Over three years ago, at the Yahoo/BBC Hackday in Alexandra Palace, candace and I knocked up Above London and Above SF, two Twitter bots that would alert followers in one of those two cities that the International Space Station (or an Iridium flare) would be visible.
I’m happy with the reception it got, and I still prefer its output to that of some of the subsequent services that provide the same service (such as @overlondon or @twisst). However, it was always a bit of a pain to look after (true to the word “hack” in the event title, I cut corners when it came to handling DST, and occasionally the cron jobs running it would fall over).
Two things have finally done for it: Twitter’s move to OAuth, and more importantly, the fact I managed to leave the only copy of the code on a server that’s now sitting, unplugged, in the UK. Even the service on which I posted the write-up of the hack has now closed. Given that, it’s probably best that I post a message to the Twitter accounts, and formally shut up shop (for now, at least).
Thanks to everyone who followed either the San Francisco or London account, and good luck with one of the aforementioned alternatives. I hope you got to see the ISS at least once. It’s always warmed my heart to look up and see the few humans that circle the world, shining brightly in the evening twilight.