Give up and use the first-party Twitter App

I did, or at least am trying to. You have to get over some weird bugs (like seemingly random per-user notifications), but afterwards you may come to like it.

I’ve been a Twitterrific user for years on Mac and iOS, but the writing is on the wall. All the newest features like multiple photos, cards, photo tagging, archive search, and per-user notifications are all only on Twitter’s apps.

You know exactly what’s going on: they want to shut down all traditional apps that aren’t their own. Rather than reeling them in they’re going to restrict new features on their own apps until everybody switches.

And frankly, I feel like using Twitter’s own apps reveals the true Twitter, whatever that is. It’s like surfing the web without ad-blocker. It’s the true web, even if it is ad-ridden (although, I haven’t found the ads to be that bad).

There are only a couple of features I miss from Twitterrific: dark/night mode and timeline syncing between devices. Third party apps don’t give you animated gifs (which are actually video files on twitter’s servers), they don’t give you activities…they can’t. There’s no public API for it. But once new features outweigh what you like in your current client, you may never open a third-party client again.

Further reading: Twitter California Knife

Twitterrific goes back to Freemium

Why are we returning to the freemium model now? Simply put, we’re hoping that by making the app free to download and use, we’ll get Twitterrific into the hands of thousands more people and those additional users will help support development via the increased ad revenue far into the future.

I thought ads in Twitter clients weren’t allowed anymore.

How Tweetbot Made Me Like Twitterrific More

After months of using Tweetbot on iOS and a few weeks of using the alpha on the Mac I decided to switch back to Twitterrific.

Tweetbot picked up steam this past December when it went on sale for 99¢, timed with the new Twitter application. Having switched back to Twitterrific I’ve actually learned to appreciate some of the decisions The Iconfactory made to spare us from complex UX/UI.

My favorite thing about Twitterrific, hands down, is the unified timeline. If I’m using a Twitter app the timeline is usually the only thing I care about at the moment. If I want to see my mentions or messages there are shortcuts for that, but I would’ve probably seen them anyway because they’re in the unified timeline.

Other twitter apps have this crud around the timeline, like the sidebar in both the Tweetbot alpha and the official Twitter for Mac app. Even Tweetbot is adding tweetdeck style columns. I’m not a fan of those. I don’t like to see a badge for unread mentions all the time. I don’t need to have account switching on the sidebar. In fact, I prefer having some extra steps to switch handles and see what’s going on in each Twitter feed. I think it’s a distraction because in some weird way each Twitter handle has it’s own personality—so I want to feel like I’m in the brain of the current Twitter handle. I want there to be more steps to switch identities, because I want it to be very hard to post personal stuff on a work twitter feed and vice-versa.

Of course, Tweetbot does some things that Twitteriffic doesn’t do. Tweetbot supports locations, Twitter’s photo service, list editing, profile editing, and muting.1 It looks like Twitterrific may get an update sometime soon to bring some of the features that Tweetbot has. I look forward to those. But in the meantime, it’s worth more to me to have a unified timeline, an option to hide the sidebar, and a universal keyboard shortcut.

Plus, I like Ollie better than the weird Tweetbot robot bird-thing.

  1. People make a big deal about muting. They want to temporarily mute someone when their tweets get annoying and/or irrelevant, like if they tweet stuff about a Baseball game they don’t like. Sounds good, but I think this happens rarely. 

Twitter for iOS Wants You For Your Body

People are getting upset over Twitter for iPhone’s new Quick Bar. You can’t turn it off. It’s everywhere you go in the app.

@drdrang writes:

The real problem here is being forced to see something I have no interest in.

And that demonstrates what I think is a fundamental difference between Twitter’s apps and third-party apps. Twitter’s apps are interested in what’s best for Twitter: getting people to use the most out of Twitter with searches, trends, and things people may not normally use in order to get them hooked on Twitter and its potential. Third party clients have to focus on what’s best for their users, and each third-party client has a different idea of what’s important.

That said, I enjoy Twitterrific the most.

One of the things that’s turned me off from Twitter’s iOS and Mac apps is how easy it is to get swept up in searches, trends, viewing @reply archives, old direct messages, and other accounts. Twitterrific is a lot simpler. It’ll show you all that stuff if you want it, but the main focus is the timeline specific to you.

A System For Global Keyboard Shortcuts

I used to never use keyboard shortcuts, but these days a few of them are so ingrained in my brain that I can’t live without them. On the keyboards I use, the S key is beginning to fade. It starts with Command (or CTRL) + S. From there you begin copying and pasting with keyboard shortcuts and within a week you get a little irritated when you need to use the mouse for something, or when some application (for instance, some programs from Microsoft and Adobe) uses non-standard keyboard shortcuts.

But what about GLOBAL shortcuts? What do you do on your Mac (or PC) that you need to do no matter what application is active?

Music Playback

No matter if you use an app like Coversutra or just Quicksilver, once you begin to control iTunes with your fingertips you’ll never want to go back to the old way of stopping what you are doing, switching to iTunes, and picking up where you left off. Quickly muting, rating, and forwarding to the next song is a wonderful way to work without having to stop any flow.

On Macs, what’s worked for me is this:

CTRL+OPTION+(whatever you want here)

I’ve reserved CTRL+OPTION for iTunes functions (with the exception of Omnifocus for spacebar). Want to go forward? That’s CTRL+OPTION+Right Arrow. Rate the currently playing song 3 stars? CTRL+OPTION+3. Playback/Pause? CTRL+OPTION+P. It goes on like that and works for me.

Coversutra Shortcuts - 3/14/09

Keyboard shortcuts in Coversutra

Being able to quickly rate songs like this is essential to bending iTunes to your liking, I’ve argued.

Make some app active

There are some apps that sit in the background all day that you want open, but not active. For me these are typically messaging apps like Adium and Twitterrific. To bring these up, I just hit:

CTRL+OPTION+COMMAND+(whatever you want here)

For instance, to bring up Adium I use CTRL+OPTION+COMMAND+D. For Twitterrific I use CTRL+OPTION+COMMAND+T

Not all apps let you assign a global shortcut like this. For those instances you could build a trigger in Quicksilver. I’ve switched to Launchbar which, unfortunately, doesn’t offer triggers. If you use the site-specific-browser Fluid you can assign each SSB a shortcut like this. I’ve assigned CTRL+OPTION+COMMAND+R to Google Reader to it the active app when it’s running.

Other uses

Global shortcuts like this are really useful for actions you want to take right now. Task apps developers, like the people behind Omnifocus and Things, have made it easy for you to save an idea immediately after hitting a key combo.

The Quick Entry window in Things – by Flickr user Torley


p>If you want to do something quickly and get back to work, think of how you can get a global keyboard shortcut to do it.</p.