Twitter Commits Suicide – A Response

If you kinda know what Twitter is or just asked yourself “what’s Twitter?” this will bore you.

Twitter recently unloaded a bunch of changes that have already been rolled out or will be making an appearance in the near future. Here’s the highlight…

  • Twitter built and released their own BlackBerry app
  • Twitter bought Tweetie, which is a very popular Twitter client for the iPhone
  • Twitter is teasing us with the new version of the website that is said to make Twitter desktop clients useless (the last part is one person’s opinion)
  • Twitter launched a new ad system that FINALLY answers the question everyone has been asking…” What is Twitter’s business model?”
  • Twitter MAY have their own flavor of URL shortening and Picture sharing services planned

Lots of stuff for one single bound in time, but it honestly makes sense for it all to come together in one fell swoop. Yay Twitter.. right? Not so as some see it.

Neal Wiser of posted an article titled “Twitter Commits Suicide (or Twipocalypse Now: Redux)“. Go read it and then come back if you want…

Basically it states that all of these changes will ultimately result in the demise of Twitter.  The reason? Twitter is now competing with it’s own 3rd party developers. Meaning Twitter could potentially run most 3rd party developers into the ground. This part is completely possible. In fact, it’s very likely that developing apps for Twitter will no longer be the gold mine it once was. What I don’t understand is how Neal leaps to this being the catalyst to the demise of Twitter. Will some turn their backs on Twitter as a response to being bitten? Probably. There are even groups looking to respond with a service that will knock Twitter off of it’s pedestal. But will Joe Public even notice or care? Not likely. There are already services out there trying to do what Twitter does… and they are all wildly less popular than Twitter.

3rd party developers got the short end of the stick when all of these announcements were released, but these developers were not signed into any kind of agreement or guarantee with Twitter. They were simply given tools that allowed them to build apps that would interface with Twitter. Everyone, including Tweetie, had access to the same tools. The idea that Twitter will now have “Twitter for iPhone” is not a comforting thought for these developers, but if EVERYONE is allowed the same access to the Twitter API, shouldn’t Twitter themselves be able to release apps using that very API? I think that kind of protection for 3rd party app developers would not only be unreasonable, but would also hold Twitter back since not having an official app causes confusion for many users and makes the trial and error experience of “finding the right app” frustrating. Honestly, for each good Twitter app available right now, there are ten crappy apps. How is the average consumer supposed to wade through all of that? Alternatives will remain, but the Twitter app gold rush has come to an end. For iPhone, Atebits won with Tweetie.  Everyone else is free to find their niche spot in the alternative section or find the next service to develop for.

Neal also made a point about innovation. Now it’s true that if many apps fall by the wayside, you won’t have nearly as many developers pushing the innovation of Twitter apps and services. This will ultimately result in a slower “innovation curve” for the service. Personally, I don’t see this as a problem though. I think there is an unreasonable expectation for applications and services to almost reinvent themselves continually to remain relevant and popular. Twitter “has made it”. The changes they are making are specifically geared to maintain the giant they have built. If they reinvent themselves 10 times in the next 10 years, it is likely they will change so much, there will be no REAL resemblance to the original service. If instead, they do EXACTLY what they have done in making these changes, they will be tightening and perfecting a service that millions already know and love. Building and innovating is an essential part of life, but it’s just that.. a PART. The vessel is complete and Twitter knows it. Now all they have to do is maintain it well.

Twitter suicide? Not even. Pissed off nerds? Well, yes… but this is business. Twitter made a business decision and it changed how things will operate, but unless you are one of the developers with an app in your hand that is headed for the trash, you will benefit from this.

That’s my take. And if Neal is reading this, dude, we just disagree. No harm, no foul, that is all.

WordPress You Pig

I know it’s been a while… been busy preparing to have / caring for and raising an infant child whilst freaking out about how to make my business thrive. So not much downtime. I do have to take a moment to talk WordPress however.

This is completely subjective. If you want a more technical “observation” of the software you may get nothing out of this.

I have been developing sites with WordPress since 2007 ish. Before then, I toyed with Drupal and Joomla, but settled on WordPress and have actually managed to money developing with WordPress. Let start with the things that I like…

  • Continually maintained – core updates are made regularly and the software itself continues to grow and mature. WordPress is vastly different than when I started with it and all of the changes are improvements that make my life easier and make using WordPress more enjoyable.
  • Huge community – this, again, is a constantly growing and maturing mass. Even if I confine myself to Richmond, VA I have a huge network of users and developers that are willing to lend a hand or give input. You can’t find that kind of support when a package of software has no community.
  • End user ease of use – this is VERY key to what I do. I am able to build and support sites that are mostly tended to by the end user. If it’s a more static site we’re talking simple page and widget updates. If it’s a larger site, we’re talking multiple posts a day. All of this is done SANS ME! Not to say I don’t want to get paid to do this stuff, but it’s important to let the end user do as much as they are capable/interested in doing. This keeps them from having to pay me for simple work that I have a hard time charging for in the first place.

And now the things I don’t like so much…

  • Add-On cat and mouse – this is not necessarily specific to WordPress, but keeping the core of WordPress up to date while maintaining ones needed plugins and themes can be a challenge at times. Generally everything is fine, but once in a while there’s that one plugin that totally eats it after an upgrade. The worst is when a developer discontinues support of their software and it is neither tested or proven on any current WordPress release. This is where having a giant community is not all that good. Lots of code sitting dormant and is likely useless.
  • Automatic Upgrade – if it worked with less pain, it would be great, but for every site on my dedicated servers, the FTP info seems to NEVER work. The result? I must pass ownership of WordPress to the webserver to allow for this functionality. I do know the FTP option works, but it’s not bulletproof and I have always had trouble with it. Also, end users that know enough will get into this and try to update everything. Great idea in theory, but when I hardcode ***DO NOT UPDATE*** in to the plugin description… it’s for a reason.
  • Ads!? – where is the native support for ad integration!? This is why I constantly look for other options and end up with other bloated open source software to serve up ads. I feel it is likely ads could be served within WordPress more elegantly and more quickly if the ability was built in. Instead, I must maintain a completely separate package of software dedicated to ads. The solution works, it just seems to me it would be a nice thing to have in the core.
  • WordPress is kind of a pig – this is the big one. Even a default, no plugin, no theme installation of WordPress runs painfully slow out of the box. I have a handful of small sites running WordPress for the positive reasons above. Some are on shared hosted services like GoDaddy and some are on my dedicated boxes. These small sites run terribly considering the small amount of info and graphics being served up. Crank it up to a big site and you are in for a frustrating treat. Seriously… an installation of WordPress serving up a static page with a few small graphics and some text should load instantly, but instead it takes a little too long making the whole site feel sluggish. Now, my main problem is on the larger scale of things. Running a big site that is graphics heavy (ish) with dynamic content added on a daily basis with WordPress is a task. Throw a busy day at this setup and there is little one can do to keep things from completely falling apart. When I say busy… I mean maybe 3000-4000 pageviews in an hour. This is not terribly huge in the grand scheme of things, but no doubt it’s pretty busy. WordPress does not have native static caching built in, so one must bang their head long enough to coax WP-SuperCache working. WP-SuperCache works well, but again, it seems to me this should be handled within the core to allow for much cleaner setup and handling of caching.

I have run WordPress on everything… shared hosting, VPS, random box at my house, and on dedicated servers. It never really changes the experience though. It takes an awful lot of work to make WordPress run well in my experience and the most unfortunate part about that is when I go to research solutions, 90% of what I find is information about WP-SuperCache. WP-SuperCache is fine, but it’s not the definitive solution. I see it patching a problem, not adding a feature. Stability under load should come in the box, not as an add-on. I guess I have reached “the next level” and maybe, possibly, I am on that bridge between hardcore coder and WordPress tinkerer, which is why I find this such a challenge. At the end of the day… I see my servers cringe when the loads are high and after throwing a ton of hardware at it, I see improvements, but can’t help but to think that the content should be able to run with much less hardware. So even though I continue to make it over the hurdles, I keep thinking it shouldn’t be THAT hard. I love WordPress… but only because I overlook the faults. I just hope I am not the only one that thinks this. Maybe WordPress is still approaching greatness and I am just being an impatient nerd, complaining on my blog.

Gummy Bears Have Hearts Too


(Click image to embiggen!) All of heads I have bitten off and I never knew how complex their inner structures really were.

You Lie! – Well, that’s interesting.

You Lie!

You know, neither of our most recent presidents have “won” my heart. Mainly because my heart is not for sale on the political market, but between this little outburst and the hate that seethes from the right daily, it does nothing but put a bad taste in my mouth for politics. At least we have a dude in there that seems to give a crap and has intelligent things to say that at least seem to come from his own head. You know?


The Hot Seats (formerly known as Special Ed and the Short Bus)

RVA Mag just posted this video of The Hot Seats, formerly known as Special Ed and the Short Bus. Now I have yet another reason to follow and visit The Camel.

Never seen these guys live, but it makes me miss George Winn and the Bluegrass Partners… While many Richmonders were heading to the clubs in the bottom on Saturday nights, I would pass them and hang @ Poe’s Pub for good beer on tap and some very fantastic bluegrass.

I wish I knew what happened to them because I quit going out as much and they seem to have disappeared. From Poe’s at least. Anyone know?

Another RVA Bluegrass treat is Slack Family Bluegrass Band. You can find them at Shenanigans on North Side and Legend Brewery just across the river.

Calvin and Hobbs – Math is a Religion

Well… when you put it that way… I guarantee my wife will disagree with this notion however.

Fast Food Folk Song at the Taco Bell Drive-Thru

Makes you wanna sing that McDonald’s song doesn’t it…. I never mastered it, but do recall it being on a record of some kind….

Also… notice how awesome the drive-thru guy is….

Baby Pictures! Age: -4 Months (Plus a Rant)

Earlier this month we had a new set of “pictures” taken of the soon to be baby. So first off…. IT’S A BOY! Also, after the pile of more specific images were taken for more important reasons, like verifying that, in fact, everything looks perfect thus far, they were kind enough to give us a couple of shots of our very own…

This is the little guy from the front.

This is the little guy from the front.

And here he is from the side!

And here he is from the side!

It’s amazing how much things have changed since last time we had pictures taken back on New Years Eve…. It’s also amazing how though only separated by some skin and tissue, the baby seems far away and almost not real.

We’re getting to the real part though… and quickly. I have taken interest in new things too… strollers, carriers, those weird sling things (Some of which look very questionable if bought by the wrong person). We have picked more normal looking stuff so far, but man there’s some weird stuff out there. Strollers that look like they belong on ET’s space ship that start at over $1000.00. How about the fact that everything seems to have something that requires batteries… Sorry, I don’t need a light show, sing song, vibrating play pen… a normal “keep my kid confined” play pen will do just the trick. Never thought there would be so many options in the bottle category either.. there’s drop-in, air-vac, glass, BPA Free, Wide, Air System Super Anti-Colic… Take your pick, it will probably be the wrong one. May as well buy them all.

Whew.. Anyway, the baby market is, like pretty much every other retail market, saturated with way more choices than we happen to need. I am so thankful for the news that our baby looks perfectly normal so far. Looking forward, I anticipate finding the K.I.S.S. method will apply and will work gloriously. That’s “Keep it Simple Stupid”. Bells and whistles have been around for a long time and though some come in handy on occasion, most are nothing but a waste of plastic or whatever it happens to be made out of.

One more thing… This is going to be awesome!

Screaming at the Box

scream1Do you ever go to drive through food establishments? I do occasionally and though I should probably be completely avoiding them with nicknames like Taco Hell, Taco Smell, McDeath, Kentucky Fried Crap, etc., I still end up doing the lap of shame for lunch from time to time.

So here’s a question for all of you Fast Food Foodies… How often do you have to repeat yourself?

Not sure why, but I swear I repeat myself EVERY time I go for a burrito. And I’m not talking about them mistaking one thing for another. I am talking about entire sentences that seem to have fallen off track before they got to window guys ear. Here’s an example… I pull up to Taco He.. ahem… Bell and when prompted to do so, I ask for a 7 layer burrito with no guacamole, a bean burrito, and maybe a drink. The response, after a notable pause is as follows…. “You want a bean burrito and a wha?” in the laziest voice I have ever heard. C’Mon! Your job is to listen to orders and punch the appropriate pictures on the register. I know “a lot” is going on in there, but don’t ask me to order if you have your one headset ear focused on things other than what crap I want to buy…

After it happened several times at more than one establishment, I decided to opt for a simpler system. No more specialty orders like burritos without guacamole, I’m sticking with the numbers ordering system. I find the number I want and say it when asked. I don’t say it lightly, sheepishly, or with the window up, yet the word “Wha?” still manages it’s way into the reply. What the crap!? So what now!?

The solution is to yell, you know, like people talk to blind people on television. Super loud and slow… I… WOULD…. LIKE… A… NUMBER…. 7… WITH… A… COKE…! The main drawback to this method is the unavoidable shame that comes with broadcasting your order to not only the headset inside, but to everyone in line waiting to order. I have decided to accept this reality and simply wear sunglasses and a hat on those days when Supersize, Milkshake, and Extra Fries are part of the order… I just hope this doesn’t become habit and I happen to “slip up” and yell my order inside as well. Though it might be kinda fun.

Jitterbug Driveby


Source: Soul Assassins

One of my homies, Roger Jao, who used to work for Cypress Hill’s marketing company is a big music collector and happens to have a lot of friends who are DJs. He has an extensive catalogue of themed playlists that he’s compiled, and he hired a group of his DJ friends to mix them as part of an ongoing, downloadable mixtape series. This one here was the one I did called Jitterbug Driveby which features classic swing, jazzy hip-hop, party rock and some official DJ SOLO blends. It’s a bangin, feel-good summertime mix, so get it while it’s HOT!

[audio:Jitterbug Driveby.mp3]

Download Now!

Jitterbug Driveby Tracklist:

01. Intro/Lucas With The Lid Off – Lucas (Us3)
02. Minnie The Moocher (SOLO RMX) – Cab Calloway
03. Don’t Mean A Thing (SOLO RMX) – Duke Ellington
04. Lust For Life – Iggy Pop
05. Walking The Dog (break) – Cab Calloway
06. Life Goes To A Party – Benny Goodman
07. Last Night – The Strokes
08. Intergalactic (break) – Beastie Boys
09. I Am Music – Common
10. Seed 2.0 – The Roots
11. Mid-Town Philly (break) – Soho & Boys II Men
12. That’s Hot Music – Soho (Solo RMX)
13. Me, Myself & Shay-Shay (Break) – De La Soul & Dr. Buzzard
14. Cherchez La Femme – Dr. Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band
15. Weird Side – Eyedea
16. Dumb It Down – Ugly Duckling
17. Rappin Duke (break) – Rappin Duke
18. Charleston Butterfly – Parov Stelar
19. Let The Sunshine In (break) – The 5th Dimension
20. Traveling At The Speed Of Thought – Ultramagnetic M.C.s
21. Get A Move On – Mr. Scruff
22. Do Your Thing – Basement Jaxx
23. Song 2 – Blur
24. Reefer Man (break) – Cab Calloway
25. Get Off Of My Cloud – The Rolling Stones
26. You Really Got Me All Day – The Kinks (SOLO re-edit)
27. I Can’t Get No Satisfaction (Live) – The Rolling Stones
28. Dynamite – Junior Senior
29. What I Like About Hip- Hop (DJ SOLO Mashup) – The Romantics and Dead Prez