How I got rid of fake Twitter followers

Twitter is one of the biggest online social media platforms for networking and increases in the number of people every day who join this social media, has led to increase of fake followers. Before I even started, I did a quick search on Google and found this great guide on how to remove followers from Twitter. I had like 200 followers which I was able to cut down to only 15 using the tactics I described further down below.

after follower cleanup on Twitter

Fake followers in your account expose you to phishing or spam and may put you at risk for having your account deleted and this was the main reason I decided to to that.

Instructions for blocking follower on Twitter

how to block Twitter followersa. Log in to your Twitter account.
b. After your account opens, click on your follower tabs.
c. Find fake followers you want to block on your twitter account.
d. To the left, there is a gear icon click on it.
e. After it opens, select the 5th option from the top (block or report) and click on block.
f. Pick the reason you are blocking from the account.
g. At the bottom, you will find a notification – Congrats! You’ve blocked one fake follower.

And if hate to do it manually, I have to tell you; there are also tools for blocking fake followers on a larger scale. Some are paid while the others are totally free.

Custom tools for removing fake followers

One of them is Fakers app. This tool allows users to see how many empty or fake accounts are following you. You are supposed to authorise the app to access your Twitter account, and after a few minutes, you will be able to see your follower report.

Second is Fake follower app. This is a free app that checks a random sample of 100 of your followers against a list of criteria. The account will be defined as inactive if it has not tweeted in the past 90 days.

The third option is Twitter audit app. This app takes a sample of about 1500 followers from your account and then assign a score to each member on the ratio of followers to following the number of tweets and date of the last tweet from your account.

My 2 cents on Twitter cleanup

I used a custom script to do that, while I suggest to pick your favourite from one of these three tools. If I would have zero experience with programming I would probably go with the second option, which also have a cool feature to remove the blacklisted followers automatically. Shout out your favourite solution in the comments below!


Linux and Flash – cut the crap already!

Linux and Flash - cut the crap already!Look, Adobe, can we please get with the times and start making a product that works on Linux? Please? It’s getting closer to 2010 and we’re still missing flying cars, meals in pills and a flash player that actually works most of the time. You see that? I’d even settle for most of the time right now. The sad truth is, Flash locks up on my current Ubuntu install, with the latest Flash release and it happens all the time.

Why on Earth should my modern browsers (Firefox, Opera) still freeze up on every third embedded video I try to play? Business websites are rendered ugly as hell because Flash just doesn’t know what to do with them. You do realize that by hindering a portion of today’s web browsing consumers you’re eventually affecting your own bottom line, right? Even a small portion who can’t do the things that web developers, web store owners and viral marketing execs expect them to do can be significant if it impacts delivery and sales.

For those who aren’t employed by Adobe. Yeah, I think that Flash sites are not the way to go, even with Google’s revelation that Flash can now be indexed. The truth of the matter is Flash is here and it’s probably here to stay so we need Adobe to please swallow whatever bitter pill they’re fumbling around with and just get a working version out to all of us in Linuxland so we can watch cats attack string on YouTube or whatever it is we’re wanting to do online. Okay? I know of lots of local, small sites like restaurants and small brick and mortar shops who have Flash front ends on their sites. And you know what? It stinks not being able to patronize them – for them and for me.

We need a working Flash. Let’s hope 10 does a much better job of it than 9. Until then, I’ll be taking my own petty mental revenge by referring to this monstrosity of a rich media crap fest as ‘flunk’ using my inside voice. No, that won’t fix anything but at least it will get that grimace on my face into a twisted smile as I kill and restart my browser yet again.


Things you should never EVER type in Linux. Ever!

Things you should never EVER type in Linux. Ever! I feel that I need to put a warning at the top of this post because try as I might in the subject to be clear about what I mean, I know that someone will go and type/execute one of these things into their production server at work and then be horribly distraught and/or cause some sort of power grid catastrophe across the Pacific Northwest or something.

If you’re a Linux guru or or experienced enough to know what all of these things are then you probably don’t need this article and we can go our merry ways. If not, then DO NOT, DON’T, NEVER EVER EVER EVER run these commands in a terminal session. If you do you will render your system anything from useless without a forced reboot to devoid of any useful purpose ever.

Why write this article on ArsGeek then? Because you should be forewarned as a Linux user that there are people out there who consider it good fun to bait others into running destructive and harmful commands on their machines. Particularly those new to Linux. So use this list as a caution as to what not to do. And note that it’s not an exhaustive list, simply a quick reference against stuff you really don’t want to do. Bottom line is, research what you’re about to execute before you push the enter key and know what you’re doing to your system, yourself and your job prospects.

Let’s start with commands that delete things that probably shouldn’t be deleted, shall we?

The basic way to delete a file in Linux is with the rm command. rm foo will take foo, wring its skinny neck and throw it down the drain. Gone. See you later.

Now there are lots of variants on these commands. Let’s look at a few. Again, look but do not execute!
rm -rf ./ - Delete the files in a current directory (all of them)
rm -rf / - Delete the partition. (AHHH!)
rm -rf . - Delete the whole directory.
rm -rf * - Delete all visible files in a directory

Running all of these commands have certain real world utility. They’re also a great way to fubar your system if run in the wrong place. Remember ‘rm’ means remove. -r means recursive and -f means don’t bother asking me if you want me to really delete your /usr/bin directory – or any other for that matter.

Mean folks have gotten slightly more creative and regular Linux users have made this mistake more than once.

rm -rf .* - Delete all hidden (files that start with a ‘.’) files.

Now, how about the good old fork bomb! Sounds ominous eh? What a fork bomb does is eat up all of your available system processes, essentially bringing your system to it’s knees. A fork is when a program spawns another program – often a version of itself. A fork bomb is when this happens endlessly and nearly exponentially until there are no resources left on your system. Most often the only way to get out of this is to hard reboot (i.e. hold down the old power button) which can cause file system problems. Here’s a few examples of fork bombs to watch out for:
:(){ :|:& };: - The cutest one. Like a vorpal bunny.
#!/usr/bin/perl - for Perl meanies.
fork while 1

or also in perl:
fork while fork
#include <unistd.h>
int main(int argc, char* args[])
return 0;

That last one is in C. As you can see there are a bunch of ways to do this – the above examples are only that, examples. Just be careful of code you don’t know with the word ‘fork’ in it, or of typing lots of emoticons into your shell.

Even windows users can be subject to fork bombs in the form of malicious batch code. Here are two examples:

The next kind of code bomb is a tar bomb. Tar is a nifty program for compressing and uncompressing stuff so you don’t have to lug around hefty loads of data. Tared files can be crafted however to ‘explode’ into an existing directory, rather than into a new directory.

An example: Say you’re in your home directory and you have file called foo.tar you want to untar. So you do so and it should untar into a directory called /foo sitting in your home directory. Through malice or bad practice though, it could just untar all of it’s files into your /home directory. This is bad if there are say. . . 487,038 files in the tarbomb. Now you’ve got all the junk to sort through in your home directory. Ouch!

The same can be said for any uncompiled code. If you don’t know where it’s coming from think twice before compiling it. It’s very easy for someone to hide a chunk of malicious code in the thousands of lines of codeit takes to make a program.

Bottom line is – be cautious, don’t run things if you don’t know where they came from and always, always check what a command does if you’re not familiar with it. Not only will this make you more productive and more powerful user but it will help you protect yourself as well. Remember this isn’t an exhaustive list, there are plenty of other tricks out there as well. Be safe.

Edit: Thanks to the commenters for pointing out some errors – I’ve since corrected them!


Designing the Singularity: Intel receives the Overreaching Statement Award

Designing the Singularity: Intel receives the Overreaching Statement Award. “We’re making steady progress toward Ray Kurtzweil’s singularity,” says Justin Rattner, CTO of Intel.

THE Singularity, that’s what he’s talking about. You know, the point where machine intelligence jogs past human intelligence and brings us to a new era where combined computer cognition is the equivalent of a minor deity. Not only that, but it’s Kurzweil, without the T. I don’t know if that’s Intel’s fault or Cnet’s on the transcription.

What is the Singularity really? It’s where machine intelligence surpasses human intelligence – even by just a tiny bit. At that point, the machines, which are now more knowing than we are, can recursively improve on themselves in a never ending and rapidly accelerating cycle of getting better and better.

Kurzweil tones it down a bit and simply says it’s going to be a time where machines can manifest their own rapidly advancing technology. The implications of a meteoric rise in technology, self replicating smarter than human intelligences and you know, superbeings. . . it’s all still there though. Perhaps in Intel’s mind, the Singularity involves computers designing processors for their next of kin to the point where we have the 1nm Intel processors featuring 10,000 cores.

Is this something we really want to work towards? Is it inevitable? And will these machines become self aware? No one really knows but it’s certainly an interesting concept to think on.

For their part, I’ve awarded the first ever ArsGeek Overreaching Statement Award to Intel. Congratulations Intel! Stating that they are actively working on the Singularity goes a bit beyond miniaturizing processors and coming up with interesting ways to optimize code for multiple cores. It’s a bit like casually stating that your experiments on family dog have yeilded a doberman with the intelligence of your or I and the ability to speak several languages.


Adam Savage Is a Geeky God

Adam Savage Is a Geeky GodAt the end of July, the H.O.P.E. (Hackers On Planet Earth) conference was held in New York. One of the featured speakers was Adam Savage, co-host of the Mythbusters. Savage talked about his geeky passion for creating and learning, and described (among other things) his personal recreation of a dodo skeleton. He also took questions from the ArsGeek forum members.

The best part of the video is when Adam breaks from the itinerary to show a slow-motion video of fellow co-host Jaimie Hyneman slapping him across the face in an attempt to sober Adam up. While locating the file on his laptop, someone in the audience points out the somewhat suspiciously named “Batman The Dark Knight.avi” on Adam’s desktop, to which Adam responds, “Well, I hadn’t seen it yet.”

The video is an hour long, but totally worth watching.

Edit: It turns out the video in question was just the trailer of Batman. But still, Adam is a Batman fan, he recreated a Dodo skeleton, he hand-drew a map of Middle Earth, and his official occupation entails blowing stuff up on TV. He would be hard pressed to be any geekier (or cooler).

You need to have flashplayer enabled to watch this Google video


Koi Pond for the iPhone/iPod Touch

Koi Pond for the iPhone/iPod TouchSince I’ve had my iPod Touch for a few days I’ve been experimenting with a number of interesting apps. I’m going to be reviewing a few apps here on my ArsGeek blog from time to time so you’ll have a better idea about spending your $0.99 on them.

First up is Koi Pond developed by The Blimp Pilots. The premise behind this app is simple really, it’s a virtual koi pond that resides on your iPhonepod. From the App Store:

<br />

Imagine gazing into a pond of crystal clear water. Picture bright, playful koi swimming through its shallow depths. So close. . . . Can you touch them?

You run your fingers across the cool surface of the pond. Water ripples away from your touch. The koi, disturbed, dart away. Only to quickly forget and swim close to you once more. . . .

Now imagine all this on your iPhone or iPod touch!

Koi Pond is really very lovely to look at. The water is done wonderfully, reacts well to touch and has nice splooshy sound effects. Even the plants react when brushed with your finger. The fish act naturally and will dart around your screen if disturbed, as advertised. As you can see from the screen shots, everything is proportional and really shines on your screen.

There are several settings you can control, such as the hue of the water, the number of fish and number of plants.

The upswing is, it’s really a relaxing app to gaze at. I’ve gotten in the habit of leaving it on and sitting next to me on my desk while I work for the relaxing visual. This app shows off what the iPhonepod is capable of graphically.

There are just a few suggestions I’d make for the next version. It would be nice if it wouldn’t allow the <p></p>iPhonepod to autolock while it’s running. To keep it going next to me, I have to turn autolocking off – not a huge deal but I’ve often forgotten to turn it back on again at the end of the day. Or better yet, a timer function.

A few more effects in a newer version would also be great! Rain, wind blowing gently over the water, the ability to feed the fish. None of these effects are necessary though to make this a worth while app.

Koi Pond was released July 30th, and has found itself #1 at the App Store in a relatively short amount of time and with good reason. It’s pleasing to the eye and I’ve already gotten a number of comments on it from other folks just wandering by. If you’re looking for a beautiful way to show off your device and a great way for a little relaxing visual, go spend your buck on this rather than a candy bar and enjoy.