Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category


Non-working bot: @cipherscyther
After I left class I was unsatisfied with my concept of a quote mashup bot, since it didn’t touch on any social issues or frameworks.  My second version was intended to be a twitter bot that plays with the geolocation function of posting statuses.  It was intended to tweet, asking if one location knows anything occurring in another location.  It is partially functional, the only issue is that oceans do not return ‘place_ids’ that twitter recognizes, and my random geo function is not constrained to solid ground, so most calls to twitters reverse geo function return errors and the tweet can’t be made.
I then shifted to a bot focusing around encryption, offering a way to cipher tweets for users.  After coding the basic substitution cipher function and its reverse, I thought of how to generate and share the passphrase.  I had happened upon the name cipher scyther, since they sound so similar, and the name ended up giving me a great idea for the passcodes.  Stronger passcodes are obscure, but the recipient still needs to be sure they have the right phrase.  Scyther is a pokemon, and while they are very popular with some people, the names of the pokemon are often obscure knowledge.  So I decided to have the passphrase for the cipher to be the name of one of the 151 original pokemon.  And in order to send the passphrase along with the ciphered message, the bot would post an image of the pokemon used in the cipher.  I thought it was somewhat along the lines of Maddy Varner’s way of encrypting messages in images of Kim Kardashian, although much less complex.  Similar to that project, I was hoping to draw attention some to cryptography through pop culture.
The bot itself can encipher and decipher text, and link that text with the image of the pokemon that is its passphrase.  It does not however tweet anything.  I had alot of trouble getting the JSON returns broken down into something I could use, and I also had some issues with the way twitter works.  I didn’t want people tweeting the message they wanted encrypted to the bot, because that defeats the purpose of altering the message since its already out in public.  And in order for the bot to receive a private message it has to be following the sender.  I wasn’t sure of how to get that automated, or how to get the user to initiate that so it is currently not implemented.
So the bot doesn’t work as a bot.  If you run the cipher.js it will encipher and decipher a sample message and show the relevant image.  I thought that for my final programming project in school I should get into it, but I don’t have enough java experience to get it to work in the time I have left.
(I hope nobody abuses the bots that have my config files in them, but I really don’t have an issue with getting that account disabled)

processingReference update

So for my final project I decided to go along with my original idea to take the references from the page and to tweet them to my twitter account. The twitter bot works completely and i have fixed the text file with all the references and all of the urls associated with it. Every reference on that processing 2 page will eventually be tweeted to the twitter account. I chose to tweet Processing references due to the fact that Processing will always be my favorite language. Also i know when i was learning it that  the processing page was my homepage to all of my computers. So everything is working the way i want it to be working. I had a few problems figuring out how to implementing the url into my JavaScript i could of coded it in a few ways but the easiest way was to put all the references in a text file and have it randomly choose a word. Screen Shot 2015-05-07 at 3.13.36 PM

the function Sentences(text){

is where i concentrated the most on. The perfect way to tweet the post in the order i wanted first the word and then the url. below is a screen shot of order how it posts on twitter.

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to do this i have the text file with hundred and hundred of references. And to out put the correct form i wanted i split each string with -# at the end.

So the program if you look above line 54 listSentences= text.split(‘-#”); is the line that does all of this correctly.Screen Shot 2015-05-07 at 3.16.11 PM

But i am experiencing problems putting it up on the server where it can run automatically and update on it own randomly every six to 12 hours as the code is implemented. Screen Shot 2015-05-07 at 3.26.07 PM

I downloaded all of the applications and most of the toolbelts github and heroku and when i went into the command line it didnt allow me to due to the fact that it wasnt able to install the certain toolbelt i needed

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this is what popped up when i did it  i this this a few times but i guess it was acting weird and just did not like me at that moment. I did it again a few days later and i got it to work !!!!!!!!! woohooo i got it up and running on the heroku Server.


Assignment 2: BrainStream

For our group project, we created a product called BrainStream, which was meant to take your thoughts and post them to the social media platform of your choosing.  We chose to focus on tweets and being able to tweet your thoughts to a twitter account.

My input for the project was the video.  We recorded the shots during our class time and I then took them to final cut pro to edit them together and put in the voice over, spoken by yours truly, and the music in the background.  It was a really fun process.  To figure out exactly how we wanted to go about displaying this product, we turned to kickstarter to see how some other people went about advertising their products that they were looking to get funded.  That definitely helped a lot with how we wanted to display the BrainStream prototype.  After cutting the video together in final cut, I then took it into after effects to finish off some final touches, adding some tweets from the BrainStream twitter account as if to show what these users were thinking.  I think it came out really well and really showed what the product was intended to do with a cute ‘kickstarter’ theme and feeling.  The final video is up on my vimeo here:

BrainStream from Alex Zahn on Vimeo.

Siera came up with the final design for the prototype, which we decided to keep it very simple and elegant, an elastic headband, to keep simplicity and for style purposes.  It is discrete enough to wear on a daily basis and just enough to stand out and make it pleasing to wear.

We ended up having a blast putting this all together.  Anthony created a wonderful talk to tweet program using processing, which turned out lovely and very functional.

All in all this project was a success.  We all had a really good time putting it all together and being able to collaborate with these amazing, hardworking, and talented people with so many ideas was so fluid.  All our ideas seemed to mesh together really well and we ended up creating something even I didn’t know could be accomplished in a group.

Assignment 2 Brief

What ideas, themes, or issues do you want to address?  What is the purpose or intention of your project?

The original idea for the assignment was to focus on how much we think about social media outside of using social media, for example talking about what you posted on Facebook or twitter.  I wanted to bring awareness to the fact that a lot of everyones every day conversations include discussions about their activity on social media.  It started as an idea of a think or a talk to tweet mechanism that just expanded from there when we started working in groups.

Who is it targeted at?

I would say it is targeted at over users of social media platforms, and basically just marketing it as a ‘new toy’ for people to have will get people spending money on it.

How will it work?

Basically, you just think about what you want to be tweeting, posting, whatever-ing to whatever social media platform you want to talk to.  What made it fun was that even unintentional thoughts will end up being posted by people if they were just thinking about it and that would eventually end up showing too much of peoples lives making them aware of their actions. 

How will you make it?  What materials do you need to get?

Unfortunately, there are no current technologies available for us to acquire to make a thought to tweet program.  However, we will be creating a talk to tweet program and incorporating as much as we can ideally into the concept of our prototype aimed at thought to tweet.

How does your idea relate to what you have learned so far in Social Software?

Basically it is just bringing to light what we as social beings use these social networking platforms for.  People use these platforms in all different ways and it would be really interesting to accidentally see what people are thinking about when they are just arbitrarily just thinking about social media.  It could be a very dangerous tool, but it could also be a very interesting and thought provoking project. 

What additional research do you need to do?

We are going to have to do research on some of the different programming API’s as well as Twitter’s to make sure we are making this project work as effectively as possible.

Exercise 2: The Physical Post

For this exercise I decided to take the idea of texting and messaging and turn it into an experimental physical posting exercise.  Rather than sending texts or messages to people I took post-its and wrote messages and posted them in places for these people to see them.

My original idea was to write letters to people physically and just delivering them in person as a form of physical texting, but I realized I did not have that much to say to people.  I tried all different size lines and paper types and nothing seemed right.  So I had to figure out a way to modify it so that it could be visually appealing as well as functional for the purpose I needed it for.

I decided to go with post-its mostly because of the functionality of them and because they are just the right size to send a small message on.  Functionally, they were perfect for what I was trying to do and it kind of helped shape my experiment even more.  The functionality of them is even in the name: “Post-its” because you are posting a little message for yourself or others, and it worked well for this because I was able to shape this exercise to bring awareness to the messages we send and how private they actually are.  Though there is a difference between posting something per say on Facebook rather than messaging them, but the idea that we spend so much time posting anything publicly like we do is a very interesting concept in the animal kingdom because it can turn something purely informational into a competition.

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As you can see these notes worked pretty well, though they were only a one way street, I was not able to incorporate a response mechanism for them but some of them I was able to leave without a response and, breaking the use of this communication method even more, someone I left a message for me responded over Facebook, and without even taking a second to think about it, I responded to him via Facebook as well.  That just goes to show how normal it is for people to just conveniently be able to communicate with one another.


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TextLeaks: Leaked from Alissa Milano’s iPhone.

Over the course of the year I have been researching issues of public and private space surrounding mobile devices.  My interest in this topic originated with the idea that text messages could be used as ready made content and used as something other than a record of communication.

Earlier in the year, I had posted my incoming text messages to Twitter and Facebook as a way to breach social expectations of privacy and communication.  TextLeaks is an extension of that idea.  The bot posts text messages that I have received as well as sent to its Twitter feed.  The social breach I had originally carried out was happening in real time.  However TextLeaks takes messages from my past archive of conversations.  Each post only contains the message with no indicator of whether I sent or received that particular SMS.

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I enjoy keeping the sender/receiver anonymous because I feel it adds not only a poetic nature to the feed, but a sense of confusion and mystery about who is speaking that works nicely with the user being a voyeur.

TextLeaks is coded using Javascript filebot obtained from Github.  The code takes each line from a text file contained in the same folder as the bot.js file and the config.js.  The config.js contains the consumer key, consumer secret, access token, and access secret, which allows the running javascript to interact with the Twitter API and post on the bots behalf.  The code is set to only include the first 140 characters of each line of text since that is the post limit for Twitter.  Aside from being stopped at 140 characters, the code recognizes line breaks that are marked at the end with a “*”, to signify that is one piece of text.  While the bot was set to post once per minute, I am lowering the post rate to twice per day once I start working out ways to gain followers.


To build on this piece, I would like to tailor the messages/tweets to be focused around a specific topic.  For example, only having messages that are about relationship problems.  I think this could flow nicely as on ongoing poem or story in the twitter feed, and the content could be continuously added to (since we are continuously using our phones).  I also am curious about incorporating the use of hash tags to help gain followers and react to twitter topics.

I am inspired by the work of Kyle McDonald, especially his piece KeyTweeter.  In his video explaining the ideas behind KeyTweeter McDonald states that communication is owned by all parties involved in its creation.  I am very interested in ways that text language can be used to create a body of work I hope I can continue using this bot as a way to further this idea.

Assignment 3: WeedFeed

For my bot I decided to make a collection of sorts of as many articles and posts on the internet about Medical Marijuana.  I started with multiple recipes from IFTTT to find, collect and archive articles on multiple news websites.  I created an account on a website called Instapaper which allows me to save articles I find on the internet to read at a later date.

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From that I made a bunch of different recipes to do all sorts of different things with that service.  Some of these connected and and saved articles using the keyword ‘medical marijuana’ as a search query:

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After I got that set up I was able to figure out how to get some of these websites to post directly to twitter rather than going through Instapaper.  And with that I was finally making some ground and was able to get this bot going!

I decided to branch out a little bit from my original idea and I went as far as to connect to SoundCloud, Instagram, Ebay, and Etsy and find people posting with the keywords ‘medical marijuana’ and post a tweet about those things up to this twitter account.

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I was also able to look on twitter itself and retweet posts that had the hashtag #medicalmarijuana.  I couldn’t really find a way to constrict the amount of times it would post to this twitter account through just that so it posts a lot, but so far it hasn’t gone over the limit of how many times I can tweet in a day so that is pretty good.

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So far, in the 8 or so hours the bot has been functional it has tweeted 474 times, I followed 108 people, (I am hoping to figure out how to add the followbot javascript ability to it as well), and it gained a surprising 20 followers! Hopefully this bot stays operational and it gains speed and followers in the days/weeks/months to come. I will definitely be checking up on it now and again. It will definitely be informing me as much as it would other people.

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In the name of Bots: I bought a Furby on Ebay this semester. We have a lot in common, we are both silly, sometimes overwhelming and loud, sometimes cute yet creepy. There are some days were I just took out Furby’s batteries and locked her in a drawer and those may be days that I get jealous of this capability. Strange jealousy of a Furby: Feeling like my batteries are low and want to be locked in a dark room with no responsibilities.

Assigment 3 had myself triggered into a confusing reality upon deciding what kind of “bot” I had to create. What would my Virtual Horse_eBook have to say? In spite of David Hanson’s inspiration by Martine Rothblatt and her studies, I chose to make a twitter bot to Tweet every time a new Furby is being sold on Ebay…


Some vintage, some new and improved Furby’s with photos, links to their listings, and price. I received a bit of feedback from some people who also enjoy these furry friends. I also Twitter Searched the text “I want a Furby” And followed the first 20 tweets that matched the text to see who may be interested.furb2

I do not think that this IFTTT recipe bot is a virtual advancement. I do believe that there should not be any fear in the digital bleed of humanity and robotics as social media is clearly making more and more suitable sources for humans who do not have the ability to create a Robot can still improvise a bot system (with poor coding skills and enough conceptual backup).

This assignment has taught me that I feel more like a bot than a human sometimes, I feel engaged in lessons about why technology is taking over our culture and get confused about why our culture may seem afraid of talking refrigerators. I may type to my personal Twitter as if it is an intimate appliance sometimes. “Her” taught me that I could use an OS system to arrange my lifestyle around a Bot systems options and even emotions.. This made me question if Siri could someday have as an emotional response to my needs as I emote to my twitter followers as well. What determines a Bot and now with what this digital ago is producing, can we all become a Bot if we allow it?

David Hanson decided to create a robot named BINA 48 with a face that moves, eyes that see, ears that hear, and a digital mind that converses with enablers. I wonder if this social robot truly had the ability to compile the memories, feelings, and beliefs needed to converse as a humanoid bust. I wonder how to code a cybernetic companion such as BINA 48 as head and shoulders mounted on a frame. Joaquin Phoenix fell in love with an OS system programmed so supremely programmed to fill his needs. Evidently I wish I could be so stoically programmed to love an appliance that I think I could confess my innermost thoughts to my Technology devices such as social media like a robot. I’m not afraid of technology, and throughout this course I enjoyed the use of social media as a medium and social breaching interactive art object. Humanity is so digitally advanced so why not make use of our lives as an archive.

Social media is a medium and an outlet. I will not fall in love with an OS system but if humanity does not fear the bleed between man and infrastructure, we live in correspondence with the virtual world.

As one final assignment, I coded (HTML) a web space with a Variety of featuring a Text Array project I experimented with during week 11 ( ) , my social media selfie bots/ breaches ( twitter/ duchomp) and of course my Furby enthusiast bot. I aligned these media diary performance pieces with on an interactive site (Tumblr) to further misuse code and web design. I really disregarded the Theme Garden.

I would like to present this alongside my IFTTT generated bot as I see this code more as an ongoing project.








Assessment 3: Hillary Cruz and Ted Clinton Bots

For my final assignment I made two twitter bots that connect the tweets of two presidential candidates running for president of the United States for the 2016 election. The candidates I chose were Ted Cruz, the first republican nominee, and Hillary Clinton, the first democrat nominee. For one Twitter account, which I named Hillary Cruz, takes the first half of Hillary Clinton’s tweets and the second half of Ted Cruz’s tweets and combines them. I also made Ted Clinton which does the vice versa of Hillary Cruz. The aim for these bots was to take the issues being discussed by each candidate and bring them together. Once the tweets are combined they create tweets that make sentences that may or may not make sense depending on how they line up with each other. By doing this it shows the nonsense of politics and constant issues that are always being discussed.
Most of the time democrats are tweeting about very liberal issues while the republicans are normally discussing very conservative issues. They are creating tweets that are half right wing/half left wing creating tweets showing both ends of the political spectrum. Very similar to the types of bots mentioned in Rob Dubbin’s article “The Rise of Twitter Bots,” my bot aims to create something new out of two things already existing, like the exosaurs combing dinosaur names and exoplanets. My bots are combing political issues and events the nominees are talking about and creating tweets that can be comedic in the event they line up perfectly. Being able to manipulate and make adjustments to tweets that already exist and bring new meaning to them was my overall goal. This project allowed me to explore the American politics that exist on twitter, while creating candidates that aren’t too far right or too far left. I’d say they both stand out in the middle and could be perceived as the “perfect candidates.”

You can visit Hillary Cruz here and Ted Clinton here!

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Oblique Oblique- Twitter Bot

I started this project with two concepts in mind. The first was looking at fashion photographer Terry Richardson and trying to bring to light his inappropriate actions. He is known for sexually harassing the models he works with. My original idea for the Twitter bot was to retweet anything he tweeted and post it to my page with a link to an image that I created.The image is shown below:



Many of these sorts of images are easily found online once googling his name. I just manipulated it and put a filter on it so it wasn’t so vulgar (also it still is). I set this Twitter bot up and ran into a few issues. First, it was posting to my personal twitter account rather than the one I set up, which was an easy fix. Second, the image was somewhat hidden within the tweet. The link to his photograph that he put in the tweet was more so visible than mine, and it looked as if I had just retweeted his tweet with no other fixes. Here is a screen shot of his post without my link:

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Unfortunately I got frustrated and deleted the posts before I got to document them which I realize would have been helpful now. My link was smaller and unnoticeable, therefore I figured more people would have clicked on the first link they saw, which was his photo and not my manipulated one. I would’ve liked if my image showed up directly along with his post, but I realize Twitter does not work like that.

For the programming aspect, I used IFTTT in order to get this up and running which was convenient and easy. My recipe looked like this:

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Although this was a great attempt, I wanted to try something else and see where it got me.

This is when I turned to my other idea, about Oblique Strategies. What I was inspired by was text and language and the exercises in which we manipulated a source text to get a completely different result. For instance, we took poems and reversed the words or took out every other. I think that really fascinating things happen when language is experimented with and I wanted to explore this further. What really interests me is how words lose or change meaning once placed in a different order or repeated. I wanted to work with this and see how I can manipulate language and break it apart.

After looking through the archive of Oblique Strategies on Twitter, some of these strategies even motivated me to do this exercise by what they were saying.

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I thought to myself, yes they do need changing. And that’s why I wanted to create this Twitter bot. Or things like this:

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This Twitter bot was going to be all about emphasizing the flaws and removing specifics. Along with this, I realized that I enjoyed the Oblique Strategies more when they were random words put together. For example:

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For some reason, that inspires me a lot more than actual sentences or questions. This is when I decided that I wanted to create a Twitter bot that takes random words from the Oblique Strategies tweets and creates new phrases and orders. I used a Python library called TextBlob in order to do this. What it does is provide an API to pick apart tasks dealing with language, “part-of-speech tagging, noun phrase extraction, sentiment analysis, classification, translation, and more.” I wrote a function in the code to take the random text and generate something new. I used Sublime Text in order to do this, typed the Consumer Keys, Access Keys and then also used Tweepy to assist which allows communication to Twitter.

TextBlob <–Website Here

Here is part of the code.

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This generates new text from the existing Oblique Strategies.

This is the Twitter page:

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And here are some examples of what it has generated so far:

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Oblique Oblique <– Twitter Bot Link

Right now it is just running off of my computer but ideally I would have liked to put it on a server so that it is automatic and runs more often. I have been experimenting with Heroku multiple times but it is still causing issues with the git command, as we figured out it has something to do with my operating system.

Although the random effect is so random that it repeats a lot of the same words so nothing is clearly legible. Originally I didn’t like that it was hard to understand but now I like that it is so “bot” like because it goes with my goal of breaking apart language. I feel that this is more of a work in progress than a finished piece, but I feel that I am onto something that could eventually work well.