Thermal Tweeter update: Bug fixes

After a few late night mods the Thermal Tweeter is super responsive. We swapped it over to the authenticated feed instead of the public search. Send us a tweet @dangerousproto and you should see it on the live stream within 60 seconds.

Here’s some tasty development morsels:

  1. There’s a 36 second USTREAM delay between the tweet printing and the video in our browser.
  2. There’s some delay in Twitter’s public search API. Tons of @mentions showed up in Tweetdeck, but only a trickle showed up in the public search used by the printer. It could be a search cache, spam prevention, system architecture, lazy gnomes, who knows. It works fine if there are only a few mentions, but when there are a lot Twitter seems to get selective about who to include.
  3. Last night we implemented a cheat to access the authenticated feed. There wasn’t time to implement proper oAuth access on the web platform, so we used a small PHP script to authenticate with Twitter and pass the @mentions feed in a format we can deal with.
  4. The @mentions JSON feed is formatted differently than the public search results. For example there are several different ID tags that confuse our brain-dead parser. With no time to implement a proper JSON parser, we used a PHP library to decode the feed and then only include the tags we need. This led to some interesting character encoding problems – thanks to @bertjwregeer for helping us work them out.

In our opinion the current setup is cheating. The goal is to integrate with the actual Twitter API, a stand-alone Twitter appliance, but we’re using a second server to authenticate and pre-process the data.

The original setup works fine for a moderate number of @mentions.  However when there are a lot @mentions, Twitter seems to get choosy and that doesn’t make for a very satisfying interactive internet art experience.

The pile of Tweets after the first 24 hours.

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    1. @bertje I guess they will end up in the PCB shop ;)

      Get 10 random tweet printout for a coupon.. Like some sort of online postal service.

      The bad thing about thermal printing is the fading over time, in the end you have nothing and all the tweets are lost (do we care about them later?)

  1. This is a good funny application. But DP is becoming a bad example for ecology ! waste of meters of paper! GreenPeace will not be happy. Everybody wants to switch paper docs to virtual docs to avoid paper loss ;)

  2. This is no worse than the local supermarket ! ATM machines print miles of paper audit logs internally too, so I think ecologically this is a drop in the inky-ocean.

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