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Selectively tweeting via free Android application Twitsper

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As a long time Twitter user, there are admittedly a variety of flaws in the system and culture, one of which is the ability to control who sees what you tweet publicly. Many (like me) have a private account which gives one measure of control, but others feel awkward about denying some people the ability to see their tweets. Imagine your broker, your ex wife’s best friend or your weird neighbor follows you on Twitter- sometimes it’s easier to accept than ignore.

Given that, as Android users, we’ve been on the lookout for ways to manage our Twitter accounts better, one of which is a free Android app called Twitsper which looks to be created by a University of California at Riverside grad student in the Computer Science and Engineering program. Twitter + whisper = Twitsper which allows you to limit the audience for your tweets based on groups of followers you select and you have control over each individual tweet’s destination be it fully public or to a select group.

You can create lists that have subsets of followers and the tweets are only received by other members of the list who follow you back. When no lists are selected, tweets made through Twitsper go to all followers in the normal broadcast fashion.

Scan in the QR code below to download:

So far, I’m experimenting with the app and because I have a high number of followers, not much is loading and I can’t quite make a list yet but the theory of Twitsper is sound and I plan on making it work for me because there are times that I need to message just a select number of people messages without bombarding all of my network. Benn and I host a monthly party in Austin and I plan on grouping attendees so I can message them about #BASHH without all of you in real estate around the globe being inundated with messages that don’t pertain to you or your interests.

What will you use Twitsper for?

Lani is the Chief Operating Officer at The American Genius - she has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH and Austin Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

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18 Comments

18 Comments

  1. Harsha Madhyastha

    December 6, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    I am one of the developers of Twitsper. Thanks for writing about it.

    I would like to clarify that you can create lists even online at twitter.com. You don’t necessarily need to create lists within Twitsper; especially for users with a large number of followers like you. When you come back to Twitsper, you will see the list you created online, and you can then send private messages to those on the list.

    • Lani Rosales

      December 6, 2010 at 4:49 pm

      Ah very good to know, thanks for sharing, Hasha! We dig the app!! 🙂

  2. Kelsey Teel

    December 6, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    Hooray! I’ve been wondering when someone would come up with a way to organize and sensor who sees your tweets. Facebook has done a good job with this through their use of privacy controls and groups.

    Then again, I’ve always thought that maybe that was Twitter’s prerogative from the get go. They have gone in a different direction than Facebook in many ways. While Facebook has been updated multiple times, Twitter has remained notoriously simple with the one recent update being the only one. Why hasn’t Twitter already done this?

    The main advantages would be privacy and cutting down on useless tweets. Too bad it can’t magically stop spam, excessive quotes, and auto DMs asking me to become a fan of a Facebook page. 😉

  3. Agent for Movoto

    December 6, 2010 at 6:07 pm

    this should prove to be really useful to agents who want to get specific with targeting certain clients with particular listings or tips!

    • Lani Rosales

      December 7, 2010 at 10:28 pm

      Exactly! Agents could have a hyperlocal neighborhood news list even!

  4. Ann Cummings

    December 7, 2010 at 6:28 am

    Love this idea! I don’t have my new phone yet, which will be a Droid, however I’ve been saving the great suggestions for when I do get it, hopefully in next week or so. I need to get much better about lists and how to use them – love what you’ve written about here Lani. Thanks for sharing!

    • Lani Rosales

      December 7, 2010 at 10:28 pm

      Let us know when you get your phone, we love swapping app tips!!

  5. Sara Bonert

    December 7, 2010 at 10:13 pm

    Just last week I switched from a blackberry (loonng time user) over to the droid. It has been a huge adjustment, but every day I am amazed by how much more I can do on it. I am just getting into tweeting mobilely on it, and still trying to use tweetdeck because that is what I am used to on my pc – but no such feature exists in their system. So I’ll have to add this to the 1000 other new things I have yet to learn on the new phone!

    • Lani Rosales

      December 7, 2010 at 10:27 pm

      Ha ha, when we got our new phones we were obsessed for the first two weeks. It gets easier, I promise! 🙂

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Tech News

The paradox of CAPTCHAs: Too smart for humans vs AI?

(TECH NEWS) AI is catching up to our cybersecurity technology and often tricking humans too — so what’s next for CAPTCHAs and the internet?

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Person using phone with laptop to verify CAPTCHAs and code.

We’ve all encountered it before: The occasional robot test that feels impossible to beat. If you’ve felt like these tests, also known as CAPTCHAs, have gotten harder in the last couple of years, you aren’t wrong—and the reason is as ironic as it is baffling.

Simply put, AI are just as good as—and often better than—humans at completing CAPTCHAs in their classic format. As machine learning and AI become more advanced, the fundamental human attributes that make consistent CAPTCHA formats possible become less impactful, raising the question of how to determine the difference between AI and humans in the future.

The biggest barrier to universal CAPTCHA doctrine is purely cultural. Humans may share experiences across the board, but such experiences are typically basic enough to fall victim to the same machine learning which has rendered lower-level CAPTCHAs moot. Adding a cultural component to CAPTCHAs could prevent AI from bypassing them, but it also might prevent some humans from understanding the objective.

Therein lies the root of the CAPTCHA paradox. Humans are far more diverse than any one test can possibly account for, and what they do have in common is also shared by—you guessed it—AI. To create a truly AI-proof test would be to alienate a notable portion of human users by virtue of lived experience. The irony is palpable, but one can only imagine the sheer frustration developers are going through in attempting to address this problem.

But all isn’t lost. While litmus tests such as determining the number of traffic cones in a plaza or checking off squares with bicycles (but not unicycles, you fool) may be beatable by machines, some experts posit that “human entropy” is almost impossible to mimic—and, thus, a viable solution to the CAPTCHA paradox.

“A real human being doesn’t have very good control over their own motor functions, and so they can’t move the mouse the same way more than once over multiple interactions,” says Shuman Ghosemajumder, a former click fraud expert from Google. While AI could attempt to feign this same level of “entropy”, the odds of a successful attempt appear low.

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Move over, Clubhouse: Slack adds their own audio chat rooms

(TECH NEWS) Slack planning to co-opt Clubhouse’s synchronous audio rooms has lead to mixed response. Did it really need to be done?

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Woman in green cardigan and headphones listening to audio chat room on mobile, where Slack becomes a competitor.

Slack is adding a synchronous audio chat room feature similar to what Clubhouse already has. While not everyone is happy about it, the addition is true to Slack’s ongoing form—if a little redundant.

Slack’s audio rooms would work similarly to Clubhouse’s current feature of the same persuasion. The rooms themselves would be ongoing for as long as they were open, and users would be able to drop in and out of calls at their leisure, even joining the conversation when permitted by the host or settings. In theory, it’s a cool way to round out Slack’s platform and make for yet another way for people to engage during the work day.

But not everyone is stoked about the addition. Pocketnow’s Nadeem Sarwar makes a strong point about the redundancy of adding a Clubhouse feature to the already-packed Slack deck: “…from a regular remote worker’s perspective, I’d rather use services such as Telegram, Discord, or Google Meet that we’ve grown accustomed to using for jumping into a group call with my teammates.”
“…[T]he need for audio chatrooms to get in a chaotic chat with colleagues, with whom you already chat over work and share memes five days a week, doesn’t make much sense,” he adds.

Sarwar also references research about remote meeting fatigue from Stanford and The Washington Post, positing that—since video conferences are already played out at this point—adding another quasi-conference option to Slack doesn’t serve much of a purpose.

He isn’t wrong. There are multitudinous conference options on the market now, many of which are free. One could argue that Slack, having marketed itself as a text-first communication hub, has no business entering the audio chat landscape.

That argument falls on its face when you consider Slack’s model—something both Sawar and the Slack CEO himself mention—involves “stealing” and implementing “good ideas” from others in order to make their own platform as comprehensive as possible. If one is able to use Slack for the majority of tasks that Google, Discord, and Clubhouse offer, that makes the platform a lot more attractive to users who are on the fence.

And, perhaps more importantly, it ensures that current users won’t migrate to a comparable platform in the future—especially if their colleagues are making the same choice.

It’s a smart move for Slack, especially given Clubhouse’s lack of Android support at this time—something Clubhouse has said probably still won’t launch for a couple of months.

The Clubhouse team, for their part, continues to add new features in efforts to maintain the platform’s upward mobility. One such feature is the option for paid subscriptions to content creators, allowing for people to monetize their presence on the platform. At the time of this writing, Clubhouse is valued at around $1 billion.

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An industry first: IBM launches quantum developer certification program

(TECH NEWS) Developers with quantum computing skills can now prove they’ve mastered the subject with IBM’s first-ever Quantum Developer Certification.

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Quantum developer looking out of the window with a three monitor setup open to various coding programs.

Last week, IBM announced its first-ever developer certification for programming quantum computers, which is also the quantum industry’s first.

“Our team is extremely proud to be able to offer the first-ever quantum developer certification,” a company blog post read. “We hope its availability will provide a valuable learning path for developers and stakeholders looking to prepare themselves for quantum computing in the future.”

The IBM Quantum Developer Certification focuses on IBM’s software tools, specifically Qiskit, their open-source software development kit for quantum computing. Launched in 2017, Qiskit already has over 600,000 installs. And, it’s being used by developers to develop apps, improve code, and participate in hackathons and summer schools.

While the Quantum Developer Certification is the only quantum certification IBM offers now, it won’t be the last. IBM says it is “the first of several in a series of certifications.” This is part of the company’s quantum development roadmap to build a “diverse, global, cloud-based ecosystem of developers who can bring quantum computing skills to their own communities and industries.”

Offered through the Pearson VUE platform, the Quantum Developer Certification exam is 60 questions long. The exam will test a developer’s competency in the fundamentals of quantum computing concepts. Also, it will examine if a person can use Qiskit SDK from the Python programming language to “create and execute quantum computing programs on IBM quantum computers and simulators.”

This certification is exciting for the quantum community because it will officially demonstrate a person’s mastery of quantum computing. And, for the most part, I think most of us can agree that certifying your skills looks good on resumes, and it shows employers you’re serious about your career. However, getting one can be costly. Currently, IBM doesn’t have any scholarships in place, but they say they are working on rolling one out to those who are interested in getting certified.

Along with the certification, IBM is also supporting educators to prepare the future quantum workforce. They are giving educators access to IBM Quantum tools through their Quantum Educators Program and semester-long quantum computing course, Introduction to Quantum Computing and Quantum Hardware, and its free Qiskit digital textbook.

According to a report, quantum computing is predicted to become a $65 billion industry by 2030, and IBM wants to help companies “get their workforce quantum ready” for when it does.

“With our IBM Quantum Developer Certification, IBM Quantum is offering a path for people with all development backgrounds to earn a certification in programming with Qiskit, allowing them to leverage their quantum coding skills into a potential opportunity in this exciting new workforce,” the company blog post read.

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