Archive for June, 2008|Monthly archive page

Amateurs and Credibility

Jeff Atwood has openly responded to some criticism of his blog Coding Horror by Alastair Rankine. I get where Alastair is coming from. But I really enjoy Jeff’s posts and I find him credible. Sure, he misses the mark sometimes but generally I find a quite high signal to noise ratio. He talks about technology from a developers perspective, his articles are well researched, it’s original content and it’s written in a comparatively humble style. If anything, some of the professional bloggers could learn a thing or two from Jeff and Alastair.

I’m not even an amateur blogger, not even a hobbyist blogger, I’m an occasional blogger. Alastair Rankine does gets this point right in his blog on credibility.

Professional bloggers deserve more scrutiny than dabblers…

In the spirit of scrutiny, Industry leader TechCrunch are on the verge of hitting my Google Reader “deadpool”. I generally enjoy their posts, but I’m tired of the increasing noise level and abrasive manner. The latest example is a fairly abrupt post questioning Twitter’s architecture

  • Is it true that you only have a single master MySQL server running replication to two slaves, and the architecture doesn’t auto-switch to a hot backup when the master goes down?
  • Do you really have a grand total of three physical database machines that are POWERING ALL OF TWITTER?
  • Is it true that the only way you can keep Twitter alive is to have somebody sit there and watch it constantly, and then manually switch databases over and re-build when one of the slaves fail?
  • Is that why most of your major outages can be traced to periods of time when former Chief Architect/server watcher Blaine Cook wasn’t there to sit and monitor the system?
  • Given the record-beating outages Twitter saw in May after Cook was dismissed, is anyone there capable of keeping Twitter live?
  • How long will it be until you are able to undo the damage Cook has caused to Twitter and the community?

This obsession with twitter and it’s internal workings lacks credibility, TC aren’t authorities on how to architect applications for scale and performance. Bonus points to Twitter for responding to TC in such a detailed manner.