The major problem I see with the new retweet feature in beta on Twitter is that (for now) the posts are invisible to API clients. Since I do most of my Twitter activity through Twidroid (on my phone) and Twhirl (on the desktop), that means if someone I follow retweets a post using the new feature on the website, I won’t see it.
Update (Nov. 20): That was fast! Twidroid has released a new version that supports the native retweet capability, so now I can see them on my phone. It also lets you choose whether to retweet the classic way (open a post pre-filled with the original, so that you can edit it) or natively. If you use the native version and have multiple accounts, Twidroid Pro is smart enough to use the one that’s following the original poster. I haven’t quite figured out how it decides which account to use when retweeting someone you don’t follow, though.
A few minutes ago I was trying to fix sound on my Linux box. Nothing would play, until Katie heard it beep to notify me of a new Twitter message. I closed Twhirl and suddenly my music player worked. The song lined up? Vertical Horizon’s “All is Said and Done.” The first line of the song? “I need you to hear me.” That gave us both a good laugh.
I thought a major point of PulseAudio was to let applications share the sound card cleanly. *grumble* Sound worked fine before Fedora switched. I can’t even blame it on a bleeding-edge distribution, since from what I hear, Ubuntu has similar problems.
At least now I know (sort of) why it stopped again after applying the Complete guide to fix PulseAudio and video/audio VLC Media Player issues.
It’s a trending topic, but there’s a lot of misunderstanding about the Twitpocalypse. Here’s what’s going on, in layman’s terms (I hope).
- Every Twitter post has an ID number that goes up by 1 each time.
- When a computer program stores a number, it sets aside a certain amount of space for it. Bigger numbers take more space because they have more digits.
- One common format is called a “signed integer.” It has 32 binary digits (1 or 0 only) with one digit set aside to indicate a minus sign. The biggest number it can store is 2,147,483,647.
- Twitter’s status IDs are approaching that number.
So what’s the likely impact?
- Twitter itself can handle bigger numbers and will be fine.
- Third-party apps that store the ID in a bigger format will be fine.
- Third-party apps that store the ID as text instead of a number will be fine.
- Third-party apps that store the ID in this particular format will end up with bad IDs as they try to cram a big number into a small space.
If I were to guess, the most likely breakage would be that replies might be attached to the wrong previous post — but again, only with apps that use this particular format for numbers.
Twitter itself will probably sail through cleanly (and has been planning to move up the schedule so that affected app developers don’t have to fix things in the middle of the night), so don’t expect any fail whales. Unless so many clients have problems that lots of people switch to the website.
Update: Not surprisingly, most Twitter clients are unaffected by the Twitpocalypse. I’ve used both Twidroid and Twhirl with no problems since Twitter passed the mark. I figured a few would get tripped up, but the real surprise is that it hit Twitterrific. One of the most popular clients on the iPhone? They do have an update, but a lot of people are unable to connect.