App of the Week: YoruFukurou

So if you haven’t heard the news, I joined Twitter (@EasyOSX) a few weeks ago.  I decided to use a Twitter client, mainly because I didn’t want or need to leave my browser open all the time. However, Twitter apps have a reputation of being resource hogs, so I wanted one that was light on resources, but still was powerful, had multiple account support, and still looked nice with the Mac. I went to one I had found when I first thought about using Twitter, & I enjoy it so. That is YoruFukurou.

YoruFukurou in Japanese (again, available in English)

YoruFukurou is a Mac only Twitter client developed in Japan, and available in English and Japanese. It means “night owl” in Japanese, hence the icon. The app labels itself as the Twitter client for Twitter addicts. While it is meant for power users, it is still simple enough for casual Tweeters to understand.

On the top you have your main buttons, which allow your to organize your tweets, refresh your timeline, and more. Below is your tweet box, which counts your characters, and a gear which controls link shortening, as well tweeting pictures, screenshots, hashtags, iTunes songs & Safari info. Below is a tabbed interface to let you cycle through your timeline mentions, messages, and more. You can even create tabs for specific users, searches, and more without cluttering up your desktop.  And on the bottom bar, YoruFukurou tells you whether it can connect to the Web, and your API count left.

The app notifies you of new information with sounds and/or Growl notifications, with different sounds for tweets, mentions, etc. New tweets are marked in your timeline with a blue circle, which can be removed by reading tweets, or scrolling to the top of the timeline.

YoruFukurou has several handy features under its belt as well.  It can automatically expand links coming from Twitter, and shorten links you put in.  Also, the top bar has a series of three buttons that let you organize user tweets.  Depending on which button is pressed, you can organize the timeline to show all tweets, tweets from a specific user, and tweets between you and that user.  It also has a drawer function that can slide out to easily give you more information about a particular user, and allow you to follow them, block them, or report them for spam as well.  Lastly, you can also set a “silent mode”, which will keep pulling in your information as normal, but it will not give you any notifications.  This is great for when you want to keep an eye on your Twitter feed, but you don’t want it blurting out information.

YoruFukurou's sleeping icon

Customizability is also functional.  By going into the preferences, you can change the timeline style, and coloration of different functions within YoruFukurou.  One thing I found funny (as in “ha ha” funny) was that YoruFukurou’s icon changes based upon its activity state.  The owl icon looks asleep when the app isn’t turn on, looks wide awake when the app is turned on, and in silent mode the owl looks bored.  I definitely give creativity points to the developers here.

There are a few grievances I have with YoruFukurou.  For one thing, the search function seems lacking; it works fine until I’m looking for a specific user, to which it only brings their mentions but not the user themselves.  I have to click one of these @mentions and half the time it doesn’t bring me the user, but a blank search screen, while the next mention could be the same in every way, and bring me to the user’s page.  Other clients, like Twitter for Mac, TweetDeck, etc., seem to have better search powers than YoruFukurou does.

Another issue I have is with features not being easily accessible, specifically the drawer and auto-link-shortening.  The drawer has a nice big button to access it with, but that’s it.  I’d like to be able to control-click a user’s name to bring up the drawer, or at least some way that just made it quicker.  And I couldn’t find how to automatically shorten links until recently, again a control-click feature would be nice.

Lastly, this may be a personal preference, but I’d like to have some way, such as looking at the icon, or hitting a menubar icon (which I’d probably prefer) to see if there are any new tweets, or especially direct messages and mentions.  Furthermore, a menubar icon could have a way to quickly tweet out something without opening the whole YoruFukurou window.  It’s not that the window is bad to look at, but I don’t want to have the window open all the time to look at my info.

While YoruFukurou isn’t perfect, it’s the best Twitter client I’ve used yet, and I plan to keep using it for a long time coming.  It’s powerful and has some creative features.  Originally available as a download on the web, YoruFukurou now is available for free in the Mac App Store for Snow Leopard users.  There is a version available for Leopard and is available at the developer’s website  However, the developer has officially discontinued that version.


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