Blog posts tagged "social"

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.

Early feedback on PMOG – Needs Community

March 14th, 2007

Okay PMOG is super early in its life, but it intrigues me on a couple of levels (not the least of which is the engaging archetype art).

However there are some things about it which are broken. Not surprising in and of itself, but in the process of trying to report said broken-ness I ran into a larger problem.

No community space.

There is a Google Group but it’s a moderated announce only kind of thing (HINT: thats what you’re blog is for!) not a public discussion space. No message boards, no wiki (though presumably we could start one, Twitter Fan style), no groups.

Someone needs to see Andy’s talk about group forming, social software, and out of band spaces.

Especially for a game, a social game, an experimental game.

Uninstalled for now, in an attempt to reduce unexplainable spinnies.

Pardon me?

January 31st, 2007

Playing a bit with OpenID, created an account with JanRain, and was presented with the below captcha. Really changed the whole value propisition of OpenID for me.

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.

Thanks for the Add

December 5th, 2006

The inestimable danah’s new First Monday article shines light on one of those oddly modern problem we all struggle with, Are you my friend?

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On Complexity

December 1st, 2006

On a list I’m on there was a proposal to do a quick salary survey among the members. The proposed solution for handling this was

Everyone say ‘I’m in’ to get onto a list of N people participating. Then write down N numbers, positive or negative, that add up to your salary and send 1 of them to everyone else on the list. Add the N-1 numbers you receive to the number you didn’t pass out, and announce that to the list. The sum of those numbers is the total salary. If N-2 people gang up on you they can’t guess yours. As a bonus, you can always back out at the last minute before divulging your own sum without having given anything away.

Which you got to admit is a beautifully simple, and elegant solution to the problem of sharing sensitive information in a low trust environment.

The solution? A 7 line Perl CGI to just write salaries to a log, and a good faith promise not to track IP addresses.

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Book Mooch

August 7th, 2006

Ah yeah! Haven’t played with it in depth yet, but this is the service I’ve wanted forever (and Carl and I seriously sat down and threatened to build).

From Joi Ito

It reminds me a bit of BookCrossing, but the approach is different. BookMooch is more systematic. On BookMooch, you register your books and others search for books. You use points to get books that you earn by listing books. Unlike many other used book services, they don’t get involved in the shipping and payment. It’s rather peer-to-peer.

Which is all I know so far, but I’m so diving into this tonight. From the creator of Magnatune. (I wonder if they’ve already got selective importing from the various book listing services

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Features for OSCALv2

July 27th, 2006
  • browse by location, location centric info
  • author clouds (done!), with pictures!
  • ajaxy add (done!), expand
  • popular events, by slot
  • my schedule grid layout for visual conflict resolution
  • mobile (done!)
  • comments
  • better social discovery, recently updated schedules, friends, etc
  • add new talk, add new location
  • better ics
  • get it in a pulic svn repository

Used OSCAL, got feedback? Lert us know

I’d also hope that getting it out a few days before the conference started would allow people to markup, and comment talks to allow better fits between talks and attendees, “I saw this talk at Etech, it rocks!”, “beginnner-oriented”, “microsoft shill”. You know.

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Social Scheduling for OSCON

July 25th, 2006

It started as a random idea on the train on Friday, but didn’t become real until yesterday afternoon (aka the first day of OSCON) when Rabble and I sat down at Stumptown and banged out a new scheduling app.

OSCAL is a tool for building a list of talks you’re interested in going to, and discovering what talks others are going to. Its a tag-enabled, all social, calendaring app, written in Rails, in about 6 hours. Take it for a spin, we like it.

Version 2.0 may or may not come out sometime tonight, with search, comments, user submitted events, and SMS notifications.

Version 2.0 or not though, the app worked, I’m much more excited about tomorrows sessions, and as you can see deeply divided about what to attend

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