TwitPic Founder Launches Heello, a competitor to Twitter

TwitPic founder Noah Everett has launched Heello, his Twitter alternative. This is an ambitious attempt on the part of Everett to compete directly with Twiter, the very service to which TwitPic owns its success.

Heello is more like a toned down Twitter, with tweets being called Pings and retweets Echo. Reading the stream of Pings is called Listening. According to Everett, other features like video posts and what he calls channels are on their way.

The channels feature will act similar to Twitter lists. You can invite friends from Facebook and Twitter to join you on Heello. The site is very clean and signing up was a breeze. However, given that the service is new, it feels quiet and not much going on there.

Only time can tell whether Heello can have any impact on the overall social media landscape, giving how fiercely competitive it’s become thanks to the recent entry of Google with its Plus service. For now, you can head over to Heello and sign up to take the service for a spin.

Tweed Suit – A heavy weight twitter app for the Nokia N900

Tweed Suit is a desktop style Twitter client and RSS reader for the Nokia N900 internet tablet. Users of the popular Twitter client Tweetdeck will immediately feel at home with this app.

It features all the usual Twitter features;

  • A home feed
  • Mentions
  • Direct messages
  • Lists
  • Searches among others. 

You can also use it an RSS reader and directly share items through Twitter. Tweed Suit uses column layout that works well for desktop, tablet or handheld devices and is currently available in Extras Testing on the N900.

3.5 Reasons Why Identi.Ca Sucks For Me!

Over the last couple of years, I’ve tried switching to Identi.ca as my primary social media hub but keep failing to do so. A careful look ties the reason to these 3 and half factors.

1. Lack of a mobile friendly site
Unlike Twitter which automatically redirects your browser to it’s mobile site depending on its UA, Identi.ca to the best of my knowledge has no such mobile optimized site. There’s only one site for using the service which makes it a real pain to acces on a mobile, especially on a slow coonection.

2. Lack of official apps
I don’t know if there’s any out there, but so far it’s only one third party, regularly updated app on Maemo that I know does Identi.ca. Same with a search on the Android market yielding 2 third party apps. I’m not all for the app-craze, but if they won’t develop a mobile friendly site, why not have official apps?

3. Link handling
I personally can’t for the life of me understand why they’d actually let links open inside the same tab! Like seriously? The thing is basically for sharing, and what we share are links. Why let the thing open in the same tab? I would not have any problem with that if we still were in the days of IE6, but not today when all browsers do tabbed browsing. I can’t keep right clicking to open links in another tab!

1/2. Unfriendly
I’m not sure if it’s by design, but as a non-coder, non-developer, I always feel that Identi.ca is unfriendly to people of my ilk. With it being heavily patronized by mostly hardcore geeks, I’ve failed to make any serious friends on there barring just about 2 or so people. I understand this may not be an issue to it’s core users, but as an ‘outsider’ it’s a deal breaker for me.

These 3 and half factors have combined to make Identi.ca a secondary interaction platform for me. The day these things are resolved, it sure will be my primary social media and online ommunication hub, but for now…Twitter.

Streamie- An Open Source Twitter Web App Worth Trying

Streamie is a simple web based application for accessing and managing your Twitter account. It is real time just like Identi.Ca with updates flowing in as they are posted by your contacts.
Built on current web standards like HTML5, it runs on all modern browsers-though it repeatedly crashed Firefox on my box- with the developers recommending Google Chrome. It is open source and can be ‘mashed’ up to your tastes.
Streamie features a simple and clean interface in an easy to use layout. There are icons for ‘@’ replies, a show all of your stream, a button to show only retweets, favourites, direct message, settings and a compose tweet button.
It also features geotagging of tweets using your current location and the ability to use Chrome’s built in notification system. All in all, I like Streamie for it’s simplicity and functionalities. 
I am not switching to it full time, but will be using it more in the coming days to send useful feedback to the developers. If you are shopping for a new Twitter client, Streamie might be a good choice to try out.

Privnote- A simple way to send longer messages on Twitter

I have become somewhat a power [meaning I spend a lot of time there] Twitter user for sometime now, and I really love it. One thing however, that still irks using Twitter is the 140 character limit. Privnote now makes sending longer messages easier. It’s simple.
Hop onto the site, write you message or note, click submit, get the URL and send that to your recipient. The message self destructs after your recipient has read it. As simple as that. Best of all, it’s free, no need to register whatsoever. You don’t need any email address for anything.
It is also ideal for sending private messages since the URL you send can only be used once, meaning even the recipient cannot use it twice. So next time you want to send me (or anyone else) a message on Twitter and the 140 character limit does not cut it, then try Privnote.

Tweepi- Put some sanity back into your Twitter account

The make money online for nothing spammers seem to have taken over Twitter these days. I doubt if there is a single one of you that has more than a 100 friends and is still free of those accounts. Tweepi is a very geeky (no terminal for sure) application that will help you prune out the bots from the humans in your stream.
“We created Tweepi out of our own need for some of these scripts. We’re constantly looking to follow quality tweeples, and trying to unfollow deadbeat users. We simply want to do more on Twitter in less time!”
Tweepi gives you various statistics that helps you determine if a particular account is worth following. Some of the stats include number of replies sent and received, number of tweets sent over a give period among others.
It is a free service where you log in with your Twitter credentials via OAuth. I personally used this tool recently to cut down on the number of people I follow because I was beginning to lose track of the real humans in my friends’ list. If like me you want to get rid of those make money for nothing spammers, Tweepi is definitely a tool worth giving a try.

6 kick-ass tips to wean yourself off Facebook

Facebook is the most talked about site in recent days. Previously I’ve had no qualms about anything whatsoever with regards to privacy. But all that changed when I realized with every upgrade/update or whatever Zuckerberg calls it, *my* settings are overridden with what FB thinks is right for me. Unacceptable!
If like me you have contemplated wiping out your account, don’t. The following 6 kick-ass tips should help you stick your foot in Zuckerberg’s mouth while still benefiting from the networking capabilities of the service.
1.Wipe out all your personal data– Yes you heard me right. Wipe out all your personal data-marriage, date of birth, employer/school, children- anything that will be of value to any advertiser, wipe it out. Or better still, lie to Facebook. Tell Zuckerberg you are a girl when in fact you are a man. Tell him you schooled in France when you have not set foot outside your country before. Do so and you begin to obfuscate advertisers who will be showing you completely irrelevant ads.
2.Post your photos to Picasa– Instead of uploading your photos to Facebook, rather upload them to Picasa web albums. You can create a public album and dump your photos there if you want the world to see. Or restrict access to them in a private album. Google will never reset *your* privacy settings. If the free 1GB Google offers is not enough, you can always buy more space at the price of a  gum. 
3.Stay away from stupid apps– I am amazed at how easily people give access to their accounts to any application at all. I wonder if they know that those apps get unfettered access to their stuff and info on Facebook as well as spam their friends. I for one do not play any of those games or use any other application to access my account other than three- Ping.Fm, Hootsuite and Gwibber. And yes I *block* all those “kiss my rear for two points” apps that get thrown in my newsfeed.
4.If you cannot stop posting things of a personal nature to Facebook, then setup a blog– Seriously, that is what a blog is meant for. Your web diary of sorts. Do not post things you do not want the world to see on Facebook. There is absolutely no privacy on that network. If you have to post, set up a blog. Blogger and WordPress are great places to start, the former being my favorite for its legendary simplicity. 
With Blogger, you can restrict access to your blog to those who you hand pick as well as make it public. That setting will also never get overridden. And if you have no qualms about advertisers seeing your personal stuff, why not make some money of them. You can always add Adsense to your posts on Blogger. I for one prefer trusting my data with a company like Google than with one that is run by an amateur who will not hesitate to put them up for sale on Craigslist or Ebay.
5.Post to both Twitter and Facebook– Based on the assumption that you have not set your tweets as protected, post to both Twitter and Facebook simultaneously. This forces you to post things that you really would not worry about anybody seeing. Then too the 140 character limit on Twitter should help you choose your words carefully so as to say what you ought to say in few words. Less words for Facebook ad bots to crawl. Ping.fm is a great tool to help you post to both networks at the same time.
6.Be careful which sites you access with your Facebook account– Aiming to become the passport to the internet, most sites and services now give you the option of logging into their services with your Facebook account. Be careful and choose to do so wisely. I personally now prefer creating a new account on any service than log in with my Facebook account.
There are many more ways to reduce your dependence on this mammoth monster of a social network. I will update this post as and when I think of any. In the mean time, you can also add your tips for getting people decentralize their lives off of Facebook in the comments.

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LinkBunch- Combine several links into one

Sending a message on Twitter can at best be challenging given the 140 character limit. The situation then gets compounded when you need to add more than one link to your message. This is where LinkBunch comes in.
LinkBunch turns all  the links you give it to one one simple and shortened url which makes for easy posting and sharing. Just drop your links into the box on the homepage and hit bunch to have them bunched up to one simple url. It’s free and there is no need to sign up whatsoever.
So next time around when talking on Twitter and need to share a bunch of links, remember to Bunch them to make of easy and convenient sharing.