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This would have been a tweet but has snowballed beyond its 140 char limits into a definite POST.

Twitter has been offline for the last 40minutes, and I really wanted to blip / tweet / ping the world that I had been enjoying some things…

Enjoyments

Have been enjoying the following without any guilt whatsoever :

– ‘religulous‘ doco last nite, very irreverend, very entertaining

– ‘Rereading Darwin‘ – still radical & relevant if we can grok eon sized time-spans

– web based interactive graphing calculator : www.abettercalculator.com

These are all awesome things, relying as they do on the advances that can be made when young people have freedom to think, to learn, have access to books and mentors and dont need to spend all their time either at war or gathering food or preparing shelter.

Decentralise!

So that was going to be the basis of my tweet, but that has been subverted into a rant on why Twitter, and Facebook, and Foursquare and LinkedIn and… are fundamentally wrong, whereas the Internet is fundamentally right.

Twitter and Facebook etc. [or the social networking needs they serve] should really be implemented as a distributed system. Each person or a cluster of people would have a local server ‘node’, and it would route messages to other nodes and so on.

For popular tweets or status updates, or checkins or wall postings there would be thousands of copies of that tweet sitting on servers all over the globe. This redundancy is a good thing, there would be less chance that a single Denial of Service attack or plain old human error or of a hardware failure or a mass event taking down the whole system. It could also mean we have more control of our own data – we should ‘own’ the posts we make, and the company we pay [ in advertising or in cash ] would provide the plumbing for the routing of messages and content.

This kind of distributed agent approach requires us to grow psychologically beyond the need for a ‘Central Authority’.. in fact I think that the technology will eventually take us forward to better forms of government, security and privacy, in that they are less centralised, more efficiently optimised to the local and the global environment – fundamentally they will offer more freedom and may require more responsibility.

Parse.com is a Y-combinator startup offering a fest-setup and easy -to-use backend store for iOS and web apps …

Here are some impressions after using on a commercial iPhone app project :

My feedback after using Parse for real work for a few days on iOS is that there are a few things that Id like to see added :

  • allow Pointer type cols [aka relations / object refs ] to be added via the web / DataBrowser
  • allow double click on objectIDs in DataBrowser, for ctrl-C/V
  • add csv export, json export [ imnso, these make me more likely to pay for Parse, not less ]
  • search/filter, sort cols, in DataBrowser

As a workaround I had to do “inspect element” of the Data Browser web page to get the object id, then write some test code to create the object Pointer references.

 

Also Ive been pining for a detail button for each row – that would pull up a detail grid with [ colname | value ] so I can see all a rows attributes vertically at a glance [ if it can be left open while I select rows, all the better ]

Generally, the iOS Parse api is nice, and it just works… in fact a lot of this I had already implemented myself in js + Node.js + mongo, but a client wanted a Parse backend so that gave me an excuse to evaluate.

So my first impression is good, but as people use this for real work, youll need those little details to save time.

( btw, prefetch link/reference with includeKey is handy )