Blame FriendFeed

Robert Scoble. Blame FriendFeed. Steve Rubel. Blame FriendFeed. The Shel puppet. Blame FriendFeed. Dave Winer. Blame FriendFeed. Etc.

FriendFeed is a parasite service built on the back of Twitter. Let’s get this straight. No Twitter, no FriendFeed. Want to kill FriendFeed, as I certainly do? Cut off its oxygen. Take a page from Facebook’s incompetent UnFriend Connect gambit and refuse to pass Twitter posts through non-compliant ex-Google engineering scams.

OK, I’m way off my meds since the company has finally admitted on the Twitter Excuse page that they’ve figured out what the culprit is in the continual service meltdown. It’s the Track command, which as a result of my no-@-sign campaign to evangelize the Twitter XMPP Gtalk gateway, has now reached enough adopters to qualify as an actual threat to Twitter’s massive server farm or whatever access to Fred Wilson’s credit card and an EC2 account buys.

We found an errant API project eating way too much of our Jabber (a flavor of instant messenger) resources. This activity (which we’ve corrected) had an affect of overloading our main database, resulting in the error pages and slowness most people are now encountering.

We’re bringing services back online now. Some will be slower than others for a while, and we’ll be watching IM and IM-based API clients very closely. We’ll also be taking steps to avoid this behavior in the future.
Thanks for your patience!

Update: We’re turning off IM services for the evening (Friday) to allow for the system to recover. We hope to turn things back on Saturday.

In other words, an errant API project sucking Track clouds out of the Twitter core finally reached the critical mass necessary to hip Jack, whoever that is, to the reality that without the XMPP real time gateway, Twitter could just as well be FriendFeed without the siloed conversation spamyards. Further, Twitter engineers are working to minimize slowness and error pages by turning off the only distinguishing, disruptive, essential part of Twitter until the audience goes away at which point the problem will subside and we can turn it back on on “Saturday.”

Remember: I blame FriendFeed for this, and Robert Scoble, Steve Rubell, Dave Winer, and all the rest of the puppets and ex-Techcrunch analysts who, by appearing to rationally debate the pluses and minuses of FriendFeed versus Twitter, suggest FriendFeed even exists in the absence of Twitter. Nik Cubrilovic doesn’t help either with his cogent (except for the Rails part) analysis of Twitter’s scaling problems. Nowhere in this debate (most of it mercifully hidden forever behind the FriendFeed black hole where conversations go to die) was there a word spoken about the fatal Track bug until Jack hit the Off switch.

Now, in the cool clarity of no pulse whatsoever can we begin to rationally approach a solution. Forgetting that Hillary has shown no indication of processing the similar lack of pulse in her White House aspirations, let’s put the blame for all this squarely on the parasite API suckers and their dark master FriendFeed. Good.

What is FriendFeed anyway? It appears to be an aggregator of all things social. For me that means my Twitter feed – which already is pumped indiscriminately and obliviously through my Facebook status updates – and my blog posts – which have completely ceased since I got sucked into Twitter in the first place. As the puppet says: Fascinating. FriendFeed is Twitter, only slower. Here’s my demo of the difference between FriendFeed and Twitter:

Twitter: Hi, I’m having Sugar Pops for breakfast.

Ten minutes later….

FriendFeed: Hi, I’m having Sugar Pops for breakfast.

FriendFeed value add: A conversation cloud forms around the Sugar Pops meme. Louis Gray is having a pre-release alpha bowl of Open Pops, but Dave Winer (who has just noticed there is no Block command in FriendFeed) is busy discussing the politics of breakfast cereal decentralization in the Why We Need Block for FriendFeed room and does not weigh in here because he blocked me some months ago and doesn’t care what I had for breakfast or any other meal thank you very much. Another comment refers to the Winer tangent, several folks debate whether Sugar Pops are still on the market, and Robert Scoble broadcasts the whole mess back to Twitter as a TinyUrl… 20 minutes later.

By the way, errant API suckstreams reamplify all this with even less coherence than @replies provide, since remember: FriendFeed conversations have no way of pointing at each other with the possible exception of a Twitter link… and around the horn we go again. The new Rooms feature has initiated an ICANN-like squatter crisis where we are all encouraged to grab our names before the puppets get to them, which of course spawns another shitstorm of completely hidden conversations – wait, there’s Bob and Shel’s sequel book title. They better hope Loren is reading this in FriendFeed ten minutes later.

Update: Well, it’s “Saturday” morning now and no real time stream. I’ve been using a nifty combination of Summize and its Realtime results page (click refresh to see 2 new posts, or wait until Summize engineers work out the computer doing the refresh for us thing) and Twhirl, whose point and click @reply feature is a joy to use to send irate messages to Jack, whoever that is. Except I don’t blame Jack. I blame FriendFeed. On Twitter.