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How To: Write a RTing Twitter bot in PHP

File this one under “stuff I’ve been meaning to look up for ages”: yesterday I finally sat down and wrote a Twitter-bot. You know the kind – a dedicated account that looks for updates containing a certain word or phrase, then retweets them – I often end up being tweeted by @redscarebot, for example. Anyhow, […]

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The Robot Reporter

Hello. If you’re visiting this post, you’ve probably spotted @theroboreporter on Twitter. Or maybe it retweeted you, and you’ve asked why, or asked it to delete a tweet. In any case, here’s what you need to know: @theroboreporter isn’t a person, it’s software. Here’s what it does: 1) Journalists all around the world scour Twitter […]

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App Preview Videos for Newsstand

If you’re promoting an interactive magazine – and if you’re putting a magazine on a tablet, it really should be interactive – nothing really shows it off like a video, so we’ve been producing preview videos of our apps, like the one above, for some time. But with iOS8 comes the new option to embed […]

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Japan on a Budget: Sapporo to Ueno on the Hokutosei

Having returned from Furano to Sapporo, I needed to get back to Tokyo in time to fly back home. There’s one simple and obvious way to do that: domestic flights from New Chitose airport to Haneda run just about every 30 minutes, take 90 minutes, and aren’t too expensive. Instead, I took a 16 hour long […]

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Futzing with Swift and Cocoa

I’ve never learned Objective C – my iOS stuff is written in Titanium (essentially Javascript, because anyone can play guita.. uh, write Javascript), and my personal tools for Mac are all scripts to run from Terminal. So the idea of a simpler language that could be used for both iOS and Mac OSX is pretty attractive […]

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QNAP Nas to Nas RSYNC – Stuck at 0%

Something I learned, and which may be useful to someone else: One of Apptitude’s servers is a QNAP NAS running firmware 4.0.7. Every 24 hours it runs a backup, via RSYNC (SSH encrypted) to a remote site where we have another QNAP. Last night, the backup job glitched – no errors were logged, but it […]

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The Dai-Kannon of Ashibetsu

In Japan, big statues are no big deal. There’s the Daibutsu at Nara, of course, but I’ve stumbled across other monumental, well, monuments in several other towns. But then, rolling through the countryside on a local train somewhere between Takikawa and Furano, I spotted a giant white figure on the horizon. The Dai-Kannon at Ashibetsu […]

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Japan on a Budget: Furano and Biei

From the port of Otaru I jumped a train to Sapporo, from there took an express to Takikawa, and from there hopped a tiny, chuntering one-man train to Furano. In Furano, I rented a small car – there’s a large Toyota Rental shop right outside the station if you turn left – and drove out […]

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