Apple Announces Purchase of Twitter

Tis the season for large companies to buy other companies.  AT&T recently tried and failed to purchase T-Mobile, Zynga is buying OMGPop, the makers of the “Draw Something” game, and now Apple has announced Twitter will now be a part of Apple.

Apple told the Associated Press and the New York Times that they are in the process of purchasing Twitter.  While neither Apple nor Twitter have said exactly what price Apple will be paying, some sources within the companies have it placed at over 25 million American dollars.  More details have yet to be released.

The purchase of Twitter by Apple actually makes a lot of sense.  When Apple launched its Ping social network with iTunes 10, Ping originally was going to be tied into Twitter.  This, however, fell through when Apple actually released Ping.  Furthermore, when Apple released the Mac App Store, Twitter for Mac was highlighted early on as a staff favorite and publicized as such.  The same thing happened when the third generation iPad, a.k.a. the “new iPad” was released; Apple publicized the app in its banner ads as an “optimized for the new iPad” and its retina display.  And the biggest nods, of course, come from iOS 5 and OS 10.8 “Mountain Lion”, both of which have built-in Twitter integration in Safari, each device’s respective Photo app, and more.

Both users and the Twitter company itself seem to be going along with this.  Twitter apps are very popular on iOS, even contentious in debates.  Neither Linux nor Windows have the variety of Twitter apps that Mac OS X itself has, both in and out of the Mac App Store.  Twitter has also claimed a significant jump in Twitter use and sign up since the release of iOS 5.

If that wasn’t enough, two of Apple’s biggest competitors already have deep hooks into social networking. Google has Google+, which has been growing slowly, but is already deeply integrated into Android 4.0 “Ice Cream Sandwich”.  Microsoft also is in the social network game; Microsoft has its Windows Live network going for it, but also acquired Skype for around $8.5 billion American.  Microsoft also has a nice investment chunk in Facebook, though not enough to own it.  Apple could stand to gain a lot from Twitter and gain a bigger piece of the social pie.

Twitter also seems to fit into the Apple aesthetic; Apple likes to keep things sweet and simple for the average user, trying to give the user as minimal worry as possible.  Compared to the overwhelming settings and possibilities on Facebook and Google+, Twitter is a much simpler product to set up and use.  Plus Twitter has had few privacy incidents and concerns compared to Google+ and Facebook, which also goes along the lines of easy user security setup.

The only issue might be how open the Twitter API is to developers, compared with the general closed business model that Apple is used to.  Then again, we have seen major changes in Apple’s transparency since Tim Cook has taken the helm.  Tim Cook is already doing more for public relations, especially with regards to Foxconn, and has allowed for more open use of Siri’s and iCloud’s API’s for app developers.  Whether or not the deal will actually be able to go through with the U.S. and international trade commissions is something we will have to simply wait to see.

You find out more by following the video link provided: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQw4w9WgXcQ&ob=av2n.  If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions about this or any other topic, leave a comment below or email me at easyosx@live.com  You can also check me out on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube by hitting the buttons on the top of your screen.  You can also check out my Google Plus Page.  Thanks!

P.S. Watch out for false stories, especially considering what day it is.

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 https://sites.google.com/site/yorufukurou/home-en.  However, the developer has officially discontinued that version.

How to Change Twitter for Mac’s 3D icon back to a 2D icon

One of, if not the most, popular Twitter clients on the Mac is Twitter for Mac (formerly known as Tweetie). But along the way it has had some aesthetic changes that a lot of people have mixed feelings about, especially the 3D icon that the app uses. A lot of people like the old 2D style icon or the iOS version of it and use another program like CandyBar to do it. But did you know that Twitter comes with the old 2D icons built in? I found that out by accident, so I made this video showing you how to do it.

You can find Twitter for Mac in the Mac App Store.

iTweet

Well, I mentioned it before, but I now I actually did it. Now I’m on Twitter. I always made the joke that Twitter was for old people and celebrities. I’m not either, but now I’m on it. What do you think? Was it good? Am I a tool? How about you follow me and find out. Hit the big Twitter button up top, or follow me at:

http://twitter.com/#!/easyosx

Thanks!

App of the Week: Rockmelt

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the fall of the Flock browser. Flock was the social browser that kept a sidebar to watch your Facebook, Twitter, and other social feeds and blogs. I mentioned another browser in that post that had rivaled Flock, but is now THE social browser: Rockmelt. Rockmelt runs of Chromium, the same engine as Google’s Chrome. It works on Windows, Mac, and also for iOS (iPhone, iPod Touch). It works best with Facebook (it has been called the Facebook browser), but also has sidebar apps for Youtube, Twitter, automatic RSS feed detections, Tumblr, and its own Read-Later feature (which I have found very handy).

It looks mostly like Chrome, but it has small sidebars that are called “Edges”. On the right side is your “App Edge”, which keeps up with your social feeds, Facebook notifications, the Read-It-Later app, and RSS feeds. It also is the place where you’ll see any Chrome extensions you’ve download. On the left side is your “Friend Edge”, which is specifically a feature for Facebook. It allows you to see which of your Facebook friends is online, post to their wall, send messages, and of course chat with them without having to go to the Facebook page. You will also notice that, unlike Chrome, there is the standard “omnibox” (url and search bar combined) and a search bar, with a “Share button separating them. The share button allows you to instantly share the webpage your on with Facebook, Twitter, and/or Tumblr. The search bar allows you to search for anything, but then preloads the top 5 results in the background without you having to load any new tabs.

Since the browser runs on Chromium, it is very fast going from page to page, and the tests done show that it consistently only runs behind Google’s Chrome itself. The browser’s startup time is a little slow, but given the deep connections it has with logging on to Facebook, as well as any other networks Rockmelt connects to, this is understandable. However, compared with the initial version of the browser, it is a definite improvement, as you don’t have to wait for Rockmelt to log into Facebook before doing your browsing. The browser also keeps your connections secure as far as I have found, so not as much need to worry there.

It is important to note though that at this writing, the blog is still in beta, version 2 to be precise. There are still some bugs in the browser, such as occasional log-off hangs, occasional chats not getting sent through the chat app, etc. All and all though, this is a very well built browser. It has continued to grow and get better from its shaky beginnings, and I look forward to further development for what is now MY browser of choice.

You can download Rockmelt here: http://www.rockmelt.com/

Again I’m sorry that I’m late with the post, but things down here in the Southern US haven’t been easy. This past week we had terrible storms across several states, and while I suffered no more than a few leaks, there were several friends of mine who suffered worse. On top of that, its college exam week for around here, which doesn’t help.

Please support the recovery efforts in the South, Japan, and around the world. Thanks.