Microsoft Introduces New Phones

Microsoft just unvieled several smartphones based on Windows 7 mobile phone operating sysyem. Three new phones will be available at AT&T on November 8 for  about $200. Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile will follow in 2011.

Microsoft latest entry in the highly competitive smartphone market with the Android, Blackberry and the iPhone already entrenched. Microsoft will have to rely on features to entice users to buy a Windows 7 based smartphone.

Integration of social networks, messaging and the Microsoft Xbox are standard as well a smartphone version of the Powerpoint presentation. The smartphones will also include Office Hub, which offers a free integration with Microsoft’s One Note software which shares documents online. In addition, AT&T customers will have Uverse TV service added.

In my opinion, I just don’t see Microsoft making any significant gains or dent in this competitive market. The new Microsoft smartphones just doesn’t have enough of anything to make people switch.

Even with Apple’s marketing and loyal fans, the iPhone manages to come third behind the Android and the Blackberry.

Twitter Shutting Down Basic Authentication

On August 31, the Twitter API team will shutdown all basic authentication on the Twitter API. If you are using any of the third-party Twitter-based applications that uses basic authentication, the application you’re using will no longer work as of August 31.

Twitter has given developers enough warning of the switch. In fact, Twitter has postponed the cutoff date at least twice in the past few months to accommodate developers into adopting the OAuth authentication protocol. This time, the cutoff date will most likely stick. What this means is there will be a number of applications that will no longer work after the deadline.

How does this affect you? If you are a WordPress user and you are using a Twitter-based plugin that requires authentication, there is a good chance your plugin does not use OAuth authentication. There at least 250 Twitter plugins written for WordPress. A number of them do not require authentication, but some require authentication.

If your plugin requires authentication, better check.

One way of finding out which plugin uses OAuth is to check the plugin’s Option pages. If you’ve entered your Twitter credentials such as username and password, then you are using the older and soon to be obsolete basic authentication.

If you’ve entered a consumer key and a consumer secret key, then you are using OAuth authentication protocol.

Another way of finding out if your plugin uses OAuth is that the login process should take you back to the Twitter’s login page such as the example below.

To be sure, check for updates of your plugin. If the developer does not plan to update the plugin, better start looking for an alternative.

I didn’t get a chance to look at each plugin because of the sheer number of Twitter-based plugins in the Plugins directory. One plugin that supports OAuth is Twitter Tools.

Custom Changes To The Sociable Plugin

Having spent the last 30 minutes recreating changes I made to the Sociable plugin, I’ve decided to post it here on my blog, so I can always look it up. The changes I’ve made were overwritten when I upgraded the plugin. In case it happens again, I have a note of it somewhere.

The code:

$permalink = urlencode(get_permalink($post->ID));

Is replaced with:

$ur_get_result = get_post($post->ID);
$ur_post_status = $ur_get_result->post_status;
if ($ur_post_status == 'publish' ) {
  $this_post_link  = get_permalink($post->ID);
  $permalink = file_get_contents("http://uly.me/create.php?url=".$this_post_link);
} else {
  $permalink = urlencode(get_permalink($post->ID));
}

That essentially replaces the permalink with my shorturl. If you look at all the sociable tags below, they all contain my short url instead of the permalink.

Twitter @Anywhere

I was browsing around the Internet looking for WordPress plugins and I came across a site called @wpbeginner which introduced me to Twitter @Anywhere. I must say @Anywhere is quite impressive. One of the features of @Anywhere is auto-linkification of Twitter usernames as you’ve noticed on this post.

You can also add Hovercards which you’ve seen at Twitter.com. Hovercards are small, context-aware tooltip that provides access to data about a particular Twitter user. Hovercards also allows a user to take action upon a Twitter user such as following and unfollowing, as well as toggling device updates.

In addition, you can also embed a Tweet Box on your site and encourage your users to share your information. I’ve tested it on this site, but decided not to use it. @Anywhere will hopefully will give you more followers and engagement. I’ve decided to use the auto-linkification and hovercard features on this site.

If you like to follow me, just hover over @ulyssesonline and click the Follow button. If you like to know more about @Anywhere, you can visit the developers site here.

Another Reason Google Wave Never Caught On

I was just thinking of several reasons why Google Wave never caught on with the general public. One reason that stood out for me was, it was damn near impossible to get a Google Wave account in the early days. When Google Wave was first released, it generated a lot hype, but getting a Google Wave invite was similar to having the odds of winning a lottery. I’ve asked many times, but I never got one until a several months later.

There lies the problem. It’s not that my opinion mattered, but there were thousands of others on the same boat that just wanted to use the application. How could an application go viral if you can’t get your hands on them. Facebook and Twitter became popular for many reasons. Access to Facebook and Twitter was never an issue. If you wanted to sign up for either application, it was there for the taking.

I thought restricting access to Google Wave initially was a wrong approach. That strategy might have worked for GMail, but it didn’t for Google Wave. It’s not like Google couldn’t handle the onslaught of people that wanted to use the application. Google has never had a problem scaling applications.

I’m sure there are many reasons why Google Wave never caught on, but not having access to the application early on didn’t help either.