Track Twitter Unfollows and See Who Thinks You’re Boring with Qwitter

Image representing Qwitter as depicted in Crun...

EDIT, 12/28/09: It appears that Qwitter is no longer functioning, but the site makes no mention of this. Your mileage may vary.

If you’ve ever spotted a dip in your Twitter followers count and wondered which of your faithful disciples haven’t been quite so faithful, sign up for Qwitter. It’s mind-numbingly simple: enter your Twitter account name and your email address and you’re off to the races. Qwitter doesn’t need your Twitter password since the follower information is already available, so they just basically run a diff and see who you’ve managed to bore away, sending you an email with their name and the (potentially) offending last Tweet that convinced your follower to bail.


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Posted in: Cool Stuff

Barnes & Noble Security Question Error Message Mocks You, Your Loved Ones

bn_security_question I finally bought a Barnes & Noble membership today. Despite almost always buying my books on the Amazon, (a site I much prefer referring to with the definite article “the” intact because it sounds cooler), I occasionally will pick one up from B&N if I really want a book that. day. I was buying $55 or so in books, with one being a bestseller which means 40% off, so I was looking at just over $10 off with a membership. $15 for a membership, sure, whatever.

In trying to link my new account from the store with an online account, it prompts for a security question. I select “mother’s middle name” since things like “what’s your favorite restaurant?” are ridiculously inane as I’ll almost *certainly* forget what I entered, which will promptly be followed by feelings of wanting to stab someone. And then I enter ma’s middle name: marie. Nevermind that the security answer is CaSe SeNsItIvE, (because, clearly, I should also be forced to remember if I proper-cased my answer) it goes ahead and tells me:

Great. Now Barnes & Noble is calling me a liar AND insulting my mother. Swimming performance there, kids. [Really, the error message reads as follows: Your Security Answer is not formatted properly. A Security Answer must be 6–15 characters long, spaces allowed. Remember that Security Answers are case sensitive (i.e., "Dickens" is not the same as "dickens").]

The moral of the story? Don’t enforce ridiculous limitations on a security question if the user’s correct answer might violate those limitations. And don’t insult your customer’s mothers. (CrunchGear blogged about this too, some two weeks ago.)

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Posted in: Design, Rants

50 Tips To A User Friendly Website

I posted about the Designing Interactive usability blog a few months back. Josh Walsh at D-I has compiled a nice list of 50 tips to a user-friendly website that you should definitely check out.

I agree with almost all of them, like Clicking on the logo should take you to the home page—this has become a convention most people expect on a given site, along with highlighting your current location in the navigation bar. There are a few, however, that I might nitpick, such as always underline links, except some navigational cases (unless he means either on hover or the regular state; I note quietly that the links on his blog are text-decoration:none and only underline on hover).

Either way, it’s a great, quick read with some things to always keep in mind when building a website, so take a look and subscribe.

50 Tips to A User-Friendly Website | Designing Interactive

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Posted in: Cool Stuff, Design

Google’s AJAX-powered Search Results Break Keyword Tracking


Our beloved web analytics tool Clicky blogged about a pretty crucial SEO & analytics issue today: Google is rolling people over to a new AJAX-powered search, that pushes query strings AFTER a hash mark. So:’s+my+referrer becomes:’s+my+referrer

The problem with this is that browsers don’t send anything after the hash mark (this thing: #) in their referrer string, since they’re used for named anchors. Since analytic tools use the referrer string to parse search keywords, this breaks that functionality for anyone on the “new” Google. Nightmare. It’s as if they’re effectively “commenting out” the rest of the query string from the referrer string–dark pool, that. Learn more about the ramifications here after the jump.

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Posted in: Rants, Tech News

Easy Tip: Tame Your Facebook Feed with Facebook Friend Lists


In my review of Filttr, I mentioned that Facebook features some comprehensive friend sorting and grouping tricks that Twitter sorely lacks. But the feature is only slightly obvious, so I’m going to show you an equally obvious quick tutorial on the quick way to get a reasonable Facebook feed of People You Actually Care About, and setting that as your home page, to differentiate from People You Met At That Party That One Time or That One Girl (or Guy) You Shouldn’t Have Hooked Up With Who Keeps Posting Creepy Profile Pictures Of Themselves But Blocking Them Would Only Make Things Worse.

This is really simple: When you first log into Facebook, click the down arrow next to Live Feed. Next to Friend List Feeds, click Edit Feed, click Make New List, name it something cool, and start typing the names of people you really care about. Easy. (You can also manage all of this from the Friends page, from the top nav.)

Now, if you access Facebook via a bookmark, or through the Bookmarks Toolbar, you can click on the same arrow, right click on the Friend Feed, and use that for your new bookmark.

To be fair, this feature has been around since August 2008. Disturbingly, they broke the permalink functionality about two months ago, which drove me absolutely insane because it happened to be about three weeks into having changed my primary bookmark to the Friend List Feed. Facebook Support told me that they knew it was an issue and that they were working to resolve it and it looks as if it’s finally been restored, so you can now make the first thing you see when you log into Facebook the feed of people you care about. Or your “Keeping My Enemies Closer” list. Whatever.

(Bonus: You can also use Friend Lists to send blanket messages to groups of friends. To do this, just start typing the Friend List name when composing a message.)

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Posted in: How To

Nerd License Plates: The Cars of Synapse Studios

Nerd License Plates
Here at The Studios, we tend to keep things a little nerdy. Which is why we reimburse our employees for have a geek-based customized license plate every year.

I think we’re doing pretty well. Here, we happened to park such that it laid out thusly: SUDO RM RF CHILLAX CTRL Z. Naturally, CTRL Z has different ramifications in Linux, so relaxing might just be the last thing you do if you made a mistake, but I digress.

(My plate is CTRL Z, an idea I got when looking down at my shirt and thinking how ironic this will be if I get in an accident.)

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Posted in: Announcements