Podcast Episode 81 – AWS Outposts and Serverless Twitter Thread Chat with Ben Kehoe (@ben11kehoe)

Ben Kehoe is a Cloud Robotics Research Scientist at iRobot and Serverless Hero (https://aws.amazon.com/developer/community/heroes/ben-kehoe/) among many things. After an exciting twitter thread which centered around what the upcoming AWS Outposts product could do (and perhaps be limited to) and the “why on-prem?” question that many ask, Ben joined me for a powerful conversation where we explore the advantages and challenges of cloud-owned features and so much which will be important to cloud ops and cloud developer teams everywhere.

Thank you to Ben for taking the twitter chat live and sharing great insights!

Listen to the episode here: http://podcast.discoposse.com/e/ep-81-aws-outposts-and-serverless-twitter-thread-chat-with-ben-kehoe-ben11kehoe/?token=f9f26aa628b7695e17806ad92a8511a7

Listen and Subscribe on iTunes here:

Podcast Episode 81 – AWS Outposts and Serverless Twitter Thread Chat with Ben Kehoe (ben11kehoe)

PODCAST LINK: http://podcast.discoposse.com/e/ep-81-aws-outposts-and-serverless-twitter-thread-chat-with-ben-kehoe-ben11kehoe/?token=f9f26aa628b7695e17806ad92a8511a7

My Thoughts on Why Tweets Cannot and Should Not be Editable

With all of the buzz around Twitter looking for a suitor to sell to at the moment, it reminded me that one item always seems to come up when discussing how to use the social media platform. Not many days go by without someone in my timeline asking “Why can’t we edit our Tweets?”. Here are my thoughts as to why that’s the case.

There is nothing like having a great tweet go out and get lots of engagement, only to realize that there is a glaring typo, or grammatical error. I can’t even count how many times I’ve let one slip with a strange autocorrect that twisted the meaning up.

Bait (Tweet) and Switch

It’s as simple as the use-case where someone sends out a tweet that gets some heat. It could be lots of retweets, or favourites, or even just embedding into another platform. The whole idea of the micro-style of the 140 character platform is that it is a thought at a point in time which could be either a fleeting thought, or a deep idea. Either way you look at it, each tweet is a unique item.

Imagine if you retweet someone’s tweet saying something of a very opinionated nature. Let’s just use a political example where someone may say “If you don’t vote for Party A, you are doing your country a disservice”. That tweet will get a lot of retweets because all of the folks who support Party A are strong believers and want to share their belief.

Now, let’s take that same tweet and make it editable. The person behind the original tweet changes it from “If you don’t vote for Party A, you are doing your country a disservice” to something quite the opposite like “Party A is taking the country down. Thank goodness for Party B”. If you had been a retweeter of that original tweet, you would now have the entirely opposite opinion sitting in your timeline without your knowledge.

Edit and Drop Activity?

What if we say that editable tweets drop the previous activity? If the safety measure to avoid a bait and switch of the tweet is to disconnect it from the engagements (retweets, likes, etc.), then you may as well just delete and recreate the tweet.

This is nothing that is groundbreaking, or a crazy idea that I’m putting out. I just thought I’d put it out to maybe bring some context to it.

Cheers to the new buyer of Twitter, whomever it may be, and happy non-editable tweeting to everyone!

Adding Yourself to Your Own Twitter Lists

This may seem like a rather simple task, but apparently it is one that the team at Twitter in charge of the web UI decided wasn’t needed. I was creating a Twitter list for the #vDM30in30 group and realized that I was unable to add myself to the list. Huh?!

First, let’s start with why a Twitter list is helpful:

  • Organizes a single group of folks so you can view all timelines
  • Tracks membership that is visible to everyone on Twitter or privately if you’d like
  • Can be subscribed to
  • Can be embedded into a web page

Those are great reasons when we run events like the Virtual Design Master, or #vDM30in30 event where we want to be able to store people from Twitter who are contributing content. It’s a great way to bring focus to the work that may otherwise have slipped by in your main Twitter timeline with so much happening out there.

Twitter Web UI for Lists

Firstly, the Twitter web UI for lists seems backward to me. You can view lists on your profile using the https://www.twitter.com/YOURPROFILE/lists URL. In my case, it’s https://twitter.com/discoposse/lists to view all of my lists.

Thanks to the magic of RESTful URLs, I also know that I can use the slug name to view the list directly. For the “#vDM30in30 2015” list, Twitter assigned “vdm30in30-2015” as the HTTP friendly slug: https://twitter.com/discoposse/lists/vdm30in30-2015


Further additions to the RESTful goodness for members means you can see them with this URL: https://twitter.com/discoposse/lists/vdm30in30-2015/members


Cool, right? So, it should be super easy to add new members right here from this page. (SPOILER ALERT: It isn’t!!)

Twitter seems to think that you should be adding Users in the User view. For some reason, this seems entirely reversed to me. I want to see a list view and add dozens of users. Instead, I have to search the user:


And from there, check off the list of choice for each user:


If I was managing the process for a large list of users, this would be unruly to say the least. This is reminiscent of the “there has to be a better way!!” infomercials.


TweedDeck to the Rescue!

I’m a TweetDeck for Mac user, so luckily there IS a better way. Just open TweetDeck, and click the Add Column plus icon which brings up the column dialog. Choose Lists:


You’ll see your available lists to choose from:


Just highlight one which brings it up in the right-hand pane and presents a nifty Edit button:


Now we have the list of members and a search dialog:


Type in your Twitter username into the dialog. This works for anyone you want to add, but the point was that we normally can’t add ourselves to the list:


Click the + icon in the user dialog and it will become green check mark. You will also see your user show up in the right-hand pane as a list member now:


There really was a better way.

The End Result!

After toiling over the UX failings of the Twitter web UI, I now have a way to add myself to lists, and to easily add more users to list thanks to Tweetdeck. Many other third-party clients provide the same ease of use, so flavor to taste with the Twitter client of your choice.

Happy Twitter Listing, and here is the embedded list for your pleasure 🙂

Tweets from https://twitter.com/discoposse/lists/vdm30in30-2015

Watch this Film: Jason Becker – Not Dead Yet

Today was a lucky and interesting day. It started with some weekend work tasks, which as anyone in IT knows is fairly standard issue. During the course of the day I was monitoring my Twitter feed and I saw this tweet from @JasonBeckerFilm:

So I emailed the team at http://JasonBeckerMovie.com and as luck would have it, I was given tickets to the show! I’ve been watching the project for a few months so I was super excited to see it come to Toronto in the Hot Docs festival. I’m a big fan of Jason Becker, and guitarists in general. The story of Jason being diagnosed with ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease) was well known among the musician community and a heartfelt struggle for Jason and his family. It turned out to be a great gift for my day to be able to attend the Canadian premiere screening.

The film, directed and produced by Jesse Vile, is neither a movie about guitarists, nor a movie about ALS. It is a story whose character Jason, had been given the ultimate gift of talent, work ethic, character and heart, and when these qualities culminated to what would have been fame and success beyond most peoples hopes and imaginations, he was given the ultimate burden at age 20; a virtual death sentence.

One quote stood out early on from Jason to his Mother. He was doing photo shoots and press work and he worried that he looked so young and innocent compared to the rough and road weary band-mates he was surrounded by. You’ll have to pardon my paraphrase, but he said something along the lines of “I don’t have any character in my eyes because nothing bad has happened to me”.

He was surrounded by a happy and loving family, enjoying the fruits of his years of work and on the cusp of the best part of his career. Little did he know that he was about to experience more bad than he had imagined any single person could face.

I don’t want to spoil the best moments for you as I would really rather that you experienced it yourself and truly get the joy of it first hand. The story couldn’t have been written this well from the greatest fiction writer. What makes it amazing is that it is simply a true, and inspiring story. The people who shared their stories on the screen were filled with humour and emotion all around.

When the movie came to a close, the audience exploded in applause, and you could truly feel the emotion in the room. There was a Q&A with Jesse Vile which was excellent and could only have been better if we could have had more time. I was able to have a quick chat with Jesse afterwards and congratulate him on his film. Many others in the crowd did the same, some literally brought to tears.

The filming, editing and production all around were amazing. The score perfectly tied together every scene and even though many people in the room may not have been fans of shred guitar, they were pleased for having been there.

Jesse was relaxed and humble about what we found out was his first project. I hope that we are able to see lots of future work from Jesse and his team. If you have a chance to see a screening; go. If not, then I suggest that you take the first opportunity to watch it on-demand or on DVD when it is released.