Scripting News for 1/18/2008

What is Coral8? 

Continuing the thread on decentralized Twitter…

I read this story on DBMS2, as part of the initial discussion, that explained there is commercial-grade software used by the financial industry that they believe can handle, reliably, much greater traffic than Twitter is handling now.

The category is called CEP, an acronym for Complex Event Processing.

This evening, a comment from Mark Tsimelzon, the CTO of Coral8, one of the leading companies in this area. He offers a pointer to their developer site, a download of the software, and help when needed.

An interesting turn!

FAQ: Is decentralized Twitter just IRC? 

In the recent vigorous discussion about decentralizing Twitter, a frequently asked question was What’s the diff betw that and IRC.

Now I could be missing something, if so, I apologize in advance, but I think the answer is No.

Something that’s fascinating about Twitter is that everyone’s experience is different. Some people subscribe to 100 people, others 5000, I’ve even seen people who follow 0 people. No one subscribes to exactly the same people you do. And just because you listen to someone doesn’t mean they listen to you, and vice versa. There’s a tremendous variety of different experiences. Yet each of us feels as if we’re in a chatroom. That’s the paradox of Twitter. It kind of feels like IRC while it is nothing like IRC.

What Twitter is most like, imho, is an RSS aggregator. The people who work on Twitter call it a micro-blogging system, because to them, that’s what it’s like, even if the users don’t see it that way. I understand what they’re saying, as I think through the possible ways to decentralize it, invariably I’m led down paths I’ve already walked in implementing blogging software and RSS software.

But IRC is very symmetric — if I listen to you, then you listen to me. And vice versa. There are ways to block someone in IRC, but it’s an opt-out, where in Twitter listening to someone is by default off, and you have to opt-in. Very different experience. In IRC it would be considered a drastic measure to block someone. In Twitter, there’s nothing offensive about not subscribing to someone.

Further, you rarely see trolls or flaming in Twitter, because it doesn’t work, just as it doesn’t work in blogging. Unless you flame someone in an interesting or funny way, you’re not going to get many followers. So guys like Loren Feldman, who is funny, gets a lot of followers on Twitter. And the normal grouchy and anonymous trolls who dominate mail lists rarely gain followers on Twitter (or blogs).

Twitter is fascinating, it’s like the elephant and we’re all blind men feeling our way around unaware that other people see it completely differently.

FlickrFan for iPhone? 

I was talking with Bijan Sabet, an early user of FlickrFan, and he asked a question that I didn’t know the answer to.

Bijan: “I’d love a way to have FlickrFan photos on my iPhone.”

Early-on, I turned off synching for my iPhone, but it should be possible to synch one or all of the FlickrFan folders with the iPhone. I’ll investigate, but I’m interested in knowing what other people think.

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