Another great FriendFeeder!

Not everything that we do here at FriendFeed shows up on the changelog. In particular, we've been spending a lot of time talking to people who are interested in joining the team here at FriendFeed. We know that a relatively small team can be extremely productive when it has the right people working together in the right environment. However, building that perfect team can be very challenging. Not only do you need to find smart, capable people, but you need to find the right smart, capable people, with the right mix of talents and temperaments.

That's why we're excited to announce that Casey Maloney Rosales Muller has joined FriendFeed!

In addition to being an extremely capable engineer, Casey also brings academic experience from the MIT and NYU media labs, and very practical experience as the co-founder of the social music startup Jamglue.

Although he just started this week, Casey has already contributed several features and improvements to FriendFeed rooms, which we launched yesterday. Today he added the much requested "character count" feature to Twitter-back.

This ability to jump right in, immediately understand our system, and "automatically" do the right thing is tremendously valuable, and is exactly what FriendFeed needs -- we're very happy to have Casey on the team.

Get a room!

It started when we wanted a better way to share feature ideas and product plans with each other here at FriendFeed, but not the rest of the world -- a mini FriendFeed of our own. We could have set this up on its own machine in the office, but we knew that we weren't alone in our desire and that the right way to go was to extend FriendFeed's capabilities for everyone. And so FriendFeed rooms were born.

Rooms screenshot

A room is simple to set up: You'll notice a new 'rooms' tab at the top of the page. Click it and you're on your way to making your own room and inviting folks to it. You can make a room public so anyone can join it and participate, or you can make it private so only invited people can see it and become members. Whether you're sharing something via the FriendFeed site or using our bookmarklet, you can now designate where you want it to show up in FriendFeed. You can even choose whether you want stuff in a particular room to show up in your main feed or not.

Thanks to rooms, my family has a place to brainstorm travel plans for my Cousin Sara's upcoming wedding, and my Irish dance friends can discuss the merits of different dance shoes without cluttering up everyone else's FriendFeed. Of course, there's already a room for talking about how to make rooms more useful, and it's a good thing too, since this is just the beginning. Of course we've also updated the FriendFeed API to support rooms.

To give you some ideas for what you can do with rooms, here are a few other public rooms created by FriendFeeders:

So now, go get a room of your own!

FriendFeed.append("Tudor Bosman")

We're incredibly fortunate to have Tudor Bosman join FriendFeed as our seventh employee. If you use Gmail or any service backed by Oracle, you've already relied on his code.

Tudor is one of the best hackers I have ever worked with, in the most positive sense of the term. In particular, he's one of a rare breed of engineer who really understands how to design reliable, scalable systems.

One challenge facing large websites is data center failure. For you non-engineers out there, this is what data center failure looks like:

When he was working on Gmail, Tudor implemented a novel replication scheme that enabled us to handle data center failures without skipping a beat, reducing downtime by an order of magnitude. For you non-engineers, here is another illustration:

For his next act, Tudor is going to help make FriendFeed better. (In fact, he already started, fixing a bug and launching his fix his first day on the job. He already understands our code better than we do, as far as I can tell.)

Traffic to FriendFeed has been growing steadily, and we need to improve scalability while preserving flexibility so we can continue launching features quickly. I am extremely excited to be working with Tudor again, and can't think of a better person for the job.