Category: twitter

Runaway Android apps

[UPDATE June 5, 2014] Multiple observations confirm: Instagram (which behaves (mostly) properly on Wi-Fi connections) becomes a CPU hog on carrier (cellular) connections. Not sure why, will report here if I find out more.


[UPDATE June 2, 2014] In an effort to gain a better understanding of what’s going on inside my Nexus 4, I installed two utility apps:  and . Lookout scans and monitors for malware, and offers a bunch of other security features; Watchdog alerts me when an app exceeds a certain CPU threshold.

First impressions are great. Phone runs cool. Interesting observation: When I kill Instagram — the worst offender — through Watchdog, it stays dead. By comparison, when I used to force-stop Instagram via the Android device (system) settings, it would often start up again right away by itself.


My phone (Google Nexus 4) has been getting really hot lately, draining the battery in the process. I started monitoring running Android processes and services, and found out that several apps sometimes don’t close when I tell them to, but keep running and consuming CPU cycles and battery juice. The biggest offender is Instagram, followed by Facebook (which starts on boot and keeps running (and restarts itself after a force-stop, the nerve!)), Google Play Music (which seems to randomly start itself on a whim, or possibly gets launched by Google Drive), and MailDroid (as ).

[UPDATE May 17, 2014] Adding Snapchat to the list of runaway apps that must be force-stopped after every use.

My response:

  • Remove the Facebook app, which I have been threatening to do for a while. I am not leaving Facebook, just removing the app from my phone.
  • Scale back the use of the Instagram app, and force-stop the app after each use.
  • Scale back the use of the Google Drive app, and force-stop Google Play Music after each use (confirm cause-and-effect).
    • [UPDATE from a ]: “Google support told me to uncheck the box Settings > Accounts > Google > Accounts > [myemail] > Sync Google Play Music. I had sync checked before the update as well, but it caused no problems. In any event, this didn’t do all that much good. The app is like the freakin’ Terminator — force stops won’t kill it.”
    • [UPDATE from A.T.]: Disabled Google Play Music. Problem solved.
    • [UPDATE from A.T.]: Also wiped a ton of other Google shit off my phone. It felt great.
  • Stay away from the MailDroid app.
  • Monitor Android system activity regularly for runaway apps and force-stop them as needed.
  • Reboot my phone daily.

The 2014 A.T. Rank of social media networks

[UPDATE May 31, 2014] Several readers commented that the table in my original post (bottom) was misleading, making it look like Google+ was my second most-preferred social media network, whereas its placement (second) in the table was due to the fact that G+ scored the most gains since my last ranking. Fair point.

To correct this misunderstanding I now also present the same data in a table (below) sorted by “2014 RANK”.

Instagram 10 9 1 11
Twitter 9 10 -1 8
Stellar 8 8 0 8
Google+ 7 4 3 10
LinkedIn 6 5 1 7
Facebook 3 7 -4 -1
Pinterest 2 4 -2 0



My annual ranking of social media networks comes out early this year. This time I only rank services I currently use, unlike the 2013 and 2012 rankings where I also ranked networks I had used in the past.

The table is self-explanatory, and the numbers shouldn’t surprise anyone who knows me. Google+ shows the biggest gains, whereas Facebook drops to the bottom.

Instagram 10 9 1 11
Google+ 7 4 3 10
Stellar 8 8 0 8
Twitter 9 10 -1 8
LinkedIn 6 5 1 7
Pinterest 2 4 -2 0
Facebook 3 7 -4 -1

Jurnalizm, the ABC way

How is this not like ?

In case you haven’t heard it yet, here’s the story: A “funnyman” tricks a US Olympic athlete into tweeting a fake video purporting to show a wolf on the loose in the athlete’s hotel in Sochi. The funnyman’s network (ABC) knows about the plan, but keeps mum. The story goes viral, as other legit news networks (NBC, CNN) report it as true. The funnyman goes “Sike!” ABC goes:”It is a piece of comedy.” Ha-ha!

Not everyone’s laughing.   and managing editor overseeing Olympics coverage:

“It wasn’t just that it was a potentially viral video. The news was that security may have been breached where the athletes stay. How did a wolf get into a place that was supposedly fortified? Was there a hole in the fence? Were there other weaknesses? How did it get past the guards? Was it even a wolf? These were all legitimate questions in the context of what has been reported about Sochi.”

In my opinion this “prank” goes well beyond stupid and irresponsible, into malicious and probably criminal. Confession: I am a little angrier than usual because I thought the story was true and shared it on social media as such. I am also no fan of ABC’s for other reasons.

Here’s the video:

The Super Bowl: Kabuki theatre for 21st-Century America

Oblivious A.T.’s potpourri of impressions from Super Bowl XLVIII

I only watch one football game per year. Apparently it’s illegal to call it Super Bowl any more, but I don’t care. Super Bowl Super Bowl Super Bowl Super Bowl. SuperBowl. #superbowl. (hi, !)

So, without further adieu (joke!), here are some impressions:

  • The TV image is crisper than I ever remember seeing it (on the same set).
  • Why are the Broncos orange? Orange is reserved for Florida, or — in extreme circumstances — Georgia. The Broncos are white (remember OJ?). I kept getting confused throughout the game.
  • is live-tweeting the show, as he did the Grammys two weeks ago. One of many parallels between the two spectacles. Other: Bulgarian-Canadian , as are Sir Paul McCartney and wife Nancy Shevell, Michael Douglas, etc.
  • I don’t understand the game.
  • GoDaddy commercial: Superimposing Danica Patrick’s face on a bodybuilder’s torso is grotesque. I get it: This year the males are the meat, the female is a business owner. Nice try, still disgusting.
  • Bruno Mars and the Chili Peppers slay the half-time show.
  • Bob Dylan appears in an artsy vintagey commercial for an Italian car manufacturer. The times, they are-a-changing. Fo sho.
  • A Belgian brewing conglomerate panders to the US military. Anything for a buck.
  • Maserati reminds me that I need one of their cars.
  • Nancy Shevell, Paul McCartney’s wife — always classy — looks younger and prettier every time I see her.
  • By comparison, Michael Douglas looks like he has aged ten years in two weeks. How did he get so old in the two weeks since the Grammys?
  • The Broncos won. Or maybe it was Seattle. The white team won. Good for them. I feel genuinely happy for the coach, who looks like a genuinely nice guy.
  • OK, new Sherlock at 9:58. Switching to 13.

I borrowed the title for this post from my friend .

The Voice: Does Twitter popularity equal TV show popularity?

[UPDATE December 17, 2013] Below is the final A.T. Rank chart for this season of The Voice (Season 5). We predict that Tessanne Chin from Team Adam will be the winner, Jacquie Lee — the runner-up, and Will Champlin finishes third.

The Voice 2013 artists by A.T. Rank, December 17, 2013
The Voice 2013 artists by A.T. Rank, December 17, 2013


[UPDATE December 10, 2013] Having further tweaked the prediction algorithm, this is what things look like as of noon today. Cole Vosbury, Will Champlin and James Wolpert in the bottom three, smooth sailing for Tessanne Chin and Jacquie Lee. Cole Vosbury saved by Twitter vote, makes it to the finals.

The Voice 2013 artists by A.T. Rank, December 10, 2013
The Voice 2013 artists by A.T. Rank, December 10, 2013


[UPDATE December 04, 2013] The morning after: Recap.

Mixed bag last night. My algorithm correctly predicted that James Wolpert would be saved by the viewers, but totally missed the Cole Vosbury call (for the second time, I must add). For next week I have recruited a “human sensor”, whose input will factor in in the updated algorithm. Stay tuned.


[UPDATE December 03, 2013] Updated the predictive algorithm.

Introducing The A.T. Rank for The Voice

My original hypothesis that Twitter following alone can predict winners and losers on was proven wrong last week. So I set out to devise a more comprehensive, more sophisticated (and, hopefully, more accurate) predictive algorithm. The new algorithm combines the number of artists’ Twitter followers with other variables, and returns an “A.T. Rank” for each artist. Below is the A.T. Rank chart for today, December 03, 2013. According to the algorithm, Cole Vosbury will be eliminated tonight. James Wolpert will get to sing another week thanks to the Twitter “instant save”.

The Voice 2013 artists by A.T. Rank, December 03, 2013
The Voice 2013 artists by A.T. Rank, December 03, 2013


[UPDATE November 27, 2013] Yesterday’s eliminations showed without a doubt that Twitter following ALONE can’t be used as a predictor of success or elimination on The Voice. Not surprising. But I am not giving up on this prediction game.

Last week I felt in my gut that Ray and Caroline didn’t have “it”, whatever that means. Of course, this is easy to say now. But I will say that I ignored my “gut” and trusted “the numbers”, and this was a mistake.

If anything, yesterday’s results encouraged me to trust my gut more. So I cooked up a secret formula involving Twitter numbers and several “gut” ingredients, and tweaked it until it roughly produced yesterday’s output. According to the new algorithm, today’s A.T. Rank of The Voice artists is as follows:

  1. Jacquie Lee
  2. James Wolpert
  3. Tessanne Chin
  4. Cole Vosbury
  5. Will Champlin
  6. Matthew Schuler

Come back for an update next Tuesday, December 3, 2013.


[UPDATE November 26, 2013] Jersey girl Caroline Pennell surges in the Twitter followers popularity race. She is many kilotweets behind leader Tessanne Chin, but we know how well being on top of the leader board worked for Angie Miller on American Idol.

Below is a snapshot of the number of Twitter followers for the top eight artists, taken around 2:30 p.m. EST today. We see that while Jacquie Lee has a minuscule advantage in total numbers, Caroline has the momentum, having increased her total number of followers by over 50% since last week.

I predict that Cole Vosbury will be eliminated tonight. Then it’s a toss-up between James Wolpert and Ray Boudreaux for the second elimination.

The Voice 2013 artists Twitter followers November 26 2013
The Voice 2013 artists Twitter followers November 26 2013


Does Twitter popularity equal TV show popularity?

I posed the same question during American Idol Season 12 earlier this year. I hypothesized that Twitter popularity does indeed equal TV popularity, and went on to predict that Angie Miller would win American Idol in a landslide.

I was wrong. Many (conspiracy and other) theories exist about what happened and why it happened. I may revisit these theories again in a few weeks. For now I’ll just chalk up my erroneous American Idol prediction to my sample size of one TV show being too small to draw a meaningful conclusion about Twitter/TV popularity correlation.

So now I set out to conduct a similar analysis for NBC’s The Voice and its remaining ten contestants. Tonight’s show will announce the elimination of two contestants. According to this Twitter followers chart (below) Austin Jenckes, Cole Vosbury, and Kat Robichaud will be in the bottom three. Kat Robichaud will be saved by Twitter vote. Austin and Cole will go home.

Let’s see what happens.

The Voice Top Ten contestants Twitter followers November 19, 2013
The Voice Top Ten contestants Twitter followers November 19, 2013

The A.T. Rank of social media networks

This is the annual update of the authoritative A.T. Rank of Social Media Networks. A notable change from last year’s list is the addition of Instagram, which  three months ago and instantly fell in love with.








Retains last year’s top spot. Still the most valuable network, by far.



Camera phone photographer’s playground.



Surfaces great content from other networks.



Love it or hate it, but don’t ignore it. This is where everybody hangs out.



Recruiter’s heaven, good for business intelligence and little else. Endorse me for “bikes”.



The fastest growing referral network.



Nerds and squares.



The faded dame of social media.



Acquired by Yahoo! — almost certainly the kiss of death.



Where indie bands’ dreams go to die.



The open-source Facebook. There ain’t nobody home.



The latest venture of Flickr founder Caterina Fake. Pin notes on a map. Formerly Pinwheel. Nicely done but deserted.



Users populate 4sq’s database for free.


Deleted for dunces.


How to respond to graffiti

I give you two ways to respond to graffiti, both found on the twitters. You can either hire someone to remove the graffiti (left), or you can ironically embrace them and ironically turn them into an ironical piece of art. Ironically, of course. Or maybe sarcastically (right).

Two ways to respond to graffiti
Two ways to respond to graffiti

Here is a full transcript of the bathroom graffiti label:


Lincoln, NE. 1996

I Lack Creativity, 2011

sharpie on drywall: 35 x 48 cm

In an attempt to abandon aesthetics, I Lack Creativity by Anonymous showcases an antiquated hieroglyph that has remained unchanged since the late 70s. Here, Anon makes a fascinating plea to retard human evolution and remind us what it may have been like to use a public restroom in 1983.

Image sources: ;

PRISM and a Soviet-era joke

Generations of Eastern Europeans grew up with jokes like the one below. As a result, this Eastern European isn’t surprised in the slightest by the current PRISM “revelations” — just amused by the ensuing tempest in a teapot. Friends: Develop a sense of humor.

USSR, 1975: Arkady Ivanov travels on business. He must share a hotel room for the night with two strangers — Boris and Vadim. Arkady wants to sleep, but Boris and Vadim keep telling political jokes, laughing hysterically after each one, keeping Arkady awake. Arkady asks them to stop, Boris and Vadim won’t.

Arkady leaves the room to go to the bathroom (one on each floor), and asks the concierge: “Can you please bring some tea to room 307 in ten minutes?” Arkady returns to his room, and after a while leans into the ashtray and says: “This is Major Ivanov. Please bring tea to the room.” In a minute the concierge knocks on the door and brings in the tea.

Boris and Vadim look at each other, then at Arkady. Dead silence sets in. Arkady finally falls asleep.

Arkady wakes up next morning to see that Boris and Vadim are gone. “Where are the other two?” — he asks the concierge. “Oh, Major Ivanov took them. He was supposed to take you, too, but he liked your joke very much so he cut you a break this time.”

Yandex Browser blocks malware

After I made Yandex Browser my default browser, many social media friends poked fun at me, as expected. Jokes about Russian hackers started flying (at least I think they were jokes).

Yandex Browser honeymoon continues

Today Yandex Browser justified my trust. After clicking on a Twitter link from a very reputable source, Yandex Browser navigated to The Atlantic, then instantly threw a malware warning (screenshot below). I have seen similar warnings from Google Chrome.

Yandex browser malware warning
Yandex browser malware warning

Full text of warning:

may harm your computer

A webpage on is attempting to download information from, which contains malware. The owner of the site may be completely unaware of any malware installed on the site by hackers.

You can see more detailed information about the threat or a cached version of the site on the threat information page.

Ignore warning Leave this page

Angie Miller already won American Idol

After Angie Miller was eliminated from American Idol last Thursday, I lost interest in the singing part of the show. But I am still very much intrigued by the “voting” part.

So here is a chart of the contestants’ Twitter followers as of this morning, Thursday, May 16, 2013. The day of the grand finale. Who will be the winner?

American Idol 2013 contestants Twitter followers May-16-2013
American Idol 2013 contestants Twitter followers May-16-2013

According to this chart Candice has a slight edge over Kree, but does that mean much? Because look at Angie Miller, the contestant who was eliminated last week. She has double the followers of Candice or Kree. And she keeps adding followers, despite not being on the show any more. In the week since she was eliminated, Angie has added 26,134 Twitter followers, more than twice the number for finalist Kree (12,662)!

That Angie Miller has star power is indisputable. The question is how to reconcile the discrepancy between her huge Twitter and Instagram following and her elimination from the show. Could it be that Twitter users don’t vote? Or that rednecks don’t tweet? Or is the show rigged?

Either way Angie has already won. Her unfair elimination and the resulting controversy have amplified the buzz around her name. And she got a recording contract already, before the American Idol “winner” is even announced. Isn’t that winning?

Angie Miller’s original song “You Set Me Free” is today.