Where Did My Brain Go?


I have joined, and am enjoying, Twitter, where I am now (June 13, 2009)known as Mitchell_Miller. You can see my last entry on Twitter, displayed in the left column.


What Is Twitter?

Twitter is a micro blogging service. Entries, or Tweets are plain text, and limited to 140 characters.

Tweets may include Web addresses, but these are limited to 30 characters by Twitter. Twitter will automatically shorten long links, but I wanted something better.

So, in addition to Twitter, I signed up for another service, bit.ly, to Tweet about links like:


What Is bit.ly?

Use bit.ly to shorten, share, and track your links. bit.ly shortened the the previous link to:


After opening a bit.ly account, you will also be able to keep track of all the links you have submitted.

Danger, Will Robinson!

Visiting a link, with an unknown destination, can be scary. You can obtain information about a bit.ly link, by adding:  + (plus sign)

For example, try:


When you open a link from bit.ly, or others like it, the service expands it, and issues a redirect to your browser.

Linux users should try this tip from yitzle on Lifehacker. It uses cURL, a very handy utility, which is installed on most systems.

Add this function to your .bashrc:

function urlExpand () { curl -I "$1" 2>dev/null | sed -n 'Location/ s/.* //p' }

Use it from the shell like this:

urlExpand http://bit.ly/zJN2

Add a "v" for cURL’s verbose output, to test it, and learn how it works:

curl -Iv http://bit.ly/zJN2 2>dev/null | sed -n 'Location/ s/.* //p'

Twitter Trivia

On yesterday’s Kim Komando show, America’s Digital Goddess, said that Twitter bought their logo, seen by millions daily, from iStockPhoto for $30.

Ms. Komando said the artist received $6 from this sale.

Twitter Accounts

Everything on Twitter works nicely. I particularly like how easy it is to remove generic wallpaper and customize colors.

However, Twitter’s best feature, is the way it handles the selection of user names. I register for many sites, which require an account, to ask a question, or run a demo.

Some sites, like Joomla, take you back to the 80’s

  1. Enter all your info
  2. Press “Send” and wait
  3. Receive message that your selected ID is taken
  4. Go to 1

Others, Wikipedia, where I am Mitch3000, issue a permanent address, which can never be changed.

Twitter will let you change your ID, but I have not done it, and do not know how it affects your old Tweets. However, they make it easy to search the system as many times as you like, for available IDs, and other sites should implement similar systems.

Twitter Support

Visit Customer Support Community for Twitter to get answers from users and Twitter staff. Over 50,000 people have registered for this service.

So What?

Should I Tweet that I am writing about Tweeting?

I am not sure, because I still don’t understand most of its features. I also do not understand how Twitter makes money, because there are no advertisements or fees.

But I love using Twitter!