Baker Tweet. Another hot pun from Poke.

The good chaps and chapettes at Poke love a pun, but they love a hot bun even more. So they have created Baker Tweet, a simple way for bakers to tell the world that something is fresh out of the oven.

It’s a mix of Arduino components that hooks into a Django CMS system. The nice part about it is the simple, chunky metal dial and a single button – perfect for floury, gloved hands.

The baker can update the items on the dial via the CMS (or via iPhone, no less) and then turn the dial to update, hit the button and it pulls in the latest items, so it’s also futureproof. In a working day though, the baker just turns the dial to “Fresh Buns” and everyone who is subscribe to the bakery’s Twitter feed goes off for a bun feed.

The first one is installed in the Albion Café – follow them at @albionsoven.

Despite the puns, it’s certainly no half-baked idea and shows that Poke’s creativity shows no signs of going stale.

How To Get…

It all started with someone just Twittering “Type ‘How to get…’ into Google”.

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Google has a pre-search auto suggestion system already bringing up the most popular search terms. Looks like a lot of teenagers have a lot of questions.

The Network Generation is in The White House

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Photo: barackobamadotcom on Flickr

It is hard to overstate just how different these US elections were and what a shift in thinking Obama and his campaign signify. Is this the dawn of a fourth republic, whose cycles are “linked indirectly to stages of technological and economic development,” as Michael Lind argues? Or is this the rise of a kind of new informality or informalism, to bastardise a perfectly decent word into another -ism?

Just four years ago, at the time of the previous US election, the blogosphere consisted of around four million blogs, now it’s difficult to even count, but it’s possibly 133 million. In those four years we have, of course, seen blogging become and integral part of mainstream media culture. As The Guardian’s Jemima Kiss noted, this was a truly cross-platform election, with TV woefully slow to catch up with calling the election win for Obama compared to those online.

But what was impressive and very different about the Obama camp approach was how much they clearly get these new media forms.

Twitter’s election feed was – and still is – a torrent of posts and opinions, but during the voting we got to hear people’s accounts of waiting in line, the excitement the atmosphere. I’m not American, what should I care? And yet. And yet, it was hard not to be drawn into the sense of shared experience.

Obama has (or had – it’s been a bit quiet since the elections) a Twitter stream and being on Twitter during the vote was a shared experience. The Obama camp made great use of Twitter to push for support, to spread the message. The exit poll stats show just how much the 18-29 year old turnout had increased from 2000.

What is essential to remember here is that Twitter isn’t just a computer-based chat space, it is completely integrated into mobile devices too. That means Obama’s tweets, and those of his supporters, reached people on the way to or in the waiting lines of polling booths. It’s direct and intimate.

The world has become cynical of politicians who have long since appeared to ignore the protest and voices of the people who elected them. Whether Obama himself wrote his Twitter tweets we will probably never know, but the fact a presidential candidate is aware of it shows a much more direct connection with people – and not just US citizens. Even if there’s a lowly paid intern tweeting on his behalf, there is a sense that it might filter up. And, of course, there’s always the secret hope that Obama himself is doing the tweeting.

The Flickr photo set above show’s Obama with his family and aides watching the results of the election, watching McCain’s concession speech and being congratulated by his family. They’re intimate, often off-guard and in many he looks quite nervous as if he’s thinking “Oh God, now I actually have to be president”. It’s like looking at post-ceremony, pre-reception drunkenness photos of a freshly minted bride and groom.

The most striking thing about these pictures, though, is that they’re covered by a non-commercial Creative Commons licence. These photos (by David Katz) that picture editors all over the world would love to use to sell their papers remain out of their reach. But they remain usable by the millions of bloggers around the world.

The difference in approach is striking – these aren’t polished, selected, vetted images, tightly controlled by a PR office. They’re informal and out there for the world to see and use. It’s unthinkable that Bush – or any other major politician – would have done anything remotely similar on the “internets“. (The cynic in the back of my mind wonders if they maybe are vetted – there are no photos of Obama shotgunning a beer and flicking the Vs at McCain on TV, after all. But that doesn’t seem like his style.)

A day after the election, Obama’s campaign set up change.gov with, naturally, a blog. (Compare it to the stiffness of whitehouse.gov).

So, now we have a US President who blogs and twitters – or whose staff do at least – and appears to be open to opinions and voices from all over the world. In an age of increased surveillance and control, of clipped civil liberties, of an attempt by the previous generation to hang onto control at all costs, this different attitude and use of technology signifies a much bigger, generational shift. It is a shift to a mindset in which collaboration, conversation and the network mind are much more powerful than spin and top-down control ever can be.

It’s what anyone using Twitter, Facebook or writing a blog has known for some time, but now it’s as mainstream as it gets. The network has grown up. The network generation is in The White House.

Twittering Mad Men

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What a weird meta media world we live in. I tweeted that I was off to watch Mad Men only to find this morning that I am being followed on Twitter by Peggy Olson from We Are Sterling Cooper.

I’m obviously way behind in this story, apparently AMC did the usual “Take it down! No, wait, apparently you young folk love it!” our-lawyers-have-no-idea-what-they-are-doing dance a while back.

(I bet the real Sterling Cooper – “consulting mechanical engineers” (as opposed ones who just go around mechanically engineering stuff without asking?) – have seen their web traffic rise. Shame their website is straight out of 1995).

Is Twitter just a giant MOO/MUD?

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Lambda MOO

The development of technology is more like a spiral than the upwards arrow we often think of. The same ideas come around again and again with slight tweaks that usually push it in an upwards direction (though not always). Flash designers and developers are rediscovering the pixel fun that us Director folk were always used too and of course 8-bit arcade graphics made a big comeback on mobiles.

I was watching the general tweeting going on from those I follow on Twitter and have started noticing a lot of “goodnight everyone” kinds of tweets. That along with the @reply made me realise that Twitter is really just a giant MOO, just without the rooms.

Or is it really without the rooms? I think that the ‘rooms’ that people used to make in places like Lambda MOO are now personal blogs. When you ‘look’ at a person in Twitter, you go to their Twitter page and then usually onto their blog, much like you used to see a description of them in a MOO and then maybe visit their room/space.

Twitter is a bit more public and gives you the ability to follow people, but it’s amusing to see that people are still the most interesting content online just as it was in the earliest days of the internet.

Pinger – Voice-based Twitter?

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Pinger is doing the rounds of Twitterland at the moment. It’s a service that allows you to send voice messages to one or a group of people anywhere from a local number. It’s not new to be able to do this on some networks and some phones, but they’ve made it easy and cross-network and country.

They’ve presented it as a kind of voice-based text-messeging, but I can imagine it might get used like Twitter too.

On the plus side, I can imagine it would be very useful if you were trying to organise some kind of gathering, either impromptu or making changes to a previously organised one.

On the negative side I can imagine an increase in voice spam from either your friends or marketing baddies.

Any thoughts?