I’ve been waiting patiently for my Flipboard invite since its launch last week. I received my invite earlier today and have been playing with it ever since.
At the moment I follow 74 terrific Twitter users. About 75% of their tweets contain links to interesting articles on topics dear to my heart. Flipboard turns this curated feed of news stories and blog posts into a beautifully personalized eZine. As I flip through Flipboard, instead of links to the stories in my Twitter feed, the first few paragraphs and accompanying picture from most of those linked stories are attractively and interactively displayed on my iPad. If I want to read the full story, I tap it and am instantly taken to the underlying story on its originating website. Another tap and I’m back to my Flipboard eZine. See the demo below:
I tested out the Seesmic iPhone App today. Seesmic on the web is my current preferred method of viewing tweets on the desktop. While the iPhone app is a terrific start, given the deal breaker points discussed below (not remembering where the user leaves off in the timeline, no landscape viewing modes and no ability to adjust fonts), I’m sticking with the new official Twitter App (aka Tweetie 3) on my iPhone – bugs and all.
- ITS FREE
- NICE INTERFACE: It has a terrific and elegant interface.
- CLASSIC RT: It supports classic ‘RT’ retweeting.
- EVERNOTE INTEGRATION: You can now post a tweet to your Evernote database with the click of a button. I love this idea! I hope more twitter apps (iPhone or desktop) add this feature in the future.
- UNLIMITED LOAD OLDER TWEETS: It supports unlimited ‘Load older…” tweets at the end of the timeline (something that the Twitter App also supports in theory but is often buggy)
- WICKED FAST: It is surprisingly fast when loading those older tweets. It is faster than the Twitter app, Tweetdeck and Echofon.
- ADJUSTABLE ‘TWEETS LOADED’ SETTING: I like the ability to set how many tweets it downloads at a time. I always set these to the max – usually 100.
- DOESN’T REMEMBER WHERE YOU LEFT OFF ON START: I try to read every tweet from the limited number of people I follow. To do this I want my Twitter app to start up where I last left off. The Seesmic iPhone does NOT remember where I left off when I shut down the app and restart it – even if I shut it down for just for a minute and come back. THIS IS A CRITICAL FLAW AND DEAL BREAKER FOR ME!
- DOESN’T REMEMBER WHERE YOU WERE WHEN RETURNING FROM LINK: If you are, say, 5 hours down your timeline, and then you click on a link in a tweet to read a linked story within Seesmic’s embedded browser, when you return, you are returned to the TOP of the timeline – not where you left off. You must scroll down and find where you left off in the timeline. If you left off beyond the 100 tweets loaded, you have to reload the older tweets. VERY ANNOYING & ANOTHER DEAL KILLER!
- NO LANDSCAPE MODE: It’s all portrait all the time. This is especially painful when viewing websites within its embedded browser. THIS WAS ALSO A DEAL KILLER FOR ME (Twitter App & Echofon do landscape – Tweetdeck doesn’t)
- NO USER SELECTABLE FONT SIZE: My aging eyes need this!! Another deal killer for me. I note Tweetdeck also cannot adjust fonts whereas the Twitter app and Echofon can
Since I marked my first 100 Twitter followers with this post back on July 4, 2009, I thought I’d mark my second hundred followers with this post. It took 13 months to reach 100 Twitter followers and just over five months to pass the 200 mark on December 7, 2009.
As was the case in my earlier post, I still only follow a relatively small, but terrific, group of people (currently 64). When I follow someone new, I try to cull another. All with the view to reading (or at least scanning) most every tweet they make.
Twitter has changed the way I use the Internet. These exceptional 60+ sources feed me almost all of my daily tech news. I rarely surf from blog to blog the way I used to. I have also abandoned RSS feeds altogether. Twitter-sourced news is superior.
I have also abandoned Friendfeed. Despite some strong lobbying by Davis Freeberg, I just didn’t see the point. Everyone is on Twitter. And, since Facebook purchased Friendfeed back in August, its future is uncertain.
Today, July 4, 2009, Robert Jones became the 100th person to follow me on Twitter. Dave Zatz was the first non-automated follower to follow me. Thanks Robert & Dave. Joining Twitter on June 4, 2008, it took exactly 13 months to go garner my first 100 followers.
Having reached the 100-follower milestone, it’s as good a time as any to reflect on my experience to date.
On Followers and Following
Who I Follow: For the most part, the only people I follow on Twitter are those that I have an ongoing relationship with (about 15 to 20 people) and thought leaders (about 35 people). In order for me to continue following someone they must have a high wheat-to-chaff ratio. Meaning, most of their tweets must be about topics I am interested in – not what they ate for lunch.
Loyalty: I am a rather loyal sort. If I follow someone, I follow them. The reason the list of people I follow is short (by Twitter standards) is because I read/scan most every tweet that comes in.
The Kawasaki Exception: Early on I followed Guy Kawasaki. He was/is an interesting Twitter user. But this guy (pun intended) doesn’t know when to stop! He sends out torrents of tweets each day. I couldn’t take it any more. He is the only person I unfollowed because of too many interesting tweets. FYI his post: “How to Pick Up Followers on Twitter” is pretty good except for his advice to follow everyone that follows you – ugh!
How I Found those I Follow: The best way of finding interesting people is to mine the following list of the people that I already follow.
Who I do Not Follow: Anyone else. I know, this makes me an anomaly on Twitter. I don’t have the time to follow many more people. If I follow someone new and stick with them, I’ll usually remove someone else.
I Do Not Follow to be Followed: Most people that have huge follower lists also follow a huge number of people. How can someone follow 10,000 people? 1,000 people? Really!? I can barely keep up with the 50 people I follow.
- Halo Reach: Bungie teased this new Halo game, set for a fall 2010 release. Whoo hoo! If its a Bungie shooter, and it has the name Halo on it, I’m in! Is ‘Noble 1’, Will Master Chief?
- Metal Gear Rising: The next Kojima / Konami Metal Gear game is coming to the Xbox!!! Holy Cow! The final coup de gras against Sony. Kojima seemed genuinely happy to appear on stage for the announcement.
- Project Natal: A ‘controller free’ , full body motion capture, item scanning, facial and voice recognition. Will work on every 360. See demo here. I’ll believe it when I see it! I don’t believe the Lion’s Gate Milo demo pictured on right. It had to be heavily scripted (click for larger view).
Following recent reports (see here, here and here) on the growing number of U.S. Senators and Congressional Representatives that use Twitter (about 120 right now), I decided to look into which Canadian Cabinet ministers, party leaders, Senators and Members of Parliament use Twitter. Below are my preliminary results as of May 12, 2009. I have included the number of each person’s Twitter followers in parenthesis.
This list is not exhaustive. If you know of other Cabinet Ministers, Senators or MPs using Twitter, please add them in the comments with a link to their twitter profile. Many thanks.
Stephen Harper – Prime Minister:
Jason Kenney – Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism:
Tony Clement – Minister of Industry:
[Update: This must be someone spoofing a Tony Clement profile.]
Stockwell Day Minister of International Trade:
http://twitter.com/Stockwell_Day (2 – hasn’t posted anything yet)
Steven Fletcher – Minister of State (Democratic Reform):
Categories: geek • social networking • software • utilities
Tags: bit.ly • blu • diggbar • friendfeed • tinyurl creator • tinyurl.com • tweetdeck • tweetie • twhirl • twinkle • twitter • twitter for wordpress • twitter widget pro • twitterific
Desktop Client – Twhirl
I use Twhirl as my desktop twitter application. I looked at TweetDeck but it was overkill and it takes up too much screen real-estate. I tried the gorgeous blu (works only on Vista and Windows 7), but it does not have an adjustable font. The default font is too small for my aging eyes. Twhirl is surprisingly feature rich but it takes awhile to figure out all the intricacies. I’ve tried others, but keep coming back to Thwirl.
iPhone App – Tweetie
Tweetie is terrific. I had previously used Twitterific and Twinkle on the iPhone but Tweetie ($2.99) satisfies me the most. Tweets are presented in bubbles similar to the iPhone’s SMS bubbles. Thankfully, the font is adjustable. Functions and information are an easy swish away. Twitterific does have the advantage of supporting both Twitter and friendfeed.
See also: 29 Twitter Apps for the iPhone Compared (Mashable)
The most important benefit of changing to this widget is that it works! The other widgets yielded spotty results with too many fail whales.
The other obvious benefit is that it allows me to embed many more tweets in my sidebar than the others did – through a scrollable interface.
Performance: Occasionally it doesn’t work. The result, a black fail whale rectangle with nothing in it. While annoying, so far the black rectangle appears less often than the fail whales I experienced with the other Twitter widgets. Also, sometimes the black box turns into the proper widget if you give it long enough. Odd.
Flash: On the downside the widget requires Flash. As a result, it does not work with the iPhone. Note: There is an html version of the widget available – though it’s not as nice or useful.
I have recently reinstalled Firefox on a number of computers (iMac and two Windows 7 beta machines). Every time I do this, I have to recreate my Firefox configuration from memory. For the benefit of my future Firefox installs, and for anyone else interested in how I configure/optimize Firefox, in this post I describe the various tweaks I make to Firefox and the various add-ons and extensions I routinely use.
Note: The discussion below assumes you are using Firefox 3.0 and above.
A Word about ‘About:Config’
The tweaks below are made through Firefox’s ‘about:config’ page. It’s easy to use. To access the ‘about:config’ settings page enter ‘about:config’ into Firefox’s address bar (circled in green below).
You can scroll up and down the list to find the key you wish to modify (they are listed alphabetically). Click the key you wish to edit, change the value and click ‘OK’. Alternatively you can type the key (or the first few letters of it) in the Filter box (circled in red below) to narrow the list.
For those of you wondering what this twittering business is all about, below are links to a few good articles on the topic that should get you started:
- Ten Things you Must Know before Using Twitter (a good primer)
- Twittering Tips for Beginners by David Pogue has written a good
- What I know about Twitter by Harry McCraken
- The top 7 mistakes new Twitter Users Make
- 10 Ways to Increase Your Twitter Followers by Kevin Rose
- The Twitter Apps, Tools and Widgets I Use by yours truly
- Twitter Toolbox: 70+ Awesome Twitter Apps, Mash-Ups, Plugins and Services a huge list of Twitter resources