Thursday, May 14, 2009

Breaker breaker good buddy

Back in the late 70's, everyone suddenly got into CB radio. It was a very odd fad, and you could buy books that explained how CB radio worked, and how the jargon worked -- everybody spoke in code so that Smokey wouldn't be able to catch you on the flip flop. There were songs, movies, comics and t-shirts about CB.

My dad got a CB radio, and we hooked it up in our van and listened to truckers and other CB type people when we drove on vacation. We came up with a handle, a cool name that we could use when we talked over the radio.

CB stands for Citizens Band, and the whole thing was about regular people going on the radio and talking to the world, and listening to other people doing the same, joining an amazing conversation and creating a brand new kind of virtual social network, connected over vast distances.

It turned out that no one really had very much to say, and CB eventually dwindled away -- though I'm sure truckers still use it to communicate important info between themselves, as the medium did exist for a reason.

Twitter is CB radio all over again, aside from the part about it having some kind of valid reason to exist.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Don't make me unleash my Twitter army, IMAX

Seriously. I am not screwing around.

We will descend on you and unleash ... uh ... tweets and shit the likes of which your mother only warned you about, or something!

I command an army of twittering people, reading the stuff that I post and man, let me tell you, all it will take is one word from me and -- BOOM! -- your ass is grass.

Don't mess with my twitter army, IMAX, or we will unleash our wrath upon you in carefully measured 140 character barrages, until you return my $5.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Astronaut may share his thoughts on the humbling wonder of space and the glory of seeing the Earth from orbit, in less than 140 characters

In what is surely to be a first in manned spaceflight, Astronaut Mike Massimino says he may attempt to communicate from space with people back on earth.

Well, maybe not the first time that someone has communicated, but the first time someone has communicated directly with civilians without going through Mission Control.

Okay, granted, there were a few Ham Radio astronauts before him, and yes, dozens of others have sent emails and filed web reports and otherwise used the internet before while in orbit, but still.

This is one small step for Twitter, one giant leap for jackasses.

What Mike should do is just change his Facebook status to "circling," and leave it at that.

However, as I am a big space flight supporter and I think all astronauts are by default extremely awesome, I am prepared to give Mike a pass if he tweets just once: "Day 5: still smells like stale farts and sweaty Russians."

Friday, May 8, 2009

In other words, "Because we're lazy"

The National Post's Ron Nurwisah reports that:

"One of the reasons why journalists love Twitter is the immediacy of the microblogging platform. By looking at trending topics and using twitter search we can keep an eye on breaking news from around the world."

You Twitter Generation reporters have it so easy. Back in my day, journalists had to hang around phone booths and eavesdrop on conversations in order to stay on top of breaking news.

Sometimes, we'd wander around school yards and shopping malls and ask people "what are you doing?" in the hopes that we'd learn of a breaking development taking place in the Middle East or about a typhoon in Australia.

They say that at the Washington Post some of the reporters would hang around reading the news wires becuase they felt the source was more reliable and the method more efficient, but I don't believe it.

But how many characters does it take to spell hyperbole?

Technology visionary and renowned futurist Ashton Kutcher commented recently that Twitter:

"... is as significant and paradigm - shifting as the invention of Morse code, the telephone, radio, television or the personal computer."

and also that:

"Right now the word revolution is spelled with 140 characters."

Hmm.... Maybe.

But only if you spell it:


And for those wondering, here's how you say "what are you doing?" in Morse code:

.-- .... .- - / .- .-. . / -.-- --- ..- / -.. --- .. -. --. ..--..

and how you would Morse Tweet "I am thinking about having lunch":

.. / .- -- / - .... .. -. -.- .. -. --. / .- -... --- ..- - /
.... .- ...- .. -. --. / .-.. ..- -. -.-. ....

Queen Rania of Jordan sets up Twitter account so that she can tweet about the Pope's visit

I'll give you a minute to re-read that headline, before directing you here for more on this subject.

But really, there really isn't much more here to understand -- I think setting up a Twitter account is the kind of natural response you'd expect from any monarch whose nation is hosting the Pope.

Like many of us, Queen Rania was clearly holding back from Twitter until Papal conditions proved optimal, and I congratulate the Queen on her ability to now tweet freely, while so many of us still wait patiently for Benedict to pay us a visit so that we can join the tweeting throng.