I worked at Twitter part-time starting June 2007. I've never talked much about this in public. I'm revisiting it because of the complete disaster Elon Musk has made of Twitter. His sabotage of the company has felt personal to me. It hurts to watch him destroy something I helped create. The recent API debacle particularly stings.
Early Twitter was chaotic without enough experienced engineers. I acted as a management advisor. I helped the engineers organize and the executives work better with engineering. I did some good but I've always wished I could have done more. In retrospect, I should have committed more time. I did enjoy a long insider relationship with some of the leadership and was of some help that way.
The most useful concrete thing I did was what we called "Nelson's graphs". I made some simple measurements of performance like tweet delivery times. Post a tweet to one account and see when it shows up on another account's timeline. (Note this graph shows an average of 15 minutes!)
Simple but useful. It was a clear view of whether the site was working and ended a lot of arguments. These days we'd call this basic devops but in 2008 it was still a novel idea. My graphs kept running for several years even after they leaked to the press.
I grieve for Twitter now. I grew to love it over the years and was an enthusiastic user. Musk has ruined Twitter both culturally and technically. I suspect Twitter will survive in some new smaller, crueler form. But I've moved on to Mastodon and that's working for me.
I’ve found a mobile app for weather I finally like enough to be happy about paying for. Windy, best known for its website. The mobile app has extra phone features like notifications and home screen widgets. Also its UI is a little more understandable.
Windy makes a strong first impression with its colorful animation of winds. But wind speed is not that interesting to me. Windy also does an excellent job displaying radar, air quality, current thunderstorms, etc. Even weather station observations and webcams. All displayed beautifully and uniformly; that’s not easy!
But my favorite thing is the forecast view, hidden away in the website but a bit easier to find on mobile. It’s a lot of detail packed into a very small tabular display. I appreciate that it shows the full forecast by hour going out for days. Also the choice of forecast models; their website explains the options. It’s all very nerdy in the way I want. It’s not great at “weather at a glance” but is good for a deeper understanding.
Sadly they have nothing like Dark Sky’s unique microforecasts. Nothing to say “it will rain where you are standing in 7 minutes”. But they do have excellent presentation of large scale traditional forecasts.
I've added an archive calendar to my linkblog, so you can see old posts going all the way back to 2003. The UI is a little minimal but usable and it will work for any search indexers, which is what I most care about. Note old posts will have a grey background because I wasn't classifying link sentiment (new posts are white or black).
The most fun thing here are the images; I generated them for all my old links. Of course that's only possible if the site is up, I generated most of these in July 2022.
I've got a total of 20,700 links going back 19 years; that's an average of about 90 a month. I've been pretty steady the whole time, 50-150 a month with no missing time. A key thing is it's very easy for me to linkblog a new post, I just use the Pinboard browser extension and it's done.
The time sorted archive is not too thrilling. The other choice here would be to use the tags somehow to extract archives by topic, maybe cluster in to categories or (god forbid) do a tag cloud. A project for another time.