Twitter has has the option to view @replies to only the people you follow or all @replies in the settings for quite some time. Last night unexpectedly they changed this to only allow you to see @replies to those people you follow. This change effects the API (all client applications) as well as the web. There is no longer a way to see replies to folks your not following unless you directly visit each users profile page.
I think that this is a change for the worse and there are others that would agree with me.
The reason I dislike it so much is I used it extensively when I first joined twitter in 2007 to help me find other interesting people to follow. Twitter states the change is to reduce confusion. Huh, normally when I want to reduce confusion I write some more documentation and try to educate users instead of removing a useful feature. Perhaps it was removed to reduce load on the cache from having to load up timelines with tons of @replies that weren’t normally associated with a persons followers list but I see it as an important change that impacts how some people were using twitter.
Twitter claims that less than 5% of the users were using the feature but lets say hypothetically that twitter has only 2 million users I’m sure they probably have more in reality but this unexpected change impacts 100,000 people of that hypothetical 2 million number. Doesn’t seem like such a small population to me. If it was confusing maybe they should have altered the default or done a sweep to turn it off for everyone but leave the option to turn it back on. As it is right now it’s a fundamental change in the way the timeline works for quite a number of people and impacts how someone might find new friends via twitter. I hope they will reconsider and enable this but I fear it’s a done deal at this point and won’t be coming back.
You will still see mentions inline in a tweet that isn’t a reply but the way I’m interpreting the functionality is anytime you specifically reply to someone that someone else isn’t following they won’t see the reply.
If I compose a new tweet though “Having lunch with my brosef @funkatron” then that will be visible to all users of my time line since it wasn’t a reply. But if @funkatron replies to that message and says “@vkoser we’ll talk about that new library your writing can’t wait to see it” None of @funatrons followers that don’t already follow me would see his reply even if they were interested in finding out more information about whatever cool new library I’m writing.
Over the past months we have read about a variety of applications being denied for sale in the AppStore. A few of them have gotten approved after some discussions with apple but there are still some that never made it to iTunes and end up either forgotten or only available on jailbroken devices.
One of the major pitfalls for a developer of the current AppStore model is you need to submit your finished application for review before you know if it’s going to be approved or not. There are guidelines but there is always an area of unknown. You can’t know for sure if your application will be denied due to being obscene or possibly duplicating some core iPhone functionality.
A possible solution would be a pre approval process. This pre approval process could involve sending application mock ups and functionality descriptions to Apple for pre review prior to starting major coding on an application. If I wanted to develop an application that might contain some questionable content I could include artwork that would be included in the application for pre approval. Certainly the art work takes time and effort as well as application development but getting art and concepts per approved before further development was done would save many developers time and effort for those denied applications.
This probably isn’t manageable for Apple due to the backlog and time delay on the regular application approval process but perhaps they could offer it for an extra fee. $40 for a pre approval would eliminate the bulk of submissions that wouldn’t follow through with development and submitting the application if approved. Perhaps a 3rd party could develop a relationship with Apple to handle this process if they worked closely with Apple to reduce the load on Apple.
The update I submitted to iTunes finally was approved today. The new version has some nice upgrades. You can now enter data in miles or kilometers and once you calculate you can convert the values between Metric and English units. It will also remember your default unit choice between launches.
I hope that it’s bug free. One thing I’m disliking about iPhone development so far is that it’s pretty involved to distribute a testing version. It would be nice to be able to just send out the binary to some trusted friends for testing without having to go through all the Apple nonsense to distribute signing keys and such to prepare testing phones with the proper keys to run the application.