Both features have been created by Tapbots’ developer Paul Haddad on top of App.net’s streaming component of the API. This means that, while Netbot isn’t streaming timelines like Tweetbot yet, it’ll be able to send you notifications for Mentions, Reposts, Stars, and new Follows. Once again, this works just like Tweetbot: head over your account’s Settings and select Notifications to choose which kind of information you’d like to receive. In my tests, Netbot’s push notifications were reliable and fast. (more…)
Apple Confirms WWDC Keynote on June 10
Evernote Launches Reminders
Keyboard Maestro 6.0 Adds Syncing, Browser Actions, Device Triggers, And More
TextExpander Touch 2.0 Brings Fill-In Snippets, Formatted Text To iOS
#MacStoriesDeals – Monday
What’s not surprising isn’t simply the fact that Tapbots released an app that sets the bar higher for the competition; at first, it’s the fact that Netbot is basically Tweetbot re-engineered to work for App.net. (more…)
Recently relaunched under a new name, Manton Reece’s Watermark is one of my favorite web services. Seamlessly integrated with Twitter, Watermark is an archiving tool that, through filters and custom collections, lets you archive and search your entire timeline. From our previous coverage:
Tweet Marker Plus was one of my favorite services to provide the kind of Twitter functionalities that Twitter the company always ignored: powerful search and filtering tools, collections, and additional browsing options. Like Cue, Tweet Marker Plus has proven to be a worthy addition to my workflow to retrieve tweets and leverage the information shared on the platform every day.
I use Watermark on a daily basis to retrieve tweets that have been shared in my timeline — status updates that would be hard to retrieve using Twitter’s web interface, let alone the official apps. Twitter never invested in powerful archiving and filtering tools, and Watermark provides a fantastic backup solution to know that, in the background and automatically, your timeline will be archived and made searchable for the future. This is important for online data preservation, a subject I’ve been exploring for the past year.
Today’s update to Watermark introduces yet another option to make sure your data will always be with you: automatic Dropbox export. Available in Watermark’s settings, once authorized with Dropbox the service will create archives of filters, collections, and your own tweets as .csv files. For your tweets, the 10,000 most recent ones will be saved, whereas filters and collections are limited to 1,000 for now. As Manton writes on his personal blog:
Dropbox sync fixes that. Watermark can now automatically copy tweets (and App.net posts) from your saved filters and custom collections to CSV files on Dropbox. For example, search Watermark for “iPhone 5”, click “Save as filter”, and the most recent 1000 tweets matching that query will appear in a file called “iPhone_5.csv” on Dropbox. It keeps running in the background, so the files are updated every hour as new tweets matching the search are downloaded by Watermark, even if you aren’t signed in.
Like I said, I use Watermark every day, and being a Dropbox fan as well, it’s great to see the two services coming together. I feel like Dropbox is becoming, for many, the de-facto “filesystem for the web”, and it only makes sense for a service like Watermark, which aims at freeing data from the pressure of Twitter, to gain an export option based on it. Right now, tweets are saved in .csv files with their ID, author’s username, date, service (Twitter or App.net), message, and original URL. In a future version, I hope Manton will consider some kind of plain text export option as well, though that might be tricky; right now, I’m comfortable with the structure of .csv archives.
Watermark is a service I highly recommend, and it’s only $5 per month.
Speaking of App.net, the developer community has been busy building iOS, Mac, and web clients for the service, which promises it’ll never try to purposefully harm or limit the third-party ecosystem. Of all the iOS and Mac clients currently in development (I’m testing a bunch of them, and good things are coming soon), two are currently available on the App Store: Rhino and Adian.
As John Gruber wrote in 2009, Twitter clients used to be a UI design playground for developers attracted to the service that was just about to become mainstream. The App.net clients available today sit in the middle ground of leveraging the conventions established by Tweetie, Twitterrific, and Tweetbot while working with a service that’s not nearly as popular as the Twitter of 2009, when third-party clients exploded in terms of popularity and usage.
Most of the App.net clients currently in development look and perform exactly like Twitter clients, but they are working with a platform with a much smaller scale, even by 2009 Twitter standards. This is perhaps indicative of the current status of App.net – a service that uses the foundation of Twitter while quickly adding its own unique features – and is undoubtedly helping with creating these clients (a smaller community means easier scaling and lots of feedback), but it also leaves a strange feeling of “seen that, done that”.
App.net clients will have to find their own identity just like App.net will have to grow into a different yet solid alternative to Twitter. Developers need time to figure this out. (more…)
An Overview Of App.net
According to their website, ”App.net is a real-time social feed without the ads”. A new social network born out the uncertainty towards Twitter’s recent shift from a real-time platform to a media company, App.net is a new kind of network aimed at encouraging users and third-party developers to experiment with the platform, not be intimidated by it. Glenn Fleishman’s article at TidBITS from August 28th provides a great overview of what App.net is right now, the problems it’s facing, and how the promise of a “dumb network” sold at a price might turn into a truly next-gen platform.
Architecturally, App.net most resembles Twitter in that the system is optimized around managing sending short messages (currently 256 characters) with various properties in those messages, as well as maintaining a user-defined set of relationships (the “social graph”). Third-party software, including Web apps, will be able to access messages through different means. That can include reading and posting client software, or tools that analyze streams of public messages.
Even more interestingly, Glenn later goes on to consider the potentialities of App.net for developers, and he proposes various possible implementations of the API, including:
For computer-to-computer interaction, offer an alternative to HTTP, proprietary software, or email. Lightweight “listening” modules and libraries could use App.net as the backbone for sending automated messages, keeping them persistent for later review, queuing them in the event of network or server outages on the ends, and notifying humans of problems or status.
I have been using App.net alongside Twitter, and I think it’s a very exciting time for the service. I have been using Twitter since 2009, and I’m pretty sure 50% of the people I know online and the work relationships I have established wouldn’t have been possible without it. But as I wrote, it’s all about the people: my readers, the developers I know, my friends, my co-workers. Sadly, Twitter the new media company isn’t the same anymore; it’s not the same company that empowered us to create these relationships. It changed — and it’s changing — both technically and conceptually. Twitter used to care about how people used their service; now, with a business to figure out, it’s about brands, Cards, deprecated features, and business speak. It almost feels as if suits took over Twitter.com and, in the process, Twitter lost its emotion.
To me, App.net is exciting because it feels like the Twitter of 2008 and 2009, only getting around doing the things Twitter never did. Annotations; games that use the service’s pipe; post formats in apps. Check out the API, and think about the possibilities for third-party apps and services. Very cool things are happening right now just as Twitter becomes more hostile by the day.
For my job, I talk to developers and creators on a daily basis. And right now, developers are picking up some good vibes from App.net. There’s a lot of experimentation going on, support from the company, and an overall feeling that, if this is will work, maybe a better (and different) Twitter could be possible. It’s too early to tell — after all, Twitter still works — but it’s a good start nevertheless.
Check out Glenn’s overview here. And, I’m on App.net.
Manton Reece’s Tweet Marker Plus, a service to index Twitter and provide filtering and search tools, has been relaunched as Watermark. As explained by Reece in a post on his personal blog, the new name wants to reflect the “gradual move away from Twitter and syncing”. Initially launched as a free service, Tweet Marker has been integrated as a syncing solution in dozens of Twitter clients such as Tweetbot and Twitterrific. The Plus version, launched in April, built on the success of Tweet Marker to offer a web interface for Twitter timelines, fully indexed by day and searchable outside of the Twitter platform. I wrote:
The most visible feature of Plus, the web timeline, is very straightforward, but I believe it’ll prove to be a worthy addition for, say, those users who rely on iOS and Mac apps at home, but who are forced to stay on Windows environments at work. Tweet Marker’s web timeline can pick up from where you last left off on another connected client, and it’s got a “scroll to marker” option to manually load your last-seen tweet. On the timeline itself you can reply, retweet, mark as favorite and check out a tweet’s unique URL, but these actions will simply forward you to a dedicated page on Twitter.com. Tweet Marker’s Plus timeline isn’t meant to be a full-featured client: rather, it is a basic way to rely on your existing sync position if nothing else is available.
With the Watermark rebranding, Reece is gradually shifting away from Twitter following the controversy that has arisen in the past months in regards to the service’s API changest and relationship with third-party developers. Keeping the same infrastructure, monthly fee, and core functionalities, Watermark is a new “client and archive tool”, independent of the free Tweet Marker sync service, which will keep working as usual with Twitter apps that support it.
Watermark’s new focus on providing a platform that goes beyond Twitter is represented in this initial version by its support for App.net, Dalton Caldwell’s rising real-time communication service that costs $50 per year. Reece writes:
As part of the relaunch it immediately gains a new feature: App.net posts. You can now add an App.net account and it will download any posts from your friends, making them available for search. Watermark is already storing tens of millions of tweets, and I’m excited to start adding App.net posts to that archive as well.
While still heavily Twitter-based from an interface standpoint, the new Watermark sports an App.net option in the section on the right, where users can browse “all tweets”, favorites, and load past tweets by day with a calendar menu.
Clicking on App.net Posts in Watermark will open a web based timeline; right now, there are no further options available for App.net posts (the service only downloads posts from friends and adds them to the search archive) as App.net doesn’t even have an official search functionality yet. Manton says there’s still “plenty to improve” for App.net support, and that he’s also evaluating timeline position sync for App.net accounts — indeed one of the hallmark features of Tweet Marker.
Tweet Marker Plus was one of my favorite services to provide the kind of Twitter functionalities that Twitter the company always ignored: powerful search and filtering tools, collections, and additional browsing options. Like Cue, Tweet Marker Plus has proven to be a worthy addition to my workflow to retrieve tweets and leverage the information shared on the platform every day. As Twitter becomes more hostile towards third-party developers and apps that take data out of Twitter, it’s great to see Tweet Marker Plus expanding to new platforms. I find App.net very promising in its intent to sell an API as a product to its users, and Watermark can build on the success of Tweet Marker Plus to perfectly integrate with the service, free of the restrictions and “requirements” of Twitter.
Watermark is $5 per month.