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A way for Twitter back in the pink?

Monday, June 30, 2008 by Dave Winer.

A picture named ronaldMcDonald.jpgI'm not sure how much of the stress in Twitter is caused by the services that poll its API on behalf of thousands of users, but it's got to be a lot of work to service all those requests that are constantly coming in. Permalink to this paragraph

Here's why it has so much work to do. When I post something to Twitter, within a couple of minutes it shows up on FriendFeed. I don't know for sure, but I bet that it's calling the Twitter API every few minutes to ask if Dave has posted something over there. Most of the time the answer is no. And it's asking for each of the thousands of FriendFeed users that have connected their Twitter accounts to their FriendFeed accounts. Wouldn't it be simpler for FriendFeed to say to Twitter: "Here's a list of all the FriendFeed users who want to have their twits reflected over here." Then Twitter could call FriendFeed saying "Yo, Dave just updated and here's what he said." Don't call us we'll call you. It's often more efficient. ;-> Permalink to this paragraph

Back in the old days when I used to work on much larger systems known as mainframes, they had special-purpose computers whose only job was to offload work for the main computer, much the way a booster rocket or a tugboat help a space ship or an ocean liner. In computers they were called TIPs which is an acronym for Terminal Interface Processor. Each user sat at a terminal, a sort of dumb computer that behaved like a printer, and typed away, and then the TIP would talk to all the terminals, and then talk to the mainframe in a language only the two computers understood. It was much more efficient for the mainframe. Seems Twitter could use that kind of efficiency. Permalink to this paragraph

There's lots of this kind of connecting going on these days, and it is costly. It slows systems down. Probably the way the problem is going to be solved is through something like the TIPs, adapted to the 21st Century.  Permalink to this paragraph

Just a thought for a possible way to make Twitter a little more perky. Permalink to this paragraph

PS: In 1997 I knew Apple was going to fire its CEO, I had been brought in, in confidence. The morning of the announcement, I wrote a Wired column (published on the web) calling for his resignation. It ran two hours before the announcement. Some people mistook it for cause and effect. ;-> Permalink to this paragraph


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A picture named dave.jpgDave Winer, 53, pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software; former contributing editor at Wired Magazine, research fellow at Harvard Law School, entrepreneur, and investor in web media companies. A native New Yorker, he received a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, a Bachelor's in Mathematics from Tulane University and currently lives in Berkeley, California.

"The protoblogger." - NY Times.

"The father of modern-day content distribution." - PC World.

One of BusinessWeek's 25 Most Influential People on the Web.

"Helped popularize blogging, podcasting and RSS." - Time.

"The father of blogging and RSS." - BBC.

"RSS was born in 1997 out of the confluence of Dave Winer's 'Really Simple Syndication' technology, used to push out blog updates, and Netscape's 'Rich Site Summary', which allowed users to create custom Netscape home pages with regularly updated data flows." - Tim O'Reilly.

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I'm a California voter for Obama.

© Copyright 1994-2008 Dave Winer Mailto icon.

Last update: 10/20/2008; 8:22:33 AM Pacific. "It's even worse than it appears."

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