Twitter for Mac, Worth the Wait?

What happens when a user base that has been begging a developer everyday since they shipped version 1.0 for a version 2.0 release finally gets the 2.0 version? Well, there is a lot of rejoicing followed by a general feeling of being let down. At least that is how it has played out for Twitter for Mac (aka Tweetie 2.0).

Screen shot 2011-01-10 at 9.40.38 PM.png

In this review the only time you will see me write ‘HIG’ is in this sentence.

Real-Time

When I did my Tweetie competitor round up a while back I found that a lot of new Twitter clients are providing access to the ‘streaming API’, giving you a ‘real-time’ Twitter feed. Now instead of checking every 10 minutes you get tweets as they are sent out. In theory this sounds great, but when I tested most other apps I hated it.

I still dislike it. I like to read all tweets that come through my feed and Twitter for Mac’s real-time streaming of tweets means that I am constantly reading tweets — real-time tweets are very distracting. I much preferred checking only 5-6 times and hour, not 30-40 times to read 1 or 2 tweets at a time. (On another note turn off that auto scroll to the top crap [there's an option for it] — that is a massive place loser.)

For me I have found that the best way to work with Tweetie 2 is to leave the window closed while you work and check on our own schedule. This is the complete opposite of how I worked with Tweetie 1, but I asked for Tweetie 2 1 so this is a minor thing to complain about. 2

Hidden Features

By now I am sure that a good many of your have heard that Twitter for Mac has a ‘super secret’ preference pane that you can enable if you bought into the MacHiest Bundle. 3 To be honest I would still be using Tweetie 1 if it was not for this menu.

You can see the menu options here:

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You can see the options that I have checked. For me the critical option is ‘ESC closes compose windows’. The option that I would hate to not have is: Type Anywhere. Type anywhere is a great feature for Tweetie to implement.

Dragging the Window

Much has been made about the difficulty that people have when they need to move the window. There is no title bar on the app, so grabbing the window at the top won’t work. You need to click the black areas along the left side — but only in the black areas that don’t have actionable click zones. 4

[Updated: 1/11/11 at 9:06 AM] Actually even clicking on the buttons on the black sidebar (as long as you hold the click) will allow you to move the window — nice touch.

Is this annoying? Yes.

Do you get over it after 5 minutes? Yep.

I guess my question is this: how often are you moving this window? I find a place that I like it and there is stays. If you are someone that constantly moves stuff around I am sure that you would get used to it after a bit. Either way this issue has been way over blown.

Direct Messages

I have a love-hate relationship with the direct message implementation on Twitter for Mac. On the one hand I love that it has auto completion for usernames when you start a new DM, and that it asks specifically if you want a new DM or Public Reply — that is always good.

What I hate is two fold:

  1. The flow is backwards. In the Twitter stream new stuff is at the top, old near the bottom. In the DM view the opposite is true. Don’t change that up within the same app, I mean read the HI… (oh yeah never mind). 5 It would make sense to put the new DMs on the bottom if you responded with from a text box on the bottom, but you don’t. You respond in a window that isn’t even really connected to the DM list.
  2. Why do my sent messages display at the top of all the DM conversations? What could I possibly want with that view? Seriously, this makes no sense to me.

These aren’t deal breakers, but they certainly annoy the crap out of me.

Searches

Tweetie used to auto check for new search results — one of the better features of the app. Twitter for Mac doesn’t do jack to check for new results until you click on the saved search. Guess what Twitter? I save searches because — wait for it — I want to revisit them to see what new results are there. Foreign concept I am sure.

I just can’t fathom why you wouldn’t update saved searches, even hourly would be great.

Indicators

You know what sucks? The dock indicators that Mac 10.6 uses on the 3D dock that runs along the bottom. You know what the new tweet indicators in Twitter for Mac look like? Yeah, they are not so great.

Perhaps it is my advanced age, but they are very difficult to notice. I keep wanting them to be brighter and just pop a little more. Especially for the Twitter account that is not active (if you use more than one account you know what I mean).

t.co BS

I get adding auto shortening using Twitter’s super short t.co URLs. What I don’t get is shortening my already short URLs (like TBR.mx and d.pr), that kind of stuff is just lame. 6

Free

I must have complained a lot about wanting Tweetie 2.0 because I have never gotten so many app recommendations from people before (thanks BTW). I feel pretty confident in saying that I have tried most all Twitter apps available for the Mac. And even with the annoyances that Twitter for Mac brings there are a few things that you just can’t argue with:

  1. It is beautiful looking.
  2. It is free.
  3. It interfaces with Twitter perfectly.

Take it from a guy who has spent a lot of time with other Twitter clients: Twitter for Mac may have annoyances, but they are minor in comparison to what the others apps are missing.

  1. A lot.
  2. I have plenty of other complaints.
  3. Said bundle promised buyers an advance copy of Tweetie 2.0.
  4. Spots that do stuff when you click them.
  5. Also I don’t even know what is in the H*G.
  6. I call on Ian Hines to elaborate on this.
Originally posted for members on: January 11, 2011
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