A perpetual problem of mine is that I am unable to concentrate on one thing for more than about, oh, an afternoon, leading to the unfortunate situation where possible projects and Matters Upon Which To Write flare brightly and then burn out within moments, like phosphorus sparrows. No sooner do I plan to write a Definitive Article upon some subject, which must be Gotten Right, than some new shiny object appears and drives the original one completely away from my attention.
The result of this is that I am rather poor at actually writing anything, as perfectionism restrains me from making an entry on something incomplete, yet I do not have the urge to complete it, and it is only when I reach a level of self-disgust at this that I throw out whatever peculiar half-finished objects that remain in my mind into this Journal, often in the form of Bullet Points. I believe that it was easier in my earlier days, when I was rarely thinking about more than three things at one time.
Enough of this preambling though; I will do my best to clear the decks. The subject of this entry is something that I call the Twitterbomb, though really it isn't much of a bomb, unless one considers very slow-moving fragments that are in any case phantom to be dangerous. This was actually mentioned previously by Nick Wilson writing in Metaversed as he is a proper journalist who investigates things and writes about them, whereas I am no such thing and do not even have a picture of my own creation at the time of writing.
The Twitterbomb, as Mr Wilson says and as I mention in the comment section there, is a device for the Visualisation of timed and differently-authored data; the Twitter friends timeline is the easiest to work with, as it collects data into a single feed, but I suppose RSS feeds and such could be used. There is a central "bomb", which reads in Twitter data via a proxy (a stripped-down version of the Twitterbox one) throws out differently-coloured "fragments" - the angle of movement and colour of these fragments is individual to each different author, thus each person's output is represented by a line of tweets stretching out from the centre. Each fragment's size is proportional to the number of letters in the tweet.
The fragments move outwards at a constant speed, with their distance from the bomb being a function of their age. There is a configurable maximum age, with fragments disappearing once they reach this. (Once rezzed, the fragments are independent, and with a busy friends timeline this could result in an awful lot of prims being around, thus best to use this in a fairly empty lot.)
I confess to not having a specific target to achieve here, but it is a toy that enables one to play with the possibilities of visualising data in Three Dimensional Form. One can look at the fragments produced and see, say, how active an individual is and their "rhythm" by observing the "clumping" and size of clumps produced; a wordy but regular poster will have fat fragments evenly spaced, someone who posts in bursts of short pieces will have thin lines separated by empty space and so on. A particularly significant event for one's friends will be marked by a "shell" of tweets all appearing at the same time and expanding outwards. Changes could certainly be made to the way the fragments are emitted to test different concepts of visualisation.
I say all this, but actually, in practice I have Given Up on the Twitterbomb for the moment - which is likely to mean forever - since Twitter has taken to caching my requests and not giving me recent updates reliably at all. This is odd, since the Twitterbox seems to be working perfectly well, or at least is when both Twitter and SL are working at the same time (a combination of reliabilities that one is not advised to bet one's life or significant bodily organs upon). With this in mind, once I am able to return to the world I shall be sure to post the relevant Code here.
Well, that is over with in any case. Next, something else, I believe.