Monthly Archives: October 2007

Twitter clients

I’ve been running the AIR-based Twitter desktop client Tweetr for a while now. This morning though I heard about another one called Snitter (via neilford)

Quick side-by-side comparison:

Snitter and Tweetr

I’ve been using Tweetr for some time and I’ve been perfectly happy with it… but I have to say that Snitter is pretty neat. By default it has a bright lime green skin, but you can change that to something more sober in the options. It also lets you specify transparency and “always on top” for the window, if you choose. Liking a few features… it has a system tray icon… I can see the last time it checked for tweets… the drop-down at the top lets me select between friends, followers, favourites, public, replies and direct messages (Tweetr only does my own tweets, direct messages and replies)… basically it’s more configurable, although that isn’t always a good thing, I know.

Snitter doesn’t support sending photos or files, but those are features I’ve never used in Tweetr anyway. I’m also seeing a memory footprint around 1/3 the size of Tweetr, but that could be because I’ve been running Tweetr for a couple of days and there’s a leak or something. Not sure.

One thing neither client does yet is support the new alerts… but those are done via notification anyway, so I guess the authors would need to make them into Jabber clients, which would make things much more confusing since I’m already on Google Talk. Which means I already get Twitter notifications there… so why use a desktop client in the first place. Just call me an application junkie and we’ll be quits.

An annoying bug / foible in Snitter is that for some reason, it transposes the @ and ” symbols on my keyboard. On a UK keyboard ” is above 2 and @ is near Enter… works fine in Tweetr but Snitter seems to insist that the keys are the other way around.

So anyway, Snitter is worth a shot, if you are interested in desktop clients for my favourite microblogging service.

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Google gobbling

Google’s acquisition of Jaiku came as a bit of a surprise to me.

Robert Scoble says it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone, and that combined with Google’s other properties, this will all translate into some super Facebook-killing announcement next month.

The thing is, I’ve been a bit amazed by some of Google’s acquisitions. I can’t say that I see all of them as totally successful. Blogger in particular hasn’t seen much love, apart from a spruce-up earlier in the year when they finally started to catch up to WordPress (and WP has continued to jump forward since then). Picasa? Sorry, but IMO Flickr still wipes the floor with that… Yahoo! has been pretty clever about not pasting logos all over the site and has quietly and neatly integrated Flickr, Upcoming, del.icio.us and other properties. Continuing the Google theme: Jotspot, YouTube… not sure they are examples of sites or tools that have been well-integrated into the Google “family”.

As Mark Cathcart pointed out, this doesn’t mean that all of Google’s acquisitions have been unsuccessful. For instance, Google Earth (Keyhole) is superb, and has great integration with Maps, Panoramio, SketchUp etc.. Google Docs is great too, although I don’t personally use it.

So will the mighty new Googaiku kill Twitter? Personally, unless they do something startling as Scoble suggests, I don’t see why it should. My network is all on Twitter, and despite trying both Jaiku and Pownce, I’ve not been tempted away despite various the outages and wobbles Twitter has gone through. It is simple, multipurpose, and remarkably useful… I don’t know what the business model is, but I know that I like the tool.

The social software space remains extremely interesting. Times change. I wonder what’s next?

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Smart SOA announcements for WebSphere

I’ve been waiting for the announcement of the WebSphere v6.1 integration products (Process Server, ESB, Message Broker and Registry/Repository) for a while. Yesterday they all broke cover as part of IBM’s Smart SOA fall launch announcements.

IBM WebSphere Message Broker V6.1
http://www-01.ibm.com/common/ssi/rep_ca/6/897/ENUS207-246/ENUS207246.PDF
IBM WebSphere Service Registry and Repository V6.1
http://www-01.ibm.com/common/ssi/rep_ca/5/897/ENUS207-245/ENUS207245.PDF
IBM WebSphere Enterprise Service Bus, WebSphere Process Server and WebSphere Integration Developer V6.1
http://www-01.ibm.com/common/ssi/rep_ca/0/897/ENUS207-230/ENUS207230.PDF

I went on the beta class for Message Broker v6.1 back in the summer. I’d previously written the v5 Redbook and helped with the v6 beta program. This time I haven’t been quite so closely involved, but I’m still really looking forward to seeing the new release get out there.

Some of the key features in Broker that I think are really going to interest the customers I’ve been working with are:

  • native file-handling capability.
  • email output node.
  • built-in adapters for Siebel, SAP and Peoplesoft interaction.
  • an array of other new nodes… the approach is to provide more nodes which have configurable properties, in much the same way that the recent Transport Header Nodes Supportpac enables message headers to be modified without programming.
  • ability to support much larger messages.
  • closer integration with WebSphere Transformation Extender, WebSphere Registry and Repository, and the DataPower appliances.
  • a leaner, faster toolkit.
  • performance enhancements, particularly around XML parsing – and hey, the product is already darned fast! 🙂

I think this is going to be another great release. I can’t wait to get started.

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The Scottish Play

A bit of a delayed write-up, but I wanted to comment on a trip to the theatre a couple of weeks back.

We went to see the new production of Macbeth that is currently on at the Gielgud Theatre in Shaftesbury Avenue. The production stars Patrick Stewart (Ola’s primary criteria for wanting to see it!). It was previously on at the Chichester Festival Theatre before moving to the capital.

OK, it’s Shakespeare, and it’s a pretty grim play. It may or may not be your cup of tea on those grounds alone. Personally, I like it. Macbeth was the first piece of Shakespeare I was made to read at school… at the age of 13… I remember whipping through it in an afternoon off, much to my teacher’s surprise (at this point I can sense some readers rolling their eyes and thinking “what a swot”, but that’s digital authenticity for you).

The production itself is absolutely superb; in fact, possibly the best thing I’ve ever seen on stage. Although the play remains clearly Scottish, the director has chosen to relocate it into a kind of Soviet / Stalinist reality – the costumes and set are clearly influenced by militaristic 1940s styles, the warfare modern. There are some marvellous set pieces in this production – particularly the scene where Macbeth demands answers from the witches and their spirits, and the banquet scene where the ghost of Banquo returns, brilliantly played as a cliffhanger over the interval. The programme notes that Macbeth is very much a play of our time in a “surveillance society”, and the sense of paranoia is palpable. Stewart puts in an intense performance, and the rest of the cast is superb, particularly Kate Fleetwood as a scheming and, latterly, disturbed Lady Macbeth.

If theatre is your thing, then I highly recommend this production. It runs until December 1st and should move to the US next year.