That Busted GIF Feeling

That busted GIF feeling.

Has this happened to you? You’re using the iLike social music discovery network and things are humming along nicely. Then one day, because of a brief iLike.com server hiccup, the iLike Sidebar for iTunes is unable to download and refresh your friends’ photos. Instead of your music pals’ smiling faces, you see the classic “busted GIF” icon that web browsers use to denote “image file not found.”

Here is a screenshot of the iLike Sidebar with missing images.

Here is a screenshot, a few days later, with all friend images missing.

It’s what my iLike sidebar has looked like for the past two weeks. It may be what it will look like forever. Has anyone else encountered this problem? Anybody found a solution? Nothing I’ve tried works.

  • Refreshing the sidebar by clicking the semi-circular “refresh” icon to the right of the label, “Recently played by your friends,” does not solve the problem.
  • Hiding and re-showing the sidebar does not solve the problem.
  • Waiting days, or even weeks, for the problem to correct itself does not solve the problem. The problem never corrects itself.
  • Downloading a fresh copy of the iLike Sidebar and reinstalling does not solve the problem.

iLike’s FAQ does not address the problem. When you encounter a problem iLike’s FAQ does not address, you are supposed to contact iLike. I contacted iLike last week. I’ve also written to Dick Cheney. I haven’t heard back from either one. I’m more likely to hear from Cheney. Cheney doesn’t have a Facebook application and he isn’t adding 300,000 users a day.

Like every other recent website, iLike identifies itself as a beta. When you identify yourself as a beta, and you’re adding 300,000 users a day, it’s to be expected that your technology may be imperfect, and it’s also understandable that you may not have time to respond to every user who contacts you about a problem. Hell, I’m not a beta (and I’m not adding 300,000 users a day) and I can’t respond to everyone who contacts me. I get it.

In the scheme of things, a broken feature in a free web app is no big deal. I still like iLike. But if anyone knows how to squash this bug, I’d like it even better.

[tags]iLike, sidebar, bug[/tags]

16 thoughts on “That Busted GIF Feeling”

  1. Interesting that they find out about the error not from an email you send them, but rather by a post on your blog…

    I’m a heavy blog reader, so I shouldn’t throw stones in my glass house, but maybe they should turn down the drip on their RSS feed?

  2. Hahah, good point Joshua. I guess when I see ‘iLike’ and ‘bug’ in my Google Alerts, it catches my eye. Don’t tell anyone. ;)

    The email was in our support Queue, and would have been responded to. We have a bit of a backlog at the moment, so there can be a little delay. We’re catching up though, and definitely want to be more responsive than the Bush administration. ;)

    We now have a fix in the works to prevent this from happening. However, if your Sidebar is in this state, clearing the iTunes cache will fix it. To do so, exit out of iTunes, go to Libary/Caches/iTunes within your user profile and delete the contents of the folder, and then reopen iTunes.

    Aydin

  3. I think Aydin’s responses are totally appropriate and helpful to boot. Anyone thinking that serving static images can’t be *that* hard to cache I can recommend Cuong Do’s talk at Google on how they scaled YouTube — he dedicates a large portion of his talk to the specific problem of serving the video *thumbnails* which turned out to be a more complex problem to solve than serving the actual videos…

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6304964351441328559

    @Aydin: if you haven’t seen that one yet, I highly recommend you do! ;-)

  4. @Aydin: Worked like a charm, thanks! I greatly appreciate your stopping by and helping in this way. You might want to share this solution with other Mac users on the iLike blog.

    @Joshua: Nothing weird or hypocritical about it. Imagine you have 5,000 e-mail messages in your in-box, one of which describes a problem with your product. Now imagine that someone has blogged the very same problem with your product. Which message would you be likelier to see first?

  5. I still cant see you on my iLike (you are the only friend I have that doesn’t show up. I wrote them too, but no response. : (

    Since you have the coolest taste in music, I’d rather see you than most of my friends… maybe Dick Cheney will answer my prayers too…

  6. @Fred: Simplebits can’t see me on iLike either, and we’ve all followed the guidelines (adding each other as friends, installing latest version of iLike sidebar). Just seems to be a bug in iLike that some friends don’t show up in your sidebar, no matter what you do.

  7. Ilike was great while it worked. I can’t get the sidebar to install properly. Good luck getting their tech support people to respond. Are they really adding 300,000 a DAY!?!?!

  8. I’m trying to get a band page deleted from iLike, it was created on the Garageband.com service. The band page for Garageband has been deleted and I have email iLike about not being able to delete their piece. I have since taken over the web administrator for the Band Hadlock and need to start fresh do to poor work. Aydin if you have the ability to delete a page or can tell me how I would appreciate it, currently I do not have the logins for the garageband or iLike page for Hadlock and just need the page deleted so I can create a new one.

    Thank you in advance,

    Matt

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