Last night (actually early this morning) the FeedLounge queue slowed down quite a bit and, of course, some of the users noticed (everything was back to normal by late this morning).
As I noted in the forum thread, this is the only time in the last month this has happened, and I’m pretty sure1 it’s the only time in the last couple months. Regardless, it shouldn’t happen and we’re adding yet another layer of watchdog processes to help ensure it doesn’t in the future.
Back in mid-February, when we were upgrading to the Eirik release, we experienced a day of downtime which riled up a number of folks and we had a spirited conversation about it. In the forum discussion one of our users pointed out that a day of downtime was only 17 cents of the $5 monthly subscription cost.
A developer friend of mine noticed the hubbub from folks complaining about missing a day of service and sent me a
If people are more than 17 cents worth of upset at missing a day of FeedLounge, then they obviously feel that missing a day of FeedLounge is worth more than 17 cents to them. If this is the case, then they are obviously not paying what the service is worth to them and they should be happy that they are getting the service at such a great discount!
This made me smile. 🙂
A comment in this morning’s thread reminded me of this exchange.
This morning’s queue slowdown wasn’t a full service outage, as the FeedLounge interface was up the entire time and folks had access to all of the items fetched before this queue lull. I’m also not sure of the exact length of the slowdown, but the “7 hours without new items” quoted in the forums is probably pretty accurate. A few quick calculations in LeanCalc show that a full outage of 7 hours is less than a nickel of service (per user), so a half outage is somewhere around 2-3 cents.
Since we went live in January, FeedLounge has experienced the following service outages:
- 2006-01-27: 4 hours
- 2006-01-31: 25 minutes
- 2006-02-15: 22 hours (planned downtime for upgrades)
- Today: 7 hours (Queue slowness only)
This works out to 98.8% of uptime (98.7% if you count the queue slowness this morning) in the first 3 months of a hosted web service – pretty darn good! Since our 22 hours of scheduled downtime in February, we’ve had 100% uptime for the ‘Lounge itself and 99.6% uptime for the Queue.
While we understand and welcome the high expectations of our customers, it’s nice to step back and look at the big picture view as well. 🙂
- Our bandwidth stats page doesn’t give me easy access to previous months. [back]
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All great points. I was having a discussion with a friend of mine recently (about feedlounge oddly enough). He was sharing some minor frustrations with me and I was trying to explain how I felt as a developer in similar situations. What it really boiled down to was that he had unrealistic expectations if you ask me.
The point I made to him was that the “2.0” apps that are around now are offering unprecedented access to their developers. For instance you and Scott are commonly interacting directly with your users in your forums. I think this directly leads to incorrect expectations (perceptions?) with the users. I’m not saying you should stop doing this, but I do think it’s the cause of it for both feedlounge and many other app’s coming out now.
Think about it, if you have a problem with your Mac or WindowsXP, you have no direct line of communication with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, so you are more willing to take some of the bad with the good and not worry too much about the bad. However if you do have a direct line to the developer(s), it is more likely that you are not only going to mention any gripes you have, but you’re also going to get bent out of shape if you don’t see immediate attention to your gripes (or if you feel other things are getting more attention then your gripes).
It’s not realistic on the users part to expect you to deal directly with every single complaint immediately. Unfortunately, users are seeming to expect this, and I don’t really know how to counteract any of it, but I think it’s something that if users just realized it, it could help greatly.
It would also help if companies, like Google in particular, would quit it with the “perpetual Beta” which has basically lead us to a time where users no longer really understand what the Beta stage of development really is, but that’s a whole other story.
Matt — one way to say it is that “the ClueTrain goes both ways.” Or, rather, it should.
By that I mean that with unprecendented access to developers, users would do well to put themselves in the developers’ shoes too, not just use it as a good chance to complain. Empathy should go both ways. But you’re right, promoting that idea is tricky.
Alex: First thing I did when I noticed that I didn’t have anything new was to check the status page. The note was up, so I just shrugged and went on about it. Y’all were on it, and it was Saturday. I had other things I could be doing. 😉
Matt, what you’re describing is no different than what independent developers have always handled. I’m sure that Brent Simmons can talk about all sorts of stuff in the early Ranchero days. Ready access is both good and bad, and it’s not the nature of Web 2.0 apps that makes this happen: it’s just the increasingly-personal nature of the Internet.
But I like Alex and Scott, so it’s all good. 😉
Mmm, not sure you can split Web 2.0 apps and the “increasingly-personal nature of the Internet” into two separate ideas (they’re nearly one in the same if you ask me) so I’d still argue that it is particular to them.
But you are right that it is a problem with independent developers as well.
… I just woke up and pretty much brain farted in my response. So ignore that. I agree with you Geoff.
I do think it’s an interesting thing with Web 2.0 App’s though. They have SO many users and all of those users feel like they have the direct line.
It’s okay, Matt. 🙂
I don’t know if it’s that 2.0 apps are any more or less personal than anything else is; I certainly don’t feel like GMail is all that personally known with the devs. I think it’s more of an ISV thing.