Twitter’s having a whale of a time

Screenshot of Twitter: Twitter is currently down for database replication catchup

As I write this, Twitter is down for a “database replication catchup”. Sounds technical. As I hinted before, and as Kate Carruthers agrees, it’s make or break time for this most cool of messaging services.

It’s ironic that Twitter’s ability to connect us humans into an almost-instantaneous global network was a core theme of Mark Pesce’s keynote presentation at Microsoft’s ReMIX 08 last week. The very week he extols Twitter’s strengths, it collapses. And they don’t know why.

At least Twitter has responded to community calls for more transparency.

In Twittering About Architecture, Alex Payne admits they built it wrong from the beginning.

Twitter is, fundamentally, a messaging system. Twitter was not architected as a messaging system, however. For expediency’s sake, Twitter was built with technologies and practices that are more appropriate to a content management system. Over the last year and a half we’ve tried to make our system behave like a messaging system as much as possible, but that’s introduced a great deal of complexity and unpredictability.

I don’t need to repeat my call for less haste in web development — and in the world generally — do I?

Twitter has just received another $15M investment. Take the time to get it right, guys. But quickly.

What I’m doing for ReMIX 08

ReMIX 08 logo

Tomorrow is the first day of my three geek-intensive days this week: Microsoft ReMIX 08, where they’ll be pimping their new technologies for making web stuff. I now have a plan!

I won’t copy what mainstream media folks do: either puff pieces extolling the wond’rousness of all things Microsoft or stories about how someone else did the same thing years ago, depending on how much of their advertising comes from Microsoft. Instead, I’ll see what I can learn from the assembled geeks about the state of their world — vox pops of some kind.

I’ve also booked a one-on-one interview with Tim Aidlin, a “Design Evangelist” in Microsoft’s Web Innovations Team. But rather than focussing on Microsoft’s new geek tools I’ll be exploring his worldview.

I’ve borrowed a Canon HV20 digital video camera for the week (thanks Garth!) so you’ll see at least some of the results on Thursday night’s Stilgherrian Live Alpha. Everything will be put online in some form, eventually.

For live updates during the conference, follow my Twitter feed.

How will I cope with the looming Geek Week?

Next week is packed! How can I get the best value out of CeBIT Sydney and the associated Transaction 2.0 conference, as well as Microsoft’s ReMIX 08? What should I record or broadcast? What should I write about?

CeBIT Sydney logo

CeBIT was always on my agenda. Despite being disappointing last year and despite annoying me with a flood of email, it’s still the biggest IT trade show in Australia. It’s worth going just to see who’s confidently spending money on promotion, if nothing else.

I’ll be touring the trade show floor on Wednesday 21 May. If you want to meet up, let me know. Maybe I should even do a Stilgherrian Live Alpha from the bloggers media room? Whaddyathink?

If you still haven’t organised your free pass, you can register online using my promotion code: stilcs08.

On Thursday 22 May I’ll be at Transaction 2.0, with an interesting set of speakers. Again, it’s a matter of choosing the priorities. Who should I talk to? Should I pick a fight with Jason Calacanis?

ReMIX 08 logo

But I kick off the Geek Week on Tuesday 20 May with ReMIX 08, where Microsoft says I’ll “experience all that is new in Silverlight 2, Expression 2, IE8, Live and a host of other great web technologies… You will also see how local Australian innovators are creating the next generation of engaging websites and unprecedented user experiences for the web.”

Provided they build it with Microsoft’s tools, of course. 😉

That’s unfair. Microsoft is changing. It’ll be interesting to hear what they’re up to.

Now my only challenge is working out how all this fits into one week, while still leaving room to do some billable hours for clients.