Hi, please

With little knowledge of HTML, what is involved in making a Twitter Bot that aggregates & retweets geotagged info?

Hey everyone! As last week, you can read about this week’s update at @Leslie4IceCream, or in the Twitter badge below. I’m also working on setting up a WordPress blog, so everything can be better mashed together & presented. Here’s my blog so far: http://icecreamspy.wordpress.com/. I want to test everything out with a blog first, before I commit to buying a website.

As an update, I mentioned on Twitter that I was having some trouble with Yahoo Pipes, but I think I might have figured it out.

Here’s my “XL Tweet” with my question for easy reading:

Twitter / Leslie4IceCream

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  1. HoniehLayla 10:06, Mar 30th, 10

    L -

    So far have you gotten any hits on your question? I know this must be a difficult project, being that you have beginner’s knowledge in this (so do I :) ) I’m very interested in knowing how much help you can find within the online community versus going to a B&N and picking up a book on coding lets say.

    I really like the idea that you are using ice cream trunks as your focus – it is something practical that most people would use!

  2. ElzbthMllr 10:26, Mar 30th, 10

    Hard to think about ice-cream on a crappy day like today right? Anyway, also like Honieh interested in how a novice figures this out. Do you have any friends in the coding world that could help you out a bit? I really like your logo.

  3. Leslie 11:12, Mar 30th, 10

    I’ve gotten one response, and it wasn’t too helpful- I think I might have phrased my question poorly. He basically said “you need to figure this out on your own.” He gave me some links for the purpose of getting me off on the right foot, but I had already looked through what he had sent me. He did mention that Yahoo Pipes can be slow to load sometimes, though, which was relieving to hear. Here’s the link if you want to check out my question & response: http://tinyurl.com/yl8lev7

    That Yahoo Pipes question was my first direct question to the online community. From what I’ve witnessed so far, Yahoo Pipes seems to be a community based around sharing knowledge. A lot of people leave their pipes open to the public, so others can take the pipe and use and/or alter it in some way. So, while I am not looking to be handed the silver platter with the answers spelled out on it, I kind of expected a little more help than what I received.

    I’ve mainly been gathering my information just through google searches. There’s a surprising amount of blogs out there where people explain how to do various things. So, it’s been a combination of research, and then taking that knowledge and basically trying to alter it to my needs through trial and error. It’s a very time consuming process and can get incredibly frustrating, but when you do figure something out, even the most minuscule of things, it’s very rewarding.

    So far, I have not done any hardcore coding. While Yahoo Pipes mimics coding in many ways, It’s not traditional html (in the sense of me having to manually create the code). I’ve been basically finding various applications that I can use in replace of manual coding. My current use of TwitterFeed to get @IceCreamSpy to retweet other people’s tweets is an example of this.

    I had a couple people (Mushon being one of them) that I contacted in the beginning just to discuss the feasibility of me putting this idea into action with my little HTML knowledge. My original idea was to have an iPhone app. But, when that idea was explained realistically to me, it changed to trying to create a website, which, again, when the difficulty was explained, was then changed to using Twitter to aggregate my information. So, from there on out, it’s basically been me trying to figure things out just through Google searches and trial and error.

    I’m going to work on getting a page up on my blog where I can list out some steps I took, and to hopefully give you guys some knowledge on using these various apps, so you can use them in the future!

    And yea, these past 2 days have not been good ice cream days! Hopefully Spring will come soon & the ice cream trucks will come out of hibernation, otherwise I’ll be wandering the city tagging nothing! :-(

  4. Ryan 11:14, Mar 30th, 10

    This seems to be a very creative project but difficult as Honeih pointed out. It would be REALLY cool if you could figure out how to mashup the technology of googlemaps and a gps function that would allow people to track the trucks using google maps. The biggest issue with that is getting the ice cream trucks to authorize that they be tracked. Or an alternative would be to ask for their routes and post it on a google map with estimated times of where they would be. However, as it just dawned on me, they stop at random for people which would ultimately affect the timing. That’s why the best thing would be to get the GPS function on their trucks and track them by Google maps. Let me know what you think. If you can incorporate that in your website or continue to try to use your twitter geotagging idea than it would be very cool. I love ice cream trucks :) I can’t wait for summer. I’m very happy thinking about ice cream.

  5. Leslie 11:34, Mar 30th, 10

    Hey Ryan- Yea, I ultimately want my tweets to display on a map- that’s coming! I have to say, Bing Maps I am actually finding to be much cooler than Google Maps. They have a whole Twitter App that easily displays tweets: http://tinyurl.com/yg8aept So cool!

    But yes, having the actual ice cream trucks with gps attached to them was how this all ultimately started! Last summer, once a week, my boss and I would take an ice cream break at work and go out looking for Mr. Softee trucks. We found them to be quite hard to find sometimes and thought it would be so cool if they had gps attached to them and could track them on a map online before we went outside.

    So, this project is basically me trying to find a creative way to make that reality, without going to the company and saying “your trucks should be gps enabled.” But, maybe one day soon they’ll do that! The trucks having gps is definitely more ideal and would be much more reliable. But, this has been a fun/educational process for me so far that I’m sure will be able to be put to use with other ideas in the future (and that I’ll be able to share with you guys, so you can use it!)

  6. Harris 12:14, Mar 30th, 10
  7. Leslie 14:16, Mar 30th, 10

    Hey Harris- thanks! I did play around with those 2…I had some problems with them, but I can’t remember exactly why…I think part of it at the time was that I was trying to get a specific link to show that would take you directly to a map from the Twitter feed. But as I played more and more with the pipes, I’m not even sure this is a possibility (that’s the question I was posing on the Pipes forum)? I ended up using another pipe to specifically show the original tweet through a url link, where you can from there see the embedded Twitter geotag, which you can click on to bring you to a map (a round about process, but the best I’ve been able to figure out, as of now). That’s where I’m at now. Next step is to try to fix the Yahoo Pipes so it doesn’t RT my retweets (if you go to @IceCreamSpy on Twitter, you can see it’s doing that now)!

    Looking back at those pipes now that I have more of a grasp on what I’m doing, they probably would have done what I wanted…I think I was just trying to be too specific with the information I wanted the Pipes to produce. I’m working with a similar pipe to the 2 you posted to use as a map to display in the blog, just with searching for a specific user name (@IceCreamSpy), rather than a keyword.