Goodbye old friend(s)

Today CleanApp is doing its stuff on two applications which I have used a lot in my Mac days.

The first is NetNewsWire. I’ve been a fan of this app since I got my Mac, having been a FeedDemon user on Windows. It’s clean uncluttered layout was just what I wanted and the fact that in the early days I could keep my feeds in sync whether I was using NetNewsWire or FeedDemon was really handy. Truth is though, I only use Windows for one or two specific tasks these days and reading RSS feeds isn’t one of them so the sync feature is not really critical any more. Also, even though I installed NetNewsWire on the iPhone, it was more out of curiosity than anything else as I much prefer to read my news on my 24″ monitor. The actual nail in the coffin was the introduction of adverts in the newest releases of NetNewsWire. Yes I know I posted a tip on how to block the ads using LittleSnitch, and someone commented that you can also use your Hosts file to the same effect, but it’s more a case of not wanting to have to. How long would that tactic last before blocking ads would somehow mess up the app completely?

Vienna

Vienna

So have I abandoned news feeds altogether? Not at all! I have switched to using Vienna instead. It has the same sort of nice uncluttered interface and most of the features that NetNewsWire had are there or will be at some point. Sure there are a couple of things I miss at the moment, like not being able to flag a news item from a button on the toolbar (you have to right-click/Ctrl-Click and choose from the menu instead). Also, if I double-click an item to see the full article in my browser, the colour of the item doesn’t change in Vienna to indicate that I’ve done this (in the past this proved useful for a few items I forgot to flag). Still, these are minor points and Vienna works just fine at the moment. Oh and one other thing… every time I see the word Vienna that song by Midge Ure in his Ultravox days pops into my head!! Please make it stop!

The other application that CleanApp has worked its magic on is Nambu. Now it seems these days that there’s no end of Twitter clients out there, each with their followers and for me Nambu was the one I used the most. However, the developers of Nambu have called time on it so it’s days are numbered. The Tr.im network is closing at the end of the year and they’ve said it’s unlikely Nambu will be developed any further. It’s a great shame but I respect their decision.

Now the question is what to replace it with? Well possible candidates are Twitterrific ($14.95) or Tweetie ($19.95 or ad-supported), but I really would prefer one that’s free and doesn’t contain adverts. My other main requirement isĀ  that it doesn’t require Adobe Air in order to run, so the search is on….

Addendum – there’s a new lease of life for Nambu. The developers aren’t going to can it and are currently working on the beta of a new version. Check out the Nambu blog for more information. Me? I’ve already registered for the beta!

My brief encounter with Tweetie

twitterI’m new to the Twitter phenomenon and with the small group of friends and other people/companies I follow, I am probably not what you’d call a power user. For one thing, while I can understand the power of the search feature, I still don’t get how you discover breaking news without already knowing about the news… before it breaks?! Anyway, as is typical with anything I do on the Mac I try to test out all the possible software options before deciding on which one suits me. I’m also fickle, so if something better comes along then I have no problems with changing, although there is one proviso… Adobe Air. I don’t currently have Adobe Air installed on my Mac and I don’t plan to any time soon.

tweetie-largeAnyway, there are quite a few Twitter clients for the Mac and the number seems to be growing with the latest big thingĀ  being Tweetie. Now I first became aware of Tweetie when reading TechCrunch and when they start waxing lyrical about a piece of software it’s usually time to sit up and take notice, so when it was released earlier this week I decided to give it a try. Currently my Twitter client of choice is Nambu, but if the Tweetie screenshots were anything to go by then it was already off to a good start – I’m a sucker for a nice interface (I think SnowTape is currently top of my ‘that looks cool!’ list).

With customary ease, Tweetie installs just prompting you for your Twitter username and password before presenting you with a neat list of tweets from people you’re following in what it calls the Timeline window. Icons down the side then let you switch between this view and Replies, Direct Messages and a search function, with slick transitions as you move around. Ok the basic views are there and they look nice, so how about the extras, the productivity features? The first thing I noticed is how nicely Tweetie lets you see tweets from others simply by clicking on their name in a tweet. Their tweets take over the Timeline window from where you can easily choose to interact with them (follow, reply, message) or simply navigate back to your own Timeline, and you can do this from any of the four views that Tweetie offers.

Tweetie also lets you use multiple accounts on Twitter, and while it’s not something I’ve needed I can see just how useful that can be to others. That sort of covers it as far as Tweetie features for viewing goes – so how about posting new tweets? Well again with the slickness you expect from this app, you click on the pen and paper icon bottom left and out pops a floating window ready to receive your 140 characters of wisdom. The first nice touch is that URLs are automatically recognised and it takes just a single click to shorten them using your chosen service. Next up it’s pictures and again it’s comendably easy to add a picture link just by chosing ‘Add image’ and bowsing to the image you want, which is then automaticcaly uploaded to the hosting site you’ve specified in the Preferences.

That pretty much covers it as far as the main features go. The Preferences let you tweak a few settings and set your default services for images and URL shortening and that’s about it. So it covers the basics well and has a pleasant interface that fits in well with the overall Mac OS X feel, but given that they’re asking $14.95 for the version that isn’t ad supported, I can’t help thinking I’d want a few more bells and whistles before parting with my money. Things like:

  • Better notification of unread tweets – like a badge on the dock icon or menu bar showing a number.
  • Audible notification of new tweets.
  • More control over the interface, like a choice of colours or some transparency options perhaps.
  • A way to see a list of links you’ve received in tweets.
  • A way to see who you are following and who’s following you, and a way to group these users.
  • The ability to store searches and come back to them later.
What exactly is the problem?

What exactly is the problem?

I could go on but maybe you get my drift. The final point is an obscure error that’s popped up once or twice and says nothing more than Error (null). I guess it’s still early days for Tweetie and there are still a few ghosts in the machine. So for now I’m sticking with Nambu on my Mac, because while Tweetie probably has a slight edge on having a slick feel to it and will suit a lot of people, Nambu is pretty good looking itself as a Twitter client and has those extra goodies that I use for now. Sure, Nambu doesn’t let you choose from a selection of URL shortening and image hosting services, it just gives you a standard two but I can live with that.

So, Tweetie is still on my list of ones to watch and if it starts to gain features on the Mac platform then maybe I’ll reconsider. But there’s one final confession I should make. The Twitter client on my iPhone is… Tweetie! It just so happens that I only want the basics on my phone and Tweetie is perfect for that.