On Mar 26, 4:01 pm, Josh Bleecher Snyder <joshar...@gmail.com> wrote:
> Having a universal counter is untenable, but having occasional,
> undiagnosable, unreproducible glitches also sucks. :) Thinking out
> loud, perhaps there is some middle ground -- a way to have generally
> monotonically increasing ids globally, and guaranteed monotonically
> increasing ids along some useful dimension, such as per user (this
> doesn't play nicely e.g. w/ Cassandra, but it is still reasonably
> scalable by other means). Not sure whether that would help folks or
> not...

I used to work at Goddard Space Flight Center. As you can well
imagine, accurate timekeeping was a hard requirement for many of the
projects and tasks there, though not all of them. The issue is cost.
Truly accurate timekeeping is achievable, but the cost to Twitter must
be passed on to its customers, and the last time I looked, "social
media" was an extremely competitive business. So I think we need to
allow Twitter some leeway here.

Right now, tweets carry a timestamp good to the nearest second. I
haven't looked recently, but the last published figure from Twitter
was that about 600 of them would have that timestamp on average. If
you truly need time resolution finer than that, make a business case,
apply for Firehose access, establish a business relationship with
Twitter, invest in the infrastructure on your end for the high-
precision timekeeping hardware and software, etc.

As far as occasional glitches are concerned, we have those now. Every
so often, we still get Fail Whales, 5xx errors, DDos attacks, etc. My
broadband sometimes doesn't work. Sometimes, we have a windstorm or an
ice storm and I lose electricity for a couple of hours. GMail goes
down sometimes. Amazon goes down sometimes. Water mains break. And
every so often, the astronomers add leap seconds to correct for
hitches in the Earth's gitalong. I think we can live with an
occasional clock error, or gap in the tweet IDs. And if you're
interested, I can point you at the fairly simple math needed to
correct for these glitches.

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