeing a full 1/4 of our user base coming from the Chrome Web Store, so I’d say it’s been a good experiment.
In fact, adding web apps to the Chrome Web Store has been one of the items that I’ve added to my to do list when launching new web apps.
And the reason I say web apps is because this model doesn’t fit with all projects. A standard web site blog wouldn’t necessarily be a good fit as much as a site that lets users sign up and do something would be.
So when considering if you should do the same thing with your web app.. Consider this.. Would users benefit from having a good way to access my site?
Also, when I did this launch, I also set it up to allow people to log in with their google accounts via google’s open id service, so I also highly recommend combining those two steps here for that purpose.
The title of this post may sound strange but its true..
Now that chromebooks are in Canada, there is a noticeable problem with people who think that ChromeOS is just a desktop version of Android..
This was one comment I heard today:
The only problem with the chromebook is I can’t install APPS like Skype and FLV Players which are available on the Google Play Store and can be installed on my phone and tablet.
First of all.. Admittedly.. Being able to install the google play app on a chromebook is a good cause for confusion, but Google really needs to work on its image and education.
I love chromebooks, they have their purpose and the apps that are available work well, but there is way too much confusion going around..
I have a conference in Vegas at the end of April that I’m attending, and as I’ve been talking with friends who are also attending, we reach a similar conclusion..
Could I manage the entire week at this conference with just an iPad and a keyboard?
I could code using apps such as Diet Coda or Koder.. I could do some photo editing using PhotoShop Touch.. I can blog using the WordPress app or the Poster app.. I’d have access to email, web, twitter, app.net, skype all from the iPad or my iPhone..
So the question becomes, should I attempt to just bring my iPad and keyboard? or bring my Macbook Air as well just in case? Even though I can foresee the Air spending most of its time in the hotel room rather than being carried around..
This has been asked a few times, and I just finished going through the process myself, so I thought I’d share how to set up a bluetooth keyboard with a Raspberry Pi..
First, this assumes you have a bluetooth USB dongle.
Once you’ve booted your RPi up, go into the terminal and type the following commands:
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install bluez python-gobject bluetooth bluez-utils blueman
Once this finishes, you can go to Preferences > Bluetooth Manager from the menu and choose your device.
Once you pair your keyboard, I suggest you make it trusted so that it will always connect on boot.