Saturday, July 21, 2012

Dear Twitter, don't make me do headstands

By Vasudev Ram

Dear Twitter,

Other users may have told you this before, but I'm doing it now:

Please don't make me do headstands in order to read a Twitter timeline in chronological order (*). Currently, as you know, it display in reverse chronological order. Heck, even if I did a headstand in front of my computer, it would be difficult to read the timeline properly for two reasons:

1) I'd need both my hands to support myself, so could not use the mouse to scroll or click to the next page.

2) Reading upside-down text is hard.

Hope you will try to do something about it.

Your friendly user,

- Vasudev Ram - Dancing Bison Enterprises

(*) In case you didn't get it, this post was meant as a joke. But seriously, it actually is a pain to read things in reverse chronological order; that's the reason why on Usenet (Wikipedia article), you often see people saying "please don't top-post", meaning don't write your reply to a post above that post - write it below, so it reads more naturally. I realize that in the case of the Twitter timeline, there may be non-trivial issues in displaying it in chronological order, but I wish they would try to make that work.

Usenet is still available, but much fewer ISPs support it nowadays. See the above linked Wikipedia article for some reasons why.

Google Groups is a web-based interface to, and archive of, Usenet. It started as Deja News (I remember using Deja News back then, and had used Usenet via older newsreaders, for a while before Deja News started). Deja News was later acquired by Google.

P.S. I don't like the current user interface of Google Groups. It's less user-friendly, IMO, than the previous one that existed till some months ago, although even that had some issues. I think Dave Winer, one of the creators of XML-RPC and RSS, also said the same thing recently about the new version, somewhere on his blog, Scripting News. I don't think Google ever gave much priority to maintaining it (Groups), maybe because it did not make them much money. But (at least for now), the new Google Groups interface does have a way to go back to the older version, at least for prior Google Groups users. Don't know for how long, though.

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