On walkabout in life and technology

New iOS6 Cached Maps

One feature I do like about the new Maps in iOS 6, the vectors and data are now cached. Seems the application caches the last viewed maps, so the GPS works rather well when offline.

Screenshot taken near Zushi station in Japan, with no WiFi or cellular data enabled.

Note also that the detail in semi-rural Japan seems pretty good.

The Best Sushi

If you love traditional Japanese sushi, not the Western or Californian styles, then I have found the best sushi place in the world. But you had better hurry of you want a chance to eat there, the sushi chef is getting old.

Getting There

The restaurant is in Kanazawa city on the Japan Sea side of Japan, about 450 km north-west of Tokyo. Getting there is easy if you take a shinkansen (bullet train) about half the way and an express train the rest of the way, give yourself 5-6 hours of travel from Tokyo.

Aside: Of course we had to do it the hard way. We only had two days in Kanazawa and the restaurant was closed on our planned second day of stay. Which meant we had to do it on our first day. Unfortunately, we were flying into Narita from Sydney that morning. So, we had a nine hour flight from Sydney, landed in Narita at 6:05 AM and raced to the Narita Express to get to Tokyo, then the shinkansen, then the local express, arriving in Kanazawa station at 1:30 PM for a 2:00 PM reservation. (And yes, the travel was worth it).

The Place

It’s called Komatsu Yasuke (小松弥助) and it’s the restaurant that the top sushi chefs in Tokyo go to eat and study the best. Its situated on the ground floor of a hotel in an unremarkable building in an unremarkable street in Kanazawa, about 15 mins from the main station by Taxi.

You need to book early. We called from New York a few months ago to get this reservation. The couple sitting next to us were regulars who travel from Tokyo to spend one night in Kanazawa and have lunch here. It was full when we arrived, it was full when we left.

It’s small, brightly lit, modern and clean, with an L-shaped counter supporting 9 seats. There is one additional table in the back. Unlike most Japanese sushi counters, there’s no fish displayed behind glass, that’s in a large covered wooden box at the left hand of the chef. There’s just a raised counter, some chopping blocks, the current work in progress, some sauce bowls and the box of fish.

There are some nice small touches with the service. You wait in the hotel lobby with a tiny cup of tea. The hostess seats you when the chef is ready. The tea arrives quickly, and they change the cup instead of refilling it as the meal progresses. Quiet conversation between diners, and between dining groups seems the norm. And the payment process at the end is also handled quietly and with dignity outside the restaurant in the lobby afterwards.

The Chef

There are only two people behind the counter, the chef and the apprentice. The current apprentice is probably the last in a long line of apprentices and he’s very good. He’s quick to predict what the chef needs and he sometimes finishes the plates and serves them.

But the dining experience here is all about the chef and the food. He’s a very short man with big eyes twinkling behind his glasses, a kindly face, barrel chest and stubby fingers that are in constant motion. And he’s over 80 years old. Yet he makes each and every bite in the restaurant, from opening to closing, every single one.

The way he makes each bite is mesmerizing to watch. He moves like he’s in a comfortable slow dance, he gently flourishes his arms, he solidly thumps the fish down, the onion dances as he chops it, his cutting motions are sure and sharp, his right hand reaches out and always pulls out the perfect amount of rice for the bite being made. He never stops moving, cutting, preparing, serving or cleaning, all with the smooth motion of long practice and never in a hurry.

Left hand out, into the box, pulling out the next fish. Thumps it on to the cutting board, and with quick motions he grabs a knife, cuts just the right sized pieces off, cleans the knife, fish back in the box. Right hand out, dipping onto the rice bowl, grabbing the rice, dash of wasabi, places the fish on top. Then he adds salt with a flourish, squeezes the yuzu manually, or dabs the chosen sauce with a flick. It’s like he’s been doing this forever. And he maintains a small smile in the corners of his mouth and eyes the whole time.

We also watched him prepare some of the ingredients before we ate. He placed a thin sheet of squid, maybe only 5 mm thick on the cutting board and without looking, picked up a big knife and sliced it evenly and cleanly into 1.5 mm sheets, then chopped it into tiny slivers. He takes a block of tuna and generates, with grace and economy of motion, a set of cubes to be marinated. All the while keeping up with the individual meals being served.

Each bite is served on it’s own plate, and either he or the apprentice tells you what it is and how to eat it. Often, he makes a bite, places it before you and then, with that small smile, quietly watches as you reach out and pop it in your mouth. As soon as he sees the joy the taste gives you, his smile twitches wider and he dances on to make the next bite for the next customer.

And when he makes a sushi roll, it gets personal. The eel is grilled in preparation, the ingredients chopped and ready. Right hand, out with the seaweed, on with the rice. He snaps up the ingredients with his left hand, pops them onto the rice and rolls it closed in a one-handed quick motion. Then he leans over and passes you the roll, hand to hand, personally, making eye contact, like he’s giving you a gift, personally. Pauses, then dances back to make the next roll.

The Meal

We got to sit right in front of the chef and started with omakase, the chefs choice, and it was amazing, so amazing we missed noting all the bites we had, but here are the more memorable ones:

  • Thinly slivered squid on a button of rice with a dash of salt and yuzu, somehow it stays together, and clears your palate for the next.
  • Lightly seared fatty tuna, just enough to open up the oils and add a smokiness to the fish, draped over rice with yuzu and salt. It explodes in your mouth as the juices flow.
  • Ama ebi, two tiny raw prawns so fresh you cannot smell them, on a button of rice with soy sauce, tastes firm and sweet.
  • A large slice of red tuna zuke, scored and marinated, with a dash of shichimi, starts mild then hammers your taste buds with the pepperiness.
  • This is followed by a large piece of mizu nasu (water eggplant), thick, juicy green eggplant, lightly pickled, on its own, to clean your palate after the spice assault.
  • A slice of hirame (fluke), a white fish, with a dollop of dark red ume (japanese plum) concentrate on top, moves you back to old school subtle Japanese flavors.
  • Then you get a bowl with red tuna, tororo (finely grated yama imo - mountain potato), uni (sea urchin) and seaweed, a mix of flavors from the tart marinated tuna, the creamy uni and the balanced tororo.
  • And the omakase finishes with his grilled marinated unagi (freshwater eel) in a hand roll. He grabs the unagi straight off the smoking hot grill onto the rice with his bare fingers, adds a dash of crushed goma (sesame seeds) and hands it to you, warning you that its hot. The roll vibrates in your hand as the eel continues to cook inside the roll in your hand. The smokiness and the taste is amazing.

We then added a few more dishes, as you do:

  • The daily special was ara (kelp grouper), draped over rice with a dash of salt. It just melted in our mouths.
  • Since he had some, we also had anago (salt-water eel), also on a button of rice dipped soy sauce. Anago tastes so much better than unagi, you could really taste the eel without the grilling or marinade.
  • And we finished with the greatest negi toro (onion and fatty tuna) roll I have ever tasted. Fresh fatty tuna belly from Tsukiji in Tokyo, diced in big fat chunks with white Japanese onions and barely squeezed into a hand roll. The smoothness of the fatty tuna with the sharpness of the onions was delightful.

All in all, this was the best Japanese sushi meal my wife and I ever had. If you get a chance, go to Kanazawa and try the sushi at Komatsu Yasuke (小松弥助).

Buying a New Suitcase

My suitcase broke on the way back to Japan from Australia, so we decided it was time to buy a new one. As usual, the geek in me meant that we could not just run down to the local Yodobashi Camera and purchase the first one we found (although I did spend a lot of time prodding the ones there). I need facts and information to make the right decision. Here’s how I chose the one I purchased.

My requirements for the new suitcase are for a medium sized suitcase (as the old one was this size), roughly 70 to 75 liters capacity (7 - 10 day trip) with a minimum of 60 cm inside to fit a rolled yoga mat. Good wheels for dragging on trains and a TSA compatible lock are a must, as well as a more unique design so that we can easily pick it out on the luggage carousel at airports. And it must fit within the budget.

But a few more decisions needed to be made as well. Do we go for the traditional soft cloth case that most Westerners use or the plastic hard case preferred in Japan? 50 mm or 60 mm wheels? Integrated drag handle or ‘flat inside’? Do we go el-cheapo and use it for a few trips, buy something more solid for longer term use, or find something in the middle that’s affordable? Expandable or fixed size?

Many of these turn out to be moot decisions. The largest limitation we face these days when buying a suitcase is its size and empty weight. You see, most domestic airlines have a 23 kg limit on laden bag weight, and these days it’s getting harder and harder to find an international flight that allows more than one bag per person in economy (making the 23 kg a hard limit). So if you buy a good 70 liter Samsonite hard case for many year’s use, you’re giving up at least 6 kg of that 23 kg in the case weight alone, just for durability! That leaves you only 17 kg of contents. Go for a much lighter cloth suitcase that weighs maybe 4 kg and you get 19 kg of contents, this is good, in a suitcase that may survive only a few fights before getting torn (as my old bag did). Heavier, more durable cloth brings these bags into the 6 kg range. Of course, if you fly business or better, bag weight really does not matter.

You could, of course, go for the premium brand suitcases that do go down into the 4-5 kg bag weight range. These use exotic materials and are just way too expensive.

These days, there is also talk that the airlines are also going to limit checked luggage size as well. I don’t know why but assume to enable them to squeeze more into their holds, or fly lighter or save baggage handler’s backs. Which means that a big trip (10+ days) 90+ liter suitcase that we all used to use may no longer be accepted in future on flights. Then again, the 23 kg limit implies only clothing can be placed in a 90 liter bag before it becomes too heavy anyway.

So, I added the requirement for the suitcase to be light, yet reasonably durable, aiming for a maximum of 4.5 kg bag weight. In order to get durability at that weight class, within budget, the clear choice is a Japanese style polycarbonate ‘hard’ case. Which throws out expandability, but again the weight limit makes that decision moot too. But it did add more choices: Zipper or Clasps to close the case? Japanese durable casters or cheap knock-off casters? And what color?

The zipper choice was easily rejected. All the cheaper polycarbonate suitcase models have zippers that circumnavigate the bag to enable them to open widely for packing. But these zippers are attached to the hard shell using flexible cloth or rubber that is glued on, reducing the structural integrity and durability of the bag to the strength of the glue. In testing, these suitcases tend to bend and stress where the zipper joins the polycarbonate shell, increasing stress on these glued joints. The zippers themselves seemed quite strong.

With clasps however, each suitcase has a more solid polycarbonate ring where the clasps and hinges are, with riveted in metallic or polycarbonate hinges, making the structure that much sturdier and durable. Testing these did not bend or stress in the middle.

We also decided to choose the more durable Japanese-made casters as they seemed to have longer warranties and better recommendations.

So my geek choice for a 7-10 day approximately 75 liter reasonably durable suitcase that maximizes content weight boils down to a polycarbonate hard case, minimum 60 cm internal height, 4.5 kg bag weight, TSA compliant clasps, Japanese casters, standing (4 wheel bag) suitcase.

A quick search on Rakuten found 60,000 suitcases, dropping to about 9,000 in the 71 - 80 liter range. We threw out the super-expensive suitcases, cloth bags (there were very few in Japan), zipper bags and the knock-off caster bags which dropped the count by half. Most of those that remained, however, were on average 5.5 kg unladen, too heavy for our needs.

Drilling through the results, we found a few in the 4.1 and 4.2 kg ranges (and oddly, nothing between 4.2 and 5.5 kg). How do they get these suitcases so light? By thinning the polycarbonate to the absolute minimum, then ribbing it to create external structural strength, use polycarbonate hinges and clasps, use lighter grease packed casters and removing most of the internal cloth, flaps, pockets and covers to create the lightest, yet still theoretically durable suitcases. The catch being that these suitcases should always be packed sufficiently full, so the contents themselves also provide some structural support - I would never recommend traveling with one of these empty, or even half full. And the plastic clasps can be opened with a screwdriver!

In the end, we chose the GMA-5212 (Japanese link) from Global Master Air/Wings, a 77 liter case weighing 4.1 kg unladen measuring 67 cm by 47 cm by 27 cm inside in Dark Purple because the lovely Burgundy was out of stock. It carries four star recommendations on Rakuten and Yodobashi. It’s all polycarbonate to get it so light, which means that it will wear and tear faster than the heavier or more expensive suitcases, but enables us to pack up to 19 kg of contents in it. It arrives tomorrow and I’ll be using it to fly from Tokyo back home to New York in economy, using rail transport to and from both airports, next week, fully laden. We’ll see then if I made the right purchase decision, or whether the suitcase is just too light to be as durable as advertised.

Aside: In order to meet Japanese garbage requirements, we also have to saw our old suitcase into quarters in order to fit it into the local bins. That’s going to be fun as my in-laws have a handheld electric band-saw. A boy, a toy and something to destroy, what could possibly go wrong!

I’m @hiltmon on Twitter and @hiltmon on App.Net. Follow me and let me know what you think.

Text Editor Addict

Hi, my name is Hilton and maybe, just maybe, I am a text editor addict.

“Hello Hilton” you all say.

I seem to have a lot of text manipulation tools on my devices. Of course, I don’t think I have too many, but most people only seem to have one. You see, to me, each one has it’s own use, it’s the best tool for it’s job, that’s why I have and use it. Here is a list of all the text editors on my laptop that I use right now, and why:

  • BBEdit: BBEdit is my hammer tool, when nothing else will work, it does. I open any new text file that I need to look at or perform searches in in BBEdit. I use it for macro and manual manipulation of all files. In fact, it’s my default for opening any text file.
  • TextMate 2: My old favorite programmer’s editor, TextMate, just got better. TextMate is the editor I used to do all my Ruby on Rails work. Watching the development of TextMate 2 like a hawk because I still believe this will be the “it” programmer’s editor like its predecessor.
  • Sublime Text 2: My new go-to programmer’s editor for Rails and scripts. Like the cross platform implementation, speed, active development and customizability, but still not comfortable with the GUI and the non-Mac likeness.
  • Byword: My go-to for writing, not coding. I draft and review all my blog posts in it (using the Cousine font to make it look somewhat like iA Writer) and preview in Marked. I also write most knowledge base articles, company news and short-form documents in Byword.
  • Coda 2: I use Coda 2 for static web site development to help out my favorite graphic designer.
  • iA Writer: iA Writer sure is pretty, and I occasionally use it instead of Byword in full screen when I do not wish to be distracted. I just wish I could make it’s awesome Nitti Light font a tad smaller. And the blue cursor is cool!
  • nvAlt: The way notes should be managed. I use nvAlt for all my common, non-project related text notes and sync it via DropBox so I can work on the same documents on my iPad.
  • VoodooPad: Project notes wiki, see my post on Project Specific Data.
  • Scrivener: I use Scrivener for all long form document generation. It’s a great writing and document management experience. This product just plain rocks!
  • TextEdit: Ok, so it came with my Mac and it’s still installed, and occasionally it’s useful to see what’s in a file.

Not really text-editors, but I write or format text using them:

  • Day One: Personal journaling and logging, with the occasional private navel gazing entries to remind myself how silly I can be.
  • Pages: Word processing, mostly used to format documents after conversion from Markdown to make others happy.
  • Microsoft Word: To read the changes in contracts from lawyers, else I’d not have it. It’s slow, bloated and ugly.
  • Adobe InDesign: Page layout for brochures and some special presentations. There are still things that you can do in InDesign for presentations that you cannot in others, but the latest Keynote is good enough these days.
  • OmniOutliner Pro: For outlines and lists (but I’m using Mindnode Pro for graphical versions and to start outlines which I then flesh out in OmniOutliner).

And I have purchased (if not free), but no longer use

  • TaskPaper: Used to manage project specific tasks in it, replaced by VoodooPad.
  • Evernote: Keep coming back to try it, still do not love it or have a place for it.
  • MultiMarkdown Composer: Lovely Markdown editing and preview tool, really the reference application, but a tad rustic for my needs. It’s still installed though, just in case.
  • Espresso: Used to be my static web site tool, moved to Coda 2.
  • Writeroom: The original distraction-free editor, now replaced with Byword and iA Writer.
  • MarsEdit: One of my oldest tools, used to do all my blogging against Blogger and Wordpress in it. Now using Octopress and Byword, so no longer need it
  • Yojimbo: Text notes containing all my secret and personal data, nicely packaged, tagged and encrypted. Mostly moved to 1Password for codes, serial numbers and other key numbers.

And I am testing:

  • Chocolat: Maybe a TextMate replacement, but not ready yet.
  • FoldingText: This looks just plain cool, still in beta.

And that’s just on my Mac.

On the iPad or iPhone, I seem to have a few more, and they have their purposes too:

  • Drafts: For quick notes and sharing with other applications.
  • Elements: For most of my tablet writing, linked to Dropbox and shared with nvAlt, so I can start and finish notes on both devices.
  • TextTastic: For iPad coding, usually used for demo work only.
  • Diet Coda: To hack static web sites in emergency situations.
  • Writing Kit: For blog ideas, may be making this my new blog idea tool instead of nvAlt.
  • Byword: Alternative editor for nvAlt notes and remote blog editing.
  • Day One: For journaling.
  • iA Writer: Just in case I need another DropBox editor.
  • OmniOutliner: Of course!
  • Pages: This too.
  • Notability (removed)
  • PlainText (removed)
  • SimpleNote (removed)
  • Evernote (removed)

So, no, I really don’t have a text editor problem! Because the ones that remain installed each have a specific use case and are the best tool for these cases.

Or maybe, just maybe, I am a text editor addict.

Thwarted by Patents

As you all know, teleportation is easy. But one cannot make a teleporter due to the crazy US Patent system. And it’s frustrating me.

Like you all, I am pretty tired of traveling to airports via trains and monorails, waiting in check-in lines, fighting those darn kiosk things, standing in baggage lines, standing in TSA lines, removing shoes and belt, getting frisked, getting dressed then waiting in dingy boarding areas with horrid coffee and no useable wifi only to spend hours upon hours squished in small cramped seats with bland food and annoying strangers, just to get somewhere.

Wouldn’t it be nice if I could just beam myself to Bangkok to pick up some Pad Thai, then beam over to my family home in Sydney to share this meal with them, then beam home back to New York to start the workday. And yes, this example is bad because bringing foodstuffs into Australia is illegal so I won’t really do that. So maybe I can to beam to Shanghai to buy the latest toys, then beam to Sydney for my nephew’s birthday, and still be back home in time for the morning meeting.

The thing is, the hardware for a teleportation device is really easy to come by. You just need some parts from the local electronics store, some well shielded cable from the local electrician, some good leather belts from your local clothing discounter, and a good car battery that you can get from any auto store. Make the coils, connect the electronics, wire in the battery, hook up a computer to control it all (the new model Macbook Air is perfect) and the hardware is done.

For the record, this does not violate United States Patent Application: 0060071122 because I am using directed gravity waves not pulsed ones, the wormhole does not intersect hyperspace and you don’t need any obelisks. And I’m not using qubits or ancilla so United States Patent: 7006267 also does not apply. So there’s no issue on the hardware. By the way, anyone know what an ancilla is?

But the software required is another problem. I mean, its easy to write and test. The specifications are clear and I have 22 years of experience writing the stuff. But most of its components are patented and there’s no way I can afford to beg, buy and license all of them to make it the whole thing work.

You see, the software needs to run a full body scan to initially determine the bounds of the body and that which is being carried. It’s important to get the bounds right as we don’t want to teleport the ground I am standing on, that would use up too much battery. But the scan itself is patented via patents in Xray scans, millimeter wave scans, CT Scans (William Watson patented axial transverse tomography) and Microsoft (their scan uses Kinect hardware to guess your age). There’s no other way to do it, so I need to license all of these.

Then the software needs to document and record each atom in your body, with its state and location, so that the reconstruction at the other end is perfect. Unfortunately, this too hits patents with geolocation, database, keying and indexing, cryptography (it’s best not to get hacked while teleporting) and encoding. In fact, almost all the code I need to write has been patented by someone already, and they are enforcing these out of empty offices in Texas with millions in VC money behind them. Ideally I could beam there, burn them down and beam home, but I’d first have to license the patents to make the teleporter to enable me to beam there in the first place legally.

Assuming I get those patents, the next step, transmission, has even more patents to deal with. Protocols are patented, checksumming is patented, packet sizes are patented, ether transmission is patented. And we haven’t even gotten to the legal issues of using spectrum that’s not allocated by the FCC for both wormhole propagation and atomic transmission. I really don’t want to get into how it is possible for the FCC to regulate quantum dimensions, but it seems within their legal bailiwick.

And then there’s the reconstruction step violations, Luc Montagnier has this one. And then there are DNA patents that prevent the reconstitution of patented DNA, even though it’s my own DNA. Materials that are carried are treated as new in reconstruction, requiring a licensing fee. If I carry any medication, then recreation violates the medical patent.

Used to be that a patent required an invention, an physical implementation of the idea. But these days, anyone can patent anything, and so even something as simple as teleportation is being held back by these ridiculous patents. So, instead of building some electronics, writing some software and beaming off to Sydney next week, I’m going to have to spend well over a day of my valuable time dealing with the TSA, airports and airlines. What a waste!


And oh, yes, I’ll be on vacation the next four weeks.


As a species , we have proven that there is nothing we can’t do if we set out to do so. We have cured the incurable countless times before. I fervently believe that, if we can send robots to Mars and fix elections with money, we can cure cancer. All it takes is the same thing it always has for every one of those challenges…


I don’t know Patrick personally, we’ve never met and probably will never meet. He’s just a guy I follow on Twitter and App.net because his tweets and posts show that his interests and mine align.

Yet he openly shared his horrifying moments from detection of cancer through processing the possibilities to the joyous moment of relief on his feed. It took courage to do it. Because of this, many of us walked the path with him, numb as he was, not knowing what to say or do.

But we cared.

Maybe it’s the personal touch, maybe it’s because too many around me have also been touched by cancer. My grandfather (skin), my good friend’s wife (breast survivor, see It’s a Strong Tree that Withstands a Hurricane), a drinking buddy (testicular survivor) and my best friend as a child (leukemia), all cancer.

It’s time we cared.

Source: patrickrhone / journal » Blog Archive » How To Cure Cancer

Where Is the International News

Claire Belinski explains in the badly titled How to Read Today’s Unbelievably Bad News :: Gatestone Institute where good international news coverage has gone.

Something has gone very wrong in American coverage of news from abroad. It is shoddy, lazy, riddled with mistakes, and excessively simplistic.

Above all, it is absent.

Mainly this is why:

In the event of a massive breaking story—such as the uprisings in Tahrir Square—the networks parachute their people in. They bone up on the story by reading the local English-language newspapers (and in any country where English isn't widely spoken, it is important to ask: Why does it have an English-language newspaper? The answer, usually, is that the paper is trying to sell a particular version of local events to investors and to English-speakers—a version, needless to say, that is not necessarily the whole truth).

Worth a read…

AT&T Effs Users Again

The beard, Jim Dalrymple nails it in AT&T fucks users… again:

“Our network sucks balls. If we tried to let all of you rapid iPhone users have FaceTime, our network would take a firey crash into Hell. Many of the executives that have been too goddamn cheap to upgrade the network are now scared shitless that they will lose their cushy bonuses. So we decided to fuck our users.”

Why? AT&T is only allowing cellular FaceTime if you buy into their new overpriced and underserviced family share plans. I am on a grandfathered unlimited data plan, which is not really unlimited. The new share plan will cost me $40 a month more for significantly less data that we already use (and our usage is way less than the cap or throttle trigger on the unlimited plan).

And now we can only get some data on out AT&T phones, the data they choose we get to see. If they decide to block Twitter or Skype or Google searches, there’s nothing we can do about it. And it seems, it’s legal for AT&T to do this on mobile. There’s no net neutrality on mobile networks in the USA under FCC rules. Well paid AT&T (Not a typo).

What’s worse is that there is no alternative network available in the US that provides a better or more open service. Verizon’s plans, prices and restrictions are pretty much the same (lets call it cartel-like collusion). And the remaining players, T-Mobile and Sprint suck so badly you need tin cans and a string to make calls. So much for free markets, competition, capitalism and the American way.

Hipstamatic Fires Its Devs

Of all the stupid things to do, Hipstamatic fired its 3 devs, 1 designer and writer yesterday. Here’s how it played out on Twitter.

So in case you didn’t get the memo. Entire team laid off. 3 devs, 1 designer, 1 writer. Some of THE best people I’ve ever worked with…

This is a company making 22 million dollars this year (according to The Verge here). And expects to continue without its creatives!

@pbowden to be honest I was about to bitch quit anyway…

Then again, it’s not Instagram, and charging for consumables on an iOS app was extreme asshattery!

And to be frank this is the best thing, it became apparent that we were spiraling the drain.

The good news is that this Twitter stream got a lot of attention and @schwa and team received a lot of new offers.

Would love if the entire team could get snapped up by someone. Really is an awesome fucking team. Totally squandered where we were.

Mad, frustrating, angry day for a great team that did not deserve it.

RIP Twitter

I wish to complain about this parrot what I purchased not half an hour ago from this very boutique.

In March, Ryan Sarver, Platform Lead at Twitter speaking with MG Siegler on Techcrunch in Twitter Drops The Ecosystem Hammer: Don’t Try To Compete With Us On Clients, Focus On Data And Verticals:

We need to move to a less fragmented world, where every user can experience Twitter in a consistent way.

Or, in other words, we want everyone to use the Twitter web interface or Twitter’s own apps, not third party clients [1].

I’ll tell you what’s wrong with it, my lad. ‘E’s dead, that’s what’s wrong with it!

Yesterday, Michael Sippey writing in the Twitter blog in Changes coming in Version 1.1 of the Twitter API dropped the thermonuclear bomb:

...you will need our permission if your application will require more than 100,000 individual user tokens.

”Remarkable bird, the Norwegian Blue.”

In short, any new third party clients may only have a maximum of 100,000 users (assuming each has only 1 Twitter account) and no more, severely limiting their growth and essentially making it uneconomic to create a third party Twitter client. The existing, bigger products, like my favorites Twitterrific and Tweetbot will be given higher caps, 200% of what they have now, then they are done too.

”He’s not dead, he’s, he’s restin’!”

I cannot imagine third party developers or any of their millions of clients are happy about that. Heck, if I was a Twitter client developer, I’d give up and do something else, which I’m sure will make my users even more unhappy.

”Probably pining for the fjords.”

And unhappy developers and unhappy clients leave platforms. Hence, for Twitter, the end is nigh.

”This bird wouldn’t “voom” if you put four million volts through it! ‘E’s bleedin’ demised!”

My Take

Look, I love Twitter, it’s the best real-time feed of information I have access to. I even show the latest tweets on my personal web site.

But the reason I glance at it so much, the reason I got hooked on it in the first place, was the third party application ecosystem. Without Twitterrific on the Mac, there’s no way I would have gone beyond the first few days of Twitter. Without Tweetbot on the iPhone and iPad, there’s no way I’d look at it when away from my desk. I almost never use their web site, and I never use their crappy apps [2].

In short, the third party application ecosystem made Twitter, and they just killed it.

It’s not a Monty Python sketch, it’s real!

Fortunately, a new alternative is brewing, called app.net. It exists because Twitter’s seppuku was expected. App.net understands that the third party ecosystem is what makes short message services like Twitter so great, and so its primary goal is to provide the platform to do just that.

I’ll stay on Twitter until it dies, or all those that I follow have moved to app.net. But I think that day will come much sooner once the new Twitter rules come in to play.

Nice plumage.

I’m @hiltmon on Twitter and @hiltmon on App.Net. Follow me and let me know what you think.

[1] Twitter’s own apps are woefully out of date.
[2] When Loren Brichter worked there, their Tweetie app was excellent, but that died years ago.