Sending APRS message to Twitter

Just in a discussion with a fellow motorcyclist, I found out that people wants to send Twitter messages (to tweet – a new verb :) ) from various kind of devices like PDA-s, phones, radios. Knowing that APRS could be used to send short messages that are even shorter than Twitter ones made me think why shouldn’t I make an application to allow ham radio enthusiasts¬† sending APRS messages to its own Twitter account? This seemed to be an easy task, just couple of days of work. For the impatients here is the link to what you need:

http://www.yo3iiu.ro/twitter.html

I’ve seen two sub tasks to accomplish the main task of sending the message from Twitter to APRS: Authentication and Message passing between the two networks.

There are some differences between Twitter and APRS when talking about authentication. APRS has no authentication, Twitter has a good authentication as of 2010, OAuth.

The message passing is easily accomplished once the authentication is done, the application needs just to listen to a connection to one of the main APRS-IS servers and when receiving a message, will send it to Twitter server.

How it works:

Authentication is done on a perl CGI that receives user’s callsign and then proceed to authentication with Twitter. You’ll be asked to accept access from APRS to Tweet application. Once the authentication is finished, the user callsign and its Twitter OAuth tokens are stored in a local database. Remember that OAuth does not know at any time your Twitter user and password, therefore no such info is stored on the server.

Sending the message to Twitter is simple: you send the message from APRS to callsign YO3IIU-11 and it is mandatory that the message have “tweet:” included at the beginning of the message. Otherwise the message will be rejected. It is designed like this just to filter broadcast messages that will come to YO3IIU-11.

That’s all folks,

73, YO3IIU

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