Tag Archives: Twitter

Falcon Pro For Twitter Now Available On Play Store

Remember Falcon Pro for Twitter? The amazing Twitter client under development for Android is perhaps the Twitter client that Android needs – beautiful, fast and yet functional.

Today, the developer of the app – Joaquim – has released the final version of Falcon Pro on the Play Store for a mere $1.03. Compared to the beta version of the app, the Play Store version includes more features such as TweetMarker support, lists, the ability to search Twitter via the app and more. The app also makes use of a double-pane sliding UI to provide users with quick access to all the settings and features.

Long time Android users clearly know that there is a serious lack of a decent Twitter client for Android. Most of the Twitter clients in the Play Store look absolutely horrible and/or if they look good, they lack most of the much-needed features.

Falcon Pro not only looks good and is loaded with feature, but is also super-smooth (Scrolling is ridiculously smooth!) on all Android devices and most importantly, is backed by a developer who will not ditch the app. The last part is, perhaps, the most important considering how many Twitter client developers have recently ditched their app, all thanks to the new restrictions and regulations from Twitter.

So, what are you waiting for? Head over to the Play Store and download what is arguably the most promising Twitter client available for Android devices right now.

Skype For Android Update Brings Tablet Optimized Layout; Plume Update Brings Lockscreen Widgets

Last night, the official Skype application for Android was updated to v3.0 that brings about a new layout optimized for Android tablets. The application now features a new layout optimized for 7″ and 10″ Android tablets. Sadly, the updated version of the app will only work in landscape mode on all tablets.

The new update also includes some other changes include an improved audio quality thanks to the use of Skype’s wideband audio codec – SILK. Lastly, the update also adds the ability to sign in to Skype via Microsoft account. The update is already live in the Play Store and can be downloaded from here.

Plume, one of the most popular Twitter clients for Android, also got a bug-squashing update today. Apart from fixing a bunch of bugs and issues, the update brings lock screen widgets for all Android 4.2 users.

 

Below is the full change-log of the update -:

– add a lockscreen widget on Android 4.2
– fix the widget context on Android 4.2
– fix the display of the DM recipient
– fix Facebook timeline not updating in some case
– fix unread list item appearing multiple times
– improve the picture cache coherence
– make Halloween notification sound available all the time

The latest version of Plume can be downloaded from here.

 

Falcon Pro For Twitter – The Twitter Client Android Users Have Been Waiting For?

The Android app ecosystem may not be lacking compared to iOS, as it was before. The Play Store is now filled with some quality apps from top developers that mostly follow the design guidelines laid down by Google.

However, accept it or not, there is still a lack of a decent Twitter client for Android. The official Twitter app for Android is absolutely horrible and slow, while Plume, Tweetcaster and others seem to be designed by a high-school going kid.

Thankfully, the developer of Falcon for Twitter – a full featured Twitter widget – has released a new Twitter client for Android, based on his Twitter widget, Falcon Pro.

The app is still in beta, and does lack certain features that Plume or Tweetcaster have, but it looks much better and polished. The developer has also taken effort to optimize the app for tablets. The app will work on any Android 2.2+ devices.

Falcon Pro for Twitter is still in beta and the APK of the app can be downloaded from this thread on XDA forums. The developer plans release the app on the Play Store after beta testing it for sometime at a nominal price.

Surface with Windows RT: Likes

After an agonizing wait, I finally got a chance to play with my new Surface with Windows RT, or as I will call it for sanity’s sake, Surface RT or simply, Surface. It has been a few days, and I thought instead of writing a full-fledged review, I’d focus on some key likes and a long list of dislikes. Nits that I picked. I discuss the likes here, and dislikes in a second post.

Surface RT

Overall, I really like the device. I was determined to evaluate its use as an iPad replacement in my house. To be clear, in our house, the iPad is used for Facebook, Twitter, web browsing (between my wife and I), and some Netflix/PBS Kids/kid games (our kids, 4 and 6 years old). We are not using the iPad as a computer, or a “creation device”. It is a pure consumption device, unless you call writing a tweet, “creation”.

In that use case, the Surface has ably fit in place of the iPad for the kids. The kids have enough games that they know of, and enough games that are new, that they actually like using the Surface. My wife has not used it much, but that is because at this point of time, she considers the Surface “my baby” so she is almost afraid to some extent, of using it. However, it is only a matter of time :-)

Last night, I saw my kids fight to get to use the Surface. Mind you, we got our second iPad 2 just so they can both have their own. So, despite having two iPads, they preferred to use the Surface. Granted, it could be a novelty thing, but still, it bodes well for me that they are actually liking the device with all its oddities, like the 16:9 aspect ratio.

I replaced my iPad too, almost

As for me, the Surface has almost replaced the iPad. The big gap at this point? Twitter app! I like Tweetro, but because of their recent issue with API token limit, I was unable to sign in on the Surface despite having used it (extensively) on my Windows 8 desktop. The other two big names, Rowi and MetroTwit are both far behind what I would call a basic Twitter experience, so to me they are unusable. I am forced to use the People app and Twitter website meanwhile, and that makes for a highly sub-optimal experience for a “power user” like yours truly.

The other small issue which makes me use the iPad when the PC is not being used, is access to my work email and calendar. My work has an app which allows me to access Exchange with native iOS mail, calendar and reminders apps. They haven’t yet provisioned it for Windows 8/RT.

Besides those two missing pieces, I am extremely happy with the device. I haven’t yet experienced some of the performance issues that many others have experienced, nor have I found any major app missing. It is thin enough, and light enough for me to use it like I used my iPad. (Important to note, my iPad has a strong Speck case which makes the iPad feel heavier.)

Windows 8 (and Windows RT)

Some part of why I like the Surface so much is due to Windows 8. For example, all my settings including my lock screen image, theme, pinned websites, favorites, web history, etc. automatically came through as I signed in with my Microsoft account. This is because I had set up my account and settings on my desktop PC earlier and set it up so all those settings were synced across devices via the cloud.

Also, thanks to Xbox Music Match, a service that is yet to officially roll out but works anyway, all my music was available on the Surface as soon as I signed in with my Microsoft account. This includes some playlists I created just the day before. Again, this is because my music was matched from my desktop PC (which in turn is connected to my home server where all my music, photos and videos are stored). In addition, I was able to impress some of my family members by searching for and playing a bunch of songs on-demand via the Xbox Music subscription service. While I have the Xbox Music Pass, the unlimited streaming (with some, ahem, limits) is automatically included with all Windows 8 and Windows RT devices.

The last thing I want to mention why I love the Surface and why I replaced my iPad with it? Office. I use Excel and Word in addition to OneNote, for various purposes. Things like tracking expenses, creating birthday lists, sending formal letters, etc. are all done on Excel, Word and OneNote. Having “real” Office on my tablet with a constant sync to SkyDrive (which allows me to collaborate with my wife for some of those items) is a huge benefit. Not what I would call the #1 reason to buy a Surface, but definitely a huge plus when considering a Surface over an iPad.

Suffice to say, I really like my Surface. I think it is money well spent, for my use of such a device. Having said that, there are issues I have with the device and I list them in my next post.

Official Twitter and Facebook Apps For Android Updated; Still Sucky As Ever!

Last night, the official Twitter for Android app and the Facebook for Android app got major updates. The Twitter For Android update brings with it quite a few changes aimed at improving the ‘tweeting’ experience of Android users. Sadly, the app’s UI is still nowhere near the Holo guidelines laid down by Google.

 

Even then, the update adds support for Photo Streams, inline preview of photos, videos and articles and more. Below is the full change-log of the update -:

See what’s popular on Discover.
– Tweets now appear right in the stream
– These Tweets show photo, video, and article previews so you can engage easily
Get a new perspective when you search.
– Photo streams show what’s happening
– Results also show media previews
Manage your account with ease.
– Reset your password in a few simple steps
Other improvements and fixes.

The latest update for the Facebook app also brings quite a lot of new features. Sadly, the update does not bring the native version of the app that Facebook promised it is working on, quite sometime ago.

The most important change brought about by the update is the ability to share any news feed item on your timeline with your friends, which has been long requested by both Android and iOS owners. Other changes include the ability to create an album from the Photos tab on Timeline, and some other bug fixes.

The update is already live in the Play Store and can be downloaded from here.

Tweetro Forced To Pull Out of Windows Store After Hitting Twitter’s User Token Limit

Following the harsher rules imposed by Twitter on third-party developers, Tweetro has been forced to pull their app from the Windows Store as they have reached their token limit of 100,000.

Since Windows 8’s launch on October 26th, the app saw a massive spike in users, getting 3-4k downloads each day. From Windows 8 Release Preview to now, the app has received over 200,000 downloads. However, in the process, they hit their user token limit and are now uncertain of the future of the app. Here’s the email sent out to users by Atta Elayyan, the co-founder of Lazyworm Applications on November 10th (as reported by Windows Observer):

Since the official launch of Windows 8, we’ve seen a massive spike in downloads.  We are averaging around 3-4K downloads a day and have had well over 200K downloads since Tweetro launched on ‘Release Preview’.  Unfortunately, we’ve been victims of our own success as it appears that the app is now being blocked by Twitter due to the new Token limitations.

The app is now completely crippled and users cannot get past the OAuth screen as they are presented with an error ‘Cannot connect to service’.  We were under the impression that Twitter wasn’t going to enforce the token limits until March next year (when all 3rd party apps are required to migrate to the new API’s) however this doesn’t seem to be the case.

We have reached out to Twitter for confirmation however we haven’t heard back yet.

The future of Tweetro is uncertain at this stage but it’s likely that it will be pulled from the Windows Store until we can figure out the best way moving forward.  At this stage, we are considering to add further polish to Tweetro and re-launch it as an exclusive ‘premium’ paid app.  We would have been more than happy to continue distributing Tweetro for free as the exposure we’ve been receiving from it has been fantastic however being limited by twitter to a maximum of 100,000 users would mean we’d have to justify development via financial means.

We hope that there is a way around the token limitations, at least until the official Twitter app is available on Windows 8 however it seems that Twitter is taking a strong stance on this issue.

We’ll aim to have further announcements in the coming days with regards to what people can expect from future iterations of the app.

In the mean time, for those who are enjoying Tweetro we recommend that they refrain from uninstalling the app, removing accounts from within the app or revoking access from Twitter as there is no method accessing OAuth in its current state.

Today, they dropped the news that they’re pulling the app from the Windows Store entirely while they mull over its future. Twitter’s latest stance towards third-party developers and apps has caused quite a fair amount of outrage from the tech community, and rightfully so. To many users, third-party clients provide a far more favorable experience than Twitter’s own website and apps.

It’s only a matter of time now until other Twitter clients reach their own respective user token limits.

Skydrive Pictures Now Showing Inline on Twitter

Looks like there is some close work Microsoft is doing with Twitter. In addition to announcing a Windows Phone 8-specific Twitter application coming with Windows Phone 8, looks like the behind-the-scenes work is complete for showing SkyDrive pictures inline on Twitter.

If you use a Windows Phone and share pictures natively (select a picture > share > Twitter), it uploads the picture to SkyDrive and then publishes the SkyDrive link to Twitter along with the tweet message. Below is an example:

Tweet with SkyDrive picture link
Tweet with SkyDrive picture link

Until now, that “View Photo” link was not visible and as a result, expanding the tweet would not show the photo. In order to see the photo you’d have to click on the link which would take you to SkyDrive’s website and open it there. Compared to inline, that was a bad experience.

Now, you can see the picture inline by just clicking on “View Photo” as I did here:

SkyDrive picture inline on Twitter
SkyDrive picture inline on Twitter

It doesn’t look like SkyDrive pictures are integrated into Twitter’s “Recent Images” section on the profile page yet. Hopefully the Image Gallery update will roll out soon as well.

Regardless, it is a good thing that Twitter (with or without Microsoft) has worked out the technical stuff to make SkyDrive pictures show up inline. After all, we know that SkyDrive now has 200 million users and stores 11 billion photos so it is not a small operation. With Windows 8 and Windows RT (along with, of course, Windows Phone 8) relying heavily on SkyDrive as the personal cloud of choice, the usage will only go up.

A final note, given that Twitter’s iOS and Android apps behave much like the website, I suppose these pictures from SkyDrive will also show inline in those apps, although I have not been able to confirm that.

The Saudi Populace Discovers the Free Speech Capabilities of Twitter

The Arab world is seeing a massive power shift, so much so that there is a specific term for it — the Arab Spring. This geopolitical region has seen a massive uprising, and archaic governments have been overthrown in numerous Arab countries over the last few years. While a large part of this revolution is driven by real-life demonstrations and protests, there is another face of this revolution being held on the Internet via Twitter.

twitter-bird

Twitter is known for its transparency and free speech, and people from the world over are leveraging this powerful platform to voice their opinions and concerns. Saudi Arabia is not untouched by the power of Twitter, and there has been open criticism of the royal family of Saudi Arabia on Twitter recently — something that no one had dared to do in the past.

The New York Times says,

Unlike other media, Twitter has allowed Saudis to cross social boundaries and address delicate subjects collectively and in real time, via shared subject headings like “Saudi Corruption” and “Political Prisoners,” known in Twitter as hashtags. With so many people writing mostly under their real names — there are some 2.9 million users in the kingdom, according to one recent study, and it is the world’s fastest-growing Twitter zone.

Saudi Arabia has its own whistleblower on Twitter, who goes by the name of “Mujtahidd “. This account has leaked numerous incidents of corruption in the country, especially related to the royal family. The Saudi government has tried its level best to restrict free speech by banning numerous topics of conversation in public or print media, but their lack of control over Twitter does not provide for regulatory means that they would like to enjoy, and this makes Twitter their nemesis.

Clearly, Saudi Arabia is geared up for a revolution, and Twitter is playing a decisive role in it.

Twitter Acquires Cabana, A Mobile App Platform

Twitter has acquired Cabana, a mobile app development platform, which specializes in making social apps for Facebook and Twitter. Cabana has a popular product called Fan Page Mobilizer which lets small businesses convert their Facebook pages into a new mobile website in just a few easy steps.

Twitter could use Cabana’s team to develop offerings targeted at enterprises and small businesses to attract them to its platform, and eventually monetize them using its new ad offerings.

Cabana has announced this in an official blog post, and like all such acquisitions, this will mean the end of all development on its existing products. Cabana has stated that they will be building tools that will help developers create apps for Twitter and contribute to its ecosystem.

“We are writing today with some exciting news: Cabana has been acquired by Twitter and our team is #JoiningTheFlock!

We built Cabana because we are passionate about empowering people to develop interactive content in new and innovative ways. That same passion for innovation and the democratization of content creation is also shared by the amazing team at Twitter.

Over the past few months, we’ve gotten to know the Twitter team and discovered the tremendous amount of technological synergy and alignment of our visions. The more we explored this synergy, the more excited we became about joining forces and working together.

Starting today we will be joining Twitter’s platform team, and will build tools to help third-party developers create new experiences on Twitter and empower the larger Twitter ecosystem.

This means that we will no longer be offering Cabana as a standalone mobile app development environment.

Cabana will be shutting down on December 1st 2012. If you have any questions about our rolldown, please email us at [email protected]

Rest assured that the ideas and passion behind Cabana will live on, albeit in a slightly different form – at Twitter!

We want to thank all of you, from our users and investors to our family and friends, who made this journey possible.

We’re excited for what the future with Twitter holds!”

via Techcrunch

TweetDeck Updated, Finally Gets a Light Theme

If you are a Twitter power user, then the web interface is hardly going to cut it for you. Unfortunately, with Twitter actively discouraging new apps that replicate core functionality, the choices for the power user are not many, and they seem to get slimmer by the day as existing apps get acquired (e.g. Hootsuite acquiring Seesmic) or cease active development. TweetDeck is not just among the oldest, but also among the most flexible Twitter apps out there. When Twitter acquired TweetDeck last year, there were fears that it might languish under Twitter’s control. Thankfully, that doesn’t appear to be the case.

Towards the end of last year, TweetDeck was rewritten to get rid of Adobe AIR dependency and improve performance in the process. Since then, the TweetDeck team has been rolling out minor improvements on a regular basis. A short while back, TweetDeck pushed out its second major update since being acquired by Twitter.

TweetDeck-Light-Theme

If you are not a big fan of the dark look of TweetDeck, there is good news for you. The new version features a light theme, which is frankly is a lot more pleasing to look at. There are minor interface improvements everywhere, and the tweets themselves have been reformatted to adhere to Twitter’s mantra of consistency. You also get the option to change font sizes – Small (13pt), Medium (14pt) or Large (15pt). However, columns are still not resizable and tweets are still not expandable.

TweetDeck has been updated for all supported platforms other than iOS, which means web, Chrome, Mac and Windows.

Android App Updates – Chrome, Twitter and Pocket Get Bug-Fixing Feature Filled Updates

Over the last one week or so, quite a lot of Android apps have got some major updates. Last week, Google released a major update for Chrome for Android. The latest version of Chrome for Android (v18) packs some major security and stability improvements, including a major sandboxing feature rewrite for better protection against malicious websites.

Below is the full change-log of the M18.1 update -:

This version update includes a number of security and stability improvements. Additional highlights
-Location preference now integrated to system level Google apps location setting.
-Youtube videos controls now work in full screen mode; videos continue playing after a screen lock/unlock
-Fixes to make third-party IMEs work better with Chrome

Last night, Twitter also released a major update for the official Twitter clients on all platforms. The v3.4 update for the Android version does not bring many new features or UI enhancements, except for the addition of a new cover photo like feature as in Facebook.

The full change-log is below -:

– New profiles with header photos
– Photo streams on profiles and events
– Pinch-to-zoom on photos
– Search suggestions for people, topics and hashtags
– Improved protected account management including the ability to accept or deny follower requests
– Other improvements, polish, and fixes

Lastly, Pocket (formerly Read It Later) also released an update for the Android version of their app that allows the users to listen to their articles saved in Pocket. There are tons of other bug-fixes as well.

New:
– Listen: Pocket can read your articles to you using Android’s Text-To-Speech feature
Updated:
– Manage Site Subscription feature now working on all versions of Android
– Improved full screen animation in Reader
– Disabled URL shortener when sharing to Evernote
– Minor UI updates
Fixed:
– ZTE Blade crash when opening an article
– Blank help screen on Jelly Bean
– After marking a link to “Read Later” inside an article, Archiving/Favoriting would affect the wrong link
– Minor bug fixes

The ability to listen to your saved articles in Pocket via Android’s text-to-speech system is really handy. If you have not already, it’s high time you start using Pocket to read articles in your free time.

Twitter Beats Facebook in Mobile Ad Revenue, Google Dominates

eMarketer has released a new report which outlines the state of the mobile advertising market in the U.S. According to the agency, the U.S. mobile ad market will be worth $2.6 billion in 2012. Most of the value will be captured by Google, which will account for around 56% of all mobile ad sales, or nearly $1.45 billion. The other two major players are Facebook and Twitter. Surprisingly, despite being much larger than Twitter, Facebook is expected to generate only around half as much in mobile ad revenue.

Twitter is expected to make around $129.7 million, while Facebook will generate $72.7 million. This highlights the problems Facebook is facing in trying to generate revenue by monetizing its massive mobile audience, which has been one of the major factors driving its stock price down.

Eventually, we expect Facebook to figure out the mobile monetization puzzle, and become the second largest player in the mobile ad space after Google. The report expects that to happen as soon as next year.

Facebook could also lead the mobile display ad market by 2014, which is currently led by Pandora and Google. While the mobile search ad market will be dominated by Google completely, the mobile display ad market will be more balanced in terms of players.

The entire mobile ad market is expected to be worth $11.86 billion in 2016. If Facebook figures out a way to capitalize on this, its share price would rebound just as quickly as it fell. Google will try its best to continue to dominate the market though. It’s highly likely it’ll succeed in the mobile search ad space, but not social or display ads.

Twitter Based Earthquake Detection System Puts Behind Sensor Based Systems in Detection Time

The US Geological Survey (USGS) has created an earthquake detection system based on Twitter alerts. The system was being developed as a pet project by a student, and the USGS funded it later with funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Clearly, the USGS saw a good future prospect in the project, and the funding is beginning to prove fruitful.

During the recent earthquakes in Philippines, the USGS’ Twitter Earthquake Detection (TED) system was able to give early warnings, much before any of the sensor-based systems in place. This is groundbreaking, as sensor-based systems take anything between 2 to 20 minutes to detect an earthquake, but the TED system is almost instant. The official page for TED describes it as,

@USGSted  (USGS Tweet Earthquake Dispatch) distributes alerts for earthquakes worldwide with magnitudes of 5.5 and above. We may modify this criteria in the future to tweet alerts for more earthquakes of potential interest. @USGSted earthquake tweets contain a magnitude descriptor, location, origin time, and a link to the USGS webpage with the most recent information about the event.

In the recent Philippines earthquake, the TED system detected tweets and the location of the earthquake in just one minutes and seven seconds. Systems like TED are good for augmenting traditional earthquake detection systems based on sensors. However, they also suffer the risk of being gamed by an overwhelming amount of tweets crying wolf.

This reminds me of an XKCD comic.

seismic_waves

You can follow the TED twitter account for latest earthquake warnings. Also read how Twitter is being used for emergency calls in Japan.

Twitter Launches Interest Targeting for Advertisers

Twitter has launched a new feature for advertisers called Interest Targeting. This new capability enables advertisers to target and advertise to the entire user base of Twitter, which is now over 140 million monthly active users through promoted tweets and promoted accounts, based on specific sets of interests.

You can either select from 350 different interest categories to target, or you can target precise sets of users by specifying a @username and targeting users which are similar to that user’s followers in terms of demographic profiles and interests.

Twitter has also lowered the minimum bid for ad auctions to one cent, which should increase participation while the auction format ensures that the ad rates stay competitively high.

Twitter is expected to earn hundreds of millions of dollars in ad revenue this year. With offerings like these, it is positioning itself as a premium advertising destination for advertisers looking to reach users based on their interests and preferences. Unlike Facebook, it may not face the pressures of being a public company just yet, but it still has to eventually become a wildly profitable company to justify its massive valuation.

You can create your Twitter Ad Campaigns here: Start Advertising – Twitter for Business

via Twitter

Twitter Removes ‘via’ Stamp, No Longer Display the Client Name

You can no more show off your favourite Twitter client on Twitter’s website as the social networking company has decided to no longer display the client name from which you have posted your tweets.

If you had observed closely, every tweet that loads up on your timeline had a little information stamp called ‘via’ that displayed the name of the client from which the user had tweeted. For instance, if it was done using a smartphone app like UberSocial, it would show at the bottom of the tweet as “via UberSocial.” Now, Twitter has removed this feature, and this has disappointed several developers.

In effect, Twitter has already disabled this for several tweeting clients, ensuring that their name no longer appears on the Tweet. This unexpected change was first noticed by IFTTT Platform Lead John Sheehan on App.net, and was followed up the The Next Web.

Twitter is more concerned about the reading experience and wants users to use first-party clients rather that third-party clients like Tweetbot, or Seesmic.

Twitter

This change from Twitter doesn’t stop users from using third-party clients, however, at a developer’s point of view, this is really disappointing. Not only the developers, but user also relied on this little feature to showcase that the tweet was sent from their favorite Twitter client.

One of the many reasons why Twitter introduced the ‘via’ stamp in first place was to generate interest between developers to develop clients for Twitter and increase Twitter posts and interactions easily. In a way, these little Twitter clients has made the social network so popular today, and Twitter here seems to be playing a dirty game. Users may not be affected much due to this change, but developers are the ones who will be affected hugely. And the only reason why this particular change has made into news is because of the woes of developers.

Earlier this month, Tumblr had faced problems over Twitter’s new API rules. Twitter revoked the friend-finding privilege from Tumblr, and it was the worst that Tumblr could expect. In a statement the company said that Twitter isn’t playing fair, and this move from Twitter is very upsetting.

Instagram too faced similar such problems, and removed the find friends feature from its service after Twitter revoked the API. With this, Twitter is making sure that app developers get less visibility on the website.

Following the new API rules, yesterday,  Tapbots pulled the alpha version of Tweetbot for Mac, reports Tuaw.