September 17th, 2007

diesel, learning, evil, sweeti

Flume - initial impressions

So by dint of blackmailing one of the cool kids I've managed to aquire a Flume invite. Flume being the super sekrit new social medoodad that the Alpha 2.0-ers have been casually referring to and then saying "oops, sorry, you're not meant to know about that".

A caveat - I've always been a bit grumpy about, well, stuff. Especially hype over substance so filter this little rant through that assumption. Even still though, and even though this is an "Epsilon" release (see what they did there! it's 2 letters after gamma! how clever!) it still seems very rough. Really rough. Like, a days hacking rough.

Still, I shall plow on.

The first thing I noticed - very generic Web 2.0. Rounded corners CHECK, gradients CHECK, neoligisms CHECK.

Oh and what Neologisms. Flume gets used as a noun and a verb. Special! Also, the Facebook style notification thingy on the landing page. Err, guys. Before deploying something like that you my want to look up "Effluvia" in the dictionary. Although to be fair it's an apt description. Never has the million monkeys hypothesis been put to the test so badly.

At least they don't use the "I'll have a vowel please Carol" naming scheme that Flickr so inadvertently started.

Oh, wait. I just noticed. In one of the emails I got the other people on the site are referred to as Flumrs. *stabby* *stabby* *face* *face*

In use - it feels slow. I thought AJAX was supposed to make the user experience better but no, it's like wading through molasses.

And of course there's no Linux client so I've had bring up a Windows Virtual Machine. Sniffing the traffic, the XML based protocol appears to have been designed by a 4 year old. Security check summing isn't in place - 0xdeadbeef all over the place in various fields is kind of a give away. On a whim I attempted to spoof someone else's account by changing a few things and ... got in. And gave myself another invite. Huzzah.

Now I don't mean to harp on like a Unix grey beard about security blah, blah, blah but this sort of stuff can't be added on later. You've got to think of it from the start. Sigh. It's like people just can't be bothered to learn the lessons others have already gone through.

And by damn is it ugly. Uglier than my sofa. Which is very ugly. Even when it's covered with a throw I bought. There may be an 80s revival in place but lurid oranges against green backgrounds (or vice versa for the account settings pages .... euggggch, I'm still shuddering) is not a good look.

Anyway, if anybody wants to 'beflume' (barf) me then I'm testing it with two accounts - try principe or cirving.
don't encourage

Curiouser and curiouser

So, I suddenly noticed that Flume had some more features. "Fair enough", I thought, "it's presumably in heavy development". But then I logged in to my other account (the first one I got) and the features had vanished. So I logged back into my second account (the one I achieved through my 733t haxx0ring and, err, changing on a field in the XML) again and the features were back.

A quick delve later and I believe now that it's to do with the 'sassiness' (their word, not mine) rating of my 'Fountain' (grind teeth at name). At first I thought that might be to do with how many friends I had or something but that appears not to be the case. It appears to be more to do with a combination of who invited you and how 'sassy' your blog (a mandatory field in the signup process) is - presumably obtained through Alexa or Digg or Technorati or something.

Since I, err, obtained my second invite by guessing the user name of a A-list blogger my second account was deemed 'sassier' (that's actually giving me a headache now) than my first and I get correspondingly more features.

How ... weird.