Thursday, August 14, 2008

Twine is really, really slow.

imageA while back I managed to get an invite to Twine, a new, professionally oriented bookmarking service where users can focus on sharing content with people who have similar interests. Twine claims it’s “powered by semantic understanding,” and that it can learn from its users so that, the more you use it, “the better it understands your interests and the more useful it becomes.”

I think semantic-powered, interest-oriented sharing is a powerful idea. Certainly, as a lawyer, I can see how creating a community to share and discuss highly specialized knowledge could prove incredibly useful to a whole class of knowledge workers (e.g., physicians, librarians, academics, journalists). Also, I think collaborative notetaking for groups is one of those nuts that hasn’t yet been cracked. It’s a problem that needs solving because I haven’t been impressed with the way traditional bookmarking services, such as Ma.gnolia, have handled their group features.

And Twine is pretty. It’s well thought out, and its features are smartly scoped. But I’ve been holding off reviewing the service because of one HUGE drawback. Twine is really, really slooooow. It takes a long time for each page to load (rough estimate: forever). So I’ve barely been able to use it. Responding to a recent comment in Twine’s Beta Feedback Group, one of the developers admitted there was an issue:

There are some issues on the server side that we are working on (such implementing more caching). There should be significant improvements in the next release (we're hoping to do a patch this week or next week at the latest). There will be further improvements on an ongoing basis for the next 2 months. Remember it's in beta and we're still working on it, so thanks for your patience. I think after the patch it should be faster. Let us know.

Also if you are using Twine over international lines or lower bandwidth connections that could also be affecting performance on your end.

A few ways to speed things up a bit -- go to your Account page, and then select Twine Settings and select only the twines you really care about to show up in your Interest Feed and the Bookmarklet. That should speed things up a big for you as well.

Twine isn’t one of those services you can just figure out immediately, so I’d like to make more rigorous use of the application. But until these speed issues are figured out, there’s not much I can do.

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