Archive for May, 2009

The #fixreplies Kerfuffle

TwitterUpdate: After almost a week of testing out this “| ” @ reply concept, I heard from a large group of my followers that this is NOT what they want. The consensus seems to be that individual users want to be able to make their own choice as to if they see these replies or not. Makes sense.

Apologies for being slow on the draw, but this is insane. I didn’t really realize what was going on because I was always on the inside looking in – I was in the “power user” 3%, but following some 40k or so people meant that I always saw some @replies flying around. I thought people were taking this update a little too seriously and kind of brushed it off.

Also, going in, I thought the “show all @ replies” meant that I would see BOTH sides of the conversation (which was incorrect). This further clouded my vision on what was going on, plus there were a few blogs that told the wrong story – I guess I was confused. ReadWriteWeb, like always, has a great analysis of this which I did read, but I should have paid more attention.

I thought, well Twitter should just flip the switch to make the default “show all @ replies” for everyone – take the 3% route instead of the 97% route. This would show everyone BOTH sides of the conversation (which is not correct) and everyone would be happy. But if everyone saw both sides of the conversation, people could inject spam into the million follower club and all hell would break loose! (This is when I realized the BOTH sides thing was totally incorrect, which lead me to shoot up in bed and come down here to write this post).

I logged into my test account and looked at my regular account stream, only to find that it was BORING AS HELL! I have a ton of conversation using my regular account and that is what puts context around my tweets. I tweet some lame stuff sometimes and people ask me about it so I do my best to follow up with those users, not realizing no one else is seeing these tweets.

Twitter waffled on the decision a bit and made a totally lame argument for why this was being done (lame technical and lame UX arguments), made a lame attempt to remedy the situation in the short term, and made a lame promise for the future:

Second, we’ve started designing a new feature which will give folks far more control over what they see from the accounts they follow. This will be a per-user setting and it will take a bit longer to put together but not too long and we’re already working on it.

This future “per-user setting” invalidates their previous technical argument (and the UX argument). What is going on?

From here on out, please prepend all @ replies with a pipe “| ” so we aren’t forced to live in Twitter’s fantasy land. This doesn’t seem to work on all platforms, just make sure your post is not “in reply to”.

Miscellaneous Junk

A couple posts wrapped into one:

Gmail IMAP Slow on Mail.app
Mail.appWith over 110,000 messages in my gmail account, Mail.app started choking bad. The problem got out of hand two days ago so I did something about it. This isn’t for the weak of heart. First quit Mail.app, then fire up terminal:

# cd ~/Library/Mail/IMAP-xxx@xxx.com@imap.gmail.com/\[Gmail\]/
# rm -rf All\ Mail.imapmbox
# ln -s /dev/null All\ Mail.imapmbox
# rm ~/Library/Mail/Envelope\ Index

DO NOT DO THIS WITH A POP ACCOUNT. Also, I advise you to back up these directories rather than deleting them, but I like to throw caution to the wind. Fire up Mail.app and it will reindex you mailboxes and you’re off the races. The dreaded “All Mail” directory will still be in your list of mailboxes, but don’t worry, you’ve neutered it.

Update: Check out this excellent article about achieving Mail.app nirvana.

Chromium Builds For OS X
ChromiumI’ve been providing builds of Chromium for OS X on my downloads page for a while. Recently, Google has opened up their BuildBot Snapshots to the public. At first I was a tad skeptical of this as I was a BuildBot Waterfall freak, waiting for the perfect level of green before grabbing a revision to build. I’ve been watching the Snapshots and can say with a bit of confidence now that they are legit builds and are only pushed if the OS X code base has been touched (If I’m wrong on this, please correct me). With that said, I’m no longer going to provide custom builds of Chromium.

Apple’s m-Commerce Strategy
A very interesting app hit the app store this morning (or last night) that made me scratch my head a bit. It’s the Burger King Now app that allows you to pre-pay for purchases. Pre-Pay? That made me think of TechCrunch’s m-Commerce article on Jack Dorsey‘s new stealth startup code-named Squirrel. And there is this quote:

Squirrel is both a physical device add-on to the iPhone as well as an iPhone app. Ingeniously, the device derives enough power from the physical swiping of the credit card to then read the card, so it requires no external power from the iPhone or anywhere else. The physical device apparently looks something like an acorn, thus the code name Squirrel.

Swiping Cards? WTF? iPhone OS 3 will enable in-app payments that connects directly to your iTunes account and your credit card. Why is a physical device needed? Well the answer to that is to bypass the 30% Apple tax.

Apple could potentially enter this space, but would probably raise some flags at the DOJ. I think Jack is on the right track here and the potential of such a business boggles the mind.

Squirt: Why Nielson’s Twitter Numbers Suck

The recent kurfuffle over Twitter’s retention rate according to Nielson is a tad ridiculous. Comparing the 30-40% retention rate to those of MySpace and Facebook at the same stage in life is like comparing Sonics to Marios. The major blogs nailed why this comparison doesn’t make sense – Twitter aggressively shutting down spam accounts – but there is a bit more to the story.

Two things I want to add to the discussion:

  • 1,000 Following/Day Limit – Since Twitter limited ALL accounts to allow only 1,000 new friends a day, the number of spam accounts has skyrocketed.
  • Low Time Investment – Automated systems (which I won’t link to here) can create tons of throwaway spam accounts.

Anyone else want to add to the discussion? Leave a comment (or two).

Pulling Content Out Of OS X Cache.db Files

I’m not sure when, but most likely when Leopard was released, applications started storing their cache files as sqlite databases (usually named Cache.db). For example, Safari has its cache at:

~/Library/Caches/com.apple.Safari/Cache.db

Apps that haven’t caught up yet are still using the less-efficient .cache files. Though not as efficient, these files are easier to access, just toss it onto BBEdit and you can see the contents. Try doing this with a 100+MB .db file and prepare to wait.

There probably is a GUI app to extract data from .db cache files, but I’m too lazy for that. OS X has everything you need already built in so fire up Terminal.app (I’ve been playing with Visor lately) and dig into your cache:

# cd ~/Library/Caches/com.apple.Safari/
# sqlite3 Cache.db

You’ll be in the sqlite interactive mode:

sqlite> select * from cfurl_cache_response;
sqlite> select receiver_data from cfurl_cache_blob_data where entry_ID = [1234];

To output the data to a file use the following:

sqlite> .output test.html
sqlite> select receiver_data from cfurl_cache_blob_data where entry_ID = [1234];
sqlite> .exit

That should do it. Any questions? Leave a comment.