Friday, August 26, 2011

TweetUpSL 2. Pack the gear before you come.


The buzz is at fever pitch. The t-shirts are ready. The stage is ready. Everything to make today’s second epic meet up of the tweeps of Sri Lanka a day to remember is set. Amidst all the hype and the #TweetUpSL tweets however, you still need to ask yourself if YOU are ready for it.

Annual events are well, events that happen just once a year (thank you captain obvious) and as a result you want to make sure that you live the experience for as long as possible after the event. After all, who knows if you will be there for it the next time around right? Thanks to modern technology however there are a bunch of cool apps, both mobile and web, that can make the entire day and experience last well past the big day (I make it sound like marriage). Read on to find out what you need to pack before you come along.

App 1 – A QR Reader

I initially forgot about this so a hat tip to Praveenie for the reminder. I know the usernames are printed on the back of the t-shirts (a give away to early signups) but what with diya kukula and pani appo and raja ibbo like usernames your chance of catching people’s twitter handles via the large and beautiful QR code that Dialog also printed is going to be a lot better. Hey, for the people hoping to ‘mingle’ it could even be a great conversation opener! Am I right?? (no? too soon?) Just bring a QR reader! If anything, it’ll be a lot of fun to yell “Don’t move. You are being scanned!”.

App 2 – Liveshare

Liveshare is a photosharing tool that works across the web as well as the iOS and Android platforms. Free across all three platforms, this app is going to be a must use for everyone during and after the event. What this app allows one to do is to either create their own private photostreams where they can invite people to collaborate OR the user also has the option to create a PUBLIC stream where anyone who knows the link can go ahead and add to the stream. This is pretty important since what happens at a lot of these events is that people all have their own smaller private albums that never surface but with Liveshare and its public stream feature that problem is solved entirely. I’ve created a public Liveshare stream already for TweetUpSL 2 and it can be found over here. The steps to follow are,

  • Register for an account @
  • Go over to the public stream I created.
  • Click Follow.
  • Now it should appear in your profile and across the mobile apps as well (If you don’t have a smartphone that’s ok. You can still upload via the web interface)
  • At the event just open the app, go to the liveshare photostream and add the photo directly.
  • When you go back home, upload any remaining pics and
  • Finally, kick back and watch the photos that everyone took to keep the experience in one place, for everybody.

App 3 – Foursquare

Ah the check in app for everyone. Register for the service now if you haven’t already at With this Nokia, iOS, Android, and Windows Phone 7 enabled service users can “check in” to a location and let others know they are there. This concept may sound outlandish to many but geo tagging your activities has become one of the hottest spaces in the tech world today.

App 4 – Instagram or PicPlz

Want to take some really really snazzy and cool pictures? Instagram, a free app for the iOS and PicPlz, a similar free app for Android give users the ability to apply an instant filter to their photos (filters such as vintage style pics, high contrast, lomo, toy cameras etc etc) and then save a copy and upload it to the services. My suggestion? Upload to your networks but save a local copy too. When you are back home try and add the pictures saved on your phone to the Liveshare stream. If you want to know what’s possible with these apps you can check out a sample via my PicPlz album. I don’t own an iPhone so if someone does and can snap a few Instagrams just leave a comment with a link to your work. Or check the results for on Twitter. Very very cool. Believe me, if you have an Android or iPhone and you aren’t using this app you are really not tapping into a key experience of the device.

Pro tip – I suggest downloading color touch and little photo for Android to have some major photo editing power on your device. Soon you’ll look like the real pro of the day. If you have a suggestion for iOS leave it in the comments section below.

App 5 – Hashable

Those of you who were there at Refresh Colombo two days ago will recall that I mentioned Hashable several times during my presentation. Hashable is a web and mobile service (available currently for iOS and Android) that allows users to log their interactions with people. To put it in more understandable terms, instead of exchanging business cards when you meet someone, you ask them for either their twitter handle or their email address and then you enter it into the app, tag your meeting as #call, #refreshcolombo or in this case, #tweetupsl, and save. The app can automatically attach your online Hashable business card and in this way it helps you actually start further communication with the person. Why is this important? Because too often we have a major tendency to just meet a person, take their physical business card and throw it away. Not cool.


Well I think that about covers it. All the apps given are also very quick to use in out apps because I know that as we are physically meeting up with our fellow tweeps, one very very vital aspect is that we take this opportunity to live more in the physical world than the virtual. Hope to see you guys there

Request: Take a photo of your t-shirt if you are one of the people who registered early enough for it and upload it to the public Liveshare stream please. Good way to start it off.

If you have any more app suggestions leave it below in the comments please. Let’s make this TweetUpSL an experience that we’ll never forget!

Friday, August 5, 2011


Storify, both a verb and a noun for a website used to create stories around a topic using various sources of data from the internet is one of the most powerful platforms I have used as a Blogger. I've been on storify for a long time and in my opinion even that description I gave was horrible in the sense that it doesn't even capture 10% of what storify is capable of.

Imagine a service where you could create a story from start to finish in under 30 minutes on an incident that had occurred over the course of two weeks. Complete with articles, videos, images, text and tweets! And then make everything chronologically arranged. Even for the most seasoned writers this is not an easy task. Now you are thinking storify. Of course when you start to add more effort in to making the story better it takes longer but that is the time that it really takes to arrange an article like that.

And that is exactly how long it took me to arrange my article on AirBnB's recent PR crisis that was the #ransackgate. I won't go into details but if you want to read it it is a full account from start to "finish" on the story of EJ returning to her holiday apartment to find it ransacked and vandalized by the AirBnB users she had rented it out to. You can read all about it here.

A big thank you to storify for featuring me on their home page. And if anyone should chance upon this blog through my profile on storify I want to say don't go away. Do subscribe both to this blog and to my tumblr as they are both coming alive again.

My writing got me a gig at a national news site as the sole author of their tech column. You can find it in the technology column at Although I don't get paid it's been crazy good exposure and I decided at that time to learn what I could from that experience before bringing it back here. My storification of the AirBnB issue marks my return to independent blogging so thanks again to Storify for making it an entrance with a bang. Hopefully everything leads to better things of me achieving a dream of becoming a full time tech news writer.

This blog is used mainly for weekend editorial style posts while my tumblr is used for more immediate breaking news. And if you want to have a curated list of what's happening in the tech world do follow me over on Twitter @area51research

Thanks to everyone on the interwebs! You rock!