Blog vs. Blog: Daring Fireball/GigaOm MobileMe-nia!

Blog vs. Blog: Daring Fireball vs Gigaom

Om Malik says Apple is clueless about scaling MobileMe:

There is no-unified IT plan vis-a-vis applications; each has their own set of servers, IT practices and release scenarios. Developers do testing, load testing and infrastructure planning, all of which is implemented by someone else. There’s no unified monitoring system. They use Oracle on Sun servers for the databases and everything has its own SAN storage. They do not use active Oracle RAC; it is all single-instance, on one box, with a secondary failover. Apparently they are putting web servers and app servers on the same machines, which causes performance problems.

John Gruber retorts, with the US' #1 online music retailer firmly in his corner:

But the iTunes Store does gangbuster traffic and has a terrific track record for uptime. The message I read from yesterday’s reorg that put MobileMe under Eddy Cue (Apple’s VP for iTunes) is that MobileMe could and should be as responsive and reliable as the iTunes Store.

The crazy thing is, MobileMe should have been an iTunes-learned breeze for Apple in terms of meeting service levels, given their pedigree. But then iTunes uses WebObjects (which I believe is old school Java-based) and MobileMe uses SproutCore (which is all dressed up in Ajax-y 2.0 objectivity), and the pretty much disastrous July 11th launch, which took down both iTunes iPhone activation, and slammed the MobileMe servers into weeks of problems, show something clearly is different with the new kit on the block.

Hopefully Cue will bring some of the iTunes luster to MobileMe, but only time will tell. What do you think? Which blog wins this round?

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, Vector, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Blog vs. Blog: Daring Fireball/GigaOm MobileMe-nia!

8 Comments

i couldn't wait to by the new i phone. Being an exclusive user of mac laptops, desktops, and ipods I figured the new i phone would seamlessly fit my business needs. From the day I purchased it (about a week ago) until the day I returned it, this past Monday, the i phone completely disappointed me.
The email functions in comparison to my blackberry, in a word, suck. I was astonished by the limited applicability of the so called push function. I couldn't push aol and I couldn't push my .mac mail. What's more I could never resolve sending mail from my devise! Whenever I attempted to reply to an email I received a notice that the address was invalid! And believe me, I spent countless hours with applecare trying to resolve all my problems. One tech person instructed me to turn off the 3G, wifi and switch to manually searching for email as a means to save battery life and stop my phone from continuously searching for mail or trying to send mail! What's the point of having all these services if you can't use them?
The i phone is a great toy but no comparison to the blackberry for serious business use—and being an exclusive mac user, this is hard for me say.
One final word... I am mystified by the lack of critical comment on the significant shortcomings of the i phone's email functions and battery life, especially when contrasted with blackberrys. Am I missing something here? And will Mac eventually resolve these weaknesses so I can consider again purchasing an i phone?

What amazes me is the real story is how buggy iTunes and the iPhone software is. How unreliable the iPhone is, how often apps crash and brick your phone. This is a mess, that the fanboys do not want to talk about. One visit to the Apple support forums and you will see just how widespread it is.
I have had my iPhone brick 22 times in 22 days, I got a replacement and it was no better. the iTunes and iPhone updates have done NOTHING to relieve the problem!
Blackberry has nothing to worry about if this keeps up.

"The crazy thing is, MobileMe should have been an iTunes-learned breeze for Apple in terms of meeting service levels, given their pedigree. But then iTunes uses WebObjects (which I believe is old school Java-based) and MobileMe uses SproutCore (which is all dressed up in Ajax-y 2.0 objectivity), and the pretty much disastrous July 11th launch, which took down both iTunes iPhone activation, and slammed the MobileMe servers into weeks of problems, show something clearly is different with the new kit on the block."
If you have no idea what you are talking about, why are you doing it in the first place?
SproutCore is a frontend display layer while WebObjects is server side technology for providing the data. Both, iTunes Store AND Mobile Me are using WebObjects as the backend data provider, the iTunes Store uses iTunes and Mobile Me uses SproutCore in a browser as the display layer.
I don't know why the Mobile Me start was so disastrous, but it had NOTHING to do with SproutCore because that is only DISPLAYING what comes from the server. Get it?
Probably they underestimated demand and new signups and added servers over the first days until the load was spread over enough hardware. That they had dataloss on a mailserver is a completely different topic ...
So, please, if you give your opinion on something, please make it clear, that you have:

  1. No background knowledge at all.
  2. Obviously no knowledge about the used technologies.
  3. No knowledge to base educated guesses upon.

"If you have no idea what you are talking about, why are you doing it in the first place?"
Silly me, I forgot this was the intertubes where, rather than engaging and providing additional information in the spirit of community and shared learning, we must act all prissy-rude and confrontational -- especially when we miss our cybernaps. My bad.
FWIW - I was aware of the different areas WebObjects and SproutCore cover, I just didn't think about MobileMe using WebObjects behind SproutCore (makes perfect sense though), and thought iTunes was more like a dedicated WebKit browser than "iTunes", which I guess your saying is more akin to a SproutCore-like frontend framework?
Thanks for the insights, however. All that time spent on the IE 6 render-engine team and Friendster scalability panel was obviously well spent :)

WebObjects http://developer.apple.com/tools/webobjects/ http://members.capmac.org/~orb/blog.cgi/tech/OpensourceWebObje.html may have been around for a long time, but it's hardly old school (given the relationship through Java is transitive). (What would you consider new school?) It is still the best back-end technology for generating dynamic web pages and a lot of work is going on in it both in Apple and outside.
As for MobileMe... it was more a fiasco than a disaster. I think you could put it down to some management somewhere wanting everything done at once. Good technical people would have gone for a staged roll out. I think SJ's email recognizes that's the way Apple will do things in future. But for all the things they did try to do in that week, perhaps things actually went exceptionally well, which shows how Apple's technology stands up really well against management stupidity.

This philosophy moves the library deeper into the realms of openness, transparency, and participation. ,

Nontheless, citizens need to participate in decision-making about important issues and be provided with opportunities to deliberate with those who can inform the discussion. ,