Script to convert Twitter RSS feeds into text

[Update Nov 2012: URLs such as http://twitter.com/statuses/user_timeline/759251.rss do not work anymore, but you can get a Twitter timeline RSS feed by using http://api.twitter.com/1/statuses/user_timeline.rss?screen_name=xxxxx, where xxxxx is the screen name such as cnxsoft]

We needed to convert Twitter RSS feeds to UTF-16 text for displaying them into a digital signage (That did not support RSS feed directly).  This digital signage supports regular http download, .e.g every 5 minutes.

Here’s the script (called with crontab) we used for CNN News Twitter RSS feed.

#!/bin/sh

# CNN Twitter
wget http://twitter.com/statuses/user_timeline/759251.rss
sleep 10
cat 759251.rss | grep title | sed s/\<title\>// | sed s/\<\\/title\>// > cnn.txt
rm 759251.rss
iconv -f utf-8 -t UCS-2LE cnn.txt > cnn-utf16.txt
cp cnn-utf16.txt /var/www/html/livepics/cnn.txt

The resulting text file looks like:

Twitter / CNN
CNN: BREAKING NEWS: Military: Last U.S. brigade combat team leaves Iraq; 56,000 troops remain. Fifty-thousand set to stay past August 31.
CNN: NY Gov. David Paterson discusses Islamic cultural center debate tonight at 9ET on &#8216;Larry King Live.&#8217; http://on.cnn.com/a7gawH

and can be download using a URL, e.g. http://www.myserver.com/livepics/cnn.txt

This works with any Twitter feed including CNXSoft feed :).

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