Author Archives: dougal

Crawling back to life

In December, the server that hosted Twitual suffered a catastrophic disk failure. We were only able to recover a few older files at that time, but key pieces needed to get the service running again were missing. While we do have a prototype for a new version of Twitual in development, it is not yet in a fully usable state.

However, just last night, we discovered an old development copy of the code which was much more up-to-date than the pieces that we had attempted to recover from the corrupted disk. While it was still quite a bit older than was was running on the site at the time of the crash, we have been able to integrate it with current Twitter API libraries, and our quick patches appear to be working.

Because this recovered base code was written to an older version of the Twitter API, the code to handle API request limits is no longer correct. As a result, you may see situations where you get a list of friends, but zero followers, or vice versa. If this happens, wait about 15 minutes or so, then try again.


Temporarily Out of Order

Sorry, folks. I have been very busy, and did not get Twitual updated to be in line with the new Twitter API changes. I tried some quick fixes a couple of days ago, and thought I had it working again, but apparently not. When I can get a few hours to sit down and update the code properly, I will try to restore service.

In the meantime, please try the Twitual development prototype. It doesn’t have the links to user profiles and the category highlighting of the original version, but it will at least get you the basic information about your friend and follower crossover.

Server issues

We updated our server about a week ago, and it has caused some performance issues on the site. We are working to adjust the settings and improve things. If you have had problems recently, stick with us, we will get things ironed out.


Now with fewer errors!

Okay, so the new prototype is fun and all, but what about the main service? It needed some love, too, right? It’s okay, we know — lots of yucky “Server Error” messages.

We reconfigured things on the web server a while back, and yes, we admit, we didn’t get everything set up the way we should have. But we’ve finally gotten around to taking a peek under the hood, and we think we’ve twiddled the right knobs to get things running more smoothly. In fact, we’re so sure that we’ve made things better, that we’ve raised the combined friends/followers limit from 3000 up to 8000.

If we can just get Geordi to quit hooking Data’s positronic brain into the ship’s computer, maybe we can keep this bucket of bolts flying right!

Update: We also changed the sorting of the lists so that users are listed in a more natural order. If you are looking for a particular friend or follower, it should be easier to find them, now.


What’s new with Twitual?

You thought we were dead, didn’t you? Just another abandoned ghost service, floating along in the Internet like a mysteriously vacant boat in the Bermuda Triangle. Nope! Still here!

If you haven’t heard already, there’s a new prototype in the works (no, really — you can check out the Twitual prototype). It is very bare-bones at the moment (duh, it’s a prototype), but you should get the general idea of where things are going. My next steps are to add in functionality to let you drill into people’s details, add some real UI/design, improve handling of errors, and restructure the underlying code a bit.

Things might have been further along before now, except that I had been running into some technical problems. I won’t bore you with the details here, but I posted about it on my personal blog: Dealing with UTF in node.js