In a sea of desktop Twitter clients, Nambu for the Mac stood out to me. It was a native OSX application which means it wasn’t written on top of a bloated, cross-platform platform like Adobe Air. It performed splendidly while not hogging system resources.
But alas, all good things must come to an end. I randomly stumbled across the Nambu homepage and saw this message:
Unfortunately, we are sad to announce that Nambu is no longer being actively developed. There will be no more updates, as everyone on the Nambu team has moved on to other projects.
We would like to thank everyone for their past support and suggestions.
All the best.
Apparently they put this up in the middle of March. Nambu is still available for download (and still works for that matter) but I expect to see it crap out in a spectacular fashion some day down the line. What are some of your favorite Twitter apps for the desktop?
Finally, a toolbar I might actually use. Digg unveiled their new toolbar/URL shortner today, though it’s not a toolbar in the traditional sense. Instead of downloading an add-on all you have to do is add digg.com/ to the front of the URL you’re currently viewing. How clever is that? The service will take you to a shortened URL, suitable for sharing on Twitter, as well as bringing all the goodness of Digg into a subtle, compact toolbar above the page. From there you can digg or submit a story, view comments from other diggers, bury the story, see related stories or peruse random stories that have already made the front page of Digg.com. Your Facebook and Twitter friends don’t have to be out of the loop since share buttons for the two services are also included. Check out the video below for a demo:
I really like this new feature which aims to take on Stumbleupon and tinyURL at the same time. To make it even easier to use I wrote a bookmarklet that you can use to add digg.com/ to the front of any URL with the click of a button. Just like a real toolbar! To use it drag the link below to your bookmark toolbar. Update: Nevermind, you’re probably better off using the official DiggBar bookmarklet.
Grant Robertson and Christina Warren are both Weblogsinc (now AOL) bloggers and new media junkies. So it shouldn’t be any surprise when the couple got engaged via Twitter today (her reaction). Now this is obviously something Grant had been planning and he just couldn’t wait for his precious Christina to return home to Atlanta from San Fransisco where she is covering the Macworld Expo. But come on dude! At least wait to do it in person and record it on video (like a certain someone). Just imagine the grand kids reaction when you tell them you popped the question on Twitter:
“Twitter? Only old farts used Twitter”
“You whippersnappers! It’s what we did back then!”
It seems like just yesterday that Twitter was an unknown start-up with a quirky idea. Now Twitter is definitely mainstream. News of the recent account hackings made the headlines of CNN.com. Apparently someone hacked into internal support tools used by Twitter to help their users. The hacker then tweeted from 33 prominent accounts including foxnews, barackobama, britneyspears and even CNN’s own ricksanchezcnn.
Screenshots of the defaced accounts can be seen in this Flickr pool.
This is in addition to a Twitter phishing attempt that happened over the weekend. When your site becomes the target of nefarious attacks then you know you have reached the big time.
Twitter may be the king of the 140 character-limit hill but with it being down more than it is up, it is nice to have options. Pownce was seen as a possible “Twitter killer” offering a more stylish interface and a bevy of additional features like nested replies (keeping conversations neat and tidy) and embedded media options. But it says something when one of the main people behind Pownce, Kevin Rose, flings his Twitter address all over the place. It’s a real shame because Pownce is better organized and even includes a business model. Too bad it’s a virtual ghost town compared to the fluttering Twitter community.
Plurk is a similar service with a unique visual twist. Instead of reading your messages in a linear stream, Plurk displays your correspondents on an attractive timeline. Each Plurk can be directly responded to like a mini-forum eliminating the barrage of @ responses that comes with Twitter. Taking a page from Facebook’s status update feature, Plurk lets you specify an action like “is”, “likes”, “thinks” etc. which are uniquely colored similiar to the popular Twitter mashup Twistori. The site tips the scale when it comes to AJAX effects with lots of fading modal windows but provides a rich experience for consuming the stream of information presented before you.
The two most unique features that Plurk brings to the game are Cliques and Karma.
Cliques in Plurk are just like Cliques in real-life: an exclusive group of people. Plurk lets you separate your friends into different groups so you can better filter messages coming to you. Cliques also let you send out a message to a certain group of people so you can keep your messages to your family hidden from your group of co-workers.
Karma is a community status indicator so you can easily spot the active members from the passive on-lookers. Your score is calculated every day and is influenced by you and your friends Plurk activity as well as friend referrals. It’s a pretty clever idea by the site creators to help build buzz by giving a useless number to try and grow. Think of it like a score in a video game.
Plurk is still missing an open API so other people can build apps on top of the service and mobile support so people can send Plurks in while they are out and about. But Pownce was in the same boat when it first launched and adding those features hardly helped it’s market share. The real test will be if Plurk can attract the hordes of Twitter followers because microblogging services like this are only useful if the people you know (or want to know) are part of the game.
Twitter has been facing all kinds of problems lately. In light of this I figured I would share this funny Twitter exchange between Jason Calacanis and Stu Maschwitz I happened to capture a screenshot of several weeks ago.
There are many web services and tools that can be used with Twitter. Such oddball web service/Twitter mashups include TrackThis which sends you a twitter message every time the status of a package you are tracking changes, and Timer which helps act like an alarm for things you need a reminder about. But I just stumbled across Fuelfrog which is one of the more useful collaborations.
Fuelfrog provides a simple service allowing you to track your cars mileage per gallon as well as the average price you pay at the pump. Using their website you enter 3 things: the miles you traveled since your last fill up, the price you paid per gallon, and the total number of gallons you bought. Fuelfrog will then tally your findings and provide you with some handy specifics over time. I only started using the tool today but the site will tell you the frequency you are filling up, the average MPG your car gets and the average price per gallon you are paying. In the future they hope to let you compare your performance to other vehicles to see how you are doing.
This simple tool comes in handy for tracking the performance of your car. My parents used to do this manually by writing down the mileage from the trip odometer onto the gas receipt and do the number crunching later at home. But thanks to Twitter integration I can ditch the pen and paper and simply tweet my gas stats straight to Fuelfrog. After providing my twitter username (kingkool68) I can now send a tweet from my phone to @fuelfrog with the miles, price per gallon, and total purchase amount in that order. A handy nemonic is MPG – Miles, Price, Gallons. There is also a Windows Mobile app if you want to be lazy about it.
I’m going to be using this over the next couple of weeks to see if I notice any patterns about my fueling habits. At the very least I can look back and remember when gas used to only be $3.71 a gallon!
This past weekend I had the great pleasure of attending the very first PodCamp DC. PodCamp is a new media unconference, meaning the participants decide the schedule of events and topics on the day of the conference rather than in advance. There was quite a diverse set of topics ranging from the nuts and bolts of podcasting in Podcasting 101 to an interactive discussion on the future of Social Media and New Journalism. The attendees were just as diverse as the topics from the young techies like myself all the way up to retired grandparents.
One thing that really surprised me was the number of senior citizens at the event. I saw a guy typing away on his Acer laptop running Ubuntu and another lady who looked to be a grandmother wearing a Red Hat Linux baseball cap. I thought the people that attended these things were mostly young computer nerds though I was pleasantly surprised to see people of all gender, color and creed.
Her Flip video camera (atleast that is what I think it is) matched her glasses.
Probably the most insightful talk of the conference was given by Gretchen Vogelzang of the MommyCast. She talked about how her and a friend turned a simple podcast about motherhood into a six-figure business attracting big name advertisers like Dixie, National Geographic, and Warner Independent films. Gretchen and Paige put a lot of research into their work and it shows with a loyal following that rivals that of a major media property.
Gretchen Vogelzang gave on of the best talks of the conference about how the MommyCast got where it is today.
Social Media and New Journalism was a great talk with old media veterans Jim Long (NBC News) and Andy Carvin (NPR) discussing how new media was shaking things up in the traditional news space. They covered the mass propagation of information via Twitter citing the recent Illinois earthquake which quickly spread around the Twitterverse before any traditional news team even had a clue about what was going on.
New tools like Qik let you stream live video over the Internet from your cell phone. While the quality is low there is the ability for people watching the stream to chat and send comments straight to the cell phone creating a new dynamic between producer and consumer. You can see their whole talk which as recorded using Qik below.
Another product mentioned called Utterz lets you call a phone number and leave a voicemail which will be converted and uploaded to the Internet and pushed out as a podcast. Interactive tools like Qik and Utterz make covering an event in near-realtime a possibility.
This dynamic duo talked about how New Media is disrupting journalism. They demoed Qik and Utterz and sparked lots of good ideas from the packed crowd. See the footage from their talk below.
When lots of geeks get together, a gadget meet-and-greet is sure to happen. I saw a Nokia N810 Internet tablet and Asus Eee PC. Both were small, portable devices for surfing the web in a Wifi-heavy area.
Lots of gadget gawking going on at a geekfest like PodCampDC
The rest of the time was about meeting new people and trading ideas. I helped answer a few questions for a guy named Andrew who wanted to run a blog and video podcast all from his Blackberry. Using WordPress and Postie he can accomplish this as he travels around the country. Everyone seemed to be all abuzz about Twitter and I found a few more people to follow although it is getting harder and harder to keep up with all of my followers. I think I will be cutting back some.
There was so much discussion and exchange of ideas going on.
All in all, PodCamp DC was light on content but heavy on people. I heard a few complaints about the lack of technical podcasting instruction like the New Media Expo of late last year, but that’s what you get with a free, local conference. I know there will be a whole lot more presentations next year! I still had a great time hanging out with fellow web nerds.
You can see the rest of the photos from the day on my Flickr page. And if you want to see all of the pictures from the event just search for the tag ‘podcampdc‘
If you missed out on this unconference, there is the Social Dev Camp East coming up in 3 weeks. It is on May 10th, 2008, in Baltimore. I’ll be there and if you’ll be there do say hello.
I have been playing with Air apps for the last couple of months while the product was still in beta. There are a lot of clever applications that are more like widgets then conventional full-blown desktop programs. For example, the Adobe sample app PixelPerfect was a simple ruler overlay letting you measure anything on your screen. This little tool comes in handy for web development where there aren’t any rulers on the side or measuring tools like in Photoshop. Powerhouse auction site eBay created their own Air app that banishes the concept of refreshing the page so bidders can watch their auctions in real time. But perhaps the biggest crowd of Air apps belongs to Twitter clients. Thwirl, Spaz, Tweetr, and Snitter are just a handful.
I thought John Ballinger had let his Twitter client, Tweetr, go to pasture without an update since the end of November. With each new Air beta release more functionality would break edging me towards Jonathan Snook’s Snitter. But alas, Tweetr is alive again with version 3.0 launching today to coincide with the official Air release. I’m happy as a clam to have my favorite Twitter client back and to see so many great ideas that have seemingly sprung out of Air.