Augur 2.0: Free iPhone App That Uses Twitter to Predict the Future
I’m super excited to announce that the newest version of my iPhone app, Augur, is now available – and it’s free! Another big change with this version – a Twitter account is no longer required! So if you’ve got an iPhone and 5 minutes, you can get this thing running on your phone in no time (Android version coming soon).
In a nutshell: the app looks for random Twitter posts, and filters out only those tweets that seem like they could be predictions (or advice). Specifically, the app looks for only second person point of view posts, and ignores tweets that contain first person references.
In addition to no Twitter account being needed, I’ve also tweaked the logic for how the app searches for tweets. I’ve shifted things further away from the “advice” side, and tried to return more future-facing comments.
The results are entertaining, to say the least. The predictions are oftentimes random, and the advice is oftentimes…. terrible. And riddled with typos. But still pretty fun.
There are a lot of invisible, behind-the-scenes changes that are really exciting to me… and probably only exciting to you if you work with the web in any way. The previous version of this app put a lot of the work on the user’s phone. I’m happy to say that this newer version removes all that heavy lifting, and should run much smoother, much faster.
To power the Twitter API requests, I’m using a Node server on Heroku, running a large number of queries every 15 minutes. I’m also using MongoDB (for the first time) as a kind of middle-man, handling storage of all the info I’m shuffling through. Ultimately, I’m storing the content over in an Amazon S3 bucket.
In the prior version, the app would require each user to retrieve new content. In this configuration, the node server I have running does this at set intervals – and posts up a large collection of data, refreshing it anew every 15 minutes. The newer version of the app simply goes to retrieve this content – faster and cleaner.
I’m not planning on retiring from donations, or even expecting much of anything honestly. But I figured it couldn’t hurt to throw a Paypal button on there, after making the app a free one.
At this point in time, I’m happy if others grab the app, and enjoy using it. Or at the very least use it to while away an idle few minutes, here and there.