4stalk: A Beneficial Location-Based Service

Submitted by tomo on November 20, 2010 - 3:05pm

Location-based services, FourSquare and its clones are everywhere. China (where I guess 4sq is blocked anyways) has already produced a number of 4sq clones. I know of at least two 4sq clones or location-based services operating in Vietnam (shout out to friends at go100). And earlier this year Koprol, an Indonesian FourSquare-ish LBS was acquired by Yahoo.

But the number of stores and restaurants offering actual benefits to users repeatedly checking in... is less than the number of competing websites where you can check-in to them.

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Future For Foursquare

Submitted by tomo on November 14, 2010 - 1:26pm

Foursquare is a way for people to advertise to advertisers, Twitter "friends", and everyone else the fact that you're willing to be advertised to. That is, you spam to be spammed. It's basically awesome for marketers.

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h8sq: The 4sq Killer for Twitter

Submitted by tomo on October 10, 2010 - 10:22pm

Tired of Foursquare, Inc. spamming your Twitter? Could you care less that someone goes somewhere so often they become its "mayor"?

Take back your Twitter feed with h8sq, a plugin/extension for the Google Chrome
browser which will:

Remove annoying tweets like "I'm at McDonalds.
Remove annoying tweets like "I just became the mayor of McDonalds!"
Remove annoying tweets like "I just unlocked the Douche badge!"
Remove annoying tweets like "I just ousted So-and-so ..." (new)

It will leave alone tweets that have been personalized or merely mention 4sq.

If you run chrome just install the attached script, which should also work with Opera and with Firefox via Greasemonkey.

Install h8sq for Chrome (and maybe other browsers)

UPDATE: Now works on,, and!

Paying with a tweet

Submitted by tomo on October 7, 2010 - 3:16am

I've been thinking about this idea of "pay with a tweet" where you can buy a product, say an ebook, mp3, or module, not what cash but with a tweet, or a Facebook "like". If a successful you end up with great free word-of-mouth marketing.

It could be used on the Detroit Institute of Techno to give access to special DJ sets, or on to create naming projects or as a reward for a contest winner.

There's a website that makes it easy for everyone ( but the concept is simple enough that any web developer could implement it. All you need is a special URL that links to whatever digital media you're "selling" and a Twitter/oath or Facebook app that tweets/likes from the buyers account, or some way to verify that the buyer has spread the word.

So maybe this will spread to other social bookmarking sites and social news sites. A Web startup could exchange access to their site for a vote on Hacker News, for example.

I think it's a great idea. Maybe a good candidate for a Drupal module?

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Mafia Wars bugs

Submitted by tomo on September 29, 2010 - 3:40am

After playing Mafia Wars for awhile, I've noticed some bugs recently. They are in the way certain strings are formatted.

'You were snuffed in the fight, losing 6 experience points%FMT_SPAND_END%'

'%OPPONENT% asked their Mafia to attack you. Fight them back now'

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Cygwin mkshortcut Unicode Windows filename support

Submitted by tomo on September 8, 2010 - 1:03am

Cygwin comes with utilities for dealing with Windows-style shortcut files. readshortcut will output the file path that a shortcut links to (and more) and mkshortcut can create Windows shortcuts. However, there is currently one limitation. Windows filenames are in Unicode and have certain other limitations that Posix filenames do or don't have. The current Cygwin mkshortcut doesn't deal with such Unicode filenames. However, you can patch it so that it does.

1. Get source for all Cygwin utils at:

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Mafia Wars tournament in Las Vegas: Uh oh!

Submitted by tomo on September 7, 2010 - 1:38pm

Zynga's Mafia Wars Facebook text-based game is experiencing all kinds of performance issues right now. And to top if off, if you try to fight in a tournament in Las Vegas you'll see the message:

"Uh oh. We were unable to retrieve a tournament bracket for you. Please try again later"

But only after they deduct your stamina and coins! This happens every 4 hours so it's better to avoid playing in the tournament for now!

Pligg long running queries

Submitted by tomo on September 7, 2010 - 2:20am



For awhile I've been plagued with these long running queries on my Pligg site that were running up CPU:
SELECT DISTINCT pv_user_id, pv_type, pv_page_id FROM mypligg_pageviews GROUP BY pv_type, pv_page_id, pv
And so I was running the mkill Perl script to kill any queries taking longer than a minute to complete.
But recently even that stopped working, leaving queries in the Killed state but still running up CPU.  They were all stuck in "converting HEAP to MyISAM".  Did some diagnostics:
mysql> SHOW GLOBAL STATUS LIKE 'Created_tmp_tables';
| Variable_name      | Value |
| Created_tmp_tables | 196   |
1 row in set (0.01 sec)
mysql> SHOW GLOBAL STATUS LIKE 'Created_tmp_disk_tables';
| Variable_name           | Value |
| Created_tmp_disk_tables | 159   |
1 row in set (0.01 sec)
mysql> show variables like 'tmp_table_size';
| Variable_name  | Value    |
| tmp_table_size | 33554432 |
1 row in set (0.01 sec)
So it seemed there wasn't enough memory to perform the conversion without going to disk which is not what we want.  So I set tmp_table_size and max_heap_table_size to larger values, max_heap_table_size too because MySQL uses the lesser of the two.
mysql> set tmp_table_size=100000000;
Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.00 sec)
mysql> set  max_heap_table_size=100000000;
Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.01 sec)

And now we're golden, CPU back down to normal levels and queries finishing.

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Theme developer saving to wrong temp directory

Submitted by tomo on September 7, 2010 - 1:36am

After importing a database for a Drupal site from a different server, you may see errors such as:

warning: file_put_contents(/devel_themer_19527646904c852428ef200) [function.file-put-contents]: failed to open stream: Permission denied in /home/tomo/xxx/sites/all/modules/3rdparty/devel_themer/devel_themer.module on line 638.

And if you try to select an element:

Ajax variables file not found.

What's going on here is the files aren't being written to the temp directory which is a Drupal variable stored in the database.  Delete the row from the variables table where name is file_directory_temp and then Drupal will automatically set the variable to the correct directory.

delete from variables where name='file_directory_temp';
delete from variable where name='file_directory_temp';

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