Tag Archive | "twitter"

Did ASUS just poke the Macbook too hard?

Tags: , , ,

The use of this Shutterstock image might have just landed ASUS in trouble and it might cost them more than the €79.50  it cost to download the image from Shutterstock.  While they’re not in trouble with Shutterstock as far as I can see, they appear to have changed an image such that it misrepresents an Apple product. That’s the last company you want to be doing that with!

B_5PtXAVIAAdDya (2)

Read the full story

Twitter Clients for Netbooks and UMPCs

Tags: , ,

Note: This post will update as new solutions are found. Bookmark and check back regularly for updates. The RSS feed for the comments on this post is also worth subscribing too. You can follow me at @chippy and the website @umpcportal

You know the problem. You install a fully featured application on a 1024×600 screen and there are so many status and info bars that you end up with a tiny space in the middle of the screen for content. The same occurs with web pages. Google docs are a classic example of a web app that leaves too much screen space unused. Then there’s the problem of memory usage. With 1GB of memory you need to be careful. A fully featured app running on .net or Adobe Air can easily use 10-20% of your free memory. Even web apps and plugins can take huge amounts of memory. Finally, there’s the CPU problem. Web apps are the killer here and it’s not uncommon to be locked out of your PC while a big AJAX-heavy web site fills the screen. Netbooks and UMPCs need efficient apps.

I’m usually very careful with my ultra mobile PC builds and tend to run XP Home with very few background apps running in order to leave as much as possible for my work suite. I use GTalk as my mail and IM notifier and of course, Firefox might as well be in my startup folder too because it will be running within seconds of me booting the device but apart from that, I don’t run anything other than the standard build software.  Apart from a twitter client…

I’ve been testing a number of Twitter clients to try and find the most efficient (based on the criteria above) solution. You’ll probably have your own thoughts and favorites and this post is just as much a stimulus for your comments as it is a tip-list so please help us all by adding your experiences int he comments section below.

My Top 5  Twitter clients for netbooks and UMPCs.

Echofon stretchedEchofon – Firefox plugin. An extremely lightweight plugin that takes a very small amount of memory, sits quietly in the status bar and offers 3 tabs (Friends, Mentions, Messages) of 6 tweets of variable size (see image) when clicked. Each tab is scrollable and everything can be controlled using keyboard shortcuts.  The refresh rate is adjustable as is the notification sound. There are the usual reply, retweet (both types) and a handy button for pulling the current tab URL into a tweet. It supports multiple accounts and you can change the font size too. Missing is list support, the ability to limit notifications to mentions and messages (useful if you follow tons of people like me) and URL shortening.

iTweet.net – Web-based client. Light on memory and CPU with a nice format for a 600-pixel wide screen. The great thing about iTweet is that it’s very feature-rich and it offers the user a great layout of basic and extend-able information areas. It includes automatic updating although I don’t see any way that you can set it to notify via pop-up or sound. There’s also no way to collapse the input and sidebar which limits the screen space slightly but for for the memory and CPU footprint, it’s one of the best featured solutions I’ve found. A Chrome tab running iTweet takes between 25 and 35MB of RAM which is about 1/3rd of what Tweetdeck takes.

Note: The above two solutions appear to complement each other well. One, a simple notifier and the other, a great web-based search, list and research tool.

Hootsuite – Web based client. This one is for the power user! It’s a huge web application with features that I haven’t even tested out yet. Multi-column and multi-tab support with search, lists, notifications, stats and support for multiple social networks including Facebook and Ping.fm. It’s got everything you would expect from a fully featured client. It certainly takes some CPU to get the application running but once it’s stable and you’ve collapsed the status box and gone full-screen with the browser it provides a good working area. 36MB – 70MB in a Chrome tab in my test.

Twhirl. Adobe Air application. Twhirl used to be my favorite twitter app. It runs in about 70MB (which, like all the solutions here,  can rise as you use the app) and allows multiple account windows and variable font sizes. Searches can be interleaved into the tweet stream too which is great for following an event but there’s no list support which, for me, is a major limitation. It’s still in my arsenal of apps but I rarely use it now. One also gets the impression that Seesmic, the company that bought it, are focusing on their other products.

Dabr.co.uk Web Application. Dabr is a no-fuss web application. Quick and easy with various screen layouts and good support for lists, trends and search. Many photos can be shown inline but there’s a text mode that works very well on even the smallest screen. It will run in a Chrome tab in about 20MB which is about as small as a Chrome tab gets! In Firefox you can throw up three tabs with friends, a list and a search result in about 50MB of RAM and very little CPU load. Tip: Bookmark multiple tabs in one folder and it’s easy to open all the bookmarks in a folder in one go. No auto-refresh available on this application.

The ‘not-so-good’ list.

I’ve taken a look at some of the more popular web and windows-based solutions and these are the ones that didn’t work out well on my ultra mobile PC or netbook.

Brizzly. Web-based client. Basically, Brizzly is a screen space hog. On my 1440×900 monitor here I saw a total of 5 tweets on-screen. Can you imagine how that looks on a netbook?!

Tweetdeck.  Adobe Air application. Tweetdeck is a fantastic twitter application and up until today, it’s been my most often-used solution but it’s not very CPU and memory-friendly. Expect 150MB or more of RAM usage. If you’re on a limited RAM budget, 150MB is way too much. This application is the reason I started the search for something more efficient.

Seesmic Web. A great web-based application and comparable to Hootsuite above. It’s not as screen friendly as Hootsuite as it includes a permanent top and sidebar. It does have a nice single-column text mode though which is good for getting a lot of tweets on the screen.  Memory footprint is comparable to Hootsuite although I get the feeling (untested) that it’s putting a bigger load on the CPU.

Seesmic Windows Application. Running initially in about 75MB of RAM I found Seesmic to be a big load on the CPU. Using my U820 as the test bed (for all the apps here) I noticed the fan coming on more than is usual. Fan noise is a good indicator of battery drain so I dropped it fairly quickly.

Yoono. Firefox plugin. Plugins are usually small little applets that do one thing very well. Yoono is different. It’s a full suite of social tools in a plugin and it’s got the memoryfprint to prove it. After installing it, my startup Firefox memory usage went from 39MB to 140MB.  I uninstalled it.

There are thousands of Twitter applications out there. The Twitter Fan Wiki is  great list if you’re looking for something specific.

Tip: As with all Web-based apps, choose your Web browser carefully. Firefox 3.6 and Chrome are working out well for me right now as they seem to process web applications a lot quicker than other browsers. Opera 10.5 is also good and includes the great mobile-friendly ‘turbo’ and ‘fit-to-page’ feature but it has a big memory footprint which is probably because of Opera’s Unite and Link integration.

Security Note: Authorising via Oauth or passing your username and password to multiple applications is a sure way to increase the risk of your account being hacked. It’s already happened to me through a previously authorised web application that was hacked and it’s not funny to see rude and spam tweets going out from ‘you’ to your friends. When you’ve finished testing out a series of twitter apps, change your password and revoke the Oauth permissions through your Twitter connections page.

As I mentioned before, you might have already settled on a Netbook or ultra mobile PC solution for twitter. If so, tell us about it below and I’ll be happy to update this post. (And don’t forget to follow me: @chippy)

Tweet-Walk for Droid, N900, HD2 info in Bonn.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

There’s nothing more fun than walking from mobile phone shop to mobile phone shop trying to work out what exactly is going on in the market. For a start it’s shocking to hear the differences in opinion between shops of the same ‘brand’ and secondly, none of them have a clue what’s going on with their own websites let along what’s happening in the market. Questions about the Motorola Milestone today were met with that millisecond pause that tells you that what comes out of their mouth is going to be bullshit!

What I did discover is the following (that will only be of interest to Germans, that can read English. (note-to-self: Maybe widening your niche area might result in more visitors!)

As I went from shop to shop I tweeted my findings:

Vodafone and 02 have confirmation that the Droid / Milestone is coming. I’m a Vodafone customer who’s contract finishes in Feb so this is interesting to me but there’s something even more interesting.

O2 have an interesting ‘transparent’ system where they’ve separated the phones and contracts into different products. A phone is free and costs 5,10,15 or 20 per month over 2 years. It allows them to sell voice and data services on a month-by-month basis. You can combine multiple products in different ways which benefits someone like me who rarely makes a voice call but is connected to the data channel for most of the day. I’ve been offered a Motorola Milestone/Droid for 20 Euro per month / 24 months (480 Euros) I can then add a 0 Euro per month voice contract. (0,15 Euros per call/sms) and then (and this is the cool part) add a 300MB or 5GB HSPA (in Bonn) contract on for 10 or 25 Euro per month. (Actually they are both flat rate data but throttle down to GPRS after the limit is reached.) For 45 Euro per month I get a Droid and 5GB of lovely 7.2mbps data. Vodafone, you’ve got about 5 days to offer me something else because apparently the Milestone/Droid will be here next week.


Other updates: Amazon have one weeks exclusivity on the Nkia N900 in Germany. Nokia shop gets it one week later. (Should be under 2 weeks)

I didn’t get a chance to talk to the T-Mobile people about the HTC HD2. It’s coming soon and it looks like it will be exclusive to T-Mobile for a while as no-one else knew anything about it. The T-Mobile shop was rammed full so I left. Maybe I’ll check them out again later.

I spotted the Omnia Pro B7610 in a few shops and spoke to one person about why it took too long to reach the shelves in Germany. ‘Germany is a different place’ he said. ‘Everyone else is casual about faults but it’s different in Germany.’ I had to laugh out loud because it’s so true. The Germans are the best quality control testers in the world!

It’s funny how a walk around the shops results in a different conclusion to browsing the web. There’s an extra special element of excitement that can catch you unaware. Right now I’m seriously thinking about the Milestone for next week. If I get it I’ll start a sub-blog droid-milestone.carrypad.com My only worry is that I will end up with a QWERTZ keyboard.

Twidroid on the Archos 5 Android Tablet. Video shows advantages of WVGA screen and fast web experience.

Tags: , ,

Twitter is not just about a simple client application and 140 characters. With something like 50% of those simple 140-character tweets carrying a link to a web page, if you haven’t got a fast internet connection, a quality browser and a powerful CPU, you’re missing out on half the experience.

The Archos Internet Tablet needs 3G to be a first-class mobile twitter device but even in it’s current form it shows how much of an advantage screen real-estate and a quality browser platform are. The 4.8 inch 800×480 screen is perfect for portrait-mode usage. The device weighs the same as a Nokia N900 smartphone and is just 10mm thick.

Here’s a quick video that shows Twidroid running on the Archos Tablet.

For more information on the Archos 5 Internet Tablet, including unboxing and first impressions, check out the information and links on the Archos 5 product page.

Twitter and GPS will have a major impact. Advertising first.re

Tags: , ,

The problem with launching a location-enabled service is that there are hundreds of other services already out there. The early adopter user base is spread all over these services and it makes it hard for any to gain traction and critical mass. The other problem is that each application has a fixed use as defined and programmed by the developer which means it may not hit the target requirement.

I’ve always said that Twitter needs out-of-band GPS  information in order to make tweets more relevant to the user and to be able to filter out countries or events when needed and the announcement from Twitter last week that they are working on it literally kept me awake the other night as I thought about the scenarios that would form.

There are two great things about Twitter that make this announcement very interesting. First is that Twitter has millions of users. It’s well established and well past the critical mass needed to keep it going. Secondly, Twitter won’t be making the apps themselves. Just as before, apps will be developed by third parties that dream up cool ideas meaning you can switch between clients and features without losing your data or history. This makes is quite unique and as far as I’m concerned, lines Twitter up to be the #1 location based service within a very very short time.

Clearly there are security and privacy issues to be dealt with. One hopes that Twitter puts strong guidelines in place and that application developers will consider them but ignoring that for a minute, just think about what’s going to happen.

Location means mobility and GPS. Of course you’ll be able to take advantage of location data on your desktop or laptop but the smartphone and mobile internet operating systems are where the action is going to really happen and are really going to be fun. Smartphones with GPS will be able to add location information and show local information either as a separate search or highlighted in the normal stream as you move through different areas. PC’s will fall behind here.

A few ideas…

  • Viewing historical location information
  • Viewing live local information
  • Friend Radar
  • Local Events
  • Local advertising

One area where geo-enabled tweets will take off immediately is local advertising. Imagine you are tuned into a local stream of everything going on, which I imagine a lot of people are going to do. It only takes one geo-enabled tweet from an advertiser to appear on your stream. ‘Big Mac available half price for the next 30 minutes’ or ‘Happy Hour just started at Coopers’ or ‘Tracy is bored. Wanna meet round the corner?’  is a message you’re going to see a lot. Companies with large numbers of outlets are going to be banging out location-based twitters in huge numbers. Many times more than they did previously! Accounts with _us or _uk at the end will be common too as the advertisers try and hide the big amount of advertising going out!

Unfortunately, the rewards in this area are going to be big and application developers and advertisers will jump on it very quickly. I really hope it doesnt damage the Twitter / Geo ecosystem before it becomes really useful. Having a high-rate account option on Twitter to transport this information is a must-have. This could be an important revenue stream for Twitter while providing an easy way to control the information.

Friend Radar is one to watch although having a blanket on/off location service is going to be difficult. Google Latitude sorted this problem out early with per-friend sharing. Again, it depends on how the applications develop. Sub-accounts or groups (as per Friendfeed) could be a way to deal with it. Joining with Google is another option!

Events and information will take off quickly and it would be great to see busses and trains tweeting their location in real time. Weather agencies need to get up to speed on this too. It’s not only very interesting for many people to know the weather, it’s a very very simple way to save lives. Road traffic information is a good application too and I can’t wait for the first 3G and twitter-enabled navigation application. Nokia are in a good position to be able to do this on Maemo very quickly.

The possibilities are endless and with such a head start and open ecosystem it’s possible that twitter becomes the de-facto channel for sharing ANY geo data. In my opinion, Twitter have just positioned themselves as an important layer for the Internet. Early players will stand to gain a lot.

Twitter: Location, Location, Location

Productive Microblogging Devices and Why Tweetdeck makes MIDs Very Attractive.

Tags: ,


June 27th. Updated. See below.

With the launch of the new version of Tweetdeck yesterday, the Twitter microblogging platform moved another step forward to becoming the de-facto online real-time tracking, trend-searching, url promotion, status update, and ‘friending’ tool. The user base is already huge, growing quickly and consists of a lot of young and mobile users. As far as a target audience goes, this is the best one yet for a high-end mobile computing device.

Back to Tweetdeck for a minute though because it’s that desktop experience that really takes Twitter into a new dimension. While twitter.com, the front-end, offers a simple 140 character posting platform, Tweetdeck (and to a large extent, comparable desktop clients like Twhirl and Spaz) offer a standalone client that wraps the service up with tools ranging from search term tracking to translation and includes in-line URL shortening, direct links to online Twitter-related web services, multi-column views, grouping and more in a very efficient, if large-scale, user interface. It’s not only a way to organise your consumption of twitter data but, if you learn how to use it efficiently, it’s a productivity suite too. Once you get used to all the features and that productive process, it’s very hard to go back to the simple twitter front end. The same problems also occur when you try to go mobile with twitter. The mobile clients aren’t powerful enough and don’t offer the screen size needed to get the most out of it the twitter ecosystem. In my experience, productivity on the platform drops and you end up back to that 140 character to-and-fro.

With this in mind, I’ve been thinking about the ideal microblogging device again but this time, rather than imagining what the best device could be like, I took the requirements and tried to map them onto devices that are available (or almost available) today. Desktop clients, productivity and the full web experience was in my mind throughout this process.

Read the full story

Search UMPCPortal

Dell Latitude E7440
14.0" Intel Core i5-4200U
GPD Pocket 2
7.0" Intel Core m3-8100Y
GPD Win 2
6.0" Intel m3 7Y30
Lenovo Ideapad Flex 10
10.1" Intel Celeron N2806
LG G8X THINQ Dual Screen
6.4" Qualcomm Snapdragon 855
Acer Aspire E11 ES1
11.6" Intel Celeron N2840
Viliv S5
4.8" Intel Atom (Silverthorne)
Acer Aspire Switch 10
10.1" Intel Atom Z3745
Medion Akoya Mini
10.2" Intel Atom (Diamondville)
Toshiba Portege Z930
13.3" Intel Core i5 3427U