Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wordle Word Cloud From Your Twitter Stream

Apparently I went about getting my previously mentioned Wordle word cloud of my Twitter stream in a extremely roundabout way and didn't realize that it isn't as simple as I thought.

From what I can tell, Wordle will create a word cloud from any url that supports an RSS feed. To find the RSS feed of your (or anyone's) Twitter updates, go to http://twitter.com/username (replace username with the one you want) and click on the "RSS feed of ___'s tweets" button on the lower right-hand side. This will give you the RSS page address that Wordle needs to create a word cloud. Copy the url from the location bar and paste it into the appropriate box at www.wordle.net/create and hit Submit.

Unfortunately, there are only 20 updates included in Twitter's RSS feed at a time, and I'm not sure exactly how many of those Wordle decides to use. It's not very many, so you end up with a really crappy looking word cloud with a lot of @s, usernames, and tinyurl links. Not very entertaining.

The way I stumbled upon my really cool looking word cloud was pretty convoluted. I started out at the TweetStats site graphing my tweet timeline, tweet density, and some other cool aggregated statistics about my tweets. (Which, incidentally, you can check out here.) There is some really nifty info there, and if you click on the little "Tweet Cloud" button near the top, you get their version of a word cloud made from you tweets.
Kinda near the middle-right of that page there's a little blurb that says "Don't like the TweetCloud? Well then, go make a Wordle! (no @'s)" Click on the link (I like the no @'s version) and it takes you to a Wordle page with all the hard work done already. Then you just mess around with the colors, layout, etc, and take a screen shot of what you like. Bam!

There's also a "save to gallery" button, but I wouldn't waste your time there, since the gallery is chronological and cannot be searched, therefore rendering it basically useless to find your creation in the future.

I have to assume that there is some RSS-foo going on in the background of TweetStat to get a better sampling of data than I was able to find using the RSS button on Twitter. I also assume that if I spent long enough messing around with the public API, I might be able to figure it out, but since someone has already done it, I'm not gonna waste my time.

Also, I'm pretty sure that your updates cannot be protected for all of this to work, but since mine are public, I can't tell you for sure.
Happy graphing / clouding!

Things that make me happy, things that make me unhappy.

Well, since I just can't neglect my blog any longer (it's been nearly three months!), and since I'm pretty sure I don't have any regular readers anymore, this post is all about me. What makes me happy and what makes me unhappy.

First of all, since I was passively watching TV and this commercial just caught my eye, I love the music they use in the Lincoln car commercials. They always have some really sweet remixes of classic songs, and that makes me happy. They need to release an album.

Pretty good, eh?I've kinda gotten into the AMC show "Mad Men" this fall, and while I am way behind on the plot and don't really watch with any regularity, I'm really intrigued by the setting and props used on the show. I love the old houses, appliances, clothes, furniture, and especially the cars that make their way into the show.

Anyway, what I wanted to share is the "Mad Men Yourself" page on the AMC Mad Men blog. It's pretty awesome. You start by selecting your gender, body type, skin tone, and facial features, then you move on to your clothes, accessories, and setting. And all the while there's a swank, loungie theme song playing in the background. The best thing is that you can download the results in several different sizes and the results can be pretty spot-on.

This "wordle" also makes me happy. They take your most common words from your Twitter tweets and turn it in to a picture. The larger the word, the more often it has occurred. The shape is pretty random, but I like the way this one turned out. Since the whole site is a java app, you can't directly save the image, but you can link to is, so go check it out. Make your own; share it.
Wordle: good

The fact that "for a limited time" you can get 155 Mojo Nixon tracks for free from Amazon mp3 makes me happy. If you're not familiar with his music, it's pretty much as trashy and lowbrow as it gets, but it's quality rockabilly goodness just the same. Go here for the deal.

This doesn't make me very happy. In an article on MSNBC.com asserts that "higher jobless rates could be the new norm" and quotes a really good economist to back it up.
"This Great Recession is an inflection point for the economy in many respects. I think the unemployment rate will be permanently higher, or at least higher for the foreseeable future," said Mark Zandi, chief economist and co-founder of Moody's Economy.com.
With unemployment headed to 10% and no real relief in sight, it's kinda discouraging.

Well, there's a review of the things that are currently making me happy and unhappy. It's too bad that the bad thing is so bad, but at least there are more good things. Let me know what's making you happy in the comments.

Also, my hornet sting from Monday still itches like hell. Not happy about that.