Dear follower of Twisst,
We just put online a new version of the notification system. We hope you will like it!
Many of you asked for a couple of changes to the way Twisst works. The most important was the alerts for morning passes. Twisst always sent out an alert about three hours before the actual pass, even if that pass was at 6 in the morning. Many felt there is no sense to get an alert for a morning pass of ISS after they went to bed.
Another thing that was not too practical, was the fact that Twisst sent out alerts for every single pass. Sometimes that made people feel they were spammed with alerts. ISS circles the earth every 90 minutes, so sometimes it will fly over a certain location multiple times a night, and some of those may be very low above the horizon and not very bright.
New and improved
Michel Schep (@michelschep) and I have been working hard to build a new version of the part of Twisst that sends out the alerts. It will now send out alerts that summarize the night. So a better service with less alerts. Don't worry, you will still get alerted to passes that may be a little less bright - but if there is another one that is better that night, we will mention that one in the alert. For morning passes, you will receive an alert during the evening and will be something like this: "Two extremely bright ISS passes in the morning! First one at 06:15 in the East." If you want to see what all the times are that ISS will cross your sky that night, you can click the link to your page on twisst.nl.
We would very much like to know what you think of these changes. Let us know if this works for you and what other improvements you would like to see.
This new system is more stable, and is also the basis for other developments. There are many more improvements and developments we can think of. We will be working to implement a few every now and then. We would also like to invite followers of @twisst to work with us to get more improvements done. I will try to set up a forum where developers, designers, astronomers and other enthusiasts can submit and discuss code for new improvements.
A few examples of features that are needed:
- an environment for group translations (wiki-style, I was thinking Drupal), to translate the alerts into French, Russian, Hindi, Portugese and other languages
- code to recognize coordinates in Twitter profiles in this formats like this: "49°30'00"N, 123°30'00"W"
- nice visualisations on our websites to show where ISS is and to point you in the right direction to look for ISS
- enable Oauth as a way to have users log in and set preferences, such as their language and which passes they want to get alerts for
Anyway, that's just a small part of our wish list. But more on that soon. For now, let's see how our new system for sending alerts works out!
Thanks for your support!