Blog posts tagged "network"

Google Talk Architecture, and High Availability (HA)

July 29th, 2007


Via the HA blog (an obviously unserved niche in retrospect), a very interesting 30 minute presentation on the Google Talk architecture.

ConnectedUsers * BuddyListSize * OnlineStateChanges

Interestingly people keep independently re-discovering that maintaining presence is the hard part of scaling these systems.

Its something that really came home hard in my talking with Twitter helping with their scaling challenges (so much so that we took a slide out of our “Social Software for Robots” talk to talk about it, and Blaine mentioned it again in his “Scaling Twitter” talk)

So by way of a PSA:

Presence isn’t easy.

Growth in social systems in non-linear. Ignore the network effect at your peril.

Kick the Tires

Also interesting was “Real Life Load Tests”. The GTalk team deployed to Orkut and GMail weeks before actually turning on the UI for the features to be able to monitor the load. These are the practices that make Bill’s recent observation on HA systems possible:

An interesting takeaway is that it’s clearly possible to re-architect data storage on super-busy production systems seemingly no matter where you start from.

For the rest of bullets see the HA blog post.

Twitter Curve

December 8th, 2006

First congrats to the Obvious kids (assuming any of you survived your wild bacchanalia of vegetarian and raw foods last night), you’ve made the big time!

You’ve got a Kathy Sierra graph named after you!

And she is talking about Continuous Partial Attention, which is also fascinating. But I think she is wrong about Brain 2.0 not being here yet.

Brain 2.0

I know my own brain is addicted to stimuli: flashing lights, amusing concepts, spinning tops, sugar, caffeine, loud noises, human connections, etc. Note the lack of “fascinating and important new information” in that list.

Unbolding and Broken Promises

That’s why email and feed readers can be so distracting, they slip past our intellectual safe guards by promising us “important and timely information”, but really we go to the trough hoping for stimuli, something to keep the howling 2 year hold cum crack fiend brains of ours from going into withdrawal.

And they don’t deliver. 99% of email is boring, 92% of RSS is boring.

Bad mornings are the ones where I sit at home compulsively unbolding things hoping that somewhere in there there will be the gem of connection and stimuli that gets me out the door.

So we have an activity which consumes a huge amount of time, and delivers low grade rewards intermittently.


And thats where Twitter comes in. I have Twitter going to IM (the excellent Adium). Messages appear at the top left of my screen almost in my peripheral vision, and fade away quickly with no intervention needed (thank you Growl), a quick squirt of connection without requiring agency.

IM is supposed to be asynchronous, but at that the same time you need someone to occasionally make “eye contact” with you to know you aren’t howling in the void, and Twit provides that, its stream of updates providing presence, and occasional directed response.

MySpace Hating

Social software as monolithic web destinations is going to go away over the next 5 years (with the exception of course of certain photo sharing sites). Right now tools like MySpace are structured around the very adolescent desire to make friendship and community a public and performative act, with everyone else piling on due to the network effect. Adults for the most part, don’t need, don’t want, and don’t have time to participate in the continuos and elaborate preening rituals. We’ll want tools that allow us to build tight knit groups, with low cost communication, asynchronous connection, and social discovery. They might look something like Twitter.

Netflix Friends, Privacy, and the Network

January 10th, 2005

One of the things I’ve always kind of liked about Netflix is the curtain of privacy it tosses around your viewing habits. It isn’t like you can rent porn on Netflix, but still you are alone with your tastes and indiscretions. Netflix is in a position to collect incredibly accurate information about viewing habits, because both renting and rating are done in private. Netflix Friends changes that dynamic.

With Netflix Friends you can see what your friends are watching and share your favorite movies with them.

Renting and in particular rating are once again performative acts. There is a real value there, and in services like Audioscrobbler, or All Consuming, or 43 Things, and even the undirected social network sites like Orkut or Friendster, and yet …

I mean, I already maintain a blog, do I really want to share what I’m listening to, what I’m reading, what I’m watching, what I’m working on, and who I know? I don’t know. I just know that even though I’m flirting with Netflix Friends, I am very aware of the virtual clinking of coins, as I barter a little more privacy for a little more leveraged access to the network.

(I also predict that Netflix will over the next 6 months see an increasing disconnect between what people rate high, and what they watch, the Masterpiece Theater vs. Jerry Springer syndrome, and an associated degradation in the quality of their data.)

When Nielsen used log-books to gather information on the viewing habits of their sample families, the results were heavily skewed to Masterpiece Theater and Sesame Street. Replacing the journals with set-top boxes that reported what the set was actually tuned to showed what the average American family was really watching: naked midget wrestling, America’s Funniest Botched Cosmetic Surgeries and Jerry Springer presents: “My daughter dresses like a slut!”

update: tom is already experiencing the “social” side of it all.

Two Towers?

January 22nd, 2003

According to Allconsuming, and Google, Golublog is a friend of mine. Not sure who they are, but I like, Thought Expirement.

…the question is all the more pressing in light of the Two Towers, which was basically a three hour long George Lucas smack down.

It is part of a genre of Two Towers bait and switch blog entries (hixie’s Birthday Movie being the other example) that I feel speak to a culture wide lowered expectation that Jackson is upsetting.

Will now stop blogging obsessively, while waiting for client to call. Wireless router is proving dangerous.

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