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New mystery AWS product 'Infinidash' goes viral — despite being entirely fictional
Reg chats to developer whose joke that mere mention of a new prod would appear in job ads came true and spawned books, songs, forks, cryptocoin, and more
A tweeted musing that merely mentioning a new AWS product would be enough to see it appear in job ads has come true — even though the product mentioned is made up.
The story starts with the following tweet from developer educator Joe Nash (the tweet has since been deleted, but is cached).
Nash was right. His tweet went viral as others jumped on the Infinidash bandwagon.
Among the jumpers was AWS CTO Werner Vogels who "announced" an official launch for Infinidash.
The official AWS #Infinidash GA event is tonight at half time during the #BELITA game in the Allianz Arena in Munich. You can buy me a beer to celebrate our most important launch ever... pic.twitter.com/BYboo7bFI5— Werner Vogels (@Werner) July 2, 2021
Three days after Nash’s Tweet, messaging app Signal posted a job ad for a Server Engineer that required Infinidash experience.
Here at Signal we have always placed an emphasis on developer productivity, so Infinidash lifecycle management has been at the core of everything we do from the jump. We hire for it accordingly: https://t.co/op9ycS9mKM— Signal (@signalapp) July 2, 2021
The ad also stated that experience with OpenDash was an acceptable substitute for Infinidash experience, a nod to the fact that Infinidash has already forked. At least twice.
Forking because we don't like your version of the license; renaming Dashio. Online at https://t.co/REuxMliX2d— Matthew Mark Miller (@DataMiller) July 2, 2021
Another notable aspect of the ad was its requirement for “considerable time spent” working with Infinidash, which reads a lot like a nod to IBM’s infamous job ad that sought twelve years’ experience working with Kubernetes despite the project being six years old at the time.
While the forkers fought over their competing visions for Infinidash, a textbook for the project emerged.
At this point, readers may wonder what Infinidash is, what it does and how it works.
The best answer we’ve found to those questions is in the Tweet below, which mentions “stobbly transwomblers” as a key element of the tech.
AWS Infinidash explained with a bubble machine I found in a cupboard and my cat pic.twitter.com/h9TToTsDxk— Sy Brand (@TartanLlama) July 2, 2021
We’ve also seen reports that Infinidash has a role in the Internet of Things.
Just did it out first integration of IoT Kettle Manager -> AWS Infinidash -> Firehose. At scale, can now boil the ocean on demand with full observability!— Alex Boisvert (@boia01) July 1, 2021
Infinidash has also spawned a tutorial and plenty of other resources besides.
While most of the above is obviously in jest, plenty of developers saw the increasing volume of #infinidash activity and went looking for info on what they thought was a real AWS product. When some discovered the prank, they were a little miffed.
The mind behind the myth
The Register emailed Joe Nash to ask him about his creation and started by asking why he wrote that first fateful tweet.
“I think a lot of developers will empathise with the feeling of being of being on a hamster wheel when it comes to keeping up with the ‘must-know’ technologies of the moment,” he wrote.
Twitter reaction to GitHub’s Copilot service got Nash “… thinking about the fact that this is a vaguely named blackbox technology, available on a limited basis to a small number of people, that for most developers for the immediate future will only be experienced through content created by developer influencers.
“It could have come out of thin air. I wanted to express this, and I’ve always found AWS’s product brands impenetrable, so it seemed like a natural home for the idea.”
Which led to his now famous tweet.
We next asked Nash for his reaction to the many, many, riffs on Infinidash that have followed.
“One thing that was super delightful was the people who created content around Infinidash that really leant into and pushed the made-up technology dimension,” he wrote. “It was great seeing the songs, blog posts, service integrations, and explainer videos. I think it will be fun to go through all the descriptions of this imaginary service when things have quietened down and see how all the different versions of Infinidash compare.”
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Nash was saddened by some developers finding out that Infinidash is not real.
“I think the fun with this has been highest where folks have shared the joke and read each other in,” he wrote. “I think most developers can empathise with the feeling of ‘oh good, another must-know technology I'll need to study up on’, and it’s unfortunate that a joke made in frustration at that nature of our industry has resulted in quite a lot of people feeling that exact pain.”
The developer educator has created a collection of some of the finest Infinidash contributions and rated the song below as his favourite riff on Infinidash.
An ode to Infinidash - the imaginary AWS service! pic.twitter.com/3dCntHtUyG— Forrest Brazeal (@forrestbrazeal) July 1, 2021
Nash also pointed out that your correspondent’s interest in Infinidash fulfilled another prophecy.
There needs to be a betting pool on which tech-adjacent news outlet is the first to report on Infinidash. #i8h— emily freeman (@editingemily) July 2, 2021
I’ve got 5 $InfiniCoin on Business Insider.
Sorry, Business Insider, The Register beat you to it.
Stay tuned for our rolling Infinidash coverage, including (spoiler alert) an announcement of the first Infinidash Summit that we’ll stage on Zoom but — for added security — will require use of the long-forgotten fibre channel over token ring protocol. ®