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  • steve918 8:46 pm on October 11, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: amazon, books, facebook, kindle, reading   

    Read Sync 

    While riding the train home I finished a book I had been reading and immediately went in search of something new. I quickly became frustrated with Amazon’s suggestions which included every Django book ever printed because I once bought a book on the subject. It also included many irrelevant items, including scrap-booking items that were a result of my wife sharing my account. So I did what I usually do and asked my friends on IRC what the recommend. This produced immediate results. I had a good recommendation from a trusted source.

    This experience motivated me to improve this process and make it easier for people to share what they are reading and discover new content. There are other great services like Goodreads that have similar goals, but in the age of e-readers, I should be able to share automatically and effortlessly.

    The real problem is that none of the popular e-reader companies (including Amazon) offer an API that would allow someone to build something like this. But what kind of hacker would let something like a lack of API hinder innovation? So I spent a few days taking apart the Kindle App for Android, taking it apart until I had a service that could mimic it and register itself as another Kindle device.

    The result is Read Sync, a simple Facebook application that allows you to share your Kindle reads with friends, see what books your friends have read and recommend and which of your friends own a particular book.

    The screen shot above is an example of a book two of my friends have on their Amazon bookshelves. On this screen I can see details about the book, related titles, and what friends have read it. If I click on one of my friends pictures it takes me to their bookshelf where I can explore what they have read.

    • Scott Blomquist 2:05 am on October 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Hey, I got as far as where you ask me for my Amazon username and password (the same one that you could use to change my one-click setting or set yourself up a payphrase on my account), and then abandoned the process. Sad that Amazon doesn’t have an OAuth API for this kind of thing.

      Can you tell us a little more about how you manage to not store our credentials? Also, does associating your app with Kindle count against the 8-device lifetime limit that books can be read on?

      Love the idea. Wish Amazon made it a little more possible to do cleanly.

      • steve918 3:55 am on October 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        Hey Scott,

        Read Sync passes your credentials to Amazon, from there they return a key pair which is used to access their Kindle API. This key pair cannot be used to make purchases or changes to your Amazon account. Read Sync registers the same way any other Kindle reader does and would therefore count against any device limits.

    • RandomizeME 9:50 am on October 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Can you do one that works with Twitter instead of Facebook?

      • steve918 4:58 pm on October 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        It’s definitely a possibility, but it will be a ways out. For now I’m focused on polishing up the Facebook version and working out all of the bugs. Once that’s done I’ll start looking at integrating with other devices and platforms.

    • Sam Alexander 12:56 am on February 5, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      I love it. Do you have plans add a method that lets me hide my Nora Roberts & Danielle Steele collection from my friends?

    • Lynn Williams 4:35 pm on October 25, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      I can not get ReadSync to open. Are there any other applications that sync Kindle and Facebook?

      • steve918 4:14 pm on October 27, 2011 Permalink | Reply

        Sorry ReadSync is now offline. It wasn’t gaining a lot of interest and I didn’t have the time to maintain it.

  • steve918 8:36 pm on December 30, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: facebook, thrift   

    Getting Thrift up and running 

    There are a couple of neat projects out that offer lightweight binary formats for sending messages across the wire, namely Protocol Buffers (Google) and Thrift (Facebook). Both options give you an extensible mechanism for defining messages and encoding/decoding them in just about any useful programming language.

    I’ve been evaluating Thrift as well as Protocol Buffers and found out that even though Thrift is very feature rich, it lacks sorely in documentation. In fact their documentation goes something like:

    How to bake a cake
    Step 1: Bake the cake.

    So I thought I would talk about my experiences getting it running. This tutorial isn’t extremely useful for someone wanting to learn how to build applications on top of Thrift, but it should at least get the sample code running for you.

    Disclaimer: I’m running a Intel Macbook with OSX 10.5.5, if your system is different your experience my differ.
    (More …)

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