Posts Tagged ‘twitter’

Uber and the Black Cab

My residence in London is the Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill at 30 Portman Square. I’ve been staying there for years and find it to be a phenomenal location with phenomenal staff.

I’ve ordered many Uber’s from there despite there being a taxi rank right outside the hotel. One of the reasons I dislike taxis in London is that not all of them accept credit cards or any form of electronic payment — I’ve got to have cash handy and it is a real hassle.

So why not Hailo? Hailo kind of works but has horrible customer service. Every time I’ve used them be it in London, Singapore or Barcelona, it’s left a bad taste in my mouth. Cabs will claim to have arrived starting the 2.5 minute timer long before they have arrived; if it’s raining enjoy looking for them while you call them only for them to tell you they’re not where they claim to be. In addition they’ll give you £10 coupons that will “expire” on you so you end up paying full fare. The crux of the Hailo problem is that a cab driver is always going to be a cab driver…

During rush hour traffic in London, a Hailo may make sense (since cabs can use lanes reserved for them). So will a UberTAXI. 

Anyway, this isn’t about Hailo. Today I finally tweeted to Uber about the fact that their maps are inaccurate and most drivers never arrive at the front of the Hyatt but at the side, on Seymour Street. It’s incredibly annoying to have to call to get them to come to the front or walk to the side – it’s all added inefficiencies.

The @ replies from the taxi drivers tend to be strong encouraging you to use their services. I’ve never seen this in any market I’ve used Uber in. It’s smart – take it on to social media.

Twitter Notifications

Later on in the day I did take a cab. I wanted to go to Harwood Arms from the Natural History Museum. Of course the cab driver didn’t know where it was so I stated the street name, Walham Grove. Lo and behold, the black cab driver had no idea where this was! I even provided the post code if it helped.

He asked if I had it on my maps. I said I did. He wanted to know the cross road. Even after I told him Farm Lane, he took out the maps and had it in his lap for the whole journey.

This is the same guy whom represents the lot that have studied The Knowledge. In an Uber, at least they would have used the maps. And if there were route inefficiencies I would just complain to Uber from the app and get a refund. Here I paid for the drivers mistakes. In cash.

Are cabs safe from the losing fight?

Vine goes 6-second adult

So Vine is all the rage now eh? What Twitter did to quick communication (140 characters), they’re now doing to video (6 seconds). Headlines today are: hardcore porn climbs to the top of vine’s editors picks.

When the porn industry embraces something, its likely to get big :)

I’m guessing this is currently more the amateur porn industry than anything else. There is a website curating based on hashtags ( and a twitter account (@nsfwvine – currently with 11 followers, 27 tweets).

Interesting development to watch. 

Google Plus is missing opportunities

When I’m in the USA, if I get the time, I do like to consume some television. I’m an odd person – I’m usually watching the advertisements more than the television shows themselves. And the promotions that surround shows.

Its very common for advertising for products to have several logos at the end: usually one from facebook with the page name, and another from twitter with the page name. Nowadays it seems to be getting common to offer a hashtag and this I presume is just useful for Twitter. (though it seems trending data now on google+ also has hashtags.)

Today, for the first time I saw an ad for Google Plus. Used by a television show called sullivan & son. They advertised a facebook page and told fans to “search google plus for sullivan & son”. For a google hangout

I searched Google for sullivan & son and ironically the Google+ page (which has a horrible URL) wasn’t even on the front-page. Google is clearly missing an opportunity here.

Two opportunities: 

  1. short-form URLs (like what provides – in fact you have the option to do if it is not a page, but your own profile)
  2. promoting Google+ profile pages in search results

Twitter, Facebook MySQL trees online – pushing MySQL forward

Just yesterday, I’m sure many saw Twitter opensourcing their MySQL implementation. It is based on MySQL 5.5 and the code is on Github.

For reference, the database team at Facebook has always been actively blogging, and keeping up their code available on Launchpad. Its worth noting that the implementation there is based on MySQL 5.0.84 and 5.1.

At Twitter, most of everything persistent is stored in MySQL – interest graphs, timelines, user data and those precious tweets themselves! At Facebook, its pretty similar – all user interactions like likes, shares, status updates, requests, etc. are all stored in MySQL (ref).

The media has picked up on it too. A fairly misinformed piece on GigaOm (MySQL has problems focused on Stonebrakers fate worst than death? Pfft. Facebook wants to move its code to github? Read the reasoning — its spam handling on LP.), and a shorter piece on CNET.

Both Twitter and Facebook code trees mention that its what they use in their environments, but it’s not supported in any way, shape or form. Facebook recommends Percona Server or MariaDB. Facebook also has tools like online schema change in the repository, amongst others like prefetching tools written in Python.

I haven’t had the chance to play with the Twitter release yet, but it looks like this can only push Percona Server and MariaDB forward. Based on 5.5, some of these BSD-licensed features can make it in, and some have already made it in I’m sure. And what pushes these servers, will push MySQL forward (see lots of new features in MySQL 5.6).

On a personal note, it is amazing to see some MySQL-alumni push this forward. At Twitter, there’s Jeremy Cole and Davi Arnaut. At Facebook, the team includes Domas Mituzas, Harrison Fisk, Yoshinori Matsunobu, Lachlan Mulcahy. Nothing would be complete without mentioning Mark Callaghan (though not-MySQL alumni, active MySQL community member) who led a MySQL team at Google, and now at Facebook.

Keeping up with the conversation

Today I read a re-tweeted tweet by a fellow Malaysian who said:

@etp_roadmap @IdrisJala_ c what I meant u all cant change. U only RT tweets that favors U all but never on negative tweets..learn 2b fair

This is probably true. You can retweet whatever you want. Naturally, you’ll only retweet things that you find are positive to you (or align with your points of view). This is the thesis behind things like Tumblr and other reblogging platforms.

This is the beauty of Twitter as a conversation medium. You can actually just search for a string. And with the @reply mechanism, you just end up searching for “etp_roadmap” and you see heaps of amazing commentary.

Granted, this is not something everyone would do. But with social media you get the choice. With traditional media, you’re forced to look at one point of view. Letters that get published don’t necessarily have to be “independent”. Social allows those that are interested to dig deeper. This is true power.

Do the cybertroopers know this? Its easy to figure things out, if you’re looking.

The Social Media Page Craze: Google+, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn

Pages. They are becoming very popular. If you’re a brand, you’ve got to keep track of these things. This is sort of a dump of my thoughts on this.

It was quite common in the day to get a Twitter page. Multiple people can update a Twitter page. There are tools for this, and Twitter has an API. You have desktop tools for this as well.

Facebook pages are common if you have a product or business. The more like’s you get, the higher chance of getting your message spread on the newsfeed. Facebook has an API, and there are tools for this. Multiple people can manage the account.

LinkedIn pages exist. The target audience is a little different. There doesn’t seem to be an API or apps surrounding it, so you end up using the web-based interface. It seems to be the least popular.

Google+ just launched pages. The target audience currently seem to be the alpha geeks. It doesn’t have limitations like Twitter, and I see people posting more long-form status updates that resemble blog postings. It has no API (yet?). It has no multiple user management (yet?). And you have to build a crowd amongst circles, because its still relatively new.

We’re told to be present on all social networks. If you’re a brand, you’d be silly not to be where your audience is. My question is, with all these social networks how do you focus?

Don’t forget, you have to manage your website. American brands are now just pointing to a Facebook page in ads ( which is fine, but its something you don’t control. Your website is something you fully control. Your blog is something you fully control. I see things like Clojure Notes and wonder the permanency of something like this.

Facebook looks to be trailblazing and seems like its going to be around for a long time. Your content will live for as long as Facebook lives. Twitter is all temporal content, you forget you even have archives. LinkedIn I have no idea, but there’s always the emails it sends out. Google+ is something that worries me — they’ve killed Buzz, Wave, Orkut, etc. and while you can take your content and run with it, you lose links.

Some people don’t care about continuity of content. I generally do.

Short names. Facebook and Twitter support this. Google+ has something ridiculous in terms of a number.

I read somewhere that the average human can keep track of at most three social networks. I can’t find a reference to this, and I know its not Dunbar’s number.

Walled gardens. If you have a Google+ album, you can’t link to an individual picture. Facebook pages and what is attached to it is not searchable via a search engine. You generally duplicate updates on sites just to keep up with these walled gardens of Web 2.0.

Bottom line: we’re all looking to engage. We all want a large audience. We all want to get the message across. But how much time are we spending on this? When do we get all the tools we need to manage all this “at one go”? Where do we put our eggs in for 2012?