Roger the Shrubber: Oh, what sad times are these when passing ruffians can say Ni at will to old ladies. There is a pestilence upon this land, nothing is sacred. Even those who arrange and design shrubberies are under considerable economic stress in this period in history.
King Arthur: Did you say shrubberies?
Roger the Shrubber: Yes, shrubberies are my trade. I am a shrubber. My name is Roger the Shrubber. I arrange, design, and sell shrubberies.
– Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Twitter is a cross between blogging and instant messaging: you type a short message (140 or fewer characters) and your subscribers (friends) instantly see it. You can view a single “river of news” page that functions as a group blog by all your friends.
Founded by Evan Williams, 34, who founded Blogger, and sold it to Google in 2003, Williams had been largely focused on Odeo, a podcasting technology, but when engineer Jack Dorsey, 30, came up with Twitter last year as a side project, the company ran with it, explains SF Gate.
Twitter supports several methods of delivering messages (which are called “tweets” in Twitter-speak). A tweet can be received via SMS to your cell phone, via several instant messaging services, by visiting a web page, or by using specialized apps such as the Twitteriffic (for the Mac). It can relay messages via IM, SMS, RSS etc.
The sender of the message doesn’t need to know which delivery mechanism is currently active, it’s all handled by Twitter. It can also be used for home automation systems. Instead of having to script an email program, or an SMS utility, sending a tweet is as easy as having your home automation system open a URL, as Ars Technica explains.
Botanicalls is a sensor+asterisk-hack that allows plants to call you when they need to be watered. Botanicalls is a project of a team of four students at NYU. Plants that might otherwise be neglected are given the ability to call people and request assistance.