Twitter DM: A Missed Opportunity

Chat applications have become one of the biggest technology battle grounds. Features such as AI, stickers, bots, and security are taking a forefront on the feature war going on between the numerous companies on your phone.

Platform: Twitter has had Direct Messaging (DM) for years. It has always been treated as a secondary (or forgotten) function of Twitter. A private way to communicate with a user out of the ever public eye of the Twitter feed. It was a good idea and added another layer to Twitter. But the feature has grown very stale, and greatly over shadowed by other applications out there.

Twitter has the built in user base. Many chat applications struggle because it take a lot of users to make a chat application really useful. All the features in the world don’t help if none of your friends are there to talk to. Twitter already has the users willing the use the service, and use DM even without the innovation. Twitter has a huge install base and it’s applications work across every platform. They have already solved the scale problem that many chat applications suffer from.

Bots: Twitter bots have been around for as long as Twitter has been. This feature was never implemented into DMs. Facebook Messenger and the like are now proudly showing that their chat applications offer bots to communicate with. Twitter is now behind the times.

Security: Signal has been hugely popular because of it’s security. There are many other chat applications that have come to popularity based on their security as well. The creator of Signal, worked for Twitter. Yet his technology was never implemented. Twitter DM could have become a secure way to communicate. Instead the creator left, started his own company, and the technology is now being used by other chat applications. Including Facebook owned, WhatsApp.

It seems Twitter has many of the hurdles of a great chat applications already figured out or ready to implement, but never did. Twitter Direct Messaging still feels like an unfinished or forgotten feature within Twitter. I hope this changes in the future, but I’m not expecting it.

Links of Interest:

Speeding Up Linux With Preload

I’ve been a long time Linux user. One of the great things about it, is that I rarely need the latest and greatest hardware. Linux can be as fast or faster than Windows or OSX on older hardware. It helps me save money when buying a new computer and extend the life of my current computer.

One way to do this is using Preload

Preload is a background service for Linux that will monitor what processes and resources you use most often and help load them quicker. For example, almost every time I start up my laptop, I will open the terminal and Firefox. Preload will learn this behavior and add these applications to my memory on startup so they open even faster.

It’s a small but very useful Linux trick that doesn’t get enough attention. You can find more information about Preload on the SourceForge page.

The Argument for Linux in Education

I am always researching how Linux and open source software are used in a classroom or education setting. I like to stay up to date with any developments. In reading countless blog posts, Google Slides presentation, and discussion threads, I’ve found a few patterns. Two points in particular are often brought up and used as the focus for the argument of “Why Choose Linux.” Linux is free and Linux works on old hardware.

These points aren’t wrong, but shouldn’t be the focus of the argument. They leave Linux to be interpreted as a free/lesser alternative to Windows or OSX. An option for cash strapped schools that need to run anything on old hardware. When the comparison becomes just about saving money, you cheapen the perception of Linux.

What points should you bring up instead?  Continue reading The Argument for Linux in Education

Linux in an Academic Setting

I discovered a great community discussion on using Linux in the classroom. The thread can be found on Spiceworks and is one of the few current discussion I’ve found (with comments from 2016). Some of the comments can be a bit technical, but it provides a great overview and a lot of different opinions on using Linux or any open source software in a school system. Check it out.

Letter W Photography

I have started selling some of my photography online under the name, Letter W Photography. I have uploaded content to both Society6 and Redbubble.

I have had great success with Redbubble in the past on other projects, so it was easy to start there. Society6 is relatively new for me, so we’ll see how it goes. If there are any photographers out there that of other suggestion, leave a comment.

I’ve posted many of my photos on various sites; Flickr, 500px, Facebook, Instagram, etc, and always planned to sell my photography at some point, but never found a solution I liked.

I originally, and still want to open my own online store for the photography (a project I don’t have the time for). The next option was to outsource the overhead work to print on demand services. I upload and edit the image, Redbubble and Society6 handles the selling, printing, and shipping.

These print on demand services also allow for my photographs to be used on a variety of products beyond simple prints. Tote bags, iPhones cases, notebooks, and canvas prints are all available. Well beyond what I could offer on my own.

Firefox Focus

Firefox has recently launched a new browser for iOS devices, Firefox Focus. What makes this browser unique and why you should consider using it, is it’s heavy consideration for privacy and security.

Firefox Focus is set by default to block many of the trackers that follow you around the Web. You don’t need to change privacy or cookie settings.  You can browse with peace of mind, feeling confident in the knowledge that you can instantly erase your sessions with a single tap – no menus needed.

I’ve installed Firefox Focus on my iPhone and think it would be useful to have on yours as well.

Microsoft Should Acquire Twitter

Not a fully formed argument, but something that has got me thinking since the Microsoft Surface event.

1. Communication Platform – Microsoft has multiple communication platforms. Their platforms have always been a bit of a mess. Messenger, Lync, Skype, Skype for Business, Rooms (remember that?), Yammer. They’ve never had a very uniform system. They should take the consumer facing side of Skype and integrate the technology into Twitter Direct Message platform. Bring voice calls, video calls, and chat bots to the Twitter DM. Make Twitter a private communication platform that can compete with Facebook Messenger and separate the confuting Skype and Skype for Business. Let Skype become the enterprise option and Twitter be the consumer option.

2. Content – Microsoft already has a device in most households for entertainment, the Xbox. Twitter is trying to get live content that will be displayed in the living room (i.e. Thursday Night Football). Microsoft will be able to take these and similar content deals and bring them to a much bigger audience that is already setup to view the content. Twitter technology with the distribution of Windows seems like a good combination to complete with what Google, Apple, and cable companies already have out there.

3. Consumer Facing – Microsoft has been making a big push into the enterprise market. Office 365, LinkedIn, Yammer, and Office are all geared towards business users. Yet Windows 10 is being pushed as a friendly consumer operating system. Twitter can bring a consumer facing platform that will integrate with Windows 10. Microsoft has made a few entrances into social media that failed, Twitter will give them an actual foothold in social media.

Elementary OS: Unable To Add Apt-Get Repository

I recently upgrade my main computer to Elementary OS Loki. In the process of installing all my favorite software after the initial install, I needed to add a few repositories.

I received an error message that the command was not found. I though something was wrong with my install of Loki.

This would be a big problem for getting my computer set up the way I want. If I can’t add repositories, I can’t add a lot of the software I use. Luckily it’s a quick fix.

After the new packages install, try adding a repository, update, and install.

Quotes from The Soul of A Man Under Socialism

Oscar Wilde was a Irish writer in the late 1800. Writing in many different forms; plays, novels, essays, and poetry. Many of his works are now considered classics. He is also the author of one of my favorite works of fiction, “The Picture of Dorian Gray.”

Recently I read one of his shorter essays, The Soul of A Man Under Socialism. Written in 1891, I found many of the quotes relevant to today.

Here are a sample of some of my favorite quotes from the essay. I highly recommend reading the entire essay to get better context. I’m leaving this quotes mostly comment free. Please leave your own interpretation of them in the comments.

On property, minimalism, and personal growth.

For the recognition of private property has really harmed individualism, and obscured it, by confusing a man with what he possesses. It has led individualism entirely estray. It has made gain not growth its aim. So that man thought that the important thing was to have, and did not know.

On the past, classics, individualism, and progress.

The fact is, the public make use of the classics of a country as a means of checking the progress of Art. They degrade the classics into authorities. They use them as bludgeons for preventing the free expression of Beauty in new forms. They are always asking a writer why he does not write like somebody else, or a painter why he does not paint like somebody else, quite oblivious of the fact that if either of them did anything of the kind he would cease to be an artist. A fresh mode of Beauty is absolutely distasteful to them, and whenever it appears they get so angry, and bewildered that they always use two stupid expressions—one is that the work of art is grossly unintelligible; the other, that the work of art is grossly immoral. What they mean by these words seems to me to be this. When they say a work is grossly unintelligible, they mean that the artist has said or made a beautiful thing that is new; when they describe a work as grossly immoral, they mean that the artist has said or made a beautiful thing that is true. The former expression has reference to style; the latter to subject-matter.

On American Journalism.

We are dominated by Journalism. In America the President reigns for four years, and Journalism governs for ever and ever. Fortunately in America Journalism has carried its authority to the grossest and most brutal extreme. As a natural consequence it has begun to create a spirit of revolt. People are amused by it, or disgusted by it, according to their temperaments.

On information overload. 

The fact is, that the public have an insatiable curiosity to know everything, except what is worth knowing.

On being present. 

For the past is what man should not have been. The present is what man ought not to be. The future is what artists are.

On human nature and change.

The only thing that one really knows about human nature is that it changes. Change is the one quality we can predicate of it. The systems that fail are those that rely on the permanency of human nature, and not on its growth and development.

On selfishness, self-development, and society. One of the more philosophical quotes where Wilde talks more about why socialism is how society should be structured.

Or a man is called selfish if he lives in the manner that seems to him most suitable for the full realisation of his own personality; if, in fact, the primary aim of his life is self-development. But this is the way in which everyone should live. Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live. And unselfishness is letting other people’s lives alone, not interfering with them. Selfishness always aims at creating around it an absolute uniformity of type. Unselfishness recognises infinite variety of type as a delightful thing, accepts it, acquiesces in it, enjoys it. It is not selfish to think for oneself. A man who does not think for himself does not think at all. It is grossly selfish to require of ones neighbour that he should think in the same way, and hold the same opinions. Why should he? If he can think, he will probably think differently. If he cannot think, it is monstrous to require thought of any kind from him.

I encourage you to read the essay for yourself, and gain some better context. Even if you don’t agree with what Wilde suggests, its always good to get another perspective. This work is available for free on

Let me know your thoughts and favorites in the comments .

Lewis Croft: A Community for Business Owners

And we’re off…. after a little over a year of development and testing, Lewis Croft is now available to the public. Membership is currently free but will be changed to a yearly paid subscription in the future. So if you’re interested in joining, now is the best time.

If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.

Lewis Croft has been an idea for years and a project for the past 14 months. The goal it to build a community that I would want to be a part of. A community to help small business owners.

While running my own company for the past 9 years, I have been very fortunate to meet and learn from a number of other business owners. The advice and guidance from my peers has been what made my own success possible. I think every business owners should have access to this kind of community. That is why Lewis Croft was built.

I would like to thank everyone that helped in building this site. A lot of people offered their time, advice, and skill to build this site. You will find all of these people in the members area of the site and on the discussion forums. They are all great resources for anyone running or starting a business. I encourage you to reach out to them in the forums. I will be introducing many of these people in the coming months, in the form of blog posts, articles, and interviews on Lewis Croft.

Thank you again to everyone that helped build this site, and to all the new members I hope you find the same benefit from this community as I have in running my small business.