Project Phoenix: Twitterrific for macOS

Late last week, Iconfactory launched a Kickstarter campaign to develop a new Twitterrific client for macOS:

While the project is relatively sparse on details, the promise of a new Twitterrific client for macOS is exciting. Iconfactory is a veteran Mac developer who has been churning out work for over a decade, and make some of the best designs & applications out there.

I currently use Tweetbot on Mac & iOS, however I primarily do that as I feel “locked in” to that ecosystem as cross-platform syncing is important to me, and iCloud has worked far better than TweetMarker in my experiences. That said, I think that Twitterrific, while a very different client that Tweetbot, is pulling ahead of the others when it comes to innovative & intuitive features. They’ve implemented some smart ideas: some, such as facial recognition to better position image previews, are clever enhancements. Others, such as their “muffle” feature which acts similar to “muting” but instead of removing the content from your timeline completely it leaves it intact but minimized. That way if you still want to see the content, just tap to return it to your timeline proper.

The original Twitterrific was an OS X app just a few months after Twitter launched, and it came to define many of the characteristics of Twitter today. The storied pedigree of Iconfactory & the long history of Twitterrific have combined in a project that I was more than happy to support. Another option for a Mac-iOS Twitter ecosystem that approaches it from a distinct enough angle will be positive for the platform.

Why Kickstarter? Iconfactory’s Craig Hockenbury summarized it on the latest “Release Notes” podcast:

The basic problem is we don’t know if there’s a market for a Mac social networking product right now. […] It’s not clear that there’s a market for that any more.

He elaborates about how a lot of social media use has moved onto mobile products (of which Twitterrific is well received), and how web apps have improved dramatically from a few years back. The lack of any clear idea if there’s much of a market means that by utilizing Kickstarter they can gauge whether or not they’re right.

So Iconfactory is asking for $75,000 with stretch goals at $100,000 and $125,000 dollars. It sounds like a lot of money, but for a team of 4-5 people developing for 6+ months, it’s clear that this is a labour of love that they want to see if there’s any economic feasibility to. So, for $75,000 dollars, they’re planning:

  • Unified home timeline
  • Multiple account support
  • Composing, replying, and quoting tweets
  • Muffles and mutes
  • Streaming
  • Themes
  • Delete and edit your own tweets
  • Sync timeline position with iOS
  • VoiceOver Accessibility
  • Keyboard control
  • Attaching images to tweets
  • Timeline search (text filter/find)
  • Open links to other tweets, profiles and media in your browser

At $100,000:

  • Direct messaging
  • Read, create, delete saved searches
  • Read lists
  • Built-in Twitter search
  • Built-in quick media viewer (images, GIFs, videos)
  • Built-in conversation and threaded tweet viewer
  • Built-in viewer for user profiles
  • Alt-text attachment when tweeting images
  • Searching for and getting suggested users while composing

This list makes it pretty obvious that $100,000 should be considered the base minimum for a functional modern Twitter app. And at $125,000:

  • Simple list management (create, edit, delete)
  • Manage drafts and sync them with iOS
  • Dock-less mode
  • Built-in profile editor so you can change your bio, avatar and more
  • Trends
  • Video upload
  • Geolocation

Those are certainly nice-to-haves but not necessary.

What sort of life it takes on after Kickstarter will likely be a mix of how well it does through this process combined with how much attention it’s able to get outside of the crowd-sourcing bubble. That said, Twitterrific is a very popular iOS client, so there could easily be a channel to advertise the macOS availability there.

All that to say, I happily pitched into this project. Not only do I think Twitterrific is an innovative client whose presence helps make Twitter better for everybody, and not only because I think the ecosystem could use more competition, but also because I know Iconfactory does fine work and that I’m happy to support creators who are striving to make something excellent.

You can check out their Kickstarter here, and you can see Twitterrific for iOS here.

U.S. appeals court revives antitrust lawsuit against Apple

From Reuters:

iPhone app purchasers may sue Apple Inc over allegations that the company monopolized the market for iPhone apps by not allowing users to purchase them outside the App Store, leading to higher prices, a U.S. appeals court ruled on Thursday.

It’s pretty hard to get much less expensive than free. I’ve spoken first-hand to developers who can’t make their app sustainable at even $0.99, so they have to make it free with garbage ads supporting it.

Take it further and the plain fact is that Android is the donminat platform and has no such restrictions. Hardly a monopoly.

That said, you do buy directly from Apple, not the developers, so this is probably the right move. They don’t have a chance of winning, though.

→ U.S. appeals court revives antitrust lawsuit against Apple

From Reuters:

iPhone app purchasers may sue Apple Inc over allegations that the company monopolized the market for iPhone apps by not allowing users to purchase them outside the App Store, leading to higher prices, a U.S. appeals court ruled on Thursday.

It’s pretty hard to get much less expensive than free. I’ve spoken first-hand to developers who can’t make their app sustainable at even $0.99, so they have to make it free with garbage ads supporting it.

Take it further and the plain fact is that Android is the dominant platform and has no such restrictions. Hardly a monopoly.

That said, you do buy directly from Apple, not the developers, so this is probably the right move. They don’t have a chance of winning, though.

🔗 What Romance Really Means After 10 Years of Marriage

Over at NYMag, Heather Havrilesky writes on notions of romance a decade plus into a marriage:

And it’s another thing entirely when you start to grow an alien in your belly, one that makes you sharp-tongued and menacing, and then one day it finally comes out, all covered in white slime! That is next-level romance right there! And then, suddenly, all you do is talk to the hairless alien and feed it with your own body (a miracle!), bragging about how you make food from thin air like a GOD, and then, once the alien goes to bed, you say JESUS I’M EXHAUSTED and OUCH MY BOOBS HURT and then you pass out in a smelly, unattractive heap. That’s survival! Once you have kids, even in a first-world country, you enter a kind of simulation of third-world living. You’re feeding one kid with your body while your husband crouches on the floor of a dressing room at the mall, wiping excrement off the other kid’s butt. You and your spouse are slogging through the slop of survival together.

And it’s romantic. Mark my words.

There’s truth in this article; the daily grind eventually takes us all to the grave, but joy and romance can be found when someone’s willing to walk down that road with you.

While there’s always a place for flowers, going out for a nice dinner, and the other “nice” gestures of romance, once you’ve been with someone for a while, the suspense will begin to go away. You realize this person is committed to you. One of the central ideas of this article is that North American concepts of romance are heavily influenced or based upon the suspense of the unknown. Once you accumulate years of shared experience, a confidence in your togetherness, and the pressures of work, raising a family, and getting old, if the notion that romance is rooted in suspense of the unknown can’t be changed, then of course it will feel like the romance has left the relationship. To be married is to be known. After even 10 years, you will know a shocking amount about your partner (including what they look like when they first wake up when feeling sick, which is never particularly flattering for any of us).

Find romance in the day to day. Find romance in complaining that your body is beginning to ache. Find romance in the transition to a semi-third world squalor that happens briefly after the arrival of a new baby. Find romance not in the unknown, but in the motions of surviving together.

And take your wife out for a fun evening once in a while!

Firewatch

Firewatch is the debut game from upstart Campo Santo, which is a new game studio formed by industry veterans Chris Remo and Jake Rodkins who are primarily known for their more recent work on Season 1 of Telltale’s The Walking Dead game that was released in 2012. This new effort from the team follows a 40-something year old man named Henry as he spends a summer away from home working as a remote fire watchman in Shoshone National Forest, Wyoming. Without spoiling much of the story, Henry takes a remote job in the forest to take stock of the crossroads he finds his life in after a series of unexpected events that have transformed his life into something he didn’t expect.

So, what is Firewatch?

Continue reading “Firewatch”